UFO ROUNDUP

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Volume 9
Number 20
May 19, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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MEXICAN AIR FORCE TRACKS 11 UFOs OVER CAMPECHE

Mexican ufologist and TV personality Jaime Maussan broke the news on Sunday, May 9, 2004, during a broadcast of Los Grandes Misterios del Tercer Milenio (Spanish for Great Mysteries of the Third Millenium--J.T.) on the Mexican TV network Multimedios Television in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Maussan revealed that on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, he was "contacted by a high-ranking member of Mexico's Department of Defense to have a private meeting and discuss a subject of high relevant matter."

The following day, Wednesday, April 21, 2004, Maussan met with Gen. Gerardo Clemente Vega Garcia, Mexico's Secretary of Defense "and was informed about an incident that took place on (Friday) March 5 (2004) in the airspace over Ciudad del Carmen," in Mexico's eastern state of Campeche "where a Merlin C-26A was doing a routine flight to detect drug-smuggling airplanes during an anti- narcotics operation."

"The Merlin C-26A was equipped with high-tech digital equipment to register and record all activities during the operation. Powerful sensors like the FLIR (Forward- Looking Infrared Radar--J.T.) Star Zapphir II and a Radar AN/PS 143 were being used by qualified personnel aboard the airplane, and operations were recorded in both conventional and infrared radar."

The aircraft was under the command of Major Magdaleno Jasso Castanon. The FLIR operator was Lieutenant Mario Adrian Vasquez, and the radar operator was Lt. Gherman Ramirez. All three men were assigned to 501 Squadron of the Fuerza Aerea Mexicana (FAM or Mexican Air Force--J.T.)

"At approximately 5 p.m." on Friday, March 5, 2004, "the Merlin C-26A detected unknown traffic over Ciudad del Carmen," located on the Bahia de Campeche about 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Mexico City. "According to protocol, Maj. Jasso made a manuever to approach the unidentified traffic at a certain range in order to get a clear look."

At the same time, Maj. Jasso radioed the FAM air base "that a possible suspect had been detected and requested that jet interceptors be put on alert."

As the Merlin C-26A tried to approach the unknown traffic to make a visual identification, the object "suddenly escaped in a surprising maneuver, flying away at tremendous speed. Maj. Jasso tried to pursue the target, but it was very fast. All this was being recorded by the FLIR and the radar and also in radio conversations with the base, describing the unexpected maneuver of the unknown object."

At this time, the FAM crew "still had not made visual contact" with the object.

"Moments passed, when suddenly the unknown object returned and began following the Merlin C-26A. This was detected by the radar and the FLIR while the personnel kept trying to make visual contact. The equipment detected not only one but two 'unknown traffics' following them. The images on both the radar and the FLIR were clear and unmistakable. However, the crew still couldn't make visual contact with the two traffics even though the objects by that time were at close range."

"In a matter of seconds, more unknowns arrived at the scene. The radar and FLIR detected immediately the presence of nine new objects that arrived surprisingly like 'coming from nowhere.' The situation had entered into a high level of danger so Maj. Jasso radioed the base, requesting instructions."

"Still the crew couldn't see them. No visual contact with the unknowns was possible for some reason never experienced before by these highly-trained men. However, the high-tech sophisticated equipment and radars were not lying. There were 11 targets outside with unpredictable intentions."

"The unknown objects suddenly made a maneuver, surrounding the Mexican Air Force plane at close range. The radar and the FLIR presented an image of 11 objects in a circle around the Merlin C-26A."

"Maj. Jasso reported to the base that the aircraft's situation was now at red alert," that the plane "was surrounded by 11 mysterious, round-shaped objects camoflauged with a certain unknown advanced technology."

Maj. Jasso then turned off all lights aboard his aircraft. The FLIR continued to record the images until they flew away.

On Thursday, May 11, 2004, at 11 a.m., Maussan called a press conference at the Hotel Sevilla Palacio in Mexico City. He presented a 15-minute video to the reporters and answered questions about the encounter over Ciudad del Carmen.

"'They were invisible to the eye, but they were there,'" Maussan reportedly said, "'There is no doubt about it. They had mass, they had energy, and they were moving fast.'"

"At the news conference, Jaime Maussan told reporters that the objects seemed 'intelligent' because at one point they changed direction and surrounded the plane that was chasing them."

The Mexican government "confirmed the video was shot by the Air Force on March 5 (2004) over the eastern state of Campeche as the aircraft looked for drug traffickers over the Gulf of Mexico."

"'We are not alone! This is so weird!' one of the pilots can be heard yelling" on the videotape, according to Reuters news service.

"The objects were described as blobs of light that hover in formation and dart about, sometimes disappearing into a cloud."

"'There was a moment when the screens showed they were behind us, to the left and in front of us. It was at that point that I felt a bit tense,'" Maj. Jasso said.

In a telephone interview with the Mexican newspaper Hoy, Gen. Vega Garcia said, "We track furtive aircraft that could be the source of drug trafficking. The (Campeche) area is well known in this regard. Only two days ago (Monday, May 10, 2004) we captured a small plane with over 1,000 kilos of cocaine. Our aircraft is the same one which locates such illegal traffic and guides other air elements to enable their capture."

"I receive daily information about what happens with those flights throughout the Republic," Gen. Vega Garcia added, "This data was sent in for analysis, has no explanation, and I would like to caution that we never spoke of UFOs or saucers or anything, only the sighting of some very strange contacts that were incomprehensible in the situation, given that there was nothing at all flying in the air at the time, according to the Ciudad del Carmen Airport. The (radar) devices recorded accurately a series of luminous contacts."

Skeptics claimed later in the week that the objects captured in the infrared were "fragments of a meteor" or weather balloons or rare examples of ball lightning. (See the Mexican newspaper Hoy for May 12, 13 and 14, 2004. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, Santiago Yturria y Marco Reynoso para estos informes.)

PHOTOGRAPHER SNAPS A UFO IN MALAGA, SPAIN

On Wednesday, April 1, 2004, a religious procession put on by the Cofrada de Nazarenos del Santo Cristo de las Penas marched out of the Divina Pastora Roman Catholic Church in the barrio Capuchinos (neighborhood) of Malaga, a seaport city in southern Spain.

"The event occurred between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. along a stretch of road running parallel to the Rio Guadalmedina, specifically as they passed through Pasillo Santa Isabel, where the cameraman had the chance to approach the image of the crucified Christ from various angles using the sky as a backdrop."

"'This was possible because there weren't too many spectators present, unlike the larger parades, such as El Captivo, to whom miracles have been ascribed here in Malaga,' the photographer said."

The photographer, a man named Rainor, "claims that after transferring the images from his digital camera to a computer, and having inspected them one by one, he realized that the camera had picked up something that was not seen at the time neither by him nor by anyone present at the procession."

Rainor shot images of the procession using a SONY Cybershot Model P-31, with two megapixels of image storage space.

"The weather condition at the time was a clear sky that offered plenty of light and heat," Rainor told the Spanish news media. The daylight disc appears "over the river and the barrio Trinidad on the other side of the bridge."

Malaga is a port on the Mediterranean Sea, located about 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Spain's capital, Madrid. (Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Marco Reynoso para esto informe.)

LUMINOUS UFO SEEN IN SUNDERLAND, UK

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it something from a galaxy far, far away?"

"Neil Carter was putting the rubbish out in the backyard of his Sunderland home when a mysterious flashing light caught his eye. Unable to tell exactly what it might be, he rushed inside, grabbed a camera and started snapping away at the banana-shaped object."

"Mr. Carter, from Monkwearmouth, said: 'At first it appeared to be very small and was bobbing up and down in the sky. Then it dropped down a bit and got bigger. It was all a bit of a shock because there was nothing else in the sky and there appeared to be no explanation as to what it might be.'"

"The sighting, last Saturday (May 1, 2004) at about 9:15 p.m. was also spotted by Mr. Carter's girlfriend."

"It came just weeks after amateur stargazer Alan Toon, 60, from Park Estates, Hetton, spotted two lights floating above in the sky near his home. He had also been walking outside to empty the rubbish when he noticed the mysterious object."

"Mr. Carter is hoping other people in the area might have seen the light and could offer him some kind of explanation as to what it might have been."

"The self-employed businessman from Devonshire Street added: 'I have always believed there might be other life out there--it would be a shame to think there was only us.'"

"'I really don't know exactly what it was that I saw, but I would certainly like to try and find out. To witness something like this is really very strange.'"

"Reports of unexplained objects in the Wearside skies have stretched back to the 1950s."

"One of the oddest was that of Gordon Brown, who spoke to the Echo in 1993 about the events of September 22, 1951 when he went to Roker Park for Sunderland's clash with Portsmouth. Despite being among thousands of potential witnesses, soldier Gordon struggled to find anyone else to back up his story. He was standing in the Fulwell End when a man in front of him pointed at something in the sky, a small object shaped like a child's spinning top about 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) up, which hovered above the ground for about half an hour."

"In 1996, a strange craft was seen over Hendon, emitting bright yellow beams from its centre."

"A bumper crop of sightings emerged in August and September 1988, with UFOs sighted over Marston Grotto, Sunderland and County Durham." (See This is Sunderland for May 6, 2004, "Mystery sighting has Neil baffled." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this newspaper report.)

NIGHT SAUCER SPOTTED IN RZESZOW, POLAND

"A UFO was sighted above Rzeszow, the main city of Podkarpacie province" in Poland "on the night of (Tuesday) May 4, 2004."

"It was very similar to the classic UFO with a dome on its saucer-like structure. The UFO was photographed by a college student in Rzeszow. This event is being investigated and studied by the Center for UFO and Anomalous Phenomena Research (Polish acronym: CBUFOIZA-- J.T.)."

"Similar objects were seen and photographed over Rzeszow with VHS videocameras in 1998 and again in 2000."

"It is worth noting that this is the second UFO photo made above Podkarpacie province during the past two years. The first one was made over the village of Brzostek on July 26, 2003. CBUFOIZA has all ten photographs of that UFO."

(Many thanks to Polish ufologists Arkadiusz Miazga and Robert K. Lesniakiewicz for this news story.)

YELLOW-LIGHTS UFO SEEN BY A FAMILY IN INDIA

On Wednesday, May 12, 2004, at 10:10 p.m., eyewitness Ankita's mother "was standing on our balcony" at an apartment house in Koyambedu, Chennai in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, "looking at the skies" when "she noticed an array of dim yellowish lights arranged like a semi-circle moving towards her right."

"She pointed it out to my sister," Ankita reported, "and she came running to tell me, as I was in my room. By the time I came out, it had gone out of sight. Then we tried to go to the terrace, but there was no light there. So we came home, and I went to the balcony again, thinking I had missed it, but, to my surprise, I saw a similar array of lights but of a different shape. We were excited and waited to see more. All our neighbours were asleep so we could not inform them."

"I told my Dad and he came out with us. After some time, we saw it again. I tried to capture it on video, but it was dim, and there was no battery in the camera. We saw it three more times that evening, a total of six times in all. Dad saw it two times. It seemed to appear suddenly halfway up the sky to the north, and then to drift horizontally at constant speed towards our right (south--J.T.) and out of sight."

"The last two times, it came with a low rumbling sound. The last time it was the loudest and the lowest. Then it was almost 11 p.m., and we went to sleep."

The UFO "was below Venus, as it was visible from our balcony that night, and it moved at constant speed at a uniform horizontal height (altitude--J.T.)." (Email Form Report)

UNUSUAL UFO SIGHTED IN HUDSON, FLORIDA

On Thursday, May 13, 2004, at 10 p.m., eyewitness Susan Bohm reported, "I was letting the dog out the east back door of my home" in Hudson, Florida (population 12,765) "and, in doing so, stepped outside to admire the sky and stars, as I usually do when waiting for him. A movement to my right caught my eye, and I turned to watch something fast approach" from the southwest "rather high in the air, transparent yet with a 'pod-like' bubble."

"There were three triangular-shaped illuminated items--each one independent of the other; yet in formation, one being in front, one on the left, and one on the right."

"The transparent mass seemed to ripple (the only word that comes to mind--S.B.) I did have enough time to look elsewhere to ensure that all else was visible still. Yet the 'bubble' mass was vibrating, rippling as it moved very quickly northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico."

"Within the three (objects), the moving force kept their patterns inside the mass."

"They did not fly like birds, yet the movement is more fashioned to that type of movement. The light did not seem to be a 'light,' more like a sheen or a shine like the reflection you get from black plexiglass on appliances. I do know what I saw and wrote down a drawing and my exact feelings at the time. But it is very hard to describe in words what I did see. The transparency and the vibrating rippling movement was more interesting than the items in it."

Hudson is on Highway 19, on Florida's Gulf of Mexico shoreline, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of St. Petersburg. (Email Form Report)

"COLUMBUS LION" SAID TO BE HEADING EAST

"Authorities suspect a dangerous wild animal believed by some to be a lion may be heading east into Licking County," Ohio.

"Hebron police were notified early Thursday afternoon (May 13, 2004) by a woman who said she saw a cat-like animal 100 yards (90 meters) from her window. On Wednesday (May 12, 2004) two Kirkersville teachers and five schoolchildren sighted a creature they say resembled a lion near the school yard."

"Licking County Animal Warden Jon Luzio said police searched the area where the animal was spotted Thursday along Ohio (Route) 40 just outside Hebron (population 2,034)," a small town about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Columbus, "but no tracks were found."

"The woman who reported the sighting described the animal as large, brown and cat-like, said Hebron Patrolman Gary Baker."

"Baker said Licking County Sheriff's Deputies were called and searched the surrounding area for more than an hour, but no trace of the animal was found."

"Some suspect the creature could be a coyote, Baker said."

"If the animal is the same one that was spotted three times in Gahanna (population 32,636) earlier this month, it is moving east and may actually be a cougar (puma in UK and Australia--J.T.), Luzio said." (For more on the Gahanna, Ohio sightings, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 19 for May 12, 2004, "Mystery lion seen by many near Columbus, Ohio," page 9.)

"There are three or four owners of exotic animals in the county, and these pets include lions, tigers and cougars, he said. All but one owner's animals have been checked and accounted for, Luzio said, adding he intends to check on that exotic pet owner today."

"The sighting early Wednesday (May 12, 2004) at Kirkersville Elementary School prompted officials to end all outdoor recess activities until Monday. School officials called Licking County Sheriff's Deputies and sent a letter to parents informing them of the incident that 'fascinated' and 'startled' some of the children."

Kirkersville is on Ohio Route 40 approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers) east of Hebron.

"Principal Patricia Doran said approximately 140 second- and third-graders were in the schoolyard during noontime recess when five children and two teachers spotted the creature just outside the north fence."

"The creature was approximately 350 feet (106 meters) away from the observers, according to a Licking County Sheriff's report. No one was injured, and the creature disappeared into an adjacent wooded area, the report stated."

"The animal was described as large, butterscotch- colored, with a huge head and a very muscular body, according to a written statement by a teacher to Sheriff's Deputies, who were immediately called to the scene."

"Another description of the creature in the report lists it as being 'a tan, stocky animal with a short tail and hanging ears. It appeared to have an orange tint to the short hair. The animal made no sound and appeared to be keeping its distance from the persons in the area.'"

"Rebecca Sue Reasoner, one of the teachers who saw the animal, wrote, 'The cat ran northeast into the woods along the creek. The trot reminded me of a cat.'"

"Reasoner blew her whistle, calling all students to line up and return to the building, according to her statement."

"Communicating with staff on walkie-talkies (hand- held radios--J.T.), the children were ushered back into the school building, Doran said."

"'I think they wanted to come in,' Doran said, 'A couple (of students) were fascinated, but I think they were more startled than anything else.'"

"The sighting was a hot topic of conversation among the kids, but they soon turned their attention back to classroom activities, she said."

"Sheriff's Deputies searched and searched the area, using a dog, but did not find any tracks, footprints or hair, Doran said."

"Luzio said there are no county ordinances forbidding private ownership of such animals."

"Luzio said his office receives numerous calls from people claiming to see a tiger or exotic animal, only to find later the animal was a large cat or a coyote."

"Luzio said those calling in sightings need to describe what they see as accurately as possible to avoid wasting valuable manpower on fruitless searches." (See The Advocate of Newark, Ohio for May 14, 2004, "Residents claim lion prowls Licking County." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this newspaper article.)

MORE PHANTOM PANTHERS SPOTTED IN UK

Early May saw many sightings of Alien Big Cats in UK (better known as phantom panthers here in the USA--J.T.).

On Saturday, May 1, 2004, "a large black cat was seen by a resident in Great Owersby, Lincolnshire." It was "in the nearby spinney when the cat saw the witness" who "described it as being jet black, Alsatian (dog) sized. Prints were also found on the banks of a nearby pond."

On Sunday, May 2, 2004, "a big cat was seen in the Lochwinnoch area" of Renfrewshire, Scotland, "on the edge of Muirshield Park at 12:20 p.m., a black cat with a body the length of 4 feet (1.3 meters). A dog had detected the cat as it was making its way up toward the Park Hill woods. The dog was barking at a shape moving in the bushes at the back of the chalets on Lochwinnoch Road. The owner of the dog shone a torch (flashlight in the USA- -J.T.) at the cat, who was within 40 feet (12 meters) of the chalet, and that it ran towards the wooded area at Bogside Cottage, then went over the hill towards the village and the Park Hill woods, heading southeast."

That same Sunday, "a dark brown 'puma-like' animal was seen in Lyme Regis, Devon at approximately 5 p.m. Although dark brown, its colour 'was not uniform' but had 'lighter patches of fur.' The tail was at least two feet (0.7 meters) in length and described as 'smooth.'"

"The witness said: 'We were walking from Uplyme to Lyme Regis, along a pebble footpath that hugs the river Lyme. It is a well-used and quite popular footpath as it is very level in parts. We used the footpath the day before and found it to be a quick way into Lyme. There is a field next to the river with a lot of sheep and lambs in it, and also has families of wild rabbits. The field is enclosed by barbed wire and is separated from another field on a hillside by a road.'"

"'We were stopped, looking at the lambs and small rabbits when I said to Alison: 'Look at the size of that dog! It moves like a cat!'"

The creature "'was moving diagonally down the hillside, very fast, very close to the ground, it was a fast trot. It came to within 50 meters (165 feet) when it noticed us and took quick evasive action and took cover behind a bush at the edge of the field. We stood still, hoping to see a glimpse of whatever it was. But nothing. We waited for 15 minutes. I figured it was more scared of us than us of it.'"

A week later, on Sunday, May 9, 2004, "Jane Cottingham, who owns the property" in Lincolnshire "on which the large panther-like cat was seen in July (2003) on her patio believes the cat paid another visit that evening. Her daughter heard strange noises like a woman screaming or a baby crying, also heard noises on the patio outside. A huge stool was found in the garden the next day, although the witnesses are not sure what made it."

(Editor's Comment: It might have been a burglar who came face-to-face with the panther in the garden.)

On Monday, May 10, 2004, "a lorry (truck in the USA-- J.T.) driver claims to have spotted a large black cat walking along a main road through the Suffolk countryside. Driver Martin Emery said he saw an animal 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and 4 feet (1.3 meters) high alongside his vehicle at Linstead Parva, Halesworth. He said he believes it was a panther and noticed a paw print nearby. Peter Mortimer, chairman of Metfield parish council, said people in the area should exercise caution about approaching unknown animals."

"'It sounds as though it could be dangerous,' he said." (See Big Cat News Roundup for May 15, 2004. Many thanks to Robert Fischer, UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, and Mark Fraser for these news stories.)

SHC KILLS ELDERLY MAN IN PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS

An elderly man died in his car in an apparent case of spontaneous human combustion (SHC) at a cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (population 55,085).

"The body of a man was found in a burning car Sunday," May 9, 2004, "at a cemetery where he and his wife had gone to visit his mother-in-law's grave, police said."

"R.V. Davis, 78, had been sitting in the car while his wife, Joy, visited the grave. Joy Davis went back to the car and saw the fire after hearing her husband yelling, but neither she nor a bystander could get him out of the vehicle," according to Sgt. Robert D. Rawlinson, a spokesman for the Pine Bluff Police Dept.

"Joy Davis told police her husband had stayed in the car because he was in poor health and couldn't get out without assistance."

"Police did not know what caused the fire."

"R.V. Davis' body was sent to the state Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) to the northwest, to determine the cause of death." (See the Grand Forks, N.D. Herald for May 9, 2004, "Man dies in burning car in Ark. cemetery." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this newspaper article.)

POLTERGEIST CAUSES A STIR IN SOUTH AFRICA

"Rocks are mysteriously 'falling from the sky' onto a South African family's home at night, and local police believe demons are responsible."

"The Lambani family, who live in a village near Thohoyandou, South Africa, are pestered each night by the falling rocks. This week, they called the police for help."

"'We've been watching the house every night since Monday (May 10, 2004) and have seen the stones falling from the sky above the house,' Police Capt. Ailwei Mushavhanamadi told the news service."

Though police originally thought "a prankster might be throwing the rocks, Mushavhanamadi thinks there is a supernatural explanation."

"'In my personal opinion, this incident has something to do with demonic spirits. The solution might be for the family to pray to God for help,' he said."

"Dr. Elijah Mtileni, a pastor at Bethesda Christian Church in Malamulele, also suspects demonic activity. 'It is up to the family to give their lives to God first and believe that when we pray, the demonic spirits will disappear,' he said, saying he has offered to help the family."

"A medium, known as a sangoma in South Africa, blames witchcraft. 'This is a clear case of witchcraft because people have many ways of destroying the lives of others through it,' Eric 'Dr. Hlathikulu' Ngebeni is quoted as saying. He advised the family to consult with their ancestors and then a sangoma, according to News24.com." (See WorldNet Daily for May 14, 2004, "Rocks fall from sky, demons blamed." Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this news story.)

(Editor's Note: This is the fourth case of stone-throwing poltergeist activity we've seen in 2004. The previous three were in Argentina, India and Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA. See UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 9 for March 3, 2004, "El Pombero causes havoc in northern Argentina," page l; UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 12 for March 24, 2004, "Two new Fayette Factor cases reported in USA," page 1; and UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 13 for March 31, 2004, "Poltergeists plague a village in India," page 14.)

WEEPING JESUS PORTRAIT DRAWS PILGRIMS IN TEXAS

"Religious pilgrims have come to" Robstown, Texas (population 12,727) "by the hundreds to glimpse an image of Jesus they say began weeping inside a wood-framed house following a grandmother's prayers for her critically- disfigured grandson."

"The (Roman) Catholic Church has not yet investigated the claims."

"In a small living room where Gloria Fino, 34, clutched a Bible to her heart, the cardboard print of Christ was displayed."

"Fino, a Catholic, dabbed cotton balls against two streams of an oily substance that traveled down from the outside corners of the image's eyes. She gave them to visitors, one after another."

"'I got to wipe the tears,' Jamie Gonzalez, 30, said as she steadied herself on the porch. 'It's just faith.'"

"As the droplets continued to form, visitors took photos in the hopes of capturing the mysterious fluid. Fino took the print off the wall, turning it around to show the back."

"She said the droplets began to flow late Friday night (May 7, 2004). She had been praying for her three- month-old grandson, Isaac Tijerina, who was born with his internal organs outside his body."

"Isaac remains at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, and Fino said doctors' reports have not been encouraging."

"'I'd been praying to Jesus to send him home,' Fino told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in today's edition. 'He had a tumor the size of a volleyball that busted.'"

"'If you're here and hearing me, give me a sign' was her request to Jesus, she told about 30 people in her house at noontime Monday," May 10, 2004. 'At first there was a big tear just hanging there, not running. Just there in the corner of his eye.'"

"She said she summoned her father from his bedroom to see."

"'We can't always rely on the scientific,' said Monsignor Richard Shirley, vicar-general of the (Roman Catholic) Diocese of Corpus Christi. 'If it's of God, it will endure.'" (See the Houston Chronicle for May 11, 2004, "Weeping cardboard Christ draws Texas pilgrims." Many thanks to Rose Daugherty for this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: UFO Roundup readers can write to Isaac in care of the Texas Children's Hospital. For myself, I'm going to pray that Isaac is cured and lives a long life. Long enough so that on New Year's Day 2100, Isaac, age 95, will leave his retirement home on Mars and take his great- great-grandchildren to the museum to see the robot rovers Spirit and Opportunity.)

ISRAELI AGENTS CAUGHT IN SOUTHERN TENNESSEE

Two Israeli citizens, possibly on a sabotage mission for the Mossad, were apprehended Saturday afternoon, May 8, 2004, in southern Tennessee.

"Two Israeli men who led the Unicoi County sheriff on a high-speed chase in a rental moving truck were placed under arrest and are being investigated by the FBI, local officials said."

"Shmuel Dahan and Almaliach Naor, both from Israel, were being held without bond Sunday afternoon," May 9, 2004 "at the Unicoi County Jail. The truck, rented from a Ryder office in Mars Hill, North Carolina was being held in the county garage pending an FBI investigation, officials said."

"Dahan is charged with reckless driving, littering, false identification and evading arrest, an officer with the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department, who would not give his name, said Sunday."

"An investigation by the FBI is ongoing and more charges are possible. A woman who answered the phone at the FBI's Knoxville (Tennessee) office said there was no one available to answer questions about the arrest."

"The incident began late Saturday afternoon (May 8, 2004) when Sheriff Kent Harris noticed a rental truck traveling at high speed along former U.S. Highway 23, a lightly-traveled highway near the North Carolina state line."

"'I was really concerned because the driver would not stop after I flashed my headlights for nearly three miles,' Harris said. 'He was weaving back and forth, and I was wondering what a large (rental) truck was doing on the two-lane highway late Saturday afternoon instead of the faster I-26 interstate.'"

"Harris said he saw the man throw something from the truck while they were being pursued. Officers scouring the area later found a vial containing an unknown substance along the roadway, he said."

"Once the men were apprehended, officers also found a 'Learn to Fly' brochure, leading Harris and others to express concern about the Nuclear Fuel Services plant in Erwin, Tenn. (population 5,610)."

"'I got a sick feeling when I saw it,' Harris said."

"Dahan also gave authorities a fake Florida driver's license issued in Plantation, Fla., he said, while Naor produced a false identification card."

"Harris subsequently contacted the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and other local authorities to look into the situation."

"'We're not overreacting,' Harris said, 'We have a responsibility to protect the citizens of Unicoi County, and that's what I'm going to do at any cost. I'd rather overreact, if that's what you call it, than be sorry later.'"

The capture of Dahan and Naor led to speculation that the Mossad was planning an attack on the Tennessee nuclear facility in the hopes of pinning the blame on Al-Qaeda or religious enemies like the Christian Identity movement, which has many adherents in the Tennessee/North Carolina border region.

But the case took a bizarre twist on Wednesday, May 12, 2004, when federal agents escorted Dahan and Naor out of Unicoi County.

"The leader of the two Israelis arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase in a moving van last Saturday in rural Tennessee is the son of a spokesman for the Likud," the Israeli political coalition led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Shmuel Dahan, 23, is himself a former spokesman of the National Union of Israeli Students, which represents the country's 150,000 university students."

"However, the investigation was halted Wednesday after the men were released from the Unicoi County Jail into the custody of federal officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), where they face only a deportation hearing."

"'They're taking it out of my jurisdiction,' said Sheriff Kent Harris, who apprehended the men Saturday after a high-speed chase on a little-used state highway." (See The Observer of Charlotte, N.C. for May 9, 2004, "Two men arrested after high-speed chase in Tennessee." Also the Asheville, N.C. Citizen-Times for May 12, 2004. Many thanks to Jim Danvers for these newspaper articles.) (Editor's Comment: Christian Identity people should consider themselves warned. Keep an eye out for those Mossad saboteurs in your neighborhoods. It would be a real shame if some of those Israeli doggoschitzim accidentally wandered into Bayou Bonfouca and got lost. One thing's for certain--Mother Dixie's alligators would soon be "eating kosher.")

LATEST ON FAYETTE FACTOR

Homicide dominated the latest round of Fayette Factor incidents last week.

The Fayette Factor is one of the least-understood Fortean phenomena in the USA. It consists of the high incidence of paranormal events relating to places named after the Marquis de Lafayette, one of the USA's Founding Fathers and a prominent Freemason.

In Fayette County, Pennsylvania--an area with the highest incidence of such strange happenings--"a man was shot to death as he stood outside a housing development in Brownsville, Pa." on Tuesday, May 11, 2004.

In Louisiana, "investigators believe that Luo Haiming, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette student from China, who is being sought in the death of a fellow student, remains in the United States."

Also, "a missing graduate student's body was found in her dormitory at the University of Louisiana" in Lafayette, La. (population 110,257) on Friday, May 7, 2004.

Finally, the Fayette Factor managed to surface in the top news story in the USA--the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

"Army Spc. Charles Graner, an accused ringleader in the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, repeatedly has faced allegations of violence and psychological abuse in his personal life and at his job as a Pennsylvania prison guard."

"Graner, 35, was charged Friday," May 14, 2004, "with cruelty, maltreatment and willfully failing to protect prisoners from abuse at Abu Ghraib. The charges have cast the Army reservist from Uniontown, Pa. as a key figure in the abuse scandal that has embarrassed the United States."

Uniontown (population 12,422) is the largest town in Pennsylvania's Fayette County. (See the Pittsburgh, Pa. Post-Gazette for May 12, 2004, "Man gunned down in Fayette County;" The Advertiser of Lafayette, La. for May 15, 2004, "Homicide suspect still in U.S.;" and USA Today for May 17, 2004, "Former guard has a history of complaints," page 7A.)

READER FEEDBACK:

TRIANGULAR UFO SEEN IN KANSAS

Gary Cofer of Kansas writes, "Two months ago I saw something very similar to the UFO reported in Varnville, South Carolina recently. A triangular aircraft or UFO. At the time I didn't think much about it because I was late for work--I work third shift. It was around 10 p.m. and I was heading to Lawrence, Kansas. From the west about 8 miles (12 kilometers) from town, I noticed a bright light in the southern sky coming towards me. I kept watching as it got nearer and flew directly over me at about 500 feet (165 meters)."

"I looked up as it passed by and saw three lights on the bottom that formed a triangle. The lights lit up the bottom of the craft, but it did not look like any aircraft I am familiar with. I was in the (U.S.) Air Force back in the late 60s and early 70s."

"What was strange about it was is that there were no anti-collision lights and no wingtip lights. As it went over, it was moving at a very slow speed. At the time I wondered how it could stay in the air at that speed. Anyway, it made a slow bank to the west after it passed over. In my car, I could not hear any noise. At that height I should have heard something."

ANOTHER WEIRD HUM REPORTED

Nancy Ruhl of California wrote, "The article you sent recently on mysterious hums was particularly interesting because my husband and I had a similar experience one night this past year. Late in the middle of the night, my husband Ron woke me up, asking, 'Do you hear that sound?'"

"I listened intently for a few moments. I suddenly picked up on a most unusual, almost inaudible, low, humming, pulsating sound. I remember it sounded like the hum of a UFO someone had managed to tape on their video camcorder that Art Bell (host of) Coast to Coast, had featured one night on his program a few years ago."

"I replied, 'Yes, I sure do.'"

"At that point, the sound suddenly stopped. We haven't heard it since." "I've lived in the San Francisco/East Bay area since around 1962 and have never heard such a sound in this area before."

"I wondered at the time if HAARP up in Alaska could be aiming in this direction, or if a real UFO was overhead or behind my house, or if the military had tests going on underground. It was all very strange."

From the UFO Files...

1765: LAFAYETTE AND THE WEREWOLF

The new movie Van Helsing features a Nineteenth Century adventurer who battles the "Famous Monsters of Filmland" in the backwoods of Transylvania. The story is sheer fiction. But how many people are aware that there was indeed a fearless werewolf hunter in Eighteenth Century France?

Not only that, but this hunter has a name familiar to every American...the Marquis de Lafayette.

On the evening of September 6, 1757, a baby boy was born at the Chateau de Chavaniac in France's Auvergne region. He was held over the baptismal font by his maternal grandfather, the Marquis de la Riviere, who then jotted down his name in the family Bible.

It was a lengthy notation: "Born this day the Most High and Powerful Seigneur Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, Baron de Vissac, Seigneur de Saint-Romain, Puy and other fiefdoms, lawful issue of the Colonel-Marquis and the Most High and Powerful Marie Louise Julie de la Riviere."

While still in diapers, the marquis became known as Gilbert. The other five names were trotted out for official occasions. It was a common name in the boy's family, which could trace its lineage all the way back to 1000 A.D.

The first Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette was a Crusader who had fought the Muslims at Acre in 1250 A.D. The family keep was an old Roman ruin in the Auvergne's Dore Mountains known as Villa Faya, which eventually became Lafayette in French.

(Editor's Note: The Auvergne is in south-central France, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Clermont-Ferrand and 210 kilometers (126 miles) south of Paris.)

Two centuries later, the third Gilbert rode with Joan of Arc against the British and Burgundian troops that held Orleans. At one time Gilbert may have even handled the legendary Sword of Destiny, then in Joan's custody. He witnessed King Charles VII's coronation at Rheims and eventually became a Marshal of France.

(Editor's Note: For more on Joan of Arc and the Sword of Destiny, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 10 for March 10, 2004, "1429: Mention her name in Domremy," page 12.)

"It was a proverb in Auvergne that the Lafayettes all died young and in battle."

Sadly, "our" Gilbert's father was no exception. He was killed by a British cannonball while commanding his grenadier regiment, the Black Musketeers, at the battle of Minden on August 1, 1759. The Colonel-Marquis was 27 years old.

King Louis XV, grateful for the colonel's service, settled a pension of 780 livres on the two-year-old. His mother, Julie, "was a beautiful woman, witty and clever, who felt it to be her duty to remain at Court" in Versailles "and advance the interests of her son. It was the only way to get on. Besides, it was rather dull at Chavaniac, with no one but three provincial old ladies to talk to."

But Gilbert loved the wild Auvergne region, with its rye fields a golden glow in summer, and the Puy de Dome a misty hump on the northern horizon. In winter, the Dore range became a forbidding panorama of stark snow-covered peaks and dark, brooding evergreen forests.

Julie spent every July and August at the Chateau de Chavaniac. The rest of the year, Gilbert was raised by his elderly Grandmere, Catherine de Chavaniac, and his two great-aunts, Marie and Gabrielle du Motier de Champtieres, who were nuns. For years they had been cloistered at the convent of Chazes. They had received a dispensation from Rome to care for their two-year-old great nephew.

Entrusted with the boy's education was the Abbe Fayon, who "taught him Latin, Arma virumque; but he did not teach him much religion, for religion had gone almost wholly out of fashion in France."

Voltaire and Rousseau may have been the rage in the salons of Paris. But in the Auvergne, life hadn't changed much since the Middle Ages. The peasants tipped their caps whenever young Gilbert, with the Abbe Fayon at his side, walked down the street. Tante Marie and Tante Gabrielle gasped and made the sign of the cross whenever Voltaire's name was mentioned. For had not the Evil One proven himself a dark devotee of Satan when he said of the Church, " Ecrasez l'infame!" (French for "Destroy the evil thing!"--J.T.)?

And, of course, everybody knew about the loup-garou (French for werewolf --J.T.).

In November 1765, farmers in the Auvergne began reporting severe livestock losses. Soon it was "a scourge that everyone dreaded, 'the Beast of Gevaudan.' The creature killed cattle on the nearby hills, and shocked talk had it eating women, children and 'shepherdesses reknowned for their beauty.'"

"This discriminating monster was also rumored to put even armed travelers to flight." And who wouldn't be petrified--to see a ferocious wolf-man standing upright on his hind legs, clawed fingers outstretched, jaws slavering, fangs gleaming, and uttering a hellish howl?

"It's the loup-garou, the curse of the Gevaudan," Grandmere Tene told the wide-eyed, eight-year-old marquis. "Once bitten, there is no escape. Even if a man says his prayers fervently, he is doomed to change when the moon is full. He becomes the loup-garou, and the urge to kill is in his blood."

"Can such a creature be slain?" Gilbert asked.

"Silver is the werewolf's bane," the elderly Gypsy queen said, "A silver blade--a silver bullet--only these can kill the loup-garou. But the hunter must be very careful. For if he is bitten, he, too, will become a werewolf at the next full moon--"

Just then, Gilbert felt a hand on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw Abbe Fayon smiling down at him.

"Come, Gilbert, it's time for your lessons," the priest said, and, turning to the old woman, added, "Shame on you, Madame de Tene. Filling the boy's head with such nonsense!"

"It is not nonsense." She drew her woolen shawl more closely about her. "When I was a young girl, back home in Transylvania, I saw the footprints of a werewolf on the slopes of the Virful Bihor." She raised her clenched fist. "Wolf tracks bigger than this! And the night before, there was a full moon--"

"Transylvania!" Abbe Fayon rolled his eyes in exasperation. "The land of fables! Witches, werewolves, vampires...Mon Dieu! Haven't you heard? It's the Eighteenth Century!"

"So, priest, you do not believe in the Nosferatu!?" Quickly she made the fica, her fingers moving to ward off a curse. "Ha! Go to Cimpeni. Ask for the Count." She let out a demented cackle. "Vladislau Mihailovich will make you a believer!"

The werewolf tales made a big impression on the young Lafayette. "All that Lafayette remembered afterwards of the eleven years passed at Chavaniac, which were his whole childhood, was his ambition to defend the peasants from the beasts of prey."

Despite the abbe's dismissal of "the Beast of Gevaudan" as "sheer superstition," the boy "ranged through the woods in search of the legendary werewolf and fed his imagination on the triumphal reception and the gratitude of the peasants that would be his when he returned to them as their liberator..."

"In his (autobiography) Memoires de ma main Lafayette declares that this childish ambition to free his native place from the fabulous monster was the first germ of his lifelong passion for taking the part of the weak against their oppressors."

Livestock losses continued throughout the winter. In January 1766, Catherine de Chavaniac received a newspaper in the mail. Gilbert, who read everything in the chateau, pored through it and cried out in indignation. The newspaper contained a letter from "a hunter giving his name as 'Lafayette'" who "had reported seeing the beast, but was too frightened to kill it."

"The young marquis was stung into writing an indignant letter to the journal that carried this slander...a letter to the editor protesting that it was not he who had been afraid. Grandmama Chavaniac read the letter and calmly put it in the fire. She was a lady of great good sense; and people came to consult her judgement from twenty leagues around."

Still he would not give up. "Lafayette dreamed of meeting the animal on one of his walks, and killing it with his bare hands."

So it was that on February 22, 1766, while walking in the snowbound forest of the Bois de Gevaudan, Gilbert came upon a strange bearded man in a slouch hat and heavy cloak. The man crouched in the snow, intently studying the ground.

Gilbert crunched his way through the knee-deep snow. "What are you doing?"

The grey-bearded man glanced his way. "Who is asking?"

"I am the marquis."

The stranger tried not to smile. "Are you indeed?"

"Yes. This land is mine, monsieur." Well, technically, it was Grandmere's, Gilbert thought, but he didn't think she'd mind such a small fib. "You have not told me your name."

"Rather rude of me, I suppose." Standing erect, he offered the boy his extended hand. "A pleasure to meet you, Monsieur de Lafayette. My name is Ouimette. I'm the King's huntsman."

Ouimette explained that King Louis XV had posted a reward for "the Beast of Gevaudan." As Master of the Hunt at Versailles, Ouimette had gotten the king's permission to track down and slay the creature. To Gilbert's delight, he pointed out the unusually large wolf footprints in the snow.

"Let's get him!" the boy cried, but Ouimette grabbed his shoulder.

"No, no, lad. Let's backtrack a bit. We need to know exactly what we're dealing with."

Gilbert followed the huntsman deeper into the woods. Ouimette plodded along, his elegant Charleville musket tucked under his arm. Suddenly, he halted and raised his free hand. "Now there's something you don't see every day."

Gilbert peered into the forest clearing. The snow was littered with scraps of what looked like spoiled meat. Then his gaze followed the trail of wolf prints. It ended abruptly in a circle of swirled snow. And just beyond that, approaching the circle, was a line of footprints. Human footprints.

The young marquis tried to imagine the loup-garou in his human form, fleeing the inexorable rising of the moon. He could see the unfortunate soul stumbling into the clearing, crying out in despair at the sudden shaft of moonlight. And then...the awful transformation!

A wolf's howl reverberated through the snow-covered hills.

"It'll be dark soon," Ouimette said, "We'd best find some shelter."

"You're welcome to stay at Grandmere's chateau."

"Lead the way, Monsieur le Marquis."

As they headed downslope, the pair stopped abruptly. Ahead the spruce branches quivered, spilling snow. Ouimette leveled his musket and cocked it.

An alarmed Abbe Fayon stumbled out of the underbrush. "Gilbert!"

"Abbe, what are you doing out here!?"

"Looking for you. Your great-aunts are frantic. You've been gone for hours."

Gilbert introduced his teacher to Ouimette. But the huntsman cut short the pleasantries. He insisted that they press on before they were caught outdoors in the dark.

They didn't quite make it. Dusk found them three kilometers (2 miles) from the chateau. With a makeshift torch lighting the way, the trio plodded through the virgin snow. Just as the full moon peeped between the spires of the evergreens, a long, wolfish howl split the night.

"Wolves," Abbe Fayon murmured, crossing himself.

"No, just one." Ouimette led them into a small clearing. He opened a small pouch, then poured something down the muzzle of his musket. Swiftly he tapped the projectiles with his ramrod. The howling continued. It sounded closer now.

Suddenly, Gilbert heard a thrashing in the underbrush. Something large was breaking branches as it moved straight towards them.

"Damn! The wind shifted. He has our scent." Ouimette held his musket at the ready. "Stay at my sides, both of you. And if you value your lives, do not move!"

Just then, a hulking manlike shape appeared at the edge of the clearing. Gilbert gasped at the sight of its powerful form, its canine head, with its pointed ears, long snout, enraged eyes and gleaming fangs. The creature was covered with a glossy dark brown fur. Its taloned fingers curled, ready to rend and kill.

"No!" Abbe Fayon screamed. "It's not possible!"

Lifting its head, the loup-garou let out a bone- chilling howl.

And then it melted into the shadows.

"Watch my back!" the huntsman hissed. "If you see any movement--anything at all--yell!"

"W-What's it doing?" Gilbert asked, his own keen gaze raking the moonlit trees.

"It's trying to sneak up on us, boy. When it gets close enough--"

Before the huntsman could finish, a fearsome dark shape bounded out of the trees, bounced off an oak trunk and landed on the trio with a hellish growl. The priest shrieked in terror. Gilbert felt a clawed foot strike his chest, hurling him away from the others. He rolled over and over in the snow.

The loup-garou's taloned swipe knocked the musket from Ouimette's gasp. It landed among some rocks. The hammer came down, and a gunshot split the air.

Gilbert rose to all fours. Abbe Fayon was facedown in the snow, gibbering in mad fear. A bit closer, Ouimette, now hatless, struggled to rise. Baying and snarling, the loup-garou crouched, ready to spring. Its maddened eyes flitted from the boy to the huntsman and back again.

For a moment, the future of the USA hung in the balance. But then the loup-garou decided that Ouimette was the greater threat. Mouth agape, it rushed towards him.

This was exactly what Ouimette wanted. He flipped open his woolen cloak, exposing a sawed-off musket cut about eight inches under legal. Holding the weapon like an oversized pistol, he took dead aim at the werewolf's chest.

"Surprise!" he whispered.

BLAM! The silver buckshot tore the werewolf's muscular chest into raw hamburger. Its snarl traveled upscale into a howl of sheer agony. It flopped backwards into the deep snow, its flailing limbs and writhing torso gleaming in the moonlight. Unable to look away, the young Lafayette watched it change.

First it was the powerful loup-garou, howling its rage and pain. Then it was a naked man, thrashing in the snow, covered with blood. Next it was an abnormally large wolf, biting and snapping and uttering howls of despair. It seemed to change its form every second, Gilbert thought, like clouds in a high wind.

And then it was motionless--a large Alpine wolf staining the snow crimson. Ouimette prodded it with his weapon. There was no response.

"The Beast of Gevaudan," he murmured, "C'est fini."

Ouimette "sent the carcass to Paris as a gift to the King." Former British prime minister "Horace Walpole saw it in the Queen's antechamber at Versailles. It was," Walpole wrote, "'just arrived and covered with a cloth, which two Chausseurs lifted up. It was an absolute wolf, but uncommonly large and the expression of agony and fierceness remained strongly imprinted on its dead jaws.'"

"Over a hundred years later," with Lafayette long dead, "stories of the horror still abounded. They reached the ears of Robert Louis Stevenson, when traversing the Gevaudan with his famous donkey Modestine, and he decided that the beast must have been 'the Napoleon Bonaparte of wolves.'"

As for the Abbe Fayon, he continued teaching his young charge Latin, counted his many gray hairs and prayed fervently for the day when Madame Julie would return to Chavaniac and place her boy in a Paris boarding school. That day came in 1768. (And I'll bet Abbe Fayon was so grateful that he sang Te Deum up and down the slopes of the Puy de Dome--J.T.)

Gilbert, of course, grew up to become the Marquis de Lafayette and was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA.

But l'affaire Gevaudan was not his only foray into the realm of the paranormal. (See the books La Fayette, volume 1, by Brand Whitlock, D. Appleton & Co., New York City and London, 1929, pages 6 through 9; Lafayette by Peter Buckman, Paddington Press Ltd., New York City and London, 1977, pages 12 and 13; Lafayette: A Life by Andreas Latzko, The Literary Guild, New Uork, N.Y., 1936, pages 4 and 5; and Adrienne: The Life of the Marquise de Lafayette by Andre Maurois, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York City and Toronto, 1961, pages 22 and 23.)

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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