CASSINI ENTERS ORBIT AROUND SATURN
The robot spacecraft Cassini entered orbit around Saturn, the second largest planet in the solar system, early Thursday morning, July 1, 2004.
"Photos resembling modern art of the dark and sunlight sides of the rings are visual highlights of Cassini's seamless entry into orbit around the sixth planet from the sun. They were taken as the craft flew between and past the rings Wednesday night and Thursday morning."
"'Citizens of Earth, I bring you the majestic rings of Saturn,' NASA associate administrator Ed Wiler said at a briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which manages mission operations."
"Launched in 1997, Cassini is a $3.27 billion partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency that will explore Saturn's rings, moons, atmosphere and magnetic field."
"Early Thursday morning," July 1, 2004, "Cassini completed its most dramatic gravity-assist maneuver, firing its main rocket engine for 95 minutes. This slowed the craft so that Saturn's gravity could force it into an orbit."
"Elated mission controllers watched Cassini race through Saturn's rings at a speed of 68,700 miles per hour. It came closer to the planet than it ever will again before passing back out through the rings and beginning its four-year orbit outside them."
"'This was an unprecedented opportunity--closer to the rings than we've ever been before,' said imaging team scientist Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. 'Mind-blowing' pictures are already posing puzzles for scientists, she says."
"For example, clumps of ice-dust particles in one of the rings 'that look like straw' defy explanation, she says."
"The cameras also picked up two small moons, Pan and Atlas, that haven't been spotted by astronomers for years. Both act as 'shepherds,' clearing gaps between the rings and shaping them through gravitational attraction."
"Cassini's cameras were aimed at the rings rather than the planet because the rocket engine had to be aligned in a fixed direction during its braking burn, fixing the cameras' view as a result."
"The ring images from the passage are at least five times better than those from the 1980-81 Voyager missions that flew by Saturn. Scientists also collected 75 minutes of radio-wave data from the far side of the rings, hoping to learn their composition through analysis of distorting effects."
"After its engines put the craft into Saturn's orbit, Cassini took 61 pictures of the rings, some from the 'dark' side, away from the sun, showing them backlit, others from the sunlit side showing them illuminated directly."
"If all works as planned, Cassini will orbit Saturn 76 times over the next four years, further exploring the rings, the stormy, windswept gas giant itself, and some of its 31 known moons, a few of them fascinating worlds in their own right."
"Cassini is equipped with a number of instruments, including radio antennae that recorded sounds from around Saturn."
"At Thursday's news conference, scientists played the moaning sound generated by the solar wind hitting Saturn's magnetic field. This 'wind' is made up of streams of particles that shoot out from the sun and travel more than one million miles per hour, creating a sonic boom when they encounter the magnetic field around Saturn."
"The boom, recorded Saturday," June 26, 2004, "occurred much earlier and farther away than anyone expected, suggesting that the planet's magnetic field has moved since the last spacecraft flew by a quarter century ago." (See USA Today for July 2, 2004, "Lord of the rings: Cassini dazzles with Saturn photos," page 2A; and the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for July 2, 2004, "NASA's Cassini begins sending photos of Saturn's rings," page 5A.)
WOMAN IN IRAN GIVES BIRTH TO "A FROG," DOCTOR SAYS
"An Iranian woman has reportedly given birth to a frog."
"According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the unnamed woman from the southeastern city of Iranshahr delivered a live gray frog after what was called 'a bizarre labor.'"
"The animal's birth followed severe bleeding and was reportedly covered by mud."
"Dr. Varasteh, a gynecologist, corroborated the unusual event to the Farsi-language newspaper, Etemaad, saying the woman's menstrual cycle had stopped for six months, and a May (2004) sonogram indicated the presence of a cyst in her abdomen."
"Dr. Varasteh believes the frog's larvae entered the woman's body where it grew to adult size. Others speculate that she unknowingly picked up the larvae while swimming in dirty water. But not all Iranian physicians are accepting the explanation. Etemaad noted that some medical experts have commented on the frog's similarity to a human."
"Dr. Aminipard, a clinical biology expert, reportedly told Etemaad, 'The similarities are in appearance, the shape of the fingers and the shape of the tongue.'"
"The 'so-called frog' has not been tested genetically, Etemaad reported."
"The woman has two children."
Iranshahr is in the Baluchistan region of Iran, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Tehran, the national capital.
"People in the UFO community here in the Middle East are wondering if the 'frog' might be some kind of extraterrestrial. Its color is gray, and there have been rumors of a program to breed hybrid creatures possessing both human and alien traits," said Ayesha al-Khatabi, UFO Roundup's corrspondent in the Middle East. "Coming so soon after the UFO sightings in the Caspian Sea region, this strange birth has everybody talking."
Another possibility is that the birth might be an occult manifestation. The birth could be an incarnation of the ancient deity Tsathoggua (pronounced zuh-THOG-you- ah--J.T.)
"According to H.P. Lovecraft, who ghost-wrote a story called 'The Mound' for Zealia Bishop in 1929, there are 'certain temples depicted in the vaults of Zin, to house a very terrible black toad-idol found in the red-litten world (of Yoth) and called Tsathoggua in the Yothic manuscripts,'" UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said, "The worship of Tsathoggua reportedly began on the lost continent of Atlantis, introduced by the high priest Klarkash-Ton. After the Greater Cataclysm, the deity continued to be worshipped under the names 'Thog' and 'Thaug.' This religion gradually declined over the millenia, and today there's only one site left--the Temple of the Golden Frog in Ayodhya, which is the oldest continually-occupied city in India."
"Some psychics and sensitives believe that Tsathoggua's last incarnation occurred in Glencoe, California in the 1850s," Trainor added, "But who are we to dispute such learned scientific opinion?" (See the Iranian newspaper Etemaad for June 27, 2004, "Woman gives birth to a frog." Many thanks to Ayesha al-Khatabi and Jim Hickman for this newspaper story. And don't foget to visit Jim's Web site at www.thehickmanreport.com.)
HEAVY UFO ACTIVITY REPORTED IN CHILE
Chile is in the middle of a sizable UFO flap.
Luminous UFOs were seen over the cities of Lanco and Petrohue the night of Tuesday, June 15, 2004.
On Saturday, June 19, 2004, "hundreds of people took to the streets of Ovalle," a city of the 4th Region located 300 kilometers (180 miles) north of Santiago de Chile, the national capital, "to witness--in shock and expectation--a strange circle of lights positioned in the skies over the city."
"The characteristics suggest the circle was at least 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter; it blinked and rotated uninterruptedly in the night sky."
"Also, certain locations in the city's outskirts attracted large numbers of people who reported seeing the same thing. Radio station telephone switchboards did not stop receiving calls, creating a sense of alarm, even among those who had not left their homes."
"'We received so many calls we had to interrupt our regular programming and present a special on the subject in order to offer an explanation about the phenomenon and provide answers to our listeners,' said Carlos Ossandan, director of the Communicativa FM radio station."
"Communicativa obtained the highest number of listeners in recent months that evening. However, there are witnesses who claim having seen strange lights on preceding days, which could suggest a small UFO wave in the skies over Ovalle."
On Tuesday, June 29, 2004, "a strange luminous object was seen in the skies of Punta Arenas," capital of Region 12, the Chilean Antarctic. "According to eyewitnesses, the unidentified flying object frequented the skies of the city for five days, being seen in various locations."
"Radio Polar, the local radio station, had its telephone switchboard collapse due to the volume of calls received from witnesses of the phenomenon."
"The (Chilean) Office of Aeronautics reported that it lacked official records on the strange luminous bolide, making it clear that it was neither an airplane nor a helicopter. They did not, however, confirm that it was a UFO."
"Alfredo Vera, correspondent for Radio Polar, managed to take photos of the object from the Sonadores overlook, where a large number of people had gathered to watch the strange object and its irregular movements, which were foreign to those of any known object."
"The phenomenon lasted approximately 10 minutes, which gave him enough time to whip out his SONY Cybershot 3.2-megapixel camera, using it to take several photos," which were published in the Chilean newspaper La Cuarta on Wednesday, June 30, 2004.
"'It's highly unusual,' remarked Alfredo Vera, Radio Polar's announcer, "They were startled because the luminosity was quite strong, and the object moved slowly. They said it couldn't be something like Jupiter, which could be the closest thing to it. It didn't scare me, but I did get goosebumps because it was very weird.'"
"Vera took 14 photos but only four came out. 'It's remarkable that when I focus on the object, I can see an object that resembles an ornament on a Christmas tree, but then it fades and is replaced by a point of light. The photos show a fiery ball, something red, green, blue,' he explained."
"Despite the sensation caused by the sighting, experts from the General Office of Civil Aeronautics say it could be 'a star or an optical phenomenon created by light refraction.'"
On Tuesday, June 29, 2004, "at 7:20 a.m., several UFOs flew and executed pirouettes before daybreak some 60 kilometers (36 miles) northeast of Santiago de Chile, in the vicinity of Llay-Llay and Las Chilcas, where they were photographed by Juan Serey, 37, who was driving his pickup truck (south) toward the capital."
"The witness told La Cuarta that he has spent nine years driving the same route from the north along the highway on a weekly basis and had never seen anything like this before."
"'It was incredible. I was driving southward when I suddenly noticed several powerful lights moving swiftly and leaping in the sky. It was spectacular,' remarked the mechanical engineer."
"'The lights were suspended 50 meters over the mountaintop. A large light opened up, and seven to ten would gather. They adopted various shapes, fell out of order, would rearrange themselves together, and then one of them took off skyward at prodigious speed, zigzagging as it went, vanishing in a matter of seconds,' Juan said."
On Wednesday, June 30, 2004, "A gentleman phoned in from Tres Puentes," near Punta Arenas, "saying that there was a light that shone intensely,' said Claudio Vidal, 'People spent a long time watching the phenomenon. Folks working at the fisheries phoned in, and, since they usually get home before dawn, they said the lights have been seen over the same area for five days straight.'" (See the Chilean newspaper La Cuarta for June 30, 2004, "UFOs reported in Llay-Llay." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, Cristian Quintero y Liliana Nunez para eso articulo de diario.)
LUMINOUS UFO SEEN OVER DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
"'The light was so bright, at first I thought it was a police helicopter searching for criminals. But when I could not hear the sound of the rotor blades, I decided to draw the curtains and check what it was.'"
"Roshnie Naidu, of Phoenix," a Durban suburb, "could not believe her eyes when she saw the large, pulsating, colourful light in the sky."
"'It looked like a massive ball of light, much brighter than the sun, with blue and purple colours filtering through. My eyes were glued to it for about ten minutes. It was unbelievable. I had never seen anything like it before,' she said."
"Naidu told the Daily News she woke up just before 4 a.m. on Sunday," June 27, 2004.
"She was watching TV when she noticed a bright light flooding through her curtains. She did not take any notice of it at first, but the light continued to shine in her face."
"According to Naidu, when she drew the curtains, she could not believe what she was seeing. 'I still cannot explain to people who did not see the object what it was. After a couple of seconds, the object would change shape from circular to oval.'"
"She rushed to her daughter's bedroom to wake her up, but she refused to get up."
"'When I tried to wake up my husband, he told me I was seeing things and sent me away. But I persisted and pulled him out of bed and opened our bedroom curtains.'"
"Naidu's husband, Shirama, said he wiped his eyes a couple of times because he could not believe what he was seeing. 'I immediately told my wife to call our neighbours and alert them to what was happening.'"
"Shirama managed to capture video footage of the unidentified object that was in the sky."
"According to the Naidus, the object was in the sky for at least three hours. It disappeared as the sun came up and it (the sky) became brighter."
"The Naidus said they had no idea of what the object was and would like someone to explain it to them. 'We are hoping that someone will be able to view the footage that we have captured and explain the fireball to us,' they said."
"Weather forecaster Ntobeko Nkangana said no object was picked up in the sky (on radar--J.T.) on Sunday morning."
"Nkangana said weather balloons are released only at midnight and at midday. The weather balloons remain in the sky for a minimum of two hours."
Durban is on South Africa's Indian Ocean shoreline, about 300 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of Pretoria, the national capital. (See The Daily News of Durban, South Africa for July 1, 2004, "UFO over Durban captured on video." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for forwarding this newspaper article.)
GLOWING OBJECT EXPLODES OVER NEW ZEALAND
"A South Island radio station is being swamped with reports of a meteor strike in the Mackenzie Country" in New Zealand.
"People from Christchurch to Timaru say they saw a bright light streaking across the sky around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night," June 26, 2004.
"Port FM (radio) announcer James Valentine says he has taken dozens of calls describing the dramatic end of the meteor's journey."
"He says it exploded before it hit the ground, and flames and debris were seen in the sky."
"James Valentine says a concensus is building around the idea that the meteor crashed to Earth somewhere around Twizel" on the South Island. (See the New Zealand Herald for June 27, 2004, "Residents report meteor." Many thanks to Kirsty MacLaren for this news story.)
CROP CIRCLE APPEARS IN NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA
Canada's first crop circle of 2004 has appeared at Erbs Cove in the eastern province of New Brunswick.
According to Paul Anderson of the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network, the formation consisted of "a small single ring in wild pasture grass. It was discovered the morning of (Thursday) June 24 (2004) by a couple walking their dog in this rural farming area."
"The ring is approximately 4.5 meters (15 feet) in diameter by 1.2 meters (4 feet) wide. Although rough in appearance, the grass is flattened in a generally clockwise direction and starting to stand back up again. It's located on top of a small hill, in grass 0.6 meters (2 feet) tall. No tracks were initially seen. The field is vacant pasture land that is hayed each year." (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of CCCRN for this report.)
CROP CIRCLES DISCOVERED IN SPANISH FORK, UTAH
"Just one day after Gene Bradford watched a documentary on crop circles, he noticed a strange symbol made in a wheat field between Salem (population 4,372) and Spanish Fork (population 20,246)" in Utah.
"The mysterious code, which is surrounded by three smaller symbols of the same pattern, surfaced Sunday morning," June 27, 2004 "and has startled passersby traveling on (Highway) U-89 in the southern part of Spanish Fork, just before Salem."
Spanish Fork is located in central Utah, approximately 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, the state capital.
"'You come down a hill and see it,' Bradford said, 'It's kind of one of those phenomenons everyone knows about. It's just one of those cultural things that people are fascinated by.'"
"Thanks to the 2002 blockbuster (film) Signs, in the movie, crop circles were said to be a mapping system used by aliens prior to an invasion. Many have grown interested in the designs, which have appeared in fields across the world for years."
"Bradford saw the Mel Gibson movie. Then he watched a documentary on the crop circle phenomenon. Intrigued, Bradford took his brother and children for a closer look at the strange designs."
"What he found was either the work of professional pranksters or a paranormal occurrence, though Bradford doubts the latter."
"'It looks like it is well done,' Bradford said, 'It's not one of the most elaborate crop circles that we've seen. It's fairly simple.'"
"Nate Gunderson, whose father owns the neighboring Spanish Fork Motors, also doubts that extraterrestrial visitors created the crop circle, though he was impressed by the appearance."
"'It's all completely laid flat,' Gunderson said, after investigating the matted wheat, 'And it's completely even across the whole thing.'"
"Gunderson noted that several walking paths are evident around the circle, though an influx of public visitors could have created them."
"Spanish-speaking employees at Spanish Fork Motors, however, experienced skepticism that humans could have created the perfect circles."
"One even mentioned that a dog cried for hours near the field on Sunday."
"In Utah, nine other crop circles have surfaced over the years. The largest showed up in College Ward on July 21, 1998, the same day that similar circles appeared in Oregon, Idaho and Belgium." (See the Deseret News of Salt Lake City for June 29, 2004, "Mysterious circle crops up." Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for forwarding this newspaper article.)
PHANTOM PANTHER APPEARS IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
"Around 150 soldiers, police and rangers searched the scrubland of southern France on Tuesday," June 29, 2004, "in a bid to flush out a mysterious animal that several witnesses have described as a panther."
"The operation took place in Les Calanques, an uninhabited area of nearby caves popular with tourists located down the Mediterranean coast just east of Marseille."
"The area has been closed to the public since the beginning of the month (June 2004), when the first sighting was reported."
"Since then, some 20 people have come forward to say they have seen an animal that looks like a black panther around the caves."
"On Saturday, June 19, 2004, a policeman on patrol became the latest to say he had seen the feline."
"'It was around 50 meters (165 feet) from me in a hollow, well in sight. The truck's engine probably caused it to run off. It made five or six very short, graceful leaps, but it was enough to see that it really was a black panther, not very big. It disappeared into the bushes,' Police Officer Antoine Delmas said."
"More senior officers said they remained skeptical in the absence of proof, such as panther excrement, but experts stressed that such big cats are naturally wily creatures which keep well-hidden."
"A local official responsible for the protection of the caves, Laure-Agnes Caradec, said enquiries made to zoos and circuses had drawn a blank, leading the (French) authorities to believe that the animal may have been kept as a pet and escaped." (See the Agence France Presse report for June 21, 2004. Many thanks to Robert Fischer, UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, for this report.)
HAARP TO ADD 132 NEW TRANSMITTERS TO ARRAY
"The Office of Naval Research has awarded BAE Systems a $34.5 million contract to manufacture 132 high-frequency transmitters for installation in the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program's (HAARP) phased array antennae system."
"The contract was finalized April 19 (2004) with BAE Systems Defensive and Electronic Warfare Systems in Washington D.C."
"In 1992, AT was awarded a contract to design and build the Ionosphere Research Instrument (IRI), the HAARP program's primary tool used to study ionospheric physics. The IRI," located in Alaska, "is currently composed of 48 antenna elements and has a power capacity of 960,000 watts."
"When installed, the additional transmitters will give HAARP a 3.6 megawatt capacity. The HAARP build-out is jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)."
"BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defensive and aerospace systems on land, at sea and in space. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems is a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the (USA's) armed forces." (See Business Wire for June 10, 2004. Many thanks to "Sourdough Jim and Cheechako" for this news story.)
IMPENDING EARTH CHANGES IN THE USA'S MIDWEST?
"A rare earthquake jolted northern Illinois early Monday," June 28, 2004, "rattling windows and rousting residents of several rural towns from their beds."
"No damage or injuries were reported from the earthquake that had a magnitude of 4.1 (on the Richter scale--J.T.). It struck at 1:11 a.m. Central time and was centered near the village of Troy Grove, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Chicago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey."
"It was felt in six states, as far away as St. Louis (Missouri) and Milwaukee (Wisconsin)."
"'It woke me. It actually shook the bed,' said Donna Dorton of Ottawa, Illinois (population 18,307). 'It almost felt like a car or a big tree had hit the house--or an explosion.'"
"Rod Thorson, host of Farm Radio, a morning news program in La Salle (Illinois, population 9,796) said so many people called in at 5:30 a.m., he scrapped his prepared newscast."
"'People were a little on edge,' he said, 'They wanted to know their world was safe.'"
"The quake was strong enough to knock books off shelves and pictures off walls, and it also sent sleepy and confused residents of Ottawa into the streets."
"'It was mayhem around here for a while,' Pattie Burke, a dispatcher for the Ottawa police told the Associated Press. She said more than 200 calls came in a matter of minutes. 'A lot of them seemed to think a truck had crashed into their house,' she said."
"Three nearby nuclear power plants--La Salle, Quad Cities and Dresden--issued low-level alerts, but no damage was found. Don Kirchoffner at Exelon, which owns the plants, said operations were never interrupted."
"Jan Strasma, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said precautionary inspections were made at those three generating stations plus three other nuclear plants in northern Illinois. None showed damage."
"Earthquakes are extremely rare north of Peoria (Illinois). They are more common and stronger in southern Illinois, where the New Madrid fault line runs."
"Monday's quake likely was due to shifting along a fold in a deep rock formation that runs from the town of Oregon (Illinois, population 4,060) to Joliet (population 106,221), according to William Shilts of the Illinois State Geological Survey."
"Paul Stoddard, a geologist at Northern Illinois University, said not much is known about earthquakes in
northern Illinois.""On Monday, two other earthquakes were reported in the United States. A 6.7-magnitude quake struck near Palmer, Alaska, at 1:50 a.m. and was centered beneath the (Pacific) ocean. No damage was reported."
"Another earthquake, with a magnitude of 3.5, struck 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Bozeman, Montana at 6:10 a.m."
"The U.S. Geological Survey said the three earthquakes were separate incidents and not related."
However, nine days earlier, on Saturday, June 19, 2004, mysterious booms were heard and shaking was felt in Webster County, just east of Springfield, Missouri (population 151,580) and about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis.
A spokesman for Boeing-McDonnell Douglas said it was a sonic boom caused by a F/A-18 fighter jet on a test flight.
"Mary Katzenberger of Hartville, Mo. wrote to Governor Bob Holden, 'When these aircraft do this, it causes my windows to crack. I (also) have windows that have small cracks that are much larger because of this. My dear old dog was throwing up all day from it. One neighbor's cattle stampeded."
(Editor's Comment: Mrs. Katzenberger's description sounds more like the animals were reacting to tectonic activity than to sonic booms.)
Two weeks ago, Lake Chesterfield, a 23-acre lake in the affluent St. Louis suburb of Wildwood, Mo., disappeared within a few days when a sinkhole inexplicably opened in the lakebed. (For more on this story, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 26 for June 30, 2004, "Missouri lake vanishes into mysterious sinkhole," page 5)
"The disappearance of the lake, along with the mysterious booms and tremors in Hartville and last week's earthquake in Troy Grove, Ill., suggest that major earth changes may be taking place far beneath the surface of the USA's Midwestern region," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said, "Let's see if anything else happens, such as another earthquake in the same area. Hopefully, the Troy Grove quake was just an anomaly." (See USA Today for June 29, 2004, "Northern Illinois feels rare quake," page 3A. Also the Springfield, Mo. News-Leader for June 30, 2004, "Big noise, big fuss." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson for the Hartville news story.)
MYSTERIOUS FIRES LEAD FAYETTE PHENOMENA
Mysterious fires dominated the Fayette Factor news last week, with an almost "impossible" coincidence linking two of the blazes.
Enigmatic fires erupted in both Fayette County, Pennsylvania and in Fayette County, Indiana.
In Connellsville, Pa. (population 9,146), authorities were on the lookout for a phantom arsonist following the second major fire in as many days.
"A second fire in as many days is being called 'suspicious' in nature by police."
"As federal and local investigators were sifting through debris left after a fire destroyed a South Pittsburgh Street apartment building the day before (Saturday, June 26, 2004), they were called Sunday (June 27, 2004) to another location just blocks away where a Church Place building had been set ablaze."
"City police chief Stephen Cooper said the exact cause of the two fires is still under investigation but suspected the Sunday fire was intentionally set."
"Personnel of the New Haven Volunteer Hose Co. and Connellsville Township Volunteer Fire Dept. quickly doused the 8:30 a.m. Sunday fire that had been started in the garage door of the building that houses the Tony Pujia Hair Salon."
"Police said that Pujia had just recently purchased the two-story brick and wood building. The site is adjacent to the Fox Glass Co."
"Jay Fox, owner of the glass company, said he received a telephone call that indicated that the family- owned business was on fire. 'Thank goodness that wasn't the case,' he said."
"Firefighters removed a portion of the wooden facade and insulation that surrounded the garage door entrance to the Pujia-owned building to check if the fire had infiltrated the interior of the structure."
"Connellsville City and New Haven Fire Chief Joe Childs said that he had to leave church services to respond to the fire."
"'I thought that when we had gotten past 6 a.m., we'd be all right for the day,' he said."
"Cooper said the County Emergency 911 had been alerted to the fire by a person who was traveling in the area."
"Emergency personnel from the fire department responded to the 6 a.m. Saturday (June 26, 2004) fire that destroyed the 614 South Pittsburgh Street apartment building, leaving approximately 30 residents homeless."
"Cooper said that the (Connellsville) police department and agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) interviewed several people on Saturday and planned to continue the process later Sunday."
"The Sunday fire is the eighth in a series of suspicious fires since October (2003)."
On Saturday, June 26, 2004, two people were killed in a mysterious blaze in Connersville (population 15,411), located in Fayette County, Indiana.
"Two bodies were discovered today inside a burned-out camper parked near a Fayette County home about seven-and- a-half miles (12 kilometers) west of Connersville, Ind."
"Fayette County Sheriff's Capt. Bobby Ravalee said there were no obvious signs of foul play, but investigators won't know the cause of death until an autopsy is completed."
"The pull-behind camper located in the 7400 block of West County Road 50 North was discovered on fire at about 1:40 a.m."
"The bodies were discovered after the Glenwood Fire Dept. firefighters put out the blaze."
"Ravalee said the investigation is continuing."
"The victims have been identified as 65-year-old Benny Harrison and 34-year-old Angela Hovermale, both of Connersville."
(Editor's Note: Loren Coleman pointed out the incredible odds against two fires taking place nearly simultaneously in two Fayette Counties in two separate states. The similarity of names--Connellsville and Connersville-- pushes it even further beyond the realm of coincidence. I also noticed an odd lexilink in the Indiana case. The male victim's name is the same as President Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893), who had earlier been the senator from Indiana.)
In other Fayette Factor news, "the body of an oil platform worker who was killed last week in a helicopter crash in Vermilion Bay, offshore from Lafayette, Louisiana, has been recovered."
"Search crews recovered the body of John Lewis, 50, of Lafayette on Monday," June 28, 2004.
"The bodies of pilot Dan Ditweiler, 41, of Tennessee, and another passenger, Kel 'Tony' Thibodeaux, 39, of Abbeville, La. were found Saturday night," June 26, 2004.
"Lewis's body was found about a mile from the site where the helicopter, owned by Omni Energy Services Inc., crashed on Thursday," June 25, 2004.
"The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board."
And, near Chillicothe, Ohio, "a Fayette County man was killed Thursday evening," June 25, 2004, "as a result of being pinned beneath a piece of farm equipment on Stafford Road, just south of Rattlesnake Creek."
Finally, the Fayette Factor has a "walk-on" in the new movie Spider-Man 2. "I was sitting there in the Superior 7 Cinema, minding my own business, really enjoying this movie," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor reported, "Then came the sequence in which Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker gives up being Spider-Man in favor of pursuing a normal life. In one scene, he's walking towards a street musician who's singing about Spidey's strange 'disappearance.' People are reading the Daily Bugle with its SPIDER-MAN NO MORE? headline. And there, on the plate-glass window of the bookstore in the background, is the logo... Lafayette News!"
"I figure it breaks out one of three ways. One, this is the strangest coincidence I've ever seen. Or two, the makers of this movie were 'punk'd' by the Fayette Factor. Or three, I'm turning into a mutant and developing something called 'Lafayette vision.' I'm seeing names related to Lafayette wherever I go!" (See the Herald- Standard of Connellsville, Pa. for June 28, 2004, "Authorities all read Connellsville blaze in a way that's suspicious;" the Indianapolis Star for June 26, 2004, "Two dead in Fayette County camper fire;" The Advertiser of Lafayette, La. for June 29, 2004, "Third body recovered from helicopter crash;" and the WBEX Radio AM 1490 of Chillicothe, Ohio news broadcast of July 2, 2004, "Fayette Farm Fatal." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for these news stories.)
From the UFO Files...
1868: THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE
"The principal floor of the Capitol" in Washington, D.C. "is entered from the eastern central portico, through the Columbus Portal into the Great Rotunda. This immense circular hall, 95 feet, 8 inches (29 meters) in diameter, beneath the central dome, rises more than 183 feet (60 meters) to the canopy or under-side of the dome. The Virginia sandstone walls are broken by four doorways on the principal axes of the rotunda."
Statues of famous Americans in the Rotunda include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant, James A. Garfield, Andrew Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and a life-sized sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln's statue is not nearly as remarkable as the woman who carved it.
Meet Vinnie Ream.
Vinnie was born in 1847 in Madison, Wisconsin, a city which had been part of the frontier only a quarter-century earlier. Her family moved around quite a bit during her girlhood, as her father tried farming in Missouri and store-clerking in Arkansas. While living for a short while in Little Rock, Arkansas's capital, 12-year-old Vinnie met another "Yankee come to Dixie," attorney Albert Pike, who was born in Boston on December 29, 1809 (the same year Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were born-- J.T.) and grew up in nearby Newburyport, Mass.
In 1861, shortly after the Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter, 14-year-old Vinnie left home and traveled to Washington D.C. Here the pretty teenager joined hundreds of other young women who had come to the wartime capital in search of employment. Giving her age as 18, Vinnie got a job working for the U.S. Post Office, in the same building as Nettie Colburn and Parthenia Hannum, Mary Todd Lincoln's two favorite Spiritualist mediums.
(Editor's Note: For more on Mrs. Lincoln and these two mediums, see UFO Roundup, volume 7, number 8 for February 19, 2002, "1863: The President's Psychic," page 9.)
According to David Ovason, author of The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital, "In 1864, Clark Mills--by then the most famous artist in the city--took as student the young and beautiful Vinnie Ream, who was to become the most celebrated female artist in Washington D.C. Vinnie was employed as a clerk in the Post Office, but in consequence of this meeting with Mills, she was to gain the attention of art-loving Washingtonians with her bust of Lincoln, which she modeled from life in a series of half-hour sittings."
This was Vinnie's first known contact with Freemasonry. Mills was a Mason, having joined Lebanon Lodge No. 7 years earlier.
"Vinnie's bust of Lincoln had been modeled during lunchtime visits to the president in the White House (her studio was conveniently placed on Pennsylvania Avenue-- D.O.) and fortuitously was almost finished on April 14, 1865--a Good Friday. Within three days, the living head she had modeled so lovingly in clay had been shot through and repaired in embalming waxes."
(Editor's Note: Lincoln's body was the first to lie in state in the Capitol's Rotunda, where Vinnie Ream's statue of him now stands.)
"It is said that she was one of the last people to speak with Lincoln, before his short carriage ride to the Ford Theatre later that evening. Perhaps he had told her about his (strange) dream" the previous night, in which he saw himself lying in a coffin in the White House.
Officials were impressed with the bust of the assassinated president. Vinnie's "life-size model for a statue of Lincoln won her a ten-thousand dollar commission (about $750,000 in today's dollars--J.T.) from the Federal Government."
In 1866, Albert Pike, now a disgraced Confederate general and anxious about what we would today call "war crimes charges," traveled to Washington and used his connections among Tennessee Masons to obtain a pardon from President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor, who had been the wartime Unionist governor of Tennessee.
As a Grand Commander of the Masons of the Southern Jurisdiction, Pike entertained many visitors during his stay in the District, and one of these was Vinnie Ream. "When Pike first met her in Washington D.C." in 1866, "she was but nineteen years old. (Pike was 57--J.T.) He was immediately captivated by her, and he was not alone in his affections. A brilliant sculptress, she had taken the national capital by storm with her inspired bust of Lincoln, and now she was besieged with comissions. She was unusually pretty, openly flirtatious, outrageously witty, and she sparkled like new wine. A rebel against the cloying conventions of her time, she encouraged Pike's interest."
Returning to his home in Memphis, Tennessee, "Pike was in love with her. Vinnie's attitude to him is more ambivalent, however; she seems to have been a consummate manipulator of those who could promote her upward mobility, and she must have seen Pike (perhaps the most influential Mason in the United States in those years-- D.O.) as someone from whom she could learn."
In Memphis, Pike conferred with the clients of his law firm, took long walks in Graceland and the South Hills (now the home of actress Cybill Shepherd--J.T.) and "began writing bad poetry" to Vinnie.
But Pike was also writing something a little more sinister--the rituals for the Ku Klux Klan, founded in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866. He did the work for James R. Crowe, one of the six founding members of the KKK.
"Late in 1868, unable to make a living in Memphis, Pike moved to Washington D.C. to go into partnership with his old friend, Robert W. Johnson, and later with Pike's son, Luther. Part of this move was prompted by a desire to be closer to his work as Commander of the Southern Masons, a position that was to occupy more and more of his time as the years passed."
"There had been little joy in Pike's life since the beginning of" the American Civil War, "and Pike was enraptured by her. The effect she had on him is demonstrated in the renewed gush of romantic poetry he produced in Memphis while he was separated from her, an effusive outburst of love verses that were just as bad and just as ebullient as his earlier romantic writings."
In 1869, Vinnie "decided to sculpt him, attempting to capture in bronze what one contemporary describes as 'a face and head massive and leonine, recalling in every feature some sculptor's dream of a Grecian god.' To complete this work, it was her custom to come to him once a week for a visit."
"Her weekly visits caused tongues to wag in Washington, for this was considered indecorous behavior. A maiden did not visit a man in his rooms without an escort."
Vinnie's bust of Albert Pike was completed in 1880
and "is now in the collection of the Supreme Council
(Southern Jurisdiction) on 16th Street, Washington D.C."
Although Pike literally "wrote the book" on Masonic rituals, degrees and their meaning, there is absolutely no discussion of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry in his Morals and Dogma.
With Pike as her paramour, Vinnie soon entered the front rank of the American Illuminati and played a stellar role in Washington's occult underground.
"In 1881, Albert Pike's talented and beautiful friend, the artist Vinnie Ream, finished the statue of the American naval hero, David G. Farragut. This was to be erected on 16th Street, in what is now called Farragut Square," four blocks south of Dupont Circle.
Vinnie lived at 1632 K Street, facing the northwest corner of Farragut Square. Just down the street, at No. 1627, was "Castle Bonaparte," the home of Jerome N. Bonaparte, a grandnephew of Napoleon's. Curiously, one of Jerome's relatives, Charles Bonaparte, founded the Bureau of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI--J.T.) at the Justice Department in 1908.
Vinnie "had won an open competition to sculpt the (Farragut) memorial, and it was widely rumored that she had won more by feminine beauty and wiles than by talent." Through Pike, "Vinnie did have influential friends in both the Senate and the House, and she never scrupled to use them. Even Senator John Ingalls of Kansas, though well aware of her feminine allurements and recognizing her as 'the most delightful fraud' he had ever met, still participated in the political infighting to ensure she was awarded the prize."
"Vinnie's statue was cast from the discarded bronze propellers of the USS Hartford, which Farragut had famously commanded with such extraordinary bravery."
"A small model of the warship was placed in the time- capsule hollow within the pedestal of the Farragut memorial; it was a mark of the daring with which Farragut had led his fleet through the minefields and fortifications of Mobile Bay," Alabama, "in August 1864."
(Editor's Note: On this occasion, Admiral Farragut was quoted as saying, "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.")
Yet the Farragut memorial is steeped in occult symbolism. Vinnie was under the gun to finish it by dedication day--April 25, 1881. Here's why:
"Astrologically, it might have seemed a curious day to honor a seaman, for there was an extraordinary gathering of planets in the Earthbound sign of the Bull, Taurus. Indeed, the whole of April 1881 had witnessed a most remarkable and rare cosmic event in the skies, for there had been six planets hovering in the Earth sign for the best part of a week," Ovason writes, "However, a discerning astrologer would have noted a meaningful relationship in the planetary pattern at the dedication ceremony, for Uranus was in the sign of Virgo (the ruling sign of the USA--J.T.) and threw a trine aspect (the most harmonious of all relationships in the geometry of astrology--D.O.) onto the planet of the sea, Neptune. Altogether then, in spite of first impressions, it was a fine day to honor one of the bravest of all American sailors. Indeed, in contemplating such a chart, who had such a profound knowledge of astrology in Washington D.C. in that memorable year of 1881?"
Who else but the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction, the USA's reigning Illuminatus Rex, Vinnie's old-enough-to-be-her- grandfather boyfriend and mentor in matters mystical-- Albert Pike?
Astrology also formed a key subtext in the memorial to assassinated president James A. Garfield, with its ornate double horoscope and assorted occult and Masonic symbolism. Vinnie and Pike were involved in this project, as well.
(Editor's Note: Garfield's weird statue makes a brief appearance in Michael Moore's new documentary film, Fahrenheit 9/11.)
Through the latter 1870s, Pike continued his courtship of the sculptress. "In all, he wrote five manuscript volumes of his Essays to Vinnie, and these books contain some of his best prose; for he was writing, not to impress the critics, but to entertain the woman he loved, and, as a result, there is a simplicity, a charm in these essays that his earlier writings lack."
But Vinnie had her eye on another man. He was Richard Leveridge Hoxie, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who from 1874 to 1878 installed Washington's new sewer system. He also did a million dollars' worth ($160 million in today's money--J.T.) of construction work on a "black project" that remains a secret even today.
(Editor's Comment: Because of Hoxie's collusion with Pike, I suspect that it had something to do with the "Atlantean" tunnels under Washington D.C.)
"Vinnie finished this (Farragut) statue in 1881, and married the wealthy Lieutenant Richard Leveridge Hoxie. Her new status allowed her to foster the arts in Washington D.C. and to promote women's rights. Her marriage did not appear to affect in any way her relationship with Albert Pike, whom she would continue to visit in his rooms in the (Masonic) House of the Temple, on 3rd Street."
"The friendship between Vinnie and Pike lasted, as all good friendships do, beyond death. Pike died in his rooms at the Temple on April 2, 1891." During the last 14 years of his life, Pike had worked on a translation of the Rig-Veda. It ran to four volumes and is 2,641 pages long. He became convinced of the reality of reincarnation and, on his deathbed, assured Vinnie that they would meet again "in another life, sometime in the Twentieth Century."
"'When one of these human caterpillars whose cocoon is worthless dies at last, how he is exalted and praised! I am not done spinning yet, though my spinning may not be worth much,'" Pike told her, "'It contents me to spin. What does the silk-worm care for the cocoon when she has come out of it into a new life, leaving it behind.'"
The old warlock still had one more feat of stellar magick to perform. He left Vinnie and the Masons explicit and sometimes incomprehensible instructions on how to dispose of his mortal remains. He was most adamant that his "Masonic memorial" be dedicated in Washington on a specific date and time--October 23, 1901 at 2 p.m.
"Seven years later," in 1898, with some intense lobbying by Vinnie, "Congress approved the raising of the Albert Pike memorial, sculpted by (Vinnie's friend) Gaetano Trentanove. The statuary is imposing. A larger- than-life, full-length statue of Pike stands on a high pedestal, attended by a lamenting woman said to represent the spirit of Masonry."
There is some controversy over just who the woman represents. Some say it is Vinnie Ream herself. "James Goode, The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington D.C., 1974, page 228, calls her 'the goddess of Masonry.' However, William L. Fox, The Lodge of the Double Eagle, 1997, page 135, suggests that she is the 'Mother' of the Supreme Council. Whatever her symbolic identity, she is holding aloft the Scottish Rite banner."
Ovason writes, "Evidently, someone in the Masonic fraternity knew about astrology, for the day of dedication (October 23, 1901) had been selected to reflect Pike's own birth chart...On the day of Pike's birth, December 29, 1809, the Sun was in 07 CP 30. On the day of the dedication of his statue, October 23, 1901, Jupiter was in 07 CP 30. This is yet another indication that someone in the Masonic fraternity at that time had a profound knowledge of astrology."
Since Pike gave written instructions to his followers, it is clear that the Illuminatus Rex himself managed to pull off one last magickal invocation ten years after his death. The purpose of the invocation is not known.
(Editor's Note: This macabre dedication ceremony took place a few weeks after the assassination of another Masonic president, William McKinley, in Buffalo, N.Y. And nearly 100 years before the Twin Towers, September 11, 2001, the most damaging foreign attack on American soil.)
Following Pike's death, Vinnie continued her artistic career. She sculpted Sequoyah, a memorial to the Ani- Yupuya (also known as Cherokee) chief who created an 85- character alphabet for his indigenous people's language; Miriam, The West, Sappho and The Spirit of Carnival, which stands in the Wisconsin Historical Museum. "Traveling in Europe, she made the acquaintance of such personages as George Brandes, Gustave Dore" and Queen Marie of Romania.
Vinnie died in 1915, at the age of 68, at about the same time as the new Masonic Temple in Washington D.C. was opened. So ended the life of the Illuminata who, with Albert Pike, helped to turn the USA's capital city into a Masonic theme park. (See the books The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital by David Ovason, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, N.Y., 2000, pages 34 to 38, 318 to 322, 452 to 455, and 469; Washington: City and Capital, American Guide Series, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1937, page 694; Washington D.C.: A Guide to the Nation's Capital, Hastings House, George Washington University, new revised edition, 1968, pages 138, 139, 406 and 407; Labor and Love: The Life and Art of Vinnie Ream by Glenn V. Sherwood, 1997; Albert Pike: The Man Beyond the Monument by Jim Tresner, 1995, page 148; Reluctant General: The Life and Times of Albert Pike by Robert Lipscomb Duncan, E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, N.Y., 1961, pages 268 to 271; and Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State, Hastings House, New York, N.Y., 1954, page 155.)
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 then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2004 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their Web sites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.