NEWS OF ALIEN PRESENCE STARTLES INDIA
India was startled by four reports last week which appeared to confirm the rumors of a large underground base staffed by extraterrestrials in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas.
In New Delhi, India's capital, a senior officer of the Indian Army told freelance journalist Subha Jain that aliens were indeed in the Himalayas.
In Bangalore, a recently-retired officer of the Indian Air Force described the underground base to his youngest son's elementary school class and said aliens had met with high-ranking officials of India's government.
In Leh, a city in the Ladakh region, a local official confirmed that the Indian Army had moved armored brigades into the area and was limiting access to civilian residents and tourists.
In Joshimath, another Ladakh town, workers at an auto repair shop claim they witnessed a strange broadcast on their Chinese-made miniature black-and-white television set.
"According to Subha Jain, a freelance reporter in New Delhi, she bumped into a very senior military official in a nightclub in New Delhi. According to him, the extraterrestrials have been visiting India and the rest of the world for thousands of years."
"In recent years, most of the super-powers have been visited. India is no exception."
"'They always make contact through the ground radar stations run by the military,' she says."
"The Himalayas and Ladakh is where they have made their most recent contact. They want to let Indians know the rules and regulations of the multidimensional universe."
"India is planning an unmanned moon and later an advanced unmanned Mars expedition. India's Space Research Organisation (SRO) has been given the galactic do's and don't's."
"Last week, a flight commodore of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who recently retired, was asked to provide a little talk to his youngest son's class at a school in Bangalore."
"Guess what he picked as a topic? Yes, you got it right. It was the advanced landing base for UFOs in Ladakh."
"He started by saying new technology is evolving, and new advancements are being made in Aerospace. The students started questioning him on different aspects of these new technologies and where this technology came from. At that moment, he began giving a vivid description of the landing base."
"Surrounded by two of the world's highest mountain ranges, the Himalayas and the Karakorams, the region lies athwart two others--the Ladakh range and the Lanskar range. Residents live at altitudes ranging from 2,750 meters (9,000 feet) at Kargil to 7,672 meters (25,170 feet) at Saser Kangri in the Karakorams. In summer, temperatures rarely exceed 27 degrees Celsius, while in winter they plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius, even in Leh."
"In Leh, Ladakh (region), according to Tsering Spalzang, a senior official, paranormal activities are happening with regard to the buildup of the Indian Army" in the region.
"These are zones that the Indian Army and Indian Air Force block for security reasons. The Ladakh valley has been heavily secured by the Indian government. It is a 'sensitive area' and no one is allowed to enter from either the Indian side or the Chinese side."
"According to some in New Delhi, UFOs have made contact with high-ranking officials of the Indian government. The government was initially baffled, not knowing how to react. Later, things became quiet, and it seems that everyone understands that the extraterrestrials are friendly."
Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda, UFO Roundup correspondent in India, reported, "I am trying to learn more about a strange incident that occurred in Joshimath. This is a town some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Badrinath, a pilgrimage site sacred to Hindu rishis (holy men--J.T.). A family was working on an automobile engine at their repair shop. They had a small, battery-powered Chinese B & W (black-and-white) television set. Reception is very bad in this mountainous region. Even with a large antenna, there is quite a lot of static. All at once, the telly gave out a weird squealing noise. When they looked, they saw onscreen a crystal clear picture--in color!"
"The screen showed a young Chinese woman wearing a white halter top. She had long, glossy black hair, parted in the middle and with a shelf of bangs just touching her eyebrows. She had almond eyes and prominent cheekbones. She said something in a strange language. Then she paused and spoke again in another language. Then she paused again and spoke in yet another language. She did it one more time, and this time one of the shop workers recognized the fourth language as Uighur."
"Next a Pathan (man from northern Pakistan--J.T.) appeared. He had a rather fleshy face and a small moustache. He was also dressed very strangely in a kind of scale-mail armor and a spiked helmet covered with a puggaree (turban). He, too, spoke in an unknown language. Then he paused and spoke again in Urdu, which, of course, everyone in the shop understood."
"He said he and the Chinese woman were emissaries of the extraterrestrials. He said the aliens mean no harm and have placed the Ladakh valley under their protection. He advised the people to go about with their lives and rest assured that they would not be troubled in any way by the UFOs. The color image then vanished, replaced by a screen full of crackling static."
"Our ufologists believe the woman addressed her message to people living north of the Himalayas, in China, while the Pathan was addressing the mountain people here in India and in Pakistan. We have only heard of one such incident, so we do not know if anyone else saw this broadcast. It is all very troubling. Could this have been a hoax? If the aliens building this base wanted to communicate with the people of Ladakh, why didn't they themselves appear on the telly? Why would they use two humans as their emissaries?" (See the newspaper India Daily for December 19, 2004, "ET contacts with India's government and military." Many thanks to John Winston, Robert Fischer and Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda for these reports.)
SKY BOOMS RATTLE THE CAPITAL OF INDONESIA
"Several loud blasts believed to be caused by a meteor shower echoed across the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and nearby towns early on Sunday," December 19, 2004, "startling residents who reported seeing flying objects in the sky."
"Police said they found no evidence that the blasts were caused by bomb attacks."
"An official from the Indonesian space centre LAPAN told the official Antara news agency that the explosions were likely to have been caused by a meteor shower."
"'It's probable that a fireball originating from a big meteor entered the earth's atmosphere. This created the explosion,' said LAPAN space expert Thomas Djamaluddin."
"Police had said they were investigating the blasts." (See the Lahore Daily Times of Pakistan for December 21, 2004, "Indonesian blasts likely meteor shower." Many thanks to Robert Fischer and Muhammad Ayub Khan for forwarding this newspaper article.)
F/A-22 RAPTOR CRASHES NEAR AREA 51
"In the first reported crash of the military's next generation fighter jet, an F/A-22 Raptor slammed into the ground and exploded during takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base" in Nevada on Monday afternoon, December 20, 2004.
"The pilot, whose name was not released, ejected safely minutes before the crash."
"He was taken to Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital for evaluation. A Nellis spokesman said he was 'up and walking around.'"
"A fire engine based at Nellis flipped over as it sped to the scene of the crash, but nobody was injured in the crash, an Air Force official said."
"The crash marked the first mishap involving a Raptor since the (U.S.) Air Force began taking delivery of the aircraft two years ago."
"The unarmed F/A-22 destroyed Monday was assigned to the 53rd Wing's 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron. It was one of about 25 Raptors the Air Force has received so far, and one of eight assigned to the testing program that began at Nellis in January 2003."
"Equipped with Stealth technology to help to evade enemy aircraft, the twin-engine Raptor flies fast enough to cover the 12,000-square-mile Nellis range (which includes the facility at Groom Lake known as Area 51-- J.T.) in seven minutes."
"But as the cost of the F/A-22s has swelled, estimates range from $130 million to $250 million each, the number of aircraft the Pentagon plans to buy has shrunk from 750 to about 300, according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO)."
"Nellis Air Force Base expects to receive nine more Raptors in the next five or six years. The aircraft is scheduled to become combat ready in 2005."
"'It is by far the most advanced aircraft, not only in the U.S. but in the world,' said Major General Stephen Goldfein, commander of the Nellis Air Warfare Center."
"Gen. Goldfein said all aircraft at the base will be grounded this morning until the crash site is inspected in daylight. The seven remaining Raptors at Nellis will undergo a thorough inspection before they are flown again, he said."
"The inspections could take hours and be done today, or they could take several days, Gen. Goldfein said."
"'The purpose, of course, is to prevent anything like this from happening again,' he said, 'Obviously, we are looking for the specific reason why the accident occurred.'"
"Goldfein said the plane wasn't high off the ground when the pilot ejected from the aircraft."
"'As soon as the pilot grabs the handle, within a second the whole system works,' he said of the ejection process."
"Nellis closed its runways immediately following the accident, which sent a large plume of black smoke billowing into the sky of North Las Vegas, Nevada (population 115,488)."
This was the fourth crash of a military aircraft in southern Nevada for the year 2004.
"On November 9 (2004), a $40 million Navy F-18 Hornet went down north of Las Vegas shortly after takeoff. Both the pilot, who ejected safely, and his single-seat aircraft were assigned to the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia." (See UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 48 for December 1, 2004, "Mysterious jet crash at Area 51 in Nevada," page 3.)
"In June (2004), an Air Force pilot safely ejected from a military jet during a training mission about 70 miles (116 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas."
"Five people were killed in a March (2004) crash involving an Air Force plane ferrying contractors to a remote part of the Nellis Test Range about 135 miles (218 kilometers) northwest of the base." (See the Las Vegas, Nev. Review-Journal for December 21, 2004, "Next generation F/A-22 Raptor: Stealth fighter crashes." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson for forwarding this newspaper article.)
UFO PHOTOGRAPHED IN PISCO ELQUI, CHILE
On Saturday, November 6, 2004, a group of travel agents drove from Santiago de Chile, the national capital, up into the Andes to the mountain village of Pisco Elqui. "At around 5 p.m., the travelers reached Pisco Elqui with the intent of redoing a postcard (photograph) of the region."
"Tatiana Comejo, a representative of the Detour Travel Agency, arranged to have a photograph taken of herself in the Plaza de Armas," the village's main square, "using the local church as a background."
"Back in Santiago, Sra. Comejo noticed something. The upper part of the photo showed a strange lenticular object" that had not been there when the photographer snapped the picture. In spite of her skepticism, she submitted the photo to the Altovasol Space Centre to decide the possibility of a UFO's presence."
"Several expert analyses were made, and experts from Omnivision Chile," a UFO study group, "validated that the object appearing in the photo" was a genuine daylight disc. The Comejo photo has now been made available for study to UFO groups in Mexico, Spain, France and the USA. (Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Liliana Nunez para estas noticias.)
CALIFORNIA IS THE FOCUS OF HEAVY UFO ACTIVITY
On Monday, December 13, 2004, eyewitness Cher R. stated, "We had a big UFO sighting here in Porterville," California (population 39,615). "Many people here in my neighborhood have seen it. It was a ball of light that moved too fast to be anything normal. It moved around over the neighborhood as everyone stood outside watching it. It faded once out of sight before coming back for a few minutes. Then it flew straight up into the sky."
"We may have some photos" of the UFO "developed or even a video made. If there are other pictures, like the one you reported in Porterville" several weeks ago, "we would like to compare them."
Porterville, Cal. is on Highway 190 approximately 44 miles (70 kilometers) north of Bakersfield.
On Sunday, December 19, 2004, at 5:15 p.m., in Berkeley, Cal. (population 102,743), John Delmos was on the university campus, standing "outside the Doe Library for about 15 minutes," when he saw an unusual object in the sky approaching from the east.
"I watched two separate objects," John reported, "One was like a small bright cloud. Looked larger than Venus. It gave off a short contrail, then went back into a round shape after 10 to 15 seconds. It went below the (western) horizon. Then another object, also the same shape, went in the sky over the (San Francisco) Bay. Same general area, and also performed like a planet, but it was much bigger and bright orange. I wish I had a videocamera. The objects were thousands of feet high, speed enormous, looked stable." (Email Form Reports)
LUMINOUS OVAL UFO SEEN IN TWEED, ONTARIO
On Saturday, December 18, 2004, at 11:50 p.m., Wayne P. reported, "I was returning home, travelling on Bridgewater Road, which is a rural gravel road, west of Tweed, Ontario" province, Canada.
"I noticed what is best described as an oval light, with a flat bottom, giving an appearance of a dome light. Approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles) west of Highway 37. Normally, with something like this, you would expect a meteor, as we see many in the mostly smog-free skies here. Annually we look forward to the Perseid and Leonid meteor showers. But in this case, the speed (it seemed to me closer than meteors I've seen--W.P.), seemed different, and there was no trail. At no time did I have an impression it was a meteor."
"The only other piece of information I can offer is that it was travelling due north."
Tweed, Ont. is on Highway 37 and Stoco Lake about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Toronto. (Many thanks to John Hayes for forwarding this report.)
DID OPPORTUNITY VISIT A MARTIAN CAR WASH?
"An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said on Tuesday," December 21, 2004.
"It said something--or someone--had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it closed down during the Martian night."
"The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to the maximum 900 watt-hours peak long after they had dropped to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dust."
"By contrast, the power output of the solar panels of the Mars Spirit (rover), at a different part of the Red Planet, had dropped to just 400 watt-hours a day, clogged by the heavy dust."
"'These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape,' the magazine quoted NASA team leader Jim Erickson as saying." (See New Scientist for Tuesday, December 21, 2004. Many thanks to Jim Hickman, executive director of Skywatch International, for this news story.)
(Editor's Comment: What do you think, readers? Are the Jawas riding around on Mars in their giant sand crawlers, doing maintenance work on Opportunity right after the sun goes down? Oh, and here's the Jawas' holiday season offer...four brand-new Michelin tires and a complete engine tune-up with every abduction. What a deal!)
VIRGIN MARY APPEARS ON A CELL PHONE IN CHILE
"A psychic in Chile claims to have received photo images from the Virgin Mary (birth name: Miriam Bat- Joachim--J.T.)."
"Ricardo Gonzalez told the (Chilean newspaper) Las Ultimas Noticias that he has been receiving images on his mobile phone that are divine apparitions."
According to the news reports, Gonzalez snapped a picture using his cell phone's camera feature. Later, when he tried to recall the image, he saw the Virgin Mary in a blue dress with a white veil smiling and lifting her hand in greeting.
Another time when he snapped a picture, Gonzalez reportedly retrieved an image showing a smiling Virgin Mary standing beside a smiling bearded Arab, age 50 or so, wearing a kaffiyeh and robes. Later, when he tried to check his Call Waiting, an unfamiliar woman's voice reportedly came on and said, "This is my friend Mohammed. He is a good and just man."
According to the newspaper, "After much study and analysis, Sr. Gonzalez claimed that the images and messages prove that God exists and that there is life after death. He said, 'The last one I got showed an angel with wings waving.'" (See the newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias of Santiago de Chile for December 23, 2004, "Psychic received photos from the Virgin Mary."
(Editor's Comment: Twenty-five years ago, paranormal investigator D. Scott Rogo pioneered the study of what he called Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) in his landmark book, Phone Calls from the Dead. This sounds like a variation of that enigma--a kind of Electronic Image Phenomena or EIP, for short.)
HUYGENS PROBE LEAVES CASSINI SPACECRAFT
"Scientists have long thought thick clouds over Saturn's moon Titan rained methane through smoggy skies. Some believed the liquid pooled on the surface, perhaps forming lakes and seas reminiscent of Earth's."
"Recent images of the moon (Titan)--about half the size of Earth--show dark regions next to a light one. Researchers, however, haven't been able to figure out which is higher in elevation, let alone what they're made of."
"Space scientists hope to finally get some answers in three weeks when they send a space probe spinning down through the thick atmosphere of a world more distant than any visited before."
On Friday evening, December 24, 2004, "Cassini researchers scattered around the world" watched in excitement "as the landing probe Huygens seperates from the spacecraft and heads toward the moon."
"Huygens will spend three weeks sinking slowly toward Titan. On January 14 (2005), it will float through the atmosphere on parachutes, shooting pictures for two-and-a- half hours before it hits the surface."
"From what scientists can tell, the chemical composition of Titan's atmosphere reflects what was on Earth several billion years ago, when life was just getting started, said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging leader and a researcher with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado."
"Titan 'doesn't have liquid water, because it's too cold...but chemical processes that are happening slowly there might be similar to what happened on Earth,' Porco said."
"'This will be like a Jules Verne adventure,' she said, 'Maybe we'll see cliffs and cracks, maybe we'll see meandering streams and valleys. Or maybe we won't.'" (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for December 24, 2004, "Spacecraft to begin descent toward Saturn moon," page 8A.)
ARCHAEOLOGIST FINDS ANCIENT TOWN OF CANA
"Among the roots of ancient olive trees, archaeologists have found pieces of large stone jars of the type the Gospel says Jesus used when he turned water into wine at a Jewish wedding in the Galilee village of Cana."
(Editor's Note: You'll find the whole story in John 2:1- 12.)
"They believe these could have been the same kind of vessels the Bible says Jesus used in his first miracle, and that the site where they were found could be the location of the Biblical Cana."
"But Bible scholars caution it will be hard to obtain conclusive proofs--especially because experts disagree on exactly where Cana was located."
"Christian theologians attach great significance to the water-to-wine miracle at Cana. The act was not only Jesus' first miracle, but it came at a crucial point in the early days of his public ministry--when his reputation was growing, he had just selected his disciples and was under pressure to demonstrate his divinity."
"The shards were found during a salvage dig in modern-day Cana, between Nazareth and Capernaum. Israeli archaeologist Yardena Alexander believes the Arab town was built near the ancient village. The jar pieces date to the Roman period, when Jesus traveled in Galilee."
"'All indications from the archaeological excavations suggest that the site of the wedding was (modern-day) Cana, the site that we have been investigating,' said Alexander, as she cleaned the site of mud from the winter rains."
"However, American archaeologists excavating a rival site several miles to the north have also found pieces of stone jars from the time of Jesus and believe they have found the biblical Cana."
"Another expert, archaeologist Shimon Gibson, cast doubt on the find at modern Cana because such vessels are not rare and it would be impossible to link a particular set of vessels to the miracle."
"'Just the existence of stone vessels is not enough to prove that this is Biblical site,' and more excavations are needed, he said."
"Based on the shards, Alexander believes the vessels found at her site were 30 to 40 centimeters (12 to 16 inches) in diameter--or large enough to be the same type of jars described in the Gospel of John."
"Other evidence that might link the site to the biblical account includes the presence of a Jewish ritual bath at the house, which shows it was a Jewish community. Locally produced pottery was used at the simple house, showing it could have been from the village described in the Scriptures." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for December 22, 2004, "Archaeologists say they have found site of Jesus' first miracle," page 7A.)
ANOTHER JESUS MIRACLE SITE FOUND IN ISRAEL
"Archaeologists in Jerusalem have identified the remains of the Siloam pool, where the Bible says Jesus miraculously cleared a man's blindness, researchers said Thursday," December 23, 2004.
(Editor's Note: You'll find this story in John 9:1-34. Siloam is Hebrew for Sent.)
"The archaeologists are slowly digging out the pool, where water still runs, tucked away in what is now the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. It was used by Jews for ritual immersions for about 120 years until the year 70 A.D., when the Romans destroyed the (second) Jewish temple."
"Many of Jesus' acts are directly linked to Jewish rituals, and the miracle of the blind man is an example. According to the Bible, the man was undergoing ritual immersion in the Siloam pool for entry into the Temple compound, and Jesus used the occasion to clear his blindness."
(Editor's Comment: According to John 9:8, the blind man was begging for alms at the Siloam pool from travelers heading for the Temple Mount. In those days, people with disabilities were barred from entering the Temple grounds.)
"In the last four months, archaeologists have revealed proof that the pool's 50-meter (165-foot) length and a channel brought in water from the Silwan spring. In the past week, a section of stone road that led from the pool to the Temple Mount was discovered."
"'The moment we revealed and discovered this four months ago, we were 100 percent sure it was the Siloam pool,' said archaeologist Eli Shukron. 'We know today that the Siloam pool is connected to the Temple Mount (known as Haram as-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary to the Muslims--J.T.). There is a road that connects the two sites.'"
"Stephen Pean, a Bible scholar, said the pool's waters were so pure that they could even purify a leper."
"Pean said Jesus likely chose to cure the blind man using the purest water available, because people with disabilities were barred from the Temple."
"'The whole point is that people will not only be healed physically but healed spiritually,' he said, 'This cleansing helps bring the Gospel account into context with Jewish practices.'"
"The archaeologists examining the site are with the (Israeli) Antiquities Authority. They found Roman-era coins mixed with ancient Jewish writing, along with pottery shards and a stone bottle cork--helping them confirm the area as the Siloam pool."
"The stone-lined pool has steps leading to it from all sides, said Ronny Reich, a University of Haifa archaeologist."
"One side of the pool, two caves, an esplanade around it and the water channel leading to it have been uncovered, he said."
"Jesus, according to the New Testament, put clay on a blind man's eyes and then sent him to wash them out in the pool's purifying waters, regaining his sight."
"Jews, who traditionally made three pilgrimages a year to Jerusalem, would immerse themselves in the Siloam pool before heading down the stone pathway to the Temple. They also used the pool for drinking water and camped around it."
"'Jesus was a pilgrim to Jerusalem...so this would be a natural place for him to be enjoying the water supply,' Reich said." (See the Arabic newspaper Al-Ahram for December 21, 2004. Many thanks to Ayesha al-Khatabi for this newspaper article.)
SWARM OF CROWS INVADES TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
A rare Fortean swarm, comprised of tens of thousands of crows, has descended upon the city of Twin Falls, Idaho (population 34,469).
"Thousands of crows have descended upon the city, turning tree limbs into black balls and sidewalks into messy gauntlets."
"Businesses have been coping with the invasion for nearly a month now," since early December 2004. "Now local agencies are taking up the fight. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using laser devices to try to scare the crows away."
Twin Falls is at the intersection of Idaho Highways 30 and 93, located approximately 130 miles (210 kilometers) southeast of Boise, the state capital. (See USA Today for December 23, 2004, "Across the USA--Idaho," page 6A.)
PROPHECY FULFILLED! THE BIG FREEZE ARRIVES
Back in September 2004, your editor noted the startling early change of color in the deciduous trees here at the western end of Lake Superior and wondered if "the Big Freeze" was coming. (See UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 35 for September 1, 2004, "Is everybody ready for the Big Freeze?" page 9.)
In the weeks that followed, UFO Roundup received emails from readers from all over North America, reporting similar signs of an early and severe winter.
Last week, the Big Freeze finally arrived.
Here in Duluth, Minnesota (population 86,918) "The temperature plunged below zero" on the Fahrenheit scale "Tuesday (December 21, 2004) and hasn't cracked that mark since then...That would make it about 91 hours below zero, the longest sub-zero streak in at least five years." (Editor's Note: Duluth's temperature finally rose above zero on Saturday, December 25, 2004, reaching 14 degrees Fahrenheit.)
"The Arctic air mass has pushed snowstorms away from the Northland and into the lower Midwest, helping most local travelers reach their destinations safely. But some highways remained dangerously slick Friday (December 24, 2004) because of black ice--the slippery syndrome caused when moisture from vehicle exhaust freezes on super-cold pavement. Black ice can also form on cold, clear mornings after moisture in the air condenses and settles on pavement."
"It's called black ice because it's so thin that the color of the pavement shows through, often catching drivers by surprise."
"Black ice and excessive speed caused more than a dozen accidents Friday morning in the Twin Ports (Duluth, Minn. and Superior, Wisconsin--J.T.), especially on the Blatnik Bridge, the Minnesota State Patrol reported. No one was hurt, but the Duluth-bound lanes of the bridge were closed briefly before highway department crews could add salt and sand."
On Wednesday, December 22, 2004, Duluth's daytime temperature was minus 9 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, the same temperature as Nome, Alaska, which is just south of the Arctic Circle.
"Embarrass, Minn. (population 250) plunged to 45 below zero Friday morning, and International Falls, Minn. (population 6,703) set a new record for the day at 31 below zero."
The unprecedented cold snap brought Christmas snow as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas (population 277,454), where two inches (5 centimeters) of snow covered the fronds of the palm trees on the Gulf of Mexico shore.
"Folks in Victoria, Texas (population 60,603), just off the Gulf Coast, weren't dreaming Saturday," December 25, 2004, "when they woke up to a white Christmas. They had one--the first in 86 years."
"Almost a foot (12 inches or 30 centimeters) of snow fell overnight to give Victoria a taste of what the country's midsection has been dealing with for the past two days--winter weather."
"The last time Victoria saw a measurable amount of snow was 1973, when a tenth of an inch fell. That's the same amount that fell on Christmas 1918, said Tony Merriman, a meteorologist with the (USA's) National Weather Service."
"'It's a miracle,' proclaimed Hailey Koronczok, who was watching the snow fall as he worked at Denny's. 'Everybody's excited and shocked that it's snowing down here.'"
"Snow, sleet and freezing rain pelted the Carolinas on Sunday," December 26, 2004, "knocking out power to thousands and causing hundreds of accidents on one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year."
"Portions of eastern North Carolina received more than 9 inches (22.5 centimeters) of snow, surprising residents who often go an entire winter without seeing snow."
"Further south, freezing rain coated trees and power lines with ice, knocking out power to more than 25,000 homes and businesses in central and northeastern South Carolina."
"State troopers responded to hundreds of calls of accidents on the icy roads throughout the day. Two people were killed in North Carolina."
"Police said thousands of people were on their way home from the Christmas holidays when the storm struck."
Days earlier, parts of North and South Carolina had "received several inches of snow" in an unprecedented storm. (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for December 25, 2004, "Temperature is expected to crawl above zero," page 1A and 2A; for December 26, 2004, "Town has rare white Christmas," page 2A; and for December 27, 2004, "Ice, snow coat Carolinas," page 2A.)
(Editor's Comment: Like Tackanash says, "It's not enough to collect the portents, Joe. You must learn to interpret them properly.")
Message from the Editor: Tens of thousands of people are dead as a result of the biggest quake on Earth in forty years. So, in place of our regular feature, "From the UFO Files...," we are running the first news stories about the Indian Ocean earthquake. Our regular feature will return next week.
MAMMOTH QUAKE TRIGGERS KILLER TSUNAMIS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
"The most powerful earthquake in 40 years hit early Sunday," December 26, 2004, "near the Indonesian island of Sumatra, sending 20-foot (6-meter) waves crashing onto the densely populated shores of several Asian nations."
By early Monday, December 27, 2004, the death toll had topped 11,000 and continued to climb as more reports poured in from stricken areas.
The earthquake, which measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, "was centered 155 miles (248 kilometers) south- southeast of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on Sumatra, and 6 miles (10 kilometers) under the seabed of the Indian Ocean."
"Geophysicist Julie Martinez of the U.S. Geological Survey said it was the fifth-largest quake since 1900 and the largest since a 9.2 (magnitude) temblor hit Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1964."
"The initial shock waves destoyed bridges, toppled power poles and severed the trans-Sumatran highway in many places. The domes of several mosques and sections of the largest hotel in Banda Aceh collapsed. Moments later, the first waves hit Aceh and other parts of Indonesia."
Moving at 500 miles per hour, "huge waves began pummeling southern Thailand an hour after the quake. In two and a half hours, the walls of water had traveled 1,000 miles to India and Sri Lanka."
"The quake occurred at a place where geological plates push against each other. The USGS said a 620-mile (1,032-kilometer) section shifted, which triggered the displacement of a huge volume of water."
"Sumatra is one of the largest islands in Indonesia," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor explained. "If you superimposed it on a map of the USA, it would stretch from Philadelphia to Omaha. The shifting of tectonic plates will usually move a continent six to eight inches per century. This quake was so powerful that it shoved the entire island of Sumatra 100 feet (30 meters) to the southwest."
"In Aceh, waves knocked out power to most of the province's 4 million residents. Phone lines were severed, complicating efforts to gauge the severity of the damage. 'We have no information from the west of Aceh, which we think is the area that was the worst hit,' said Els Mangundap, a Health Ministry official."
"In Sri Lanka, massive waves that hit villages along a wide stretch of the coast killed thousands and displaced one million people." The Army of Sri Lanka sent 20,000 troops into the stricken area to provide first aid and advanced medical care and to assist local police in maintaining order.
"In southern India," notably Tamil Nadu state, "the rising waters submerged vast swaths of the countryside. (Indian) television showed bodies floating in turbulent, muddy seas. 'The whole area has been turned into a cemetery,' said Chellapa, 55, a fisherman in Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu state."
"On a balmy Sunday morning in Madras, India, Brajita Poulose, 45, her husband, two sons and four other relatives strolled along the shore, enjoying the sun and ocean breeze. Joggers trotted past food vendors, and fishermen hauled in their nets. Then, without warning, the placid ocean turned violent."
"'I was holding my cousin's hand, my two sons were walking behind me, and suddenly...we saw a huge wave coming at us,' said Poulose, who lay exhausted in a hospital bed, as her eldest son, Jiyo, sat weeping at her side."
"In seconds, the water rose to Poulose's shoulders and a torrent caused by a tsunami (Japanese for tidal wave--J.T.) swept her inland, across the main road along Marina Beach."
"Jiyo caught up with her hours later at a government hospital. The bodies of his father and his younger brother Sebastian were in a nearby morgue. The rest of the family was missing."
"On Manginapudi Beach on India's east coast, women and children were taking ritual baths in the sea to mark the full moon when the waves hit."
"'It's such a tragedy,' said Venkaratnam, a villager, 'We tried to do our best to save these people, but could not do anything for them."
"In Prakasam, a sunny Sunday morning turned into the most frightening day of Giri Prasad's life. 'The sea suddenly turned furious, and within no time it was upon us,' said Prasad, 45. Waves 'were heading toward the village like an army of wild elephants.' They caused extensive damage and killed seven people, he said."
"Ann Sophie Spetz's holiday dream of white, sandy beaches and turquoise waters in Phuket," in southern Thailand, "turned into a nightmare. 'It was horrible,' said Spetz, of Uppsala, Sweden, who was having breakfast on Kamala Beach with her husband when one of her three children raced over crying before the waves touched down. 'People had blood all over them, and they screamed and screamed.'"
The Spetz family "and other foreign tourists evacuated to the hills. They returned to the resort, only to be told by locals that more waves were on the way. 'We threw down our food and ran into the hills again,' Spetz said."
In Malaysia, waves 20 feet high rolled ashore. "'When I saw the waves that were even taller than a big man, I couldn't believe my eyes,' said boat-maker Karim Aman, 45. 'This is what you see on TV happening in other places, but it's not supposed to happen in Malaysia.'"
"In Dehiwala, Sri Lanka, the people who lost everything Sunday are among the country's poorest, mostly subsistence fishermen who live between the rocky shoreline and the railroad tracks."
Sri Lanka's sand beaches were littered with "the trash that had furnished these people's lives--a cup, a tin plate, a car battery, broken chairs, piles of tattered clothing. Here and there, a small fishing boat lies on its side."
"'Our boats are gone, our nets are gone,' said Nimal Bandare, 38, a fisherman, with a small laugh of despair, 'Now we have nothing but the clothes we are wearing. All we had was fishing. There is nothing else for us to do but stand here and watch.'"
"'All the planet is vibrating from the quake,' said Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute." Speaking on Italian television, "Boschi said the quake even disturbed the Earth's rotation."
UFO Roundup heard from "the Wild Man of Borneo," a longtime reader and contributor. He said the quake was felt even in the jungles around Palangkaraya.
"I was sleeping in this morning," he reported, "Dude, you'd better believe we felt it. I was in my hammock on the verandah, when all of a sudden, the birds made a helluva racket. Woke me right up. Then they all took to the air--thousands of them. Next thing I knew, the hammock was swinging like a Tilt-A-Whirl. I got tossed clean over the (verandah) railing. I was lying flat on my back in the yard, yelling, 'What the f#*&!!!'"
Hindu astrologers claimed that a rare conjunction of Mars, Venus and Mercury in the southwestern sky, coupled with the rising of the full moon, might have been responsible for the quake.
According to Iowa astronomer Michael Bakich, this rare conjunction began on Saturday, December 25, 2004 and will end on Wednesday, December 29, 2004. It is a conjunction, he explained, that only occurs once each century. (See USA Today for December 27, 2004, "Asia quake kills thousands," page 1A, and "Seas suddenly turn furious--and merciless," page 7A; the Duluth, Minn. News- Tribune for December 27, 2004, "Tsunamis devastate Indian Ocean region," pages 1A and 7A; and the Des Moines, Iowa Register for December 26, 2004. Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr., Robert Fischer, Mary Lou Jones-Drown, Tiffany Burton and "the Wild Man of Borneo, Sarawak's Favorite Party Animal" for their contributions.)
Well, that's it for this week. Join us in seven days for a new year of UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth--and occasionally, Mars and Saturn--brought to you by "the newspaper 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.