UFOs HOVER OVER IRAN'S NUCLEAR INSTALLATIONS
UFOs returned to Iran in force last week, hovering over the country's nuclear installations and causing the Islamic government to issue a Red Alert.
It was the biggest mass sighting of UFOs in Iran since the two-week flap in mid-April 2004. At that time, UFOs were sighted in Tabriz, Ghonbad-Kavous, Azad Shar, Gorgan and Poldokhtar. (For the full details, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 16 for April 21, 2004, "UFOs with flashing lights seen in northern Iran," page 5; and volume 9, number 17 for April 28, 2004, "Major UFO flap breaks out in northern Iran," page 4.)
"Iran's air force has been ordered to shoot down any unknown or mysterious flying object in Iran's airspace, an Iranian Air Force spokesman reported" on Sunday, December 26, 2004, "amid state-media reports of many sightings of flying objects over Iran's nuclear installations."
"Flying-object fever has gripped Iran after dozens of reported sightings last summer and in recent months. State-run media has reported sightings of unknown objects over parts of Iran where nuclear facilities are located."
"Flights of unknown objects in the country's airspace have increased in recent weeks. They have been seen over Bushehr and Isfahan provinces, the daily newspaper Resalat reported yesterday (Sunday, December 26, 2004)."
"The timing of the reported increases in sighting, coming as the United States is prodding the UN to confront Iran over its nuclear program, has strengthened the Iranian public's perception that the objects under surveillance are hostile aircraft entering Iran."
"Gen. Karim Ghavami, (Iran's) chief of air operations, was quoted yesterday as saying that Iran is fully prepared to defend itself against any threat to its nuclear installations. 'We have developed detailed plans to defend our nuclear facilities from any threat. Iran's air force is watchful and and fully prepared to carry out its responsibilities,' he said."
"Shining objects were seen in the daytime sky over Natanz, where Iran's uranium enrichment plant is located. One of the objects exploded, causing panic among the civilians of the region."
"Iran has been accused by the USA of developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Israel has hinted openly that it may strike Iran's nuclear facilities if international pressure fails to permanently freeze Iran's nuclear development."
"Iran has denied the U.S. charges, saying its nuclear program is geared towards producing electricity, not nuclear weapons."
"Iran agreed last week to suspend uranium enrichment and all related activities under a deal reached with the European Union, helping it to escape referral to the UN Security Council and the possible imposition of sanctions."
"Iran says it already possesses the capability to create the entire nuclear fuel cycle--from mining uranium oxide to enriching it. Uranium enriched to a low level is used as fuel in nuclear reactors. Further enrichment produces 'weapons-grade' uranium and plutonium."
"Sources in Iran say the Iranian Air Force has admitted to these sightings and assumes that these are U.S. or Israeli spy craft and has directed its fighter pilots to 'shoot them down on sight.'"
Easier said than done. The same sources claim that "the Iranian Air Force has thus far been unable to successfully intercept" any UFO "and has failed to shoot down a single object. Many in the Iranian Air Force are complaining about a lack of technical ability in shooting down these mysterious craft." (See the Iranian newspaper Resalat for December 27, 2004; the Jordanian newspaper Al- Majd for December 27, 2004; and India Daily for December 27, 2004, "Iranian Air Force ordered to defend nuclear facilities from UFOs." Many thanks to Robert Fischer, Daniel Wilson and Ayesha al-Khatabi for these newspaper articles.)
(Editor's Comment: Welcome to Spotlight on Iran Week here at UFO Roundup. Isfahan and Bushehr aren't the only Iranian provinces where weird events are happening. Read on...)
MYSTERY METEOR CRASHES IN SOUTHEASTERN IRAN
"A meteorite weighing at least 16 kilograms struck a house in southeastern Iran, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday," December 29, 2004.
"The crystalline meteor penetrated the roof of a house in Saravan, a small town in the province of Sistan- Baluchestan," about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Tehran, the national capital.
"According to local police official Mohammad Arab, the sparkling crystal meteor hit the home in Saravan and shattered into small pieces. No injuries or serious damage was reported."
"The police report said most of the meteor had already been broken up and taken away by local people before their officers arrived at the scene."
"At least one mullah has called the meteor 'the gift of Allah.' From my friend Kufa Yildaz, I've heard that the Shiites in Saravan believe these crystals from space will protect them when the Israeli attack comes," Ayesha al-Khatabi, UFO Roundup's Middle East correspondent said. (See the Jordanian newspaper Al-Majd for December 30, 2004. Many thanks to Dick Eastman and Ayesha al-Khatabi for this newspaper article.)
LUMINOUS ORANGE UFO SIGHTED IN CUBA
On Sunday, December 18, 2004, UK tourist Stuart Logan and his family decided to go out to dinner at the Club Amigo, the open-air restaurant at the Hotel Atlantico in Guardalavaca, a suburb of Holguin, a city in eastern Cuba.
"We were on the thirteenth night of a two-week vacation at the resort of Guardalavaca on the northeastern side of Cuba," Stuart reported, "Guardalavaca is located one hour's drive from the major city of Holguin and is on the coast."
"We had recently started our meal, and with me at a round table were five of us--my brother, my niece, my sister and a family friend. It was a clear sky, and the sun had just about gone down. But it was not yet complete darkness. I had my back to the view facing the coast. The restaurant we were in was only a five-minute walk from the beach."
"At precisely 7:05 p.m., my brother, sitting opposite, said, 'What's that light in the sky?'"
"We all began to observe a very bright light at about a 45-degree angle in the sky over the sea. We had been observing the stars every night, as they are so clear in the Cuban sky from what we would see in UK, and we knew instantly--this was no planet or star."
"The light was a pulsating bright orangeness that was motionless."
"My brother said he had been watching it for a few minutes previously and only mentioned it when he saw another bright orange object join it."
"To me, it was one light, but some at our table thought it could be up to four lights close together."
"I estimated the light to be no more than 3 or 4 kilometers (2 or 3 miles) away."
"We all agreed that the light was orange and definitely pulsating or possibly expanding and contracting."
"Other diners noticed us looking, and they began to observe the object."
"Then the waiters became interested, followed by the kitchen staff, and all came out and went to the edge of the restaurant for the closest view."
"This was the best indicator that we were observing something, as the Cuban staff seemed as fascinated as we were. In all, there were 20 people watching the sky."
"We observed the object all together for about five minutes."
"It was about 7:10 p.m. when the light just faded and was gone."
"Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me that evening. There was some background music playing in the restaurant so we could not hear any other sound."
"Coincidentally, the next morning, my niece heard on TV that a UFO picked up on radar, had been reported in the Jakarta region of Indonesia." (For more on the Jakarta flyover, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 52 for December 28, 2004, "Sky booms rattle the capital of Indonesia," page 3.)
"Was there any connection between the Indonesian incident and the world's most destructive earthquake in the last forty years?" (Email Form Report)
SILVER DAYLIGHT DISC SEEN IN ALDERSHOT, HAMPSHIRE
On Monday, December 27, 2004, eyewitness Craig W. was outdoors in Aldershot, Hampshire, UK when he saw a shining object approaching from the west.
Craig reported, "It was an elongated silvery diamond- shaped craft, slow-moving and silent. It was bright silver in the daylight and dark grey at certain angles. There were two eyewitnesses to the event, myself included. When first observing the object, we both thought it was a type of swift-wing species (similar to observing a sample through a microscope--C.W.)."
He described the object as "moving quietly" and "at a height of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters), not made for speed but moved quite slowly. It took approximately four minutes to disappear over the eastern horizon." (Email Form Report)
NIGHT SAUCERS HOVER OVER WORTHAM, TEXAS
On Friday, December 16, 2004, at 9 p.m., eyewitness John S. "and my two friends were outside" in Wortham, Texas (population 1,082) "when a disk or saucer-shaped object came flying over the small buildings of downtown Wortham. It was a greyish-blue color and had lights all around the rim."
The saucer stopped and hovered over the intersection of Route 14 and the county road to Kirvin, then it moved on. "Soon two others followed after it, looking exactly the same. They stayed awhile, hovering and spinning above us. Then they stopped in mid-air and flew away so fast they looked like they disappeared."
Wortham, Tex. is on Route 14, approximately 8 miles (12 kilometers) north of Mexia and 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Waco. (Email Form Report)
TWO UFOs BUZZ A HOUSE IN ACTON, ONTARIO
On Monday, December 5, 2004, at 7:15 p.m., eyewitness C.C. "was sitting outside on the deck with my dog" at her home in Acton, Ontario, Canada (population 6,975) when she was startled by a strange UFO encounter.
"I live in a new housing development in Action, and the treeline is actually behind an air base," she reported, "On the other side of the trees lies a grocery store and a small plaza. The sky was clear, and out of nowhere dropped two oval-shaped lights. They dropped straight down over the treeline and went straight over my house. The two objects were very quiet and came to a brief stop as they dropped out of nowhere and then went straight over my house."
"I didn't notice how my dog reacted--a soft-coated Wheaten terrier--as she was doing her business, and I was looking up into the sky. The two objects were almost triangle-shaped and bright, silver looking, and they made no noise at all. This all happened in a matter of five to ten seconds."
"We live about one hour northwest of Pearson International Airport in Toronto. I could see clearly the planes going over that night. They fly southeast over our house. These objects descended out of nowhere, straight down, hesitated and then straight over my house."
Acton, Ont. in on Provincial Highway 25 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Toronto, Canada's largest city. (Many thanks to Canadian ufologist Brian Vike for this report.)
"POTATO SNIPER" CAUSES HAVOC IN SCITUATE, R.I.
There's a new breed of terrorist in central Rhode Island--someone who shoots at houses and people using a gun that fires potatoes.
"Police are investigating a series of drive-by shootings in Scituate, R.I.," a town located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west-southwest of Providence, "that involve a bizarre weapon of choice--a potato.""Scituate police believe the perpetrator, armed with a potato gun, went on a vegetable-shooting spree through several neighborhoods."
"Houses on Peeptoad, Westcott and Chopmist Hill Roads were hit. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Police believe juveniles or college students are to blame, but they're not treating these cases as harmless pranks."
"'If it were to strike somebody, especially in the right area of the body, it could cause permanent harm, broken bones, maybe even death to the right person,' said Sgt. Dave Randall of the Scituate police, 'I think it's a pretty silly prank, and I think it's something that could hurt somebody seriously. And if they are apprehended, they will be charged.'"
"Police don't have any suspects, but they said whoever is responsible is facing three counts of misdemeanor vandalism." (See the WJAR-TV Channel 10 of Providence, R.I. news broadcast of December 30, 2004, "Houses shot at with potatoes." Many thanks to Mary-Lou Jones Drown for the transcript of the news broadcast.)
(Editor's Note: Chopmist Hill in Scituate is quite close to the site of old Phillips Tavern, which was founded in 1812 by the ancestors of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890- 1937) and is notorious for its ghost and poltergeist activity. When I visited Scituate in 1995, I learned of a strange little ditty that dated back to colonial days and was sung at the now-demolished Pine Tree Tavern, just across Route 6, from the Phillips place. The ditty goes like this: " We're crunching potatoes/Crunching potatoes/We're crunching/We're crunching/Potatoes. Could Scituate's "Potato Sniper" be a poltergeist? What do you think, Terry? Was Peeptoad Road named after Tsathoggua?)
ASTROLOGERS PREDICT BAD YEAR AHEAD
"A Tunisian astrologer who predicted the deaths of Princess Diana, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Yasser Arafat says President (George W.) Bush will be killed by an assassin's bullet in 2005."
"So seriously are Hassan al-Sharibi's predictions taken in the Arab world that a similar prophecy about PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas has resulted in increased security around the candidate to replace Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority."
"Abbas' aides 'put a good deal of credence' in the prediction, according to a source quoted by the Jerusalem Post."
"However, the paper tempered its report by saying critics label Sharibi as 'a quack with a flair who relies on logic and wishful thinking. After all, predicting Yassin's assassination--he was Israel's Public Enemy No. 1--and the death of Arafat were hardly major feats.'"
"Soothsaying is not unusual, or forbidden, in Islam, as it is in Christianity and Judaism. Muslim caliphs retained a court astrologer as early as the Eighth Century."
(Editor's Comment: Fortune-telling is forbidden in Judaism!? That's news. What do you call the Zohar and the Kabbalah?)
"Sharibi also predicted the sudden death of Saddam Hussein before his trial begins" in Baghdad.
"'The Middle East will be sitting on a volcano in 2005, and the situation in Iraq will get even more dramatic as Saddam Hussein is expected to die suddenly before his trial even starts,' Sharibi said, according to a report of the United Press International."
Hindu astrologers are predicting more earthquakes like the one that triggered the massive tsunamis (Japanese for tidal waves--J.T.) in the Indian Ocean a week ago, Indian journalist Sudhir Chadda reported.
"The negative planetary alignment will cause many earthquakes all around the world of a magnitude that humankind has never seen before."
"According to the Hindu astrologers of Varanasi (formerly Benares--J.T.), Venus, Luna (Earth's moon--J.T.) and Jupiter are pulling Earth away from the sun in a single direction, this baleful alignment could devastate the world in the next few months." (See the Jerusalem Post for December 28, 2004, "Arab astrologer predicts Bush assassination;" and India Daily for December 29, 2004, "Planetary alignment can devastate the world in the next few months." Many thanks to Ayesha al-Khatabi and Subhas Banerjee for these newspaper articles.)
MARINES TO HOLD TRAINING EXERCISE IN TOLEDO, OHIO
"The Marines will take over parts of downtown Toledo (population 313,619) as sounds of gunfire will echo off buildings when training exercises are conducted next weekend."
"A Marine Corps unit based in Perrysburg, Ohio (population 16,945)," 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Toledo, "will conduct the exercise from 9 p.m. (Friday) January 7 (2005) until (Sunday) January 9 (2005), Major Gregory Cramer said.""Major Cramer said most of the 130-member unit-- Weapons Company, First Battalion, 24th Marines--will take part in the exercise."
"'We're looking for a safe environment to do our training,' he said, 'Urban training is one of the proficiencies we're required to master.'"
"Major Cramer said Marines will be dressed in green and will be carrying rifles through the streets, but the exercise would have a limited impact on the downtown area. He said the Marines will be firing blanks and conducting operations throughout the area."
"'The only request we would have of folks, if they happen to be near where an exercise is taking place, is to stay away as much as possible,' Major Cramer said."
"The exercise area will be roughly north of Monroe Street, west of the Maumee River, south and west of Cherry Street, south of Woodruff Avenue and east of Collingwood Boulevard."
"Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said military exercises have been conducted before in the downtown area with a minimal impact on city residents. He said city and police officials have been working with the Marines to help the exercise go smoothly."
"'Training is extremely important, not just in our profession but in the military, too,' Chief Navarre said, 'We're not going to place any obstacles in their way.'"
"Jean Atkin, administrator for Lucas County Common Pleas Court, said the unit was granted permission to use the courthouse grounds. The unit, though, won't use the interior of the courthouse."
"'We used to do this when we were kids--you know, running around the woods,' Ms. Atkin said, 'They're just going to use the downtown.'" (See the Toledo, Ohio Blade for January 1, 2005, "Marines will stay close to home for urban training." Many thanks to Jim Danvers for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: You know, I was really hoping for a respite from the New World Order during 2005. But I guess that was just too much to hope for.)
ISRAELI FIRM GETS CONTRACT FOR FEMA PRISON CAMPS
A company based in Israel has signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to construct new detention facilities to be added to the current roster of 600 internment camps operated by the department's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"In December 2004, President Bush and the Department of Homeland Security, authorizing preliminary studies for the rapid construction of a National Detention Center Program (FEMA)-controlled series of detention centers, to be added to the existing 600 units in place."
"The Department of Homeland Security is coordinating with the Israeli corporation, Israeli Prison Systems Ltd., for the expedited construction of several new prison camps. The new internment camps will be located in rural and relatively uninhabited areas throughout the continental United States and Alaska."
"Civilian internment camps or prison camps, more commonly known as concentration camps, have been the subject of much rumor during the past few years in America," particularly since Y2K at the end of 1999.
"Several Web sites have dealt with the issue, and radio talk show hosts have dealt with the issue."
The program grew out of the Suspect Index, a list compiled by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then- Attorney General Homer Cummings earmarking American civilians to be interned in the event of war or other dire national emergency. J. Edgar Hoover's aide, Clyde W. Tolson, referred to it as "the HSL" or "Homer's Shit List." The list was updated in 1938 with the names of thousands of Issei and Nisei (Japanese-Americans--J.T.), who were rounded up en masse in February 1942 after FDR issued his infamous executive order.
Following World War II, the detention camp system was ratified by Congress as part of the Internal Security Act of 1950. When President Jimmy Carter created FEMA in 1979, the camp program moved into the new agency. When the newly-created Department of Homeland Security made FEMA one of its sub-agencies in 2002, it also obtained control of the camp program.
Existence of the controversial camp program has reportedly been confirmed by Rep. Henry Gozalez (Democrat- Texas). According to Soldiers for Jesus News Report, Gonzalez was quoted as saying, "The truth is...yes, you do have these standby prisons, and the plans are here...whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism...evoke the military and arrest Americans and put them in detention camps." (See Soldiers for Jesus News Reports for December 30, 2004, "The march into internment continues." Many thanks to Jeremy Gridley for this news story.)
ANIMALS RECEIVED A MYSTERIOUS WARNING TO FLEE THE TSUNAMI
"Wildlife enthusiasts in Sri Lanka are expressing surprise that the tsunami that killed thousands of people does not appear to have caused large-scale animal deaths, which suggests that the animals might have sensed the coming disaster and fled to higher ground."
"An Associated Press photographer who flew over the Yala National Park by helicopter saw abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo and deer, and not a single carcass."
"Yala, Sri Lanka's largest wildlife reserve, is home to 200 Asian elephants, crocodile, wild boar, water buffalo and gray langur monkeys. The park also has Asia's highest concentration of leopards."
"Water from Sunday's tsunami swept into the park, uprooting trees, toppling cars, destroying a lodge and killing 200 people." (See USA Today for December 30, 2004, "Few animal victims in tsunami disaster," page 9D.)
SWEDISH TODDLER UNITED WITH FAMILY AGAIN
"A Swedish toddler was reunited with his weeping father in a Thai hospital Wednesday," December 29, 2004, "three days after the two-year-old was found sitting alone on a roadside after the tsunami."
Sunburned, covered with mosquito bites, and shaking from trauma, the boy could only utter two words, "Mama...Mama..."
But on Wednesday, "Hannes Bergstroem, his face scratched and pocked with mosquito bites and his hand bandaged, looked bemused as his father choked up with emotion. The father," Marko Karkkainen, "also scratched and bruised, held Hannes as he lay in a hospital bed, surrounded by balloons."
"The boy's mother is among about 5,000 people still missing in Thailand."
"Hannes was found near a beach resort Sunday night," December 26, 2004, "and taken to a hospital. The hospital staff posted his photo on the Internet. His uncle spotted the photo, claimed the boy and set up the reunion with his father, at a hospital on the southern Thai island of Phuket, where father and son were receiving treatment."
"'I have been to Thailand seven times, and this time only confirmed what I know about the Thai people--that they are so generous and caring,' Karkkainen said." (See USA Today for December 30, 2004, "2-year-old found along road is reunited with his father," page 7A.)
AFTERSHOCKS STILL RATTLE INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS
Powerful aftershocks continue to rattle the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, off the coast of India, in the wake of the tremendous earthquake, 9.0 on the Richter scale, that took place on Sunday, December 26, 2004.
The quake, the most powerful on Earth in 40 years, split one Nicobar island into two pieces and caused another to sink like the lost continent of Atlantis.
Units of the Indian Army "on Wednesday (December 29, 2004) reached the last of India's remote Andaman and Nicobar villages, where villagers have been living off coconuts since" the tsunami that flooded the islands following Sunday's quake.
"On the island of Car Nicobar, dazed Nicobarese tribes people emerged from the trees as the army pushed into the interior."
"Staring blankly, drawn, exhausted and barely speaking, they showed little emotion or relief at the arrival of help after three days of camping on the tiny island's only high ground."
"'Everything is gone. We have nothing left, not even a slipper,' said Nathan, a 56-year-old father of eight."
"'First the ground shook and we thought the earth was going to swallow us up,' he said, 'But then the sea came and it came so fast I barely had time to ask my wife to gather our children and run.'"
"Bodies still litter the Nicobars and in parts of (India's) southern mainland, authorities have given up counting the dead, instead quickly disposing of bodies in mass burials and cremations."
"Dozens of aftershocks continued to hit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, bordering Myanmar (formerly Burma-- J.T.) and Indonesia. Islanders are terrified the (aftershock) tremors could trigger more giant waves are living on high ground or sleeping on mattresses in the streets of the island's capital, Port Blair."
"'When the ground first shook, I thought this was an earthquake. But when the waves came and it kept climbing higher and higher, I knew God had meant us to die,' said another islander, Augustine. 'But my child was there with me and I had to run. Jesus saved us.'"
"Territory police chief S.B. Deol said, 'One in five inhabitants in the entire Nicobar group of islands is either dead, injured or missing.'"
"At least 50,000 people live in the Nicobars, at the southern end of the chain."
"'The situation is some of the islands we managed to establish contact with is indeed very grim,' Deol said, 'People have been living on coconuts...and the coconuts are not going to last forever. We need to reach food urgently to these people.'"
"Aircraft dropping emergency supplies report only a third or half the residents of some islands can be accounted for."
"The power of Sunday's earthquake split one island in two."
"'The entire geography of some parts of these islands has changed,' Deol said. 'Where there was one island before, now we see two. In one place, a tree stands alone in the middle of the ocean.'"
Commenting on the disaster, the Times of India stated, "The giant killer waves that swept the coasts of South and Southeast Asia have added a new word to the global lexicon of disaster--tsunami...The truly fearsome aspect of the disaster is that it was totally unpredictable. So little is known about catastrophic phenomena like tsunamis that it is virtually impossible for governments or populations to take precautionary action...Forget nations, our entire species might not survive such a cataclysmic giga-event--which for our planet is but a twitch of its skin. Such stupendous forces beyond comprehension can inspire only awe."
Survivors all over the region continued to come forward with their stories. Seven-year-old Piuli Paul "went to (southern India's) Marina Beach with her father, Pallab Paul, an accountant; her mother, Ratna Paul; and her grandparents."
"The entire family could not recall exactly what happened at 8:40 a.m. (India) time on Sunday. 'Suddenly there was a wall of water all around us, and it was swelling by the minute. We just ran for safety, I think, screaming out to ensure that the others were safe,' Ratna Paul said."
"'We were wetting our feet when a wave hit us,' Piuli said. 'My dida (Hindi for grandmother--J.T.) fell on the sand. I went to help her and grabbed her bag. Others came to help, too, but a big wave struck then and swept us away.'"
Piuli "regained consciousness in a children's playground where the waters had deposited her. Piuli tried grabbing a bar to pull herself out of the water. 'I had lost all my strength,' I recalled, 'One uncle then helped me...out of the water.'"
"After a long search, she found her mother and father near the beach. Her grandfather was located in a hospital" in Chennai. "But her grandmother, Bela Paul, 73, was killed." (See USA Today for December 30, 2004, "Officials give up counting bodies in parts of India," page 6A, and for December 28, 2004, "Survivors ask, 'What did we do to deserve this?' page 2A; and the Times of India for December 27, 2004. Many thanks to Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda for the Indian newspaper material.)
HUYGENS CONTINUES ITS SHORT FLIGHT TO TITAN
"On target for Titan, Saturn's haze-shrouded moon, the Huygens space probe is headed for a mystery-packed landing."
"The European Space Agency's Huygens lander detached from the international Cassini spacecraft on Christmas Eve (Friday, December 24, 2004) and now speeds toward Titan on a precise trajectory to enter the moon's orange-tinged atmosphere."
"Whether the 705-pound probe will land on frozen ice, a methane lake or a muddy combination of both remains uncertain."
"On (Friday) January 14 (2005), Huygens' landing--the farthest one from Earth ever attempted by any space probe- -is expected to be a scientific highlight of 2005."
"The second-largest moon in the solar system and the only one with a dense atmosphere, Titan fascinates planetary scientists. Under its dense clouds, a complex interplay of carbon chemistry is thought to take place, mirroring conditions on Earth at the birth of the solar system."
"NASA scientists have pronounced themselves boggled by the cloudy glimpses on recent flybys, a vista of light and dark plateaus that mesh jaggedly, marked with hints of frozen lakes in radar images."
"'Despite everything we've seen, Titan is almost as mysterious now as it was 15 years ago,' says Huygens chief scientist John Zarnecki of the United Kingdom's Open University."
"Huygens will plunge into Titan's clouds at a 65- degree angle, hitting speeds near 13,000 miles per hour (20,800 kilometers per hour) and raising temperatures on its heat shield to more than 2,700 degrees" on the Fahrenheit scale.
"'That's damn fast--a fireball entry,' says Zarnecki, who calls those moments 'the most terrifying' of Huygens' voyage from Earth to Titan."
"After its speed drops, the probe will deploy three parachutes and measure the density of Titan's atmosphere. Scientists hope it will return at least two hours' of photos and data to Cassini overhead." (See USA Today for December 27, 2004, "Jan. 14 is a Saturn-day for Titan moon probe," page 7D.)
From the UFO Files...
1792: STRANGE SECRETS OF THE WHITE HOUSE
A presidential inauguration is coming up on January 20, 2005, so this might be a good time to look at some of the arcana in Washington, D.C. Such as the strange secrets of the District of Columbia's most haunted spot-- the mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, known worldwide as the White House.
The White House, then known as "the President's House," was the first public building to be erected in Washington. In 1790, the Commissioners of the District held a competition, seeking designs for the future executive mansion. A prize of $500 would be awarded to the winning architect. Hundreds of hopeful American architects participated--including Thomas Jefferson, who submitted his design anonymously. But the Commissioners chose instead the blueprint of a young Irish immigrant, James Hoban.
James was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1758, the son of Edward Hoban and Martha Bayne. In 1772, he went to Dublin and studied architecture under Thomas Ivory. Eight years later, in 1780, he won a gold medal from the Dublin Society for his "Drawings of Brackets, Stairs, Roofs, etc."
Following the end of the War of the American Revolution in 1783, James bought a one-way passage on a Dublin merchantman and sailed to Philadelphia, then the USA's capital and also its largest and fastest-growing city. On May 25, 1785, he took out an advertisement in the Pennsylvania Evening Herald, offering his services as an architect.
Projects were a little slow coming his way, so, in 1787, James took the advice of several friends in his Masonic lodge and moved to Charleston, S.C. There his career really caught fire. "From 1787 to 1792, he designed Savage's Green Theatre and a plan for an orphan asylum." In 1790, he designed and supervised the construction of Prospect Hill, the plantation house on Edisto Island, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Charleston.
On July 18, 1792, the Commission awarded James the $500 and invited him to "oversee and implement construction of the President's House."
"Hoban based his design on the Leinster House in Dublin (1745-1751)...Late Georgian in style, with a giant portico bisecting a rectangular, three-story building, its facades were organized according to a traditional Renaissance-derived palace type with the principal story raised above ground, its tall windows surrounded by pediments marking its importance."
The building site was nothing to write home about. Both the White House and Lafayette Square had been situated by Pierre L'Enfant in "The Barrens," a scrubland notable for its panoramic south-facing view of the Potomac River.
Why had Hoban chosen the Leinster House for his model? Well, to understand the answer to that question, you'd have to know a little bit more about the history of Freemasonry in Jimmy's homeland, Ireland.
The Leinster House is on Kildare Street in Dublin, just south of Temple Bar and Trinity College. The neighborhood sure had its share of celebrities in the Nineteenth Century. Living around the corner from the Leinster House at 61 Harcourt Street was George Bernard Shaw, one of the founders of the Fabian Society. At 62 Harcourt Street lived Abraham Stoker, better known as Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. At their favorite restaurant in Merrion Square, the wine waiter was none other than Alois Hitler Jr., the older half-brother of the German dictator and son of Austro-Hungarian customs official Alois Hitler, nee Schicklegruber. Alois Jr., by the way, was arrested and charged with bigamy by the Irish police.
The man who built the Leinster House was James Fitzgerald, the 20th Earl of Kildare. He began construction in 1745, the year of the civil war in Scotland which culminated in the defeat of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" at Culloden. In 1747, James Fitzgerald married Emily Lennox, the daughter of Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, and a godfather to King George II. As a result of this favorable marriage, James was made Viscount Leinster in 1749 by George II and later the Duke of Leinster in 1766 by George III.
(Editor's Note: The Duke's nephew was Lord Edward Fitzgerald, who founded the United Irishmen and launched the ill-fated Illuminati uprising of 1798.)
The Duke was also a key figure in Irish Freemasonry. The original lodge papers of the Knights Templar Kilwinning Lodge No. 75 and the Grand Master's Lodge of Dublin disappeared during the 1790s. However, in 1849, the Duke of Leinster claimed that a century earlier, on January 3, 1749, his great-grandad, James Fitzgerald, the 20th Earl of Kildare, had founded the Grand Master's Lodge.
Masonic historian Robert F. Gould wrote, "The loss of the early records of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, though variously explained, has never been satisfactorily accounted for."
On April 26, 1779, James Fitzgerald and Dr. George A. Cunningham of Dublin wrote to Thomas Arthur of Irvine, Scotland, Master of the Mother Lodge in Kilwinning, and requested permission to "form a Lodge of the same name in Dublin." This was the Kilwinning Lodge No. 75, also known as the High Knights Templar of Ireland.
Curiously, one of James Fitzgerald's ancestors was involved with the original Knights Templar. According to The History of the Knights Templar, Maurice fitzGerald invited the Templars to organize banking houses in Dublin. A delegation of Templars under Roger le Waleis moved to Dublin in 1204 from the order's stronghold at Templemore on Ireland's southern coast. The Templar order was suppressed a century later in 1314.
Reading this, your editor began to wonder if there were any famous Fitzgeralds in American history. The first one to come to mind was John E. Fitzgerald, also known as "Honey Fitz," who was elected the mayor of Boston, Mass. in 1904. "Honey Fitz" was the maternal grandfather of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917- 1963). But it is not known for certain whether the Kennedys are directly related to the "Templar Fitzgeralds."
Nor, thanks to the missing papers, is it known if Edward Hoban, father of the White House architect, was a member of the High Knights Templar of Ireland, Kilwinning Lodge No. 75, whose grandmaster was James Fitzgerald, the Duke of Leinster.
But it is interesting that James Hoban, a Mason, chose the Leinster House, the birthplace of Irish Freemasonry, as the model for the USA's executive mansion.
Another weird link with Freemasonry and the Knights Templar came on Saturday, October 13, 1792, when a group of Masons, Hoban among them, laid the cornerstone of the White House.
According to researcher David Ovason, "A letter submitted by 'a gentleman (of Philadelphia--J.T.)' offers the only surviving eyewitness version of the Masonic cornerstone laying, which was held on Saturday, October 13, 1792, when the Georgetown Lodge No. 9 of Maryland gathered for the ceremony."
The news story appeared in the Charleston City Gazette for November 15, 1792 and reads, in part, "On Saturday the 13th inst. the first stone was laid in the south-west corner of the president's house, in the city of Washington, by the Free Masons of George-town and its vicinity, who assembled on the occasion. The procession was formed at the Fountain Inn, Georgetown...The Ceremony was performed by brother Casaneva (a typo--it was Peter Casanave--J.T.), master of the lodge, who delivered an oration well adapted to the occasion."
According to the Gazette, "the inscription on the brass plate," placed inside the cornerstone, "ran:"
"This first stone of the President's House was laid the 12th day of October
1792, and in the 17th Year of the Independence of the United States of America."
George Washington, President
"All those listed were Masons, with the possible exception of Thomas Johnson," Ovason points out in his book, and "the brass cornerstone plate is still where it was laid in 1792. It was left in place during refurbishments and investigations during the rebuilding of 1948, at the express commands of President Harry S. Truman, who was learned in Masonic matters. After his initiation in Belton Lodge No. 450" of Independence, Missouri, "on February 9, 1909, Truman progressed to Grand Master."
(Editor's Note: Mr. Truman was a 33rd-degree Mason and, by some strange coincidence, also the 33rd president of the USA.)
Over the years, the legend has grown that the White House cornerstone was laid on Friday, Columbus Day, October 12, 1792 by George Washington. Actually, Washington was nowhere near the federal city bearing his name that weekend. He was in Philadelphia.
Nor was the cornerstone laid to commemorate the Tricentennial anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas. Did Lodge No. 9 get the date wrong? Not likely. The cornerstone was laid to commemorate a very special anniversary...Black Friday...the original "Friday the Thirteenth"...Friday, October 13, 1307, the day the Knights Templar were overthrown in France.
Exactly 485 years before Brothers Hoban and Casanave laid the White House cornerstone, knights loyal to King Philippe IV attacked Templar churches and strongholds all over France. It was the beginning of the end for the Templar order.
Eleven months later, on September 6, 1793, "three Ancient York (Rite) Masons, then resident in the federal city, had submitted a petition, praying for a warrant to convene and work as Masons. These were James Hoban, C.W. Stephenson and Andrew Eustace. The petition was granted, and Hoban became Master of the newly-formed Federal Lodge No. 15."
"Hoban spent the remaining forty years of his life working in Washington, throughout which constructing, rebuilding and altering the White House occupied much of his time."
Amazingly, Hoban was leading a double life. Not only was he the founder of Washington D.C.'s first Masonic lodge, he was a pillar of the city's Roman Catholic community. "He has been credited with establishing the first Catholic church, St. Patrick's, in Washington in 1792 and in 1820 served on the committee to erect St. Peter's Church on Capitol Hill."
Eight years earlier, following the exposure of Adam Weishaupt and the Illuminati of Bavaria (southern Germany- -J.T.), Pope Clement VII had banned Roman Catholics from joining Masonic lodges, arguing that lodge membership was "an occasion of sin." Had Hoban been found out, he would have been excommunicated by the Church.
In 1799, Hoban "married Susannah Sewell of Massachusetts, with whom he had several children. In 1802 he was elected to the Washington City Council and served intermittently for many years. Hoban was also a member of the Columbian Institute, founded in 1817."
In the summer of 1814, Admiral Cockburn landed a British army at Head of Elk, Maryland, and opened an offensive against Washington, D.C. The Americans were defeated at Bladensburg, Maryland, and British troops, under Gen. Robert Ross, occupied Washington. All of the federal buildings were put to the torch, including the White House. But, midway through the blaze, thunderclouds drifted in from the west, and a torrential downpour dumped two inches of rain on the White House. The fire was extinguished, and the mansion was saved.
Immediately Hoban began work on restoring the White House in every detail. In this he was assisted by his good friend and fellow Mason, Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Six years earlier, Latrobe had tried to persuade President Thomas Jefferson to make certain "improvements" to the White House.
In particular, Latrobe wanted to add two porticos to the White House. One on the north side, which resembled the entrance to a Greek temple. This is not at all surprising, given that Latrobe designed the original St. John's Church, which stands across from the White House on Lafayette Square and looks like the old temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis. But the south side portico was to be completely different, a semi-circular structure reminiscent of an ancient solar temple.
Hoban supervised the project, based on Latrobe's original 1808 design. The south portico was finished in 1824. Hoban completed the north portico in 1829, two years before his death on December 8, 1831.
It is the White House's south portico that faces the sun and, more importantly, the 555-foot obelisk we now call the Washington Monument. The obelisk stands at the exact center of the city, according to Ovason.
If you were to draw a straight line from the White House's south portico to the Washington Monument, and then continue that line in the same direction, it would take you across the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia...and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, which is an exact replica of the original lighthouse that guarded the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt.
The George Washington Masonic Memorial had its cornerstone laid on November 1, 1923. In the Roman Catholic calendar, November 1 is All Saints Day, but to the Aztecs of Mexico it was "the Day of the Dead," in which they honored all of the victims of the great flood that ended the last "world-age."
On November 1, 1950, a group of Puerto Rican nationalists attacked the Blair House on Lafayette Square, trying to kill President Truman, who, as you'll recall, was a 33rd degree Mason. Was this just a coincidence? Or did some of those Puerto Ricans have a working knowledge of la Masoneria?
Bet on it. In Washington, D.C., there is more than meets the all-seeing eye. (See the books The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital by David Ovason, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, N.Y., 2000, pages 61, 62, 63, 64, 408 and 409; Talisman by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, HarperCollins Publishers, Hammersmith, London, 2004, pages 449, 464, 465 and 473; Beautiful Washington D.C. by Gene Gurney, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, N.Y., 1969, pages 56, 57 and 58; A Guide to the Architecture of Washington D.C., edited by Hugh Newell Jacobsen, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, New York, N.Y., 1965, pages 68, 69, 70 and 71; Off the Beaten Track-- Ireland by Rosemary Evans, Globe Pequot Press, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, UK, 1993, pages 264 and 265; Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by R.F. Foster, Penguin Press, London, 1988, pages 169, 179, 241 and 247.; and The History of Freemasonry, Volume 4, by Robert F. Gould, John C. Yorston & Co., Publishers, New York, N.Y., 1889, pages 557, 564 and 573.)
Welcome to 2005, readers. We're starting Volume 10 of UFO Roundup, and I think we've come a long way since the Varginha case and the heady events of 1996. So off we go on another year of hunting for saucers, aliens, Bigfoot, strange mysteries, phantom panthers, ancient artifacts and other Fortean phenomena. Since we're beginning a new year, it's time to repeat the UFO Roundup Pledge.
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See you next week!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2005 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup provided 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.