UFOs DOMINATE SKY OVER HAWKE BAY, NEW ZEALAND
A major UFO flap has broken out in the Hawke Bay area of New Zealand's North Island, with dozens of sightings in the past few weeks.
On Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25, 2004, "there was a sighting of a yellow-orange ball out at sea near Bay View, Napier. The witness said it gleamed through the clouds. However, he also claims that it might have been a Thai 'wish lantern.'"
On Boxing Day, Sunday, December 26, 2004, "at Waimarama, a really bright orange-red UFO was spotted by a Havelock North resident and his brother. The light brightened before moving downward slowly and reportedly shooting out of sight."
On Monday, December 27, 2004, "a witness reported seeing a 'reddy-orangey gleaming ball' over Cape Kidnappers," 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Waimarama. "The UFO zigzagged across the sky before stopping and then moving straight up, out of sight. The sighting lasted 15 minutes.
That night, witnesses on the beach at Cape Kidnappers "watched an object in the sky for 20 minutes with binoculars. One witness described it as 'the size of a kitchen table or bigger,'" after observing the UFO through binoculars.
On Tuesday, December 28, 2004, at 3 p.m., "a Havelock North man inadvertently captured an image of a UFO while taking photographs in the Maraekakaho area. Discovering the object in one photo, he enlarged the image, and it showed a distinctive flying-saucer shape."
"That same Tuesday, at 10 p.m., a Waimarama man and his son-in-law saw an orange object in the sky. The object remained silent the entire time before moving off."
On Friday, December 31, 2004, "a Hastings resident and her husband saw an unblinking orangey-red light in the sky. Her husband said the light looked something like a hot-air balloon but did not behave as a balloon would."
"Another Hastings resident at a different location saw a big bright orange object coming down from under the clouds at 9:30 p.m. The object remained for 15 minutes and was photographed five times" by observers on the ground. "The photos did not come out and the date on the digital camera was mysteriously re-set."
"Another Hastings man also spotted the object while at the service station. He said it moved around in a long arc and was following a course through the sky."
"Also in Hastings," located 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Waimarama, "yet another resident saw a red- orange glowing ball at 9:20 p.m. while doing the dishes. His son-in-law also spotted the object and thought it could have been a MiG fighter jet he had heard of that was owned by a Hawke Bay man."
"Just before midnight, a real estate manager claims to have seen three UFOs from a Taupo crossing guard. They appeared from the western horizon. The UFOs were glowing too brightly to be aircraft," he said. "They headed towards the south before he lost sight of them."
On Monday, January 3, 2005, "two witnesses photographed a red object in the sky from Waimarama. This was the second UFO one of the witnesses has seen in recent weeks. The object appeared to be hovering over the back fields before heading northeast" over Hawke Bay "and then heading up." (See the New Zealand newspaper Hawke Bay Today for January 15, 2005. Many thanks to ufologist Tony Lucas for this newspaper article.)
HUNDREDS OF SQUID INVADE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
"Hundreds of giant squid are washing up on Orange County beaches" in southern California, "creating a scene closer to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea than The O.C."
"The bug-eyed sea creatures, believed to be Humboldt squid, usually reside in deep water and only come to the surface at night. Why approximately 500 of them began washing up on the sands of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach on Tuesday," January 18, 2005, "isn't clear."
"Authorities said the squid--the biggest weighing 17 pounds--might have been pursuing bait fish and gotten too close to shore, and the tide might simply have carried them in."
"'I have heard of this happening before, but it's not a common occurrence,' lifeguard Capt. Eric Bauer of the Newport Beach Fire Department said Wednesday," January 19, 2005.
"Authorities plan to remove the squid in the next couple of days and will give at least a couple to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for research."
"In the meantime, beachgoers are advised not to eat or even touch them. 'They probably have bacteria on them,' Bauer said. (See the San Diego Times-Union for January 20, 2005. Many thanks to Tiffany Burton for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: Welcome to Revenge of R'lyeh Week here
at UFO Roundup. Poor Tiff. First she went to Hawaii and
got snowed on. Then she got home just in time for the
squid invasion. She probably feels like the heroine in a
SWARMS OF FROGS OVERRUN THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII
"A tiny frog with a huge shriek has invaded the Big Island (Hawaii, the largest of the eight Hawaiian Islands and the site of last week's anomalous snowstorm--J.T.) and won't shut up."
"Big Island Mayor Harry Kim is looking for $2 million to control the spread of the nocturnal coqui frog, a species native to Puerto Rico but considered an annoying pest in Hawaii since hitching a ride over in a shipment of tropical plants around 1990."
"The frogs have been mating early and shattering quiet island nights ever since."
"The frogs have a voracious appetite for spiders and insects, competing with native birds and fauna. And the coqui frog can adapt to any ecosystem and," with no natural enemies to keep down the population, "breed heavily in Hawaii, experts said."
"Kim said the Big Island will again ask Gov. Linda Lingle to declare the coqui frog infestation a state of emergency, to help clear the way for state financial assistance."
"The $2 million is needed to launch a coordinated federal, state and county program to combat the frogs, Kim said. He made his plea Tuesday," January 18, 2005, "before state lawmakers, who will consider the request later this year."
"Kim said he declared a county emergency in April (2004) over the frogs, but the state waited to see if the federal government would offer assistance, which it did not. Spraying a citric acid solution on the (neighboring) islands of Oahu and Kauai have controlled coqui populations there, but limited spraying on Kim's island has to done little."
"'I think the response from all of us has not been timely enough,' he said, noting that experts suggested that he focus on controlling the coqui's spread rather than eradicating it completely. 'I kick myself in the back every day for not having got started immediately.'"
"More than 150 communities on the Big Island are now infested with the coin-sized frogs." They are called coqui in Puerto Rico because of their extremely loud nocturnal cry of Ko-KEE, Ko-KEE. (See the Honolulu Star- Bulletin for January 19, 2005, "Shrieking frogs bother Big Island." Many thanks to Terry Duckworth, the "Archimagos Maximus of Tsathoggua," for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: If those frogs ever start chirping Tekeli-li, then we'll REALLY be in trouble!)
MORE UFOs SIGHTED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
On Wednesday, January 19, 2005, at 2:55 a.m., Justice Doherty saw something strange in the sky over Redondo Beach, California (population 63,261).
"Since before Thanksgiving, I have been witnessing strange anomalies in the sky," he reported, "Many of the laser lights being shined at aircraft are coming from space or satellites. I had concentrated my attention at 12 o'clock high (directly overhead--J.T.) with my focus on the whole sky above me. The sky was clear except for the crisscrossing of large aircraft plumes (Chemtrails?-- J.T.)."
"I was looking for the lower dots of light that I've been seeing a lot of lately when this very bright white object came from my right, almost north, to my left, almost south. At arm's length, it was just a size smaller than a golf ball. The object came very fast and, as it reached" five stars of the constellation Ursa Major, "it slowed as it passed the third star, stopped, and then it went out in front of the fourth star. I saw that it was a black circle (sphere) because the last star on the left (south) was the brightest in the sky. It illuminated the periphery of the black object for a full second at least. Then it was all over."
Redondo Beach is on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, approximately 14 miles (21 kilometers) southwest of the Los Angeles Civic Center.
A UFO was seen in Carpinteria, Calif. (population 14,194), close to Santa Barbara and the beaches of the "squid invasion," on Saturday, January 22, 2005.
That Saturday, at 3 a.m., eyewitness D.L. Green reported, "I took some video of this strange object, which was in the southwest part of the sky. I am not used to "the technology so I made need help to download an image to you."
"It was a flashing bright light, moving horizontally in the sky. I woke my husband up to confirm it. The video camera was on a stationary tripod so no external motion was induced. We were watching its movement for five minutes, then it blinked out. It was a bright light rotating in the sky, changing color from bright white to green and back. It was also changing shape from a pinpoint to a large sphere and then back. Occasionally shifting in the sky in a triangular pattern while suddenly changing color and shape."
Carpinteria is on Highway 101 approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast of Santa Barbara. (Email Form Reports)
COUPLE SEES A UFO IN CHINO VALLEY, ARIZONA
On Tuesday, January 18, 2005, at 8:30 p.m., eyewitnesses Leslie and Marc were at their home in Chino Valley, Arizona (population 7,835). As they looked northeast "towards the San Francisco Peaks," they "saw glowing luminous objects on the horizon. Towards Chino Valley, we heard a humming sound. There were light misty clouds that obscured the view above the (San Francisco) mountains. We saw blue lights pulsing strobe-like. Lit up the entire valley."
"After a while, Marc called 911, which referred him to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration--J.T.)."
"And I left a message," Marc added, "Nobody called me back. There was also the sound of two jets flying over that area. We looked in the local newspaper, but there was nothing. Does anyone know about this?"
Chino Valley is on Arizona Highway 89, approximately 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of Prescott. (Email Form Report)
LUMINOUS UFO SIGHTED IN POTTSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA
On Tuesday, January 18, 2005, at 6:45 p.m., Mike C. was driving home in Pottsville, Pennsylvania (population 15,549) when he saw "something what I first thought was a small plane approaching from the southeast. But there was no sound or movement from it. The object was bright, small and round with no clear definition. I stopped and looked at it through binoculars but I could not make out any details."
"However, the light from it was like looking at the North Star (Polaris --J.T.) For one minute, it was very bright, and then it started fading, then disappeared. It appeared stationary at first, and then it moved slightly downward without stop for two minutes."
Pottsville, Pa. is on Route 61 approximately 32 miles (53 kilometers) north of Reading. (Email Form Report)
IAF SAYS RAIGAD EVENT WAS A "SONIC BOOM"
"A mysterious fireball said to have shaken the earth in India this week is now being blamed on a sonic boom created by a low-flying fighter jet."
"The Indian Air Force (IAF) is claiming responsibility for the incident, which panicked residents out of their homes on Tuesday night," January 11, 2005.
"'We monitored the news on the electronic media,' Wing Commander Tarun Kumar Singha told the (newspaper) Mumbai Mid-Day. 'Gradually, when news coverage started coming in, we felt it necessary to inform the masses about the incident.'"
"Singha identified the plane as a Sukhoi Su-30 Mach 1 fighter aircraft" which was "flying at low altitude while on a routine flight exercise in the Panvel-Khopoli area."
"The jump to supersonic speed was not part of the exercise."
"'A departmental inquiry will be conducted to determine what led the pilot to increase the speed by going supersonic. Even the pilot does not know the impact that was felt on the ground,' Singha said."
Authorities believe the sonic boom was caused by a low-flying Sukhoi Su-30 "said to have flown from Pune to Mumbai between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m."
Raigad district commissioner "Sunil Tatkare said police have dispatched teams to the area 'to find out if there was a boom.'"
"Khalapur police said teams had left for Vawashi village where there were complaints of a deafening boom. Meanwhile, there was some confusion regarding the possible crash of an aircraft in the Raigad district." (See the Indian newspaper Mumbai Mid-Day for January 15, 2005, "Earth-shaking fireball said to be sonic boom." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Note: For more on the Panvel-Khopoli fireball, see UFO Roundup, volume 10, number 3 for January 19, 2005, "Fireball and sky boom frighten many in India," page 2.)
TWO FLASHING UFOs SEEN AT WARRINGTON, CHESHIRE
On Sunday, January 16, 2005, at 8:42 p.m., Bill Carr and his girlfriend were driving through Warrington, Cheshire, UK when the lady spotted something very unusual in the night sky.
"My girlfriend first saw two fire-like objects flashing in the sky. They were very big and appeared to be very wide," Bill reported, "I looked and they appeared to be heading towards Liverpool from Winwick. The objects blinked and moved very fast across the horizon at low altitude. I turned and saw two of the objects flashing in separate areas of the sky."
"I tried to pull the car over to the side of the motorway for a better view, but the objects disappeared quickly. There were bright orange at the centre. Very wide and oval-shaped. They floated in several directions through the sky before vanishing. I'd say they were 200 feet above ground. Too fast to describe." (Email Form Report)
MEGA-BLIZZARD BURIES NEW ENGLAND IN SNOW
The USA's six New England states experienced "the Big Freeze" in a major way over the weekend.
Gov. Milt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Don Carcieri of Rhode Island declared both of their states as being in "a state of emergency."
In Massachusetts, Cape Cod was buried in 40 inches
(100 centimeters) of snow, propelled by hurricane-force
winds from the "nor'easter" storm just offshore.
"The Cape has been turned into a snowbound wilderness," one resident reported. "Just like that (May 2004) movie The Day After Tomorrow."
The storm began earlier in the week after "a blast of arctic air kept thermometers below zero in the upper Midwest and below freezing all the way to the Florida panhandle."
"Thermometers in Embarrass, Minnesota (population 691) read 54 degrees below zero. And it wasn't a record for the state."
(Editor's Note: Minnesota's record is 60 degrees below zero, set on February 2, 1996 in Tower, Minn., 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Embarrass. This event is known as "Minnesota's Coldest Day.")
"Elsewhere in northern Minnesota on Monday," January 17, 2005, "Babbitt (population 1,670) chilled to 51 below, and International Falls--which calls itself the Nation's Icebox--dropped to 44 below. Farther south, Minneapolis and St. Paul bottomed out at a mere 11 below."
"Here in Duluth, it was 22 below on Monday and 8
below on Tuesday, January 18, 2004," UFO Roundup editor
Joseph Trainor reported, "After that, it warmed up, and
that brought the snow. Duluth got 10 inches of snow on
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, when the temperature hit 14
degrees. We had light flurries all the following day, and
then we got another 8 inches on Friday night, January 21,
The snowstorm that began in Minnesota and the Dakotas on Friday hit its stride in Wisconsin and Michigan on Saturday, January 22, 2005. "Up to a foot of snow (12 inches or 30 centimeters) had fallen in Wisconsin and Michigan, and wind gusted to more than 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) across Iowa."
"By (Saturday) afternoon, snow was falling across a region stretching from Wisconsin and Illinois to Virginia and the New England states."
"One man died after falling through ice on a pond in Ohio."
"Temperatures in Maine fell to 36 below at Masardis, and Bangor (population 31,473) dropped to a record low of 29 below."
"A howling blizzard slammed the Northeast on Sunday," January 23, 2005, "with more than two feet of snow and hurricane-strength wind gusts, halting air travel for thousands of people, keeping others off slippery highways and burying parked cars."
"More than three feet (90 centimeters) of snow fell north of Boston, Mass.; parts of New Hampshire got two feet (66 centimeters); New York's Catskills (mountains) collected 20 inches (50 centimeters) and 18 inches (45 centimeters) fell on parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and the eastern tip of New York's Long Island."
"At least 14 deaths were linked to the weather, three in Connecticut, three in Ohio, three in Wisconsin, two in Pennsylvania, and one each in Iowa, Maryland and Massachusetts."
"The Weather Channel recorded 26 inches (59 centimeters) of snow in Boston, 16 inches (40 centimeters) in New Haven, Conn. and 14 inches (35 centimeters) in New York City. Hurricane-strength wind gusts were building 6 foot (1.8 meter) snowdrifts in Massachusetts."
"Nantucket," a small island in the North Atlantic 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Cape Cod, "recorded an 84 mile-per-hour (134-kilometer) gust Sunday afternoon before it losts its ability to monitor the wind."
"Paul Kocin, a winter weather expert for The Weather Channel, said the Northeast storm resembled the blizzard that hit in (February 9) 1978, in which 30 inches (75 centimeters) of snow fell."
"In Boston, snow fell at a rate of at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) an hour Sunday, and the National Weather Service recorded more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) at Boston's Logan International Airport by noon. That made it the sixth-worst snowstorm to hit the city in the past 100 years. Weather service forecasters said the city was on track to beat the snowfall records dating to 1892."
"The town of Peabody (population 48,129) had 29 inches (72 centimeters)."
"'The snow is falling not in inches, but in feet,' said (Gov. Milt) Romney said during a visit to the state highway department's Lexington depot, where dozens of plows, salters and sanders were being deployed."
"The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) authorized activation of the State Emergency Center as well as regional centers in Bridgewater, Tewksbury and Belchertown."
UFO Roundup correspondent Mary Lou Jones-Drown said, "Joe, you'd better come and help us dig out. We're buried! Forty inches--that's what they got on the Cape. I think we've got more" in Rehoboth, Mass. "than we got in the Great Blizzard" of February 1978.
In nearby Taunton, Mass. (population 55,976), "Al Rose, manager of Trucchi's Market at 53 Tremont Street, said, 'If you could imagine, it was a madhouse.' He said shoppers began filling the store to buy items such as milk and bread on Friday night," January 21, 2005.
"At the Home Depot in Saugus," Mass. (population 26,078), "snow blowers, snow shovels and road salt were particularly sought. 'We've been able to sell everything that was here,' said Home Depot's John Noonan."
"In Rhode Island, Gov. Don Carcieri declared a state of emergency, and 50 National Guard troops were called out with equipment to clear roads."
"Snow totals in" the Ocean State "exceeded 18 inches (45 centimeters)" in Foster, Glocester, Chepachet and Burrillville" and placed the storm among the top five in the past 100 years. The state of emergency was the first for Rhode Island since the 1978 blizzard."
"New York City lifted its snow emergency at 5 p.m. Sunday after telling its 8 million residents to keep their cars off the streets. The city said it expected to be able to clear major streets in time for" the Monday morning rush hour "but it had canceled garbage collection."
"The snow wasn't a problem for New York college student Maya Tudor."
"'I like the snow. It slows down the city and blankets a lot of the unpleasantness,' she said, 'You never see New York this calm. It's an event.'"
"North of New York City in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (population 18,752), shoppers stripped the shelves at a Super Stop & Shop of soda, meat, potatoes and beer, and the checkout line stretched the length of the store."
By Sunday night, the trains were running on all eight subway lines in New York City.
"In New Jersey, acting Gov. Richard Codey lifted the emergency declaration that he imposed Saturday," January 22, 2005, "so that the state's highways could be cleared. Speed limit restrictions on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway were canceled at 4 p.m. Sunday, and no delays were reported." (See USA Today for January 18, 2005, "Do thermometers even go this low? Yes, in Minn.," page 3A; the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 23, 2005, "Northeast hunkers down for storm that pummeled parts of Midwest," page 5A; and for January 24, 2005, "Northeast blizzard tangles travel," page 2A; USA Today for January 24, 2005, "Northeast begins the big dig- out," page 3A; the Taunton, Mass. Daily Gazette for January 22, 2005, "State of emergency declared," page 1; the Attleboro, Mass. Sun-Chronicle for January 22, 2005, "Storm slams area," page 1; the Ludington, Mich. Daily News for January 21, 2005; and the Albany, N.Y. Times- Union for January 22, 2005. Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown, Carolyn Rzepecki, Sarah Chapman, Anthony Lewis, Ron Resse and others for the many newspaper articles.)
TSUNAMI RUMOR SENDS 12,000 FLEEING IN CHILE
During the pre-dawn hours of Monday, January 17, 2005, a mysterious rumor began in Concepcion, a seaport city in Chile's 7th Region. By 10 p.m., thousands of people were fleeing the city in a panic.
According to Chilean ufologist Liliana Nunez Orellana, "People heard the rumor during the early morning hours that the sea had withdrawn from the beaches" and that a tsunami, similar to the one that ravaged the Indian Ocean on Sunday, December 26, 2004, was imminent.
"And without even verifying it, they took to the streets," Liliana reported, "They left all of their belongings behind. Children were left behind, too. An elderly woman suffered a heart attack when she heard the news and fell dead on the spot."
According to the Chilean newspaper La Estrella de Valparaiso, "The rumor spread from Concepcion," a city 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Santiago de Chile, the national capital, "to Talcahuano and Chiguayante, and then to Hualpen, Coronel and San Pablo. This caused 12,000 people to run for the" foothills of the Andes. "Many people spent the night camped on higher ground and then returned to the city on Tuesday morning."
"BBC World News showed a videotape of the panic in Concepcion that evening," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor reported. "It was absolute chaos. Cars and flatbed trucks were zooming every whichway, trying to get out of the city. The video showed people chasing the flatbed trucks, grabbing the tailgates and trying to pull themselves aboard. I saw a woman in white pants toss her two-year-old to somebody on a passing truck, and the truck didn't even stop. Other people were running with blankets and bedding under their arms. The poor fled with just the clothes on their backs. Half of them were barefoot. Speeding cars were zipping back and forth, just missing the running pedestrians."
"Chilean TV showed trucks covered with people hanging on and cars with people clutching the roof," Liliana reported, "Impoverished residents simply ran barefoot through the streets." (See La Estrella de Valparaiso for January 17, 2005, "Panic over false alarm." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Liliana Nunez Orellana para estas noticias.)
SECRET COMMANDO TEAM WAS AT INAUGURATION
"Somewhere in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol last week, a small group of super-secret commandos stood ready with state-of-the-art weaponry to swing into action to protect the president in ways that have never been fully revealed before."
"As part of the extraordinary army of 13,000 troops, police officers and federal agents marshaled to secure the inauguration, these elite forces were deployed under a 1997 authorization that was updated and enhanced after the September 11 (2001) attacks, but nonetheless departs from how the military has historically been used on American soil."
"These commandos, operating under a secret counterterrorism program codenamed (Operation) Power Geyser, were mentioned publicly for the first time last week on a Web site for a new book, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World by William Arkin, a former Army intelligence analyst."
"The precise number of these Special Operations Forces in Washington last week is highly classified, but military officials say the numbers are very small, probably not exceeding a few dozen at most."
"The special-missions units belong to the Joint Special Operations Command, a highly secretive command based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, whose elements include the Army's Delta Force."
During the presidential inauguration ceremony, which took place on Thursday, January 20, 2005, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, President George W. Bush was "standing at the center of the most elaborate, expensive, visible-- and invisible--security shroud ever put in place."
"Fighter jets (were) protecting the airspace over his head. Chemical, biological and radiological sensors (were) set up in" the Metro, Washington D.C.'s subway system. "Coast Guard boats (were) running up and down the rivers. And at least 6,000 police officers--some of them heavily and conspicuously armed--(were) patrolling the streets, searching ticket holders and onlookers and looking out for trouble from perches high and low."
Security "for the first presidential inauguration since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will certainly be 'noticeable,' said Don Manuszewski of the Joint Force Headquarters--National Capital Region, the military organization responsible for protecting the city and surrounding counties."
"Michael Kucharek, spokesman for the Northern Command, the Pentagon's homeland defense agency, said the military will have F-16s, F-15s and helicopters patrolling the airspace above Washington during the day's events, just as it did during former president Ronald Reagan's funeral procession in June (2004)."
"The role of the armed forces in the United States has been a contentious issue for more than a century. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which restricts military forces from performing domestic law-enforcement duties, such as policing, was enacted after the (American) Civil War (1861-1865) in response to the perceived misuse of federal troops who were charged with policing in the South."
(Editor's Note: Following the Civil War, beginning in 1867, the eleven states which had joined the southern Confederacy were treated as conquered provinces. The "perceived misuse of federal troops" included the desecration of Christian churches in Virginia and Georgia, widespread rapes in Louisiana, and the confiscation and sale at auction of the southern farmers' cotton and tobacco crops. This wholesale plunder was known as "Reconstruction." The "redemption" came first in Texas in 1870 and finally in South Carolina in 1876.)
"Over the years, the law has been amended to allow the military to lend equipment to federal, state and local agencies; assist federal agencies in drug interdiction work; protect national parks; and execute quarantine and certain health laws."
"Since Sept. 11, however, military and law- enforcement agencies have worked much more closely not only to help detect and defeat any possible attack, but also to ensure the continuity of the federal government in case of cataclysmic disaster." (Editor's Note: This is known as the Continuity of Government Plan or COG Plan, which is to be carried out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if the president or his successor gives the green light.)
"The commandos in Washington last week were the same type of Special Operations Forces who are hunting top insurgents in Iraq and Osama Bin Laden in the mountainous wilds of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But under the top- secret military plan, they are also conducting counterterrorism missions in support of civilian agencies on U.S. soil."
"'They bring unique military and technical capabilities that are often centered around WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction--J.T.) events,' said a senior defense official who has been briefed on the units' operations."
"In his online supplement to his book, Arkin says the contingency plan calls for 'special-mission units in extra-legal missions to combat terrorism in the United States,' based on top-secret orders that are managed by the military's Joint Staff and coordinated with the military's Special Operations Command and Northern Command, which is the lead military headquarters for homeland defense."
"Three senior Defense Department and Bush administration officials confirmed the existence of the plan and mission but disputed Arkin's characterization of the mission as 'extra-legal.'"
"One of the officials said the units operated in the United States under 'special authority' from either the president or the secretary of defense."
"But civilian and uniformed military lawyers said provisions in several federal statutes, including the Fiscal Year 2000 Defense Department Authorization Act, permits the secretary of defense to authorize military forces to support civilian agencies, including the FBI, in the event of a national emergency, especially any involving nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."
UFO Roundup readers who are interested in learning more about issues like Area 51, Camp Condon or Operation Abacus can check out Arkin's Web site at http://www.codenames.org/documents.html. (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 23, 2005, "U.S. troops get secret role on U.S. soil," page 3A and USA Today for January 18, 2005, "Inaugural security will stretch from sky to underground," page 4A.)
QUOTH THE RAVEN, "TEKELI-LI!"
"The mystery man was dressed for the cold rather than tradition, and some spectators were not quite as respectful as years past."
"But for the 56th year, a man stole into a locked graveyard" in Baltimore, Maryland "early on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday and placed three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on the writer's grave."
"Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum," at 203 North Amity Street in Baltimore, "who has seen the mysterious visitor every January 19 since 1976, gathered with about 20 people Tuesday night to glimpse the ritual."
"'It was absolutely frigid,' Jerome said of the below-20-degree (Fahrenheit) temperature."
"No one, not even Jerome, knows the identity of the 'Poe Toaster.' The visit was first documented in 1949, a century after Poe's death."
"This year, the visitor arrived at 1:10 a.m. in a heavy coat and obscured his face with a black pullover, Jerome said. He was not wearing the traditional white scarf and black hat."
"'He put the roses and cognac at the base of Poe's grave and put his hand on the top of the (tomb) stone. He paused and put his head down,' the museum curator said."
"He left after about five minutes, Jerome said."
"The visitor's three roses are believed to honor Poe, his mother-in-law and his wife, all of whom are buried in the graveyard. The significance of the cognac is unknown."
"People who stand vigil usually respect the visitor's desire for anonymity, which along with the visitor's quick moves and the cover of darkness, have kept his secret well."
"But this time, some spectators 'created a nuisance,' Jerome said. Some entered the locked cemetery; others confronted Jerome after the stranger had departed and demanded that he reveal his identity."
"For decades, a frail figure in black made the visit to Poe's grave. But in 1993, the original visitor left a cryptic note saying, 'The torch will be passed.' A later note said the man, who apparently died in 1998, had passed the tradition on to his sons."
"Poe, who wrote poems and horror stories such as "The Raven," "Annabel Lee" and "The Telltale Heart," died on October 7, 1849, in Baltimore at age 40 after collapsing in a tavern."
In 1837, Poe wrote a short novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, in which an American sailor is shipwrecked in Antarctica and encounters an alien presence on the icebound continent.
(Editor's Note: Poe's story inspired Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1936) to write his aliens-in-Antarctica novel, At the Mountains of Madness, in 1932.)
"Bethany Dinger, 32, first became fascinated with the writer while doing volunteer work at the Poe House in high school. Wednesday was her third time watching the ritual."
"'It's always amazing--you know it's going to happen, and then it's just wow, he's here,' she said, 'We're just so in the moment--there's no talking' while the visitor pays homage."
UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said Poe may have known more than he was telling about Antarctica."
"A French professor claims that Poe was a secret initiate," Trainor said, "According to Claude Gaignebet, the Rabelais scholar, the poem The Raven has exactly 108 verses, a magickal number in alchemy. He thinks the title is a play on words. The Raven is actually Reve, French for dream. Poe's heroine Leonore was a French pun for Le Nord meaning The North, suggesting that the writer is in Antarctica. Also, Poe's 'book of ancient lore,' Gaignebet claims, referred to l'or, the magickal gold sought by the medieval French alchemists."
"A few Lovecraft fans believe Poe's 'book of ancient lore' in the poem inspired HPL's own book of black magick, the Necronomicon. Others think Poe had access to the original Kitab al-Azif, the book written by the Iraqi sorcerer Abdul Majid al-Hazrad in the Seventh Century. Kitab al-Azif went through a dozen translations before it finally became the Necronomicon."
"The antics at Poe's grave every year remind me of the wisdom of Abdul Majid al-Hazrad, who commented, "Verily hath Bin Shabazzar written, happy is the tomb in which no sorcerer hath lain, and happy the oasis at night whose wizards are all ashes."
"Oh, one more thing," Trainor added, "Poe's grave lies in Westminster Churchyard, which is located at the corner of Saratoga and Fayette Streets in Baltimore." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 20, 2005, "Under cloak of darkness, mystery fan visits Poe's grave," page 9A. Also the book Arktos: The Myth of the Pole in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival by Joscelyn Godwin, Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, Illinois, 1996, page 177.)
STRANGE WORLD OF TITAN
"New pictures of Saturn's moon Titan and other observations show that the Huygens spacecraft landed on a spongy surface like wet sand or soft clay, possibly saturated with liquid methane."
"The sky was orange, with patches of ground fog. Even the fist-sized lumps of ice were a dusty orange. Beyond the (landing) site, deep drainage channels appeared to lead to a shoreline in the distance."
"But a 'shore' to what? Scientists, in their first reports on Saturday," January 15, 2005, "on results of the successful Huygens landing, said the flat, dark area beyond the bright drainage terrain might still hold hydrocarbons, presumably methane, that can remain liquid in Titan's climate of minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit."
"'This is a view, an aspect of Titan we had never seen,' Martin Tomasko of the University of Arizona, leader of the imaging team, said at a news conference at the European Space Operations Center" in Darmstadt, Germany.
"'I have to say I was blown away by what I saw,' says ESA science director David Southwood."
"In landing on Titan, the most distant locale ever touched by humankind (Titan is 1.3 billion miles from Earth--J.T.), 'Huygens shows Europe can deliver when it comes to space,' Southwood says."
"Unblemished data transmitted by Huygens exceeded scientists' wildest hopes, despite a glitch that disabled one of the probe's radio channels. ESA plans an inquiry."
"Huygens entered Titan's atmosphere Friday," January 14, 2005, "a milestone long anticipated as the highlight of the $3.27 billion international Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its 31 moons. The probe left the Cassini on Christmas Eve," December 24, 2004.
"Burning through the (Titanian) clouds at more than 13,000 miles per hour (20,000 kilometers per hour), the craft slowed and floated on three parachutes for more than two hours in the thick atmosphere, carried by surprisingly strong winds. On landing, the probe sent images and data for 70 minutes before Cassini moved out of transmission range."
"Images show an orange-tinted world where channels and gullies run down to what may be a methane lake. Huygens landed in what appears to be a channel bed, surrounded by fist-sized ice blocks."
"The landing site was covered with a thick crust. Underneath that is material with the consistency of wet sand or clay, or perhaps 'creme brulee,' says mission scientist John Zarnecki of the United Kingdom's Open University."
"'Outside Earth, Titan is clearly the most exciting place in the solar system,' says planetary geologist David Kring of the University of Arizona-Tucson, home of the Huygens imaging team. 'We have to remember that seeing the surface so well is kind of a bonus. Huygens was primarily designed to study the moon's atmosphere as it floated down to the surface.'"
"The thin crust at the landing site indicates arid weather, Kring suggests. Methane rain probably falls only rarely, he says, perhaps percolating through the crust to the wetter material below."
"Titan's haze also is somewhat thicker than anticipated, Zarnecki says, which has hindered attempts by the Cassini orbiter to get a good look at the moon." (See USA Today for January 17, 2005, "Images of Titan amaze scientists," page 5D and the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 16, 2005, "Snapshots from Titan: Orange sky, mysterious shore," page 14A.)
OPPORTUNITY FINDS A METEORITE ON MARS
"One of NASA's Mars rovers, Opportunity, has bumped into what is probably an iron meteorite lodged in the Martian sand, mission scientists say."
"Opportunity landed nearly a year ago in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars and soon discovered evidence of water in the planet's past."
"In a presentation at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego last week, mission chief scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University said the rover's discarded heat shield bounced to a landing next to what could be the first iron meteorite seen on another planet."
"'I've told my team we shouldn't linger at this spot. It's clear this is where metal falls from the sky on Meridiani,' Squyres joked."
Squyres "noted that the rover has analyzed the heat shield, discarded as the probe landed, and found that it performed well during its fiery entry into the Martian atmosphere." The shield "protected the rover from temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the landing on Mars" in January 2004.
"Opportunity's twin mobile geology lab, Spirit, is exploring the other side of Mars." (See USA Today for January 17, 2005, "Opportunity knocks up against meteorite," page 4D.)
From the UFO Files...
1843: SCREAMS IN THE OCTAGON HOUSE
Okay, let's make sure we've got everything. Crosses? Check. Garlic? Check. Holy water? Check. Copies of the Bible, Al-Quran (The Koran) and the Book of Mormon? Check. All riiiight. I guess we're ready to visit the Octagon House...
Hey! Where did everybody go?
Well, if you're still with us, we're about to pay a call on the second most haunted house in Washington D.C., after the White House. It's that venerable three-story red-brick townhouse at 1799 New York Avenue N.W., best known by its nickname "the Octagon House."
The house "was designed by Dr. William Thornton, original architect of the (U.S.) Capitol and completed in 1800...Dr. Thornton designed the house for Colonel John Tayloe (the Third--J.T.), who is said to have been persuaded by his friend (George) Washington to build here rather than in Philadelphia," which was the capital of the USA during the 1790s.
The Tayloe family was one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Virginia. In the 1670s, William Tayloe purchased a farm, which he called Mount Airy, near Warsaw, Virginia. Here his son John was born in 1687. After John died in 1747, his son, John Jr., tore down the original farmhouse and built the large brownstone manor house, trimmed with light Aquia stone, in 1758.
John Jr. was a horse breeder, and he was very successful at it. Mount Airy became a frequent stopover for the Virginia gentry. "Philip Vickers Fithian, a visitor here in 1774, wrote, 'Fish, Feasts and Fillies!...Loud disputes concerning the excellence of each other's colts--concerning their Fathers, Mothers (or so they call the Dams), Brothers, Sisters, Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, Nieces and Cousins to the fourth degree! All the evening toddy constantly circulating. Supper came in, and at supper I had a full, broad, satisfying view of Miss Sally Panton. I wanted to hear her converse, but, poor girl, anything she attempted to say was drowned in the more polite and useful jargon about dogs and horses."
"In the dining room, beside many other fine pieces, are twenty-four of the most celebrated among the English racehorses, drawn masterly, and set in elegant gilt frames."
John Jr. died in 1779, "and Mount Airy passed to his only son, Colonel John Tayloe III (1771-1824), builder of the Octagon House in Washington D.C.," and who was introduced to George Washington by his Aunt Rebecca.
"In spite of its name," the Octagon House "is actually hexagonal, broken by a semicircular tower," reminiscent of a Templar tower or an ancient solar temple, "at the corner entrance." Indeed, the semicircular tower entrance resembles the temple-like south portico of the White House, which stands just south of the Octagon House across Lafayette Square (now Lafayette Park--J.T.).
In Weird America, author Jim Brandon writes, "Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Octagon, however, are the many hidden doors and stairways that were built into it by Dr. William Thornton (also an architect of the U.S. Capitol, with its warren of cubbyholes, chambers and catacombs). Although they are now supposed to be walled up, it is known that at least two tunnels once converged on the Octagon. One of these ran (across Lafayette Square--J.T.) in the general direction of the White House, and the other ran towards the then-nearby Potomac River."
"Oval balconies with delicate grilled railings are placed at second-floor windows, and white marble panels ornament the space between second- and third-floor windows. A sloping roof and cornice have replaced the (original) flat-deck roof and attic parapet--the only important changes ever made in the building--and tall rectangular chimneys rise from the roof."
Like James Hoban, the architect of the White House, Dr. Thornton was a Freemason, and some of the decor in the Octagon House has a decidedly initiatory feel. "A worn flight of steps with delicately patterned iron-grill railings leads up to the square Ionic (Greek) portico protecting the arched doorway and the heavy paneled door, built on the curve of the central tower." A Royal Arch, maybe?
"Opposite the entrance, a graceful classic archway opens into the oval stair hall, which gives access to the drawing room on the right and to the dining room on the left. The drawing room with green drapes, green chairs and a long green table, has an original mantel decorated in bas-relief with a composition of putty-plaster; it was made in London in 1798."
There is much occult symbolism in the Octagon's "Green Room." French occultist Henri Corbin pointed out that green was the mystical color of the Sufis of Iran in the Twelfth Century. An earlier Muslim book, The Recital of Hajj Bin Yaqzan, states, "Each year the rising sun shines upon it at a fixed time. He who confronts the Darkness and does not hesitate to plunge into it for fear of difficulties will come to a vast space, boundless and filled with green light."
Another Iranian Sufi master, Najim Kobra, wrote, "Dark at the beginning, because it was the dwelling-place of devils, it is now luminous with green light, because it has become the place to which descend the Angels and the Divine Compassion."
In her book, Arktos: The Myth of the Pole in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival, Joscelyn Godwin points out, "Iranian theosophers refer continually to this color; to emerald rocks, giving access to emerald cities, and to the Green Island where the Hidden Imam dwells."
(Editor's Note: Emerald cities, eh? And where have we heard that before? In that book by L. Frank Baum, Mason and Theosophist, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which functions on two levels, as a children's story and as an adult tale of a quest for magickal initiation.)
With Masonic arches and drawing rooms devoted to "the Green Ray" of solar initiation, it's no surprise that the Octagon House has a sizable brigade of ghosts.
"The ghost of Colonel Tayloe's daughter, who, grieving over her thwarted love for a young Englishman, threw herself down the great stairway, is said to have appeared in wavering candlelight."
As Jim Brandon points out, "The Tayloe girls had an unlucky penchant for toppling over the railing of the spiral staircase that runs from top to bottom of the house. Both of them are supposed to have died that way in fits of romantic agony during love affairs with suitors of whom Papa did not approve."
"And then, as if in some final test of the laws of probability, a (black) slave girl went over the same bannister and landed in the same place on the ground floor."
"Legend has it that a murdered slave girl, another suicide, and the ghosts of slaves wander screaming through the house and grounds. Underground passages to the White House and the Potomac, now walled up, and the hidden doors and stairways give color to the legends."
"At midnight Dolly Madison is believed by some to hold court among the shades of pretty women and courtly men."
Dolly Madison (birth name: Dorothy Payne--J.T.) was the wife of the USA's fourth president, James Madison. "After the burning of the White House in (August) 1814, President Madison occupied this (Octagon) house for a portion of 1814 and 1815. In the circular front room on the second floor (the first "Oval Office"--J.T.), the 'Treaty of Peace and Amity'" between UK and the USA, "known as the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, was signed by President Madison in 1815, after its ratification by the Senate."
"A center of social elegance under the Tayloes, the Octagon House reached the height of its social power and glamour while Dolly Madison was hostess for several months in 1814-15. Its visitors included" former president Thomas Jefferson, future presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, Capt. Stephen Decatur (who built the equally-haunted Decatur House just a few doors down on Lafayette Square--J.T.), Henry Clay, Baron von Steuben and our old pal Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.
"The Dolly Madison Room, fronting on New York Avenue at the eastern corner of the house, second floor, was occupied by the President's winsome wife while the Octagon was in use as a temporary White House."
Jim Brandon points out that "Aaron Burr (disgraced USA Vice President and cohort of the Illuminati--J.T.) is supposed to have scaled the fence and penetrated, Don Juan-like, to her boudoir 'to say goodbye' to Dolley, before setting out on further adventures."
At the corner of Madison Place and H Street N.W. in Washington is "the Dolley Madison House," described as "a buff stucco building" that "was erected by Richard Cutts, brother-in-law of Dolley Madison, in 1818. Possession passed to James Madison a few years later, and after his death in 1836, Dolley Madison devoted the proceeds from the sale" of her late husband's papers "to restoring the mansion, which she occupied until her death" in October 1849 at the age of 82.
Dolly entertained some distinguished visitors in 1843. One of them was a naval officer who later bought the house. This was "Commodore John Wilkes, leader of the Nation's first naval expedition to the Antarctic" from 1838 to 1843.
And, "although Edgar Allan Poe was frequently in Washington, his most famous visit was in March 1843, when he came to lecture and be received at the White House, but remained to imbibe too freely with several convivial friends here--to the discomfiture of the local literati who had sponsored his visit."
Former First Lady Dolly Madison, who was at the evening ceremony and who apparently had read Poe's Antarctic novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket in The Southern Literary Messenger, invited the author on a tour of the Octagon House. Poe agreed and, stumbling drunk, accompanied Dolly across Lafayette Square into the odd-looking dwelling.
Shortly before midnight, Poe emerged from the Octagon--cold sober. He plunged into Lafayette Square at a rather speedy gait, then collapsed against an iron lamppost, eyes wide and staring and hyperventilating, beads of sweat trickling down his ashen face.
Whatever he had seen in there had shaken Edgar Allan Poe to the depths of his very soul. But it didn't seem to faze Dolly Madison! (See the books Washington D.C.: A Guide to the Nation's Capital, New Revised Edition, Hastings House, New York, N.Y., 1968, pages 102, 254, 255, 281, 282 and 283; Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion, Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y., second printing, 1941, pages 548 and 549; Weird America by Jim Brandon, E.P. Dutton, New York, N.Y., 1978, pages 56, 57 and 58; Arktos: The Myth of the Pole in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival by Joscelyn Godwin, Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, Illinois, 1996, pages 109, 129. 130, 131 and 177; Washington D.C. 2003, edited by Brian Wansley Flanagan, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 2003, page 64; and Washington D.C., Official National Park Guidebook, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1989, page 90.)
Well, that's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth--and occasionally, Titan and Mars--brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you next time!
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2005 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.