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Volume 10
Number 5
February 1, 2005

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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UFOs AGAIN REPORTED IN THE INDIAN OCEAN AREA

"People are again reporting having UFO sightings in the Nicobar Islands, the Andaman Islands, India, the Maldive Islands and in the central area of Sri Lanka."

"The animals in these areas are again showing strange behavior. Tribesmen around the Andamans are again taking the signs seriously and are refusing to move back into the area" that was devastated by an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale and a subsequent catastrophic tsunami.

"The tribal people of the Nicobar and Andaman Islands have again moved to high ground. The sea birds are also showing strange signs."

On Monday, January 25, 2005, "powerful earthquakes sparked panic in two countries Monday, nearly a month after a quake triggered a deadly wall of water that killed more than 160,000 people."

"The two quakes, both magnitude 6.3" on the Richter scale "jangled nerves across the Indian Ocean region hit by the December 26 (2004) tsunami."

"Panic briefly spread through the Indian coastal city of Madras after residents felt an earthquake centered in the Bay of Bengal, about 1,548 kilometers (930 miles) away, near the Nicobar and Andaman Islands."

"Samuel Cherian, the senior police officer in Campbell Bay on the southernmost island in the Andaman archipelago, said he was sitting in his office when he felt 'a sudden jolt.'"

"The aftershock was felt in Banda Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra," the largest island in Indonesia, "but such tremors have been common in the last month and residents have largely come to ignore them."

"Seismologists said the quake near the Andamans was clearly an aftershock of the 9.0 magnitude quake that struck off the coast of Sumatra a month ago. The two lie on the same fault line, said John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado."

"But a predawn temblor earlier Monday on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi--nearly 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) to the east--was not triggered by the Dec. 26 quake because they lie on different faults, Bellini said."

"Still, the Sulawesi quake, centered about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of the city of Palu, sent thousands of panicked residents running to higher ground."

"'They were shouting, 'Water! Water!' because they feared waves,' said Dr. Riri Lamadjido, at the city's Undata Hospital, which received no injured patients as a result of the temblor."

"About 30 wooden houses and some shops were damaged, Palu police said."

Tremors continued Wednesday, January 26, 2005 in the Nicobar Islands with three more, one of which was about 6.0 on the Richter scale. On Thursday, January 27, 2005, thirteen tremors, measuring about 4.5 to 5.5 on the Richter scale, again rattled the Nicobar Islands. Two more were reported in the same island chain on Friday, January 28, 2005.

According to the newspaper India Daily, "The UFO sightings happen at night with strange lights. Ships travelling between India and the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, as well as commercial fishermen on the Indian Ocean, have reported receiving strange signals on their radios as they pass over the area," suggesting that the UFOs "are affecting the maritime radio frequencies."

"According to some experts, these are signs of possible experimentation with tectonic plates by some entity."

"People in the Nicobar Islands claim that something is going on under the ocean--deep underground--a few kilometers beneath the watery surface."

"The timing of the aftershocks is also strange. After one large aftershock, there is a considerable length of time before the next one. It means someone is controlling the aftershocks and are making sure the (tectonic) plates are not overstressed."

"Since the big earthquake on Dec. 26, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have experienced 121 aftershocks, all ranging between 5.0 and 6.0 on the Richter scale."

"A sailor with the Shipping Authority of India, Ltd., who has sailed on trans-Atlantic routes, says this part of the Indian Ocean now resembles the Bermuda Triangle region." (See India Daily for January 24, 2005, "UFO sightings and strange signals again reported in the Indian Ocean." Also the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 25, 2005, "Earthquakes rattle nerves in tsunami region." Many thanks to Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda for the Indian newspaper article.)


STRANGE SERIES OF QUAKES JOLTS COAST OF ECUADOR

Last week Ecuador was rattled by an incredible 12 earthquakes in a period of just five days.

The small country on the west coast of South America had its first quake on Thursday, January 20, 2005. It was the first of 12 "earthquakes of considerable magnitude along the Ecuadorian coast, keeping local residents in a state of fear."

"Faced with a series of earthquakes, the locals have shown clear signs of concern."

"Ecuadorian authorities have called for calm, stating that these are normal events, and fears that they may cause a tsunami have been dismissed."

"The Geologic Institute pointed out that 'the cause of these events is understood in nature and therefore is unable to generate a tsunami.'"

"Most of the quakes had their epicenter in the (Pacific Ocean) facing the shores of Manta, 260 kilometers (156 miles) southwest of Quito," the national capital.

"The other four occurred early Sunday morning," January 23, 2005, "the first at an intensity of 4.5 and the final one at 5.0" on the Richter scale.

"While most of the quakes occurred offshore from Manta, others were recorded in the vicinity of Esmeraldas, 180 kilometers (112 miles) northwest of Quito.

On Monday, January 24, 2005, at 6:23 p.m., a quake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook the ocean floor 45 kilometers (28 miles) southwest of Portoviejo, a fishing town located 275 kilometers (170 miles) west- southwest of Quito. (See the newspapers Las Ultimas Noticias of Chile for January 24, 2005, "Ecuador: 11 earthquakes in four days," and El Comercio of Peru for January 26, 2005, "Another temblor in Ecuador." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, Liliana Nunez Orellana y Monica Gaetano de Silva por estes articulos de diario.)


MYSTERIOUS LIGHT BEAM SWEEPS SHROPSHIRE

"Astronomical experts have joined forces with puzzled Shropshire residents in a bid to identify the mysterious beam of light spotted in the county's skies."

"People across the county stopped in their tracks as a massive beam of light lit up the early morning skies on Tuesday," January 18, 2005. "But no one could explain what caused the eerie light, which disappeared three seconds later."

"Now county residents and top boffins (UK slang for scientists--J.T.) have drawn up a list of possible explanations, including an iridium flare, a burning meteor, a bright searchlight, aircraft landing lights or even a UFO."

"Sue Oliver, 37, of Briarwood, Brookside, Telford," Shropshire, UK "saw the beam of light at 6:40 a.m. while walking her dog at nearby Nedge Hill."

"She said that although she doesn't usually believe in 'weird happenings,' after seeing the light, she thought it could have been a UFO."

"Montgomeryshire MP (Member of Parliament) Lembit Opik, who has campaigned to raise awareness of the idea of a meteorite or comet hitting the earth, claimed the light was most likely an iridium flare, which can illuminate hundreds of square miles and would look like a bright light."

"But Kev Wildgoose, from the Shropshire Astronomical Soceity, disagreed and said 40 years of experience has led him not to believe it was an astronomical sighting."

"'I'd be more inclined to identify it as an aircraft, perhaps a bright search light,' he said."

"People in Lancashire also reported something strange in the sky on Tuesday," January 18, 2005. (See the Shropshire Star for January 21, 2005, "Experts join debate on mystery light." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this newspaper article.)


ANOTHER UFO REPORTED IN NEW ZEALAND

On Wednesday, January 26, 2005, at 4 a.m., Mark and Fran Hirst were sound asleep at their home in Wainuiomata, near Lower Hutt on New Zealand's North Island when something unusual happened.

"I was woken just before 4 a.m. by a loud wooshing sound like a small tornado," Fran reported, "It became louder and louder, and it certainly didn't sound anything like a plane or a chopper (helicopter--J.T.). A UFO is all I could think of right then."

"Then I saw a row of bright white strobe lights all moving in a circling motion through the (window) curtain. It lit the whole room even though the curtain were thick and were pulled. It passed overhead at a fairly slow speed."

"Then the noise and the lights disappeared, and I summoned the courage to look out the window. But it was nowhere to be seen. Nothing--just a still, quiet night. I did not see the actual craft. It was quite low but above roof height. A quick approach and an even quicker departure, an instantaneous departure."

Lower Hutt is on New Zealand's North Island, located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Wellington. (Email Form Report)


CYLINDRICAL UFO SEEN IN LEHIGHTON, PENNSYLVANIA

On Tuesday, January 25, 2005, at 6:15 p.m., Dan F. was driving through East Penn Township near Lehighton, Pennsylvania (population 5,537) when he saw a cyclindrical UFO coming from the west.

"I was driving home on Route 895, looking west and saw a flat, bar-shaped structure of white lights heading towards me," Dan reported, "I at first thought it was a plane but then realized it was very large and very low. It veered south toward the valley along the Blue Mountains and was probably 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters) above the ground."

"It made a steep turn and headed back towards the highway, as I slowed down to almost a stop to get a better look at it. There is nothing (in the township--J.T.) but old abandoned (stone) quarries, some farmland and woodlands along the stretch, and this would be nowhere near large enough to hold whatever it was."

"As soon as I slowed down enough and was within a quarter-mile (0.4 kilometers) of the object, it made a showy right turn towards the mountains and promptly vanished. I turned off my radio and opened my window and heard no sounds at all. The skies were relatively clear. (The UFOs) speed variable, sometimes very fast, at other times almost floating."

Lehighton, Pa. is on Highways 476 and 209, approximately 18 miles (30 kilometers) north of Allentown. (Email Form Report)


THREE UFOs SIGHTED NEAR ROXBURY, VIRGINIA

On Friday, January 14, 2005, Kenneth Seay was outdoors in Charles City County, Virginia, southeast of Roxbury (population 500) when he spotted an unusual glimmer in the southwestern sky.

"They were just above the horizon," Ken reported, "Pulsating with red, green, yellow and blue lights. The three of them stayed still for several moments. Then they moved directly west. They were closer and I could barely see lights in them. They stayed for about 15 minutes, then the closest one faded, vanished. There were still colored lights around. Their height was just above the horizon, and their speed was very slow."

Roxbury, Va. is on Route 106 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Richmond, the state capital. (Many thanks to Tracy and Amy Helvey for this report.)

     Update February 2nd 2009

My name is Tracy Helvey and you have a report on volume 10 Number 5 that Kenneth Seay reported that is incorrect.

Mr. Seay was not there and he didn't see anything.

My wife, Amy, and I was the ones that experienced this and I happened to tell Mr. Seay about it. He did not ask me if he could tell anyone else or ask any kind of permission.

I would like you to change this story and tell the complete truth. I don't mind that the story in here but I want the info to be correct.

The details seem correct all except Kenneth had nothing to do with it.


MYSTERY METEOR CRASHES IN NORTHWEST CAMBODIA

"A 4.5-kilogram (10-pound) suspected meteorite landed in a rice field in northwestern Cambodia, narrowly missing a nearby village, police said."

"'The rock fell on a harvested rice field from the sky on Monday morning (January 24, 2005),' said Sok Sareth, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, which borders Thailand."

"'According to villagers who live nearby, it came very quickly from the sky and made a noise like a bomb exploding. It dug about 40 centimeters (16 inches) into the ground,' he said."

"'The rock was a little bit black and was hot and looks strange compared to other rocks. It was lucky that it did not land in the village, or people could have been killed,' he said, adding that experts should examine the rock."

"Pictures of the rock were splashed across the front pages of local newspapers" in Cambodia on Wednesday, January 26, 2005.

"Sok Sareth said villagers reportedly wanted to turn it into a shrine."

"'Nobody has asked for it yet, but I have been told that some villagers said they want to put it on a shrine and pray to it. But we won't allow them to do that. It's undignified,' he said." (See the Agence France Presse report for January 26, 2005, "Suspected meteor lands in Cambodia." Many thanks to Jim Hickman, executive director of Skywatch International, for this news story.)


CHILEAN POULTRY SLAIN BY CHUPACABRAS

"Two families of the commune of Victoria" in southern Chile "were shocked after finding almost all of their farm birds dead inside their henhouses."

"The first occurred on a property located a few blocks from the city's main plaza during the early morning hours of Sunday," January 23, 2005. "It was still possible to see the feathers of the dead birds scattered throughout the sector."

"People who were in the sector at the time of the attack stated that they had gone to bed around 4 a.m. without hearing any strange sounds. The first dead specimens were locked in a double-gated cage that was kept shut at night to keep the poultry safe from mice and cats. But the creature opened the gates to the cage, killing ten chickens."

"Afterwards, the strange animal toured the two henhouses in the area, killing everything in its way, leaving feathers in its path."

"The next case occurred in a house located three blocks from the municipal buildings in the downtown area of Victoria. This time, the birds showed clear wounds-- puncture marks in their extremities and under their wings, leaving the birds completely purple, without a trace of blood on their plumage."

"Luis Gonzalez, owner of the property, revealed that there was no need for guard dogs since his rooster played that role. The rooster kept strangers from approaching the enclosure, and its aggressiveness was such that the owner" allowed it to patrol the farmyard. "But the rooster's natural violence did not keep it from being killed by the 'animal' together with six hens."

"There are other strange cases that had alarmed the residents of La Araucania, this time in the vicinity of Angol. One such case occurred while the city's jail was being built in 2000. A night watchman was doing his rounds when he saw a strange animal land on the hook holding the streetlight, bending it. The watchman managed to see 'something' with wings, measuring one meter (3 feet, 3 inches), red eyes and completely covered in fur." (Editor's Note: Angol is a notorious UFO hotspot. A couple had an alien encounter there in 2000. See UFO Roundup, volume 6, number 10 for March 8, 2001, "Chilean couple's first date turns into an encounter with aliens," page 2.)

"According to Erasmo Mela, president of IFOV (Spanish acronym for Victoria UFO Phenemena Research--J.T.), 'We have had at least five cases attributable to the Chupacabras, and the same incisions were found on the wings. Other characteristics of these attacks are the absence of spilled blood. If you see an animal killing another, the killer shakes it, spilling blood everywhere. There were no traces of blood on the floor,' he stressed."

"What is strange about the events in Victoria and neighboring communities is that the animal, which allegedly attacks rural areas, is now active in densely- populated areas, including backyards 400 meters from the central area of any city, such as its Plaza Mayor." (See the Chilean newspaper El Austral for January 24, 2005, "Chupacabras behind avian deaths?" Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Liliana Nunez Orellana por esto articulo de diario.)


WEIRD MALADY DEVASTATES TASMANIAN DEVILS

"A disease that has devastated the Tasmanian devil population is probably being spread by the animal's boisterous sex life, Australian scientists believe."

The small animal, indigenous to Australia's island- state of Tasmania, "has been wiped out in many parts of the island over the past three years. The numbers of 'Nature's janitor,' as the (Tasmanian) devil is nicknamed, has fallen from about 150,000 to less than half of that, with four out of five dying in some areas."

"Researchers believe that the animals' habit of fighting over decaying carrion and engaging in robust sexual foreplay take credit for the speed at which the disease has spread. The illness, first noticed about five years ago, causes the development of facial tumors that leave the animal unable to see or eat." (See The Independent of UK for January 27, 2005, "Violent sex is 'killing the Tasmanian devil.'" Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: Spread by a "boisterous sex life," eh? Better hope some agent of Al-Qaeda doesn't show up in Hollywood for Oscar Night with one of these ailing critters on a leash.)


THE RAIN ON TITAN'S PLAIN IS MAINLY METHANE

"Black-and-white photos from the Huygens probe show a rugged terrain of ridges, peaks, dark vein-like channels and apparently dry lakebeds" on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

"On Earth, methane is a flammable gas. On Titan, it is a liquid because of the intense pressure and cold--274 degrees below zero" on the Fahrenheit scale.

"'There is liquid that is flowing on the surface of Titan. It is not water--it is much too cold--it's liquid methane, and this methane really plays the same big role on Titan as water does on Earth,' said mission manager Jean-Pierre Lebreton. 'There are truly remarkable processes at work on Titan's surface and in the atmosphere of Titan which are very, very similar to those occurring on Earth.'"

"A sensor about the size of a police officer's nightstick on the front of Huygens probed beneath the moon's crust and found a material with the consistency of loose sand."

"Channels on the (Titanian) surface are evidence of methane rain. There are also what appear to be river systems and deltas, frozen protrusions riddled by channels, apparent dried-out pools where liquid has perhaps drained away, and stones--probably (methane) ice pebbles--that seem to have been rounded by erosion."

"'Does it rain only once a year? Is there a wet season once a year? Does it rain more frequently? We don't know,' said another member of the team, Martin Tomasko of the University of Arizona. 'The feeling is that in the place we landed, it must rain fairly frequently, but we can't be more precise than that.'"

"The area is 'more like Arizona, or someplace like that, where the river beds are dry most of the time,' he added. 'Right after the rain, you might have open flowing liquids, then there are pools, the pools gradually dry out, and the liquid sinks down into the surface. Perhaps it's very seasonal.'"

"The river beds are darkened by what appears to be particles of smog that fall out of Titan's atmosphere, coating the terrain. The dirt apparently gets washed off the ridges by the methane rain to collect in the river channels."

"It did not appear to be raining when Huygens descended throught Titan's (orange) haze on parachutes, 'but it has been raining not long ago,' Lebreton said."

"Scientists believe the dark smog particles are formed by Titan's methane, breaking up in the atmosphere. That raised another question: where does the methane come from?"

"'There must be some source of methane inside Titan which is releasing the gas into the atmosphere. It has to be continually renewed, otherwise it would have all disappeared,' Owen said."

"Lebreton, the mission manager, said a next possible step in Titan exploration would be to send mobile probes, perhaps balloons to float around before landing."

"The Mars Rover team has already contacted him to say that 'they really now are dreaming of sending their rovers on the surface of Titan,' he added. 'This is highly possible--that we can now dream seriously of sending rovers on the surface of Titan. We just need the money.'"

"The probe was named after Titan's discoverer, the Seventeenth Century Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens."

"Huygens was spun off from the Cassini mother ship on (Friday) December 24 (2004). The $3.3 billion Cassini- Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Titan is the first moon other than Earth's to be explored." (See the Duluth, Minn. News- Tribune for January 23, 2005, "Titan: Scientists unsure how often methane rains down on the moon's surface," page 7A.)


MORE SNOW BLANKETS MASSACHUSETTS

Just a few days after "the Blizzard of 2005," more snow fell on the USA's six New England states, with very heavy accumulation on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, which still hasn't dug out from the previous storm.

"Hard on the heels of last weekend's Northeast blizzard, another snowstorm on Wednesday," January 26, 2005, "gave Boston its snowiest month ever and sent a chill down South that could coat the region in ice."

"Boston, which had 42.2 inches (105.5 centimeters) blew past the mark for its snowiest January (39.8 inches or 99.5 centimeters in January 1966--J.T.) and beat its record for a single month, set in February 2003 with 41.6 inches (104 centimeters)."

"Providence (Rhode Island), with 34.5 inches (86.2 centimeters) through Tuesday," January 25, 2005, "flirted with its snowiest January, also in 1966, of 37.4 inches (93.5 centimeters)."

"Cape Cod and Nantucket (island) were the hardest hit last week, getting two to three feet of snow. The National Weather Service said the two spots could get the most" on Wednesday, as well, "with up to 9 inches (22.5 centimeters) forecast."

"Massachusetts Gov. Milt Romney asked President Bush to declare a federal emergency for 10 counties still hurting from the blizzard."

In the Taunton-Attleboro region of Massachusetts, "the followup punch to the weekend Blizzard of 2005 turned out to be a feather tap Wednesday, delivering far less snow than expected. Up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow had been forecast, but the Attleboro Water Department had recorded 6.5 inches (16 centimeters) of snow from the storm, pushing the record-breaking monthly total to 51.25 inches (127 centimeters), the most that the city has ever received in any month."

Near-record accumulations of snow have also been reported in Duluth, Minnesota (population 86,918) and the communities along the north shore of Lake Superior.

According to the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune, "Along the hills that define Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior, the snow already is so deep this winter that..."

(1) "Snowmobiles are getting stuck if they venture off groomed trails."

(2) "Homeowners are having to shovel in front of their ground-level windows just to let some light into the house."

(3) "There's too much snow for snowshoeing at least off packed trails."

(4) "People are spending hours moving snow piles...to make room for more snow piles."

Larry Schanno, owner of Our Place tavern and restaurant in Finland, Minn., 75 miles (120 kilometers) northeast of Duluth, said, "I've never seen a winter where we had 100 inches (250 centimeters) of snow, and January isn't even over yet."

"Actually, it's more like 111 inches (277 centimeters), recorded right across the street at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office in Finland. There's about 40 inches (100 centimeters) still on the ground, thanks to a stunning four-day snowfall total--between January 19 and January 22--of 45.5 inches (113.75 centimeters)."

"The Finland area has become the region's snow capital this winter, surpassing even Wisconsin's South Shore snowbelt. Earlier this week, there were 57 inches (132.5 centimeters)...It was the most snow ever on the ground at Wolf Ridge, Minnesota's snowiest place, and the most in Minnesota anyone can recall in 45 years."

"'You have to be careful where you step or you go up to your armpits,' said Adam Barnett, a Wolf Ridge naturalist who takes his turn at 7 a.m. each morning to record the daily snowfall and snow depth totals."

The snow depth at Wolf Ridge, on the outskirts of Finland, Minn. was "just a couple of feet shy of the all- time state snow-on-the-ground record of 75 inches (187.5 centimeters) set in 1950" at Pigeon River, Minn. "on the Ontario border."

"And there's still two months of winter."

"'That's what's so unusual. That we have so much snow on the ground, and we aren't even into February,' said Sam Stanfield, climate expert with the National Weather Service in Duluth."

"'Duluth has more snow on the ground than Marquette, Michigan, and that's unheard of. We're approaching usual seasonal totals already and we have a lot of snow to come.'"

(Editor's Comment: That's for sure! Marquette is in the heart of what they call "the Big Snow Country" at the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.)

According to the North Shore Journal, tiny towns such as Silver Bay, Beaver Bay, Tofte, Schroeder, Lutsen, Lax Lake and French River, Minn. have received incredible amounts of snow. "No matter how you say, it's still SNOW. With 79.5 inches (198 centimeters) fallen this season, and 51.75 inches (129.4 centimeters) of those just this month, we've had more than our share! Our coldest real temperature was minus 27 degrees Fahrenheit...Some areas of town (Silver Bay, Minn.) were covered in snow a little more than others, but we all got plenty--for sure...Though a lot of us are tired of shoveling and snowblowing every other day, the resorts, restaurants, hotels and local establishments are sure to be singing choruses of 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow' well into April (2005)."

Other cities with heavy snowfall in the region include Babbitt, Minnesota with 71.3 inches (178.25 centimeters); Hurley, Wisconsin with 98 inches (272 centimeters) and Ironwood, Michigan with 101 inches (279 centimeters)."

Down South, "more than 300,000 homes in Georgia were without power Sunday," January 30, 2005, "after a rare ice storm virtually paralyzed metropolitan Atlanta."

"Hundreds of churches canceled services, and icy roads contributed to at least two drivers' deaths in Georgia and one in South Carolina."

"'The goal is to get the majority back on by Monday evening,' Georgia Power spokeswoman Konswello Munroe said."

"At Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, thousands of stranded passengers lined up to re-book one day after hundreds of flights were canceled. About 300 passengers spent Saturday night," January 29, 2005, "at the airport. Most flights were operating on schedule by mid-(Sunday) morning." (See USA Today for January 27, 2005, "Boston sets snow record," page 3A; the Attleboro, Mass. Sun- Chronicle for January 27, 2005, "Area dodges the worst;" the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 27, 2005, "North Shore's in deep," pages 1A and 4A; the North Shore Journal of January 29, 2005; and USA Today for January 31, 2005, "300,000 in the dark following Ga. storm," page 3A. Many thanks to Mary-Lou Jones Drown, Carolyn Rzepecki and Dan Dunphy for these newspaper articles.)


WEIRD WEATHER REPORTED AROUND THE WORLD

With "the Big Freeze" blanketing the USA's New England states for the second week in a row, weird weather popped up in other parts of the world, as well.

In Iraq, heavy snowfalls smothered the northern provinces of Dahuk, Irbil and Sulaymaniyah. On Tuesday, January 25, 2005, "15 centimeters (6 inches) of snow fell in Dahuk and Al-Aqra," north of Mosul, reported Ayesha al- Khatabi, UFO Roundup's Middle East correspondent. "It was very wet snow. Car wheels were spinning, and the roads were all blocked by stuck vehicles. Even more snow fell in the mountains around Raniyah and Rawanduz. Snow flurries were reported in Taqtaq, at the desert's edge."

On Wednesday, January 26, 2005, beachgoers on the Mediterranean Sea island of Mallorca were stunned to see powdery snow falling from the sky.

"This was the first snow on Mallorca in several decades," UFO Roundup correspondent Diego Carrasco reported. "It covered the fronds of the palm trees and the lemon, tangerine and olive trees. Cars were skidding off the highway between Parma and Manacor. Icicles were hanging from roof tiles in San Pablo. Since there were no (snow) plows on the island, the (Spanish) government had to ship them from Valencia."

Mallorca is the largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, located in the Mediterranean Sea midway between Barcelona and Bejaia, Algeria.

In the southern hemisphere, which is experiencing its summer, a storm front dropped a devastating load of hail on the Adelaide region in South Australia.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., on Wednesday, January 19, 2005, "Adelaide Hills residents say hailstones as large as apples fell" during the "big storm over the city."

"The weather bureau said 27 millimeters (2.7 centimeters or 1.3 inches) of rainfall was recorded" in the Gulf St. Vincent area.

"Woodside resident Sarah Brayshaw says her (rain) gauge shows 60 millimeters (6 centimeters or 2.2 inches) fell in just a few hours."

"She says her roof was pounded by hailstones the size of golf balls."

"'We have a tin roof on our farmhouse and it was big and the sound was just deafening,' Mrs. Brayshaw said."

"'We couldn't go outside because it would've hurt if it had fallen on us. It lasted for about three or four minutes."

Readers Len and Becky Darroch told UFO Roundup, "It wasn't just Adelaide that was hammered by hailstones. Hail fell from Gawler to Willunga, and the noise of it hitting the roof drowned out all conversation." (See the Iraqi newspaper Al-Siyada for January 26, 2005; Agence France Presse for January 27, 2005; and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. report for January 20, 2005. Many thanks to Ayesha al-Khatabi and Zuhur al-Azmat, Diego Carrasco and Len and Becky Darroch for these weather stories.)


From the UFO Files...

1945: FLIGHT OF THE OSTARA

"On the gray morning of January 8, 1945, a flock of reporters, pencils and notepads at the ready, hovered around Admiral Jonas Ingram, commander of the Eastern Sea Frontier, in his wardroom aboard a warship in New York harbor. The scribes had come for what Ingram's public- relations staff had promised would be 'a historic press conference.'"

"Ingram, a heavyset, flat-nosed old salt who had gained national recognition as football coach at the (U.S.) Naval Academy (in Annapolis, Maryland), was one of the Navy's colorful characters--and most outspoken. Seated behind a long table, Ingram said, 'Gentlemen, I have reason to assume that the Nazis are getting ready to launch a strategic attack on New York and Washington by robot bombs.'"

"There was a gasp of astonishment from the reporters."

"'I am here to tell you that these attacks are not only possible, but probable as well, and that the (USA's) East Coast is likely to be buzzbombed within the next thirty or sixty days.'"

"Ingram eyed his listeners, then added grimly, 'But we're ready for them. The thing to do is not to get excited about it. (The buzzbombs) might knock out a high building or two, might create a fire hazard, and most certainly would cause casualties. But (the buzzbombs) cannot seriously affect the progress of the war.'"

"The hard-nosed Ingram added that 'it may be only ten or twelve buzzbombs, but they may come before we can stop them.'"

"'At any rate,' the admiral concluded, 'I'm springing the cat from the bag to let the Huns know that we are ready for them!'"

Coach Ingram's announcement triggered a media sensation. The following day, January 9, 1945, the New York Times ran the story with the headline ROBOT BOMB ATTACKS HERE HELD POSSIBLE. But the war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945, and no Nazi rocket came plummeting out of orbit to crash in Manhattan.

Was Coach Ingram given to flights of fancy? Not at all. Allied intelligence knew that the Germans were working on a "New York Rocket." At least twenty of these large rockets were built at the SS underground base at Nordhausen. What happened to them is one of the enduring mysteries of World War II.

In his 1952 book, V2--Der Schuss ins Weltall, Major General Walter Dornberger, commander of the Peenemunde Rocket Research Institute, described the "New York Rocket" in detail. He wrote, "Thus the A-9 came into being...the missile was planned to reach at a height of about 20 kilometers (12 miles), a maximum speed of 4,400 kilometers per hour (2,800 miles per hour) and then go into a shallow curving glide with a peak of nearly 30 kilometers (18 miles). On arrival over the target at a height of 5 kilometers (3 miles), it was planned to dive vertically, like the" V-1, a primitive rocket-powered cruise missile, best known in World War II as "the buzz bomb."

"A better plan, however, and one which greatly improved range, was to construct the A-10, weighing 87 tons and with a total propellant capacity of 62 tons, as the first step of the combined A-9/A-10. The A-9 was placed on top of the A-10. The latter had a thrust of 200 tons for 50 to 60 seconds and gave the rocket a speed of 4,400 kilometers per hour. After the exhaustion of the first step (stage or A-10--J.T.), the A-9 would be ignited and lift out of the A-10."

"Once we reached this stage (in the blueprints), the horses fairly bolted with us," Dornberger wrote, "With our big rocket motors and step (multi-stage) rockets, we could build space ships which would circle the earth like moons at a height of 500 kilometers (300 miles) and at speeds of 30,000 kilometers per hour (18,000 miles per hour). Space stations and glass spheres containing the embalmed bodies of the pioneers of rocket development and space travel could be put into permanent orbits around the earth. An expedition to the moon was a popular topic, too. Then we dreamed of atomic energy, which would at last give us the necessary drive for flight into the infinity of space, to the very stars."

Amazingly, the gang at Peenemunde drew up these blueprints during 1942 and 1943. In his book, Gen. Dornberger, a child of the Nineteenth Century, admits to being a little "disconcerted" by these off-duty bull sessions, in which Werner von Braun, Willy Ley, Klaus Reidel and even Hitler's favorite aviatrix, Hannah Reisch, "chatted with such easy familiarity about outer space, the moon, the planets and what forms extraterrestrial life might take."

The question remains: did the A-9/A-10 combo ever make it into space?

There are a handful of clues that it did. In 1968, Ballantine published a photo on the back cover of their paperback book on German secret weapons of World War II. It shows a swept-winged A-9 on top of a cluster of rocket boosters. Flames pour out of five nozzles on the array. It has the hazy appearance of being shot with a long telephoto lens.

When your editor first saw this photo, I was struck by the similarity to the Soviet rockets then being launched from Baikonur. Unfortunately, with nothing in the photo's background to offer a size comparison, there is no telling whether the "customized" Nazi rocket is full-sized or merely a much smaller test model.

On the other hand, on November 19, 1954, Hermann Klein, a former scientist at Peenemunde then living in exile in Zurich, said he had worked on a Flugeschiebe (German for flying disc--J.T.) project at Peenemunde in 1942. The Nazi saucers were built by a team of three scientists--Schriever, Miethe and Belonzo--and the vehicle was given the code name V-7.

On October 10, 1952, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that a space rocket had been launched from an SS facility near Prague (now the capital of the Czech Republic--J.T.) in February 1945. The vehicle sounds suspiciously like an A-9/A-10. And the launch came about a month after Admiral Ingram's press conference in New York City.

During the summer of 1943, the Peenemunde research center was siezed by Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. German rocketry became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SS. During a trip to Berlin on September 6, 1943, Gen. Dornberger met his new boss, 42-year-old SS-Brigadefuehrer Hans Kammler.

"He had the slim figure of a cavalryman, neither tall nor short," Dornberger wrote, "In his early forties, broad-shouldered and narrow in the hips, with bronzed, clear-cut features, and a high forehead under dark hair slightly streaked with gray and brushed straight back, Dr. Kammler had piercing and restless brown eyes, a lean curved beak of a nose, and a strong mouth, the underlip thrust forward as though in defiance. That mouth indicated brutality, derision, disdain and overweening pride. The chin was well-molded and prominent."

"One's first impression was of a virile, handsome and captivating personality. He looked like some hero of the Renaissance, a condotierre of the period of the civil wars in northern Italy."

Kammler was Himmler's most trusted aide. He had a reputation of being the man who could get things done. In 1942, for example, Kammler, an architect by trade, had personally designed and supervised the construction of the giant Vernichtungenslager (German for destruction camp-- J.T.) called Auschwitz II, with its capacity for 200,000 prisoners, at Birkenau in southern Poland.

Now Himmler had new work for him. The Reichsfuehrer- SS wanted an underground factory "completely impervious to Allied bombs" that would build all of the contraptions in the Peenemunde gang's "blue sky" blueprints. It is not known if Hitler approved of this or not--it's part of what Colonel-General Erich von Manstein once called "the hermetically-sealed SS-Reich"--but Himmler was determined to build a workable spacecraft.

Himmler "urged Pohl to build factories for the production of war materials in natural caves and underground tunnels immune to enemy bombing and instructed him to hollow out workshop and factory space in all SS stone quarries, suggesting that by the summer of 1944 they should have the 'new cavemen' installed in the greatest number of 'uniquely bomb-proof work sites'...Brigadefuehrer Hans Kammler succeeded in creating underground workshops and living quarters from a cave system in the Hartz mountains in central Germany in what (Albert) Speer, writing to congratulate him, called 'an almost impossibly short period of two months' a feat, he continued, 'unsurpassable even by American standards.'"

With Kammler at the helm, production of V-1 and V-2 weapons went into high gear. In his book V-1, V-2: Hitler's Vengeance on London, David Johnson noted that "During the (V-1) Flying Bomb assault, from mid-June to early September 1944, 2,419 of the pilotless aircraft crash-dived into London. Rail and transportation networks were seriously disrupted. War production fell off."

"Between 8th September 1944 and 27th March 1945, 517 V-2 rockets struck London, with another 378 falling short of their target and impacting in Essex. Throughout southern England, a grand total of 1,054 came down. In London alone over 2,700 civilians were dead from the rockets."

On March 27, 1945, "the last V-2 to hit Britain came down on Orpington, Kent, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south-east of London."

"On the night of 17 December (1944) a V-2 crashed into the Rex cinema in Antwerp (Belgium) during a crowded show. When Hitler was informed that 1,100 people, including 700 (Allied) soldiers had been killed, by a characteristic irony he was reluctant to credit the report. 'That would finally be the first successful launch,' he observed sarcastically, 'But it is so fairytale that my scepticism keeps me from believing it. Who is the informer? Is he paid by the launch crew?'"

But if Hitler had little faith in the V-2, the same cannot be said of Himmler and Kammler. Himmler gave his aide everything he needed to keep the rocket program going.

"Kammler still believed that he alone, with his Army Corps and the weapons over which he had absolute authority, could prevent the imminent collapse, postpone a decision and even turn the scales. The (V-2) transports still moved without respite to the operational area" in the Netherlands, Dornberger wrote. "Convoys of motor vehicles bridged the gaps in the railrways. Kammler's supply columns, equipped with infrared devices that enabled them to see in the dark, rumbled along the Dutch highways."

Himmler's interest in spaceflight grew out of his personal commitment to the occult. When he had been appointed leader of the Schutzstaffel (German for Protection Squad--J.T.) in 1929, the group had been a small unit within the larger Sturmabteilung or Brownshirt militia, a kind of Secret Service devoted to the protection of Hitler and the Nazi leadership. By 1945, however, Himmler had transformed the SS into "a state within a state." Under his direction, the SS had become the Schwarze Sonne (German for Black Sun--J.T.), an order of mystics that numbered in the low millions.

In his book Hitler's Flying Saucers, author Henry Stevens pointed out, "The Black Sun to these initiated individuals was a physical body like our visible sun except that the Black Sun was not visible to the naked eye...The Black Sun is sometimes represented symbolically as a black sphere out of which eight arms extend. Such is its most famous rendition on the mosaic floor at Wewelsburg Castle which served as the spiritual home of the SS."

Himmler's "scientists were influenced by some ideas originating in Asia. Tibet and India are the suspects in question. UFOs have been reported over Mongolia, Tibet and India for centuries. The ancient Indians even claimed to have constructed aircraft which resembled flying saucers. These saucers are called Vimanas."

Since his days in the mystical group Artamen in the early 1920s, Himmler had been fascinated with the scriptures of ancient India. As a reader of the Rig-Veda and the Mahabharata, he would have been familiar with the tales of rishis (Hindu wizards--J.T.) visiting other worlds in outer space. So perhaps it's no surprise that he sent "the German SS-Ahnenerbe, an organization whose purpose was associated with researching German ancestry, out (on) expeditions to the East with the express purpose of acquiring ancient, hidden knowledge."

Kammler transferred Gen. Dornberger and Werner von Braun into the Wasserfall anti-aircraft rocket program in late 1944. Meanwhile, work continued on the Schriever- Meithe V-7 flying disc. With help from another mystical group, the Thule Gesellschaft, the project developed a craft called the Haunebu-1. This saucer "had a 25-meter diameter, a speed of 4,800 kilometers per hour (3,000 miles per hour) and carried a crew of nine men."

In November 1943, a second saucer, the Haunebu-2, was built, "slightly larger and could travel 6,000 kilometers per hour (3,600 miles per hour) for fifty-five hours."

A year later, in early December 1944, Gruppe Kammler unveiled its showpiece, the Haunebu-3, which "had a diameter of 71 meters (234 feet), and could reach a speed of 40,000 kilometers per hour (25,000 miles per hour)" and remain in space "for up to eight weeks, carrying a crew of 32 men."

Unaware of the progress of the Schriever-Miethe team, Gen. Dornberger proposed to suspend work on the A-9/A-10 "New York Rocket." The order was immediately countermanded. "But now, at the end of 1944, Kammler demanded its resumption," the general wrote, "I had no idea why."

In retrospect, it appears that either Himmler or Kammler--it is not at all clear who--planned to use the A- 9/A-10 as a booster to get the Haunebu-3, now referred to as the Ostara (ancient German goddess of the dawn--J.T.), into orbit rather than have the big saucer make the trip under its own power.

"On January 8, 1945, the first version of the A- 9...took off. The control failed about 30 meters (100 feet) above the firing table (launch pad)," Dornberger wrote, "A few days later, we were unable to launch another missile because the alcohol tank had developed a leak. At last, on January 24 (1945), we had our first success. The rocket, climbing vertically, reached a peak height of nearly 80 kilometers (50 miles) at a maximum speed of 4,300 kilometers per hour (2,700 miles per hour)."

(Editor's Comment: I think this may have been the rocket in the wartime photo that appeared on the back cover of Ballantine's book.)

All that needed to be done now was to strap two or three A-9/A-10 boosters together, with the Ostara as payload, and launch from Himmler's new SS base near Prague.

The same day the A-9/A-10 had its successful launch, January 24, 1945, Soviet troops of Marshal Ivan Konev's First Ukrainian Front (army group--J.T.) entered Auschwitz. Russian soldiers saw for themselves the results of Kammler's earlier "big project."

"On April 3, 1945, I had orders from Kammler to evacuate my staff of four hundred and fifty old Peenemunde hands to the Lower Alps near Oberammergau. We moved on April 6, as the American tanks advanced through Bleicherode toward Bad Sachsa," Dornberger wrote, "I parted from Kammler and spent the last month of the war at Oberjoch near Hindelang with my staff and Professor von Braun, who had been injured in an automobile accident."

So, on April 7, 1945, Hans Kammler, the architect of Auschwitz-Birkenau, pulled a disappearing act worthy of Houdini. "There are five different versions of his death," Henry Stevens wrote, "And they all read like pulp fiction."

Did Kammler head for outer space aboard the Ostara? Or did he leave on an even larger spacecraft, the Andromeda? Only one person knows the answer to that question, and he committed suicide with a cyanide pill on May 23, 1945--Heinrich Himmler.

But if anybody had a really, really pressing need to leave Earth in April 1945 it was SS-Brigadefuehrer Hans Kammler. (See the books V2--Der Schuss ins Weltall by Walter Dornberger, Bechtle Vertag, Esslingen, Germany, 1952, pages 128, 129, 130, 131, 176, 177, 219 and 235; Hitler's Undercover War by William Breuer, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 1989, pages 317, 318 and 319; V-1, V-2, Hitler's Vengeance on London by David Johnson, Stein & Day Publishers, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., 1981, pages 193, 194 and 195; Flying Saucers Uncensored by Harold T. Wilkins, The Citadel Press, New York, N.Y., 1955, pages 252 and 253; Himmler by Peter Padfield, MJF Books, New York, N.Y., 1990, pages 389, 464, 481, 482 and 611; Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 by Max Hastings, Alfred A. Knopf, 2004, pages 171, 172, 248 and 492; Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, New York University Press, New York, N.Y., 2002, pages 166, 167 and 168; and Hitler's Flying Saucers by Henry Stevens, Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, Illinois, 2003, pages 86, 87, 89, 90, 95, 158, 160, 161, 225, 264 and 265.)

Well, that's it for this week. Join us next time for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth--and occasionally, Titan--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.

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