MALAWI'S PRESIDENT FLEES HAUNTED PALACE
"The president of Malawi," a nation in south-central Africa, "has moved out of his luxurious 300-room mansion, insisting that the building is haunted."
"President Bingu Wa Mutharika claimed he felt ghostly rodents crawling over his body when the lights were turned out in his house on the outskirts of the capital, Lilongwe."
"He has moved to another palace in Mtunthama, a town in a tobacco-growing area 100 kilometers (60 miles) away, until clergy can exorcise the spirits. Neither his bodyguards nor his wife, First Lady Ethel, has detected any spiritual presence in the house."
"Last May (2004), when Mr. Mutharika, 71, came to power, he threw Malawi's Parliament out of the New State House and claimed it for his personal use, ignoring protests that he was reneging on election promises to cut spending."
"Parliament has not been able to meet since September (2004) because of the lack of an appropriate venue and is to reconvene in March (2005) in rented offices. Parliamentary committees have had to conduct their busines in motels and, at one point, MPs (Members of Parliament-- J.T.) had considered using a sports stadium for their debates."
"Now clergy from Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvary and Faith of God churches have all been asked to offer prayers for the building. As well as the rodents, Mr. Mutharika insists he has heard footsteps and strange noises in the presidential suite at night."
"The Rev. Malani Notunga, the presidential aide on Christian affairs, told reporters ghosts would not be allowed to harm the president. He added, 'No strategy designed from the pits of Hell will prosper against the president because we have asked for divine intervention to cast the blood of Jesus against any evil spirits plotting against the president.'"
"The mansion was built by Malawi's founding president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who ruled the country as an autocrat for 28 years after 1966. The house took twenty years and cost $100 million to build and is set on 555 hectares. Mr. Banda himself lived there only 90 days. His successor, Makili Muluzi, who came to power in 1994 through the country's first multi-party election, refused to use the building, calling it 'obscene opulence' in one of the poorest countries in Africa."
"Mr. Muluzi changed this because he became as extravagant as his predecessor, but he early decided to turn the palace into parliamentary offices after failing to find a potential buyer."
"Mr. Muluzi and Mr. Banda lived most of their terms in offices at the Fanjika Palace in Malawi's commercial centre, Blantyre. President Mutharika said the New State House was better suited to be a private mansion than a parliamentary building."
"Now here's a case where life is truly imitating art," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said. "The phenomena in Lilongwe--ghostly rats, footsteps, weird noises--are identical to the weird doings in H.P. Lovecraft's story, 'The Rats in the Walls,' which was first published in the March 1924 issue of Weird Tales."
"The reason Exham Priory in Lovecraft's story was haunted was because it was built over an ancient temple. This might also be the case with the presidential mansion in Lilongwe."
"To find out, I checked with that chronicler of the previous world-age, the Tetra Yuga, Lovecraft's friend and fellow author, Robert E. Howard. REH wrote about the Africa of the post-Atlantis 'Hyborian Age' in his story, 'Jewels of Gwahlur,' which appeared in Weird Tales for March 1935."
"Here's what REH had to say: 'The rulers--princes and high priests (of Keshan--J.T.) claimed descent from a white race, which in a mythical age, had ruled a city whose capital city was Alkmeenon. Conflicting legends sought to explain the reason for that race's eventual downfall, and the abandonment of the city by the survivors.'"
"According to Robert, the lost city of Alkmeenon was far south of ancient Keshan, 'over vast distances of plain, riverlaced jungle and mountains.' That would put it somewhere in the area around Lake Nyasa, in what is now Malawi. Maybe President Banda should have had archaeologists survey the site before he built his $100 million palace." (See The Independent of UK for March 14, 2005, "Ghostly rodents drive Malawi's president from mansion." Also The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi, Dell Publishing, New York, N.Y., 1997, pages 25 to 55; and Conan the Warrior, by Robert E. Howard, edited by L. Sprague de Camp, Ace Books, New York, N.Y., 1967, page 108.)
(Editor's Comment: You'll be okay, President Mutharika. Just don't ever read Lovecraft's story, "The Rats in the Walls." And, if you own a pet cat named Blackfellow, don't let that kitty roam around the mansion by himself. And, with that, we begin Weird Africa Week here at UFO Roundup. Coming up next...another giant crocodile!)
GIANT CROCODILE CAUGHT AT POINTE NOIRE, CONGO
A gigantic crocodile stunned beachgoers at Pointe Noire, a seaport city in the Republic of the Congo, sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville, when it crawled out onto the sands of the Petroleum Club's Plage Sportive (beach).
The reptilian monster was even larger than the crocodile captured in the Bugiri district of Uganda the previous week. (For more, see UFO Roundup, volume 10, number 11 for March 16, 2005, "Giant crocodile captured in southeastern Uganda," page 14.)
"Forget Florida gators, the snakes and the crocs, here is something to be afraid of lurking in the tall grass."
"The crocodile was on the beach in front of the Petroleum Club, the Plage Sportive, in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo. The animal measured 7 meters (21 feet) long, weighted 4,500 pounds and is believed to be 80 years old."
(Editor's Note: By comparison, last week's Uganda crocodile was 5 meters (16 feet) long and weighted 2,500 pounds.)Congo-Brazzaville "scientists said he was looking to
eat humans because he was getting too old to catch animals. For some months past, in villages close to Pointe Noire, people were complaining that some people in their village had been disappearing. It could well be that this crocodile was responsible."
"The crocodile was killed by the army Sunday," March 13, 2005, "at 3 p.m. Currently he is in a freezer at the Hotel Azur. The contents of its stomach will be analyzed on Friday," March 18, 2005, "at 2 p.m." (See the African newspaper for March 14, 2005. Many thanks to Nancy Ruehl and Justin Sabiti for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: Did I forget to mention that it's also Crazy Crocs, Take a Bow Week here at UFO Roundup? Check out the news from Seattle next.)
CRAZY CROCS SIGHTED AT SEATTLE'S LAKE WASHINGTON
"Are razor-toothed reptilians patrolling Lake Washington? Or has a new suburban legend sprung to life?"
"Medina wants to know. So does Mercer Island. So do the men and women of law enforcement in both towns."
"It was just Wednesday," February 23, 2005, "that two reports came to" police in Medina, Wash. (population 3,011) "that described a shape that looked like 'the head of an alligator' near the dock in Lake Washington's Fairweather Bay."
"No Bigfoot. No Loch Ness Monster. Not even a critter matching the description of the ancient (Puyallup) Indians, whose legends had spotted, horned serpents and other assorted monsters living in the lake."
"Still, the reports were real enough for police."
"Medina police spokeswoman Shannon Gibson would not reveal identities but said each report was taken seriously and one was checked out by a Medina officer on foot; the other by the Mercer Island Marine Patrol."
"'Both are essentially the same,' Gibson said, 'The people said they saw something that appeared to be a small alligator. The one report said 'head of an alligator.' Both were seen from the docks of their residences.'"
"Gibson said there have been no other sightings since the two called in on Wednesday."
"In a phone call to Sgt. Kim Chandler of the (Washington state) Department of Fish and Wildlife regional office in Mill Creek (population 11,525)" on Monday, February 28, 2005, "there was a long pause before Chandler finally said, 'Well, after the cougar was found in Discovery Park back in the 1980s, I've learned never to say never. But, in this case, I'd have to say, even if it was a caiman (the crocodile's smaller cousin, a native of Central and South America common to the pet-store trade), it would be highly, highly unlikely to see it in the lake at this time of year.'"
"His reason, he said, had to do with the nature of caimans and the nature of Pacific Northwest weather" in February.
"Crocs and gators and caimans, he said, are coldblooded creatures whose survival depends on the heat of tropical conditions."
"'Do you think they could live in the lake right now?' he asked, 'Probably something like 47 degrees (Fahrenheit), which means an animal like that would last for, oh, maybe 20 minutes.'"
"Chandler recalled the caimans finally captured sunning themselves at Seattle's Green Lake some years ago, and the caiman captured at the north end of Lake Washington" in Kenmore, Wash. (population 18,678) a few years later."
"In both cases, he said, it was summer, and, in the Green Lake case, the water temperature had been pushing just 70 degrees (Fahrenheit)--still cold by tropical standards."
"The owner of a Bellevue (Wash.) pet store had a theory of how a critter might make it outdoors."
"Pets and Things owner Elaine Mackin said she and her husband, Bob, don't have crocodilians for sale at their pet store in Bellevue's Overlake shopping district."
"The animals bought as fingerlings grow and grow."
"Crocodilians grow fast enough in captivity to make a mess before you know it."
"'They're a pain in the (posterior),' she said, 'First thing you know, they're three feet (0.9 meters) long and looking to kill you.'"
"So, like the bunny set free in the local park, the caiman is released to fend for itself in the climatically temperate Northwest."
"The Medina reports nevertheless have people looking twice at splashes in the lake" near their docks.
"Michael Peters, a Fairweather Bay neighbor, said yesterday that he is among them."
"'I went out to my boat, and I saw a big swirl in the water,' he said, 'We have muskrats. We have freshwater otters. We have ducks that dive. But usually you see them come up.'"
"'This one didn't.'" (See the Seattle Post- Intelligencer for March 1, 2005, "Is something lurking in Lake Washington?" Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for this newspaper article. For more on the crazy crocs, see The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover Press, 1974, pages 591, 592 and 598.)
(Editor's Comment: And down in Florida...)
FLORIDA TRUCKER EATEN BY GIANT ALLIGATOR
"A truck driver was killed and partially eaten by a 9-foot (2.7-meter) alligator which had overcome its fear of humans after being fed tidbits by locals in Florida."
"Don Owens's body was found in wetlands about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from his home in Bartow (population 15,340) in Polk County, Florida," a town on Highway 60 approximately 37 miles (61 kilometers) east of Tampa, "by fishermen on Saturday," March 12, 2005. "His forearm was found in the alligator's stomach when it was trapped and killed two days later" on Monday, March 14, 2005.
"Although there are more than 1.5 million adult alligators in Florida, which is home to 16 million people, fatal attacks are rare, and the reptiles tend to avoid humans. Mr. Owens, 56, is the sixteenth victim since the state began collecting records in 1948."
"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWCC) has spoken to people who live around the lake and admitted petting the alligator and feeding it sandwiches."
"Gary Morse, a spokesman for the commission, said, 'Some people think there is no harm in throwing sandwiches to a large reptile, but the practice of feeding gators is dangerous, harmful and contributes to attacks on humans.'"
"'Feeding an alligator will cause it to lose its fear of people and become a problem.'"
"State Police say Mr. Owens was last seen at a convenience store on Wednesday," March 9, 2005. "He appeared disorientated and asked a passerby if he could make a phone call for him, before getting back into his car and driving away."
"He was reported missing the following day (Thursday, March 10, 2005) when he failed to arrive at work. On Saturday, the remains of his body were found in Six Pound Pond. A post-mortem examination determined that he had been killed by an eight foot, nine inch (2.67 meters) alligator, and trackers went into the lake to trap the creature."
"Mr. Morse explained that once an alligator has killed, it must be destroyed. He said, 'Moving a problem alligator to another area is usually not an option. It's only because it can create more problems than it solves. Once a gator has lost his fear of people, it doesn't matter where you put it, it is still not afraid of people and continues to pose a threat.'"
"Since the nuisance alligator program began" in Florida in 1982 "it has received 240,411 complaints resulting in 100,365 alligators being culled." (See the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for March 16, 2005, "Truck driver eaten alive by alligator." Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for this newspaper article.)
ROOFTOP MADMAN TURNS UP IN PARANA, ARGENTINA
The weird entity known as El Loco de los Techos (Spanish for Rooftop Madman--J.T.) appeared this week in the city of Parana, the capital of Entre Rios province in northern Argentina.
"For the past several days, sightings have occurred in several barrios (neighborhoods) of Parana," a large city 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Santa Fe, where the Rooftop Madman was first reported. "The prowler is said to be two meters (6 feet, 6 inches) tall, very thin, with a gaunt face and two red eyes which send piercing glances at its victims. He also has large ears, dresses completely in black and wears a cape. He has been seen daily cavorting on the rooftops of homes and office buildings in Parana."
On Friday, March 18, 2005, the cable TV network El Once aired interviews with eyewitnesses on their popular show "Nunca Es Tarde." The host compared their testimony with that of the Santa Fe eyewitnesses, concluding that "there are strong similarities between the incidents in Santa Fe and Parana."
A Parana witness, "Dora Ruiz said, 'At first we thought it was a black shadow. But then we looked again and realized that it was a real person.'"
"Elsa Ingaramo said, 'When we saw him for the first time, it was a person dressed all in black, leaping from rooftop to rooftop. He was also seen in trees. Several persons who searched the roof found signs of his passage. People in our barrio have asked for more police protection.'" (Muchas gracias a Mariela de Tomaso para estas noticias.)
GREEN FIREBALL SOARS OVER PACIFIC NORTHWEST
"Dozens of residents in the (USA's) Pacific Northwest reported seeing a bright streak of light as it flashed across the sky, startling witnesses from Oregon to the Seattle (Washington state) area, according to officials."
"Scientists said the falling object was probably a meteor and that it likely disintegrated before any fragment fell into the Pacific Ocean."
"'It was like a big ball of fire,' said Summer Jensen, who was in her living room Saturday night," March 12, 2005, "when she saw a streak of light flash above her Portland, Oregon home."
"Michael O'Connor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regional office in Renton, Wash. (population 50,052) said as he fielded numerous calls from people reporting that they had seen a bright streak cross the sky shortly before 8 p.m."
"He said police, pilots and some air traffic controllers described it as 'a green ball of fire with a long tail.'"
"'It appears to have come down over the ocean,' said Dick Pugh of the Canadian Meteorite Laboratory. He said the object flew over the Pacific Coast, streaking along from south to north."
"Jim Todd, planetarium director to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, said that if the meteor had entered the atmosphere during the day, it may not even have been noticed."
"'It creates a bright contrast against the night sky,' Todd said."
In Seattle, the fireball was accompanied by a slight earthquake and an equally mysterious power outage.
According to researcher Michael Goodspeed, "On the evening of Saturday, March 12 (2005), a fireball was seen in the sky by residents ranging from southern Oregon to Seattle. The time of the sighting was a few minutes before 8 p.m. Pacfic Standard Time. At approximately the same time, a 3.3 magnitude earthquake (on the Richter scale--J.T.) occurred near Olympia, Wash. (population 42,514)," the state capital, which is located 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Seattle.
"Just a few minutes later, a large power outage left thousands of Seattle residents without electricity for approximately an hour and a half."
On June 3, 2004, a meteor flew over western Washington state, exploding over Puget Sound at precisely 2:40 a.m. Within minutes, an earthquake measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale occurred in the same region. (See The Oregonian for March 13, 2005, "Bright streaking light seen in western sky;" and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for March 14, 2005, "A meteor, an outage and a quake, all in one night," page 1. Many thanks to Jim Hickman, executive director of Skywatch International, and Michael Goodspeed for these newspaper articles.)
UFOs APPEAR IN OTTAWA AND COOKSTOWN, ONTARIO
Two UFO sightings were reported in Canada last week.
On Saturday, March 12, 2005, at 10:30 p.m., Jeff Forrester reported, "My wife and I had just left a restaurant close to our home" in Ottawa (population 323,340), Canada's capital city. "It is only a 10-minute walk from our house to the restaurant. Halfway home, I saw something fly overhead, coming from behind us and flying towards the west. There were no lights at all on the object."
"I immediately pointed directly to the object, which I could barely see myself, and said to my wife, 'Look! What the heck is that!?'"
"She unfortunately was not able to see it."
"Our neighbourhood is very dark at night, and only the bottom of the object was barely visible to me, illuminated by whatever (street) lights were in the area."
"The unusual thing, and what made me do this report, was...absolute silence. No sound whatsoever from the object. Also, not a cloud in the sky that night, plenty of stars. I got thinking maybe it was a spotlight or something. But the more I thought about it, the more sure I was that something was different. Spotlights (like the ones they use for grand openings, etc.--J.F.) would usually only illuminate clouds."
"Later I took another look outside and saw nothing. I was completely sober and have good eyesight. On road trips, I am always the first to see deer or other wildlife in the field."
"The (object's) colour was light grey. The shape was like that of a jet with similar wing shapes, however less defined and with smoother lines. This was because there was no long nose or tail portions. More like a flying wing. Reminded me of something like a hang glider or a blown-up kite. I would estimate that it was about 20 feet (6 meters) long, taking into account the height (altitude), and was fast."
On Thursday, March 17, 2005, just after midnight, eyewitness A.M. was at his home in Cookstown, Ontario, Canada (population 1,027) when he saw "a strange object approach from the northwest."
"There was an object in the sky quite near a major set of power lines near my house. The object first appeared to be a bright star, then it seemed to tumble. Soon it was changing colour--red to green to yellow. It darted erratically and moved from west to east slowly."
A.M. pointed out that he has seen many UFOs at this particular location, usually between midnight and 3 a.m., "on several different occasions, mostly on non-overcast night, in fact."
"On one occasion, I saw green lights back off and move away from the object and then slowly fade out."
"When I look with binoculars, there appears to be a black, smoke-like substance around the object when it moves erratically. This object has been seen often. Who can one contact about these sightings?"
Cookstown, Ont. is on Provincial Highway 89 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Toronto. (Email Form Reports)
OVAL-SHAPED UFO SEEN IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS
On Saturday, March 19, 2005, at 8:20 p.m., Bryce Griffith was outdoors in his neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas (population 534,694) when he noticed "a strange object approaching from the west."
"I was walking out to the backyard to feed my dog, and I looked up in the sky," Bryce reported, "I saw an oval-shaped, metallic-colored object, twice the size of a fighter jet. It had lights on four sides. Two on the front and two on the back--they were just white. There were two on the opposite sides that were colored."
"The UFO didn't make a sound, even though it was flying low. I'm not sure about the height (altitude-- J.T.) About 300 feet (90 meters). It was going faster than a fighter jet, though not that much faster." (Email Form Report)
DAYLIGHT DISC SIGHTED IN LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO
On Tuesday, March 8, 2005, at 6:55 a.m., eyewitness Jim Blackburn reported, "This morning I stepped out into an almost-dawn about five minutes before 7 o'clock all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a good night's sleep, facing a cloudless sky and bright early sunlight" in his hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico (population 74,267). "I was wearing my prescription sunglasses, which give me 20\40 distance vision. I was facing a bit north of west, probably west-northwest, when my eye was distracted by movement in the sky."
"What I saw was a solid object, dark brown, but with a darker ridge on the exterior but definitely not with a smooth surface such as a balloon, moving from right to left, i.e. approximately north to south at a low altitude. It moved smoothly, and I could not associate any sound with its movement--no jet engine sound, no whirring propellors or even flapping wings. It did not seem to be rotating. There were two or three brief flashes of light which I supposed to be (the reflection of) bright sun off glass or some polished surface. I watched as it moved away fairly rapidly--out of my (unaided) sight in less than 60 seconds, I surmise."
"Having nothing in the sky by which to judge the object's size, and not being a professional observer or estimator of distance, my guesses as to the object's size and elevation can only be that. For size, I would guess 8 to 15 feet (2.4 to 4.5 meters) in diameter. For distance, I would guess 1,000 feet (300 meters) for horizontal distance and 1,000 feet (300 meters) in elevation."
"I proceeded on my morning 'constitutional' walk as usual, with nothing untoward to see and hear. The sun at ground level was very bright. I'm tempted to say 'imperceptible.' I can't believe the object was around and I'm the only one who saw it and is replying. The UFO may have been observed by others, but so far I have not received any reports of a sighting like this." (Email Form Report)
LUMINOUS GREEN UFO SEEN IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE
On Thursday, March 17, 2005, at 8:35 p.m., Alison Booth reported, "My daughter saw a ball of lights that was spinning eastwards" through the sky of Swallownest, near Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.
"The lights had a green tinge to them," Alison reported, "When I was able to look, I saw a shimmering ball of light that kept moving back and forth. The UFO was like a large ball of lights that was rotating slowly. It did not depart suddenly but rather travelled slowly at the same rate of speed. It must have been high, for my daughter and I could see it from at least a mile away." (Email Form Report)
WOMAN SEES A UFO IN PUTNEY, VERMONT
On Friday, March 18, 2005, at 7:10 p.m., Jacqueline Brook was outdoors in her hometown of Putney, Vermont (population 1,150). She reported, "I had another great UFO sighting on Friday, March 18. I'm wondering if anyone else saw the same thing. I saw a very bright white light against what I thought (after studying a star chart--J.B.) were the very faint stars of Monoceros to the southeast of the zenith. Orion was half-visible rising above my long east-west roof-line in Putney, Vt. to the southwest. The light was as bright as Venus can be when it's blazing. I puzzled over it, wondering if it could be Jupiter, but it seemed too big and bright."
"Then I watched as it suddenly diminished in size and brightness, like a camera shutter closing down to a pinpoint of light. It then proceeded to move across the sky to the south or the southwest. I was headed out to hear a band called The UFOs, and it was quite an incredible synchronicity, as well."
Putney is on Route 5 in southern Vermont, approximately 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of Brattleboro. (Email Form Report)
BIGFOOT TRACKS SPOTTED IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA
Bigfoot tracks were spotted twice in the last month in Cook County and Lake County, Minnesota, on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Fortean researcher Jim Richardson reported, "I don't think I'm betraying any confidences by spilling this cryptozoological scoop, so here goes. Three people Allen (Richardson) and I work with were hiking about three miles (5 kilometers) into the woods around Grand Marais, Minnesota (population 1,353)," a fishing port on Lake Superior located about 120 miles (192 kilometers) northeast of Duluth, on Saturday and Sunday, February 12 and 13, 2005.
"They were making their way to a cabin out there" in Cook County "and snowshoeing a thin trail through waist- deep snow around 1 to 2 a.m., and even with snowshoes on, they were sinking a foot and a half or so into the snow."
"Apparently they came upon some large tracks, with a roughly four or five-foot (1.3 to 1.5-meter) stride, along a trail running perpendicular to theirs. It spooked them all pretty good on account of the great length of stride, which persisted as far up and down the trail as their lights were able to see. The tracks also left no kicked- up snow like snowshoes leave, implying great height in whoever made the tracks."
"One of the people assured me that the tracks were bipedal and not moose tracks or anything. He was also the one who inspected it closest of the three. He said he could discern, in his close examination, that it was a large footprint."
"This one person is really pretty certain that nothing identifiable made those tracks and leans towards a Bigfoot explanation. The other two guys are hedging their bets a little more, but not much...They're being good skeptics, though, and saying the tracks are 'unidentified.' What can be said with some certainty is the experience spooked them all."
On Friday, March 4, 2005, another witness "went out to check on the yurt I built in Lake County, Minn., near Isabella, between the (Lake Superior) North Shore and Ely, to see if it had collapsed under the weight of the snow. It was still standing... three winters now...those Mongolians are so smart!"
"Sans snowshoes, my dog and I walked through knee-to- hip-deep snow for about a half-mile (0.8 kilometers). Even as a tall person my tracks were a foot apart or less. Yes, it was exhausting. My dog loved it."
"Along with many obvious deer trails and smaller tracks in the snow, I came upon a single set of very large, wide and elongated human-like tracks. Each step was 4 to 5 feet apart and each imprint went to the bottom of the snowpack, unlike snowshoes. My first thought was maybe a moose was 'hopping' through the woods, but upon inspection they were clearly single-footed tracks. Not even the tallest person in the world wearing snowshoes could stride like that through such deep snow."
The witness returned to the scene on Wednesday, March
9, 2005, informing the Richardsons that the prints "were
16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 centimeters) deep last Friday
and had been recently filled with fresh snow.
Richardson added, "The Grand Marais witnesses all say the tracks in the photos are the same as what they saw."
But Fortean researcher and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who studied the Isabella track photos, reportedly told the Richardsons that "it's hard to tell anything about the prints without foot casts," adding, "'Too much melting to say much, it appears...These could be anything.'"
According to the Bigfoot Reseach Organization, in 1985, witnesses saw a Bigfoot estimated to be 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall in the woods just north of Silver Bay, Minn. (population 2,068).
Isabella is on Minnesota Highway 1 about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Silver Bay. (See the Reader Weekly of Duluth, Minn. for March 17, 2005, "Local Bigfoot flap," page 30.)
TEXAS RANCHER GETS PHOTO OF ELMENDORF BEAST
"Just what is it? Another mysterious sighting of the mysterious beast many call the Chupacabras. And this time the creature was spotted in East Texas--alive!"
"A man in Harrison County," about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Longview, Texas (population 73,344) "was able to snap a photo of the strange blue-gray animal with long fangs."
UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor, who saw the photo online, commented, "It is definitely some kind of canid. It looks like a cross between a coyote and a hyena. It has the long, lean body of a coyote, short, bristly bluish-gray fur, and the small snout of a hyena. Its ears are pointed, almost pyramidal in shape. The legs are slightly longer than a wolf."
The mystery creature "looks like the one a San Antonio area rancher shot and killed last year (2004). You may remember the so-called 'Elmendorf Beast' that rancher Devin McAnally discovered in July (2004). The story drew attention from around the world, and other animals of the same type have been spotted across Texas."
"Some say it's a coyote with mange. Some have wondered if it's the Chupacabras of Mexican folklore. You can judge for yourself." (See the San Antonio station WOAI news broadcast for March 14, 2005, "Chupacabras? Another mystery animal spotted." Many thanks to Dolores Echevarria for this news story.)
ANOMALOUS TSUNAMI KILLS THREE IN NORTH YORKSHIRE
An anomalous tsunami--a freak wave 15 feet (4.5 meters) high--washed ashore in North Yorkshire, UK Sunday afternoon, March 13, 2005, killing three people.
The wave was similar to the surprise tsunami that washed ashore in Argentina in January 2005.
"A mother and her 10-year-old son died and her 13- year-old daughter was found dead last night (Sunday, March 13, 2005) after they were swept out to sea on the North Yorkshire coast."
"The woman, her partner, her children and an 8-year- old boy, believed to be the couple's son, were walking on the seafront at Scarborough when the wave struck."
"The woman's partner and the youngest son saw the three caught by the wave and pulled into the sea before the man plunged into the water in a vain attempt to reach them."
"The woman and the boy were later rescued by the crew of an RAF helicopter but died in hospital. The daughter was still missing last night. The woman's partner, who also had to be rescued from the sea, was taken to hospital but released without requiring treatment. His 8-year-old son was also unhurt."
"The tragedy on the seafront at the North Bay, Scarborough happened at about 4 p.m. yesterday. Several members of the public who saw incident alerted the emergency services and survivors were taken to Scarborough General Hospital."
"A spokesman of the Humber Coastguard, which conducted the search, said, 'Two lifeboats from Scarborough and an RAF helicopter were involved in the search.'"
"'The survivors were pulled in by helicopter,' Inspector Peter Gold of North Yorkshire police said last night, 'The search is continuing for the missing child, but the longer it goes on, the more concerned we become.'"
"David Warburton, the resident manager with the Coastguard, said he could not confirm suggestions that the children were 'wave dodging' on the slipway when waters of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) high swept them away."
"But, he added, 'I can't see a reason for them being on the sea slipway in the (rough sea) conditions at the time. We would advise all members of the public to steer clear of the slipways. The tide was coming in, and it was not a place to be.'"
There was no earth tremor or underwater quake in the North Sea to account for the unusually high wave prior to its arrival. (See the British newspaper The Telegraph for March 14, 2005, "Mother and son killed by freak seafront wave." Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this newspaper article.
ENCHANTED ISLET APPEARS OFF CHINA'S SOUTH COAST
Fishermen in Shen Quan, a seaport in China's Guangdong province, got the shock of their lives when a small island appeared in the mists of the South China Sea- -where no island had been before.
"Just recently it was discovered that, on the mountainous shore of China's Guangdong province, a mirage was spotted. It was clearly seen as a small islet with a row of mountains and even a structure that looked like a castle."
"As it mysteriously appeared, it also departed the same way. It remained in view for over three hours."
"Gazing out at the sea from the fishing village" of Shen Quan, "far, far out in the deep blue (South China) sea is this newly-seen mirage. 'It is getting dimmer by the minute, and the mirage is starting to blur out of sight,' an eyewitness told the regional police over the telephone."
"But a small islet could still clearly be seen with a number of mountains. According to the villagers, they stood on the beach and watched it for three hours."
"When it first appeared, a castle-like structure could be seen nestled on top of a mountain, complete with a city wall. But, as the sun began setting, the image faded until only a faint blur was visible."
"One scientist said the images in the air generally appear inverted because the phenomenon is caused by a reflection being seen through two layers of air of different temperatures. Light is reflected from far away objects and is refracted in the viewer's eye. Shen Quan is where the mirage was spotted. It was a most unforgettable experience for the people who experienced it." (See the Chinese newspaper Wuhan Daily for March 12, 2005, "Unusual mirage in Guangdong." Many thanks to Chen Jilin for this newspaper article.)
THE BIG FREEZE AIN'T OVER YET, FOLKS!
"A record-breaking snow took place in the (USA's) Upper Midwest on Friday," March 18, 2005.
"LaCrosse, Wisconsin airport broke a daily snowfall record with more than 11 inches (27.5 centimeters). The old record, set in 1951, was 6.1 inches (15 centimeters)."
"In Rochester, Minnesota (population 85,806), the airport received more than 17 inches (42.5 centimeters) of snow. This breaks the all-time record of 15.4 inches (38.5 centimeters) set on January 22, 1982. It also broke the daily record set in 1971, which was 6.9 inches (17.2 centimeters)."
"Perhaps the last blast of winter settled over southern Minnesota on Friday, forcing dozens of schools to close, canceling more than 200 flights out of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul--J.T.) and blanketing some towns with well over a foot of snow."
"'South-central Minnesota is paralyzed right now,' said Jim Kline, who was rounding up snowfall totals at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minn. (population 20,321)."
"The heaviest snowfall was in the southern counties, including 16 inches (40 centimeters) in Kiester in Faribault County, 16 inches in Byron in Olmsted County, 15 inches (37.5 centimeters) in Rochester in Olmsted County, 15 inches in Albert Lea in Freeborn County, 11 inches (27 centimeters) in Mankato in Blue Earth County and 3 inches (8 centimeters) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport."
"Kline said some towns in the area, including Zumbrota (population 2,789) and Mankato (population 32,427) could expect more snow throughout the night and into Saturday. 'This storm system is really stuck,' he said, 'They are going to continue to get dumped on.'"
"He said the snowfall totals could reach 20 inches (50 centimeters) in some towns in the region and records could be set for 24-hour snowfall totals."
"The storm prompted the state to shut down Interstate (Highway) I-90 between Blue Earth (population 3,621) and Luverne (population 4,617) in the western half of the state, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the (Minnesota) Department of Public Safety."
(Editor's Note: Luverne, Minn. made Fortean history on July 7, 1913 when an ice meteor measuring 37 inches (92.5 centimeters) in circumference landed in a corn field in town. A photo of the ice meteor is on display at the Pipestone County Courthouse in nearby Pipestone, Minn. (population 4,280). If you drop in for a visit this summer, tell them Joe Trainor sent you.)
Smith "said state troopers in the area were reporting drifting snow and near whiteout conditions. 'We are advising no travel in that part of the state,' he said."
"For motorists who must travel, he advised they bring a winter survival kit 'because it will be awhile before somebody can come get them' if they go into a ditch."
"Many people did end up in the ditch."
"State Patrol spokesman Nathan Bowie said the Patrol had received reports of 277 vehicles that had gone off the road by 5 p.m. Friday, mostly in the southern part of the state. In addition, 266 crashes with property damage and 46 more with injuries were reported to the Patrol by 5 p.m."
"At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, about 260 flights were canceled by late afternoon, most of them by Mesaba and Pinnacle Airlines." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for March 19, 2005, "Southern Minnesota gets snowed under," page 7D.)
POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE STRIKES SOUTHERN JAPAN
"A powerful earthquake jolted southwestern Japan on Sunday," March 20, 2005, "killing an elderly woman, injuring 400 people and triggering landslides. In a region still jittery after" the devastating December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean, "authorities evacuated half of the residents of tiny Genkai-jima (island) near the quake's epicenter and warned of a tsunami."
"According to Japan's Meteorological Agency, the earthquake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck west of Kyushu," Japan's southernmost large island, "at 10:53 a.m. Sunday and was centered at an unusually shallow depth of 8 kilometers (5 miles) below below the ocean floor, the Meteorological Agency said."
"At least one aftershock with a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded."
"Minutes after the shaking began, the agency said the possibility of a tsunami an estimated 50 centimeters (20 inches) high would be triggered by the seismic activity. Since waves can go to a towering height as they approach land, the authorities cautioned residents living near the ocean to move to higher ground."
Angela Tarohachi, UFO Roundup correspondent in Japan, reported that "people in the villages along the Genkai- nada (channel) on Kyushu rushed inland to Nogata. However, the government cancelled the alert about an hour later."
"'There may be some disturbances of the ocean's surface, but we aren't worried about the tsunami danger,' said Masahiro Yamamoto of the Meteorological Agency."
"Yamamoto predicted strong aftershocks measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale would continue."
"The worst damage of Sunday's earthquake was nearest to the epicenter, on tiny Genkai-jima, where the shaking touched off landslides and leveled homes. About 120 Japanese troops flew to the island, located just west of Kyushu, to offer food and medical aid and to evacuate 400 of the 850 island residents to Kyushu."
In northwestern Kyushu, "in Fukuoka city, a 75-year- old woman died after a section of wall fell on her, a prefectural government spokesman said on condition of anonymity."
"At least 400 were injured in the quake and were treated at hospitals. Most of the injured were in hardest-hit Fukuoka prefecture on western Kyushu, located 900 kilometers (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo."
"Authorities in Fukuoka confirmed 107 earthquake- related injuries, a prefectural government spokesman said. Some were struck by toppling cabinets or shattered glass or were burned by stoves."
"A Fukuoka police spokesman said the initial jolt, which lasted about 30 seconds, made it difficult for people to stand erect. Water and gas pipes burst, hundreds of homes reported power outages, and landslides reportedly tripped a safety mechanism that halted local and Shinkansen (Japanese for Bullet Train--J.T.) service."
"NHK (Japanese national television--J.T.) reported that buildings and street lamps in the center of Fukuoka city 'were shaking violently.'"
"In the city's residential areas, big cracks appeared in the sidewalks and parts of retaining walls flaked off."
"'We had frightened residents coming into our store because their own houses were shaking very vigorously,' said Shigeru Harada, the owner of a convenience store in Fukuoka city."
"Nearly 2,000 (Kyushu) residents, including the 400 refugees from Genkai-jima, evacuated their homes and stayed in temporary shelters in Fukuoka for the evening."
"The tremor also set off landslides in parts of (mountainous) Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, near Fukuoka on Kyushu, NHK reported."
"Ten people in Saga were injured, a prefectural government official said."
"In Okawa city, in Saga prefecture," about 70 kilometers (42 miles) south of Fukuoka, a 56-year-old man suffered broken bones after trying to jump to safety from the second floor of his house, NHK said. One person was rescued after being pinned beneath debris in their collapsed house."
"They even felt the quake across the strait in South Korea," Angela reported. "The port of Pusan is about 210 kilometers (131 miles) west of Genkai-jima. The Korean cable TV stations said tall buildings were swaying in Pusan, and choppy waves were battering docks in the harbor. Other than that, there was no damage."
"I was at work in Takadanobaba (a district of Tokyo-- J.T.) when I heard the news. One of my co-workers has a cousin who lives Kurume, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Fukuoka. After work, we tried to get in touch with Kimiyo on our cell phones. It took over an hour to get through. Landslides were a problem there, she told us. Kimiyo said there were so many landslides 'we should change the name to Los Angeles.'"
Sunday's Genkai-jima earthquake was "the biggest in Japan in ten years. On October 23 (2004), a magnitude 6.8 earthquake (on the Richter scale--J.T.) struck Niigata, killing 40 people and damaging more than 6,000 homes."
"This (Genkai-jima) quake was the deadliest to strike Japan since 1995, when a magnitude 7.3 quake killed 6,433 people in the western city of Kobe." (See the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun for March 21, 2005, "Earthquake kills one, injures 400." Many thanks to Angela Tarohachi for this newspaper article.)
CASSINI FINDS AN ATMOSPHERE ON SATURN'S MOON ENCELADUS
"The Cassini spacecraft has revealed that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus has a significant atmosphere."
"The spacecraft identified the moon's secret during recent flybys, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory" in Pasadena, California "announced Wednesday," March 16, 2005. "Scientists are using Cassini's magnetometer instrument for their studies, and the process may be volcanism, geysers or gasses escaping from the surface or the interior" of Enceladus.
Enceladus is a small, ice-covered moon orbiting 147,948 miles (238,100 kilometers) away from Saturn. The moon takes 1.37 Earth days to perform a complete rotation. Enceladus was discovered by the astronomer William Herschel in 1789. He named the moon after a giant in Greek mythology who rebelled against the gods of Olympus, was struck down and then buried on Mount Etna in Sicily.
"When Cassini did its first encounter with Enceladus on (Thursday) February 17 (2005) at an altitude of 725 miles (1,167 kilometers), its magnetometer detected a striking signature in the (moon's) magnetic field."
On Wednesday, March 9, 2005, "Cassini approached to within 310 miles (500 kilometers) of Enceladus's surface and obtained additional evidence."
"The observation showed a bending of the magnetic field, with the magnetospheric plasma being slowed and deflected by the moon. In addition, magnetic field oscillations were observed. These were caused when electrically-charged (or ionized--J.T.) molecules interact with the magnetic field by spiraling around the field line. The interaction creates characteristic oscillations in the magnetic field at frequencies that can be used to identify the molecule. The observations from the Enceladus flyby are believed to be ionized water vapor."
"'These new results from Cassini may be the first evidence of gases originating either from the surface or possibly from the interior of Enceladus,' said Dr. Michele Dougherty, principal investigator for the Cassini magnetometer and a professor at Imperial College in London."
"In 1981, NASA's Voyager spacecraft flew by Enceladus at a distance of 56,000 miles (90,000 kilometers) without detecting an atmosphere. It's possible detection was beyond Voyager's capabilities, or something may have changed since the (1981) flyby."
"This is the first time since Cassini arrived in orbit around Saturn that an atmosphere had been detected around a moon of Saturn, other than on the largest moon, Titan. Enceladus is a relatively small moon. The amount of gravity it exerts is not enough to hold an atmosphere very long. Therefore, at Enceladus, a steady continuous process is required to replenish the atmosphere."
"The need for such a strong cause leads scientists to consider eruptions, such as volcanoes or geysers. If such eruptions are present, Enceladus would be like two other moons, Io at Jupiter and Triton at Neptune."
"'Enceladus could be Saturn's benign counterpart to Jupiter's dramatic Io,' said Dr. Fritz Neubauer, co- investigator of Cassini's magnetometer and a professor at the University of Cologne in Germany."
"Since the Voyager flyby, scientists have speculated that the moon is geologically active and the source of Saturn's icy E ring. Enceladus is the most reflective object in the solar system, reflecting about 90 percent of the sunlight that hits it. If Enceladus does have ice volcanoes, the high reflectivity of the moon's surface might result from continuous deposit of icy particles originating from the volcanoes."
"Enceladus's diameter is about 310 miles (500 kilometers), which would fit in the state of Arizona. Despite its small size, Enceladus exhibits one of the most interesting surface of all the icy satellites" in Earth's solar system. (See Space.com for March 16, 2005, "Cassini finds an atmosphere on Saturn's moon Enceladus."
OCCULT CRIME WAVE HITS PIKEVILLE, KENTUCKY
For the past month, Pikeville, Kentucky (population 6,295) has been plagued by a series of occult crimes. Nothing like it has been seen since last year's "phantom arsonist" case in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
The most recent case was a homicide/suicide on Thursday, March 17, 2005.
"A man abducted his 9-month-old son from the mother's home, then shot and killed the baby and himself as police closed in, authorities said."
"Police trailed Randall King, 46, through three counties" in eastern Kentucky "Thursday night and used spikes to puncture his vehicle's tires nearly 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the baby's home in Evarts, Ky. (population 1,101)."
"Police found the bodies of King and his son, Landon, inside the SUV (sports utility vehicle--J.T.) after it crashed. The baby had been shot three times."
"Kentucky State Police Trooper Scott Hopkins said police tried to stop the vehicle before it crashed but were unsuccessful. Five (police) cruisers followed the vehicle in a chase that exceeded 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour), police said."
"After the deflation devices were used, the SUV traveled about a mile before running off the road."
"Hopkins said investigators believe King shot the baby and himself before the crash."
"The baby's mother, Eva Daniels, was shopping for Easter baskets when her baby was abducted, said her brother, John Howard."
"King broke into the house armed with a shotgun and a handgun and asked the teenaged babysitter where Daniels was, Howard said. King then took the baby and fled."
"Laura Taylor, a family friend, said King was angry that Daniels had asked him to begin paying child support and refused to rekindle their relationship."
"Investigators are still trying to determine the motive, but Trooper Walt Meachum said King had apparently been drinking before taking the baby."
"King's wife, Rita King, told WKYT-TV in Lexington, Ky. her husband was 'a wonderful person who would do anything for anybody.' The couple had been married 21 years, and then they divorced and remarried last year (2004). Rita King said they were seeking visitation rights so they could be part of the child's life."
"'That's all he wanted,' Rita King said."
A second bizarre occurrence took place on another Thursday--February 24, 2005, when a construction worker plunged to his death in a strange accident.
"A construction worker was killed when he fell 50 feet (15 meters) from a scaffold at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center, which is under construction in Pikeville."
"Police said Ray Dean Harmon, 47, of Catlettsburg (population 1,960) fell shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday and was pronounced dead at the Pikeville Medical Center."
"Harmon was an employee of Morsey Inc., a subcontractor working on the exposition center."
But Pikeville's troubles began with a mysterious arson case on Saturday, February 12, 2005. Local police and the FBI are investigating an attempted murder by arson in Red Creek, 8 miles (12 kilometers) south of Pikeville.
"Three black Pikeville College football players who moved off campus into a rural apartment building in January (2005) quickly returned to their dorm room" in early March "after someone tried to set fire to their residence."
"The FBI is investigating the case as a hate crime."
"'It's nothing I have ever really experienced until I got here,' said Kurtis Ellison, 21, an elementary education major from Chicago. 'Hate and racism are still alive.'"
"Quinton Collins, a senior from Waldo, South Carolina, and Michael Shepperd, a senior from Ellenboro, North Carolina, were in a second-story apartment over a garage at 2:24 a.m. on (Saturday) February 12 (2005) when someone set a Mason jar containing flammable liquid against the front door and ignited it."
"Ellison was on his way home when it happened. He said his roommates smelled something burning but didn't think about it at the time."
"The smell got stronger, and, when they went to check on the odor, they found the burning jar--which had ignited the vinyl siding beside the door."
"Collins and Shepperd were able to put the fire out and didn't call the Fire Department."
"Ellison said FBI agents have told him they are gathering evidence and plan to make an arrest soon."
"FBI agents in Pikeville and Louisville did not respond to requests for comment. Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Scott Hopkins declined comment."
"Shepperd, 22, a business management major, said he was shocked that something like this could happen."
"'I thought maybe racism would be over with,' he said yesterday (Monday, March 7, 2005), 'That there were just a couple of people who still thought ignorantly.'"
"The three decided the same night to move out of the apartment, at the mouth of Red Creek, 8 miles (12 kilometers) south of Pikeville on U.S. Route 460 and back into the college dorm."
"'We just don't feel safe,' Ellison said, 'It wasn't any place for us to live.'"
"Ellison and Shepperd said that on several occasions a neighbor had yelled racial slurs at them."
"Building manager Alan Justice (no relation to Sheriff Buford T. Justice--J.T.) said the students had lived quietly in the apartment for three weeks after paying a month's rent."
"Justice had been interviewed by a state trooper and an FBI agent."
"The three students, who have still not moved everything from the apartment building, said that both Justice and Pikeville College have been very cooperative since the fire."
"Millark (Kentucky) Fire Chief Glen Adkins said, 'Red Creek is one of our toughest areas, although there's a lot of good people up there, too." He said he never saw the three college students.
"Pikeville College spokesman Terry Spears said officials at the school were aware of the case, which he pointed out did not occur on campus property."
"'We do not know the details of the incident--we haven't seen the police report--but we do understand there is a police investigation under way,' Spears said."
"'I can tell you they're all three outstanding young men and very popular at the college,' he said, 'We're doing everything possible to make them fell comfortable... and we're assuming that this is an isolated incident and certainly not the feeling of the people at the college.'"
"Just what is going on in Pikeville?" Fortean researcher Loren Coleman remarked, pointing out that "Pike...Pikeville...is a HOT name game monicker."
"Some other names included in mysterious events, presented by (Jim) Brandon, are Bell, Mason, Parsons, Pike, Vernon and Warren. The influence of such men as Mason, Pike, Warren and Lafayette, for example, issues in some cryptopolitical and occult way from other ties to the Masonic tradition."
(Editor's Note: Jim Brandon was the author of the book Weird America, E.P. Dutton, New York, N.Y., 1978. George Mason, Albert Pike, Dr. Joseph Warren and Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, were all famous Masons of American history.)
"In addition to sharing its name with that notorious
American Illuminatus and sorcerer Albert Pike (1809-1891),
Pikeville is being overrun with weird lexilinks or 'name
game monickers' in this affair," UFO Roundup editor Joseph
"The lexilinks also extend to the towns surrounding Pikeville. Twenty miles (32 kilometers) east of Pikeville, on Route 632...and I hope you're sitting down for this, Loren...is the little town of Coleman. Ten miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Coleman is an even smaller town with a name that meant nothing ten years ago. But, boy, did that change on April 19, 1995. The town is called McVeigh. Thirty miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Pikeville, on the Virginia state line, is tiny Paw Paw. This village has the same name as Paw Paw, Michigan. In 1882, Paw Paw, Mich. was the home of A.W. Underwood, who, according to Charles Fort, had a remarkable 'wild talent.' Underwood, 24, was a 'firestarter,' someone with the same powers as the character John/Pyro in the movie X2: The X- Men United. Most interestingly, Underwood was black."
(Editor's Note: Don't take my word for it. You can check it out in The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover Press, New York, N.Y., 1974, page 926.)
Pikeville "was named for Zebulon M. Pike, the explorer, and was developed chiefly by the younger sons of the Rees family of Virginia, who took up thousands of acres here."
"Although the Levisa (River), which flows through the town, no longer carries it's once heavy burden of logs and other freight," Pikesville was long "a lumbering and coal mining center."
Pine Mountain, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Shelbiana, in Pike County, is famous in the area's pre- Columbian history. According to the myths of the Ontouagannha indigenous people (also known as the Shawnee Indians--J.T.), the warrior goddess Awenhai and her giant companion, Sehuiab, took refuge "in an immense cave" near Russell Fork during a dim prehistoric age when Kentucky was ruled by the lost city of Chalchihuipan.
After the fall of Chalchihuipan, centuries later, the cave was "used by the Shawnee, during a great battle with the Cherokee (true name: Ani-Yupuya--J.T.), for the protection of the women and children."
Area legends get a bit strange after that. "There is a story that in 1760 John Swift left Alexandria, Virginia and came through the mountains to some place in Kentucky where they knew of a silver mine. They worked the mine that summer and returned to Virginia in the fall; a program they repeated each year until 1769." Kentuckians believe the silver to be located in Awenhai's Cave, wherever in Pike County it may be.
This is extremely interesting because Swift's home, Alexandria, was the capital of Virginia Freemasonry. In 1788, George Washington, the USA's first president. became Master of the Alexandria lodge, now known as the Washington Alexandria Lodge No. 22. The waterfront area of Alexandria was called Rosslyn, after the sanctuary of the Knights Templar in Scotland. Since no one of European ancestry is known to have visited Pike County before 1760, how did Swift hear about Awenhai's Cave? Did the Knights Templar visit the cave centuries earlier and leave a map for the later Masonic lodges?
"Red Creek 'feels' more like an occult crime than a simple hate crime," Trainor commented. "The Mason jar, for example. Another troubling bit is the fact that no one is taking credit for the arson. In the past, the Ku Klux Klan would usually leave a calling card of some sort- -a Confederate flag, a noose on a tree branch, the letters KKK or the number 7 painted on a wall. On the other hand, the arson attempt did take place on February 12, which is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Also, Lincoln was born in 1809, the same year as Albert Pike and Confederate president Jefferson Davis."
"The perpetrator in the Red Creek case is keeping a
real low profile. Is he planning to strike again during
the upcoming Exposition? Let's wait and see."
(Editor's Comment: Somehow I can't shake the feeling that Sheriff Buford T. Justice, that legendary Southern lawman, would have caught Randall King and saved baby Landon.)
A FORTEAN CENTENNIAL
The year 1905, one hundred years ago, offered a bumper crop of Forteana. In addition to the big news--the revolution in Russia--a number of bizarre small incidents occurred, as well. Here they are:
"In May 1905, the trawler Etrurian entered the port of Boston in Lincolnshire, UK with a haul of a score (20) or so giant crabs, the largest of which weighed 16 pounds and measured a yard and a half (54 inches or 135 centimeters) across with claws extended."
Also in May 1905, "some men were felling an oak tree at Pulham St. Mary in Norfolk, UK when a toad that had apparently been embedded in the tree for years fell out. It died after a few minutes."
"Later that year (1905) an heroic pig swam four miles (6 kilometers) from Canvey Island to Southend, through rough water, thus disproving the old yarn that pigs can't swim without cutting their throats with their trotters (feet in the USA--J.T.)."
"Around the same time, a ram in Tipperary (Ireland) battered Katherine Ryan to death, leaving her corpse almost unrecognizable."
"And a two-headed tortoise, Terrapene Carolina, turned up near Mount Vernon in Virginia. The heads fed seperately and alternately."
(Editor's Note: Mount Vernon, Va. was the home of the USA's first president, George Washington.)
"In 1905, a certain Mrs. Holden of Hampton (UK) was resuscitated after a death certificate had been granted. Later, she described the sensations of her trance (today this is called a near-death experience or NDE--J.T.) White birds were floating about the house, and on the table a coffin was visible to her." (See Fortean Times No. 32 for Summer 1980, "Old Ives Tales" by Paul Sieveking, page 30.)
WILL SHARON TURN IRAN INTO "PURIM-A DOG CHOW?"
I don't like to alarm our readers, but the indicators point to an Israeli attack on Iran in the very near future, with a resulting escalation of the war in the Middle East.
The Israeli sneak attack could come as early as Friday, March 25, 2005, for reasons we'll discuss in a moment.
Here's what's going on that isn't getting into the mainstream USA media.
President George W. Bush has asked Selective Service to come up with a nationwide draft plan. This plan is supposed to be on his desk in the Oval Office no later than Thursday, March 31, 2005. The draft call will go out exactly 75 days later on Wednesday, June 15, 2005, just in time for high school graduation.
The proposed draft will cover all Americans, male and female, ranging in age from 18 to 35.
On Thursday, March 17, 2005, U.S. Army Patriot missile batteries, crews and support personnel arrived in Israel for supposed "joint maneuvers" with the Israelis. These maneuvers are scheduled to end on Friday, April 15, 2005. Some suspect that the real reason for their presence is to shoot down any incoming Iranian missiles once Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon launches his attack on Iran.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has built a detailed mock-up of the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in northeastern Iran. Israeli troops have launched repeated practice assaults on the mock-up. The attack plan calls for air raids with Israeli F-15 aircraft coupled with a helicopter-borne commando raid designed to kill as many people at Natanz involved in the Iranian nuclear program as possible.
Sharon has said repeatedly that he will not allow any Arab or Islamic country to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied building nuclear weapons and has told the UN that the program at Natanz is for peaceful uses of nuclear energy only.
Why is March 25, 2005 a likely day for launching the assault?
(1) It's a Friday, which means that Iran's religious leadership will be at the mosques of Tehran for Friday prayers. This means Israeli air raids on the Tehran mosques are also a possibility.
(2) While March 25 is Good Friday on the Christian calendar, it is also the feast of Purim among the Jews. Purim commemorates events in the Book of Esther. Esther was one of the wives of the king of Persia (now Iran-- J.T.). When Haman stirred up his followers against the Jews, Esther pleaded with and got permission from her husband, the king, for the Jews to arm themselves. They did and attacked first, killing Haman and his supporters.
Troop movements are also under way in the USA.
"Here in Duluth, our local National Guard unit--2nd Battalion, 94th Armor--which is just back from a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia--'was told during drills over the weekend to be prepared for a 12-to-18-month deployment.' The same message also went out to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division down in Minneapolis and St. Paul," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor reported, "The Duluth News-Tribune quoted Major Kevin Olson of the Minnesota National Guard office of public affairs as saying, 'I want to be clear. These soldiers have not been put on alert. They have not been mobilized. But they have been informed to be prepared for a possible future mobilization.'"
UFO Roundup has received other reports of troop movements around the USA involving transportation in formations of two or three olive-green CH-47D Chinook helicopters.
"I believe President Bush is sincere in seeking negotiations with Iran, and I support him in his efforts to join with the European Union in finding a diplomatic solution to the present impasse," Trainor added, "But I do not agree with Mr. Bush when he calls Ariel Sharon 'a man of peace.' I think Ariel Sharon is a murderous psychopath who would cheerfully turn St. Louis' Checkerboard Square into 'Purim-a dog chow' if he thought it would benefit his Jewish state. You can bet your last dreidel that when Sharon says he's going to attack Iran, he means it."
Will it happen on March 25th? Stay tuned! (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for March 17, 2005, "Duluth unit may be sent to Iraq," page 1D.)
ONLY ONE UFO OVER UK
Concerning the story in UFO Roundup, volume 10, number 9 for March 2, 2005, "Daylight discs trigger major flap in UK," (page 1), Martyn J. Rothery writes, "I've plotted the course taken by the mystery object and its trajectory describes a rather wide curve. I would assess that the object was one and the same and that it first entered the scene in Somerset (Bridgwater), then it passed over Wales (Llanidloes) then Cheshire (Sandbach) and lastly it was seen over Yorkshire (Halifax)."
"The colour match in all the incidents was very much the same: silvery/greeny/ blue, and its speed was described as that of a 'rocket.' One witness calculated it to be about 6,500 miles per hour. Furthermore, in all cases, no sound was heard, and no sonic booms were recorded."
"Assuming that the speed is correct, the object would have travelled the distance between Bridgwater and Halifax in about two minutes."
"Accepting this, generally speaking, time pieces are incorrect by as much as two to three minutes. I would further surmise that the times given by the witnesses should be treated with circumspect."
"I would therefore say it was not an 'invasion' by many UFOs but rather a fast overflight by one. But whether it was one of ours--or one of theirs--is open to speculation."
THE VIRGIN MARY HAS ALREADY BEEN TO SOO, CANADA
Concerning the piece in UFO Roundup, volume 10, number 8 for February 23, 2005, "Coming to the Soo--the Virgin Mary?" (page 14), Ellen Webb writes, "I have news for you, Joe. The quaking cross at the Peace Park in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, Canada is not the first paranormal event in town. Twenty years ago, in 1985, a large branch was cut off the tree in Anita Hewgill's yard. On the trunk, Anita saw an image of the Virgin Mary. All through the summer, Catholic pilgrims visited the site, took photos of the image and left behind religious medals, scapulars and rosary beads on the tree's branches. Do you really think the Blessed Mother will return?"
(Editor's Comment: Well, Ellen, that's two Virgin Mary- related events in Soo, Canada--the quaking cross at Notre Dame des Grands Lacs school and the image on the Hewgill family's tree. If I remember right, from Fatima and Medjugorje, Marian apparitions usually take place on May 13. Interestingly, that date is a Friday the Thirteenth this year. Let's keep an eye on the Soo that day and see if anything happens.)
From the UFO Files...
1951: THE ROOFTOP MADMAN OF BALTIMORE
Right now, the hottest story in Forteana is El Loco de los Techos (Spanish for Rooftop Madman--J.T.), the weird black-clad entity that's been terrorizing the barrio (neighborhood) of San Lorenzo in Santa Fe, Argentina for the past couple of weeks.
But this was not the Madman's first appearance. No, that took place fifty-four years ago, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Indeed, the eyewitness descriptions of the Baltimore "phantom" match precisely the descriptions coming out of Argentina.
Without further ado, here he is--Baltimore's Rooftop Madman.
"A dying moon sank slowly behind St. Stanislas' Cemetery and the squat, flat-roofed houses of O'Donnell Heights."
"Its pale light revealed not only the closely spaced rows of low-rent dwellings but a whole community on the verge of hysteria."
"It was just after midnight yesterday morning (Tuesday, July 24, 1951) and throughout the project people waited--in nervous groups on porches and behind drawn shades--for the phantom to strike."
"At the rear of the house in the 1200 block of Gusryan Street, a man kept watch on a garbage can with a .12-gauge shotgun. In an upstairs bedroom on Carbore Way, Hazel Jenkins, still suffering from the time when the black-robed prowler grabbed her last week, tried to sleep."
"In other houses, residents stretched out on the floor, too frightened to go upstairs. Police squad cars prowled the streets. Somewhere in the darkness, a dog barked, a baby cried."
"Every now and then, a face appeared at a door or window to inquire fearfully of bands of patrolling youths: 'Has anybody seen him yet?'"
"At the home of Mrs. Agnes Martin, 1211 Gusryan Street, 30 or 40 people, varying in ages from 5 to 50 years old, had gathered on the back stoop to wait for daylight."
"'For the last two or three weeks since that man began appearing around here,' said Mrs. Martin, 'people are afraid to go to bed.'"
"'I haven't closed my eyes since Thursday night (July 19, 1951),' declared Mrs. Melvin Hensler, a neighbor of Mrs. Martin's. Since her home was broken into last Friday (July 20, 1951), Mrs. Hensler has been staying with her sister-in-law."
"'My husband is beginning to talk in his sleep for the first time in his life,' she said, 'He and the children are all sleeping on the floor at his brother's house right now. He says his eyeballs ache from staying awake so long.'"
"William Buskirk, 20, of 6452 Fait Avenue, described his encounter with the phantom, which took place around 1 a.m. last Thursday."
"'I was walking along the 1100 block Travers Way with several of my buddies when I saw him on a roof,' related Mr. Buskirk, 'He was a tall, thin man dressed all in black. It kind of looked like he had a cape around him. He jumped off the roof and we chased him down into the graveyard.'"
"'He lives in that graveyard,' remarked Jack Cromwell of 1203 Joplin Street."
"'Yeah,' put in Lynn Griffith of 1217 Wellsbach Way, 'One night I heard someone playing the organ in that chapel up there. It was about one o'clock.'"
"'He sure is an athlete,' said one of the other boys, 'You should have seen him go over that fence--just like a cat.' (The fence bordering the graveyard in question is about 6 feet tall with barbed wire along the top.)"
"Most of the people who have seen the phantom describe the ease with which he leaps on and off roofs--a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that the roofs of most houses in O'Donnell Heights are a minimum of 20 feet (6 meters) from the ground."
"'But that's nothing,' announced Regina Martin, 'We kids used to jump off these roofs all the time.'""Mary Ellen Bennett, 14, of 1415 Gregor Way, offered to demonstrate. 'You'd better not,' advised a friend, 'Mr. Pettinger might think you're the phantom and shoot you.' Charles Pettinger of 3848 Quarry Avenue was the man with the shotgun."
"Myrtle Ellen, who in the company of Hazel Jenkins, has seen the monster twice at close quarters, described him as a man with a horrible face, dressed in black. 'He walks like a drape (Baltimore slang for a Zoot-Suiter of the 1940s--J.T.) and runs like a horse,' she added."
"'I saw him two nights after he tried to break into our house,' remarked Randolph Jenkins, Hazel's brother, 'He was just beginning to climb up on the roof of the Community Building. We chased him all the way to Graveyard Hill.'"
"(The Community Building is the tallest structure in the project and at night is completely empty.)"
"Mrs. Hensler said that when she returned to her house on Saturday morning (July 21, 1951) after it had been burglarized the night before, nothing had been taken, but there was a strange 'potato bag lying on the ironing board.' She concluded that the bag must have been left there by the phantom for some devious purpose. 'I've seen him three different times,' asserted Mrs. Hensler, 'One time he looked like he had a hump on his back.'"
'Esther Martin, according to reports, saw the stranger once under an automobile. He was beckoning to her. 'Come here, little girl,' he said."
"'I don't know,' remarked Mrs. Ruth Proffitt of 1229 Cavendish Way, 'The other night my son saw him at one place at the same time another person was seeing him somewhere else. He couldn't be both places at once unless he had wings.'"
"Two hundred angry, aroused residents of O'Donnell Heights chased the area's phantom prowler around midnight Tuesday (July 24, 1951) but the wraith of the rooftops again eluded them."
"He was spotted on the roof of 6200 Plantview Way by the Heights' self-formed 'vigilance committee,' searching for him since he started terrorizing the area several weeks ago."
"A loaded .22 caliber automatic pistol was found Wednesday (July 25, 1951) on the phantom's stamping ground and was turned over to police."
"An O'Donnell Heights lad, Robert Robertson, picked up the firearm, a Colt target model, in a field of the (housing) development."
"He said the gun went off twice as he raised it. He turned it in at the housing project office where it was held for the police."
"If the phantom was armed, O'Donnell Heights is now practically an armed camp."
"Husbands have mounted night guard duty. Housewives keep weapons in their bedrooms, such as baseball bats, heavy clubs, rolling pins, frying pans and other (kitchen) implements."
"Several women and girls have been frightened by the phantom over the past few weeks."
"About midnight, he was spotted again, a dark-clad figure against the black sky of the night. An immediate hue and cry drove him fleeing and into escape from his pursuers."
"Patrolmen Robert Clarke and Elmer Powell, of Eastern (Baltimore) District police, rushed to the scene in answer to phone calls from terrified residents."
"They said they found about 200 persons milling around in the community, hunting for the prowler."
"Cruising around the north side of O'Donnell Heights, alongside the old German Cemetery, they found Marvin Finke, 21, U.S. Navy Patuxent River (Maryland) base, walking along the street, wearing dark clothing and carrying a hammer."
"Finke told police had had been visiting in the neighborhood and had heard there was a reward for the capture of the phantom, so he was hunting for him."
"He received a suspended $5 fine Wednesday morning on a disorderly conduct charge."
"Another commotion broke out in the neighborhood about 1:30 a.m. when some of the watchers thought they had seen the phantom again."
"Sgt. Emmanuel Sandler and Patrolmen Bernard Baranowski and Elmer Weber sped into action."
"Once more, no phantom. But, the policemen reported, they found a crowd estimated at 500, collected around a wall of the old German Cemetery. Sandler said:"
"'They told us, 'He's in there,' pointing to the cemetery."
"The police searched and found five youths and a fifteen-year-old juvenile hiding behind tombstones. They said they had heard about the phantom and were just looking for excitement."
"Five were fined $5 and the juvenile was released in custody of his parents for a hearing."
"Sergeant Sandler, expressing the opinion 'publicity about the prowler is drawing prowlers and youngsters from all over town,' added this warning: 'They should stay away. They only aggravate the situation and it is very dangerous for them. Those people out there are angry and really aroused. Somebody is likely to get hurt.'"
"Three more teen-agers were arrested on disorderly- conduct charges last night (Wednesday, July 25, 1951) in phantom-ridden O'Donnell Heights where nervous residents claim they see mysterious prowlers with alarming frequency."
"Weary, fearful residents of the O'Donnell Heights housing development, whose nights have been given over to watching and waiting since their mysterious 'phantom' made his first appearance about three weeks ago, are hoping that their athletic prowler is caught before someone in the community is seriously hurt."
"The harm could come from more than one source, they fear, from the prowler himself or from accidental injury to an innocent resident from the impromptu vigilantes who roam their streets in search of the phantom."
But for one incident thus far, the prowler--usually dressed in dark clothing and remarkably agile at travelling across the low, flat roofs of the project--has done little but be seen from afar and attempt to enter homes."
"Like many other housewives, fearing for the safety of their children, Mrs. Marle Shifflet spends sleepless nights staring into the blackness from the window of her home in the 6200 block Plantview Way."
"She says, 'We all sleep with our windows closed and locked despite the terrible heat. Just the other night the phantom was seen on the roof of a house just four doors from us. We're all scared to death.'"
"Some are prepared more sternly. William Lawrence has brought out an old Army rifle and given it to his wife. It will no longer shoot, but Mr. Lawrence hopes that should the prowler approach his home in the 1200 block Travers Way the gun will frighten him away."
And so it went for the next two weeks, with repeated sightings of the 'phantom' and repeated searches that came up empty.
On Monday, August 6, 1951, the Baltimore Sun reported, "The Phantom of O'Donnell Heights has apparently pulled up stakes and moved away, cloak, dagger, hairy face and all."
"'The only commotion we ever have around here now,' Jerome Martin of 1211 Gusryan Street, said last night, 'is just the usual fighting among the neighbors. You might say everything is normal again.'"
And that was the last anyone saw of Baltimore's "Phantom of O'Donnell Heights."
Until a half-century later--Tuesday, March 1, 2005-- when an identical entity appeared in the barrio Centenario (neighborhood) of Santa Fe, capital of the province of the same name, a large city located 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
The same entity? Good question! (See the Baltimore Sun for July 25, 1951, "Fear in the Night: Phantom Prowler Terrorizes O'Donnell Heights Residents;" the Baltimore News-Post for July 25, 1951, "Phantom on Prowl, Eludes 200 Vigilantes;" the Baltimore Sun for July 26, 1951, "Three More Arrested in 'Phantom' Zone;" the Baltimore News-Post for July 27, 1951, "Watch and Wait Still on in O'Donnell Heights;" and the Baltimore Sun for August 6, 1951, "Phantom Makes Himself Scarce." For more on the Phantom of O'Donnell Heights, see Fortean Studies, volume 3, edited by Steve Moore, John Brown Publishing, London, 1996, "Spring-Heeled Jack" by Mike Dash, pages 102 to 108.)
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, Saturn--brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you next time.
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