GIANT WAVE DAMAGES CRUISE SHIP
"A cruise ship struck by a freak seven-story-high wave that smashed windows and sent furniture flying returned to New York harbor on Monday," April 18, 2005, "and docked at its berth on the Hudson River."
"The Norwegian Dawn arrived with more than 2,000 passengers still on board after some 300 others decided to disembark early in Charleston, South Carolina, and fly or drive home."
"It docked early at Pier 88 on Manhattan's West Side" in New York City "near the floating Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, with passengers due to begin disembarking at around 11 a.m."
The 965-foot (290-meter) white ocean liner was sailing back to New York City from the Bahamas when it was struck by a storm Saturday," April 16, 2005, "that pounded the vessel with heavy seas and the rogue 70-foot (21-meter) wave."
"The wave sent furniture sailing through the air and knocked Jacuzzis overboard. Some passengers slept in hallways in life jackets."
"'The ship was hit by a freak wave that caused two windows to break in two different cabins,' Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement. It said 62 cabins were flooded and four passengers had bruises. The wave reached as high as Deck 10 on the ship, company spokeswoman Susan Robinson said Saturday."
"The Norwegian Dawn docked at Charleston for repairs and a Coast Guard inspection before continuing its voyage to New York early Sunday."
"'I thought I heard water sloshing around, and then I woke up and saw it,' and it was surf,' she told the newspaper."
"The cruise line said passengers whose cabins were flooded were flown home from Charleston and the safety of the ship 'was in now way compromised by this incident.'"
"Each passenger got a refund for half the trip's cost and a voucher for half the price of a future cruise."
"The ship left New York City on (Sunday) April 10 (2005) with 2,500 passengers aboard. Robinson said about 30 passengers decided not to return by ship from Charleston. About 100 were flown back to New York City and the rest made their own arrangements, Robinson said."
"'I rented a car and drove nine hours,' said James Fraley of Keansburg, New Jersey, who was on a honeymoon cruise with his wife. 'No more time on the Titanic for me.'" (See the New York Daily News for April 18, 2005, page 3.)
(Editor's Comment: And here we have yet another anomalous tsunami, the third since the big earthquake in Indonesia on December 26, 2004. We're lucky the ship didn't "turn turtle" and give us a real-life re-make of "The Poseidon Adventure.")
VERMONT TEEN STEALS SKULL FROM CEMETERY
"A 17-year-old Morrisville (Vermont) teen was being held on $100,000 bail after police said he raided a tomb in a cemetery and removed a head from a corpse."
"'We had a person voice their concerns about information they had heard on the street,' said Chief Richard Keith of the Morristown Police Department."
"Keith said police at first could not believe what they heard. But when they went to Morrisville Cemetery and investigated, they found that someone had broken into a tomb, broken open the casket and removed a man's head."
"'We had the funeral director come to the scene and we pulled the casket out. Yes, indeed, we found remains and they had been disturbed,' Keith said."
"Nickolas Buckalew, 17, later was arrested and charged with unauthorized removal of a dead body. He pleaded innocent to the crime."
"Police believe they have a strong case against Buckalew because remains and evidence were found in a silo near the suspect's home outside the village and 2/10ths of a mile from the cemetery."
"'Within minutes we found the duffle bag with the remains in it and tools that were used to enter the tomb and the casket,' Keith said."
"The victim's widow, the only family member in the area, was told of the vandalism."
"'The widow was in shock,' the chief said, 'She did not want any information. She did not want to know any details.'"
"Authorities are not sure of the motive of the crime. Court documents said the suspect allegedly talked of using the man's head as a bong or a pipe for smoking marijuana." (See the Brattleboro, Vt. Reformer for April 15, 2005, "Teen accused of stealing head from grave.")
CAT MUTILATION REPORTED IN METHUEN, MASS.
"A cat missing since early March in Methuen," Massachusetts, near Boston, "turned up dead last week, tied by his hind legs and hanging from a tree, animal welfare officials said."
"'This is a very disturbing case,' said Martha Parkhurst, an investigator for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 'Someone who would commit a crime like this has no respect for life. It's very concerning.'"
"According to a study conducted by the MSPCA and Northeastern University, a correlation exists between violence against animals and violence against people."
"MSPCA Law Enforcement Director Peter Gollub said the cat was found (Wednesday) April 6 (2005) in the vicinity of the owner's home in the Pelham Street area" of Methuen, Mass.
"He would not say who found the cat."
"The MSPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the cat's killer. The family that owned the cat is putting up an additional $500. If convicted, a person faces up to a five-year-sentence and up to a $2,500 fine, according to the MSPCA. (See the Boston Herald for April 15, 2005, "Reward offered for Methuen cat killer," page 7.)
VANDALS DESTROY HISTORIC ROCK FORMATION IN EASTERN MINNESOTA
"After standing for about 10,000 years and being ogled by countless tourists visiting the dramatic rock formations of Taylors Falls, a rock tower known as the Devil's Chair has toppled from its perch 150 feet above the St. Croix River."
"And the devil is in the details."
"Residents of Taylors Falls," a small town on the St. Criox River northeast of St. Paul, the state capital, "could perhaps accept the loss of their landmark- apparently sometime in the past week-if nature had simply taken its course."
"'Anytime, you're talking about something that was created more than 10,000 years ago and it's been disturbed,' said Mayor Mike Buchite, 'you ask, was it Mother Nature?'"
"But officials at Interstate State Park are leaning toward vandalism as the explanation, suspecting that someone climbed to the base of the rock and tipped it with a hydraulic jack."
"'When I heard about it, I couldn't believe it,' said Amy Frischmonn, whose family has been giving boat tours of the river for 99 years. 'It just didn't seem possible.'"
"The Devil's Chair has been a landmark in the area for 150 years, carved from 1.1-billion-year-old basalt by glacial action some 10,000 years ago."
"In an 1881 guidebook, writer William Dunne rhapsodized that from the perch, 'his Satanic Majesty could view the whole extent of the beautiful landscape. Upon the footstool of his chair, he could rest his weary feet or stand and address his kindred spirits of the Northwest during this councils with them.'"
"Since then, the stretch of the St. Croix River came to be identified by the Chair, which stood about 25 to 30 feet (8 to 9 meters) high on a towering base. The formation is part of the city's logo and is plastered on tourist brochures and maps."
"'The Devil's Chair is the symbol we use for the park because it's that significant and that unique,' said Larry Buchholz, manager of Minnesota's Interstate Park. 'It was priceless.'"
"Word about the loss slowly made its way through Taylors Falls on Monday," April 11, 2005. "When she first heard, Frischmon said she went out to the site and cried."
"Scuff marks on the Chair suggest an intentional act, Buchholz said. The chunk that fell, the back of the Chair, probably weighed several tons and stood more than 10 feet (3 meters) high. Buchholz said it had a high center of gravity, and he theorizes the culprits used a hydraulic jack to tip it. A 12-pound jack could lift 12 tons (24,000 pounds or 12,000 kilograms-J.T.), he said."
"'The rock shattered into rubble when it fell, pushing other rocks into the river, he said. The rock walls in the park are popular with rock climbers and hikers, and it was a climber who reported the damage on Saturday afternoon," April 9, 2005,
"The climber said the formation was intact the previous weekend, and Frischmon says she believed the Chair was in fine shape on Friday."
"'Obviously, they have no understanding of what they've done,' she said, 'They have no idea what this does to a whole community.'"
"No one, including the city historian, seems to know how the Chair got its name, although Buchholz notes that other formations in the park have similar names."
"The Devil'Parlor marks a series of potholes, and the Devil's Footprint is two small potholes that looked like a foot to someone."
"But, for 100 years, it's the Chair that fascinated tourists, probably because the shape was so obvious. 'The one thing that was incredible about the Devil's Chair is that anyone at any age could see it was a chair. No imagination was needed.'" (See the St. Paul, Minn. Pioneer Press for April 12, 2005, "Vandals may have toppled Devil's Chair rock formation," page 1.)
GRAND JURY BEGINS PROBE OF RED LAKE SHOOTINGS
"Most students at Red Lake High School were not ready to come back on Tuesday," April 12, 2005, "to the place where their friends died."
"A small but emotional group of 90 students-less than a third of the student population (of 300-J.T.) showed up Tuesday for the first day of classes since March 21 (2005). On that day, an alienated and depressed 16- year-old student, Jeff Weise, stormed the school with weaponry, killing five students, a teacher and a security guard before taking his own life."
"School officials said they were proud of those who did return and hopeful that the numbers will grow. But the continuing investigation into whether others were involved, including reports of a series of subpoenas for students to testify this week before a grand jury, have made many students and parents skittish."
"'I just wanted to come because I wanted to see my teachers and my friends,' said Misty Roy, 15. Her principal, Chris Dunshee, said Roy and others who returned were heroes to the community."
"Lance Crowe, a 15-year-old who was shot in the left hand as he tried to defend himself from Weise, made a quiet and emotional visit to victims' memorials but is not expected to return this school year."
"'He has seen what happened...his buddies lying on the floor,' said Margaret Crowe, his grandmother, in explaining his decision to stay home."
"The first day back began with an alarm-a false alarm-and involved a lot of warm hugs and discussions of where students were on March 21st."
"As students gathered in the gymnasium for a morning assembly, a fire alarm sounded, causing a spasm of jitters that Dunshee said he quickly calmed down. It turned out that a sage-burning ceremony in the (adjacent) Middle School had tripped the system, said Carol Aenne, acting school district superintendent."
(Editor's Note: In Midewiwin, the ancestral beliefs of the Anishinabe indigenour people who live on the Red Lake reservation, the burning of sage is a religious ritual.)"Reporters were not allowed in the school. Dunshee said security was tight, including armed officers patrolling the hallways, and students liked that."
Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, "a federal grand jury sifting evidence in the Red Lake school shootings is investigating whether several students plotted a coordinated raid in striking the school and other targets on the reservation, including a hospital, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation."
"More than a dozen potential witnesses, including some Red Lake students, were escorted by security guards into and out of the federal courthouse in Minneapolis on Wednesday," April 13, 2005, as the grand jury began dealing with the March 21 shootings that left ten dead."
"The purported scheme would have involved more than the shootings carried out by 16-year-old Jeff Weise, who killed himself at the end of the shooting spree."
"The grand jury is believed to be exploring the intent or knowledge of students about an alleged shooting plan involving Weise and others. The alleged scheme involved 'multiple shooters at multiple sites,' according to the source, who spoke onlyon condition of anonymity."
"Those with knowledge of the investigation said there are indications that students with some knowledge of the plan did not think Weise was serious or would go through with it."
"One of the targets in the alleged plan, which involved attacks supposed to take place simultaneously, was Red Lake Hospital on the reservation."
"Federal officials, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, have declined to acknowledge the panel is meeting. The subpoenas have kept some students out of school, which reopened Tuesday but saw only 90 of the school's 300 students show up."
"At Red Lake (population 1,430), Victoria Brun, sister of Derrick Brun, 28, a security guard who died in the school assault, said she was concerned because her niece was among those subpoenaed."
"She did not provide her niece's name. But she said the possibility that her niece could have had some advance knowledge of the shooting has been a blow."
"'We go a couple of days-then something else happens,' Brun said, 'Then we've got to deal with it all over again.'"
"Six days after the shootings, the FBI arrested Louis Jourdain, 16, and charged him with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the shootings. Jourdain is Weise's cousin and the son of Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr."
"Because of the seriousness of the crime, the federal law enforcement agencies have taken over the investigation from tribal police. They have interviewed an estimated 200 young people and confiscated computers in an attempt to find links between Weise and others."
The elder "Jourdain said he could not discuss his son's legal status. But, he said, 'From what I'm gathering from people, they don't feel that there's actually any threat."
"The community right now is trying to begin the healing process. But that is being delayed because, every night...there's all these horror stories.' Jourdain said federal agencies that are 'here to help' have had an impact on people-particularly after his son was arrested."
"'I think there's a feeling of fear in the community, that their kids are going to get taken away,' Jourdain said. 'A lot of that had to do with my situation...' He said of (his son) Louis Jourdain: 'He was very forthright, came forward, cooperated to the fullest extent, and next thing you know he's swept away.'" (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for April 13, 2005, "Most high schoolers stay home," pages 1A and 6A; and for April 14, 2005, "Grand jury begins its shooting investigation," page 1A; "Tribal leader says media, investigation delay community's healing process," page 8A; and "Red Lake: Some subpoenas require DNA samples," page 8A.)
GIANT HAILSTONES BOMBARD CITY IN WESTERN CHINA
"A hailstorm in Sichuan Province on Chongqing city has left 18 dead, one person missing or injured" on Sunday, April 10, 2005.
"The biggest hailstone, which fell in a Chongqing neighborhood, measured 13 centimeters (5.1 inches) in diameter."
"Chongqing's eight municipal districts experienced gale-force winds and 14 centimeters (5.3 inches) of rain since last Friday," April 8, 2005.
"Qianjiang district in Chongqing was the worst affected, with hailstones destroying more than 27,800 tons of crops. In this district alone, there was damage estimated at 35 million yuan ($4.2 million USA-J.T.)"
Many cities in Sichuan were also affected by strong winds and heavy rainfall. Some cities, such as Dazhou and Yibin, were also hit by the giant hailstones."
"Thirteen people died in the province."
"Ye Sheng, deputy director of" the Chinese Communist Party "in Yibin, said he witnessed a hailstorm that lasted for one-and-a-half hours on Friday."
"He said some hailstones were 'as big as eggs, and even small ones were the size of peas. Many houses were damaged by the hail. It was the most destructive hailstorm of the past 20 years.'"
"A large band of rising warm air resulted in the wind, rain and hail, the Provincial Office of Disaster and Relief said."
"In adjacent Hubei Province, hailstorms injured 15 people."
"Last week, many regions in China were hit by sudden changes of weather."
"Areas in North China and Northwest China experienced sudden drops in temperature."
"In Urumqui, capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the temperature slumped to 1 degrees Celsius (31 degrees Fahrenheit) from 26 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) the day before."
"And in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the temperature dropped by 17 degrees (on the Celsius scale- J.T.) between Wednesday, April 6, and Thursday, April 7, 2005." (See People's Daily for April 10, 2005, "Hailstones 'as big as eggs' kill 18." Many thanks to Chen Jilin for this newspaper article.)
From the UFO Files...
1979: THE WOODSBORO GHOST
"Woodsboro is a small rural community located about ten miles northeast of Frederick, Maryland. It is a community steeped in tradition, as many of its residents are said to be descendants of the town's early settlers."
"Approaching Woodsboro from Walkersville-a rather scenic drive up Route 194-the first thing you notice in the Mount Hope Cemetery on the right. The town that follows is mostly made up of large shade trees and old Victorian homes-some of which are haunted."
"One such house, located midway through town, has been haunted for" nearly a century. "Most of the time, the Woodsboro Ghost is fairly tame. It is usually content just to open doors and curtains, and sing in the kitchen."
"But every now and then, something a little more startling happens."
In 1979, the house was owned by Elizabeth Kingsford. During mid-April, a fresh series of manifestations began, starting with "strange scratching noises on her bedroom door."
"One evening, while Elizabeth was smoking a cigarette in the kitchen, she was startled by the sound of a latch lifting on the door leading to the upstairs hallway. As she watched, the door opened slowly, and she became aware of a human shape taking form on the stairs. She had no desire to meet this spectre and quickly slammed the door and left the room."
A little later, while trying to sleep, "Elizabeth sensed a presence in the room and then felt the edge of the bed lower, as though someone were sitting down. All she could do was keep her eyes tightly closed and pray until it went away."
When the pressure was gone from the bed, Elizabeth opened her eyes and "started to get out of bed." Suddenly, she "saw what appeared to be a young woman with long black hair dressed in a white gown lying on the floor."
"Almost immediately, the apparition rose and stood before her. Elizabeth couldn't get out of the room fast enough. The terrified woman spent the rest of the night locked in the bathroom," listening to a "strange scratching sound" coming from the bottom of the door.
Some people in Federick consider the ghost a kind of real-life "Blair Witch."
According to local folklore, "One local psychic, who visited the house, believes the (Woodsboro) ghost is the daughter of a cruel man who lived in the area" decades ago. "According to the psychic, she had hated her father so that, when she died of diphtheria, her ghost stayed around to torment him. She bothered him so much that he eventually hanged himself from a large tree in what is now Elizabeth's backyard."
Others believe there is more than one ghost on the property. In addition to the black-haired young woman, there's another ghost known as "Miss Molly."
"Though neighbors do confirm that a man hanged himself in the backyard many years ago, former owners believe the ghost may be that of an elderly lady who died in the kitchen. They referred to their ghost as 'Miss Molly,' whom they often heard singing in the kitchen. The singing was often accompanied by the smell of perfume."
One-time owner Elizabeth Kingsford commented, "It is interesting to note that, to this day, many strange occurrences still happen in the kitchen." (See the book Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County by Timothy L. Cannon and Nancy F. Whitmore, Studio 20 Inc., Frederick, Md., 1979, pages 20 through 23. Many thanks to Elizabeth Kingsford for sending the copy of the Cannon/Whitmore book.)
Letter from the Editor
This week's issue of UFO Roundup comes to you "on the road." Your editor has temporarily left his usual haunts in the USA's Upper Midwest to revisit his boyhood home in New England. In between visiting family and friends, he has been using the computer belonging to newsletter correspondent Mary Lou Jones-Drown to concoct this week's edition.
So far, your editor and the Drown family have investigated the mysteries of Bad Luck Pond in Rehoboth, Mass., the site of the multiple appearance of "crazy crocs," or out-of-place alligators, of which four were captured by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Services on Saturday, April 2, 2005. Next up are trips to thoroughly-haunted Chopmist Hill in Scituate, Rhode Island, to the stamping grounds of Susannah Stukeley, Rhode Island's notorious Seventeenth Century "Witch of Apponaug," and Joshua Elderkin's old farm in Windham, Connecticut, the site of the UFO visitation in 1758.
"If I really push my luck, I might end up in Salem, Mass. for a tour of Abigail Prinn's antique pre-gambrel house, built in 1664, and an interview with Brown Jenkin, a true celebrity of the paranormal world," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor added. "More next week from the UFO Roundup New England Odyssey."
And that's it for now. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, 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 new groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.