ORANGE UFOs SIGHTED BY HUNDREDS IN AUSTRALIA
Strange orange lights were seen by hundreds over the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the capital of Australia's Victoria state.
"If witnesses to the strange phenomenon seen last Friday night," May 13, 2005, "are to be believed, the answer could be alien spaceships."
"The mystery developed at 10:30 p.m. when about a dozen of the orange lights were seen hovering over Ferntree Gully."
"Tim Webster, 23, of Upwey, Vic., admits he was looking forward to an alien abduction as he photographed the lights on his phone camera."
"'They were too high for fireworks, higher than a jet and creating patterns that no aircraft could do.'"
"Mr. Webster called his friend, Aaron Singe, 22, who was at Mountain Gate shopping centre."
"'Tim just said, 'Look outside, you're not going to believe it,' Singe said, 'It's pretty hard to convince about this sort of thing, but this is too weird.'"
"Another friend, Stuart Wilson, 24, managed to take video footage of the lights."
"The shaky video shows a large prick of light forming shapes such as diamonds, lines, characters and what looks like the Southern Cross."
"The lights were watched for ten minutes before flying in a different direction and vanishing, Mr. Wilson said.""'It's possible aliens are driving them, but, until I see one (an alien--J.T.), I'm not going to be convinced,' he said, 'This is pretty close, but I didn't see any little green men.'"
"But Mr. Webster doesn't need convincing."
"'I was never into sci-fi, but now I'm going to do my homework on UFOs,' he said."
"Local pizza shop owner Ned Bulic also took phone photos and said, 'They were definitely alien UFOs. Nothing else could have moved like that.'"
"Police contacted Melbourne Airport after reports came in from Hallam, Vic. to Boronia, Vic., but there were no anomalies on the radar." (See the Australian newspaper Herald-Sun for May 15, 2005, "UFOs spotted over Melbourne." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this newspaper article.)
MYSTERIOUS "FIREBALL" SEEN OVER FINLAND
"An exceptionally bright 'fireball' was spotted slicing through the sky over Finland" on Tuesday, May 17, 2005, "before exploding over the (Scandinavian) country's border with Russia."
"The phenomenon was witnessed by dozens of people in the eastern part of the country, the Finnish Astronomical Association (Finnish acronym: URSA) said Wednesday," May 18, 2005.
"'Our authorities have roughly indicated that the (fireball) began its descent over the eastern border and ended in an explosion over Russia's Karelia region,' URSA newsletter editor Marko Pekkola told Agence France Presse."
"Closer identifications will be needed to determine the exact route taken by the 'fireball,' which was probably an incandescent meteorite, Pekkola added." (See the Agence France Presse report for May 18, 2005. Many thanks to Jim Hickman, executive director of Skywatch International, for the AFP news release.)
UFOs SIGHTED BY MANY IN HUARAL, PERU
Huaral, a small city in Peru located 97 kilometers (58 miles) north of Lima, the national capital, is the site of South America's latest UFO flap.
On Friday, May 6, 2005, "an unidentified flying object was recorded and captured on a videotape belonging to a college student from Lima, who was visiting the agricultural region known as El Ahorcado," 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Huaral.
El Ahorcado was described as "a strange wilderness surrounded by sinuous curves, great, oddly-shaped boulders and is the home of humble farmers who rise at dawn and go to bed at dusk." Since the beginning of May 2005, the region has had "daily sightings of strange vehicles that are completely different from airplanes and helicopters, which generally do not fly over the region."
"On Friday, May 6, 2005, at 6:45 p.m., as the sun went down and the sky darkened, Jason Mendez Cordova, a doctoral student majoring in physics, was strolling through El Ahorcado in the company of his brother and a friend, looking at the rocks and studying the unusual landscape, when he taped something on his camcorder. At the time, he was surprised to see that the camcorder was picking up images of an impressive light. This continued to another 20 minutes. They recorded children at play as the light hovered over the unusual rocky landscape."
Later, "Jason returned to his home in Mangomarca Zarate. He downloaded the images and immediately became aware of a strange object recorded by his (video) camera. Upon checking and rechecking it, he realized that-- unbeknownst to him--the image of an unidentified flying object had been picked up on the tape."
"'I wasn't aware of the strange craft when shooting the landscape, the huts, the children playing and the dusty streets of the area, until I downloaded the video to my personal computer,'" Jason reported, "'That's when I observed the sighting. It's useless or illogical to believe that in such a vast universe we would be the only living creatures. There are intelligent civilizations on other planets, and worlds (that hold--S.C.) a variety of life forms.'"
Eyewitness reports have also been received from "other farmers and residents of the city of Huaral, who claim seeing strange craft on a daily basis in the clear skies, both early in the morning and at dusk. Two farmers who work early in the morning, as is their custom, claim having seen an enormous craft that plowed the skies over Huaral and appeared to follow them as they walked. Whenever they stopped, the object stopped as well, continuing this behavior until the immense vehicle became lost among the boulders."
"Another resident claims that around 6 p.m.," on Monday, May 2, 2005, "she saw a craft that flashed intermittent lights in the heavens, hovered among the clouds and then vanished at high speed. 'It was faster than an airplane, very strange. This is the first time I've seen such a thing, but some neighbors and my compadre tell me that they have seen similar things at other times,' she said."
"The eyewitnesses asserted that these strange aircraft do not resemble airplanes or helicopters in size, speed and shape." (See La Prensa for May 19, 2005, "UFOs over Huaral." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Alex Sender por este articulo de diario.)
TWO UFOs CAUSE A POWER FAILURE IN COPIAPO, CHILE
Two UFOs flying in tandem overhead were blamed for a mysterious electrical blackout in northern Chile.
"Two objects travelling at high speed interrupted the electric supply in the city of Copiapo" and in the nearby farm commune of Caldera.
"Word is circulating throughout the city of Copiapo and the commune of Caldera that the blackout that plunged the region into darkness on Wednesday," March 30, 2005, "between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. could have been 'caused by the sudden transit of two UFOs.'"
"The report has been given a certain measure of 'credibility' considering that the blackout had been caused by a malfunction at the 110,000-volt transformer substation, which has been confirmed by Empresa Electrica de Atacama (EMELAT) (Translated: Atacama Electrical Authority--J.T.), which has been quoted as saying, 'The problem is still under investigation.'"
"Local resident Gonzalo Delgado, who flatly refused to be photographed 'since they'd think I was a nut,' told the newspaper El Chanarcillo that 'around 8 p.m. on Wednesday I was in the barrio Cuesta de Cardone (neighborhood) and hitchhiking my way back into the city. I suddenly realized that two objects were crossing the sky at high speed, and, when I turned and looked back at the city, I realized that it had vanished. That leads me to believe that it was at this time that the power failure occurred. Two trucks were coming down the road at the same time who could have also seen the phenomenon.'"
"He stresses that he thought long and hard about reporting what he had seen, since he feared being dismissed as a lunatic, 'which I think would be unfair, since I did see the two luminous objects.'"
Delgado "stressed that he could not 'ascertain that the transit of these two objects was responsible for the power failure. But if EMELAT is still investigating, what else could it be?'"
"No official explanation has been presented by the company, leaving the possibility that the two UFOs were responsible for the blackout."
Copiapo is in Chile's northern state of Atacama, located about 300 kilometers (180 miles) north of Santiago de Chile, the national capital. (See the Chilean newspaper El Chanarcillo for March 30, 2005, "Did UFOs cause a blackout in northern Chile?" Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales por este articulo de diario.)
SPHERICAL UFOs SPOTTED IN ANGELS CAMP, CALIFORNIA
On Sunday, May 8, 2005, eyewitness Rick Riojas spotted a UFO over his hometown of Angels Camp, California (population 3,004). He said it "was coming in from the west over the (nearby) towns of Felix and Copperopolis.
"For the past year, we have been witnessing strange red, blue and orange spherical objects, like balls of light, that seem to hover over the hills (of Calaveras County--J.T.) from a location maybe 5 to 6 miles (8 to 10 kilometers) away."
The UFOs "move from side to side and sometimes back up and down. I have seen the object near some large trees. It also seems to approach from the same direction (west) every time. But I have dismissed the idea of it being a star, a plane or a radar helicopter. Its movements are too sporadic to be any of them."
"They seem to be too far away from me for me to adequately judge the size of any object. I could guess them to be approximately 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) in diameter."
Angels Camp, Cal. is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, approximately 66 miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Sacramento, the state capital. (Email Form Report)
OVAL-SHAPED UFO SEEN BY COUPLE IN EL PASO, TEXAS
On Thursday, May 19, 2005, Delilah Dawson was in her kitchen in El Paso, Texas (population 563,662) when "at about 5:30 a.m., my husband got home from work, frantic about some object in the sky that looked like a star but was too bright."
"As I went outside to find out what he was talking about, the sun was just starting to come up, and I saw in the distance an object that appeared to be metallic silver in color and was oval-shaped with what looked like lights on it."
"As I got our camcorder, it started to move slowly to the right and slowly to the left. Then it hovered for about an hour and a half. Then it disappeared."
Excited, Delilah telephoned the National Weather
Service to report her sighting.
UFOs OR THE VIRGIN MARY?
A really strange phenomenon was reported last week by eyewitness J.N. in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario province, Canada.
Earlier this year, the giant metal cross at Notre Dame de Grands Lacs School in Sault Sainte Marie, Ont. began moving from side to side in a queer metronome fashion. Principal, groundskeeper and students witnessed the phenomenon for over three hours.
On Sunday, May 8, 2005, J.N. reported, "I was outside with my dogs and my girlfriend" when a strange spherical light approached from the north. "It looked like a star, but it wasn't. Just a bright light high in the sky. It went south at first, and then it went up, as if into space."
Four days later, on Thursday, May 12, 2005, the mysterious sphere of light returned. J.N. reported, "I was with my girlfriend. We were walking to Mac's Mart on Queen Street in the east end. There is a sewage plant nearby. I was saying how much it stunk, when we looked over and saw that light again. This time it approached from the south (Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, USA, known to people of the Great Lakes region as "the Soo"--J.T.) But this time it was lower and closer. The light started to move towards us but kept its distance. It looked like an eye. That would explain it best--like a light with a bar in the middle. The bottom of the light was a different colour. It came towards us, then moved around the city, heading west. It was really fast. It went from the east end to downtown in a matter of seconds."
"The phenomena seen by J.N. and his girlfriend appear similar to those witnessed at Marian apparition sites-- notably, Cova da Iria and Valinhos in the Serra da Aire of Portugal in 1917, and at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1984," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor commented. "After the cross-shaking in Soo, Canada last winter, I wondered if there might be some sort of followup phenomena there on May 13, the traditional date of apparitions of the Virgin Mary (birth name: Miriam bat-Joachim--J.T.). Apparently, we had UFO sightings in Soo, Canada on May 8 and May 12. Close, but no cigar. File the cross-shaking incident under Unexplained, not Miraculous."
Sault Sainte Marie, Ont. is on Provincial Highway 17 approximately 429 miles (680 kilometers) northwest of Toronto, Canada's largest city. (Email Form Report)
AFRICAN "BATMAN" CAUSES PANIC ON ZANZIBAR ISLANDS
"Mohammed Juma starts to sweat and fidget as he reveals his rape by Popo Bawa, the most feared spirit visitor of the Zanzibar spice islands," located just off the coast of Tanzania in east Africa.
"'We believe reading the Koran (Al-Quran in Arabic-- J.T.) is our only defence--nothing else,' said the 41- year-old driver and father of four. 'But Popo Bawa is real, and well-prepared.'"
"Holidaymakers on this Indian Ocean island tend to smile dismissively at accounts of the bat-like ogre said to prey on men, women and children. But, for Zanzibaris, a visit from the sodomising gremlin is no joke."
"Although no one has ever seen it, belief in the monster is so strong that even villagers will sleep outside for protection."
"Popo Bawa (Swahili for Bat's Wing or Batman--J.T.) prefers to attack behind closed doors at night in huts set amidst rustling groves of jackfruit and mangoes on Zanzibar's Pemba Island."
Villagers claim "they detected a bad smell, became cold and went into a trance in the minutes before they felt the creature's inhuman strength. Some attacks were heralded by the sound of giant fangs and claws rattling and scraping on the huts' tin roofs."
"Others cringed in terror at what sounded like a car's engine turning over."
"'We heard a rustling on the roof,' recalls Asha Saleh, in her late 50s," a resident of "Machomanne village near Pemba's main town of Chake Chake. 'I felt someone fondling me. I felt very cold. I felt uneasy,' she said, recalling the attack some 35 years ago."
"'I couldn't call out for help to my husband, who was lying asleep beside me. Popo Bawa is strong. He really presses down on you. And it took a long time. One hour! Eventually, I lost consciousness. And I was one of many who was attacked'" during the Popo Bawa manifestation of 1970.
"Multiple waves of colonists and traders--Arabs, Portuguese, Hindus, Chinese, British, Persians and Africans--left behind a multinational array of legends on Zanzibar."
"Accordingly, many dismiss Popo Bawa as another of the satanic stories swapped over the centuries by the migrating Indian Ocean peoples as they moved back and forth from Indonesia to the Comoros, from Madagascar to the Maldives."
"Zanzibar's distinctive past as an Arab-run slave market prompted some academicians to speculate that the story of Popo Bawa emerged from a collective race memory of the horrors of slavery. But Popo Bawa is similar to the many goblins believed by the villagers to still populate the tall grasses that surround their huts. Many of the elderly are adept at exorcism, placing charms at the base of fig trees or sacrificing goats to avert evil or draw favours from the spirit world. So experienced are the island's traditional healers that they draw visitors from the (Persian) Gulf and East Africa, with the successful amassing riches and prestige."
"In 1995, Juma said, 'Many were afraid and were sleeping outside. But I was confident and was alone in my room. I was reading the Koran for protection. After about 20 minutes, I started feeling sleepy. I heard something falling on the roof. I continued reading. I started feeling something in my room. I felt my mouth becoming bigger and bigger. I started losing my ability to form words. My feeling was that my lower lip had extended to my lap. I felt something in my body. I became very sweaty. My experience was like that of a neighbour of mine who said his head seemed to grow to an enormous size.'"
"Popo Bawa gets annoyed if villagers deny his existence--a fact of which Khamis Juma Hamad says he can testify."
"Hamad, a retired village chief now 75, said that, in 1971, Popo Bawa spoke to terrified villagers through a girl possessed by the monster. 'I am Popo Bawa,' said the girl, called Fatuma, speaking in the unnaturally deep voice of a man. 'You have challenged my existence, so I have come to prove I am here.'"
"Seconds later, he said, the villagers heard the sound of an engine revolving and a rustling on a nearby roof was a sign of Popo Bawa."
"'The people felt cold, almost paralyzed. They were terrified,' he said."
Popo Bawa was last seen on Pemba Island in 2000 and 2001. Villagers fear that the strange entity might make another appearance this year. (See the British newspaper The Sun for May 15, 2005, "Belief in sex-mad demon tests nerves in Zanzibar." Many thanks to Justin Sabiti for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Note: The Mayans of Guatemala believed in a similar half-man, half-bat creature, which they called Gucumatz. Human sacrifices were left bound and gagged on top of wooden towers. Gucumatz would then swoop down and bite off the poor victim's head. Fantasy writer Sean O'Larkin wrote a novella about such a creature, entitled Morgo the Mighty, which appeared in the August 2, 1930 issue of The Popular Magazine. O'Larkin's "Batman" was supposed to inhabit caverns beneath the Himalayas.)
CRAZY CROC SIGHTED IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
"Federal wildlife officials are hunting for a 3-foot (0.9-meter) alligator seen locally in a suburban reservoir. The reptile, first seen Saturday," May 14, 2005, "on the surface of Falling Creek Reservoir," just off Route 10, Broad Rock Road, on the south side of Richmond (population 197,790), "is feeding on fish and is not considered a threat to residents, officials said."
"'It poses really no threat to anybody unless somebody starts messing with it or grabs its tail,' Alice Perry, Chesterfield County's manager of animal control said Wednesday," May 18, 2005.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's wildlife services program has been called to capture the animal and relocate it to warm climes, she said.
'"You can assume it was a captured animal, and it was released,' said Joseph Mitchell, a University of Richmond reptile expert."
"The animal could be an American alligator, a crocodile or a caiman, Mitchell said."
"The reptilian relatives look alike from a distance. The closest population of natural breeding alligators is in rural Dare County, North Carolina, just went of Manteo, N.C. (population 1,052)," located 160 miles (256 kilometers) south-southeast of Richmond, Va.
"Crocodiles can be found in south Florida, and caimans inhabit Central and South America." (See the Richmond, Va. Times-Dispatch for May 19, 2005, "Alligator surfaces in Virginia reservoir." Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: Between UFOs, sky booms and crazy crocs, Richmond is certainly getting its share of Fortean phenomena in 2005.)
LAKE VANISHES OVERNIGHT IN CENTRAL RUSSIA
"A Russian village was left baffled Thursday," May 19, 2005, "after its lake disappeared overnight."
"NTV Television showed video footage of a great muddy hole drying in the morning sun, while farmers from Bolotnikovo village looked on in shock and disorientation."
"'It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground,' said Dmitri Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by NTV."
"Officials in the Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga River east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been forced down into an underground water-course or cave system."
"But the villagers had a more sinister explanation."
"'I am thinking...well, America has finally gotten to us,' said an old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her farmhouse." (See Moscow News for May 20, 2005, "Lake disappearance baffles villagers." Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this news article.)
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION FOR AREA 51 IS COMING
Fifty years ago, in May 1955, construction work began on "the operating base near Groom Lake," Nevada--a base which evolved into the top-secret Area 51.
Although the official celebrations have already been held on the base, a public celebration of the 50th Anniversary will be held on Memorial Day weekend. The three-day event will be held from Saturday, May 28, to Monday, May 30, 2005.
According to ufologist Norio Hayakawa, one of the event's organizers, "There will be a public celebration and rally for the Golden Anniversary" that "will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2005 adjacent to the eastern boundary of the base adjacent to Groom Lake Road. It will be hosted by Joerg Anu, webmaster of Area 51: The Dreamland Resort, the world's largest online source of information about Area 51."
(Editor's Note: UFO Roundup readers can access the Web site at this URL... http://www.dreamlandresort.com.)
"Supporters and aficionados of Area 51, including military matters enthusiasts, are expected to celebrate outside the eastern boundary with numerous speakers. A mini-stage will be set up on the site," Norio announced.
"According to Anu, May 28 was selected because it coincides with" the Memorial Day holiday here in the USA "and it would be easier for the public to attend the celebration. Some participants will arrive onsite on Friday afternoon, May 27, 2005. Celebrations will continue throughout the weekend."
"Local news media is expected to cover the event, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangers are also expected to participate by helping to coordinate and other activities needed to make the event a success."
"For the past 16 years or so, Area 51 has been psychically and erroneously associated with false rumors of 'alien starships' and conspiracies."
"Norio Hayakawa, a supporter of the importance and necessity of this vital base for our national defense, stated that 'the operating base near Groom Lake' is a real aerospace complex, which was originally not intended to be established as a big, secret, classified base."
"According to Hayakawa, it has become a 'secret base' only through paranoia created by false rumors, which began in the 1980s and persisted through the mid-1990s."
(Editor's Comment: Yet, in early 1995, Timothy J. McVeigh, the convicted Oklahoma City bomber, conducted a one-man long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) at Area 51, in search of UFOs. McVeigh claimed to have breached the inner perimeter at Area 51, actually reaching the dry lakebed. He said he was detected on his way out and was kept under surveillance by the guards but was not arrested. A claim your editor finds a little hard to believe.)
"Area 51 is a Research and Development equipment test base, employing anywhere from 1,400 to 2,400 defense contractor employees." Contractors at Area 51 include Raytheon, Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, TRW, EG & G and General Atomics. (Many thanks to Norio Hayakawa for this news release.)
(Editor's Note: Lockheed does the annual certification testing of airport screeners deployed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security.)
"EXPLOSIVE" SITUATION ON USA-MEXICO BORDER
Some observers are calling the situation on the USA- Mexico border "explosive" following a series of startling events last week.
According to the Washington Times, "U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered NOT to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protestors patrolled last month (April 2005) because a series of apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of the Minuteman volunteers."
"More than a dozen agents, all of whom asked not the be identified for fear of retaliation, said orders relayed by Border Patrol supervisors at the Naco, Arizona station made it clear that the arrests 'were not to go up' along the 23-mile (37-kilometer) section of border that the volunteers monitored to protest illegal immigration."
"'It was clear to everyone here what was being said and why,' said a veteran agent, 'The apprehensions are not to increase after the Minuteman volunteers left. It was as simple as that.'"
"Another agent said the Naco supervisors are 'clear in their contention' to keep the new arrests to 'an absolute minimum' to offset the effect of the Minuteman vigil, adding that patrols along the border have been severely limited."
"Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar at the agency's Washington (D.C.) headquarters called the accusations 'outright wrong,' saying that supervisors at the Naco station have not blocked agents from making arrests and that the station's 350 agents are being 'supported in carrying out their duties.'"
"'Border Patrol agents are the first line of defense against terrorism,' Chief Aguilar said, adding that the 11,000 agents 'are meeting the challenge head-on...as daunting a task as that may sound.'"
"The chief--a former head of the agency's Tucson sector, which includes the Naco station--said that with the world watching the Arizona border because of the Minuteman Project, agents in Naco demonstrated" their professionalism "'in carrying out their critical national security duties and responsibilities.'"
"But Rep. Tom Tancredo (Republican of Colorado) yesterday (Thursday, May 12, 2005) said 'credible sources' within the Border Patrol had told him of the decision by Naco supervisors to keep arrests at a minimum, saying he was angry but nor surprised."
"'It's like telling a cop to stand by and watch burglars loot a store but don't arrest any of them,' he said, 'This is a striking example of decisions being made at the highest levels of the Border Patrol that are hurting morale.'"
As an immediate response to the agency's "stand down" order, the Minuteman Project returned to the embattled area on Friday, May 13, 2005.
"Without public notice, about 64 Minutemen volunteers suddenly reappeared Friday afternoon along state Highway 92, between Miller and Ash Canyons" near Hereford, Arizona.
"The familiar sight of retirees in lawn chairs scanning the Huachuca Mountains through binoculars brought honks and thumbs-up gestures from passing motorists until the vigil ended Sunday afternoon," May 15, 2005.
"'I'm fully dedicated to this thing, to save America,' explained Freddy Puckett, a retiree from Cochise, Arizona."
"Standing in the shade outside his small RV (recreation vehicle--J.T.) Sunday morning, Puckett said he spent 28 days along the Naco line during April's Minuteman Project in an attempt to squelch illegal immigration from Mexico."
"So when Minuteman Project organizer Chris Simcox asked for volunteers for 'Operation May Surprise,' Puckett didn't hesitate."
"'A lot of the old-timers came back,' Puckett said, 'Some flew in and rented cars...We're going to be vigilant.'"
"Puckett, 60, a Vietnam vet, said he knew of one volunteer who came back from Arkansas."
"Their vigilance paid off Saturday night," May 14, 2005, "Puckett said, when 17 stealthy visitors to the U.S. were nabbed in a wash (arroyo or gully--J.T.) coming out of Ash Canyon."
"Although he carried a sidearm, Puckett said he has had no reason to pull it during his stint near the border. The nocturnal travelers quickly surrendered when lights were shone on them by Minuteman volunteers. The U.S. Border Patrol was summoned and hauled the folks away."
"'We basically support the Border Patrol,' Puckett said, 'We don't make no contact.'"
"As Puckett spoke to a Herald-Review reporter, a motorcycle pulled up on the shoulder of the highway. Pulling off his helmet, Chris Lambert asked where the section leader was."
"Lambert, 26, had just ridden down from Tucson to do whatever he could to help him turn back the tide of illegal border crossers. He said he had heard about the operation on the radio and came for the day 'to get the government to do something about this.'"
"Puckett directed Lambert to a communications center a couple of miles up the highway, as his radio crackled with transmissions between the highway outposts."
"'I feel sorry for these people,' Puckett said, 'We're saving their lives. I love the Mexican people.'"
"What Puckett doesn't love is illegal immigrants taking jobs away from American citizens or people from other nations sneaking across the line, such as one from Ecuador who was recently captured."
"'I feel patriotic,' Puckett said."
"'Just maybe we'll stop a dirty bomb from Al- Qaeda...I feel a sense of responsibility that I can help. I feel better about myself. Would you rather die for a cause or from a disease?'"
The surprise Minuteman appearance on the border was followed by yet another round of condemnation from Mexican officials.
"Mexican president Vicente A. Fox called recent U.S. measures to stem illegal immigraton a step back for bilateral relations on Friday," May 13, 2005, "and said Mexican migrants do jobs 'that not even blacks want to do.'"
"In comments likely to raise the temperature of the immigration debate, Fox defended the role of undocumented Mexican workers in the United States to a group of Texas business people meeting in Mexico."
"'There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States,' he said in a speech broadcast in part on local radio and reported on newspaper Web sites."
"Fox said recent, tougher measures against immigrants do not represent 'the road we should be building between friends and partners.'"
"Mexico has been seeking an accord with Washington for years to make it easier for millions of illegal Mexican immigrants to live and work in the United States. The country expects to repatriate this year more than 250,000 foreigners, mostly Central Americans headed for the U.S. border."
"Mexican hopes were raised early last year (2004) when President (George W.) Bush proposed a temporary worker program but it has become bogged down in Congress."
"A key partner in U.S. border security, Mexico is upset at new U.S. controls on foreign-born people, including tougher rules to obtain drivers' licenses."
"Congressional Republicans attached the immigration changes to legislation providing $82 billion in emergency funds for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush is expected to sign the legislation into law soon."
"The law, approved unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday," May 10, 2005, "waives environmental rules to allow the extension of a fence on the border between California and Mexico to stop illegal immigrants."
"Mexico calls the measure 'overly extreme.'"
"But Fox said he was encouraged by a bill put forward on Thursday," May 12, 2005, "by Senators John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, to allow some of the estimated 10 to 12 million illegal immigrants to get legal jobs and eventual citizenship."
"'I hope President Bush will support and push the initiative, as he has publicly agreed. I have to take his word and hope he delivers,' Fox said."
On Thursday, May 12, 2005, "a top Mexican official said that 'there is no wall that can stop' the flow of illegal workers from Mexico to the United States and that money spent on such measures would be better used to 'regularize' immigration and fight terrorism."
Santiago Creel, Mexico's Minister of the Interior and a likely presidential candidate in 2006, "said U.S. attempts to halt migration over the last 100 years have failed. And so will new measures approved by the U.S. Senate this week, he said."
"'We see this as bad because building walls in no way contributes to the construction of a neighborhood,' Creel said during a news conference with foreign journalists."
"'It seems to us an extreme measure,' said Creel, whose powerful ministry is responsible for internal political order, national security and Mexico's National Migration Institute."
"The measures to dissuade illegal immigration approved by the U.S. Senate were included in the military- operations spending bill, which passed unanimously Tuesday." The bill proposed a ban on issuing drivers' licenses to illegal workers and provided funds to continue the border fence separating California from Mexico."
"But Creel complained that while Mexico is addressing American concerns--such as deporting 250,000 foreigners a year who use his country as a trampoline to the United States--but has received nothing in return."
"The Mexican government does look positively on some immigration proposals," including the McCain-Kennedy bill, which provides for "both a guest-worker program and a path to legal permanent residence."
But the McCain-Kennedy proposals are opposed by rightwing Republicans, the American militia movement and others who support the efforts of the Minuteman Project. Their stance on the 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants was summed up last week by one Web site spokesman, who said, "Round 'em up...ship 'em out!"
(See the Washington Times for May 13, 2005, "Border Patrol told to stand down in Arizona;" the Sierra Vista, Ariz. Herald-Review for May 17, 2005, "Minutemen return to the border;" the Borger, Tex. News-Herald for May 14, 2005, "Fox toughens talk on Mexican immigration;" and the Wichita, Kans. Eagle for May 12, 2005, "Walls can't stop migration, Mexican official says." Many thanks to Douglas Quimby for these newspaper articles.)
(Editor's Note: Later, President Fox apologized to the USA's African-Americans, explaining that he was not making disparaging remarks about blacks.)
From the UFO Files...
1945: STRANGE CRUISE OF THE U-977
Sixty years ago, on May 25, 1945, while people were celebrating the end of World War II in Europe, a long, slender gray submarine cleaved the waters of the Atlantic, heading south on a mission that is still debated, even today. She was Unterseeboot U-977, with Korvetenkapitan Heinz Schaefer commanding, and this is the story of her strange final cruise.
On April 26, 1945, the U-977 finished her war patrol and put in at the German U-boat base at Christiansund in Norway. Capt. Schaeffer recalled, "I won my champagne because neither of the other U-boats arrived till the 27th. We were now ready for operations. I bivouacked with all my crew on a mountain slope. We had lit a log fire and the flames blazed scarlet against the sky, the sparkling stars and the shimmering sea. We lay in a circle around the fire, forty-eight of us in all, talking of the troubled days in our own country and the fate of our families and friends."
"A few day's ago, my engineer had learned of his father's death. He had lost an arm in the First World War only to be killed serving with the Volkssturm (German militia, a kind of Nazi "Dad's Army"--J.T.) in the Second. Germany, the mighty nation of only three years ago, was now defeated and broken, with foreign (Allied) troops pouring over her countryside."
U-977 was scheduled to return to sea on May 2, 1945. Grossadmiral Karl von Doenitz had succeeded Adolf Hitler as Fuehrer of the Third Reich, and, Schaeffer recalled, "Everyone said he would carry on the war from Norway. Doenitz ordered the U-977 to infiltrate the harbor in Southampton (UK) and sink as much enemy shipping as he could.
Four days later, on May 6, 1945, almost on the eve of the German surrender, the U-boat's periscope collapsed, and Schaeffer turned back. On May 7, he received a radio message from Doenitz's headquarters, advising all German U-boats to surrender.
"We didn't pick up the speaker's name because the aerial attached to our Snort (snorkel--J.T.) broke before we got so far. Who was it who had been speaking? Certainly not von Doenitz, after all his fine words? No, it was probably an enemy trap..."
"Next day (May 8, 1945--VE Day) we again picked up another signal, which I again felt must come from the enemy since it was quite irreconcilable with the outlook and temper of our own leaders and completely at variance with our own orders. I decided to ignore it and act on my own initiative."
"Finally (on May 10, 1945) there came a third signal to all U-boats at sea to surface, put their armament out of action and hoist blue or white flags--from the Allied Disarmament Commission. I could stand it no longer and gave orders to shut off the wireless..."
Here is where the account gets a little fuzzy. Schaeffer claims that it was his decision, and his decision alone, to undertake the epic voyage. But critics argued that a trip to Argentina was already in the cards when U-977 left Norway.
According to Schaeffer, he called the ship's company into the chart room on May 12, 1945 and made his speech. "Kameraden (Comrades), it seems the darkest hour has struck both for us and for Germany. We have lost the Second World War. We all knows what lies before the German people--the enemy propaganda has made no secret of it...We must decide the right course to take. We can either hoist the white flag, or sink our boat, or put into harbor in some country that has behaved honorably all through the war. One of our engineers knows Argentina and has kept in touch with friends there, so he is well- informed about this South American republic, and I myself have friends and acquaintances there...I suggest, therefore, that we continue on our way, but that we do not attack a single ship, for I would not have us avenge ourselves with the blood of innocent men. It is futile to carry on the war alone. As it is, we have all the stores we need for our voyage to Argentina to spare us the bitter bread of captivity."
The crew voted on it. "Thirty out of the forty-eight plumped for South America, two wanted to go to Spain, hoping to make a surer and speedier return (to Germany) from there, and sixteen expressed a wish to return to their familes--these last married men, nearly all of them petty officers, the oldest on board."
Schaeffer gave the sixteen men the U-boat's rubber dinghies, surfaced at night off the coast of Norway, and then let them go. Once submerged again, U-977 headed for the British Isles. Getting down the Channel would be like running a gauntlet, for, as Schaeffer pointed out, "the British would certainly be patrolling the approaches. They didn't mean to let any leading personality of the (Third) Reich slip away, and were well aware of the audacity of their enemy. We turned out to be right. The sea around Britain was thoroughly patrolled without relaxation for a long time after the war...Often we heard mines and depth charges exploding in the distance. Were they after other U-boats?"
To a stunned crew, Schaeffer outlined his incredible plan. He intended to sail to the Equator--without surfacing at all. Such a voyage had never before been attempted by any submarine. By cruising at a depth of 25 fathoms (150 feet) by day, and 10 fathoms (60 feet) by night, and by slowing the cruising speed to 3 knots to conserve diesel fuel, he calculated that they could reach Cabo Verde "in a couple of months."
"After eighteen days without a break, the crew began to get on edge, with black rings under their eyes, and faces pale and even greenish-looking. The bulkheads (walls--J.T.), too, were turning green with damp. Since we were permanently dived, now we couldn't get rid of the refuse from the galley and this piled up into a revolting mess, apart from the smell, breeding flies, maggots and other vermin."
"After seven weeks of the same old faces, some of us were on the verge of nervous breakdowns. With rubbish and dirt piling up everywhere, there was clearly only one thing to do, namely to unload a torpedo, jam the refuse into the empty tube and fire it out by compressed air."
"The mould was getting the upper hand, and unless we washed down the bulkheads every day, they began to turn quite green. Our clothes stuck to our bodies, and as we had to wash in salt water, we began to itch all over. Some of the chaps broke out in rashes, others into boils, but it couldn't be helped. We had been fifty days under water, and we had to hold out till we were off Gibraltar, when we should be able to proceed surfaced by night."
The U-boat's crew began having second thoughts about the voyage. "One of the men came to me to suggest that we put in to a Spanish port," but Schaeffer was "determined to stick fast to my resolution. Something had to be done, for discipline was going to pieces. I would come upon a group of men muttering together, but when I approached they would suddenly fall silent."
"The boat was often full of vapour (diesel smoke), which hurt our lungs and made our eyes smart, for every wave would automatically shut off the Snort valve and temporarily reduce the (air) pressure before the valve could open and let the (fresh) air rush in."
Schaeffer was well on his way to becoming the Captain Ahab of the Twentieth Century. While some crewmen remarked, "Are you certain this white whale is in Argentina?" and "The skipper must be half-fish. Maybe he doesn't need air down here, but we do!" others worried aloud about being executed as pirates should the U-977 be caught by an Allied task force.
Schaeffer "decided to act rigorously...When my Number One reported, 'All hands mustered forward,' I put on my white cap, which had been lying in my locker for ages, as well as my blue uniform with all my decorations and went to address the men."
"'In our darkest hour, you bore yourselves in a way history won't forget--they didn't call us the Sea Wolves for nothing,'" he shouted, "'And are you going to let yourselves go now? Go sulking around looking like whipped curs? You've lost all interest in our dash for freedom, haven't you, just because life seems too tough for you at the moment? Because you can't see the sun and have to spend your time down in this hold and don't know what the future holds in store? How often have I heard it said, 'Oh, we should have done this or that;' 'Our fuel won't take us to South America;' 'We might run out of stores' and 'Our health is being undermined?' What sort of fool do you take me for? Do you think I don't know what I'm doing or never foresaw all this? Didn't you all decide freely on this venture and put your trust in me? Well, it's too late to go back now.'"
Mutiny had been narrowly averted, but the U-boat's ordeal went on. "Woodwork started to rot, condensation was permanently dripping down the bulkheads, bunks and linen permanently damp. When they were not on watch, the majority would just lie down on their bunks in a complete stupor."
Finally, on Day 66, Schaeffer gave the order everybody had been waiting for. "All hands, prepare to surface."
"I raised the conning-tower hatch and climbed out onto the bridge," Schaeffer recalled, "The senior watch- keeper came up after me, and we looked about us. There was no ship anywhere in sight. Overhead stretched the starry vault of sky, astern all was a-sparkle with the moon's diamond glimmer, and everywhere about us rolled a vast expanse of sea. I gazed on the universe around me with a new kind of awe. To breathe great breaths of this clear fresh air was indeed an elixir, for after the scanty oil-laden atmosphere of our underwater prison, this sea- air seemed the most precious of all gifts."
The U-977 made straight for Cabo Verde. Schaeffer recalled, "I saw...that some of the islands of the group were uninhabited, and the crew jumped at the idea of landing on one of them. We made for Branca Island and surfaced off of it, feeling by now quite secure. Everyone came up on deck to admire the dead-calm sea with the rocks mirrored in stretches of blue, and the white beaches beyond."
From this point on, the U-boat's voyage became almost a pleasure cruise. "Naturally, everybody wanted to bathe in the sea. The ideal thing would be surf-riding (waterskiing in the USA--J.T.) behind the boat, and, as we had plenty of wood and, of course, rope, in a day we had our surf-board ready...One day a man on the surf-board gave a terrifying yell, for an enormous fish was swimming alongside. We wondered if it was a shark. I had never seen such an enormous sea monster in all my life, but luckily it turned out to be a whale. If the man was terrified, the whale was quite unimpressed."
No sooner had they gotten the terrified crewman back aboard the sub than "Moby Dick" began sounding. With a crash of its rear flippers, the whale disappeared beneath the waves.
When its prow broke the surface, U-977 had entered a new postwar world. "We often passed passenger ships with all their navigation lights on, for, after all, the war was over now. One night a passenger steamer overtook us, and we caught the distant strains of dance music. People were walking up and down on the promenade deck, and we looked on, itching to take action, while the giant vessel, a very mountain of light, passed unconcernedly on its way, remaining in view for a full hour. The Sea Wolf, once the terror of the ocean, had become a very tame puppy indeed."
Crossing the Equator without incident, the U-boat continued on its journey southward. "Time passed quickly. At one time we saw the haze of light in the sky that betokened Rio de Janeiro. We were proceeding now more and more to the south, and it was colder again--we had left the tropics behind us."
(Editor's Note: In 1945, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. Fifteen years later, in 1960, President Juscelino Kubitschek opened the new and present capital city of Brasilia.)
"One day, we learnt from the wireless (radio in the USA--J.T.) that U-530 (under the command of Korvetenkapitan Otto Wehrmut--J.T.) had put into the Rio de la Plata (the estuary between Argentina and Uruguay-- J.T.). We listened anxiously. What was going to become of the ship's company?...Then we heard that U-530 had been handed over to the United States with all its complement as prisoners of war."
Schaeffer wrote that this news "depressed" him and he briefly considered surrendering in either Brazil or Uruguay. But then he made up his mind to head for Mar del Plata in Argentina.
"The 17th of August 1945 was a brilliantly sunny day. We first made out the Argentinian coastline and then the (Mar del Plata) lighthouse; when this last came into view, the whole crew fell in on deck...While we were still outside the three-mile (five-kilometer) limit we flashed in English the signal German submarine and stopped our engines...Very soon, the Argentinian minesweeper P.Y. 10 and two submarines came alongside and informed us in English that an advance party would be coming out."
Argentina's Submarine Flotilla Commander soon arrived. He came "aboard with his staff. My crew are fallen in on deck. I deliver my report in German. The Argentinian doesn't understand a word. Can I speak French? Now at last we have a common medium."
"On the deck of the cruiser Belgrano Argentinian submarine crews were fallen in. The band was playing a march as we climbed up the gangway...In the wardroom I was asked to make a full report of our passage as indicated by the charts. Then I had to explain to the Submarine Flotilla Commander why I hadn't sunk my boat offshore. I told him that had we done so we could never have brought the true facts of our voyage to light."
When he finished, the Argentinian admiral said, "Captain, I must tell you that your boat is suspected of having sunk the Brazilian steamship Bahia a few days ago. It is also suspected that you had Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Martin Bormann on board and put them ashore somewhere on the southern part of our continent. Both these matters must be cleared up immediately."
(Editor's Note: The Bahia was struck by torpedoes on August 13, 1945 while out in the South Atlantic. Who fired those torpedoes? Sixty years later, it's still a mystery. As for Martin Bormann, after fleeing the Fuehrerbunker in Berlin, his escape route was cut off by Soviet Russian troops. In despair, he swallowed a vial of cyanide, falling to the ground dead. A Russian tank then plowed through a building wall, and Bormann's body was buried in the rubble. His remains weren't discovered until 1972. In the decades following the war, Martin Bormann became the "Elvis of South America," with sightings all over the continent.)
While Schaeffer was a "guest" aboard the Belgrano, the newspaper El Dia in Uruguay's capital of Montevideo ran a Page One story, claiming that U-977 had stopped first near Comodoro Rivadavia in southern Argentina.
El Dia claimed that Hitler, Eva Braun, Bormann, Hitler's twin six-year-old sons by another mistress, their nanny and half a dozen leading Nazis had taken to the rubber dinghies in the Golfo San Jorge, gone ashore in Patagonia, and now they were all on their way to "the new Berchtesgaden in Antarctica."
Argentina's president, Juan Domingo Peron, took the report seriously enough to have Schaeffer brought to Buenos Aires and interrogated. Schaeffer recalled, "Not one paper acknowledged the skill and endurance that had gone to make this first long underwater journey under such conditions. No, every news story, every report, feature article and lead turned on the same old stale theme of Heinz Schaeffer, who had stowed Hitler away."
"So, with Heinz Schaeffer actually standing before them in the flesh, it was only natural these gentlemen should be on their meddle to extract information about the Fuehrer, whom they were so anxious to capture alive in spite of his being for so long reported dead."
Schaeffer's ordeal was only beginning. The USA's War Department "asked for me to be handed over to the United States, and before long I was transferred to a camp for important prisoners of war at Washington, where I found a number of high-ranking German officers."
"For weeks on end, day after day, the Americans repeated the charge: 'You stowed Hitler away.'"
A British Admiralty interrogator told him, "It's because you helped Hitler to escape, Schaeffer, that you are considerably more interesting, from our point of view, than (Otto) Skorzeny, who set Mussolini free."
"Otto Wehrmut, Commander of U-530, was suddenly brought face-to-face with me, after which we were left in the same room together. We had never met before, but we saw at once what all this added up to. They were hoping that in the first flush of our joyful reunion we would so far forget ourselves as to discuss, in front of all their dictaphones, the whole inside story of a ghost convoy."
"They must have been very annoyed when nothing emerged from our talk save the true facts about the completely independent voyages of both our submarines."
For over a year, Schaeffer was held prisoner, he said, "as if I were a leading figure of the Third Reich." Then he was repatriated to Germany and lived for a few years in Dusseldorf.
"What was more serious was my discovery that in Germany itself there was widespread a sort of mystical premonition that one day Hitler would return. People just refused to believe that the Fuehrer was really dead and secretly looked to the day when he would come back from some unknown Elba."
(Editor's Note: A variation of this belief continues today in the Redemptionist movement--the "Hitler went to Aldebaran" legend.)
Dissatisfied with life in occupied Germany, Schaeffer returned to Argentina in 1950. Two years later, he wrote his book, U-977. For the rest of his life, he vigorously denied that his submarine had ferried Hitler to South America.
Was Hitler aboard the U-977? Schaeffer says no; a surprisingly large number of researchers say yes. Decide for yourself. (See the book U-boat 977 by Heinz Schaeffer, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1952, pages 2, 3, 4, 109, 112, 113, 114, 118, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 130, 132, 135, 136, 138, 139, 142, 143, 146 and 148.)
Well, that's it for this week. 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.
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