Jellyfish Swarm Stings Hundreds In Brazil

Nearly 300 swimmers looking to cool off from a heat wave were stung by swarms of jellyfish that filled the shallow waters off a southeastern beach city, Brazilian media reported Sunday.

At least 15 people including children and teenagers were treated in Praia Grande for severe stings, doctor Adriano Bechara told the Tribuna newspaper, though their lives were not in danger.

Many of the injured arrived at medical centers Friday and Saturday crying from the pain of the stings, paramedic Claudio Casadei told Tribuna. Most were treated and released.

Authorities blamed an extreme heat wave over the southeastern region for the swarm.

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians flock to the country's beaches every year during the holiday season.

Christmas Day UFO Mystery In Flintshire, UK

<--Mr Hughes says the objects were like those captured on camera near Wrexham earlier this year.

Harry Hughes, of Grays Road, Mynydd Isa, was returning some extra chairs to the shed after enjoying Christmas dinner with his family at about 7.20pm.

He said: "I looked up and saw what looked like five bright orangey-red fireballs flying through the sky, coming from the Bodfari direction.

"They were travelling quite fast, about 10-12 seconds apart and were revolving. They were travelling too fast to be aircraft and they were completely silent."

Harry called to his wife Pam to look at the strange objects before they disappeared and as she followed him out to the garden, they began to change direction.

Harry said: "They had been travelling west, but then they began to change direction one by one and started heading north. They were travelling at a high speed when they began to go north and were slanting upwards.

"My wife saw the last two and she looked at them through binoculars. The last one, which was bigger than all the rest, stopped momentarily then shot upwards, following the others north.

"The police helicopter travelled past our house about 10 minutes later. If it had been a bit earlier, then I'm sure police would have noticed these objects."

Harry's description of the mysterious fireballs matches that of Leigh and Lynn Williams, of Borras, Wrexham, who caught sight of several strange orange orbs in the sky in July, and he said he believed they were similar.

The couple also managed to take a video of the strange sighting, which was posted on the Evening Leader website and was the subject of much public debate.

Some posters, and UFO experts who spoke to the Leader, felt the incident merited further investigation, while others dismissed the sighting as being the result of Chinese lanterns.

Speaking at the time, Lynn said: "There were seven lights flying fast over the house. Two of them were flying round each other. They were flying very close together, closer than planes. They were going so fast we couldn't focus on them.

Leigh added: "There was no noise whatsoever. Surely if they were aircraft there would have been lots of noise. My wife was panicking. We just want to know what it was. When they went over it happened so quick. They moved very smoothly and were glowing."

Harry said: "I have no idea what these lights were, but I am really glad that I have seen something like this and I am glad my wife is able to verify that they were totally unexplained. I'll be looking out for more over the next few days.

"I'm just sorry we weren't able to get a picture or a video of them, but there wasn't enough time."

Has Bigfoot Already Been Found?

Is it possible that a Bigfoot or related hominid was found many years ago and remains hidden away from the public? reported that near the end of the overnight appearance of Jeff Meldrum’s and John Bindernagel’s discussion of Bigfoot on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, September 21-22, 2006, an American, who claimed to be living in the Ukraine, telephoned into the talk-radio program. The credible-sounding individual had an intriguing account.

Without disclosing his name, the man identified himself as an environmental scientist. He stated that after the fall of the Soviet Union, he was hired to do air quality studies at the museum in the University in Leningrad (later St. Petersburg). While taking air samples in a three-level basement beneath the museum in 1992, he said he made a startling find.

The American scientist stated that he came across an object in a glass case that, according to the label, was an animal that looked like a Bigfoot, taken near a Russian outpost in northern California. The outpost was near Mendocino, and the mounted hominid was collected in the late 1700s, from what he could tell on the museum label. The huge animal had several layers of skin, exhibited a foot 17 inches long, and was a 7' 1" tall, hair-covered upright Bigfoot-like figure.

Could the Bigfoot have been collected by one of the first surveying Russian exploration parties? The post in has much more detail to this incident.

Then there is the case of the Minnesota Iceman, a purported man-like creature frozen in a block of ice and displayed at fairs and carnivals in Minnesota and Wisconsin in late 1968. Two trained scientists, Ivan Sanderson (who was also a naturalist) and Bernard Heuvelmans (also a researcher and the founder of cryptozoology), examined the "Iceman" and concluded it was a genuine creature, noting "putrefaction where some of the flesh had been exposed from the melted ice." Heuvelmans wrote a scientific paper about the Iceman and even named it as a new species with neanderthal affinities, Homo pongoides, and theorized it was killed in Vietnam during the war.

When the Smithsonian Institution was reportedly interested in the Iceman, Dr. John Napier was asked to investigate. He suggested the FBI investigate due to reports that the creature had been shot and killed. Shortly thereafter, the Iceman disappeared from public display, withdrawn, Hansen said, by the California-based owner. In a 1995 interview, Hansen reported that "I never did find out" if the Iceman was genuine.

Ivan Sanderson, who had examined the creature, wrote a article in Argosy Magazine and publish a paper in 1969. Heuvelmans also contributed to the article.

Over the years, many skeptics (especially creationists) have simply labeled the Minnesota Iceman as a hoax and a product of Hollywood and atheists.

Maybe the Iceman cadaver will turn up one day with enough tissue intact for proper forensic examination though, that seems unlikely. There were reports in 2004 that the Iceman was buried in an undisclosed and unmarked grave in a California forest.


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Florida Man Recalls Encounter With A Bigfoot

(from - In the early-morning blackness, partially bathed in a Hollywood-weird glow of incandescent light and rolling fog, Dan Jackson slowly uncoiled from a half-hour crouch in his hiding place behind a garbage Dumpster.

What he saw — the very thing he had spent 20 years looking for — was so terrifying, Jackson would see it in his broken sleep for months.

A dark, hairy head. Glistening black eyes. A mouth full of bared teeth clenched in rage.

“He was huffing like a damn freight train,” recalled Jackson, a venomous-snake expert from Lithia, who claims he came face to face with a fearsome creature he once didn’t believe existed.

“In November 1983, if you had asked me whether I believed in Bigfoot or Sasquatch, I would have said, ‘You mean that thing Hollywood made movies about? Are you crazy? No, of course not,’” says Jackson, an experienced outdoorsman who trapped alligators before he began extracting venom from snakes.

His opinion changed on a hog-hunting trip in a bayhead of sawgrass and cypress bog near Naples. Continued...

Pleasanton, CA Has It's Share Of Ghosts

(from - Ghosts of Pleasanton's past line the downtown. Tales of underground tunnels, murders, speakeasies and brothels have haunted — and entertained — locals for years.

From the Gay 90's Pizza Company and its ghost of a brothel madame to the Pleasanton Hotel and its ghosts of gamblers and prostitutes past, ghost stories are part of the lore of more than a dozen buildings along Main Street.

Every October in recent years, people from all over the Bay Area have made the pilgrimage to Pleasanton to experience the city's paranormal atmosphere for themselves.

When the October 2008 tour rolls around, the ghost stories will have a measure of validation, backed by visual and audio evidence gathered this past summer by Gloria Young, a Northern California ghost hunter.

What started as a two-weekend project to hunt Pleasanton's ghosts blossomed into a five-weekend investigation, said Young, founder and director of the Santa Clara-based Ghost Trackers Paranormal Research Group.

"We kept finding things. We would hear some voices, or we would capture something on a picture," she said. "The activity there is just excellent." Continued...

Did Alexander Graham Bell Steal The Telephone?

A new book indicates that Alexander Graham Bell stole part of his rival’s invention.

It’s one of the facts everyone learns in school – the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

But author Seth Shulman is set to debunk history in his new book, The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret. He claims that Bell plagiarized the phone design of his rival Elisha Gray.

That’s a big claim, but on its website, Shulman’s publisher, W W Norton, says that “"Bell furtively — and illegally — copied part of Elisha Gray's invention in the race to secure what would become the most valuable US patent ever issued. As Bell's device led to the world's largest monopoly, he hid his invention's illicit beginnings."

That monopoly, of course, was AT&T.

Shulman not only looked at Bell’s letters, but also his journals, and has concluded that he colluded with a patent examiner to look at Gray’s patent documents, and thanks to a feisty legal team was able to claim credit for filing his patent first.

The book is published next month.

South Wales X-Files Claim UFOs Exist

If reports of UFO sightings are to be believed, we are not alone. Echo reporter Laura Wright delves into South Wales’ very own X Files.

Sightings of unidentified flying objects have soared in the last month, with at least two a week seen by airline pilots in South Wales.

Dancing lights, large craft and mysterious flashes are among dozens of UFOs sighted above Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys in the last few years.

And only four days ago, on the night of Christmas Day, a couple saw spherical orange lights in the sky above their home in the capital.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry of Defence has looked into 13 reports of UFOs in South Wales in the past three years. Several other sightings have been posted on UFO websites but it is thought that many more go unreported.

David Coggins has been a UFO investigator for 30 years and says there has been a spate of sightings in recent months.

He said: “There have been lots of reports by airline pilots flying in and out of South Wales who are seeing a lot of unidentified craft on a frequent basis, one or two a week.

“Generally speaking, they are large triangular shaped objects. It’s not just during the night but in daylight as well.

“I’ve come across people who have seen UFOs very close up, from a distance of 12 feet.”

Just three weeks ago, Martin Dupres and two friends had a close encounter when they saw a strange light in the sky in Lisvane at 5pm on Tuesday, December 11.

Martin, 43, of Riverside, Cardiff, said: “I saw an extremely bright light come straight across the sky. Then it faded out but it might have sped up.

“It wasn’t a satellite or an aeroplane. This thing was not like that. The light shone towards my eyes then carried on. I’m curious, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

There was another sighting of a UFO at 4am on September 9 in St Mellons, Cardiff. The witness saw an incredibly bright star but it suddenly started moving up and down and side to side swiftly and then flashing lights appeared around it like cameras.

One account comes from a Cardiff man left shaken after he saw three lights dancing around each other before flying away in April 2006.

He said: “I saw something that I never believed I would. I saw what at first I thought was a plane, until it changed direction at such an acute angle. At this point it was by two more lights – they were very blurry, orange in colour. They danced around each other and then moved off.

“I don’t make silly claims. Quite frankly this has shaken me considerably.”

UFO investigator Mr Coggins, 67, of Pontypridd, hypnotises people who have seen UFOs and then experienced periods of missing time.

Mr Coggins, who is featured in the alien encounter book Does It Rain In Other Dimensions, said: “Strange as it may seem, people who had seen a UFO close up have ended up on the crafts and while they’ve been on, strange things happen to them such as medical examinations.

“They don’t remember until they are hypnotised. One man in South Wales had lost one-and-a-half days. He recounted what had happened under hypnosis and when I played him back the tape, he broke down in tears and said ‘did that happen to me?’. It’s impossible not to believe in it.

“UFOs are seen as a joke but it’s almost an absolute certainty they exist and are visiting this earth on a regular basis.”

The MoD examines UFO reports to establish whether what was seen has any defence significance.

A spokeswoman said: “We believe that rational explanations, such as aircraft lights or natural phenomena, could be found for them if resources were diverted for this purpose.”

Available Now! Paranormal Restraining Orders

Since the dawn of time, mankind has sought the means of keeping away supernatural and paranormal entities. Now, for only $5 each, receive a printed document that bars them from approaching or contacting you. Order today!

Signs that you may be in a relationship with an abusive paranormal entity are:
-You frequently worry about how they will react to things you say or do
-Your family and friends have warned you about them, or told you that they are concerned for your safety or emotional well being
-You leave and then return to them repeatedly, against the advice of your friends, family, and loved ones
-You have trouble ending the relationship, even though you know inside it’s the right thing to do

You may need protection from an abusive paranormal entity if they:
-Are jealous or possessive toward you (a primary symptom of abusive relationships)
-Try to control you, often by being very bossy or demanding
-Try to isolate you by demanding you cut off social contacts and friendships
-Pressure you sexually, or demand sexual activities you are not comfortable with
-Have a history of bad relationships
-Are violent and/or lose their temper quickly
-Shame, humiliate, or embarrass you, either privately or around family and friends
-Claim that you are responsible for their emotional state (a criteria for co-dependency)
-Blame you when they mistreat you
-Abuse drugs or alcohol

Feral Children of Russia and Former Soviet Republics

The cases of abandoned children being raised by animals has increased dramatically in Russia and the former soviet republics.

In this earlier video, Oxana Malaya is a feral child, one of only about 100 known in the world. The story goes that, when she was three, her indifferent, alcoholic parents left her outside one night and she crawled into a hovel where they kept dogs. No one came to look for her or even seemed to notice she was gone, so she stayed where there was warmth and food - raw meat and scraps - forgetting what it was to be human, losing what toddler's language she had and learning to survive as a member of the pack. A shameful five years later, a neighbour reported a child living with animals. When she was found, at the age of eight in 1991, Oxana could hardly speak and ran around on all fours barking, mimicking her carers.

Pope Declares War On Satan

(from - The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican "exorcistinchief," to the online Catholic news service Petrus.

"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said. Continued...

Frogs Living In Rocks

This mummified corpse of a frog was found in a hollow flint 'geode' which was cracked open in 1899 by workmen in a quarry in England. There have been many reports of frogs found inside rocks; some still living in a kind of stupor but which revived once exposed to the air.

In 1910 a living toad was found when a piece of coal was broken open; another was found in 1906 six feet underground in a solid layer of clay. The most commonly found seem to be stuck in limestone.

The theory is that a small tadpole somehow enters a crack in a forming nodule or pocket and gets trapped in there as it grows. As it does, the smell attracts tiny insects which feed the toad and keep it alive. Through this crack also comes water and air. This is fine for some of the many examples that have been found but makes no sense in cases where live frogs have been found in totally sealed or deeply buried pockets.

Some frogs have been found with the impression of their bodies so tightly jammed against the rock 'pocket' that even the skin's crackles can be seen imprinted on the sides of their frog-shaped hole --meaning the rock formed around them somehow.

Another Pig In Sheep's Clothing

Several month's ago, I posted an image of a pig with curly hair A Pig In Sheep's Clothing. Now, a farmer has reintroduced a sheep-pig breed which became extinct in Britain 37 years ago.

The 'Curly Coats' were exported to Hungary during the early 20th century, where their coat helped them survive harsh winters. They were then cross-bred with the Mangalitza, a similar breed, creating the 'Lincolista'.

The British Pig Association has registered them as direct descendants of the Lincolnshire Curly Coat.

Not a Good Start....

This poor kid will be tormented for life (or be an axe murderer, starting with his parents). "Dacia Tonasket and Brian Dick of Spokane announce the birth of their son, Charley Willard Horse Dick." It was an actual announcement published in the Spokesman Review:

On the bright side, if he happens to be 'well-endowed' when he grows up, he'll already have a great porn star moniker.

The House of Oddities

(from - An alleged tuft of Elvis' hair. Spooky recordings made by ghost hunters. A lipstick-stained cigarette -- but was it really the last one ever rolled by Marilyn Monroe?

Welcome to the Museum of Ephemerata, a collection of bizarre and troubling artifacts in a private home just east of the state Capitol. For suggested donations of a dime up to $4, visitors can witness a working model of a 19th-century Pepper's Ghost illusion or can decide for themselves whether the display of human horns is real.

The Museum of Ephemerata is a tribute to early 20th-century dime museums and sideshows made famous by P.T. Barnum and his ilk. Like the spectacles offered at roaming tent carnivals, the museum bridges the gap between science and pop culture.

"This taps into the history of museums in the broadest sense," said curator Scott Webel, 31. "It's both educational and entertainment. And everything we present, we can back up with history."

Located in two small front rooms in the tiny home that Webel shares with his wife and fellow curator Jen Hirt, the Museum of Ephemerata is more Sanford & Son than Smithsonian. Continued...

U.S. Captive Animal Escapes / Attacks

Loren Coleman of lists captive animal escapes and attacks in the San Francisco Zoo and other U.S. facilities.

San Francisco Zoo

Dec. 25, 2007: A Siberian tiger named Tatiana escapes and kills a 17-year-old San Jose boy and injures two brothers.

Dec. 22, 2006: Tatiana attacks and mauls zookeeper Lori Komejan, causing deep lacerations to her arms.

February 2001: A zoo employee is attacked and injured by the claws of a cassowary, a 5-foot-tall, 80-pound bird native to New Zealand.

November 1994: Two Patas monkeys escape from the Primate Discovery Center. The monkeys are about 15 inches high and weigh around 35 pounds.

May 1990: Veteran zookeeper Alan Feinberg is attacked and bitten by a 90-pound Persian leopard as a crowd of schoolchildren watches in horror. The keeper is treated for deep wounds to his head and neck.

February 1990: A keeper suffers a lower back fracture after being knocked into a 10-foot-deep moat by Tinkerbelle, a 7,000-pound elephant.

October 1988: Tinkerbelle attacks animal health technician Gail Hedberg, who was treating the elephant for an abscess on its cheek. The elephant knocks the technician down and does a headstand on her. Hedberg suffers a crushed pelvis.

July 1985: Two Patas monkeys escape from the zoo and remain at large for six weeks before being recaptured behind the University of California medical complex on Mount Sutro.

April 1980: Five female City College students are caught fording the moat around Monkey Island. Police officers find a dead spider monkey in a duffel bag floating in the moat. The women are later given suspended jail sentences and six months’ probation.

January 1979: A male Indian elephant injures keepers, knocking one into the moat.

November 1976: A 175-pound South American jaguar escapes from the zoo’s animal hospital, where it was recovering from cracked footpads. Zoo director Saul Kitchener fells the animal, named Buster, with a dart from a tranquilizer gun.

February 1976: An antelope leaps over a damaged fence and knocks a visitor to the ground, causing head injuries.

March 1972: A 3-year-old girl suffers a broken jaw and deep facial cuts when a camel leans over a fence and bites the child in the face. It drags her over the fence and tramples her.

March 1971: A 300-pound female tapir escapes from her compound and is found wandering on Sloat Boulevard. The tapir bounds over two police cars, denting both, and then knocks a police officer to the ground.

August 1969: An escaped chimpanzee bites two keepers.

April 1968: Amos Watson, a visitor, is mauled by a 450-pound lion, suffering puncture wounds over most of his body. Watson had climbed over a rail and tumbled into the moat. The lion is killed by one shot from a keeper’s rifle.

August 1967: Zookeeper Robert Caldwell is badly bitten by a 400-pound orangutan. He was alone near the Great Ape Grotto when Big Red, the male orangutan, reached under the mesh-covered bars and grabbed Caldwell’s left arm, pulling it into the cage. Then Linda, a female orangutan, chewed on the keeper’s arm.

November 1962: May, a 6,000-pound elephant, attacks her keeper, battering him with her trunk and butting him with her head.

December 1960: A 500-pound lion reaches between the bars of its cage and hooks the arm of a keeper, who has to undergo two hours of surgery for his injuries.

May 1960: A 125-pound black leopard attacks a keeper who had been feeding the animal.

March 1949: A polar bear reaches through the bars of its cage and hooks a visitor’s arm.

Wild animals kept in zoos remain wild. Although we rarely hear about them, animal attacks happen all the time. Right before the deathly Royal Bengal tiger incident in San Francisco, a man was killed by a Royal Bengal tiger at a zoo in Assam, India.

At Guwahati, India, on Wednesday, December 19, 2007, a man trying for a better photo of the largest subspecies of tiger in a zoo in India was mauled to death when a second tiger grabbed him as his family looked on in horror.

Jayprakash Bezbaruah, 50, of Sivasagar, went past a barrier at the tiger exhibit at Assam State Zoo in Guwahati and stretched through an iron railing with his digital camera to get a shot of a relaxing tigress named Divya. He didn’t see the second tiger, Govardana, which grabbed his arm and Divya quickly joined in the attack.

Bezbaruah’s left arm was torn off and one of the cats clawed his face in front of his wife, two sons, a relative and other zoo visitors. Zookeeper Bapukon Baishya beat back the tigers with a stick and Bezbaruah was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, that same day, in another incident, wildlife officials tranquillised a leopard in the heart of Guwahati after the cat was reported to have been roaming the streets. The leopard had attacked and killed several goats and chickens in the area before being captured and sent to the zoo.

Internationally, there have been other captive animal attacks.

On Friday, February 9, 2007, panic gripped the visitors at Dhaka Zoo, Bangladesh, at noon when a Royal Bengal Tiger attacked its food provider inside the cage, came out of it and roamed the zoo premises for about half an hour. Finally, the zoo used a tranquillizer gun to make the tiger unconscious and carried it back to the cage. It took 14 people to carry the animal. At the Dhaka Zoo, a zoo tiger killed a visitor child in 1996 when he went close to its cage and a bear killed a zoo staff in 2004.

On Sunday, February 11, 2007, Karen Aerts, 37, entered the cheetah cage at the Olmense Zoo in Belgium and was mauled to death. One of the cats that killed her was named Bongo. Aerts had adopted Bongo under a special program, paying for food for the cat. She hid somewhere in the park after it closed and managed to find the keys to the cheetah cage.

On February 22, 2007, a six-year-old girl was mauled to death by a perfoming tiger at the Kunming Zoo, Yunnan province, China, as she was being photographed with the animal. It reacted to a flashbulb. The male tiger had been performing at the zoo since May 2005. Visitors paid around $2.40 for a photo with the animal.

U.S. Incidents

Dec. 25, 2007: A Siberian tiger named Tatiana escapes from its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo, killing one man and mauling two others, before being shot dead.

Feb. 24, 2007: A 140-pound jaguar named Jorge fatally mauls a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo before being fatally shot. Zoo officials said later that zookeeper Ashlee Pfaff had violated the rules by opening the door to the animal’s cage.

Dec. 22, 2006: Tatiana reaches through her cage’s iron bars and mauls a female zookeeper during a public feeding at the San Francisco Zoo.

Dec. 22, 2006: The National Zoo in Washington is briefly shut down after a clouded leopard bolts from a wire-mesh enclosure. It is found snoozing just outside the exhibit 30 minutes later.

Nov. 29, 2006: Trainer Kenneth Peters, 39, is bitten and held underwater several times by a 7,000-pound killer whale during a show at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld Adventure Park. Peters escaped with a broken foot. The 17-foot-long orca is the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego’s seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters on two prior occasions, in 1993 and 1999.

Sept. 10, 2005: Three chimpanzees from Zoo Nebraska are shot and killed after they escape from their enclosure and could not be captured. A padlock on the cage was not completely closed after being cleaned, officials at the zoo in Royal, Neb., said.

March 3, 2005: Two chimpanzees at the Animal Ranch wildlife sanctuary near Bakersfield, Calif., attack a man and his wife, maiming the man, before being shot to death.

July 13, 2004: A state wildlife officer fatally shoots a 600 pound tiger that escaped from the property of former Tarzan actor Steve Sipek in Loxahatchee, Fla.

March 18, 2004: A 340-pound gorilla named Jabari breaks out of its enclosure at the Wilds of Africa exhibit at the Dallas Zoo and goes on a 40-minute rampage through a forest, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and attacking three other people before being shot to death by officers.

Oct. 3, 2003: Illusionist Roy Horn is severely mauled by a tiger during the Siegfried & Roy nightly show at The Mirage casino in Las Vegas, biting him in the neck and dragging him off stage.

Sept. 28, 2003: A 300-pound gorilla named Little Joe escapes from its enclosure at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, attacking a 2-year-old girl and a teen-age zoo employee, before being tranquilized. It was the second time in two months that the animal escaped.

Aug. 7, 2002: A catwalk over a shark tank collapses at New Orleans’ Aquarium of the Americas, throwing 10 visitors into the water. The 10, including four children, thrash around in terror for up to 15 minutes with the sharks swimming beneath their kicking feet before they were pulled out. No one is seriously hurt.

2002: A six-year-old boy was attacked at an elementary school near Santa Cruz, California. It happened when a wildlife education group brought in a tiger for “show and tell.” He needed 55 stitches on his head.

1998: At Marine World in Vallejo, California, a woman was attacked while posing for a photo with a Bengal tiger. The animal slashed her, causing serious injuries to her face and torso.

Dec. 8, 1985: At the John Ball Zoo, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, zookeeper Gayle Booth, 30, of Kent City, was making final rounds when she was attacked by a 180-pound male jaguar that apparently squeezed through a flawed doorway to gain entrance to a holding area used by workers. The jaguar fatally mauled the pregnant zookeeper.

Train Station Haunted By Phantom Dancing Woman May Reopen

A station in Purulia where no train has stopped in 35 years, apparently because of a phantom woman who dances on the platform or walks along the tracks, might come to life again.

Railway standing committee chairman Basudev Acharya said no passengers boarded trains from Begunkodor, nor did railway officials want to be posted at the station.

“Such an absurd thing shouldn’t be allowed to continue,” the CPM member of Parliament told South Eastern Railway general manager A.K. Jain today and urged him to resume operations at the station.

BSNL officer Pabitra Koi-barta, a resident of Begunkodor village, said word about the station being in the “grip of evil spirits” spread after a woman was run over while crossing the tracks.

“We have heard from elders about the accident. Panic had gripped the area then and people started avoiding the station. There were even reports of people being sucked in towards passing trains and villagers started taking detours to avoid going anywhere near the station,” said Koibarta, 44.

Madan Gope, 65, said a lone railway employee used to man the station when people almost stopped using it.

“The railway employee told villagers he saw a woman in a white sari dancing in the dead of the night. Weeks later, he was dead. It was presumed that he had been killed by the ghost,” said Gope, a resident of nearby Jhalda, 5km away.

The station employee who replaced the dead man apparently stopped coming to work four-five days later.

Gope had tried to take a peek at the dancing woman in white. “I had gone to the station hearing about the woman, but saw nothing,” he said.

Railway officials denied the ghost theory, saying the station became useless after the narrow gauge line was converted into broad gauge “30-35 years ago” and trains started moving fast.

A senior official promised a “feasibility study to find out whether resumption of operations would be commercially viable since the chairman” had asked for it.

Local Congress MLA Nepal Mahato confirmed the fear of “unholy spirits” at Begunkodor and also suggested a remedy. “Quacks can be put in- to service to shoo them away,” he said.

Farmer Uses Hog Guts To Predict Weather

Paul Smokov doesn't need radar or other high-tech equipment to forecast a major snowstorm on the prairie. He consults pig spleens.

"It looks like a normal year with no major storms," said the 84-year-old Smokov, peering at two of the brown, glistening, foot-long organs on his kitchen counter like a Gypsy gazing at a crystal ball. "That's what the spleens tell me."

Smokov and his wife, Betty, raise cattle on their 1,750-acre ranch north of this town of about 760 people. He is happy to share his forecast with his neighbors or anyone else willing to rely on the reading of animals' innards.

If the spleen is wide where it attaches to the pig's stomach and then narrows, it means winter weather will come early with a mild spring, Smokov said. A narrow-to-wider spleen usually means harsh weather in the spring, he said.

The spleens obtained by Smokov this year are pretty uniform in thickness, which means no drastic changes.

Janice Stillman, editor of the Old Farmer's Almanac in Dublin, N.H., said she had heard of at least one other pig-spleen prognosticator — Gus Wickstrom of Saskatchewan, who died earlier this year.

"It's folklore and a dying art, obviously," she said.

Smokov's Ukrainian parents brought their knowledge of pig-spleen forecasting with them when they came to the U.S. a century ago.

"The spleens are 85 percent correct, according to my figures," he said. As for the weathermen, "Those guys aren't any better."

At the National Weather Service office in Bismarck, meteorologist Vic Jensen is charitable toward folk methods. "I can't discount some of these kinds of theories," he said.

The weather service is calling for a normal winter for North Dakota. That matches Smokov's gut feeling.

Bumblebee Bats Discovered In Chachoengsao

Tiny bats discovered this week at Wang Takian subdistrict in the provincial seat of this eastern province were previously unknown to local residents.

Paitoon Tronglim, a 35-year-villager, told reporters that around 6pm on Monday, he found a group of strange bats with golden yellow fur along the bodies and black skin on the back of the wings.

The bat 's body size was about that of a human thumb, around four centimetres long. The length from wing tip to left tip when extended was about 20 centimetres.

The villager said he had earlier seen the bats flying around the area but this was the first time he had managed to capture two bat specimens after they hid inside a rolled banana leaf.

He said that the colour of the bats was different from common varieties which are black or brown, and he wanted to know to what species the bats belong.

The Bumblebee Bat, also known as Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat, is the world's smallest species of bat at 30-40 mm in length and weighing approximately 2 grammes.

5,000 Lbs. Manta Devil Fish Caught In 1934

Siberian Tiger Escapes, Kills 1 Injures 2

Police say a tiger escaped from its cage at the San Francisco Zoo today, killing one visitor and injuring two others.

Several police officers shot the tiger to death when it started moving toward a group of them.

It was not immediately clear how the tiger escaped.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the attack took place outside a cafe at the east end of the zoo shortly after closing time. The tiger cages are near the center of the zoo.

Police say officials were initially worried that four tigers had escaped. But only one got out of its pen.

A year ago, 1 of the zoo's tigers mauled a zookeeper during a regular public feeding. The 350-pound animal reached through the cage's iron bars and badly lacerated her arm.

Best Bigfoot Report of 2007

This report is posted at Cryptomundo by editor and investigator Loren Coleman:

(from - Todd Neiss of Oregon was witness to three Bigfoot in 1993 in Oregon while on military duty.

He recounted his encounter and agreed to share it here with the readers of Cryptomundo.

I have personally met Todd and found him to be a great guy. I had the pleasure of giving him a ride from the Columbus, OH airport to the Ohio Bigfoot Conference back in 2001.

Click for Todd’s story Continued...

Another Look: The Dover Demon

The events known as the 'Dover Demon Encounters' began at 10:30 p.m. on April 21, 1977, in Dover, Massachusetts, an upscale suburb of Boston. Three teenagers, aged seventeen years old each were driving along, when one of them, Bill Bartlett, spotted "something" slinking next to a wall of stones on the west side of the street. The being turned it's head and looked directly into the headlights of the car. Bartlett stated he saw two large, shiny eyes glowing brightly like orange marbles. Its large oval head, which was easily as large as the rest of it's body sat atop a spindly neck. The body was lanky and long limbed and had large hands and feet. The skin was hairless and seemed to have a rough texture, not unlike sandpaper. It was less than four feet tall, and seemed surprised by the cars head lights as it made its way next to the wall. When Bartlett arrived home his father noted how distressed he was. Bartlett then drew a sketch of the being.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. John Baxter, aged fifteen, was walking home from his girlfriends house when he noticed a short figure walking toward him. Baxter thought it was a small friend of his, and called out this friends name, but he received no answer. As they neared one another the creature stopped, and so did Baxter, who then decided to get a better look and began once again to approach the creature. This sent the being running down a shallow gully and up the opposite bank.

At the bottom of the slope he looked more closely at it. It looked unlike anything he had ever seen or heard of before in his young life. It stood in shadows about thirty feet away, its feet molded around some rocks upon which it was perched, a few feet from a tree. Both hands were wrapped around the trunk of the tree with very long fingers.

The following evening, eighteen year old Will Taintor was driving fifteen year old Abby Brabham home, when Brabham said she spotted something in the vehicles headlights. On the left side of the roadway was a creature, with no hair and down on all fours, facing the vehicle. Its body was thin and monkeylike, and she also described a large, oversized oval head. She did say the eyes glowed green, and stuck to that point even when she was informed that Bartlett had said the eyes were orange. Taintor said he had only gotten a short glimpse.

Paranormal investigator Loren Coleman, who lived in the area, heard about the Bartletts experience through a mutual acquaintance. As a result, he was interviewed, along with the other witnesses by ufologists Walter Webb and Ed Fogg. They also interviewed the parents, friends, teachers, school officials and police. They found nothing to indicate a hoax, to the contrary, those who knew the witnesses considered them as credible. Coleman coined the name "Dover Demon" as a handy point of reference for his discussions of the case

Since then there have been many theories as to what the Dover Demon was. Some people believe it has a strong resemblance to the alien beings witnessed in many UFO sightings. The Demon also has many similarities to a creature the Cree nation of eastern Canada call Mannegishi. One zoological answer that has been proposed is that it was a newborn moose. One skeptic wrote that the description of the creature's head matched that of a baby moose. Among several shortcomings of the moose explanation is that the descriptions of the Dover Demon clearly discerned fingers, while all moose, being artiodactyls, have only hooves.

Because all the witnesses were teenagers, many believe it to be a nasty hoax to be dismissed offhand, and suspect a group of high school classmates of collaborating to make up the story. These accusations curiously evoke the comments from a group of young witnesses of an early Mothman sighting, whose complaints were that nobody believed them because people always thought teenagers were up to no good.

In investigating the sighting, the Dover Police asked adults from Bartlett's high school whether these kids were known troublemakers. The faculty members, however, said that this was not a group of troublemakers, and described them as "average students".

In his investigation of the case, Loren Coleman gave the Dover Demon a credibility rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, initially in 1977, but his sense of the reliability of the witnesses and the case has increased. In his 2001 revision of his book, Mysterious America, he updates the status of the case, follows up with the witnesses, and demonstrates that the "baby moose" theory, for example, is not based on zoological fact. Loren Coleman has lectured and written extensively about the case since the 1970s.

Chinese Songbird Tradition Coming To An End

For 2,000 years the song thrush has brought music to the ears of millions of Chinese. Now the ancient tradition of buying, caging and keeping wild song birds looks destined to die out.

A new law banning the trade in seven species of wild birds takes effect on January 1st. The aim is to try to save China's dwindling numbers of birds. It will also undermine the bustling local markets that are a familiar sight across Chinese cities and towns.

The change in rules signals the likely demise of an integral aspect of Chinese life that dates back to the Han dynasty. Anyone who already has a bird will be allowed to keep it.

But among the seven birds that will be banned from sale is the huamei — or song thrush — which has long been the species of choice for bird-keeping enthusiasts. Those buying or selling the birds will face a fine of up to ten times the price of the bird. It is the first time that Beijing environment officials have changed the list of protected species since 1989.

Tunguska Asteroid Smaller Than Previously Thought

(from - The stunning amount of forest devastation at Tunguska a century ago in Siberia may have been caused by an asteroid only a fraction as large as previously published estimates, Sandia National Laboratories supercomputer simulations suggest.

“The asteroid that caused the extensive damage was much smaller than we had thought,” says Sandia principal investigator Mark Boslough of the impact that occurred June 30, 1908. “That such a small object can do this kind of destruction suggests that smaller asteroids are something to consider. Their smaller size indicates such collisions are not as improbable as we had believed.”

Because smaller asteroids approach Earth statistically more frequently than larger ones, he says, “We should be making more efforts at detecting the smaller ones than we have till now.”

The new simulation — which more closely matches the widely known facts of destruction than earlier models — shows that the center of mass of an asteroid exploding above the ground is transported downward at speeds faster than sound. It takes the form of a high-temperature jet of expanding gas called a fireball. Continued...

Psychic Plans Contact With Steve Irwin

Terri Irwin says she is "open" to receiving a message from the spirit of her late husband, Croc Hunter Steve, when an American psychic medium visits Australia Zoo next month.

Mrs Irwin, 43, told The Sunday Mail yesterday she sensed Steve was still with her and had "great faith" that his spirit was still around.

International medium John Edward, who rose to international stardom with his television show Crossing Over, will appear in the Sunshine Coast zoo's Crocoseum on January 5 as part of a summer entertainment program.

Edward claims to use his abilities to connect people with their loved ones who have passed away.

Mrs Irwin said Steve had been a personal friend of Edward for years.

She said it was on his first visit to Australia Zoo, about five years ago, that the psychic medium realised his ability to communicate with animals, a story Mrs Irwin has written about in her recently released book My Steve.

"He's a fair-dinkum bloke. It's been a real privilege to know him," she said of Edward.

"He loves Australia and he's been such a supporter of our family and good friend since we lost Steve.

"I've invited everyone who's a sceptic (to the show on January 5), because you can't leave after seeing what John does without having some appreciation for his work.

"He gives them peace of mind. He has a real gift."

Mrs Irwin said her Christian upbringing meant she had "great faith that once a person dies their spirit is still around".

"I know (Steve's) gone but in some way he is still here. I feel him, I sense him," she said. "And I think that's very nice and comforting.

"Everyone who comes to Australia Zoo also has that sense and it's not creepy . . . it's comforting.

"If Steve had a message for me I would be open to it and if he has a message for all of us, then January 5 (during Edward's show) would be very good for it."

Mrs Irwin said the Summer Down Under program was Edward's idea and aimed to promote animal conservation issues to a broader audience by appealing to people through several performers.

Steve's best mate Wes Mannion has also spoken of a deep connection he still has with Steve.

Mr Mannion said in August he feels Steve is still with him.

"It's just so strong," he said. You make a decision and you just feel someone is there. It's not a weird thing like a pat on the shoulder and a whisper in your ear.

"You just feel them there and you feel as if you're two people rather than one."

Australian Idol pop singer Dean Geyer kicked off the series yesterday with a performance in the Crocoseum, a stadium that Steve designed and built for his live croc feeding shows.

The Crocoseum seats 5000 people and tickets for the John Edward show there cost $90 for adults.

Pop sisters The Veronicas, John Williamson, Steady Eddie, Tripod and Bindi and the Crocmen will also perform in coming weeks.

Possible Asteroid Collision On Mars Jan. 30, 2008

(from - Astronomers funded by NASA are monitoring the trajectory of an asteroid estimated to be 50 meters (164 feet) wide that is expected to cross Mars' orbital path early next year. Observations provided by the astronomers and analyzed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., indicate the object may pass within 30,000 miles of Mars at about 6 a.m. EST (3 a.m. PST) on Jan. 30, 2008.

"Right now asteroid 2007 WD5 is about half-way between Earth and Mars and closing the distance at a speed of about 27,900 miles per hour," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near Earth Object Office at JPL. "Over the next five weeks, we hope to gather more information from observatories so we can further refine the asteroid's trajectory." Continued...

The Flying Witches of Monterrey, Mexico

This was posted originally about a year ago but new sightings of the 'flying witches' are again being reported from Mexico. A police officer had a close encounter with one of these humanoids.

El Caganer - The Catalan Christmas Crapper

In Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain and in most of Italy and Southern France, the traditional Christmas decoration is a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes of the English-speaking world, but encompassing the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. The Catalans have added an extra character that is not found in the manger scenes of any other culture. In addition to Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and company, Catalans have the character known as the Caganer. This extra little character is often tucked away in some corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene, where he is not easily noticed. There is a good reason for his obscure position in the display, for "caganer" translates from Catalan to English as "pooper", and that is exactly what this little statue is doing — defecating.

Possible reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:

*Perceived humor.
*Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
*The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. However, this is probably an a posteriori explanation, and few cite this reason for including the Caganer in the Nativity scene.
*The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, gender everyone defecates.
*Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal (thus idealised) story, so that it is more believable, taken literally and seriously.

The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 17th century. An Iberian votive deposit was found nearby Tornabous in the Urgell depicting a holy Iberian warrior defecating on his falcata. This started a short lived series of polemics between the Institut d'Estudis Catalans and the Departament d'Arqueologia in the Conselleria de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya as to whether that can be regarded as a proto-caganer (which would draw the origins of this tradition far before than it is thought) or just a pre-combat ritual.

Originally, the Caganer was portrayed as a Catalan peasant wearing a traditional hat called a barretina — a red stocking hat with a black band.

The practice is tolerated by the local Catholic church. Caganers are easiest to find before Christmas in holiday markets, like the one in front of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, which has tables and tables of caganers. Caganers have even been featured in art exhibits.

The caganer is not the only defecating character in the Catalan Christmas tradition—another is the Tió de Nadal, which also makes extensive use of the image of human waste production. Other mentions of feces and defecation are common in Catalan folklore, indeed, one popular Catalan phrase before eating says "menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort!" (Eat well, poop strong and don't be afraid of death!).

Werewolf Boy Escapes From Moscow Clinic

Russian police are hunting a "werewolf boy" - who snarls and bites - after he escaped from a Moscow clinic just a day after being rescued from the wild.

Doctors expressed shock saying he was found living with a pack of wolves in a remote forest in the Kaluga region of central Russia.

"He's clearly dangerous to other people," said a police spokesman yesterday.

"He's got typical wolf-like habits and behaviour.

"He has very strong and sharp teeth, which could really endanger someone if he bites."

The boy looks about ten - but after tests conducted by Moscow medics, they believe he maybe much older.

They are puzzled because he appears intelligent but does not seem to speak Russian or any other language. It is suspected he has been running wild for many years.

Such cases are not uncommon in Russia where there have been regular reports of 'Mowgli' children abandoned by their parents who are cared for by animals.

The boy moves around with his legs half bent, said Tvoi Den newspaper. "He was running with wolves and searching for food with them."

Villagers found this "wild creature" in a lair made of leaves and sticks in freezing temperatures and told the police who named him Lyokha, though his real identity is not known.

"He's dirty, hungry, and looked to have had a hard time," said the police spokesman. "We brought him to a clinic in Moscow.

"It was simply unbelievable. He doesn't react when we call to him." Medics gave him clothes and said that he sprang down the corridor, bursting into his room and devouring his food like an animal.

His nails on his feet were like claws.

After 24 hours he had evaded security men at the clinic and escaped. He is now believed to be on the loose in Moscow region.

"We didn't even manage to complete the proper medical checks. We only succeeded in giving him a shower, cutting his nails and took some blood and other tests," said a doctor.

"It's quite possible he is a dangerous with psychological problems but also a source of viruses and infections."

So Wrong...But So Funny!

Exorcism Center Opened In Poland

Poland plans to open its first exorcism center, for those who believe they are possessed by the devil, in the town of Poczernin 30 km (18 miles) from the city of Szczeczin, Polish media said Wednesday.

Andrzej Trojanowski, a Catholic priest working in the city says the center will be equipped with a chapel and will have a psychiatrist on hand.

Trojanowski said there was a demand for the service as he deals with up to 20 people a week allegedly possessed by the devil.

The center was the idea of the Catholic Church in Poland, which already has around 50
working exorcists, and the project is expected to provide spiritual help and guidance to the needy.

According to priests their service is popular with visitors from Germany, which has no working exorcists.

Many consider those who claim to be possessed are just mentally ill, whereas others contend that those diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses are really possessed by the devil.

The practice of exorcism by priests and clergy became very popular in the 1970s, which coincided with the 1973 release of the world-wide blockbuster movie The Exorcist.

The "Blue Man"

What Paul Karason did was use a substance called colloidal silver, which is made by extracting silver from metal. It goes into water with an electrical current and then you drink it. Colloidal silver is billed as something that will cure just about everything that ails you and Karason swears by it regardless of his skin pigment change.

Hang Out With TAPS!

Ever find yourself, while watching Jason & Grant and the guys at The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) on their hit show, Ghost Hunters, wishing that you could be there to experience the paranormal for yourself? Maybe just wishing you could meet “the guys” you so adore?

Well, you can! TAPS tours all over the country, and for the cost of a ticket, you can join them. Here are their upcoming appearances:

January 19, 2008, 6PM - 2AM, with a reveal January 20, 2008 10AM - 12PM.

Bucksteep Manor, Washington, MA: Ghost Hunters Dustin Pari and Krystin Gartland will be on hand, along with Demonology Specialist, John Zaffis.

The Mysterious Ice Worms

Ben Lee is stalking a creature most people think is a myth — if they've heard of it at all.

"I don't know what we'll see," he warned, loading an ice ax and snow shovel into his backpack. "Nobody knows what ice worms do in winter."

Lee, a senior at the University of Puget Sound, has come to Mount Rainier to find out.

Thriving in conditions that would turn most living things to Popsicles, these inch-long earthworm cousins inhabit glaciers and snowfields in the coastal ranges of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. They move through seemingly solid ice with ease and are at their liveliest near the freezing point of water. Warm them up slightly and they dissolve into goo.

Their life cycle remains a mystery.

But ice worms are beginning to yield their secrets to a few hardy scientists who see broad applications from understanding one of the planet's oddest inhabitants.

The Gbahali of Liberia

(from - "I am an American working in Liberia, West Africa with an international relief and development organization. I have always had a bit of an interest in cryptozoology, and enjoy your website.

Liberia is covered in dense rainforest and has a low population density. Because of its long civil war (now over), it has been almost totally neglected by biologists and other scientists.

In my work in northwestern Liberia I have been hearing reports about several animals which may be of interest to you. Most notable is a large amphibious reptile known as the “gbahali”.

It is described as being like a crocodile or monitor lizard, but much larger (up to 25 or 30 ft long). It has an armored back with three rows of serrations running down it, a powerful tail, and a short snout with many large teeth. It is known to be an ambush predator, carrying its prey underwater to drown before coming on shore to eat it." Continued...

Kecksburg UFO Believers Continue With Case

(from - The U.S. government says nothing of note happened in this small town in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania on Dec. 9, 1965. A meteor may have passed by, but no alien ship or Russian space probe fell to Earth.

Still, Bill Bulebush, 82, says he knows what he saw, heard and smelled, despite the doubts of the government and others in Kecksburg.

"I looked up and saw it flying overhead and it was sizzling," said Bulebush, a retired truck driver.

"I got to it 15 to 20 minutes after it landed. I saw it 10 to 15 feet away from behind a big tree -- because I was worried it might blow up -- and it smelled like sulfur or rotten eggs and was shaped like a huge acorn, about the size of a VW."

Other people said that dozens of Army soldiers and three members of the Air Force showed up, and later that night a flatbed military truck took the object away.

Despite such accounts, the government has been "trying to make it out like we're a bunch of liars," Bulebush said.

Wolf Walks Into Italian Bar...Eats Sandwich Then Leaves

A wolf walked into a packed bar in Italy, ate a steak sandwich and walked out again.

The wolf strolled into the bar at Villetta Barrea, near to the Abruzzo national park, and helped itself to a steak sandwich from a table.

Bar owner Giacinto Lorenzo, 43, said: "It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it really happened.

"Everyone here knows what a wolf looks like and there was no mistaking this beast for a big dog. It was one of the wolves from the national park.

"It looked pretty thin and we guess it must have been suffering with the recent cold weather and the snow.

"Everyone was so frightened we couldn't move for about five minutes afterwards, but the wolf just sauntered out as if it was the most normal thing in the world."

Local authorities have sent a team out to search for the wolf.

New Cougar Sightings At Clemson University

A Clemson University employee reported seeing a big cat described as a panther or cougar Sunday. The Clemson University Police Department responded to a call from the employee who saw the big cat between Daniel Hall and Strode Tower. Officers were unable to find evidence of a large cat, according to a public information provider at the university.

An earlier sighting on Nov. 23 during the university’s Thanksgiving break was reported by a contract security officer who spotted what he thought looked like a panther near the Calhoun Mansion. Police officers later spotted the animal near Earle and Flour Daniel halls.

Police Chief Johnson Link urged everyone to avoid contact with wild animals that may wander onto campus.

“It’s best to stay away from any wild animal that could have rabies or some other disease,” Chief Link said.

Canada Searches For Bad Santa

Canada's post office and police are trying to track down a "rogue elf" who wrote obscene letters to children on behalf of Santa Claus, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Ottawa Citizen said at least 10 nasty letters had been delivered to little girls and boys in Ottawa who wrote to Santa this year care of the North Pole, which has a special H0H 0H0 Canadian postal code. Return letters from Santa are in fact written by an 11,000-strong army of Canada Post employees and volunteers.

"We firmly believe there is just one rogue elf out there," a Canada Post spokeswoman told the paper.

Canada Post's popular "Write to Santa" program -- which last year delivered more than a million letters to children in Canada and around the world -- has been shut down in Ottawa until the offender is caught.

Where Did The Comet Go?

(from - University of Hawaii astronomers and colleagues from around the world have searched in vain for a missing comet that was supposed to appear by October.

The cosmic mystery forced the rescheduling of NASA's Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact mission to the comet 85P/Boethin. The EPOXI mission will now go to a different comet.

"We were astonished when it wasn't there," said UH astronomer Karen Meech, who led the effort to try to find Boethin.

The Subaru 9-meter telescope and 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, both with sensitive wide-field cameras, joined observatories worldwide in the futile hunt for 1-mile-long, half-mile-wide Boethin.

Although there is a chance Boethin could be observed next fall, astronomers needed to find it now to put the Deep Impact spacecraft on the right trajectory, Meech said.

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