"Circle in the Sky" Over Tennessee


Take a look at the picture and let us know what you see. The ring at the top center has a lot of people asking the question: What is it?

While staring into the dusk sky a small group in one neighborhood couldn't quite grasp what they were looking at.

So, one Millington woman grabbed her camera. The pictures still don't quite clarify what's hovering overhead.

Jan Yarbro saw that unexplained figure in the sky Wednesday night just after 8:00.

She grabbed her camera and snapped a series of photos. But is that car-sized, translucent, black outline out-of-this world?

"Looked up in the sky, saw the thick black circle," said Yarbro. "It stayed stationary, no lights or anything like that. Stayed there for 20, 30 minutes and then it just started disappearing," she added.

It's a picture that's leaving neighbors not necessarily sold on the paranormal, but definitely open-minded.

"Stuff's been getting in that garden back there, but we figured it was coons. Now it might be something different," said Yarbro. "I'm sure there's an explanation that's simple, but it's just interesting," she added.

Neighbors are just looking for some logic in a close encounter. Yarbro says her pictures were not doctored.

Those on Lucy Road say they've never seen that bubble before or in the few days since.


Bigfoot Sighting Recalled

EDITOR:

I am writing this letter in regard to the Bigfoot coverage, and yes I did see Bigfoot, or a I guess that’s what they call this huge, hairy apeman.

I went to Marquette to meet with the (BFRO) research people, hoping to get some answers on what I saw. It was exciting to finally talk to people who believe this creature exits. But after talking to them, I realized none of them ever saw his face. But I did.

I was about 17 years old when I saw this apelike creature and to me it seemed like a prehistoric apeman. That’s what my impression was. It stood there on the side of the road and looked right at me, like a deer would when you drive upon one, and when the headlights hit the eyes. They glare red.

It was such an eerie feeling, almost like it wasn’t real. But it was there. He then turned and disappeared into the woods (as I sped by in fear). My whole body was shaking, like I couldn’t believe even myself, what I just saw. Nobody ever believed me.

Now I’m 43 years old, and I really don’t care if anyone believes me because I know I got to see something so rare and prehistoric or even extinct. I’ll always remember it.

I don’t believe you can track down or hunt a creature such as this. It would be like hunting for an alien — impossible. It finds you, or you just happen to see it, because I think it doesn’t want to be seen.

Are there really beings out there that do exist? If so, where do they hide.

Are they so primitive that they never want to be seen, only by mistake? We don’t really know what this creature is. But I believe it does exist, and I saw it here in the U.P. of Michigan.

Sylvi Carrington

Bark River, MI



UFOs Strike Stratford-Upon-Avon


Five UFOs have been spotted in Shakespeare's UK birthplace, stunning a crowd of 100 stargazers for half an hour.

Drinkers spilled out of pubs, motorists stopped to gawp and camera phones were aimed upwards as the five orbs, in a seeming formation, hovered above Stratford-Upon-Avon for half an hour.

The unidentified flying objects lit up the otherwise clear night sky above the Bard's birthplace in Warwickshire on Saturday.

Although Air Traffic Control reported no unusual activity, some witnesses were convinced of an extra-terrestrial spectacle.

The strange episode started just after 10.30pm, when the lights were seen hovering slowly over the town before three of them formed a triangular shape with one positioned just to the right.

A few minutes later a fifth came into view travelling towards the others at breakneck speed before slowing down and stopping a short distance away.

Sceptics dismissed the UFOs as nothing more than hot air balloons, fireworks or even lanterns which had broken loose from a local rugby club.

Others, however, claimed the speed and agility of the objects was unlike any known aircraft and said the odd movement, lack of noise and the length of time in the air discounted any man-made explanation.


Norway Princess 'Talks to Angels'


Norway's Princess Martha Louise says she has psychic powers and can teach people to communicate with angels.

The 35-year-old daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja made the announcement on a website promoting her plans for a new alternative therapy centre.

She says she realised as a child that she could read people's inner feelings, while her experiences with horses had helped her make contact with angels.

Princess Martha Louise is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne.

The royal palace says it has no official link to the princess' planned alternative therapy centre, the AFP news agency reports.

The princess, who trained as a physical therapist, says on the website for her Astarte Education centre that she has "always been interested in alternative forms of treatment".

Students at her centre, she says, will learn how to "create miracles" in their lives and harness the powers of their angels, which she describes as "forces that surround us and who are a resource and help in all aspects of our lives".

"It was while I was taking care of the horses that I got in contact with the angels," she says.

"I have lately understood the value of this important gift and I wish to share it with other people, maybe with you."

A three-year programme at her centre costs 24,000 Norwegian crowns ($4,150; 3,000 euros; £2,000) per year.


Lawndale Thunderbird Abduction: A New Discovery


I must admit that I have always been fascinated by what has now become labeled, via the internet, as the Lawndale “Thunderbird” Incident, where little Marlon Lowe, 10, was the victim of an attempted avian abduction by a giant-sized bird. I place the term “thunderbird” in quotations in that I have never been convinced that this fascinating piece of Illinois and ornithological histoty truly belonged in the realm of cryptozoology.

However, my beliefs aside, looking at the incident from as scientific of a viewpoint as possible requires the collection and analysis of as many facts and clues on the case as possible. The majority of the facts of the case originate from the initial investigation by cryptozoological researcher and author Jerry Coleman. He is one of few researchers that actually spoke with the Lowe family. The Lowes made the following insistences on the physiology of the abducting bird:

It had a white ring around it’s half foot long neck. The rest of the body was very black. The birds bill was six inches in length and hooked at the end. The claws on the feet were arranged with three front, one in the back. Each wing, less the body, was four feet at the very least. The entire length of the birds body, from beak to tail feather was approximately four and one half feet. (From J. Coleman’s report)

The description sounds vulture/condorish, but onithologists are quick to note that the legs of these avians are buit for perching and not carrying and could not support any significant weight. It is the eagles (and others) that are capable of capturing and lifting their prey…even a very rare human prey. But no eagle species fitting the above description exists. In the annals of giant bird sitings, there are few that match the Lowes’ description…until now.

This picture was published in the Fresno Bee-Republican of Fresno, California on July 18, 1937. The caption reads:

Famous artist Dan Smith’s conception of a giant cousin of a blad eagle carrying off a child, drawn from what was declared to be an “eye-witness” story.



This is tantalyzingly vague though unfortunately as nowhere in the article does it expand upon 1) where and when the sighting occurred 2) who was the witness and 3) how Smith came to be involved in the project.

Smith was a top Americana artist in the early nineteenth century, most famous for his commissioned work for Smith & Wesson and paintings of farm animals.

You might note that the illustration of this “giant eagle” depicts a very large bird with a distinct “white ring around its half foot long neck”. The truly bald (feather-less) head of this mystery bird is also reminicent of other Illinois giant bird sightings of the 1960’s and 70’s including Joni Grawe’s (1973), John Walker’s (1972) and the Chappells of Odin IL (1977).

Could the Lawndale bird have been one and the same with this sighting? Who knows. Ok…as far as clues go, this one is somewhat reminicent of Al Capone’s Vault (for those of us old enough to remember that), but in a case that is (exactly) thirty years old, any substantial clues to the bird’s true identity may be lost to time.


Belfast's Muck Monster


Prospect, Maine — World-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman visited Fort Knox over the weekend as part of the fort’s Paranormal and Psychic Faire, which also featured presentations on dowsing and paranormal investigation. Coleman was on hand for much of the weekend to answer questions and autograph copies of his numerous books.

Coleman started working in cryptozoology, which literally means the study of hidden animals, in 1960, after watching a science fiction movie on the Yeti (also known as the Abominable Snowman). His teachers told him not to waste his time reading about such creatures, which he said naturally led him to read everything he could about them.

Early in his career, Coleman wrote letters to people all over the country about the subject of cryptozoology. He soon started writing field reports in the Midwest, and investigated Bigfoot and mystery cat sightings. He was first published in 1969 and has since published 30 books. He has now done expeditions in every state except Alaska, and all over the world, including a two-week stay at Loch Ness, where he keynoted a symposium on the Loch Ness Monster and interviewed many witnesses who claim to have seen Nessie. Coleman’s work in cryptozoology has also drawn coverage from the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and National Geographic.

Cryptozoologists investigate animals that are noticed by humans but not yet acknowledged by science. Coleman said some good examples of animals that cryptozoologists have studied, and that are now known to exist, include the giant squid and the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Coleman said cryptozoology is a very popular subject worldwide, although very few people work in his field….He said the world’s most popular mysterious creatures are Nessie, Bigfoot, and the Yeti. However, here in Maine, some of the creatures asked about most often are the New England Sea Serpent, and the Maine Mystery Beast.

The New England Sea Serpent has been sighted less and less, said Coleman, because sea traffic is much more regulated today than it has been in the past. As recently as 1958, however, there was a sighting off Cape Elizabeth of a sea creature said to be more than 50 feet long. It was said to move toward the sound of a foghorn every time it went off. Coleman said this is a detail that is rare and gives more credibility to the account.

Coleman said about 80 percent of all sightings of any such creature are hoaxes or mistakes. “I don’t believe in any of this. I accept or deny based on the evidence,” said Coleman.

That said, Coleman reported he has found footprints and has seen black panthers (the North American black panther has never been photographed or bred and is largely thought by the scientific community not to exist). Coleman said it is likely Bigfoot exists, and that these creatures live in family groups, as most sightings are of two adults and two children.

There are not many Bigfoot sightings in Maine, Coleman said, although footprints have been found in Sidney. There were reports of sightings in Durham in the ‘70s, and also reports in Rangeley and the Mt. Katahdin area more than 100 years ago. Coleman said because the Maine woods are home to other large animals, such as moose, it is possible that a Bigfoot type of creature could have lived in the Maine woods as well.

Among the large creatures that may be lurking in the Maine woods is the Maine Mystery Beast, not to be confused with the Maine Mutant that was discovered — and highly publicized — last year.

In the 1990s reports came in from the Turner area that a large creature was killing livestock and big dogs. Coleman said this Mystery Beast is likely still at large and is probably a black panther or other large cat.

The Maine Mutant was discovered dead on the side of the road last year, after reports that a wild beast had been chasing cats in the Turner area. The Maine Mutant became a worldwide phenomenon and was on the news in several countries. Coleman said it became a huge story because there was a body that could be studied and identified. Eventually, after DNA tests were done, the body of the mutant was identified as a feral chow, a dog that had been wild for a long time. The Maine Mutant had already been popularized, however, and you can still find T-shirts with a cartoon of the mutant’s head on them.

Of course, there may be some mystery beasts even closer to home than Turner. Coleman said he has heard stories of a monster residing in Kirby Lake, also known as The Muck, in Belfast, located on the corner of Miller Street and Lincolnville Avenue. Coleman said while it’s possible the rumors are the result of people wanting to make up their own local folklore, he has also heard that the creature is a giant eel.

Coleman said it is an exciting time in the world of cryptozoology, and that he has a lot of fun doing his job. He has degrees in social work and anthropology and spent years working at a university, although he quit in 1996 to pursue cryptozoology full time.

“It’s not about money,” Coleman said. “It’s about passion and adventure.”


Author Says UFO-Air Force Dogfight Ended in Flatwoods


Sci-fi buffs flocked to a fantasy film in 1984 bearing a title prediction that 2010 would be the year earthlings make contact with aliens.
Actually, contact has come, and it was less than friendly, says one UFO researcher.

Three decades earlier, in fact, back in 1952, just five years after the famed Roswell, New Mexico incident, the American military engaged a convoy of alien aircraft with orders to destroy them in a pitched air battle right off the Atlantic Coast, says Frank Feschino, author of "The Flatwoods Monster,'' a phenomenon that rocked a tiny West Virginia town that year.

An illustrator and writer, Feschino has produced a follow-up book, this one titled "Shoot Them Down,'' an effort produced after years of painstaking research of the U.S. Air Force's once-classified files on unidentified flying saucers and digesting countless magazine articles on the matter.

His years of exhaustive study have convinced Feschino that American jet fighters did indeed make contact -- at the point of their guns.

"Shoot Them Down'' draws its name from orders Feschino says President Truman gave military commanders while an American public was growing increasingly jittery over coast-to-coast UFO sightings.

Two years earlier, Truman had remarked at a news conference, "I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.''

"There are tons of documents right there, intelligence reports, talking about pilots chasing these things, going after them,'' Feschino said, citing the once-hidden reports on the Air Force's so-called Project Blue Book.

"That's when it hit the fan, and the government stepped up. That is when they had to simmer the whole country down. The whole country was in an uproar. Everybody was panicking. The job of the government is to keep things under control, and they couldn't let the country panic.''

UFOs were buzzing the entire country that year, "and a good chunk of them were over military installations, and power plants, like Oak Ridge,'' the author says.

Feschino pulls his theory largely from the writings of Air Force Capt. Edward Ruppelt, a decorated World War II veteran, recalled to duty when hostilities erupted in Korea.

Roswell might stand out as the mother of all UFO stories, but 1952 was the most prolific year by far for aircraft sightings -- by one account, some 30,000 alone in the United States, many of them reported in local newspapers around the country.

Craft ranged from discs to round balls to elongated, cigar-shaped ships, the Port Orange, Fla., resident said.

"Capt. Ruppelt was dropping clues throughout his book,'' Feschino said. "And that's the premise of my book. During that time of 1952 we had the highest amount of sightings.''

In a book he wrote, Ruppelt said "other assorted historians have pointed out that normally the UFOs are peaceful,'' but he alluded to a chase in which one of two pilots engaging unidentified aircraft perished.

"They just weren't ready to be observed closely,'' he wrote.

"If the Air Force hadn't slapped down the security lid, these writers might not have reached this conclusion (about peaceful aliens). There have been other and more lurid duels of death. That's what everybody missed.''

Feschino flatly says the Air Force took on alien aircraft just off the coast with orders to destroy them in a move to pacify a public growing ever restless over bizarre sightings. In the battle, apparently one craft hobbled back inland, resting on a knoll in a West Virginia community known as Flatwoods. And it was there on Sept. 12 a group of boys, accompanied by some adults, scampered up the hillside and saw a metallic, 12-foot object emitting a sulfuric odor. Locals dubbed it "the Flatwoods Monster.''

"I have no idea who they were,'' Feschino said.

Based on his interviews with some 200 residents of Flatwoods, however, the author believes the aliens remain interested in rural West Virginia.

"There are people in West Virginia who have been seeing UFOs for the past 50 years, and there are key locations where they are being seen -- Wheeling, Huntington, and quite a few south of Charleston, around Cabin Creek, even down in the Beckley area,'' he said.

Feschino is a headliner for a Sept. 7-8 UFO summit in Charleston, organized by promoter Larry Bailey. Joining him will be Freddie May, a witness to the Flatwoods incident, and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, considered the leading UFO researcher in the world. Friedman has appeared on numerous cable TV shows with his belief that extraterrestrials are frequent flyers to planet Earth.

At the two-day gathering, Feschino plans to sell his new book, featuring a special, limited edition cover for West Virginia consumers.


Legendary Chinese Lake 'Monster' is Captured on Camera


China’s Loch Ness monster has been sighted. Or so Chinese state-run television says. Not just one, but more than a dozen huge creatures can be seen churning across Lake Kanasi in remote western China, leaving a foamy wake more like an enormous motorboat than a big fish.

A rare video filmed by a tourist at the lake in the Heavenly Mountains of the wild Xinjiang region, has reignited debate over the existence of an underwater creature that can compete with the Loch Ness monster in both mass and mystery.

The grainy film shows about 15 objects moving at high speed just beneath the surface of the lake and whipping the smooth blue water into a bubbling white frenzy. Chinese Central Television broadcast the video on its news channel, describing the footage shot by a passing tourist on July 5 as the clearest ever seen of a legendary beast that has been rumoured for centuries to live in the depths of Lake Kanasi.

Local myth among the Chinese Mongolians living in the scenic mountains near the Russian and Mongolian borders has it that the animals have been known to drag sheep, cows and even horses from the shore and into the deep to devour them.



Yuan Guoying, of the Xinjiang Institute of Environmental Protection, told The Times that the video provided important proof in his more than two decades of research at the lake. “Only fish could make waves in this formation. I think the video is real.”

The television commentator described the sighting as the first since June 7, 2005 when two black creatures measuring more than 10 metres in length appeared on the surface swimming at speed from the shore to the centre of the lake. The newsreader described the latest appearance: “They sometimes gathered in a flock, sometimes spread about or moved shoulder to shoulder. The scene is grand and they looked like a fleet.”

State television made no attempt to identify the animals, saying only: ‘This time a large number of unidentified creatures emerged, bringing more mystery to Lake Kanasi.”

Professor Yuan has been on their trail since 1980 and has been gripped by the mystery since his first sighting in 1985 when he says he saw as many as 50 of what he called fish. “They looked like reddish-brown tadpoles because I could only see their heads on the surface. They opened their mouths to breathe and their length was about 10 to 15 metres.”

He spotted the animals again on May 28, 2004 when he was standing looking down at the lake from a nearby hill. “I thought there was a huge piece of black plastic in the lake and that someone had been polluting it. But then I released that it must be the back of a giant fish. I was shocked because they were just too big. Looking at them was like looking at submarines.”

When Mr Yuan got back to his office he tried to calculate the size of the animals by setting their proportions against those of the surrounding landmarks such as trees or the shape of the shoreline. “I didn’t dare say they were bigger than 20 metres because no one would believe me.”


Chinese researchers in the 1980s said the ‘monster’ was likely to be a huge member of the salmon family – one of eight species of fish living in the lake. Mr Yuan gave their name as Hucho Taimen, a freshwater salmon tht thrives in deep frigid waters. He says the biggest Hucho Taimen salmon ever captured was 2.1 metres long and was found in Russia.

The animals that roam Lake Kanasi live in an area about 24 kilometres by two kilometers and with an average depth of 122 metres and as deep as 188 metres at one point.

Mr Yuan believes that a lot more research is needed although China lacks the scientific equipment to make further studies. And it would be impossible to catch a fish of this size. “This fish will have tremendous strength.”

Other Chinese scientists have cast doubt on his findings, but Mr Yuan is adamant. “People will just say ‘You’ve got to be kidding’. But I saw them with my own eyes. I am a scientist. I have no choice but to believe what I saw.”


Sci-fi Plans "UFO Hunters" Series

Sci Fi Channel has announced that it has ordered UFO Hunters, a new Ghost Hunters-like reality series that will investigate sightings of unidentified flying objects and other "otherworldly experiences." UFO Hunters will air as part of the network's 2007-2008 original programming line-up.

Each episode of UFO Hunters will follow a group of UFO investigators who use the latest technology to lend some credit to reports of flying saucers and space people that are often ridiculed by skeptics.

The New York Strange Phenomena Investigators (NY-SPI) -- led by co-founders Oliver Kemenczky and Ted Davis, and supported by researcher/investigator Dennis Anderson -- will conduct the investigations featured on UFO Hunters, using their decades of experience to lend credibility to the different phenomena they'll attempt to explain.

If UFO Hunters' format sounds similar to that of Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters reality series -- which follows paranormal "ghostbusters" and real-life plumbers Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson as they investigate hauntings and bizarre occurrences -- that's because its being produced by Pilgrim Films and Television, the same production company responsible for Ghost Hunters.

Ghost Hunters executive producers Craig Piligian and Tom Thayer will also executive produce UFO Hunters.


New Top Secret Construction at Area 51


Something big is in the works at Nevada's legendary Area 51 military base. A massive new building is under construction at the top secret location. Aviation experts say there's a good chance that a new, highly classified aircraft might soon be zipping around the Nevada skies.

What kind of aircraft? One possibility is a successor to the SR-71 spy plane, the SR-72.

The SR-71 Blackbird is widely regarded as the greatest airplane ever built. It sliced through the sky at Mach 3 and still reigns, officially anyway, as the fastest plane in history. Groom Lake, also known as Area 51, was home for the Blackbird during its early days. The question is -- will Area 51 also be the location of choice for the development of a successor, and maybe more than one?

A photo of a new building under construction at Area 51 has raised tantalizing possibilities for the civilian researchers who dabble in such topics. No one can say for certain what the building will be used for, but aviation historian Peter Merlin says the one thing we can say is that it's one big hangar.

"It probably measures 275 feet by 600 feet. It's no larger than hangars at other bases, but it certainly is the largest at Area 51," Peter Merlin said.

Satellite photos confirm Area 51 already has two dozen hangars, including some less than two years old. So what's going on out there?

The hangar could be a central maintenance facility, machine shop and or simulator training center. But aviation writers are thinking more exotic thoughts. For months, there's been speculation in aviation circles about a successor to the SR-71, call it the SR-72. Model airplane companies already have their version of the so called "dark bird," which theoretically could fly twice as fast as the Blackbird.

Peter Merlin says he's been told by engineers at Lockheed that the SR-72 project was canceled, but new reports in aviation media note the Air Force has just awarded a new contract to Lockheed for a plane that sounds exactly like the SR-72, a Mach 6 reconnaissance plane that could also carry weapons, and unlike the SR-71, this one would be unmanned.

It would make for a comfy fit inside that new hangar. But Merlin thinks there are other possibilities also in the works at Groom Lake.

"There are at least seven and maybe as many as eleven manned classified air craft that have not yet been unveiled that have been flying since 1985 and countless unmanned programs as well. Most of these things have been tested there. I know some of the guys that have flown these airplanes," Merlin continued.

Among the suspects is something called the Black Manta, a stealthy hypersonic craft that might explain the wispy images captured in a few photos around the world. Various black triangle-type craft have been spotted over American military bases and cities for years, some of them huge in size, big enough to require a big hangar.

Aviation journalist Bill Sweetman has long argued for the existence of the Aurora, another plane rumored to have been flown at Groom Lake. Sweetman says black budget figures hint at the existence of the plane, which some have dubbed the SR-75 penetrator. Whichever of these ambitious projects ends up in full development, it's abundantly clear that the testing location of choice for top secret planes is still Area 51.

The Lockheed Company, whose so-called Skunkworks plant developed the U-2, SR-71, and stealth fighter -- all of which were test flown out at Area 51 -- says it will not comment on its new Air Force contract.

The Air Force is also not talking.


Ghost World Conference Coming to Gettysburg


Gettysburg may be known for apparitions on and off its Civil War battlefield, but this weekend the people haunting the area will be those with a primary interest in the paranormal.

The Ghost World Conference begins Friday and runs through Sunday at the Wyndham Hotel and Conference Center in Gettysburg and is a combination of trade show, lectures and awards.

The conference has been organized by the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, the Maryland Paranormal Investigators Coalition and Ghostvillage.com.

"(For) people (that) are interested in history and in haunting, Gettysburg is near the top of the list for a lot of folks," said Jeff Belanger, one of the event's founders. "Since our audience is really from all over, I know a lot of people said this was the perfect excuse for them to come to Gettysburg."

Belanger united with two others who had been holding events for a few years on their own, and the three decided to combine their efforts to create one conference under the name "Ghost World."

The event may be in its first year, but Belanger said they expect 300 people to attend from across the United States and Canada. Registration for the conference has closed.

Belanger said he expects that many people attending will be amateur ghost hunters who delve into paranormal activities on the weekends. Few people actually work full-time in paranormal research, he said, and Princeton University recently disbanded its research department. But supernatural tourism, in which people plan vacations around haunted locations or happenings, could also bring people to the conference, Belanger said.

The conference will also include the presentation of the Paranormal Awards, which focus on people and organizations involved in paranormal research in categories such as best paranormal book and best ghost-hunting organization.

Nominations for the awards were selected through a six-week online voting process, and people were then allowed to vote on the finalists over an eight-week period. Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran, founders of Weird NJ and co-hosts of "Weird U.S." on the History Channel, will host the awards ceremony. Lifetime achievement awards will also be given to Brad Steiger, Hans Holzer and Art Bell.

"We definitely wanted to honor some of the legends that have been doing this a long time," Belanger said.

The conference will also include a "Supernatural Symposium" that plans to include discussions about paranormal research.

Although many people research the subject, Belanger said, no central governing body or protocol oversees what is found or how it is documented. The idea of the symposium, however, is to find a way to organize information obtained through research, he said.

"The goal is to build a centralized database where people all over the world ... can contribute," he said. "We have to take the first step."


A New Vision: The Amazing Transformation of the Virgin Mary Tree of Salt Lake City


In May 1997, in a downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood, a city worker discovered an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree stump that had been struck by lightning. News of the abberation spread quickly throughout the largely Hispanic area, and a platform and stairs were soon erected by the city to accommodate the steady stream of worshippers. Ten years later, the faithful still find their way to the tree, and the area is festooned with rows of candles, objections of devotion, and a kneeling altar.

In 1997, I was working at Barnes and Noble near downtown Salt Lake City. I was an evening manager of a section which included new age and paranormal books, and thereby had my fair share of interesting conversations with odd customers, and vice versa. After a while, nothing fazed me or got me very excited. But, one night, a woman and her son were looking for some books on healing, and asked me if I had yet seen the "Virgin Mary vision" downtown.

In rapturous frenzy, I pummeled the poor woman with questions, and after closing the store at midnight, my friend Kristi and I eagerly drove the few blocks to the site. There was a ladder up against a tree as the woman described. Kristi and I took turns climbing. The only light in this rundown, crack-house-infested neighborhood was a lone, flickering streetlamp. But, there did seem to be a darker, detailed oval figure in the smooth stump-which could pass even in the bad lighting for the traditional Virgin of Guadalupe. And it was wet-- 'crying', as the woman described.

In such a very Mormon city, the seeming irony of a very Catholic icon appearing in the heart of Salt Lake is obvious. But Marian apparition itself may be the bigger and most telling mystery. In his fabulous book, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld, Patrick Harpur suggests appearances of the Virgin Mary are essentially appearances of the divine feminine emerging poignantly from the collective unconscious, that may be shaped by expectation and mythologies emerging in progression from the original, indistinct appearance.

Harpur asserts most Marian appearances begin rather ambiguously; Mary never seems to name herself initially, rather, she seems to adapt into her specific role as questions are asked, and as the event and story grows. Of course, Harfur is referring to events of personal apparition, not an image on a window or tree, which is referred to as an 'abberation.' But interestingly, the abberation in Salt Lake City seems to still follow these ideas.

While not everyone would have instantly recognized the tree image as the Virgin Mary, it is difficult to find argument in the image's rather graphic feminine aesthetic. The dark, long oval shape is an obvious vulva-as is the traditionally depicted Virgin of Guadalupe image--only aesthetically speaking, of course.

Although there doesn't seem to be a documented case for the original discovery of the Salt Lake City Virgin Mary Tree image, the story goes like this: it was first noticed by an unnamed city worker, who was attending to or cutting the tree's broken limb, which had been damaged by lightning. Through the support and petitions of the Latino/Catholic community, the Salt Lake City leaders erected stairs and a platform-a formalized, city-sanctioned and maintained formal shrine. This is markedly similar-almost a retelling, albeit rather generic and austere-of the original apparition-story of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

In 1523, Juan Diego, a native Mexican farmer, heard music, saw a blinding light, and witnessed a lady dressed in clothes like those of an Aztec Princess. There were several encounters, and in one, she asked for a shrine to be built. Attempting to convince the Catholic leaders of the reality of the encounters and her wishes, Juan Diego gathered anachronistic, unlikely winter roses in his robes as instructed by the lady, and upon presenting them to the leaders, all were convinced of the veracity of Juan Diego's story of the apparition, when they found her miraculous image emblazoned upon his robes.

The Virgin Mary Tree image as it stands today is quite altered from its original appearance. There are vague references and stories that the image was vandalized at some point, but ten years of liquid oozing from and onto the surface of the stump probably has a lot to do with its transformation. I recently climbed the stairs of the shrine, and was amazed at what I found.

There is a framed photo affixed to the tree, right above the abberation-stump area. The photo has an early image, so one can easily navigate the stump visually, and make sense of the now 'vandalized' image. While the original Virgin of Guadalupe image is virtually gone, there is a new, larger image just to the right-a classic Madonna and Child icon. It's fairly unmistakable, and I believe, even more striking and clear than the original image. How this could go unnoticed is perplexing. But what could it all mean?

Within the idea that such apparitions and abberations arise somehow from the collective unconscious, one can assume that there is some statement or need being addressed or filled. In Daimonic Reality, Harpur writes, " ...it is a psychological law-a law of the soul-that whatever is repressed returns in another form..." and then, in giving examples of such, he writes, "Over-masculine authoritarian Christianity is vexed by subversive visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary." In applying these ideas to the Virgin Mary Tree in Salt Lake City, it does seem to fit, and in several layers of ways. It may be pertinent to take a look at the possible meaning of the Guadalupe Virgin and the now-apparent Madonna and Child symbology, within a local context.

The Virgin of Guadalupe image itself is apparently ubiquitous within contemporary Latino communities. In an article reviewing Ana Castillo's book Goddess of the Americas: Writings on the Virgin of Guadalupe, Robert Orsi adds to Castillo's words about the presence of the image of the Virgin, "She appears today on bolo ties, playing cards, tattooed on the skins of cholos in East L.A. and South Phoenix, on belts, pillows, towels, cigar boxes, lamp-shades, 'among horns honking, ambulances running, children crying, all the people groaning and dancing and making love,' in the struggles of farm workers, in the places of the sick and dying, carved in soup bones, and in ravines on the border between Mexico and the United States, helping her people make the crossing north in the middle of the night by distracting the border patrols."

As I stated before, the area in which the Virgin Mary Tree is located is largely a minority and Hispanic, non-Mormon population. It has also been an area fairly steeped in poverty and crime. According to the above descriptions, it is fair to assume the Virgin of Guadalupe image represents hope. Certainly, in the decade since the appearance, the neighborhood area is almost completely transformed. The grassy vacant lot behind the tree is now a brand new, cheery children's park. Directly across the street is the amazing Koko's Kitchen-an award winning Asian restaurant with some of the city's best sushi, and legendary miso soup. There's now a trendy charter school down the street, full of brainy-cool emo middle school kids, Salt Lake Arts Academy. The image was a vehicle that broadcast the voice and image of the Latino community to the larger population, and also physically and psychically attracted the larger population to the area. In all, the image seems to have been a catalyst of inclusion.

Looking in a larger local and social framework, the idea of an emerging feminine divine is quite loaded. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is quite established and self-satisfied as a patriarchy. In the very recent past, there have been heated issues by larger groups of some members over women's earthly and heavenly roles within the dogma. There is the obvious, tired old misogyny: women are not able to partake in the Priesthood (the Mormon Church has lay clergy-all worthy male church members are expected to advance through all the levels of Priesthood.)

Perhaps more central though, there has been a moderate amount of strife over requests to know more about Heavenly Father's wife, Heavenly Mother. According to standard lore, all requests for information, both formal and informal, are answered with something like: "Heavenly Father respects Her so much and She is so sacred that He doesn't want to parade her around."

If that isn't repression of the feminine divine, I don't know what is. Here, we have the unusual instance in which the existence of a Divine Mother is not a source of debate or speculation-it's dogma. An actual acknowledged Goddess within Christianity, whose name, image, attributes, role, etc. are literally being hidden from her wanna-be worshippers.

Sound familiar? The enormous popularity and ripple-effect of the Da Vinci Code, in which the divinity of Mary Magdalene is proposed, indicates a conscious desire/need on a much larger Christian scale for a divine feminine personage. The Mother is a central archetype, and that has been reflected in religious worship and devotion since ancient times. It's not going to go away, regardless of its institutional status.

But what of the new image, the Madonna and Child? On its own religious terms, it represents salvation, and is one of the most recognizable and revered icons within Christianity. On a secular or literal level, it presents an image of safety, and familiarity; a maternal setting of undisputed cross-cultural, pan-socio-economic commonality: peace, love, and family. And, for hundreds of years, it has also been one of the most widely used icons for personal prayer and devotion --exactly what has been happening at the tree for ten years.

The Virgin Mary Tree has changed. I suggest it has not necessarily been vandalized, but has morphed naturally, through the effects of the still-oozing trunk, countless touches, and even super-naturally, through a decade of thousands and thousands of visiting believers, millions of prayers, and petitions for miracles. And transformed too, by the collective unconscious itself, which in its mysterious manners and wisdom, uses our landscapes and forms as a mirror, in which we may willfully gaze at our own visions, gleaning hints of understanding of our personal and joint state and place in the universe.



Recent UFO Images and Video


Location: Brooklyn, NY
Date: April 2007



Location: Tatui, Brazil
Date: June 21, 2007



Location: Phoenix, AZ
Date: June 28, 2007



Location: San Diego, CA
Date: July 10, 2007



Location: Texas
Date: July 2007



Historic Boston Hotel Has Haunted Past


The story: The third floor is the paranormal hotspot at this historic Boston hotel. Charlotte Cushman, a renowned 19th century stage actress who played both male and female roles (Lady Macbeth as well as Hamlet), died in 1876 in her room on the third floor. Now, one of the elevators often travels on its own to the third floor, even when no buttons are pushed.

More haunting: Charlotte isn't the only ghost suspected to haunt the third floor of the Omni Parker House. A businessman died in Room 303. Guests and staff have reported the smell of whiskey and raucous laughter. After a large number of guest complaints, the room was converted into a closet.



Spooky visits: Some surprised guests have reported seeing Harvey Parker, the hotel's founder, in their rooms asking about their stay. Mr. Parker died in 1884.

History and legend: The Omni Parker House was the gathering place for "The Saturday Club," a group that included Longfellow, Thoreau, Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Since Longfellow's favorite room was on the third floor, many suspect the elevator is returning him upstairs after a club meeting.


Three Eel-Like Catfish Discovered


Belgian scientists have described three new species belonging to the African eel-like clariid genus Channallabes.

Publishing their results in the latest issue of the journal Belgian Journal of Zoology, Stijn Devaere, Dominique Adriaens and Walter Verraes of Ghent University describe Channallabes ogooensis and C. teugelsi in one study and C. sanghaensis in another.

The eel-like clariids of Africa are also rediagnosed in the first study, with Gymnallabes alvarezi and Clariallabes longicaudatus both reassigned to Channallabes.

Channallabes ogooensis
This species is known from the Ogowe River drainage in central west Africa, and can be distinguished from C. longicaudatus and C. teugelsi in having the anterior edge of the pectoral spine with weak or lacking serrations, from C. alvarezi in having fewer dorsal- and anal-fin rays (100–113 vs. 110–160 and 85–102 vs. 101–155 respectively) and the presence of a pale spot on the skull roof, and from C. apus in having an interdigitating joint between the entopterygoid and quadrate and a large, pronounced process on the fourth infraorbital that reaches the rostral border of the eye.


Channallabes teugelsi
This species is known from the Ivindo and Ogowe river drainages in central west Africa and can be distinguished from C. longicaudatus and C. ogooensis in having strong serrations only on the anterior edge of the pectoral spine, from C. alvarezi in having fewer dorsal- and anal-fin rays (99–109 vs. 110–160 and 90–100 vs. 101–155 respectively) and the presence of a pale spot on the skull roof, and from C. apus having an interdigitating joint between the entopterygoid and quadrate and a large, pronounced process on the fourth infraorbital that reaches the rostral border of the eye.


Channallabes sanhaensis
This species is known from the Congo River drainage in central Africa, and can be distinguished from C. alvarezi, C. longicaudatus, C. teugelsi and C. ogooensis in having a having a small process on the fourth infraorbital that does not reach the rostral border of the eye.

It differs from C. apus in having a fenestra between the scapulocoracoid and the cleithrum, large foramina at the bases of the parapophyses of the first few post-weberain vertebrae and two large lateral processes on the second dorsal-fin pterygiophore.

Bigfoot Researchers Record Thermal Images


MANISTIQUE, Michigan — A group that searched for bigfoot in the U.P. woods this weekend plans to return in August.

A four-day expedition in Marquette County by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, collecting evidence supporting the existence of “sasquatches” began with mixed results but concluded with “excitement,” according to BFRO organizer/ researcher Matthew Moneymaker.

Just after midnight Saturday, veteran BFRO investigators Pam Porter of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Don Young of Phillips, Wis., saw “grainy blips” through the viewfinder of a thermal imaging camera near where a previous bigfoot sighting had been reported, Moneymaker said, and they caught some of what they saw on film.

About the same time, Minnesota-based researcher Chris Perlock filmed “something behind trees” on his thermal camera, “possibly hunkered down or crawling,” Moneymaker said.

“We are very excited,” Moneymaker said. “We definitely cannot claim to have bigfoot on video, or even that what we have will impress the rest of the world. We still have to review the footage. But I can say that these are our best thermal images yet, on two cameras.”

“We’re going to alter our schedule in order to come back to Marquette in August,” Moneymaker said. “We’re going into that area again with more equipment.”

The exact location will remain confidential, Moneymaker said.

The next BFRO expedition is scheduled for Northern Utah July 19-22, followed by New Mexico on Aug. 2-4.

It was Wednesday night, Moneymaker said, as BFRO investigators were attempting to “lure” bigfoot into camera range with a series of “howls” and other sounds that Porter captured a single response with her audio recorder. The tape of that response was evaluated during a Thursday briefing by the rest of the BFRO team.

“We weren’t sure what it was,” Porter said, “but we were able to rule out an owl, a coyote, or a wolf. It was not any of those animals.”

Thursday night that area was “uneventful,” Moneymaker said, and the decision was make to move the search area to remote site near Ishpeming, with only the Minnesota team of Perlock and Andy Peeper remaining behind in their tent. Friday night Perlock and Peeper heard “bi-pedal footsteps” and other sounds.


Friday night near Ishpeming, BFRO researchers set up a central “basecamp” from which “call” teams were sent out, each carrying a walkie talkie, recording equipment and a thermal imaging camera. While the area looked promising, Moneymaker said, the effort was called off at about 1:15 a.m. “We have never had much luck in a steady rain.”

Saturday, BFRO investigators rejoined Perlock and Peeper at the original location with recorders, radios, and thermal-imaging cameras.

“After we review the footage we will download it to our Web site,” Moneymaker said. “It’s going to be a big file, 10 or 20 megabites.”

Fox News Reporter Griff Jenkins filmed several BFRO Marquette expeditions for an upcoming television documentary. “I don’t know if they’re going to find Bigfoot,” Jenkins said, “but you have to appreciate the effort they put into it, and their sincerity. They are absolutely certain that bigfoot exists.” The BFRO Web site is one of several devoted to bigfoot. The BFRO has approximately 200 active member/researchers, Moneymaker said, and has conducted more than 30 expeditions in the U.S. and Canada since 1995.

Author Explores Haunted Missouri


Jefferson City, MO — For a man who considers himself somewhat skeptical when it comes to the supernatural, Jason Offutt has had several brushes with ghostly phenomenon himself.

Offutt has published his new book — "Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State's Most Spirited Spots."

Do you believe in ghosts?

"I get that question a lot," he said. "Belief... you don't have to have evidence to believe something. But I like to have evidence to believe that something exists.

"That being said, when I was 10, I saw the ghost of a little boy standing in my house."

He writes: "He was dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans, his hair was dark and tousled. He didn't smile. He didn't frown. He didn't say anything. He just looked at me and I just looked at — and through — him. Yeah, through."

Offutt said he never told anyone about the boy because he knew people wouldn't believe him.

"There are things we don't know about. Things that wander in and out of the shadows in your home," he added.

When Offutt was in college, he took a writing class filled with people who said they wanted to write a novel. But none of them did.

"I didn't want to be like one of those people," he said, so he wrote a fantasy novel upon graduation that never was published. "I tried to reread it. Now I know why it was never published... it was awful."

His newest book — his third — apparently is more engaging; a steady flow of interested buyers flowed into the Downtown Book and Toy recently for a book signing. At the Borders bookstore in St. Joseph, visitors lined up before the appointed time to get their copies signed.

Many of the visitors want to relate to him their own paranormal experiences.

The book is a guide for people interested in visiting 32 of Missouri's public haunted spots.

Offutt said he had three criteria for including a site. "I wanted every place to be historic, open to the public and haunted," he said. "I wanted people to be able to visit every place I talk about in the book."

His favorite story in the book is the tale of Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell, a St. Louis surgeon who founded the Missouri Medical College. It takes place in what is now called Mark Twain Cave.

McDowell was trying to discover how to petrify a human body and was conducting scientific experiments in the cave's stable atmosphere.

But the story takes a macabre turn when McDowell's 14-year-old daughter died of pneumonia during Twain's boyhood.

Reportedly, the doctor filled a glass-lined copper cylinder with an alcohol mixture.

"He put in his daughter, and hung it from the ceiling in a cave room," explained Offutt.

Horrifying to children and adults alike, the situation drew the "baser order of tourists, who would drag the dead face into view, examine it and comment upon it," wrote Twain in Life on the Mississippi.

Hannibal's citizens eventually demanded McDowell remove his daughter.

But ever since then, it's been said the girl haunts the cave.

Offutt said the paranormal doesn't scare him. But it does give his wife, Kim, the heebie-jeebies. And so, he usually visits the sites alone.

"She does not like any of this stuff," he said.

The creepiest place he ever visited was Peace Church Cemetery, where "Badman Bill Cook, mad dog killer of six persons" is interred.

"The tombstones lie on the ground like broken teeth," recalled Offutt.

Not all the ghosts are frightening. Carrie Crittenden, a former governor's daughter who died of diptheria, reportedly haunts the Governor's Mansion.

In 1982, a workman said he saw a young girl playing in the attic. Although he never returned to the job, others haven't been frightened.

"She's a friendly ghost," said Mary Pat Abele, director of Missouri Mansion Preservation, Inc.

During his research, Offutt experienced some of the paranormal activity others had reported before him.

For example, at the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Offutt walked into "an area of cold deep enough to raise goosebumps on my arms and dry the sweat on my temples."

Offutt — a journalism instructor at Northwest Missouri State University — said he wanted to retell other people's ghost stories. He's not as interested in experiencing, or debunking, the paranormal himself.

"I'm a journalist," he explains. "I'm not a ghostbuster."

Illinois County UFO Hotspot


O'FALLON, Ill., July 13 (UPI) -- St. Clair County in Illinois has become a UFO hot spot since a large triangular object was sighted in the area seven years ago.

The most recent report in the county east of St. Louis was in June.

Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington State told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the 2000 unidentified flying object was significant because many of the witnesses were police officers.

"The events that occurred constitute one of the most interesting and well-documented incidents our center has ever seen," Davenport said.

Mark Lopinot, a police detective in O'Fallon said the sight of the large object floating over his city in January 2000 was "shocking" and he still can't explain it. He receives a lot of telephone calls from people reporting mysterious objects in the sky and recently talked to a Japanese film crew making a documentary about UFOs.

Police officers from at least five towns reported seeing the object, which they said was completely silent. One described it as looking like a "floating house with bright red and white lights."

The Many Faces of the Paranormal


On August 23, 1971 the first of many images appeared on the kitchen floor of Maria Gomez Pereira's home in Belmez, Spain. This first image was of a man and was so disturbing in its grimacing appearance that it prompted Maria to have the cement floor torn out and replaced. A week later, the second of what would be many unique portraits made its ghostly impression on the floor, which the family also - understandably - wanted destroyed. Hearing about the faces, the Mayor of Belmez had part of the floor removed and saved to try to determine what was causing the ghostly faces.

Under the slab, human remains from a medieval cemetery were found and properly reburied off the site, however two weeks later yet another face appeared on the new floor. More and more faces in increasingly elaborate arrangements came and went on the floor until the family finally sealed the kitchen, however this simply resulted in more faces appearing elsewhere in the house. By now well publicized and attracting the attention of investigators, the phenomena was intensively studied, including the placement of microphones which reportedly picked up sounds inaudible to the human ear that seemed to be muttering strange languages and agonizing moans seemingly choreographed to the grimaces and painful contortions of the faces on the kitchen floor.

Maria died in 2004, however the faces have continued, calling into question theories that the old woman had been faking the whole affair. Further, chemical studies of the cement have been somewhat unsatisfying, with multiple potential explanations being advanced, from acids to paint but none of them really seem to cover all aspects of the phenomena.

The annals of the paranormal are replete with images of people on inanimate objects. From Christ himself to Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich, we recognize faces in patterns and often attribute these images to a wide variety of people. Most of these can easily be explained by wishful thinking and recognizing patterns among the chaos, but sometimes a story can be attached to the phenomena that might suggest that the spirit of a disembodied human may be able to manifest a picture of themselves that the living can see.

Recently, the phenomena of ghostly images appearing on objects has had a resurgence in an unlikely place. Rosemont is a busy Chicago suburb, most famous for being home to O'Hare International Airport and a dizzying array of hotels. The city has also recently been the focus of an uncharacteristic burst of paranormal phenomena. Of course there was the infamous O'Hare UFO, which continues to gain interest worldwide. But there is another incident, one presumably of a very different nature.

Located outside the Willow Creek Club on Higgins Road is a sycamore tree that some claim bears the face of Donald E. Stephens, the Mayor of Rosemont for 51 years, who died last April of stomach cancer. Is it the image of the former mayor, or just a product of the human mind's ability to recognize a face among random patterns in the bark of a sycamore? Perhaps Mark Stephens, son and acting Mayor of Rosemont after the death of Donald Stephens, said it best. "He told me, you screw things up, I'm gonna haunt you". Let's hope Donald Stephens is simply saying hello, rather than making a political statement from the grave.

Bili Ape: Giant Chimps of the Congo


Deep in the Congolese jungle is a band of apes that, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish and even howl at the moon. Local hunters speak of massive creatures that seem to be some sort of hybrid between a chimp and a gorilla.

Their location at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has meant that the mystery apes have been little studied by western scientists. Reaching the region means negotiating the shifting fortunes of warring rebel factions, and the heart of the animals' range is deep in impenetrable forest.

But despite the difficulties, a handful of scientists have succeeded in studying the animals. Early speculation that the apes may be some yeti-like new species or a chimp/gorilla hybrid proved unfounded, but the truth has turned out to be in many ways even more fascinating. They are actually a population of super-sized chimps with a unique culture - and it seems, a taste for big cat flesh.
The most detailed and recent data comes from Cleve Hicks, at the University of Amsterdam, who has spent 18 months in the field watching the Bili apes - named after a local town - since 2004. His team's most striking find came after one of his trackers heard chimps calling for several days from the same spot.

When he investigated he came across a chimp feasting on the carcass of a leopard. Mr Hicks cannot be sure the animal was killed by the chimp, but the find lends credence to the apes' lion-eating reputation.

"What we have found is this completely new chimpanzee culture," said Mr Hicks. Previously, researchers had only managed to snatch glimpses of the animals or take photos of them using camera traps. But Mr Hicks used local knowledge to get closer to them and photograph them.

"We were told of this sort of fabled land out west by one of our trackers who goes out there to fish," said Mr Hicks whose project is supported by the Wasmoeth Wildlife Foundation. "I call it the magic forest. It is a very special place."

Getting there means a gruelling 40km (25-mile) trek through the jungle, from the nearest road, not to mention navigating croc-infested rivers. But when he arrived he found apes without their normal fear of humans. Chimps near the road flee immediately at the sight of people because they know the consequences of a hunter's rifle, but these animals were happy to approach him. "The further away from the road the more fearless the chimps got," he added.

Mr Hicks reports that he found a unique chimp culture. For example, unlike their cousins in other parts of Africa the chimps regularly bed down for the night in nests on the ground. Around a fifth of the nests he found were there rather than in the trees.

"How can they get away with sleeping on the ground when there are lions, leopards, golden cats around as well as other dangerous animals like elephants and buffalo?" said Mr Hicks.

"I don't like to paint them as being more aggressive, but maybe they prey on some of these predators and the predators kind of leave them alone." He is keen to point out though that they don't howl at the moon.

"The ground nests were very big and there was obviously something very unusual going on there. They are not unknown elsewhere but very unusual," said Colin Groves, an expert on primate morphology at the Australian National University in Canberra who has observed the nests in the field.

Prof Groves believes that the Bili apes should prompt a radical rethink of the family tree of chimp sub-species. He has proposed that primatologists should now recognise five different sub-divisions instead of the current four.

Mr Hicks said the animals also have what he calls a "smashing culture" - a blunt but effective way of solving problems. He has found hundreds of snails and hard-shelled fruits smashed for food, seen chimps carrying termite mounds to rocks to break them open and also found a turtle that was almost certainly smashed apart by chimps.

Like chimp populations in other parts of Africa, the Bili chimps use sticks to fish for ants, but here the tools are up to 2.5 metres long.

The most exciting thing about this population of chimps though is that it is much bigger than anyone realised and may be one of the largest remaining continuous populations of the species left in Africa. Mr Hicks and his colleague Jeroen Swinkels surveyed an area of 7,000 square kilometres and found chimps everywhere. Their unique culture was uniform throughout.

However, the future for the Bili apes is far from secure. "Things are not promising," said Karl Ammann, an independent wildlife photographer who began investigating the apes 1996. "The absence of a strong central government has resulted in most of the region becoming more independent and lawless. In conservation terms this is a disaster."


Group Tapes Bigfoot's Cry in Michigan U.P.


MARQUETTE COUNTY, MICHIGAN -- Bulletin No. 1: Bigfoot is frolicking in the forest east of this Upper Peninsula community, a California-based group of researchers says.

Bulletin No. 2: The group searching for the legendary mannish ape here this week captured evidence of its existence, they claim.

The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization recorded the creature's trademark howl during an expedition late Thursday night.

Group leader Matt Moneymaker quickly ruled out the possibility that the noise came from a human or another animal. He said it was similar to the sounds made by primates.

"We know it wasn't an owl or coyote," he said.

The group heard the noise in response to a howl by one of the searchers. The group also made other noises, including banging on wood with a stick, to pique the interest of the wooly bully.

The big ape is a big draw.

About 50 people from the Midwest forked over $300 to join the four-day Michigan search that ends Sunday. It was sold out as are similar searches planned for Utah and New Mexico later this summer.

The paying investigators say the fee is small compared to the chance of seeing Bigfoot.

They're among the legion of true-believers whose views are bolstered by a growing number of Internet sites reporting sightings and some prominent academics who won't rule out the possibility that the beast exists.

The Michigan attendees are resolute in their beliefs.

Lack of evidence doesn't stop them. Neither do sketchy claims and confessed hoaxes.

To them, Bigfoot isn't some type of fuzzy-headed myth or scam or case of mistaken identity. It's real.

And that's why they're trampling through dense brush in the rain, wearing camouflage and scent-blocking lotion, swatting away mosquitoes and fright.


Dowsing: Paranormal Investigation Tool

One supposition of paranormality often ignored is its relationship to the environment. The paranormal is thought of as a human practice, involving interactions with humans, sometimes alive and sometimes dead. Yet there is a wealth of evidence that paranormal talents extend beyond the mere human and also have a close relationship with the environment. And nowhere is this better expressed than in Dowsing.

OLD OR NEW?

Dowsing - the supposed ability to find water or minerals by mind power – can be an eccentric pastime. Using a forked twig, pendulum, in one case even a German sausage, the dowser walks an area of land and when successful the twig twitches or the pendulum spins.
Dowsing is often thought of as a recent paranormal innovation, but this is not the case. In the 17th century the French Baroness de Beausoleil first adapted the dowsing rod. But in the Bible, Moses is portrayed finding water with his staff.
In Medieval times the practice was used for finding coal, and Agricola’s treatise on mining, ’De re metallica’ of 1556, discusses dowsing. Hence, it has been practiced way back in history.

SCEPTICS AND BELIEVERS

As usual, James Randi was successful in showing up a group of dowsers in Australia in 1980. Hiding boxes and pipes in a field, some containing objects, others not, he tested a group of dowsers, and predictably they failed to perform adequately. Whether this disproves the ability to dowse, or simply proves those dowsers were not very good on that particular day is open to question.
To 19th century dowser John Mullins such arguments were an irrelevance. He set up a dowsing company to find water and thrived. In 1938, dowser L L Latham adapted dowsing to archaeology, successfully mapping out some dig sites.
During the Vietnam War, US Marines adapted dowsing to finding mines with a high degree of success. But if proof were needed of its ability, oil companies provide it. They employ dowsers to find oil.
The fact that they continue to do so, and pay huge amounts for skilled dowsers, shows there is something to it. If something doesn’t work, big business soon drops it.

THEORIES

Several theories have been offered to explain dowsing. In the 1640s German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher put forward the well accepted idea that it was unconscious muscular activity that caused the rod to twitch.
In 1906 the French Abbe Alexis Mermet blamed radiations for dowsing. Man, having his own radiation, intuited the radiation of other bodies by walking into their field. This was taken up by modern mathematician John Taylor who thought the answer was in the electromagnetic spectrum. Predictably, when he could find no such influence, he denied dowsing existed.

MAP DOWSING

The problem with such ‘physical’ theories is that it does not cover the whole subject of dowsing. For instance, Abbe Mermet popularised map dowsing, where a pendulum is held over a map in order to find, not only water and minerals, but people too. The Abbe claimed that twenty times he had successfully located murderers or missing people and animals.
Even in the late 20th century such abilities continued, as seen in the Priddy Project, and the antics of five dowsers in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. Told to dowse the course of pot holes through dowsing, as a final test, they also had to locate a group of cavers, somewhere in the underground labyrinth. One dowser, Bill Lewis, positioned his flag directly above them.

WIDER MIND

The problem with dowsing is here exposed. It seems to have nothing to do with any intuition into the geology of the Earth. Rather, it is best understood as a wider form of extra-sensory perception.
This brings us back to the point raised in the beginning, and a kind of symbiosis, if you like, between man and his environment. Dowsing demands the question: just how far does a paranormal mind extend? If, of course, it exists at all.
The occult enshrines the notion of the ‘anima mundi’, or ‘soul of the world.’ Theosophy proposed the Akashic Records – records, on a psychic plane, that record everything that has ever occurred since the beginning of the universe. Is this intuition of a wider mind, interacting with everything?

IT’S A GAIA THING

In the 1970s James Lovelock offered his view of the planet as a co-ordinated mechanism, where all elements work together to produce the whole, including life. In his Gaia Hypothesis he encapsulated the idea of a fundamental relationship between man and planet.
This relationship has been pursued by other theorists and philosophers, but no ‘mechanism’ has ever been found to support a way things interact without physical contact.
But the fact that they do is incontrovertible. From man’s effect upon the planet, to the reality that cells co-ordinate into living organisms without apparent physical connection, life and the universe can only exist because of this unknown interaction.
Knowing that such an influence must exist, isn’t it about time science seriously considered how it might work? And I can think of no better area of study than dowsing – a practice that not only shows interaction between man and environment, but discloses otherwise unknown information thereof.

-Anthony North, July 2007

Giant Squid Washed Up in Tasmania


Strahan, Tasmania, Australia - July 12, 2007 - A giant squid has washed up near Strahan on Tasmania's west coast.

The squid, measuring about six metres long, was found last night on Ocean Beach by a member of the public.

Zoology experts from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery are hoping to examine the squid to find how old it was and how it died.

The museum's senior curator of Antarctic and Southern Oceans, David Pemberton, says it is known that squid live off the west coast and feed on blue grenadier.

"The only strandings on beaches we ever had were in the east and south-east of Tassie and to me this one's intriguing because it's turned up on our west coast," he said.

"We must bear in mind that all of this is to do with the Southern Ocean and perhaps to a giant squid, there's not much difference.

"It's the first record that I know of one on a beach off the west coast."

Cornwall Jail: A Haunting Experience


Cornwall, Ontario, Canada - July 11, 2007 - Candy Pollard isn't convinced the Cornwall Jail is haunted, but a few hair-raising occurrences have given her reason to wonder.

The first episode came shortly before the 174-year-old jail re-opened as a tourist attraction in 2004. Pollard was in the midst of locking up some of the cell areas at day's end when she suddenly heard someone humming. It was the voice of a male, Pollard vividly recalls.

"It was like an old '70s tune, like Sly and the Family Stone, 'I Want to Take You Higher'," she said.

Pollard immediately pointed the finger at Mike Lalonde - a colleague who also works in the jail - but he wasn't around. In fact, no one was. "At that point, I just high-tailed it out of there," Pollard said.

Pollard's next episode came courtesy of the Ottawa Haunting and Paranormal Group (OHPG) while they conducted an overnight paranormal investigation of the jail in 2005. She looked through a night-vision camera in one of the cells and saw tiny orbs, believed by some to be a sure-fire sign of paranormal activity.

"It was two in the morning and I was standing outside (the jail) because I felt safer out there," she recalls. "That was when I said 'wait a minute.'"

The orbs were just the tip of the iceberg for the OHPG. During their overnight investigation, group members reportedly saw a "dark figure" in the basement and heard the sounds of footsteps, slamming doors and chairs being dragged across the floor. The use of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) - a process of recording sounds in search of paranormal activity - in the jail uncovered the sound of a child and woman.

"There is no doubt some sort of paranormal entity exists in the Cornwall jail," reads the group's report on the investigation. "It is certain that there is at least one child and one female spirit or ghost whom still resides in the jail. It is also relatively certain that there is more than one entity residing in the jail. In addition, it is almost, but not completely certain, that these spirits or ghosts are that of past inmates."

The group believes the spirits and ghosts that occupy the jail are harmless because none of its members felt any danger.

"If these are spirits, they most likely just want their presence to be known and respected. If it is a ghost, well, then we only know of their presence because of their habitual nature, and they are completely oblivious to our presence," reads the report.

Lalonde remains a non-believer. However, he can see why others might be a bit skeptical. The jail has been the site of numerous suicides, murders and hangings.

"If there are ghosts, they've got to be here," Lalonde said.

Interest in the jail's darker side doesn't seem to be dying. The OHPG is looking at returning just before Halloween, and jail officials are looking at hosting some type of event where members of the public could join the group in the jail and use some of their ghost-hunting equipment first-hand. A paranormal group from New York City has also expressed an interest.

2012: What's in a Number?


That numbers have mysterious powers has been known for a long, long time. All of the esoteric teachings are drenched in numbers--consider the Kabbalah, the Tarot, the Book of Revelation, the I Ching, Pythagoras, the Egyptian mysteries, secret codes in the Bible and the Koran and many other ancient sciences of consciousness. Numbers are not just for counting; numbers are codes that reveal information that cannot be transmitted in any other way.

The mysterious and mystical Mayans played with numbers, too, and engraved a fourth-dimensional science of numbers in the language of a calendar carved in stone. We only decoded their notations in the 1950s, some 1300 years after the zenith of their civilization. The beginning date of the Mayan calendar is the year 3113 B.C. and the end date when their count stops is the year 2012-why that's just around the corner.

What does this all mean? There are plenty of theories out there, but I will use the writings and teachings of Jose Arguelles as my source and recommend to the curious his body of work in print and on the Internet. Jose explains that 2012 is the end of the "cycle of history," and July 26, 2013 is the formal beginning of a new great epoch that will re-integrate our misguided planet into the harmonic whole of the Milky Way galaxy and beyond.

So when people ask the question, "Is 2012 the end of the world?" in a sense the answer is yes. It is the end of the illusion of a world separate from cosmic wholeness, a world governed through domination of nature, and a world in which power derives from fear. In other words the world you and I see reflected in all the news that attacks us daily. I am here to inform you that serious people claim this reality will end in a few years.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking we just entered the Twilight Zone...do do do do do. How could we be this close to an event as mind boggling as a planetary acid trip back to the Source and still appear mired down in the degraded world of ordinary reality? I ask myself the same question all the time. I have been aware of the prophecy contained in the Mayan codes for 20 years (Harmonic Convergence 1987) and also been tracking other prophetic streams (Native American, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Tibetan, Aboriginal etc.) for corollary information.

One theme most of these sources agree on is the requirement that humans make free will choices. In other words, in order to break free from the cycle of history into cosmic consciousness, we have to choose. There are many ways that this choosing is evidenced; it does not have to be an intellectual understanding of what is going on. It can simply be placing love and sharing and forgiveness in the center of your value system and letting these forces guide you.

This basic teaching is at the heart of all religious traditions, so what makes it different now? At this turning point time many, many great beings have re-incarnated among us so our efforts are being amplified by powerful, loving humans. Their energy is gradually penetrating the entire field of human activity-look for the signs in your personal life and beyond.

The perspective offered in the Mayan calendar is of a turning point when everything contained in the past will also be present, redeeming all of history. It is a natural phenomenon of galactic cycles that are vast, placing our Earth's tiny cycle of historical time in a huge context.

If you want to bring in the power of the knowledge embedded in the Mayan codes, you can add a practice to your life that will accelerate your ability to navigate these next few years. You can join the Mayan count of days and create your own timeship, the Synchronicity Express. The premise is extremely simple (and the amplification infinitely complex). The Mayan system makes 13 the base number of months (moons) instead of 12 and keeps the 7 day week. We have 13 Moons of 28 days (four 7-day weeks) which adds up to 364 and we add a "Day Out of Time" to create the 365-day solar year.

When you keep that calendar, you join the lunar cycle (13 full moons per solar year) and the feminine cycle (13 ovulations per year) and you begin the re-entrainment into the cosmic rhythm that is the destiny of this planet. Your human free will choice to work with time in this manner will resonate in the mind field of the fourth dimension. You will begin having telepathic experiences and they will only increase as will the benevolent synchronicities. The number 13 will be your guidepost because it is the master number that generates all the other numbers.

The patterns that come out of the number 13 are spirals, the source of the energy dynamos of all physical creation. When you play with the number 13 you are beginning to navigate in the realm that precedes the physical dimension and that is the realm we will be taken to in 2013, Galactic Synchronization, what Arguelles describes as the Second Creation.

Don't despair when you read the news and the political ranting. Find your practice of compassion and keep it; investigate the natural time calendar of 13 Moons (www.13moon.com) and let synchronicity illuminate your path. That way when 2012-2013 comes around you'll be ahead of your time!







Mysterious Crop Circle in Switzerland


Corcelles-près-Payerne, Suisse - July 10. 2007 - A Swiss army pilot discovers a perfect geometric figure inscribed in a corn field at Corcelles-près-Payerne, raising questions about how it got there.

Locals in Payerne in the northern part of Vaud are scratching their heads after the discovery of a corn field where the crop has been flattened in a round shape 60 metres wide. The farmer who owns the field said he does not know who did the design and he is just as puzzled as others as to how it got there.

François Blanchoud, a Swiss army pilot, first spotted the crop circle, in the field near Payerne's military airport, while flying over the Broye region this week. Surprised by the appearance of the geometric figure, he asked his father Pierre, a specialist in unexplained phenomena, to accompany him on another flight to take photographs of it.

His father claims the crop circle is “authentic,” meaning no-one can say who made it. “The work is huge," he said."It is not humanly possible." Pierre Blanchoud said the design is too precise to have been the result of heavy rain and "it is not in the interest of the farmer to flatten the corn."

Pierre Blanchoud said about 20 percent of phenomena initially thought to be crop circles turn out to be made by humans. He claims the others are the result of "light balls" that produce micro- waves, which heat the corn and flatten the stalks. Crop circle enthusiasts, known as cereologists, have offered various paranormal and naturalistic explanations for them. However, in England two men revealed a few years ago that they created a variety of crop circles using planks, rope, hats and wire as their only tools.

The owner of the 7.5-hectare field containing the crop circle in Payerne said he will harvest the corn in 10 days. But the circle is expected to remain after the harvest as the flattened corn will not be collected.

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