The Secret Origins of Scientology

L. Ron Hubbard, fabulist sex magickian and con man, never saw a good idea he didn't steal (an idea a lot of people seem to have stolen from Madame Blavatsky, oh the irony!!). The underpinning of Scientology may sound like wild sci-fi (who'd have thought it coming from a pulp sci-fi writer?) and his occult links have fascinated us, but the more scientific front was equally iffy, with elements pretty much lifted wholesale.

It is claimed he lifted the name for his religion itself from Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz's 1934 book Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens, a scan of which is doing the rounds at the moment, the full version can be found here, but this is the cover:

However, as the above link shows, the interesting thing is the term itself was coined by someone else:

The English-language term "Scientology" originated neither with Hubbard nor Nordenholz, but with philologist Allen Upward, who coined the term in 1907 to ridicule pseudoscientific theories.

Possibly more interestingly, is the history of the E-Meter . It was invented by chiropractor and sci-fi author Volney Mathison, based on his study of lie detectors. Mark Pilkington looked at this aspect in an article he wrote for the Guardian:

Essentially a Wheatstone Bridge, as developed by Samuel Hunter Christie and Sir Charles Wheatstone in the 19th century, the meter measures electrical resistance. In this case galvanic skin response (GSR), ie how sweaty one's hands are, and how well they conduct electricity. GSR is an important factor in lie detectors developed in the 1930s and is still used, controversially, by law enforcement and government authorities in the US and elsewhere.

Scientology founder Lafayette Ron Hubbard was granted a US patent in 1966 for a "device for measuring and indicating changes in resistance of a living body," but the original electropsychometer was developed in the 1950s by psychoanalyst Volney G Mathison. Hubbard adopted Mathison's device, but when he refused to relinquish the patent rights it was dropped until 1958 when a more efficient version was developed by Scientology-friendly engineers

The Secrets of the E-Meter site gives another overview:

From Messiah or Madman, expanded paperback edition, copyright © 1987, 1992 by Bent Corydon, Barricade Books, 1992, pp. 332-333:

Around this time, Volney Mathison, whose electro-psychometer had been used by Hubbard and many Scientologists, had fallen into disfavor. He had refused to surrender the patent to his invention. It was the Mathison E-Meter, and Mathison was determined to keep it that way. So in late 1954 the use of the E-meter was discontinued by Hubbard.

Wrote Hubbard: Yesterday, we used an instrument called an E-Meter to register whether or not the process was still getting results so that the auditor would know how long to continue it. While the E-Meter is an interesting investigation instrument and has played its part in research, it is not today used by the auditor.... As we long ago suspected, the intervention of a mechanical gadget between the auditor and the preclear had a tendency to depersonalize the session....
In 1958 Don Breeding and Joe Wallis developed a modified, smaller battery operated version of Volney Mathison's device, which they presented to Hubbard. It was christened the Hubbard electrometer. What a difference a name makes!

Also the boldly titled asks the question:

Who invented the E-meter?

Volney Mathison invented and patented the E-meter.

When Hubbard first wrote about Dianetics in 1950, no meter was used, so no meter was mentioned in the book. Scientologists began using Mathison's meter in the early 1950s, but after he refused to surrender the patent to Hubbard, Hubbard directed auditors to stop using the meter. Four years later, Don Breeding and Joe Wallis developed a modified version, which was then sold as the Hubbard E-meter. Since then, Scientology has emphasized that using a meter in auditing is essential.

Although he didn't fight Hubbard over the patents Mathison did say:

I decry the doings of trivial fakers, such as scientologists and the like, who glibly denounce hypnosis and then try covertly to use it in their phony systems

We'll finish by returning to The Secrets of the E-meter site who have a great set of images relating it. Here are some of the most enlightening, they might even give you a tingle:

You can see an early Mathison meter ad here:

This seems to be based on the general principles you can see in DIY home lie detectors kits (hours of fun for you and your lying friends):

Mississippi Man Recalls 1973 Alien Abduction

Flying saucers and aliens abductions sound bizarre to some people in South Mississippi, but 76-year-old Charles Hickson of Gautier claims he actually lived that nightmare.

"I was terribly frightened," Hickson told WLOX News.

Late one October night in 1973, Charles Hickson decided to go fishing on the Pascagoula River with his buddy, 19-year-old Calvin Parker. But something happened that night that would change their lives forever.

"It look to me like air, or steam, or something escaping from a pipe," Hickson said.

A piercing sound made Hickson and Parker stop what they were doing. That's when Hickson says he spotted a large UFO hovering behind them.

"It was some kind of craft, it was probably 30 or 40 feet. There were three things, they weren't human beings. I know now they were robots. "

The sight of the aliens is burned into Hickson's memory.

"They appeared to me that they had something like elephant skin, it was very wrinkled. These things came to us and took a hold of me, and one took a hold of Calvin. We went into that beam of light and they carried me aboard that craft."

He says the aliens held them for about 30 minutes.

"Something came out of that wall, like a big eye. It came up in front of me, it went under me, and it came back up my back side. The next time I saw it, it came over my head in front of me. They turn me around and carried me right back out where they pick me up."

The Hickson says, within the blink of an eye, it was all over. The UFO was gone, and the men were left wondering what happened.

"I thought it might be a threat to the country, some type of threat to the country. We talked it over again, and decided we would go the sheriff's department," Hickson said.

After the mysterious abduction, Hickson and Parker both passed lie detector tests and were even questioned under hypnosis. Investigators are on record saying the pair's story never wavered.

"I am not trying to force anybody to believe anything. I just simply tell them what happen to Calvin and me, and they make up their own minds if they want to believe it or not."

Now, 35 years later, Hickson says he still can't get the ordeal out of his mind.

"They're just simply unidentified flying objects that come from other worlds out there, and those worlds are, [pause] I have no idea. "

Hickson and Parker's alleged abduction played a crucial role in the creation of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle. The center is a centralized place for people to call and report strange and mysterious things they see.

Chinese Man Rescues Father and Son - 20 Years Apart!

A Chinese man has rescued a seven-year-old boy from a pond - 20 years after rescuing the boy's father from the same place.

Wang Weiqing, 58, of Beicheng village, Danyang city, is being hailed as a hero, reports the Yangtse Evening News.

"I was walking along the pool with my own grandson, then spotted a boy struggling in the water," he said.

When the grandfather of the rescued boy arrived, he was amazed to see the rescuer was the same man who saved his son, the boy's father, from the same pool 20 years ago.

"I can hardly believe it, and don't know how to express my gratitude," said the grandfather, Wang Huajian.

The grandfather later made a silk banner to thank Wang for saving two generations of his family.

The First Eyeball Tattoo!

SQUEAMISH readers might want to look away now as we unveil the world's first ever EYEBALL TATTOO.

The freaky procedure was carried out to turn a body-art fan's eye blue.

And it took FORTY insertions of the needle to get the job done.

Volunteer Pauly Unstoppable, from Canada, has perfect vision but jumped at the chance to be the first punter.

See the toe-curling shots in the gallery below. But be warned - the pictures are very graphic.

Brave Pauly said he had full confidence in the team working on him - but urged people not to try it at home.

He added: "The procedure was extensively researched and done by people who were aware of the risks and possible complications and that it should not be casually attempted.

"Now that this experiment has been started, please wait for us to either heal or go blind before trying it."

Experts Say London UFO Real!

A student was left shocked when she checked her tourist snaps of the London skyline - and spotted what looks like a flying saucer.

University Of Exeter academic Karolina-Slavka Mueller was in London for the weekend, when she took some shots with her camera phone of the sights.

But when she looked back at the January 19 night time pictures of Tower Bridge and the London Eye, she was shocked to see an apparent UFO.

And experts claim it is the real thing.

Karolina said in an email: "What's very strange about this is the fact that we didn't actually see this object in the sky while I was taking the photos.

"I only discovered it once I loaded the photos onto my computer as I didn't even look at the photos until then."

The images - taken around 3.50am - were taken eight minutes apart as Karolina and two pals drove through Central London.

The apparent UFO is at an angle and appears to emit a mysterious blue light.

Karolina added: "None of us can come up with a reasonable answer to what this might have been.

"One of my friends, the driver, has grown up in London and he can't find a reasonable answer.

"He says he's never seen anything like it and that there definitely isn't any building in this area that could look like this."

UFO experts have been left scratching their heads over the sighting.

Editor, cameraman and UFO researcher Chris Martin said: "I was looking for evidence that these have been fabricated.

"I couldn't find any evidence. It's unprecedented because she produced three pictures, which seems to show it's flying.

"My own evaluation is that these photographs are genuine and have not been digitally manipulated or hoaxed."

He added: "These photos are, in my opinion as a UFO researcher, absolutely astounding and show a real object seemingly under intelligent control.

"This is a classic flying saucer-shaped UFO."

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson did not comment on the sighting, saying: "The MoD examines reports solely to establish whether UK airspace may have been compromisedby hostile or unauthorised military activity.

"Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, there is no attempt to identify the nature of each sighting reported."

Russian Boy Chirps Like a Bird

A young boy is close to being more bird than human because he was never spoken to while living in a virtual aviary, according to reports from Russia.

Authorities say the 7-year-old boy’s only form of communication was “chirping” after spending his life in a bird cage-filled apartment with a mother who treated him like one of her pets, Pravda reported.

The “bird-boy” – whom authorities said suffered from Mowgli syndrome, from the Jungle Book character raised by wild animals - didn't engage in any normal human communication but instead learnt the language of birds, the report said.

The boy’s 31-year-old mother fed him and didn't physically harm him – she just treated him like a bird.

Social worker Galina Volskaya said authorities were shocked when they found the boy in a two-bedroom apartment – which had bird droppings scattered across the floor.

“When you start talking to him, he chirps,” Volskaya said.

Volskaya also said when the boy becomes frustrated by being unable to communicate with authorities using bird-talk, he waves his arms as if they were wings.

The boy’s mother has given him over to authorities, who have reportedly placed him in an asylum.

Bones Found Near Pike Place Market Not Human

The King County medical examiner's office says bones found near the Pike Place Market in Seattle are not human.

An investigator said Wednesday an anthropologist made the determination, but didn't say what kind of bones they were.

They were found with seashells Monday by workers in the crawl space of the Virginia Inn.

A half dozen members of the Duwamish Tribe, who had suspected the bones were human, held a ceremony at the market, playing drums and singing an "honor song" to ancestors.

Tribal chair Cecile Hansen says the bones could have been an Native American because of the location.

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

I stumbled over this delicious tale just recently over at Metafilter, and it's one of those stories that contains all the best elements of a deep, resonant creep-out. Inexplicable behavior. Bizarre factoids. Inconclusive evidence. Missing body parts. And not a single clue, almost 50 years later, as to what really happened.

The nutshell: In 1959, nine experienced Russian cross-country skiers - seven men and two women, including the leader, Igor Dyatlov - head to the Ural Mountains, to a slope called Kholat Syakhl (Mansi language for "Mountain of the Dead," ahem) for a rugged, wintry trek. On their way up, they are apparently hit by inclement weather, veer off course and decide to set up camp and wait it out. All is calm. All is fine and good. They even take pictures of camp, the scenery, each other. The weather isn't so bad. They go to sleep.

Then, something happens. In the middle of the night, all nine suddenly leap out of their tents as fast as possible, ripping them open from the inside (not even enough time to untie the doors) and race out into the sub-zero temps, without coats or boots or skis, most in their underwear, some even barefoot or with a single sock or boot. It is 30 degrees below zero, Celsius. A few make it as far as a kilometer and a half down the slope. All nine, as you might expect, quickly die.

And so it begins.

Why did they rush out, unable to even grab a coat or blanket? What came at them? The three-month investigation revealed that five of the trekkers died from simple hypothermia, with no apparent trauma at all, no signs of attack, struggle, no outward injuries of any kind. However, two of the other four apparently suffered massive internal traumas to the chest, like you would if you were hit by a car. One's skull was crushed. All four of these were found far from the other five. But still, no signs of external injuries.

Not good enough? How about this: One of the women was missing her tongue.

Oh, it gets better. And weirder.

Tests of the few scraps of clothing revealed very high levels of radiation. Evidence found at the campsite indicates the trekkers might've been blinded. Eyewitnesses around the area report seeing "bright orange spheres" in the sky during the same months. And, oh yes, relatives at the funeral swear the skin of their dead loved ones was tanned, tinted dark orange or brown. And their hair had all turned completely gray.

Wait, what?

The final, official explanation as to what caused such bizarre behavior from otherwise well-trained, experienced mountaineers? An "unknown compelling force." Indeed.

Here's the problem: All the convenient, logical explanations - avalanche, animal attack, secret military nuke test - fail. Russian authorities held a three-month investigation. Rescuers and experts picked through every piece of evidence. There were no signs of natural disaster. And if it was just an avalanche, why was the area closed off for three years following the event, and all related documents put in a secret Russian archive until 1990? If it was some sort of weird nuclear megablast (which I suppose may tint you orange, but won't turn your hair gray), what the hell happened to her tongue?

I love stories like this. I hate stories like this.

Sure, you want to go for the logical. Hell, who knows what hellish weaponry they were testing in the mountains in Khrushchev's Russia in the late '50s? Who knows what dark mysteries are buried in the landscape by the world's militaries as they test their dark deeds? The rule goes like this: Any weapon of horror and death man's mind can conceive, odds are gruesomely good the government or military has considered it. Or even built it.

This is both the joy and horror of stories like Dyatlov: They make your mind jump and bend and struggle. Logic fails quickly. Easy explanations don't work. Complicated ones feel incomplete. The creepiness takes hold, begins to burrow, make you squirm. Because the bizarre military-testing explanation? It fails, too.

So of course, you jump further. You reach for the paranormal, metaphysical, unknowable, to things like UFOs and spirits and ghosts, dark forces and mysticism and the occult, because, well, that's where the action is. That's where we get to touch the void, dance on the edge of perception, realize how little we truly know of anything.

After all, if you really think all there is to this world is what your five senses show you, if you think there's always got to be a logical, earthbound explanation for stories like Dyatlov, well, you might as well just join a megachurch and wipe your brain and your intuition and your deep, dark curiosity clean right now.

As Dyatlov himself might say, his skin orange and hair gray and eyes wide wide wide, you think you know, but you have no idea. Full story...

Dyatlov Pass Accident -detailed account at Wikipedia

Dyatlov Pass Accident at MetaFilter

Argentina: Photos of a Possible UFO in Chubut

UFO researcher Luis Burgos of the Fundacion Argentina de Ovnilogia (FAO -Argentinean Ufological Foundation), has provided us with pictures taken by Marta Fourcade, a native of Buenos Aires who captured an alleged UFO over Lago Menendez, located in the Los Alerces National Park near the Torrecillas Glacier (province of Chubut).

Ms. Fourcade employed a Kodak Easy Share 1003 in taking the photo, for which a date of 23 January 2008 is given. According to Burgos, Ms. Fourcade did not see anything out of the ordinary in the landscape, and was only aware of the object after downloading.

"Our photographic consultant, Jorge Luis Figueiras, has submitted the results of his analysis from Alto Valle, Rio Negro," writes Burgos. "What we suspected from the start was confirmed - a spectacular UFO was flying over that magnificent geography!"

RLPB Veterinarian Believes Panthers Exist Near Sydney

Since the Hills News reported a panther sighting at Maraylya two weeks ago, there have been four more sightings.

Grose Vale resident Chris Coffey, who has spent thousands of dollars and many hours collating sightings, said there was a breeding population in the Hawkesbury.

"People ring and you know they have seen something because they are so upset," she said.

But, Ms Coffey said, the Department of Primary Industries is unconvinced.

"The DPI has photographs, they have got video footage but they want scientific evidence. Isn't 10cm pug prints and scratches in trees scientific evidence?"

A DPI spokesman said he was aware of a number of alleged panther sightings.

"In the past we have done a lot of work setting up cameras. At this stage we haven't come across any hard evidence that concludes there are panthers," he said.

"We take people's reports seriously. We have taken paw prints to be analysed by zoos and the results confirm a large cat, not a panther."

Ms Coffey disagrees and warns: "If you get up in the morning and find your animals badly injured or dead, don't just put it down to a dog attack. Report it to the Rural Lands Protection Board [RLPB] and someone will come out and investigate."

RLPB district veterinarian, Keith Hart, who has had experience with big cats in Africa, has lobbied on behalf of the community but said the response has to come from the DPI.

"I have no doubt they are big cats people are seeing," he said. "It's a breeding population of black panthers living on the fringe of Sydney.

"We need the State Government to issue some guidelines as to what the community should and shouldn't be doing.

"Leopards are considered the smartest of the big cats and the expertise to track them is not available in this country. At the moment they are living in a fairly cordial relationship, ignoring humans, but there is a record of a leopard in India killing 120 people. If something goes bad it could go bad in a big way."

Northern New South Wales Mystery Animal: Is it a Thylacine?

Northern New South Wales has its own mystery animal stalking the streets and bush land. Many local people have seen it. When talking to friends they are often surprised to find that they too have seen it. It looks like someone has crossed a dog with a kangaroo. It is observed at night as locals drive their cars through the wildlife corridors that surround our homes. Fishing parties on Marshalls Creek have seen it, as have people relaxing on their verandah. Families pedaling their bicycles during the day have seen it. At first, they believe that the animal is a dog or fox. Closer observations reveal unexpected characteristics. “What on Earth is this?” they ask themselves.

Families have their own names for it. The Devil Dog, the Hound from Hell, the Ocean Shores Oddity, the Billinudgel Beast, the Mullumbimby Monster and the Byron Beast.

Perhaps these animals are just mangy foxes or wild dogs. Farmers and other rural dwellers regularly observe these introduced species. However, the descriptions sound more like an animal that is supposed to be extinct. The strange, waddling gait, the kangaroo-like tail and the brown bands across the back remind us of the remarkable thylacine. Like the koala and the kangaroo, the thylacine is a unique Australian marsupial with the female rearing two or three pups in a backward-opening pouch. It differs in that it hunts other animals for its food.

Believed to be extinct in Australia for perhaps 3000 years, it continued to survive in Tasmania until 1936 when the last captive thylacine died. Known there as the Tasmanian Tiger or wolf, it succumbed to hunting, habitat destruction and perhaps introduced diseases. It was feared that it may attack livestock but a recent study of the detailed records kept by the big sheep stations in Tasmania, listing the cause of all sheep deaths, found almost no evidence that the thylacine ever attacked domestic animals. It fed almost exclusively on small bushland animals such as wallabies, bandicoots and bush rats.

Since its supposed extinction there have been hundreds of reported sightings in both Tasmania and the Australian mainland. Some controversial photographs have been taken but no definite evidence has been forthcoming to prove the animal still exists. Scientists at the Australian Museum have been trying to clone a thylacine from a juvenile preserved in alcohol.

The reports that I have collected appear to describe the survival of a small number of these animals in the rugged wilderness of the Whian Whian, Nightcap and the Border Ranges. The theory is that over the years, the population has increased and now they are being observed in the coastal nature reserves. Like the Whian Whian Oak, the Wollemi Pine and other supposedly extinct species, there is a possibility that a most wonderful Australian has returned. Perhaps you will be the first person to photograph this animal and prove that it exists. If it is the thylacine then it should not be harmed as it an endangered species. It is even possible that you could find a dead thylacine, as there has been the occasional report of such an animal lying on the side of the road, the victim of a vehicle impact. Such specimens, if found, should be taken to the national parks service for identification.

It is not a dangerous animal and early last century in Tasmania it was kept just like a pet dog. Ancient cave paintings in Kakadu illustrate thylacines carrying dilly bags around the neck so it was a companion of Aboriginal people before the dingo arrived from South-east Asia. Because it is a carnivore, it is naturally cryptic, hiding in the vegetation to spring out onto small animals. It lives in small family groups that range widely over large territories. Perhaps it is long extinct and people are only seeing mangy foxes or dogs.

Video: Pesky Poltergeist in New Zealand

Posted with video: From Auckland New Zealand - ghost caught on a hidden spy camera that was installed to find out who was tampering with a laptop computer.

Upon reviewing the recordings (24 hours it) this amazing but freaky event was discovered. The tenants of the apartment were so disturbed by what they saw they have since moved out and finally allowed me to share this amazing footage with you. I have edited down as much as I can while still retaining the best parts, also have brightened it up to make easier to see. Watch it for yourself and I promise you this is NOT a fake or a hoax. It is 100% genuine.

Did Steve Fossett Make Contact With His Wife?

The blogger (Simon) at states that he has been in contact with a close friend of Steve Fossett (named 'M') and has released the following emails:....

My report that Steve Fossett has apparently discovered a path to the fourth dimension caused me to receive so many e-mails you wouldn’t believe.

Interestingly enough, amongst the numerous junk e-mails I received, there is this one particular e-mail I must share with you guys.

Dear Simon,

I’ve read your report on the Steve Fossett disappearance. I am shocked that news media outlet has completely disregarded the story. I really feel that there is some sort of conspiracy from an organization that doesn’t want us to know the truth about Mr. Fossett’s great discovery. Contact me if you want more information.


I was very skeptical of this mysterious man’s e-mail. I wrote back, we exchanged a few e-mails and he eventually built up enough trust to tell me more about him, under the condition that I do not reveal his identity.

I am a good friend of Steve. We met through a charity for which I work. He remembered me from the first time we met, and over time we built a great friendship. I wouldn’t say we were the closest of friends, but we managed to touch base regularly.

In the weeks before his disappearance, we had only a few contacts. We played phone tag a couple times and spoke mainly through answering machine messages.

In one of the messages, he mentioned he had made “a great discovery that would change the world” and that he would try to arrange for me to come visit him in the next few weeks to witness it myself.

He sounded very insistent, but Steve was always ecstatic about something new. Whether it was a new plane, a new toy, a new world record, he was always enthused about something. So at the time I didn’t make too much of it and deleted the message.

Had I known what was about to happen.

Finally I was able to catch him on his mobile just a few days before he disappeared. He told me I should come down to his ranch without further due because he had found a path to a whole new world.

Obviously I called him crazy, and jokingly asked what he had been drinking.

But Steve wasn’t kidding. He told me that he had spotted a mysterious white light of circular shape on the ground during one of his reconnaissance flights around the neighborhood. He said he had never noticed that light before.

He told me that he went back home without investigating but kept thinking about the light and where it could be coming from, since it was in a deserted region.

He just went on and on with the light and I couldn’t even say one word. He said that he went back a few days later to investigate, but the light had somehow moved about a quarter mile up north. He landed.

Almost as if the light had felt him approaching, it instantly moved to a nearby hill. He said he couldn’t believe what was happening in front of him and he tried to call home to tell Peggy. But his phone mysteriously had died.

As he approached, he could see that the light was in fact a large “hole”, and there were several blue-ish humanoids moving inside. Nobody seemed to notice him as he walked closer, and he was beginning to see what was like a whole new society in there, half-underground, half-exposed to sun light, right there in the middle of the desert.

He told me he went back several times over the course of the next couple days, and each time the “white hole” had moved.

I asked him why he didn’t take any specialists there, like UFO experts, and he said that he did, but neither he nor them dared to step in and interact with the humanoid figures.

He continued to insist that I should come visit him and he’d take me. I was a little bit freaked out and wondered if my friend had lost his mind, and told him I’d “see what I can do” to visit him soon and quickly hung up the phone.

That was the last I heard of my friend Steve Fossett.


But wait. If you think this is weird, wait ‘til you see what’s next.

Hi Simon.

I thought you might be interested in this latest update on the Steve Fossett story.

Since the disappearance I’ve kept in touch with Peggy, Steve’s wife. Neither of us had mentioned this “episode” although she knew I was aware.

Last night (or very early this morning I should say) she called me at home and was completely panicked. She said she’d been trying to reach her family and close friends, but that no one answered.

She was screaming loudly and I was still in the “haze” when you’re suddenly awakened.

She told me that Steve had come home and spoke to her. Here is what she said. The words may not be exact because I was still in bed with nothing to write but what I got from the story between her sobs essentially goes like this.

Peggy had spent the evening with some friends at home and her friends left early. She sat in the living room to watch television for a while, and feel asleep on the couch.

She woke up some time later, and went upstairs to brush her teeth in the bathroom and go to bed. It was while she was brushing her teeth with the bathroom door open that he appeared. He didn’t “appear” she said, it was like he had normally walked up to the door.

Peggy was in absolute shock. She hadn’t heard him coming. She said he wasn’t like a ghost or anything weird, he looked rather normal, except that he was wearing a white shirt with a strange collar she’d never seen and white pants.

He said in his normal voice that he didn’t want to wake her downstairs. He told her not to be afraid or mad. During this whole time he stood a few feet away and never got closer.

He said he had been in a whole new place where money and war didn’t exist. He calmly said that they should stop looking for him, that they would never find him or his plane. He told her that he loved her dearly and that he couldn’t explain, but that we would all know in due time. He asked her to be patient and trust him. He said that he had come just so she could find closure, and know that they will be together again soon. He asked her not to tell anyone about this, that he would explain everything to the whole world in due time, and he left, just as quietly as he had arrived.

Peggy told me she stayed motionless in shock for several long minutes, and then went around the house to investigate since she hadn’t heard any doors open. Unsurprisingly, she found nothing. Nothing had moved, and the only proof she had of this visit were some foot prints on the carpet upstairs.

I didn’t know what to tell my friend on the phone nor my wife asking me who was screaming on the phone so late.

I don’t know what to tell you Simon, I never in my life thought something like this would happen to me or one of my close friends. I tried talking to some ghost specialists about this but they all told me that I am trying to make money because my friend Steve is somebody famous.

I assure you I want no money or attention from the media for this, I just wanted to share this bizarre story with someone who believed me. A New York Times journalist called me a “nut job” but I assure you I am of sound body and mind, and I really do hope that one day my friend Steve will come clear this up for us…


New Threat to California: Giant Burmese Pythons

In addition to everything else to worry about, now comes the Burmese python.

The giant snakes are slithering from Florida toward the Bay Area, very slowly to be sure, but inexorably. And they can strangle and eat an entire alligator.

The U.S. Geological Survey released a map Wednesday showing that the Bay Area has comfortable climatic conditions for the python. It also said the reptile, which prefers to swallow its prey in one gulp, is "highly adaptable to new environments" and cannot be stopped.

The snakes weigh up to 250 pounds and slither at a rate of 20 miles per month, according to USGS zoologist Gordon Rodda. They are not staying put. In fact, one of them has already slithered about 100 miles toward San Francisco.

"We have not yet identified something that would stop their spreading to the Bay Area," Rodda said.

If pet pythons were introduced into the wild in California by irresponsible pet owners, as happened in Florida, they could become established here even faster, without need of a cross-country journey.

The Burmese python is one of several nonnative giant constrictor snakes - believed to be former pets - that have been introduced and then established themselves in Florida's Everglades National Park. Biologists estimate 30,000 nonnative giant snakes live in the Everglades, perhaps more. Some have begun appearing in areas outside the park, alarming biologists and also people who don't care for snakes.

The snake that managed to slither 100 miles turned up on the shore of Lake Okeechobee in south central Florida. Another python made it as far as Vero Beach, Fla., on the Atlantic coast. Vero Beach is the spring training site for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team has not reported any casualties, although its pitching staff could use help. Other on-the-move pythons have journeyed to Key Largo, where Humphrey Bogart once battled Edward G. Robinson.

At 20 miles a month, a determined Burmese python from Florida could arrive in San Francisco as early as August 2020.

"It would be exceptional for one animal to be that unidirectional in its movement, but it's mathematically possible," Rodda said.

The snake's cross-country crawl would be made easier by the large population of beavers along the way, Rodda said.

"Beavers would be a very tasty treat for them," Rodda said. "No beaver would be safe from a python."

The natural enemies of the python are lions, tigers and other large cats. There are few free-roaming African lions and tigers between Florida and San Francisco, the geological survey said. And the absence of alligators outside Florida can only help the snakes on their journey west, although it's a complicated relationship - while pythons eat alligators, alligators also eat pythons.

"A large alligator will eat a small python," Rodda said. "But we are not recommending you import alligators into California. That would not be a good idea."

Along with the climate map, the geological survey also released a fearsome photograph showing just what the Bay Area is in for. In the picture, a 20-foot-long python is encircling and attempting to strangle a full-grown alligator, while the alligator is doing its best to swallow the python. It is not for the faint of heart.

The snakes also like to eat rodents, deer and other mammals. Small Florida deer have been turning up inside the digestive tracts of Everglades pythons, which has alarmed deer lovers and also the deer.

As for other potential prey, human beings - like rodents, beavers and deer - are mammals, government scientists confirmed.

According to the new USGS map, the python would find about one-third of the United States - including much of California - to be comfortable for its expansion. In California, the only safe places to avoid the migrating pythons would be the colder areas - the Sierra, the Cascades or the North Coast. Such remote areas, however, could not support every panicked Californian seeking to avoid the giant snakes.

The control of nonnative species is an increasing problem for local biologists, who are currently battling the dread zebra mussel and the voracious northern pike. The mussel is threatening to clog Bay Area reservoirs, and pike are gobbling Northern California salmon and trout. Some studies have said the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is the most-invaded ecosystem on the planet, with hundreds of introduced species that endanger native critters.

USGS researchers say pet owners must be responsible about snakes, especially when they no longer want them. There is nothing bad about snakes, the misunderstanding in a certain garden notwithstanding. Snakes are just being snakes. It's up to people to exercise their free will about snakes, which is the oldest lesson in the book.

"Americans are wealthy enough to possess exotic pets and ethical enough to decide the right thing to do when they can no longer keep them," Rodda said.

Releasing them into the wild is a very bad idea.

"Nobody wants to screw up the environment," Rodda said. "But that's what's happening."

Accused Witch Gives Birth During Hanging

A pregnant woman in Papua New Guinea who was hung from a tree after being accused of sorcery gave birth to her baby while struggling to free herself.

Nolan Yekum and her husband Paul were dragged from their house and hung from a tree by fellow tribesmen who accused them of sorcery after the couple's neighbour suddenly died.

Their ordeal occurred in Kilip village near Banz in Western Highlands Province, PNG's newspaper The National reported today.

The woman and her baby girl, her third child, were doing well in Mt Hagen Hospital after two weeks in hiding, the report said.

Her husband said men entered their house in the middle of the night with a rope and tied it round their necks, accusing them of sorcery over their neighbour's death.

They were dragged outside and hung from a tree, he said.

"We managed to loosen the noose to get our feet on the ground ... we were able to free ourselves.

"My wife, who was about seven months pregnant, delivered the baby while struggling to free herself.

"It was a painful experience for me and her," Mr Yekum said.

He said he pleaded with villagers to wait for his neighbour's post-mortem examination and he accused local police of failing to act.

The couple denied practising sorcery.

British Boy Finds Rare, Perfectly Preserved 'Jurassic' Footprint

An eight-year-old boy has impressed experts by finding a set of dinosaur footprints on a beach which date back an incredible 160 million years.

Rhys Nichols was strolling along the sands with dad Richard when he spotted the perfectly preserved nine-inch prints on a rock.

The clever schoolboy immediately realised they could be from a dinosaur - and experts have hailed the find, believing they are the mark of a plant-eating iguanodon creature which roamed the area during the Jurassic era.

Proud dad Richard, 55, said: "We were walking along the beach last weekend as we often do when Rhys suddenly shouted 'Wow dad, look what I've found'.

"I came over and his face was lit up and he was pointing at these footprints. I took a photo and sent a text to my wife to let her know.

“Rhys loves dinosaurs, so for him to find something like that was wonderful. He was over the moon - I couldn't get him away from them."

Retired firefighter Richard said that the amazing prints were probably revealed after rocks recently fell from the cliff face.

He added: "We are always coming down here beachcombing and looking for fossils. There are some other prints on the beach but they have become eroded now."

Mum Traude, 51, a retired shop assistant said: "It's fantastic for Rhys because he's been really interested in dinosaurs since he was three or four, he must have every book going on them.

"His only disappointment is that they are prints from a plant-eating dinosaur. He would rather they had been from one of the big meat-eating ones like a Tyrannosaurus Rex because they are his favourite."

Rhys was walking along the beach near his home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, when he made the astonishing discovery.

Archaeologist Will Watts, of Scarborough Museums Trust, said: "This is a great find as dinosaur prints are not normally that clear.

“We think they are probably from a plant-eating dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic period, which would make the prints about 160 million years old.

"Looking at the size of the prints, the dinosaur was probably the same size as Rhys.

“Rhys and his dad did the right thing by taking a picture. You should not try to collect them as they can fall apart. These prints will probably be left where they are on the beach."

New Testing on the Shroud of Turin

The Oxford laboratory that declared the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake 20 years ago is investigating claims that its findings were wrong.

The head of the world-renowned laboratory has admitted that carbon dating tests it carried out on Christendom's most famous relic may be inaccurate.

Professor Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said he was treating seriously a new theory suggesting that contamination had skewed the results.

Though he stressed that he would be surprised if the supposedly definitive 1988 tests were shown to be far out - especially "a thousand years wrong" - he insisted that he was keeping an open mind.

The development will re-ignite speculation about the four-metre linen sheet, which many believe bears the miraculous image of the crucified Christ.

The original carbon dating was carried out on a sample by researchers working separately in laboratories in Zurich and Arizona as well as Oxford.

To the dismay of Christians, the researchers concluded that the shroud was created between 1260 and 1390, and was therefore likely to be a forgery devised in the Middle Ages.

Even Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, the then Cardinal of Turin, conceded that the relic was probably a hoax. Continued...

What is the "Frank's Box"?

Last night's episode of 'Paranormal State' at the Willard Asylum in New York state featured Chris Moon and his use of the "Frank's Box".

Smiling Bob Ain't Smiling Now

A federal court jury on Friday found the owner of a company that sells "male enhancement" tablets and other herbal supplements guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Steve Warshak, whose conviction was reported Friday by The Cincinnati Enquirer, is founder and president of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, which distributes Enzyte and a number of products alleged to boost energy, manage weight, reduce memory loss and aid restful sleep.

Television ads for Enzyte feature "Smiling Bob," a goofy, grinning man whose life gets much better after he uses the product, which allegedly boosted his sexual performance.

Warshak, 40, could face more than 20 years in prison and his company could have to forfeit tens of millions of dollars.

Messages seeking comment from Warshak's Boston attorney Martin Weinberg and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Porter were left at their offices Friday night.

Prosecutors claimed customers were bilked out of $100 million through a series of deceptive ads, manipulated credit card transactions and the company's refusal to accept returns or cancel orders. They said unauthorized credit card charges generated thousands of complaints over unordered products.

Warshak's mother, Harriett Warshak, also was convicted of conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering.

The government also alleged the defendants obstructed investigations by two federal agencies.

Some former employees, including relatives of Warshak, pleaded guilty to other charges and cooperated with prosecutors. They testified that the company created fictitious doctors to endorse the pills, fabricated a customer-satisfaction survey and made up numbers to back claims about Enzyte's effectiveness.

Defense lawyers characterized that testimony as tainted because it was forced by the threat of prosecution.

The defense contended in the trial that Berkeley suffered from customer service that didn't keep pace with the company's rapid growth from a one-person startup in 2001 to 1,500 employees in 2004.

Weinberg also had told jurors that Berkeley had been targeted by the government in "a relentless criminal investigation."

Video: Belgium Triangle UFO - August 27, 2007

Video was taken on August 27, 2007 in Hoeilaart, Flanders, Belgium

Japan's High Suicide Rate Continues

Japan's grim reputation as one of the world's suicide nations has been confirmed by statistics that show more than 30,000 people a year have taken their own lives since figures first began to rise in 1998. In 2006, there were 32,115 suicides - 25 per 100,000 people; nearly 100 people a day; one every 15 minutes. The most common hour of death is 5am for men and noon for women, after their families have left for work or school.

Japan has roughly half the population of the US, yet the same number of suicides. There were 5,554 suicides of people aged 15 and over in the UK in 2006; three quarters involved men.

Experts in Japan were puzzled when the suicide rate jumped in 1998 from 24,391 to 32,863 - a 35 per cent rise - and the annual figure has continued to stay above 30,000. Two theories have been put forward by the media: bullying at school and netto shinju - online suicide pacts.

Last year the National Police saved 72 potential suicides who had made postings on the net. But Yukio Saito, the director of a 24-hour suicide helpline, said that until recently Japan has done nothing to stop tens of thousands of others taking their lives. The helpline takes an estimated 720,000 calls a year at its 49 centres.

Buddhist Monk Killed By Lawnmower

A Buddhist monk was killed when he was run over by a lawnmower as he cut the grass at his temple, an inquest has been told.

Ten years before his death the Rev Seiji Handa had suffered another accident with a lawnmower, in which he lost three of his fingers, the inquest was told.

A witness told the jury that she had found the body of Mr Handa in pieces after he fell beneath the sharp blades of the tractor-driven mower at the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes. Venita Slater said that moments before his death she had seen him running after the driverless machine as it pulled away from him while he was out mowing lawns in the 12-acre grounds of the peace centre that he had set up nearly 30 years ago.

The monk had been dragged under the blades as he tried to get into the cab and regain control of the machine, she said. His remains were found on the slope after the vehicle ran over his entire body, killing him instantly.

The jury at the inquest, held in Milton Keynes on Friday, was told that Mrs Slater had been walking with her two children last August when she saw Mr Handa in the grounds, running after the mower. “The tractor was running away and he was chasing it to stop it. But unfortunately he didn’t. I looked up but he had disappeared. I ran over to see if he was OK, but unfortunately he was not.” Emergency services were called and a crane was used to lift the grass-cutter off his body.

A postmortem examination disclosed that Mr Handa had died of multiple injuries.

The inquest was told that it was not known why Mr Handa had got out of the tractor while it was still moving. It was thought that he slipped on the wet grass when he was trying to leap back in the cab, and that he became caught under the three sets of blades.

Taran Hewitt, of the Health and Safety Executive, said that officials had inspected the diesel vehicle and found that it should not have been in service. The ratchet on the handbrake was not working and the brakes were not able to hold the tractor steady.

The footbrake also did not work and Mr Hewitt said: “The only way you could get the tractor to stay stationary was to turn the engine off and leave it in gear. It should not have been used.”

Mr Handa, who was aged 50, was in charge of maintenance of the tractor and was responsible for cutting the grass in the grounds of the temple.

Born in Japan, he had become a Buddhist monk at the age of 21 and was ordained at a peace pagoda in Sri Lanka. He travelled the world, promoting peace and building peace pagodas. He had arrived in Milton Keynes in the winter of 1978 and built the city’s peace pagoda, helped by nuns and volunteers. The temple was later built next to the pagoda.

The inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Rodney Corner, the Milton Keynes Coroner, said: “It is not wholly clear what happened. Nobody actually saw what happened. Blood and other parts of his body were dragged behind the tractor. He had got out of the cab and desperately tried to get back into the cab. We don’t know why perhaps there was a cutter malfunction in some way.

“What must have happened was that he tried to get back in but he slipped. He must have slipped on wet grass. It was just an unfortunate accident which was such a great shame.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said that 6,500 people in Britain needed hospital treatment last year after being injured by lawnmowers.

MUFON Investigates More Erath County, Texas UFO Reports

Investigators with Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) collected seventeen new UFO sighting reports in Dublin, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Not knowing what to expect in the way of numbers of witnesses, eight field investigators attended from the organization from Austin, Waco, Dallas/ Fort Worth, and said they were pleased with results.

Chief Investigator Steve Hudgeons was asked if he believed the new reports were credible and said investigators are often faced with reports from individuals only wanting to get in on the action.

"Of the reports I have reviewed, I didn't get an impression that witnesses were not honest in their accounts," Hudgeons said. "As I have said before, this is a very, very, significant sighting."

Hudgeons conducted an interview with star witness Ricky Sorrells, who was first interviewed by Angela K. Brown of the Associated Press, on Jan. 14. After that interview was released, his story of the daytime UFO sighting at his property just outside of Dublin, quickly traveled around the world and major news outlets converged on Stephenville, Texas, the next day.

"I knew most of his (Sorrells') report because we had talked on the phone days earlier, but you never know a person until you have met them face to face," Hudgeons said. "I found him to be a man of his word because he told me he was going to see me for an interview, and he did come in, even though he was sick and not feeling well. We talked alone for almost an hour. I learned a good deal about his sighting that I hadn't known prior to our visit. He was very direct with his questions and answers. I admire and respect that quality in a person."

Hudgeons said, according to MUFON records, the total number of sighting reports in Texas, beginning in 1977 and continuing through late 2007, is slightly more than 400.

"From November 2007 to date, the number of sightings are in the neighborhood of about 150," Hudgeons said. "We are still investigating nearly 100 reports across Texas."

Media had been warned off the Saturday gathering due to several witnesses leaving when cameras turned in their direction at the Jan. 19 meeting with an estimated crowd of about 400, and more than a dozen media outlets. But a few local reporters attended, as well as one from the Los Angeles Times, although no cameras were allowed inside the building.

Frank Wachowe, 32, with Mamone Productions, traveled from St. Louis, Missouri, spending about 17 hours on the road, and plans on producing a documentary film on the UFO phenomenon occurring around the area.

His plans include investigating the "personal and emotional side of witnessing a UFO."

Wachowe said he is interested in documenting the impact of the sighting on the various communities involved in Erath County.

"How does something this extraordinary impact the culture of a community?" Wachowe said is one area he will explore.

Wachowe said he holds a Bachelor's in media productions from Webster University in St. Louis and another in anthropology from the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Autumn Humphreys with The History Channel's UFO Hunters was also in attendance, and said a crew from her company will arrive on Sunday, Feb. 24. In an earlier interview, she said the episode, which will include interviews with area witnesses, will probably be aired in late April or early May. Humphreys said the company has set up a temporary office in downtown Stephenville on Graham Street.

Meanwhile, Hudgeons said he and others are working nights and weekends in an effort to expedite a final report, which will be made public.

"I am a project manager for a commercial construction company and I have my own company as a side job drawing blue prints for other construction companies," Hudgeons said. "I am basically working seven days a week. Now, having said that, the events in the Dublin area have been occurring and are continuing with no foreseeable let up. All of the members on the investigation team work for a living and we cannot continue (the investigation) forever."

"I woke up this morning (Sunday after the meeting) with three new sighting reports in Texas," Hudgeons said. "I haven't looked them up as yet to see where they are so I can make assignments."

Hudgeons said a full report in a timeline format will be issued by MUFON soon. The report will include the final analysis of Stephenville resident David Coran's video, of Jan. 19 and 20, which was seen on many news broadcasts and Web sites. Some have referred to the lights in the video as being similar to hieroglyphic symbols.

"It (final report) will be posted in the April issue of the MUFON Journal, and I plan to hold a news conference at the Dublin Rotary Club in April," Hudgeons said. "Once again I wish to thank the Rotary Club for hosting our two meetings. MUFON was greeted warmly, and we are very appreciative."

Hudgeons said he and other members always enjoy visiting Dublin Dr Pepper, as well as meeting the friendly folks in Dublin.

Hudgeons said investigators for the organization are not paid and cover all of their own expenses.

Investigation Planned for Ghostly Western Illinois University Building

The folklore of Western Illinois University's history includes tales of a "mischievous" but ghostly janitor who plays practical jokes inside Simpkins Hall.

A Midwest Haunting, co-owned by Tim Weaver and Chad Frederick of Macomb, is taking on the academic building for its latest round of ghost hunting tours. The company's four ghost hunters hope they can lure Harold the ghost, and others rumored to exist, into action when they offer four weekends of tours inside the historic WIU building, starting March 21.

"When we do investigations, we look for common themes," Weaver said. "There were a huge number of people on our tours last year, and a large number had stories about Simpkins Hall."

Previously, Weaver and Frederick and their team of ghost hunters conducted tours of downtown buildings. They said it's always been a desire to branch out to the university because of the stories of paranormal activity that have been shared with them.

"It's not just students, it's also people who work there," Frederick said. "A lot of it happens at night, but it's been anytime."

Weaver, Frederick and fellow hunters Matt Smith and Erin Glasnovich will be guiding guests on a search for signs of not only Harold but also a little girl who has invited people to play.

"Harold moves things; he pokes people when they're not looking," Weaver said. "The unusual thing is that people only hear him but never see him. People hear his keys, but no one sees anything . . . most of the time they just hear a voice."

Frederick said other stories of unusual happenings in the building include props being moved in the theater, costumes not being where they were just minutes before and hearing the laughter of a little girl.

The group of ghost hunters has been researching the history of the academic building in preparation for the tours.

Simpkins Hall was built in the late 1930s and was part of the Western Illinois Training School, a K-12 laboratory school. It was later named for former education department head Rupert Simpkins.

"In room 20 in the basement, behind the chalkboard, there are still kids' coat hooks from the original school," Weaver said.

The building is now home to the school's English and journalism departments and also includes a theater.

On previous ghost hunting expeditions the team has used tools such as divining rods and pendulums to look for evidence of paranormal activity. They hope recent purchases of alarmed motion detectors, spot check thermometers and voice recorders will help provide a more detailed search.

This fall, Weaver and Frederick will continue their tours of downtown, and both said they hope to add a tour of Oakwood Cemetery. A portion of the tour proceeds would benefit the cemetery's restoration efforts.

Tours of Simpkins Hall begin March 21 and continue each Friday and Saturday night over four weekends. Guests are encouraged to bring a camera, either digital or video, and a flashlight.

"We want as many open minds as possible," Weaver said. "We're just looking to prove all of this, right or wrong, but we can't wait to find out."

Triangular UFO Photographed During Eclipse?

Photo of a possible triangular UFO taken during the recent Lunar Eclipse. UFO activity in Mexico remains unabated.

Is Mystery Cat a Jaguarundi?

A big cat spotted by a fisherman may be a jaguarundi, according to an expert.

The angler reported seeing a strange "cat-like" animal while fishing at a Snodland lake on Friday of last week.

Neil Arnold, from Kent Big Cat Research, said the angler, known only as Ron, saw a dark grey animal the size of a fox, with a long thick tail, on the other side of the water.

He said the animal was "mooching" around, walking from left to right, then right to left before disappearing into the trees.

According to Mr Arnold it is the second sighting in the area of what he believes could be a jaguarundi. A similar creature was seen near the lake last month.

The jaguarundi is native to South America and resembles a member of the mustelid family, which includes badgers, wolverines, and otters.

Mr Arnold said this type of big cat was far less common than others spotted around the county which are thought to be black leopards, pumas and lynx.

Mr Arnold said; "Because they look like foxes a lot of people do not bother to report them. Fishermen have said they know there is a black leopard in Snodland, but this is something different."

He said the animal could have escaped from a private collection and would eat birds, rabbits and rodents.

Meet the Super-Charged Grandmother

For most of us, making a cup of tea is one of life's simpler tasks.

For Mavis Price, however, it is fraught with danger - because she can blow up kettles just by touching them.

The 60- year- old grandmother seems to have a freakishly high level of static electricity coursing through her body.

She estimates she has destroyed 15 kettles in the last few years. Housework has also become a problem, with 20 irons and ten vacuum cleaners biting the dust after falling foul of her apparently supercharged touch.

And her friends and family are often left with their hair standing on end after touching her.

Mrs Price says her bizarre condition also means she cannot keep a computer in her house because they go berserk at the brush of her hand.

"I am just an electrifying person really, who seems to build up an unusual amount of static," she said. "People have suggested going to the doctor, but I don't know what they would be able to do.

"It is all a bit mind-boggling really. No one has ever been able to offer me an explanation to why this happens to me. I seem to carry far more electricity than normal people.

"People can often get electric shocks just by standing next to me. My grandson sometimes tells me off for holding his hand, because he gets a short, sharp shock from me.

"It doesn't just happen at my house either. When I go to my daughter's house, the television crackles as I walk past it and people's hair stands on end by touching me or standing next to me.

"I think the only option might be to wear a diving suit, rubber gloves and wellingtons."

Widow Mrs Price says her unusual experiences began more than 50 years ago and she has been causing havoc ever since.

The retired community development worker, from Telford, Shropshire, added: "I first noticed it back in the 1950s when I plugged in a television set and ended up blowing up the television and flying across the room.

"Since then, I have spent thousands of pounds on new household goods every few months. When I take them back to the shop to try and explain, I always get told they have stopped working due to wear and tear. But how can a kettle stop working after just a few months? It's ridiculous.

"I had a really bad day last week where I got up, turned the light on, and managed to blow the fuse. Then I went to the supermarket and broke the checkout.

"They had to close the checkout down and said nothing like it had ever happened before.

"Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse I went to get some photographs printed and managed to completely freeze the whole machine."

Mrs Price said her electro-curse can create such mayhem that she was once unable to finish a training course.

"I went on an IT course, but it was a nightmare because every time I touched the computer it would either freeze or shut down.

"The technician had to constantly come over to my machine to see what was wrong and he was completely baffled."

Earlier this month, the Mail highlighted a similar case. Debbie Wolf claimed to be one of Britain's growing number of "sliders" - people who believe their presence interferes with household appliances, radios and lightbulbs.

Miss Wolf, 38, of Telscombe Cliffs, near Brighton, says she can turn street lamps off, send digital clocks haywire and even defrost her freezer, but has no control over her power.

Her supposed ability is called Street Light Interference syndrome - or SLI - by experts.

Sceptics dismiss it as wishful thinking and coincidence.

Desecrated Corpse Leads to Suspicion of Voodoo or Witchcraft

Wilner Jean Pierre is the pastor at First Haitian Church of the Nazarene. He says “Well when I heard that I couldn't believe what happened." While Pierre's church is right across the street from the Major Adams cemetery he says he's never noticed anything odd there. "I have never been suspicious about you know anything like that." The cemetery is located near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue West and 3rd Street West.

Pastor Pierre says he can't believe police discovered a corpse exposed in its tomb and that's not all. Captain Russ Tibbitts of the Bradenton Police Department says "There was a dead rooster that was wrapped up in what was initially described as a blanket."

According to the police report the rooster's legs were broken and safety pins pierced its body. There were candles, a black cross and some loose change and cigarettes nearby.

It was discovered on land that Major Alden Joseph Adams donated to the community for a cemetery back in 1892. It was established for members of pioneer families. Adams and his family were laid to rest in the cemetery and now it's owned by the city. Bradenton police say the area is a favorite with some transients and homeless people but besides occasional trash littering the area there are few problems there. "It has the earmarks of being some kind of ritual or ritualistic belief or religion. Those branch out often times into very, very serious situations."

Captain Tibbitts says a note was left behind that could provide some important clues for detectives. "The note had a couple of names on it and they're trying to figure out if the names mean anything."

Meanwhile Pastor Pierre is gearing up to explain what happened in the cemetery to his congregation on Sunday. "I know they're going to be shocked."

Tibbitts says the person who's found responsible could face charges for disturbing a gravesite, animal cruelty and trespassing. He says this is not the first odd case the department has investigated. "We actually found a severed hand out in the Manatee River." Tibbitts says they later charged a person with the crime who was connected to a funeral home. Tibbitts says the suspect in the case was taking part in some type of ritual to ward off bad luck.

Spectre Never Misses a Performance at Minnesota Auditorium

Bill Ratican hasn’t missed an event in the auditorium of Hibbing High School for more than 80 years. Early on he was busy, mostly backstage, with his job as stage manager. But since 1942, he’s been enjoying the show from Row J, Seat 47.

At least that’s the story here. If you believe in ghosts.

In 1922, Ratican was lured away from New York City by the small northeastern Minnesota community made rich by iron ore. With the town’s original location threatened by the ever-expanding mining pits, the town was moved. More than 200 structures, most of them two-story houses, made a journey two miles to the south. Other structures, including the school, did not. So to appease the townspeople, the ultra-rich mining company vowed to build a school unlike any other.

With elaborate protrusions and spires outside and polished marble staircases, decorative woodwork and intricate engravings inside, the structure – costing a hefty $3.9 million in 1920 – came to be known as “the Castle in the Woods.” The piece de resistance of the school, still holding classes with some 750 students enrolled today, is the 1,800-seat auditorium, patterned after New York City’s opulent Capitol Theatre. Its hand-molded ceiling was created on-site by Irish craftsmen. Its cut-glass chandeliers, $15,000 each, were imported from Czechoslovakia. Its Barton vaudeville organ is one of only two originals left in the country.

“The school with the golden doorknobs” made its way to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

In its early years, the auditorium held vaudeville performances and symphony orchestra concerts as well as school plays.

And since 1942, when Ratican died, there have been tales of the transparent man sitting in J47.

“Legend has it that this is one of the most haunted buildings in Minnesota,” said Hibbing High School Principal Mike Finco. “The story passed down over the years was that an old auditorium manager had died and he still floats around here. And J47 is supposed to be where people have seen different images of an elderly gentleman dressed up in old-style clothing that looks to be translucent.”

Finco has been hearing the story of the ghost since he arrived at the school in 2004. He’s also heard what he thinks is a logical explanation. It seems that former head custodian Bob Kearney dressed up as Ratican and sat in J47, and auditorium manager Chuck Perry took his picture.

“And it looks spooky like a ghost,” said Finco.

It appeared, he said, to be a double exposure.

But then he added, “If you walk around the auditorium, generally the seats are all up. But I bet if I walk over there, J47 will be down, as if someone is in it.”

Sure enough, a walk to Row J found Seat 47 down.

And then Finco said, “It was a fluke. What happened to the camera wasn’t supposed to happen. The (Polaroid) camera didn’t have the capability of doing what it did. The people who came in to look at the camera said there’s no way that you can double expose it. That can’t be done with this camera.”

So the story persists. The phenomenon has even been studied by the Northern Minnesota Paranormal Investigators, who have photos of the strange sighting on their Web site.

Video: 2008 Mezcala, Mexico CE-2 Event

The "La Cronica Vespertina de Chilpancingo" was the first newspaper to make the sightings in Mezcala known as an article signed by Lic. Francisco Rangel on January 10, 2008 with photos by Mr. Heladio Hernandez.

The article stated that a strange light accompanied by others of smaller sizes had caused panic among the residents of Mezcala, stressing that the event had a duration greater than 30 hours, witnessed by the entirety of the town's residents, ranging in ages from children to senior citizens.

The first reports indicated that the phenomenon started in the early hours of 31 December 2007 and was present until the first hours of February 2, 2008.

It is especially noteworthy that the electric power supply to the town was affected by this event.

Some residents state that the strange light passed over the main square and then landed at Cerro Pie de Minas, where it remained, putting forth powerful flashes, especially at night.

Given the long duration of the phenomenon, the residents of Mezcala had the opportunity of recording the unusual event on still cameras and video cameras, so that dozens of images are available.

One resident told the press that he had seen a mark on the hill where the UFO had landed. He claims having found an area in which the grass was flattened into a circular shape.

There is no further information in this regard. It should be noticed that in the photos taken with my own camera, I did not notice any marks on the ground. Journalists, however, shall continue researching and trying to find the alleged mark on the hill.

Mezcala is a community in the State of Guerrero (Mexico) located in a valley surrounded by the Sierra del Sur and the Cadena de los Filos; it is the location of the mine that boasts the largest gold deposits in Latin America and there is abundant mineral wealth in the region.

Given the importance of this news item, I traveled to Mezcala to learn more about the mass sighting and the possible CE-2 event. I was in Mezcala and Chilpancingo on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February 2008, corroborating that the news item was legitimate and even more startling. All of the interviewed parties agreed in their accounts. No one denied the events or ignored them, including the elderly or children. Research on the Mezcala Case is being conducted as a team with Lic. Francisco Rangel and Mr. Heladio Hernandez from the "La Cronica Vespertina de Chilpancingo", whose valuable assistance I acknowledge.

At this time, I have two videos of the flying objects of Mezcala.

The first material was presented on television on 11 February 2008 and corresponds to the video taken by the Lopez Sanchez family. They gave me a copy outside the Televisa facilities on 5 February. The family lives in Mexico City and visited Mezcala during the winter holidays, staying with relatives. This allowed them to become witnesses to the event.

The second video was given to me by Lic. Rangel and its author is Alfonso Ramirez. The journalists -- who are aware of almost all of the videos taken in Mezcala -- believe that the Ramirez material is the best by virtue of the fact that it shows the three flying objects described by witnesses, and they can be clearly seen despite the nocturnal nature of the video.

Lost Ark of the Covenant or Lost Legend?

When last we saw the lost Ark of the Covenant in action, it had been dug up by Indiana Jones in Egypt and ark-napped by Nazis, whom the Ark proceeded to incinerate amidst a tempest of terrifying apparitions. But according to Tudor Parfitt, a real life scholar-adventurer, Raiders of the Lost Ark had it wrong, and the Ark is actually nowhere near Egypt. In fact, Parfitt claims he has traced it (or a replacement container for the original Ark), to a dusty bottom shelf in a museum in Harare, Zimbabwe.

As Indiana Jones's creators understood, the Ark is one of the Bible's holiest objects, and also one of its most maddening McGuffins. A wooden box, roughly 4 ft. x 2 ft. x 2.5 ft., perhaps gold-plated and carried on poles inserted into rings, it appears in the Good Book variously as the container for the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:16: "and thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee"); the very locus of God's earthly presence; and as a divine flamethrower that burns obstacles and also crisps some careless Israelites. It is too holy to be placed on the ground or touched by any but the elect. It circles Jericho behind the trumpets to bring the walls tumbling down. The Bible last places the Ark in Solomon's temple, which Babylonians destroyed in 586 BC. Scholars debate its current locale (if any): under the Sphinx? Beneath Jerusalem's Temple Mount (or, to Muslims, the Noble Sanctuary)? In France? Near London's Temple tube station?

Parfitt, 63, is a professor at the University of London's prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies. His new book, The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500 Year Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark (HarperOne) along with a History Channel special scheduled for March 2 would appear to risk a fine academic reputation on what might be called a shaggy Ark story. But the professor has been right before, and his Ark fixation stems from his greatest coup. In the 1980s Parfitt lived with a Southern African clan called the Lemba, who claimed to be a lost tribe of Israel. Colleagues laughed at him for backing the claim; in 1999, a genetic marker specific to descendents of Judaism's Temple priests (cohens) was found to appear as frequently among the Lemba's priestly cast as in Jews named Cohen. The Lemba — and Parfitt — made global news.

Parfitt started wondering about another aspect of the Lemba's now-credible oral history: a drumlike object called the ngoma lungundu. The ngoma, according to the Lemba, was near-divine, used to store ritual objects, and borne on poles inserted into rings. It was too holy to touch the ground or to be touched by non-priests, and it emitted a "Fire of God" that killed enemies and, occasionally, Lemba. A Lemba elder told Parfitt, "[It] came from the temple in Jerusalem. We carried it down here through Africa."

That story, by Parfitt's estimation, is partly true, partly not. He is not at all sure, and has no way of really knowing, whether the Lemba's ancestors left Jerusalem simultaneously with the Ark (assuming, of course, that it left at all). However, he has a theory as to where they might eventually have converged. Lemba myth venerates a city called Senna. In modern-day Yemen, in an area with people genetically linked to the Lemba, Parfitt found a ghost town by that name. It's possible that the Lemba could have migrated there from Jerusalem by a spice route — and from Senna, via a nearby port, they could have launched the long sail down the African coast. As for the Ark? Before Islam, Arabia contained many Jewish-controlled oases, and in the 500s AD, the period's only Jewish kingdom. It abutted Senna. In any case, the area might have beckoned to exiled Jews bearing a special burden. Parfitt also found eighth-century accounts of the Ark in Arabia, by Jews-turned-Muslims. He posits that at some undefined point the Lemba became the caretakers of the Ark, or the ngoma.

Parfitt's final hunt for the ngoma, which dropped from sight in the 1940s, landed him in sometimes-hostile territory ("Bullets shattered the rear screen," of his car, he writes). Ark leads had guided him to Egypt, Ethiopia and even New Guinea, until one day last fall his clues led him to a storeroom of the Harare Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe. There, amidst nesting mice, was an old drum with an uncharacteristic burnt-black bottom hole ("As if it had been used like a cannon," Parfitt notes), the remains of carrying rings on its corners; and a raised relief of crossed reeds that Parfitt thinks reflects an Old Testament detail. "I felt a shiver go down my spine," he writes.

Parfitt thinks that whatever the supernatural character of Ark, it was, like the ngoma, a combination of reliquary, drum and primitive weapon, fueled with a somewhat unpredictable proto-gunpowder. That would explain the unintentional conflagrations. The drum element is the biggest stretch, since scripture never straightforwardly describes the Ark that way. He bases his supposition on the Ark's frequent association with trumpets, and on aspects of a Bible passage where King David dances in its presence. Parfitt admits that such a multipurpose object would be "very bizarre" in either culture, but insists, "that's an argument for a connection between them."

So, had he found the Ark? Yes and no, he concluded. A splinter has carbon-dated the drum to 1350 AD — ancient for an African wood artifact, but 2,500 years after Moses. Undaunted, Parfitt asserts that "this is the Ark referred to in Lemba tradition" — Lemba legend has it that the original ngoma destroyed itself some 400 years ago and had to be rebuilt on its own "ruins" — "constructed by priests to replace the previous Ark. There can be little doubt that what I found is the last thing on earth in direct descent from the Ark of Moses."

Well, perhaps a little doubt. "It seems highly unlikely to me," says Shimon Gibson, a noted biblical archaeologist to whom Parfitt has described his project. "You have to make tremendous leaps." Those who hope to find the original biblical item, moreover, will likely reject Parfitt's claim that the best we can do is an understudy. Animating all searches for the Ark is the hope — and fear — that it will retain the unbridled divine power the Old Testament describes. What would such a wonder look like in our postmodern world? What might it do? Parfitt's passionately crafted new theory, like his first, could eventually be proven right. But if so, unlike the fiction in the movies, it would deny us an explosive resolution.

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