Woman Convinced Child Ghost Steals Her Jewelry

One Blackpool landlady is convinced her jewelery is being stolen by a child ghost intent on "having a laugh".

Tracy Mappley, landlady of The Boars Head, Preston Old Road, called in paranormal investigators when she was kept awake by banging noises and her jewelery continually went missing.

Feeling sure there was a "presence" in the pub she asked a group of mediums, Third Eye Paranormal Investigators, to visit to find out what was going on.

During a night vigil Mrs Mappley described how they "communicated" with a number of spirits and tables moved on their own.

Mrs Mappley, 42, added: "The strangest thing was in the spirit cupboard. We put a bin bag down with some talcum powder on it.

"The cupboard is alarmed and I locked it up and kept the keys with me the whole night. When we returned there were two initials in the talc – M and A. It was really weird."

The spirits of former regulars to the pub, including a local farmer called George who died in 1838, are also said to still visit their favourite local.

Mrs Mappley said: "I have jewelery that goes missing. I put pairs of earrings down and one of them goes missing.

"The mediums said there was a child ghost in the building – a little boy called Sean who died in 1855 who's taking the jewelery. He just likes playing games with me."

Mrs Mappley has also described feeling sick and noticing dramatic changes in temperature in the building.

She said: "We hear lots of noise – bumps and clinking and tapping on the bar. One night I had gone to bed and heard banging.


"I checked every room upstairs but there was nothing going on. I checked the pub as I thought I might have locked someone in!

"But when we investigated there was no-one there.

"I finally went back to bed and shouted 'Whatever you're doing, stop it now!'

"And it stopped. I definitely believe now, it doesn't bother me though.

"Now I know what the noises are and why things are going missing. I suppose it's just having a bit of a laugh."

Landlords Claim Lancashire Pub Haunted

Shivers of fear have chilled the spines of landlords at a Lytham pub.

Ghosts of a mother and son, who are thought to have made a suicide pact and drowned themselves in the early 1900s, are said to haunt the Ship and Royal, on Clifton Street.

So much so, Lee Jane, 30, and girlfriend Gemma Rogers, 27, are the first licensees in five years to dare live in the building.

The couple report hearing bath water running upstairs in a derelict area of the building which is boarded up and has no plumbing.

Mr Jane, who has run the pub for six months, said: "That area is part of the former Royal Hotel and there are 20 derelict rooms upstairs which don't have any electricity or plumbing.

"Nobody goes up there, it's all boarded up for health and safety reasons.

"But we hear water running, like from a tap. A mother and son who lived here are thought to have made a suicide pact and drowned themselves."

Mr Jane describes other recent spooky moments which have made staff at his pub scurry home in fear, including an internal telephone system which rings by itself.

He said: "There were four of us in the pub one night and we'd just finished cleaning up when the internal phone rang.

"There was no-one there when we answered and there was no-one in the building to ring the phone in the first place.

The office was all locked up so no-one could get to it."

In 1983 The Gazette reported another sighting of a ghost at the pub.

A tall dark figure, thought to be the departed soul of the late Squire John Clifton who died in Tenerife in 1928, was seen on the second floor.

It was not the first time.

In 1978, The Gazette reported: "Ghosts do have their acceptable faces. The case of interfering Charlie is the toast of the Ship and Royal.

"Charlie, thought to be the ghost of squire John Talbot Clifton, likes revisiting his favourite hostelry, orders meat from suppliers and tampers with the inn's files for what reason no one knows."

But Mr Jane says the ghosts won't frighten him and his partner away.

He said: "It's a bit spooky, but I keep an open mind. It doesn't stop me sleeping!"

UFO / OVNI Photos - Mexico - Easter Weekend 2008

According to a report furnished by journalist Francisco Rangel, UFO activity was reported over the Mexican state of Guerrero.

These cases involve images of "chance" UFOs that appeared in the "El Matutino de Guerrero" weekly and the "La Cronica de Chilpancingo" daily papers.

Photograph 1 was taken by young Irving Francisco Guerrero on a journey to the town of San Miguel el Progress, Municipality of Malinatlepec, dated March 19, 2008, approximately 14:00 hrs. He used a 5 mpix Kodak EasyShare.

Photograph 2 was taken by the same author. It is interesting to note what appears to be a disk that leaves a wake as it moves.

Photograph 3 was taken on March 21st by Lic. Javier Francisco Reyes, editor of the abovementioned publications, when taking photos of the premises where a Chedraui supermarket is to be built in Tlapa. An object that the journalist was unable to identify can be seen in the background, against the mountains. Lic. Reyes employed a Samsung S630 camera.

Italian Haunted House Buyers File Suit

After enduring howls in the night and creaking staircases for the past three years, an Italian family is preparing to sue the previous owners of their house for not telling them it was haunted.

Gaetano Bastianelli, 57, and his wife Stefania paid €120,000 (£94,000) for the modern home in the Umbrian town of Spoleto in 2005 - encouraged by the fact that all the furniture and fittings were left by the owners, right down to the coffee cups. "We considered it the deal of the century," said Mr Bastianelli.

The couple claim they were unaware that the house in Santo Chiodo road had been built close to the disused Pozzi Ginori cemetery, or that strange goings-on at the address during the 1970s had necessitated an exorcism - and prompted a visit from Perugia University's paranormal research team.

"The ghosts started their haunting on the first night," said Mr Bastianelli, a former long-distance lorry driver. "I woke suddenly at around one or two in the morning. There was water seeping from under the bathroom door.

"The hot water tap was pouring out boiling water and the room was full of steam. My wife was stunned, because she had turned off everything before going to bed."

He claimed that by next morning, malevolent spirits had left "luminous green mould all over the walls".

After that things got worse. He said the sound of chains rattling had alarmed his 10-year-old daughter, and claimed that the lawnmower and his wife's car had spontaneously combusted.

Now Mr Bastianelli has engaged a lawyer, Antonio Francesconi, to sue the previous owners for failing to inform him that the house was haunted.

"We have a good case," said Mr Francesconi. "Under article 1490 of Italian law, you have to tell buyers if there is anything wrong. I think that the previous owners will settle out of court."

A local historian, Sergio Grifoni, confirmed that an exorcism had been performed on a girl in the house in 1977.

"The local papers at the time said a girl had been possessed by the devil and had been taken to the bishop. Nothing helped, until Pope John Paul II prayed for her."

The episode was confirmed by Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's senior exorcist, who said: "Pope Wojtyla carried out an exorcism on this girl who was rolling around on the floor of her house."

He could not confirm whether the house was the same one in Santo Chiodo road.

The Hull House Ghost Photo

My husband & I were visiting Chicago in June '07 and we decide to do a ghost tour. The tour was fun & interesting, lasted about 3 hours. The Hull House Museum was the last stop, as soon as we pulled up I knew I needed a photo of the staircase. I forgot my camera at the hotel so I had to use my cell phone (which has no flash). I waited till everyone had moved on to explore other parts of the grounds & such. I got my phone out & said SAY CHEESE and when I got home & blew up the pic on my pc this is what I got. - Erin

Comcast is Watching!

Conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with this story. In fairness, so will just about everybody else. We hope.

Comcast is experimenting with camera technology. More specifically, it trying out technology that turns cable boxes into camera-equipped devices that would utilize body-form-recognition as a means to provide custom-tailored service, and, of course, custom tailored advertising. The boxes would be able to tell who is in the room based on the shape of their body, thus tailoring programming to fit their specific desires and security settings (when children are involved). Facial recognition is not in the works as of yet.

We should be clear: This is all in the experimental phase. There has been no consumer testing and Gerard Kunkel, Comcast's senior VP of user experience, stresses that any final decision is predicated on the boxes providing more to the viewer than just precision advertising.

Custom Tailored. Security. Efficient. Your New Best Friend. Now You Can Leave the Kids At Home With Super Cable Nanny! Those are hypothetical buzz-words and -phrases Comcast will most likely lay on in hearty layers if and when it begins to roll out this new technology.

Honestly, what is your immediate gut reaction when you hear that a massive corporation might want to place cameras that actually track your movements in your own home? We won't say what we think. Trust your gut reaction and don't let any amount of mediocre advertising sway you.

Simroid a.k.a. 'Pain Girl' - Japanese Dental Training Robot

Interesting video of a humanoid robot used in Japan for training dental students.

Manson Family Ranch Requires More Testing Before Excavations

Authorities will continue to test soil at a California ranch that was once home to cult leader Charles Manson, looking for more evidence of buried bodies before any excavations begin, the county sheriff announced Friday.

Earlier this month, search crews found indications that human remains might lie within a few yards of Barker Ranch, the onetime hideout of the "Manson family."

The sites were first identified by trained dogs. Testing equipment from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory also indicated the presence of remains, Sgt. Paul Dostie of the Mammoth Lakes, California, Police Department told CNN.

But Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze said Friday that after analyzing information from the sites, he decided further testing was necessary.

"Myers Ranch is private property, Barker Ranch is national park property," Lutze said in a written statement. "Both are compelling reasons to be as cautious as possible and use every reasonable testing method available before disturbing the ground with excavation."

Myers Ranch, adjoining Barker Ranch, was owned by a relative of a Manson family member and also served as a hideout.

Methods of testing the soil "with minimal intrusion" are available, the sheriff's office said, and will be able to determine "with a high degree of reliability" whether bodies are buried there.

"Forensic teams will focus on a very few spots in which search dogs recently indicated possible findings of dead bodies with some consistency," the sheriff's statement said. "The various dogs gave inconsistent findings at many spots on the ranch property and all dogs were not controlled in the same manner accepted by recognized dog search organizations."

The testing will be closed to the news media, Lutze said, to protect the integrity of the process and the property rights of the owner. Testing results will be released, however, probably in late April, the statement said.

After Sgt. Dostie's dog and another dog, from NecroSearch, a nonprofit organization that specializes in finding clandestine graves, indicated the possible presence of human remains, testing equipment from Tennessee's Oak Ridge laboratory indicated two likely grave sites and a third possible grave site, Dostie told CNN.

Manson and four other "family" members were convicted of murder and other charges in connection with a two-night spree in August 1969 that included the slaying of actress Sharon Tate. The slayings -- and Manson and his family members -- transfixed the nation.

Cougar Roaming North Chicago?

Police fanned out around the area of 16th and Lewis late Friday night on the lookout for a cougar. Police searched the area on foot and patrol cars and sharpshooters took position aboard a fire truck bucket after reports that a large animal had been spotted near the Park District Youth Center.

Police were on the scene from about 9:35 pm to 10:30 pm but called off the search soon afterward when they could not find anything.

Reports of a cougar sighting initially came in Friday morning.

"This thing was huge. At first I actually thought it was deer," said North Chicago resident Cheryl Coleman.

Coleman was in her car around 8:30 a.m. at the southeast corner of Argonne Drive and Seymour Avenue when she looked across the street and spotted what appeared to be a very large cat.

The tan-colored, 30-inch tall animal was slowly walking between two houses in the 1400 block of Argonne. Its long, thick tail dangling behind.

"I was sitting there stunned," Coleman said. "This looked like a mountain lion or a cougar. My first reaction was to put my window up."

Coleman said she saw the animal walk north across Argonne and into another person's yard. She then called police.

Coleman said she didn't think anyone would believe her, but she wasn't alone. North Chicago police received three calls from people claiming to see a large tan cat, said Lt. Curtis Brame.

Officers scoured the area, but found only footprints. At least five of those prints were found in snow and mud near the home of Helen Sasavage. The longtime North Chicago resident said she was inside when the big cat was apparently making its rounds. But when she went to take out the trash, she noticed the paw prints, which measured more than 4 inches across.

"The (paw prints) were larger than a cat or dog," Sasavage said. "I don't know where that animal came from. I think he was lost."

If he was lost, he certainly wasn't easy to find. North Chicago Animal Warden Ted McClelland circled the neighborhood all morning looking for a large cat, but saw nothing.

McClelland said he found more than dozen paw prints from 20th Street north to 16th Street, but no sign of the cat. The prints were consistent with a large cat, most likely a cougar or mountain lion, he said.

"We can't yet say for sure what it was," said McClelland, who had a tranquilizer gun with him as he drove around.

If the cougar was still in the area Friday afternoon, it was likely hiding in one of the many tall evergreen trees in the area, or was sunning on someone's rooftop, McClelland said.

Anyone who sees the animal is asked to immediately call 9-1-1 and should not try to capture it.

"It's a safety issue," McClelland said. "We can't have (a cougar) running around here at night."

This isn't the first time a cougar sighting has been reported in Lake County. In December 2004, a Waukegan police officer claimed to have seen a cougar on the Amstutz Expressway, and a few months earlier, numerous people in western Lake County reported seeing a cougar. Those reports were never substantiated.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, cougars in Illinois are rare. In a press release issued last month, the agency said only two cougars have been found in Illinois since 1862. Both were found dead in Mercer County (2004) and Randolph County (2000).

'Ghost Hunters' Investigate Historic Ohio Mansion

For years, the old Prospect Place mansion has been offering tours to curious visitors.

People want to see for themselves if the old 29-room mansion, built in 1856, is haunted like the stories that circulate around town claim.

Anyone with a television will have the chance to see what goes on inside Prospect Place when an episode of the SciFi Channel's "Ghost Hunters" airs next week.

In late January, a crew from the show spent about a week filming in the mansion. It will be featured Wednesday's episode, which is titled "Ghostly Bounty Hunter." The owner of Prospect Place, George Adams, said he is not allowed to release details until the show airs.

"Ghost Hunters" is a one-hour, weekly program that follows two paranormal researchers, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, as they explore places throughout the country that are suspected of being haunted. Hawes and Wilson are the leaders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society.

Today the mansion also houses The G.W. Adams Educational Center, a nonprofit organization established in 2005. Adams is a descendant of George Willison Adams, the builder of Prospect Place.

Prospect Place served as one of the stations for the Underground Railroad and was a place of safety for slaves who escaped from the South. Slaves would find refuge in the basement of the mansion and would be given supplies.

Community events and paranormal and ghost investigations are offered at the mansion.

Angola Hosts 'Miss Landmine Survivor' Pageant

Landmine victims are to take part in a beauty contest in Angola, where tens of thousands have been injured by mines.

The pageant has been organised by Angola's de-mining commission, and aims to restore the confidence of victims and raise awareness of their plight.

Millions of mines were planted in Angola during a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The "Miss Landmine Survivor" contest will be held on 2 April in a luxury hotel in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

Eighteen women will take part, one from every province in the country.

All of the contestants have been maimed by landmines.

The co-ordinator of Angola's de-mining commission, Madalena Neto, says the aim of the competition is to restore self-esteem in women injured in mine explosions, and to show that there is beauty in all people.

She says she wants the contestants to become ambassadors for victims of landmines.

Tens of thousands of Angolans have lost limbs or suffered other injuries in mine explosions.

And they continue to do so, even though the war ended six years ago.

It is rare to visit an Angolan town or village without seeing people struggling to cook, care for children or otherwise get on with their lives whilst struggling with a stick or, if they are lucky, a pair of crutches or an artificial limb.

The UN says that, despite an extensive de-mining programme, millions of landmines remain littered across Angola - and this means great stretches of the country are still out of bounds, too dangerous to farm or to travel through.

Perhaps the "Miss Landmine Survivor" contest will remind the rich and powerful in central Luanda that there is still a lot of work to be done, both in terms of ridding the country of landmines and of improving the lives of their victims.

Paranormal Investigation OKed for Old Iowa Asylum

County officials have given their informal OK for ghost hunters to check out a one-time insane asylum to see if any spirits are lurking about.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors took the initial action on the request from the Johnson County Historical Society, which gives tours of the 153-year-old building.

Brandon Cochran, museum operations assistant for the historical society, said there have never been reports of ghosts or bizarre happenings at the building and that bringing in a paranormal team is "kind of taking the pre-emptive approach.

He wants an Iowa-based paranormal investigative team to come in for one night. Cochran said he hopes they don't find any paranormal activity and the investigation can put to rest any speculation.

A four-person Carroll Area Paranormal Team will use thermal imaging equipment and voice recording systems, Cochran said.

A date for an investigation wasn't set and an agreement will have to be drafted releasing the county of any liability before the supervisors formally approve the request, Cochran said.

The remaining wing was built in 1855 and housed mentally ill patients who were deemed insane. It was a self-sufficient 160-acre site with residents growing corn, potatoes, wheat, hay and tobacco.

The building is now called Chatham Oaks, and houses people with physical and mental disabilities. Chatham Oaks officials said there wouldn't be a problem with the paranormal team coming in as long as it didn't disturb residents, said county facilities director Dave Kempf

Rare Black Melanistic Coyote Caught in Georgia

A trapper captured a rare black coyote Wednesday in a DeKalb County subdivision.

Residents along Overlook Dr. called in Tim Smith of Catch It Wild when pets in the neighborhood disappeared.

Lisa and Alan Mackey found the remains of their cat Cricket in the woods behind their home. It was obvious the pet had become a meal for the coyote and its mate.

"The mom, she's pregnant; getting ready to have her babies," explained Smith. "I get so many calls in the spring for that one reason; they gotta feed their family."

Smith said the coyote had set up a den right behind the Mackey's house.

"We didn't know how close it was to our house and we discovered that the den is directly behind our house," said a worried Lisa Mackey.

Smith set up another trap, hoping to catch the female.

Because of coyotes' ability to adapt to their surroundings they are thriving in Georgia, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Increased numbers of coyote sightings in metro Atlanta have created increased concerns for homeowners. However, DNR experts say there is little need for fear. According to information on the DNR web site coyotes are timid and shy animals by nature that tend to steer clear of any potential danger and thus pose little threat to humans. Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not hunt in packs but rather are primarily solitary hunters.

Vike Report: Bigfoot Encounter

About Bigfoot, It is my second encounter, in 1986 a large brownish red creature ran across the road in front of me and (name removed) when he was in the first grade. Apparently he knew where we lived because at night I began to feel I was being watched. About 3 or 4 weeks later, the dogs in the kennel in the Corral barked all night, finally at 3:00am I went out to let the dogs out, everyone in the house was sleeping. I went out, opened the gate, took about 10 steps toward the kennel and he (Bigfoot) screamed (yelled) at me. It was the scariest sound I've ever heard, I stopped and said OH Sh--. then I ran to the pen and the dogs passed me running into the house. The next morning I went out to the corral and he had broken a cedar post off that had been set in concrete for 2 years, so I think he left his calling card.

At sundown here, you can go out and hear them hollering to each other. One will yell in one direction and another one will answer him, then another one will answer that one from another direction. So, there here. I have feelings for them, and I've learned a lot. I believe this particular one lives underground. I know where. He has to be underground because he lives near people, and hunters are everywhere during hunting season, so I feel he goes underground at day break and comes out at sunset. He gets very frustrated and beats tin on the barn and it sounds like King Kong. My son has had different experiences with Bigfoot also. As for me, I think BF is curious about me, and I think he watched me through the windows when we first moved into this house. This is getting a little long, I'll write you more later. Think about what you want to do.

Thank you to the witness for their report. Also if all goes OK, I will be interviewing this witness for the Vike Report Radio Show. I know this interview will be something to hear. Making arrangements for this now.

Brian Vike, Director HBCC UFO Research.

Pastafarians' Statue Displayed at Courthouse

What you can and cannot display on public property is a debate that sometimes ends in court.

In one East Tennessee city, there's usually no fight at all.

On the lawn of the century-old Cumberland County Courthouse, you see an Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers memorial, chainsaw-carved bears, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

"It's made out of materials we bought at Lowe's and local hardware stores, just piping and insulation and spray paint," explained David Safdie. He and his sister built the sculpture and installed it on the lawn last week.

Cumberland County granted them a permit to display it as members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They call themselves pastafarians.

"Our message is freedom of speech and freedom of religion," said Safdie. "We just wanted to have chance to represent our message."

Al and Patricia Westerfield also express their views on the lawn. They put up a Statue of Liberty as a response to another statue erected here in 2006.

"About two years ago, all the sudden a statue of Moses magically appeared right in front of the courthouse," said Al Westerfield. "We asked permission to put up a Statue of Liberty. Each month we change the statement on it: a quote from the presidents or even from Jesus about the separation of church and state."

The lawn has become a free speech zone with diverse views.

A carved statue of Jesus graces the courthouse lawn as well.

"It creates controversy, and that's a good thing," said Mary Leedy, a Crossville resident who sell hot dogs nearby.

Leedy welcomes all the lawn decorations, and sees the Jesus statue as a blessing.

"Everybody is moved differently by it, I think," she said. "And the people who are looking for offense will find it, is my philosophy."

The philosophy of Flying Spaghetti Monster supporters?

"We hope people see it and get a good laugh," said Safdie.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster will remain on the courthouse lawn until May 1st.

Confirmed: Cougar Killed in Kansas

<-Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks game warden Tracy Galvin displays the pelt of a mountain lion that was killed in Barber County last November. Galvin has been investigating the rumor that a mountain lion had been killed in Kansas for the past several weeks. This is probably the first confirmed wild mountain lion in Kansas in over 100 years. Charges are pending against the individual who killed the lion.

The long-standing debate about the presence of wild mountain lions in Kansas appears to be over.

For the first time in more than 100 years, state wildlife officials think they have confirmation of such an animal.

Tracy Galvin, a state Department of Wildlife and Parks game warden, took possession Monday of a mountain lion pelt shot west of Medicine Lodge in November.

A Barber County resident said he shot the catwhile cutting wood on his property.

Galvin said the man saw the mountain lion nearby, walked to his truck, grabbed a rifle and shot it.

Charges are pending since it's illegal to shoot a mountain lion in Kansas "unless it's a threat to life or property," Galvin said. Continued...

Do You Believe Pikachu Is Real?

Are there real Pokemon characters roaming the earth? Well, there is a forum for 'Real Pokemon Believers' at Pokeclipse

Now, the real question is are these 'believers' much different than those that believe in UFOs, extraterrestrials and Bigfoot?

I especially enjoyed the 'Pika and Pikachu - A Conspiracy?' thread.

The following is a sample posting:

I always thought you all were kinda weird, and I really wasn't too much of a Pokemon fan.

Well one day, I was reading a book when I heard something. I jumped out of my recliner and ran to the window. There, in my dirt garden (not much of a gardener...) was a strange looking orange-ish, red-ish, white-ish bird. It was dead after crashing into my window.

With a little remorse, I scooped it up and dumped him in my dumpster. Never thought of him again.

Well, about two years later, I was browsing the internet and accidentally tapped the scroll wheel, opening up a new tab. I clicked on it and froze.

I was staring at the bird that had rammed into my window a few years back! Under it was the name: Pidgey.

I did some research and found out it was a Pokemon! Pretty crazy. I believe now....

Parachute, Possibly D.B.Cooper's, Found in Clark County, Washington

A parachute that could belong to famous hijacker D.B. Cooper has been found and is being analyzed by the FBI in Seattle.

The Cooper case has been surrounded by mystery since 1971, when he jumped from a Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 727 with a bag of money containing $200,000 ransom.

The parachute, which the FBI said is the same type that was used by Cooper, was found between the Clark County towns of Ariel and Amboy, near the center of the original jump zone, according to KOIN News 6.

The parachute was unearthed in a field that was being plowed by the property owner and was found by the man’s children while they were playing. The children pulled the cloth until the chute’s shroud lines appeared and their father recognized it as a parachute.

The man notified the FBI in Seattle. Part of the chute, which is white and conical shaped, remains buried in the field.

Seattle Agent Larry Carr said he will analyze the parachute and look for a label, which could match it to a reserve chute left behind by Cooper on the plane.

Law Enforcement Officers Compile Drawings of Stephenville UFO

By ANGELIA JOINER - Stephenville Lights Reporter

Note: The following composite and narrative came to this reporter through Erath County Constable Lee Roy Gaitan.

An area law enforcement officer, not wishing to be identified at this time, writes the account in his own words. The sighting date was January 8, 2008, and the time was between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. according to Constable Gaitan.

No other information is available at this time.

"This is what I and several other officers saw. I did not see the back, only the frontal view. The two large lights were bright like landing lights, but solid light blue in color similar to LED. The wing tip lights remained steady. The top and bottom tower lights strobed sporadically. It had three towers on the bottom and two on top. It was bigger than a B1 Bomber. It lumbered around town then headed off towards Mineral Wells. It did not leave fast like some are saying. It left slowly. I saw it make a turn. It turned slightly at a 30 degree angle and stayed there for a moment with no movement. It then went to 90 degrees, added a large light in the middle, and moved off at 27 mph and accelerating. I had to go to a call at this time. When I came back I could see it leaving in the distance. It was about 500 ft off the ground. The colors above are the actual color. This drawing is a compilation of all the law enforcement that saw the craft."

Pedophile Claims He Was Molested By Bigfoot

A man who claims that he was molested by Bigfoot as a child was ordered to serve 20 years in prison yesterday for his own molestation-related activities.

Gene R. Morrill, 57, of New Ipswich, N.H., had previously pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to 20 charges stemming from his efforts to solicit 13-year-old boys over the Internet.

Defense attorney Terrence Patton cited Morrill's mental health issues in seeking leniency from Judge J. Howe Brown.

Morrill told an investigator preparing his pre-sentence report about being sexually assaulted by the legendary Bigfoot, a North American folklore character said to be between 7 and 10 feet tall, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Patton said Morrill really believes the assaulted happened.

However, Morrill was determined to be mentally competent to stand trial. The judge also couldn't have been impressed with Morrill's criminal record, which includes a rape conviction involving a child in New Hampshire.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Jim Peterson, Morrill was one of several out-of-state online predators identified last year by Detectives Darryl Wells and John Chapman.

The detectives made Internet contact with Morrill and others while pretending to be young boys.

Chapman introduced another suspected predator to Wells, his "13-year-old friend," and both detectives received pictures and movies of boys having sex with other children and adults.

The real boys were between 5 and 12 years old. The other predator brought Morrill into the conversations and Peterson presented pages of online discussions in which Morrill expresses his desire for sex acts with young boys.

Morrill was convicted of five counts of attempting to take indecent liberties with a child, five counts of using electronic equipment to solicit a juvenile and 10 counts of reproducing child pornography.

Morrill is still facing similar charges in Prince William County.

Claim: Yowie Photographed By Aussie Man

YOWIE hunter Paul Compton has long believed a giant animal lives in the Glen Innes district - and he claims he finally has photos to prove it.

Two days before Christmas, Mr Compton set up a wild view trail camera in an area north west of Glen Innes he has been watching for some time. A week later he returned, finding the camera - triggered by movement - had shot 921 images, including two showing a blurred black figure he claims to be the elusive animal.

“There had been a lot of activity there - rocks moved, broken tree limbs - I’d left a couple of cooked chops in a plastic bag in a tree about eight foot of the ground as bait, and when I returned it had been ripped apart,” he said.

Mr Compton estimates the shadowy figure to be about 35m from the camera, and estimates it’s height to be about (4 foot six inches) - “I took my son out and got him to stand in the same place and he’s about the same height”.

He says he believes the animal is a descendant of the giant ancient ape Gigantapithicus, which was in Asia tens of thousands of years ago.

“I’ve got hair at home that’s been identified by Dr Henner Fahrenbach from Oregon Regional Primate Research Centre in America who believes it to be a high primate and identical to the type of hair belonging to the (American) Big Foot or Sasquatch.”

Mr Compton, who has plaster casts of footprints, has become somewhat of an authority on big animals, and in October will be a guest speaker at the three day Mid American Big Foot Research Foundation conference in Oklahoma to talk about big animals in Australia.

Meanwhile, two commercial television current affairs programs are looking at the recently snapped photos.

“There’s never been a picture before, this could really put Glen Innes on the map,” he said

The Mysterious Kawasan Falls

Ghosts and mystical stories are nothing new at one of Cebu's popular tourist destinations — the Kawasan falls in Badian town, Cebu.

According to locals, it is not every year that a person dies at the falls but every two years.

The deaths were a warning, according to a quack doctor or locally known as “mananambal,” whose services was sought on the death of a tourist several years ago.

It takes sometime for the body of a person, who drowns at the falls, to surface, which fuels the stories.

Oliver Harapat, 29, who works for the Kawasan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, said there is a story that the spirits of the forest locally known as “engkanto” ask for 60 human souls in exchange for disturbing their once peaceful place which is now congested with cottages put up by several resorts in the three-tier falls.

He said no explanation was given on why the spirits needed 60 souls.

Although Harapat and a handful of other workers laughed when asked if they believed in the tale, fear is still etched on their faces. Some local workers chose to remain silent all throughout the interview.

“Those are just tales but some say that black figures appear in the pictures of tourists. Sometimes, they say photographs show white ladies,” Harapat said in Cebuano.

On Easter Sunday, the family of Nelson Tiro who drowned in the second falls on Maundy Thursday, brought a mananambal to ask for the spirits to free the soul of Tiro, said the worker.

Harapat was the one who dived and recovered the body of Tiro about 30 minutes after he drowned.

Emma Saldua, an operator of Willy's Place, the pioneering resort at the falls, said that she believed in “engkantos” but not in the tale that the spirits asked for human souls.

“They are really there. We must make sure not to disturb them so they will not harm us,” Saldua said in Cebuano.

When an Iranian visitor drowned at the falls a few years back, she said the spirits' help was sought before the Iranian’s body was found. The divers exhausted themselves in searching for his body for almost two hours but to no avail. When they asked the spirits, the Iranian's body surfaced instantly, the operator said.

Last New Year's Eve, Saldua said she was the only one left at the resort. There were no guests and she was practically alone at the first falls.

“Nakadungog man ko ug murag daghan kaayo mga tao nga saba ug sadya kaayo (I heard a lot of people making noise and seemingly having a party).”

Thinking these were arriving guests, Saldua went to open the doors and windows of the resort's convenience store but found no one around.

Out of fear, she hurriedly locked up again and played loud music on her radio.

The Ghosts Are Real On British Horror Film Set

The cast of a new Brit horror movie being filmed on the Liverpool set of soap Brookside today claimed the infamous close is haunted.

Stars of gorefest movie Salvage said they have been terrified by paranormal activity on the cul-de-sac fictional soap madman Trevor Jordache was buried.

Now the actors have dubbed the set “Spookside”.

Director Lawrence Gough’s film sees residents trapped in “The Close” by military snipers hunting a suspected terrorist.

The plot turns into a bloodfest as something more sinister starts to wreak murderous havoc.

Actor Shaun Dooley, 33, who plays main character Kieran, said: “There’s been some strange things going on and the cast are convinced this street is haunted.

“We’ve dubbed it Spookside.

“At certain times of the day – the lights flicker out and photographs have gone missing from the set.

“And we haven’t been able to shoot the final scene in the woods because every time we approach the set dark clouds appear and gale force winds blow up.

“It’s as if the ghosts of Brookside Close don’t want us to be filming here and it’s freaking people out.”

No less than 72 characters were killed off during the Liverpool soap’s 21-year history.

Director Laurence Gough, 37, believes the close is the perfect set for a horror movie.

He said: “When we heard Brookside Close was available I thought it was an absolute must.

“The whole film is about turning a respectable street upside down and this was the ideal place for us. It’s a great set for a horror movie.”

The £250,000 film due out in autumn has been promised a glitzy premiere in Liverpool as part of the Capital of Culture programme.

New Team Starts Search For Steve Fossett

While friends and family gathered last week to remember missing aviator Steve Fossett, Carson City resident Mike Larson and a couple of his colleagues quietly were conducting their own private search in remote areas of Nevada.

Fossett was declared dead Feb. 15, five months after his single-engine airplane disappeared over Northern Nevada.

The millionaire adventurer and aviator has been missing since taking off on Labor Day from the Hilton Ranch airstrip in southern Lyon County.

Fossett, 63, a world-record-setting pilot, reportedly took off in a small plane owned by Barron Hilton, who owns the Flying M Ranch and conference center.

Larson, a 30-veteran of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation who is skilled in surveying, mapping, planning and civil engineering, started collecting technical data in December. He and two others have since been out in the desert on their ATVs with GPS units in hand, searching possible crash sites.

"We have a good process and method for our approach," Larson said. "If this is a legitimate wreck ... there's a good possibility to find them. We're going to continue searching until we've exhausted all leads."

Larson continues to sift through information provided by a Mechanical Turk site set up by Fossett's friends, who enlisted public help to search computer images of Northern Nevada. The site, visited by thousands of people across the world after Fossett disappeared, provides possible crash site coordinates, Larson said.

So far, the small team has visited and documented

eight sites. They started in the Wellington/Yerington area and are working their way south. They have more than 100 sites to look at, he said.

The team meticulously photographs and documents each site, taking care to preserve it in case they come across the wreck.

"The question is, what if we do find it," he said.

Larson has spent the past

15 years in the bureau's Carson City office and routinely is called to conduct similar searches, he said.

"I have found 'needles in haystacks' for a living as a lands surveyor and am intrigued to offer my past experience for this leisure endeavor," he said.

Larson already has pieced together a timeline of Fossett's flight up until just after 10 a.m. on the day he left on a leisure flight. At 11 a.m., two separate witnesses recalled seeing a plane like Fossett's in the Sunrise Pass area of Douglas County.

"I'd really like to talk to those people," Larson said of the witnesses to the Sunrise Pass sightings.

The group started the ground search in January but have been hampered by snow and weather. They said they hope to continue more rigorously searching this spring.

Saskatchewan Man Recalls 1950 UFO Experience

Ernest Buisse said that in the summer of 1950, a UFO flew past him while at his parents’ farm.

It wasn’t a bird or a plane, and now an elderly Winnipeg (Canada) man wants to tell people about his close encounter.

Ernest Buisse, 82, was on his parents’ farm near Redvers, Saskatchewan, in the summer of 1950 when he believes he witnessed an unidentified flying object.

“It just flew by me,” he said. “I was standing outside the house at 2 a.m. It was as high above me as a hydro pole.”

Buisse described the flying object as round with lights on its underside.

“If they would have stopped and given me a ride, I would have taken it,” he joked.

Buisse remembers the flying object approaching over fields where no roadways existed.

After watching it fly overhead, he ran inside and woke his family up, then exited the house just in time to see the UFO disappearing to the west of the farm while travelling very low to the ground.

Although Buisse said he didn’t tell anyone the following day about what he saw, it soon became apparent he wasn’t the only person who witnessed something strange.


“The next day there were radio reports,” he said, adding he noticed the UFO had left distinctive “crop circles” in one of his family’s oat fields.

According to UFO watch groups like FarShores, the Redvers area is considered a hotbed for crop circles.

As recently as August 2002, crop circles were reported just north of the rural community, with local media receiving accounts of the oddities.

When Buisse discovered the mysterious marks more than half a century ago, he had never hear of the term “crop circle.”

Today, the story is one he shares with his nine children and 24 grandchildren.

“My father never officially spoke to anyone in authority about this UFO sighting and because of the year it was seen … with no commercial airlines flying and no air force in the area of Redvers … what can one assume but that this was a real UFO sighting?” said Buisse’s daughter, Rachel Spilkin.

She hopes it’s a tale that lives on for others, as it has for her father.

“When I’m outside and it’s dark, I always look up to see what I can see,” Buisse said.

Old Toy 'Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab' Was Radioactive

Honey, why is your face glowing? In 1951, A.C. Gilbert introduced his U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, a radioactive learning set we can only assume was fun for the whole math club. Gilbert, who American Memorabilia claims was "often compared to Walt Disney for his creative genius," had a dream that nuclear power could capture the imaginations of children everywhere. For a mere $49.50, the kit came complete with three "very low-level" radioactive sources, a Geiger-Mueller radiation counter, a Wilson cloud chamber (to see paths of alpha particles), a spinthariscope (to see "live" radioactive disintegration), four samples of uranium-bearing ores, and an electroscope to measure radioactivity.

And what nuclear lab for kids would be complete without an Atomic Energy Manual and Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom comic book? (The latter was written with the help of General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project.)

Kids do the darndest things, but not, apparently, nuclear physics. The toy was only sold for one year. It's unclear what effects the uranium-bearing ores might have had on those few lucky children who received the set, but exposure to the same isotope—U-238—has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, among other serious ailments. Even more uncertain is the long-term impact of being raised by the kind of nerds who would give their kid an Atomic Energy Lab.

Cougar Sightings Continue in Ontario

It might have been a coyote that was killed on Highway 403 a week ago, but the story of a cougar in the city is one that just won't die.

A former hunting dog trainer and outdoorsman from the north end says he and his dogs saw and tracked the city's elusive cougar outside of town last month.

Tom Drewery had a clear view of the big cat as he surprised it mid-afternoon on Feb. 20, three days after a city police officer also reported seeing a cougar in the north end.

Drewery was following Silver Creek as it runs from the power line east of the Brantwood Park Road in a remote, quiet area where he often hikes with his dogs.

Drewery and his dogs tracked the cat for several miles and he took photos of its paw prints.

"I can assure you, it was not a dog, not a 120-pound house cat, nor a coyote, but a beautiful specimen of a cougar in the wild, right here in Brantford," he said.

"It was the real thing. I just wish I had my camera ready when I saw it."

Drewery's photos show large deep prints without claw marks - exactly as a traditional cougar's prints would appear - surrounded by smaller and lighter prints made by his small dogs.

The retired man frequently hikes for miles in the woods near his Ludlow Crescent home in the north end.

While he used to raise and train large hunting dogs, he now has three Jack Russell terriers.

He was walking them off their leads in the woods when he came over a hill and saw the cougar.

"It was 75 to 100 metres away from me and standing still," Drewery said. "I could see the entire body and tail. It was amazing."

He says the animal - which he estimates was 120 pounds - took three large leaps up a hill to escape.

Drewery immediately returned the dogs to their leads and began following the cat's prints.

"The little one caught the cat's scent and we followed it, but it was impossible to think of catching up with it," he said.

A police officer came to see him after he reported the incident and, upon seeing his photos, seemed to agree it had likely been a cougar. "He was convinced and I know what I saw."

Drewery's experience came just days after an officer saw a large cat in the north end at about 2:30 in the morning.

The prints from that sighting were examined by a large cat expert who said they could be a cougar's, a coyote's or a dog's print. Later, he said he believed the print belonged to a large house cat or bobcat.

There have always been reports of cougars or other big cats roaming southern Ontario but few have been proved.

Since the police officer saw the cougar in February, there have been renewed stories of cougars around the city.

On March 16, Brantford's Linda King saw a wounded cougar at the side of Highway 403 and called the OPP.

King said the OPP confirmed it was a cougar and that the animal was put down.

Later, though, the Ministry of Natural Resources said the animal wasn't a cougar after all, but a coyote.

Drewery - who's been hunting and fishing since he was a kid and has trained hunting dogs most of his adult life - is firm in his conviction that there's a cougar out there.

"There's no mistaking a coyote and a cougar. I think the ministry just doesn't want to get everyone upset. I wasn't too surprised to see what I saw."

The dogs and Drewery often track deer in the same area and he says there's an abundance of game which could offer plenty of food for a cougar.

The winter snow offers a perfect backdrop for tracking, he says. He's seen coyotes, wild turkeys, geese, ducks and dozens of deer in the area.

Easter Bunny Captured!!

If you didn't receive anything in your Easter basket this year, here's the reason why. Imagine getting on a bender and seeing that thing! I wonder if they'll name him 'Harvey'?

Man Hypnotizes Checkout Girls to Get Cash, Sought by Italian Police

Italian police have issued video footage of a man who has been hypnotizing supermarket checkout staff and getting them to hand over the cash.

In every case, according to reports, the last thing staff remember is a man leaning over and saying 'Look into my eyes' before suddenly finding the till is empty.

In the latest incident captured on video footage the man walked into a bank in Ancona in northern Italy.

He waited until he got to a female bank clerk and, according to the video footage, appears to hypnotise her into handing over more than £600.

He then calmly walked out.

The cashier who was shown the video footage reportedly has no memory of the incident. She only realised what had happened when she saw the money missing.

Checks of CCTV cameras in the bank showed her being hypnotised by the man.

Italian police are now looking for the suspect - who bears an uncanny resemblance to Saddam Hussein - who they believe is either of Indian or North African.

Bison Found Mutilated in Saskatchewan

A local rancher has recently lost a healthy purebred buffalo bull to suspicious circumstances that mirror known mutilation cases.

"Frank" as he was known was between 12 to 13 years old. He weighed 1780 pounds and he towered 11 feet at his hump. His was a purebred Woods and special to the rancher as he was the original bull of the herd. He has sired approx. 160 offspring since the rancher obtained him back in 2000.

We will be releasing the report on this case later tonight along with photos and video and it will be posted in the "mutilations" section.

We are asking residents of Lloydminster (south) rural areas to contact us if you believe you may have seen or heard anything suspicious around your farms between March 10th and March 13th. The bull was last seen alive on March 10th.

Central Texas Man Captures Orb UFO Video

Click image for video

A mysterious light over the central Texas skies has one man believing he may have seen something out of this world.

Jeffrey Swetz of Cedar Creek says he saw it earlier this week, and picked up his camera and started rolling. He said it looked like a star but seemed much brighter.

Swetz says this isn't the first time he's seen a mysterious object in the sky.

He had another "sighting" when he was a teenager.

Bigfoot and Other Phenomena of Derry Township, Pa.

The Derry area has many annual traditions--including the summer agricultural fair in the township and, recently revived, the fall Railroad Days festival in the borough. Another yearly occurrence in that neck of the woods is several reported sightings of a fellow whose shoes would be hard to fill--that is, if he wore any.

We're talking about Bigfoot, whose exploits are among the unusual phenomena cataloged annually by Stan Gordon--a Greensburg resident who has specialized in researching unexplained happenings in Pennsylvania and beyond since 1959.

Though many of the reports Gordon has collected describe Bigfoot as a "man-like creature," as far as I know, there's no evidence that the creature doesn't also exist in a female version. If it didn't, it would be hard to account for the many decades it apparently has been roaming through the rural areas of our region--unless it's extremely long-lived. Continued...

Video: Luxembourg Bigfoot Exposed Fake

New Horror Flick Prompts Ghostly Image Submissions

Spooky goings-on have been captured on camera by amateur ghost hunters.

Mysterious figures have been caught in the backgrounds of photographs uploaded on the internet for a website promoting new horror film Shutter, starring Joshua Jackson, out in U.S cinemas tonight.

The website - www.shutter-movie.com - has been inundated with pictures of supposed spirits as visitors to the site have been encouraged to rate the snaps on how real they think they are.

The winning photograph is then analysed by a spirit expert.

The film is about a newlywed couple who experience a tragic car accident which leads to the death of a young girl.

But following the crash, strange white blurs appear in many of the couple's photographs as they are led to believe the blurs are the spirit of the dead girl who they hit on the road.

Video: 9/11 Press For Truth

Features the "Jersey Girls" - the 4 women who banded together after 9/11 to seek the truth from President Bush and the U.S. Government

Although independent investigations began within weeks of both Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, the same was not true of the attacks of September 11th. Most are unaware that formation of the 9/11 Commission was strongly opposed by many in Washington, including the Bush administration.

It was only due to pressure from the 9/11 families, led by a particular twelve calling themselves the Family Steering Committee, that, fourteen months after the attacks, the first hearing finally began. In 9/11 PRESS FOR TRUTH, five of the most prominent members of the Family Steering Committee tell their story for the first time on film, providing the most powerful argument yet for why 9/11 still needs investigation.

Adapting Paul Thompson's definitive Complete 9/11 Timeline (first published by HarperCollins as The Terror Timeline), the filmmakers stitch together rare, overlooked news clips, buried stories, and government press conferences, revealing a pattern of official lies, deception, and spin.

Why did the White House stonewall the 9/11 investigation?

The Mysterious Whipporwill Valley Road

What's a New Jersey town without at least one creepy legend? Any sprawling town with acres of woods and nearly 350 years of local history must have at least one, right?

In Middletown, that legend is called Whipporwill Valley Road — a dusty, unpaved roadway that snakes through the Chapel Hill section of town and where it's rare to see another person.

Through the years, a handful of tragic events has given this road an air of legend and mystery. It's not surprising, then, that this winding dirt strip has taken on a sort of cult status for local teens who consider driving down the road in the middle of the night with friends an adolescent rite of passage.

Legends told over the years (and cited by Weird N.J. magazine) include:

Seeing and hearing witches.

A tall, looming tree that takes on human shape after dark.

A mysterious, rogue truck driver who wildly races up and down Whipporwill Valley Road.

Several Middletown teens who have driven on the road said that, while they have yet to actually encounter any of these purported presences, the road does possess an indefinably creepy feel.

One Middletown High School North senior, Joe Clements, 18, has gone as far as making a video of himself and friends driving down the notorious road in the dead of night.

Titled "Driving on Whipporwill," the video starts off with a narrator ominously explaining: "Six friends set out on what they thought was a harmless trip to Whipporwill Valley Road."

The video ends suddenly when the car full of screaming teens spots something, in affectionate homage to "The Blair Witch Project." Clement's video can be viewed at YouTube.com.

Another popular legend attached to Whipporwill Valley Road tells of witches burned at the stake when Europeans first populated Middletown in the 1700s, according to Weird N.J.

According to the legend, before the witches were burned, they placed hexes on all the local farmers who had accused them. All the farmers reportedly died 10 months later of a mysterious, undiagnosed illness.

Ironically, the farmers are said to have been buried just 10 feet away from the witches, who were buried 10 feet outside of the town cemetery. Some visitors who have driven down the road, according to Weird N.J., say they have felt bumps in the road that could have been the original graves.

In time, the witch legend was forgotten, but revived years later in the early 1960s, when remnants of an abandoned mansion that stood in the Whipporwill woods burned to the ground.

While the appearance of the supernatural has never been verified scientifically, Whipporwill Valley Road has a well-documented history of tragic and bizarre incidents.

The most recent incident happened in December 2006 when the body of Nello Caizza, the 76-year-old caretaker of a private residence at 160 Whipporwill Valley Road, was found submerged in near-freezing pool water. Police said Caizza had, apparently unknowingly, driven a John Deere tractor over the pool's plastic cover, which ripped, sending him and the tractor into the water.

Caizza, who had managed the 44-acre property for roughly 20 years, was pronounced dead at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. The death ultimately was ruled an accidental drowning.

When Fred Lazzati, 58, a worker for the Middletown Public Works Department, wasn't spotted by his co-workers on Sept. 1, 1989, they assumed he had come in early, as was often the case, and already was at work in another area.

About 8 a.m., workers found Lazzati's body near a road grader on Whipporwill Valley Road near Chapel Hill Road.

His death upset coworkers in the department, where he had worked for six years.

Public Works Director John McGowan at the time described Lazzati, of Viola Avenue in the Leonardo section, as "your basic construction guy; a hard worker."

Lazzati, who had a heart condition, died from a massive heart attack, the coroner ruled.

On March 6, 1982, Nancy Clark of Fair Haven was stabbed to death by Thomas W. Baliff, who had picked up Clark while she was hitchhiking. Her fully clothed body was found in an area off Whipporwill Valley Road.

Baliff, who was AWOL from the Marines at the time of Clark's murder, pleaded guilty, admitting he stabbed her several times with a 6-inch double-bladed bayonet. He was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

Baliff, now 48, made an appeal for parole in 2004 that was denied by the New Jersey State Parole Board.

There also have been a few near-fatal accidents along the dirt road. On Dec. 17, 2006, two boys — Alex Nazath, 17, and Andrew Aulicino, 16 — rescued three teenage girls whose vehicle had swerved off the road and landed partially submerged in a creek adjacent to Whipporwill Valley Road.

Aulicino used his pocket knife to cut the seat belt that one of the girls still was wearing.

Roughly two years earlier, two Monmouth County men stole a Jeep from a Highlands driveway and crashed it on Whipporwill Valley Road.

Police found the stolen vehicle unoccupied, but arrested the two men based on their fingerprints found on the vehicle and from a telephone call made on a mobile phone that was left accidentally in the Jeep.

Middletown police arrested Ronald Remp, 23, of Keyport and Christopher Martin, 19, of Highlands. The two young men were eventually convicted of auto theft and given two- to four-year sentences.

Official 'Argentina Gnome' Investigation Underway

Police in a town plagued by sightings of a creepy 'gnome' have launched a full-scale investigation - after records showed locals have reported seeing the creature for DECADES.

The knee-high person - who wears a pointy hat and has a distinctive sideways walk – was caught on video two weeks ago by a terrified group of youngsters.

Millions of stunned people viewed the chilling clip after The Sun reported the tale - with some sceptics claiming the footage just showed a dwarf causing mischief.

But detectives in the Argentinean town of General Guemes have dubbed the gnome the new 'Bigfoot' after hundreds of locals reported actually seeing the creature at least once in their lifetime.

Only weeks before it was captured on camera, spooked rail workers called the police to say they had spotted the crab-walking gnome side-stepping its way around the train tracks at night.

National newspaper El Tribuno has reported that fear is now so widespread that the town mayor Salta has been inundated with calls from terrified locals and has launched a full scale police enquiry into the affair.

He said: “I am a little sceptical because I have never personally seen these gnomes - but it’s definitely possible that they exist.

"People here believe in them and we have to respect that.

"I do not think that it is completely impossible. Gnomes are part of our culture here.”

And Police Commissionaire, José Luis Núñez - who has been charged with tracking down the creature's lair, said: "I personally believe in gnomes as I saw one when I was a child.

"But so far we have not been able to determine whether the figure on tape was real or not."

A local poll showed 90 per cent of General Guemes 30,000 residents believed gnomes stalked the streets at night.

Teenager Jose Alvarez captured the creature on video while larking about with pals.

He said: “We were chatting about our last fishing trip. It was one in the morning. I began to film a bit with my mobile phone while the others were chatting and joking. Suddenly we heard something — a weird noise as if someone was throwing stones.

"We looked to one side and saw that the grass was moving. To begin with we thought it was a dog but when we saw this gnome-like figure begin to emerge we were really afraid.

“This is no joke. We are still afraid to go out — just like everyone else in the neighbourhood now.

"One of my friends was so scared after seeing that thing that we had to take him to the hospital."

'Ghost Hunters' Filming at Weston Asylum

The search for ghosts is on at a pre-Civil War hospital in Weston once called The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghenies.

Rebecca Jordan, property manager for the former state hospital, says crews for the Sci-Fi Channel television series "Ghost Hunters'' are filming there this week.

Atlantic Paranormal Society researchers Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson and their crew will try to debunk reports of unusual activity. People say they've heard gurneys moving down hallways and screams from inside the former shock therapy room.

Using high-tech recording equipment, the crew will search for evidence of full-body apparitions, moving shadows and electronic voice phenomenon to determine whether the building is haunted.

It's not clear when the program will air.


The massive Gothic Revival building once christened The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghenies has stood largely silent since 1994 -- more than 242,000 square feet of space now inhabited by rodents and a security guard.

The imposing Weston State Hospital is a national historic landmark -- construction started before the Civil War -- and one of the world's largest hand-cut sandstone structures, sitting on nearly 307 acres surrounded by wooded hills.

Virginia lawmakers created the hospital in 1858. Construction stopped when Virginia seceded from the union in 1861 and resumed in 1863 after West Virginia became a separate state. Union and Confederate troops both occupied the grounds as Weston repeatedly changed hands during the war.

The first patients were admitted in October 1864. It was originally intended for 250 patients but housed nearly 10 times that many during the 1950s.

The buildings are uniformly decrepit, with peeling paint, collapsing ceilings, broken windows and damp wood. Some would have to be demolished.

But the main building, its thick stone walls topped by a white clock tower, has potential.

"This was built 150 years ago, and someone knew what they were doing," Dave Hildreth, director of the assets division of the Department of Health and Human Resources, said during a recent tour.

Apartments that once housed the staff have built-in bookcases and fireplaces. The building features skylights, solid oak doors and floors.

For a few years after the patients moved to a new hospital, the state kept the heat on. But with 15 miles of pipe and 921 windows, that cost $300,000 a year. Eventually, the state cut back to groundskeeping and security, for a continuing annual cost of about $100,000.

"The biggest thing for me is that the property is not living up to its highest, best use," Hildreth said. "If we could open the doors and put it in the private sector, it could be something."

Russian Doomsday Cult Tired of Waiting for the End

Some of the doomsday cult members who barricaded themselves in a bunker in Russia’s Penza region last November are believed to have left the hideout where they’ve been awaiting the end of the world.

East Serbian Witches Continue Black Arts

When Nikola Radosavljevic a psychiatric patient from the village of Jabukovac, in eastern Serbia, grabbed his shotgun last year and went on a rampage, killing nine people, local people put the blame on black magic.

They said Radosavljevic went on his killing spree in revenge against people he believed had cast a spell on him.

Miroslav Srzentic, a local prosecutor in charge of the case, dismisses such talk. “There was no mention of magic at any moment during the investigation,” he scoffs.

“The killer was a seriously ill psychiatric patient who committed a brutal crime after a period without his prescribed therapy.”

But public statements by officials like Srzentic have failed to quench the rumours, and most of public remain convinced that the story confirms the potency of witchcraft in eastern Serbia.

The hunch is backed up by the fact that there certainly are still people, mainly women in remote villages, who claim powers to see and perceive more than others, and who practice magic.

There is barely a single village in eastern Serbia without its local “wise man”, a person with supernatural powers who “sees” and is capable of helping villagers out of their troubles in difficult times.

Radovan Merdovic, the presiding judge of the Municipal Court in the town of Majdanpek, can’t recall a single instance of magic being mentioned in court documents.

But he smiles as he recalls when, as a young judge some two decades ago, he visited a village where a woman known as a local sorceress threw seeds of beans at him, crying: “Alas, the court is your destiny. You won’t leave it ever.”

Life in eastern Serbia is traditionally hard and sometimes far removed from modern society. Such an environment creates a fertile ground for the belief that serious problems can be solved with the aid of unseen powers.

Some would like to be rich, others to fill their homes with babies. Some recourse to witches in search of true love, a cure from an illness, to pass an exam or find out why their dear ones died prematurely.

In effect, the witches act as unofficial marriage guidance counselors or as therapists. The sorceresses cast spells over the dresses of downcast girls, advise them not to sit at home and go in their new spellbound dresses to village festivities. And this can be very successful.

Desanka, aged 68, is one of these wise women. “When I was 12, I fell seriously ill and was in a coma for several days and since then I’ve been seeing things every once in while, usually on the eve of significant religious holidays,” she explains. “If I keep silent about these visions, they are torturing me,” she says.

Desanka is sought out by many people for her skills, even though she lives on a remote farm.

“Grains of corn, seeds of beans, or a thread from the garment worn by the interested person would do if I want to peep at his or her future,” she says.

Like many wise men and women, Desanka comes from the Vlach minority, a community that - in Serbia – is concentrated in the eastern parts, on the border with Romania. She speaks Vlach, too, a language that sounds like a mixture of Romanian and Serbian.

Others known to deal with magic powers and soothsaying call themselves “white” witches – white, because they use their powers to help people rather than in the service of malice.

In their readings, these white witches usually tell their clients that their problems are down to someone else’s spell, which is usually solvable.

Of course, the phenomenon irritates the medical profession. “The number of people who believe in magic is in inverse proportion to the number of educated people,” neuropsychiatrist Milojko Nesovic of Majdanpek general hospital says, dismissively.

As a rule, Vlach sorceresses do not charge for their services. They never employ their powers for their personal benefit. This, they say, would be dangerous as it might come back to “haunt” them. Those who deem their services worthwhile find other ways to return the favours.

Most, like Desanka, suffered from a serious illness in early childhood, barely survived and then discovered they had magical powers.

In his decade-long career, Nesovic has never come across patients he believes were “possessed”. But he freely admits that some have benefited from their belief in the power of magic.

“Some psychiatric patients have significantly improved their mental health thanks to their conviction that Vlach magic actually helps them,” Nesovic says.

The powers of Vlach wise men and women attract more than local villagers. People come from all over the Balkans, traveling hundreds of kilometers from Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia to seek help.

Locals joke about these “foreign tourists”, jesting there are enough of them to fuel the development of a specific tourist industry.

Ljubomir, 38, a man from the eastern Serbian village of Blizna, says he did not believe in magic until he met a white witch in person.

“After looking at a photograph and her cards, she told me I had broken up a seven-year relationship with my girlfriend because her cousin had thrown my suede shoe into the grave of a woman who had died that day in our neighbourhood,” he said.

“How could she have known about this relationship, or the breakup, or the detail about my shoe vanishing, if she didn’t have some special ability?” Ljubomir asks.

Vlach witches pronounce their magic formulas in melodic chants complemented by ancient rituals. The performance instills a sense of certainty and confidence into the clients that the problem is being dealt with.

The lore of the witches is a far cry from the Serbian Orthodox faith that is the dominant religion in these parts, as local priests know well.

“Even though the locals profess to be Christians, they have kept many pagan customs and rituals,” Ivan Zivkovic, a priest from Majdanpek, confides.

“There are superstitious beliefs elsewhere, but here they abound and are transmitted from one generation to another.”

One obvious deviation from traditional Christianity is the cult of the dead, which remains strong among the Vlachs in eastern Serbia.

At village funerals, mourners still observe the ancient custom of dancing and singing “for the soul of the deceased”.

The dead are constantly commemorated in these parts, after 40 days, after six months, once a year, again at the Day of the Dead, and so on, until the seventh year after the burial, in feasts and festivities with an abundance of food and drink.

Another powerful superstition concerns malicious ghosts. There are many deserted houses in these villages, which everyone avoids. These are houses whose previous owners could not get any sleep on account of the allegedly unbearable nighttime noises.

They mostly abandon them quickly and it occurs to no one to try to stay overnight in those dwellings and check if the reports were true or not.

Another prevalent belief, in which the witches play a role, is “tying”. This involves a woman “tying” a man to herself so he can’t have sex.

Earlier, no one even contemplated the idea that the man in question might have had a sexual problem. Medical assistance was rarely sought, and decades ago, “tying” was sometimes cited as the motive behind assaults and even murders.

Mika Zlatic, a wise man from the village of Crnajka, still helps people counter this type of spell. “First, I look at the seeds and cards to ascertain how many times the client has been ‘tied’,” he notes.

Then he tells the client to undress and measures the naked body with a rope, “tying it in knots” and then untying them, while chanting a prayer.

Wise men can also break the powers of malevolent dragons.

According to a popular superstition, young women can forget about their husbands, while fading away and becoming weak, because of the overnight visits of a water dragon who appears in the image of a beautiful young man.

Petar Markovic, an old man from Bukova Glava, a hamlet a few hours’ walk from Donji Milanovac, claims to be the last remaining dragon-buster in the region.

He kills “dragons in a hollow beech trunk, but only on Tuesdays and Saturdays because water dragons never sleep on other days of the week”.

With its abundant folklore, which is still alive and kicking, eastern Serbia is certainly an important site for researchers. Much of it is still unrecorded. “From the perspective of anthropology, this world is still unknown,” Pauna Es Durlic, an ethnologist at the Majdanpek Museum, says.

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