Saturday, April 18, 2015
Lorraine Cobourn developed the curious phobia after being hit by a yellow taxi and breaking her hip.
It is not uncommon for someone to be scared of things like heights or spiders, but for one 51-year-old from Oakwood in the UK it is the color yellow that instills the greatest sensations of fear.
Lorraine's unusual phobia began shortly after she suffered a broken hip in an accident involving a yellow taxi. From that point on it was like a switch had been turned on inside her head and even the mere sight of an object exhibiting the nefarious color became something to be feared and avoided.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Lost Biblical treasures have long held a certain mystique and an air of impenetrable mystery. They provide a somewhat irresistible combination of the allure of lost, ancient artifacts, mixed with a healthy dose of curiosity, romantic notions of faraway exotic lands, and the mystery of whether these relics ever even existed at all. Among such treasures, certainly one that has proven to be one of the most well-known and highly sought after is the fabled Lost Ark of the Covenant. For centuries the quest for this enigmatic artifact has drawn adventurous souls to far flung locales, so far to no avail, but what if the Ark at some point ended up in a land vastly removed from its origins in the Middle East and with virtually no connections to the Christian and Jewish religions that its history is so heavily imbued with? What if it ended up in the far-east country of Japan? As we shall see, sometimes the place where these artifacts end up could possibly be the last place anyone would imagine.
The fabled Ark of the Covenant is perhaps best known to most as the Nazi face melting MacGuffin from the popular film Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is an actual artifact with a long tradition of mystery. The Ark itself was an ornate, gold gilded chest that held the stone tablets onto which had been written the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God. The Ark was said to be built around 3,000 years ago based on plans that were revealed in a vision from God Himself that Moses had while Israel was camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Book of Exodus says that after the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, Moses was called to the top of Mt. Sinai by God and was given two tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, after which he later received his vision outlining the design of the Ark in order to transport the tablets. The Ark is said to be made up of intricately gold plated acacia wood, and to be adorned with a crown of pure molded gold and two large, golden angels. The Bible describes its dimensions as approximately 131×79×79 cm or 52×31×31 inches. The Ark was carried with the use of two poles that were put through four rings arranged at its four feet.
Far from being merely a vessel in which to carry the tablets, the Ark was believed to be the throne of God, and that wherever it went, He went as well. The Ark was only carried by priests, and was always concealed from view by blue cloth and lamb skins, and not even the priests themselves were allowed to look upon it. The Israelites carried the Ark with them during their 40 year trek across the desert, during which it was usually carried around 2,000 cubits in front of their army, and it proved to be a powerful weapon in their plight.
Wildlife authorities in Australia have warned people not to release pet fish in to rivers and streams.
Goldfish might seem harmless swimming around inside their tank in your living room, but when released in to the wild these popular family pets can quickly multiply and grow to enormous sizes.
The problem is of particular concern in Australia where massive mutant goldfish and koi carp have been driving native species to the brink of extinction. Some of the goldfish released in the waterways of the country's western regions have grown to monstrous proportions and are now ten times their original size.
Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Paul Seaburn
In late January, oil palm plantation workers from the village of Sibu in Borneo spotted what they called a “strange” creature. According to one of the workers, here’s how they reacted.
"We were shocked. None of us has ever seen such thing. One of us then hit the animal until it appeared to have passed out … When it regained consciousness, we forced it to go back into the jungle."
They did not report the incident to authorities but instead took a video and posted it on the Internet.
Have you ever thought about how you would react in a similar situation? What’s the first thing you would do if you encountered a strange being or creature ? What if it was an alien? A Bigfoot? A chupacabra? Something cute? Something with a strange appearance?
How would you react if you were alone? Do you think you would act differently if you with a few people? How about a crowd?
What would you do if you were carrying a stick? A rake? How about a gun? How long would you take to decide if the creature was friendly or harmful before you responded to it?
If the being appeared hurt, would you help it? What if the being was hurt because of something you did?
Would you report your encounter to authorities? Would it depend on whether you had a video or other witnesses?
The myth of Bigfoot has titillated people over the centuries, with sightings recorded in the Himalayas and northwest America.
Now a leading geneticist claims to have found the best evidence that a woman who lived in 19th century Russia could have been a yeti.
Professor Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford believes that a towering woman named Zana, had a strain of West African DNA that belonged to a subspecies of modern humans.
Her resemblance has been described as that of a wild beast, and "'the most frightening feature of which was her expression which was pure animal", one Russian zoologist wrote in 1996 according to a report in the Times.
The man who organised various eyewitness accounts of Zana wrote: "Her athletic power was enormous.
"She would outrun a horse and swim across the Moskva river, even when it rose in violent high tide.'"
Thursday, April 16, 2015
In June of 2012, on a weekend, Don and Mary (not their real names) decided to go on a relaxing weekend drive through the rugged but beautiful countryside of Stone County Arkansas, not far from their home in Batesville. They chose a route they had taken before, traveling north up Highway 5 between steep wooded bluffs.
“If it would help pinpoint the location, I remember there was a guard rail running along the opposite side of the road, and I looked on a map later and think we were just a little bit south of being straight west of Mt. Olive. We were on a relatively straight, level stretch of road and I noticed something brown and upright off to the left between the guard rail and a steep bluff on the left-hand side of the road. It was about the color of a dead cedar tree that had not yet lost its needles, and at first glance I thought maybe that was what it was. But I quickly realized it was the wrong shape and too solid-looking, if that makes any sense. At about that moment my wife said, ‘What is that thing?’”
As the witnesses drew closer to the mysterious object they came to realize what they were seeing, or at least were able to see it in more detail. “It had thick brown hair a few inches long all over its body, except for on its face. I slowed way down and it stood there without moving, except for turning its head to watch us pass. I thought about stopping and if we would have had a camera with us I might have stopped long enough to try and get a picture, but we are not much for taking pictures and left our camera at home. Believe me, when we go for drives since then it is right on the seat between us.”
If one of the items on your bucket list is owning a haunted British pub (wait a minute – aren’t they ALL haunted?), then grab your checkbook and head to Hurst Green in Lancashire where the Punch Bowl is up for sale. It’s said to be haunted by Ned King, a friend of fellow notorious 1700s highwayman Dick Turpin, who was captured at the Punch Bowl and hanged from one of its trees.
While Turpin’s ghost seems to be everywhere, Old Ned stays mostly at the Punch Bowl, where he and his horse Black Tarquin have provided the usual strange noises and other paranormal disturbances. Exorcisms were performed there, most recently in 1942, but locals say he’s still around and will be sold with the building. The Punch Bowl is a popular stopping site for haunted tours but is no longer open as a pub.
“I know how men in exile feed on dreams” – Aeschylus
18th Century moralist Luc de Clapiers once said, “The greatest evil which fortune can inflict on men is to endow them with small talents and great ambition.” I’m reasonably certain he wasn’t using “talents” euphemistically. Anyway, it’s not the size of the talent, it’s the application. Once the ladies stop laughing at us, consider that since the dawn of civilization humanity’s most noble ambition seems to have been to rid the world of evil, yet our talent for identifying evil has always been overused and underdeveloped. We routinely magnify small affronts while minimizing mass acts of horror, and when we think we’ve pinpointed the source of our woes, we boldly want to deal with them en masse. We want the threat removed both physically and existentially. Impatience and fear almost always outweigh wisdom and compassion. It’s probably glandular. We are on the whole ambitious creatures (we went right from mud huts to ziggurats), consequently it rarely seems enough to simply face those cumulative day to day evils that surround us and fill us with hate, fear, and the accumulation of which generally make the average human’s life nasty, brutish, and short. No sir, we dream big and our nightmares are of similarly epic proportions. We don’t think so small as to want to remove evil from our hearts and minds for as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Failing this we want to remove evil from our presence. What genocide, internment, concentration camp, forcible resettlement, or pogrom has not had its origins in the desire to find the core from which we believe evil flows, extricate it from society, and place it elsewhere, even when that elsewhere is in the grave? We crave that impermeable barrier, that unpassable mountain range, that theological border fence that will stop evil from tempting the devils of our lower nature, corrupting our children, or taking our jobs. Evil must be quarantined, and when the Greeks of the 17th Century A.D. faced a Vrykolakas (vampire) infestation, this is precisely the solution they opted for.
This is a story that will strike fear in the hearts of the producers of paranormal television shows. A research team hopes to prove that the mold in old houses may be filling the air with toxic and possibly hallucinogenic spores which could be responsible for some ghost sightings and the fear and paranoia felt by visitors in alleged haunted houses.
The researchers from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, are being led by Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Shane Rogers. As an environmental engineer, Rogers knows all about the toxic molds that invade old houses and are as difficult to remove as … well, as ghosts. He also knows that some common molds such as rye ergot fungus have been known to cause depression, anxiety and even psychosis in people who breath them.
Not to mention hallucinations. The ergot fungus was once considered to be a poison but in the 1930s was used in the initial development of lysergic acid diethylamide – LSD.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
In 1178, a group of monks at Canterbury saw the moon suddenly explode into sparks, "writhe," and "take on a blackish appearance." What the hell did they see?
Throughout history people were always mistaking astronomical events for supernatural signs. Sometimes the signs were interpreted as good omens. More often, strange lights in the sky were considered portents of evil. So in 1178, five monks in Canterbury had what must have been a very trying summer. On June 18th, looking up at the moon, they saw something they described in very religious language:
This year on the Sunday before the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, after sunset when the moon was first seen, a marvellous sign was seen by five or more men sitting facing it. Now, there was a clear new moon, as was usual at that phase, its horns extended to the east; and behold suddenly the upper horn was divided in two. Out of the middle of its division a burning torch sprang, throwing out a long way, flames, coals and sparks. As well, the moon's body which was lower, twisted as though anxious, and in the words of those who told me and had seen it with their own eyes, the moon palpitated like a pummelled snake. After this it returned to its proper state.
Beginning in the Spring of 1888, a series of grizzly murders would shake the city of London so badly that, even today, they remain among the most famous crimes ever committed. Attempts at bringing the killer to justice have led to numerous theories about the identity of the man who became known to history as Jack the Ripper. Today, despite a number credible leads that have been presented since Jack’s reign of terror, along with new evidence that employs modern science to try and crack the case, a conclusive case for The Ripper’s identity has remained elusive.
The infamous killer of Whitechapel was by no means the first eerie figure to terrorize Londoners by night. Five decades before Jack the Ripper first scrawled his name in red ink on a letter sent to London’s Central News Agency, a less murderous–though far more strange–series of incidents would arouse similar terror among the people of London, and under a similar name that remains one of the most odd and evocative in the annals of Forteana.
Bearing clawed hands, strange metallic armor, and the ability to leap the high walls of London’s suburban sprawl with ease, Spring Heeled Jack would become one of the most recognizable characters in London’s Victorian-era folklore. Purported sightings date back to 1837, with close encounters reporting a ghastly, demonic villain clad in oilskin and a long cloak, who would belch flames at his victims.
The stories of Spring Heeled Jack are well known, and have been written and re-written as items of mystery and intrigue for more than a century already. Hence, we won’t worry with recollection of the more popular events in the narrative here; instead, we will shift our focus to some of the stranger additions to the legend, and how a few interesting comparisons begin to emerge in relation to similar traditions around the world.
To begin one year after the first appearance of the senior “Jack”, on January 9th, 1838, Sir John Cowan stood before the public at the Mansion House, reading from an anonymous message sent to him about the devil known as Spring Heeled Jack. Signed, “a resident of Peckham”, the Lord Mayor read the following before the curious onlookers:
“It appears that some individuals (of, as the writer believes, the highest ranks of life) have laid a wager with a mischievous and foolhardy companion, that he durst not take upon himself the task of visiting many of the villages near London in three different disguises — a ghost, a bear, and a devil; and moreover, that he will not enter a gentleman’s gardens for the purpose of alarming the inmates of the house.”
Aliens, if they exist, are likely huge. At least that’s the conclusion of a new paper by cosmologist Fergus Simpson, who has estimated that the average weight of intelligent extraterrestrials would be 650 pounds (300 kilograms) or more. ET would have paled in comparison to these interstellar behemoths.
The argument relies on a mathematical model that assumes organisms on other planets obey the same laws of conservation of energy that we see here on Earth—namely, that larger animals need more resources and expend more energy, and thus are less abundant. There are many small ants, for example, but far fewer whales or elephants.
Thus, throughout the universe, as is the case on Earth, there are likely more small animals than large ones, says Simpson, a scientist at the University of Barcelona. Since the number of planets inhabited by relatively small animals would outnumber the amount of worlds where large ones predominate, it is most likely that we find ourselves on a planet with relatively small animals—and are ourselves probably one of the smaller intelligent beings, he adds.
Simpson says that a certain minimum size is probably necessary for intelligent life, and he used the range of body sizes found in animals on Earth to come up with the most probable distribution of organisms on other planets.
“I think the average size calculation is reasonable,” says Duncan Forgan, a scientist at the University of St Andrews school of physics and astronomy who wasn’t involved in the paper, which is published at arXiv.org.