Friday, February 27, 2015

Red-Eyed Owlman or Black-Eyed Alien?

One of the most fascinating aspects of the UFO phenomenon – and particularly so that which focuses on the “alien abduction” controversy – is one which makes a connection between encounters of the unearthly kind and owls. There are numerous reports on file where people who have undergone UFO experiences report sightings of anomalous owls. And by “anomalous” I mean owls that (A) manifest directly before or after the encounter and in the same location; and (B) seem to be much larger than the average, known kind of owl.

This has led to an intriguing theory: that the sightings of owls are actually nothing of the sort. They may be nothing less than skilfully-created “screen memories” which are implanted into the mind of the abductee or the experiencer, with the specific intent of masking the true nature of what occurred.

Whitley Strieber is the author of what is probably the most widely recognized book on the alien abduction phenomenon: the bestselling Communion, which was published in 1987, and the cover of which displays a near-hypnotic image of an alien entity. It may not be a coincidence that immediately after the first abduction experience that Strieber recalled, on December 26, 1985, his mind was filled owl-based imagery.

Strieber’s sister had her own experience with an anomalous owl in the early 1960s. Strieber said that as his sister was driving between the Texas towns of Comfort and Kerrville, and after the witching hour had struck, “…she was terrified to see a huge light sail down and cross the road ahead of her. A few minutes later an owl flew in front of the car. I have to wonder if that is not a screen memory, but my sister has no sense of it.”

Alligators in the sewer and more urban legends and hoaxes that fooled NYC

Eighty years ago, 16-year-old Salvatore Condulucci was helping to shovel snow into a manhole near the Harlem River when he encountered one of the city’s enduring urban legends: an alligator.

The beast, thrashing about in the icy sewer, seemed to be trying to free itself. Other boys with him confirmed the sighting, and soon a plan was hatched to lasso the animal and drag it from the depths.

Condulucci, “an expert on Western movies,” as The New York Times reported the episode on Feb. 10, 1935, “dangled the noose in the sewer, and after several tantalizing near-catches, looped it about the ‘gators neck.” He pulled. The animal was dragged from the sewer and, probably terrified, snapped at the boys; they pummeled it to death with shovels.

On Monday, the city celebrates the episode and other urban legends with Alligators in the Sewer Day, created by Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione. In an interview last week, he explained why this alligator tale — and not so many others that came before it — deserved to be believed.

“The story contains so many easily verifiable names and addresses that it would be impossible to put this out there as a hoax, as untrue,” he said. “We don't have any carcass. We don't have any photographs. But it has the makings of a true story.”

Chinese Police Officials Caught Eating Real-Life Monster

It’s bad enough when humans create endangered species through hunting, pollution and other activities. It’s even worse when they knowingly dine on one of the last of a species – just to show they can. That’s what happened in South China’s Guangdong Province when 28 people, mostly police officials, ate a critically endangered Chinese giant salamander.

The Andrias davidianus is both the largest salamander and the largest amphibian in the world, reaching a length of almost 6 feet. There are only three recognized members of the Cryptobranchidae or giant salamander family – the Chinese giant salamander, the slightly smaller Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), and the much smaller North American hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis).

Besides these three, there have been reports since the 19th century of a Trinity Alps giant salamander in the Trinity Alps of northern California. The Japanese giant salamander is considered by some to be the inspiration for the kappa – a Japanese turtle-shelled reptilian cryptid that is believed to live in rivers and reputed to kidnap children and drown swimmers. The first giant salamander fossil discovered in 1726 was mistakenly identified as a Homo diluvii testis – a human who drowned in the biblical flood.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hong Kong policeman cleared of assault after claiming he was performing exorcism on lover

A police inspector convicted of assaulting his lover had his name cleared yesterday after the top court found his excuse that he had been performing an exorcism was not totally incredible.

Simon Lau Shing-chung, 45, was witnessed slapping the woman on January 4, 2012, according to the written judgment from the Court of Final Appeal. He then repeatedly pushed her up and down on the bed in her flat in Tai Po.
Lau claimed his acts, however, had been lawful as he had consent from the victim - named only as Ms Yau - to use limited violence while attempting to rid her of a ghost.

Lau was convicted of common assault and was fined HK$5,000 in Fanling Court in May last year.

The magistrate found his explanation that his girlfriend was possessed to be an "invention" and refused to accept the phone messages as evidence.


Bizarre ESP Experiments or Shades of Media Bias?

There is, without question, a bizarre history pertaining to psychic experimentation.

Throughout the Cold War era, world governments sought to explore whether powers of the mind could allow for espionage that far exceeded anything technology could produce. At times, the lengths those in officialdom may have gone to in attempting to unlock the supposed superhuman powers of the mind may have entered the despicable; in likelihood, the full extent to which tests involving humans may have been carried out will never be known.

Apart from human experimentation into psychic powers, with little doubt, there were even greater injustices brought against aboriginal children in parts of Canada during the early and middle parts of the twentieth century. These ranged from poor treatment to children being underfed, assaulted, and of course, represented by government when parents existed who should have been considered as legal guardians instead; altogether, a very troubling history of human rights violations is highlighted in the history of Canadian residential schools for aboriginal children.

However, a recent Washington Post article, extrapolating on an earlier CBC News piece, connects ESP experiments documented in a 1943 paper with the residential school atrocities in a peculiar way, which appears to involve cherry-picked statements from prominent members of the skeptical community, as well as links to articles about far more invasive “experiments” only tangentially related to ESP tests carried out at Indian Residential School in Brandon, Manitoba.


Believers gather for 24th UFO Congress

Thousands of people gathered in Phoenix this week for the largest UFO conference in the United States.

First held in 1991, the International UFO Congress is an annual get-together for UFO enthusiasts, researchers, alien abductees and anyone else with an interest in the phenomenon.

Among the attractions at the event are presentations by guest speakers, discussion panels, a film festival and even a series of therapy sessions for those who believe that they have been abducted by extraterrestrials.

"Most often people just want to know what happened to them," said hypnotherapist Yvonne Smith who attended the event. "They ask if they are crazy or if it was all a dream."

What was the mystery object or creature in Plymouth Sound?

An unidentified object or creature has been spotted floating in Plymouth Sound and Herald readers want to know what it was.

Several people have contacted The Herald asking about what they saw in the waters off our shore this weekend.

Allan Jones of West Hill took these pictures.

He said: "On Sunday morning I spotted a large marine like creature or object in Plymouth Sound.

"I had a telephoto lens and captured a number of images. The first one I took I was up by Smeaton's tower but then went down towards the sea for some closer shots.

"The creature or object moved in circles, appeared to curve its shape and moved a considerable distance from left to right, turn and then move back the other way.

"I have circled a piece of floating wood that floated up to and past it.

"The creature or object then turned and remained stationary. It was seen by a number of people.

"I was using a 400mm telephoto lens as it was a fair distance out to sea."

Haunted Woolworth Mansion Destroyed by Mysterious Fire

A haunted mansion in New York built by the founder of the F.W. Woolworth’s retail chain was gutted this week by a mysterious fire – nearly 100 years after it was built to replace a previous mansion also destroyed by a mysterious fire. Did the ghost of the founder’s daughter have anything to do with it?

Before there was Sam Walton and Walmart, there was Frank Winfield “F.W.” Woolworth and the “Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store,” one of the first retail stores to sell household goods. Started in 1878 in Utica, New York, it became one of the world’s largest retail chains before competitors like Walmart forced it out of business in 1997.

Little is written about the mysterious fire that destroyed Woolworth’s first mansion. To replace it, he spent nine million dollars (in today’s money) on Winfield Hall in the exclusive Glen Cove neighborhood on Long Island, finishing it in 1916. Besides being opulent, the house was mysteriously riddled with secret passages and hidden chambers. Unfortunately, the house also seemed to bring a curse on the Woolworth family.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Rain Boy: An Unexplained Phenomenon

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania native Donnie Decker's life has been surrounded by a phenomenon that remains unsolved to this day. It started after his grandfather's death when he was a teenager in February of 1983. Unknown to everyone within the family, Don had been carrying a secret about his grandfather since the age of 7 years old. Donnie Decker alleges that his grandfather had been repeatedly physically abusing him.

Don was disturbed by the reverence shown to his Grandfather at the funeral and afterwards, spending the night with friends, the Keefer's, those feelings erupted in a way that could never have been foreseen. Who knows what emotional turmoil that unleashes within the mind and spirit of an adolescent but there are those who say Donnie Decker allowed it manifest in a series of strange paranormal events.

As he sat quietly with his friends the air around him suddenly turned cold, and at the same time, water started to drip from the living room walls. Don fell into a eerie trance like state. The tenants of the property immediately called the landlord, Ron H. Van Why to report that water was now dripping from the walls and the ceiling.


The “Vanishing Triangle” Remains One of Ireland’s Most Eerie Mysteries

“It is far easier to be sensible in cities than in many country places I could tell you of. When one walks on those grey roads at evening by the scented elder-bushes of the white cottages, watching the faint mountains gathering the clouds upon their heads, one all too readily discovers, beyond the thin cobweb veil of the senses, those creatures, the goblins, hurrying from the white square stone door to the north, or from the Heart Lake in the south.” – William Butler Yeats, “Kidnappers”

The women were all young, and the best efforts of police to find clues about their disappearances came up empty.

There were six women officially–nine by some counts–who went missing beginning in 1993.

Rewards, some for as much as €10,000, were offered to those willing to come forward with any substantial information about the disappearances, but none bore any fruit. In the aftermath, the region where the disappearances occurred–all of them still unexplained today–would be marked with a name commemorating the odd and unsettling mystery that occurred here.

It is known today as Ireland’s “Vanishing Triangle”.


10 Unsolved Cases That Involved Mysterious Phone Calls

When it comes to phone calls, they are generally easy to track. Caller ID is a pretty common feature, and phone companies keep records of who calls whom. It even appears that the NSA is tracking all the calls that people make. Yet, with these mysteries, there are phone calls that are immensely puzzling.

10. The Kuykendall Family Harasser

In February 2007, in Fircrest, Washington, 16-year-old Courtney Kuykendall’s phone started sending out random text messages to her friends. Things got weird when someone started calling the members of the Kuykendall family. The caller threatened to kill them, kill their pets, and kill their grandparents. The Kuykendalls contacted the police, and the calls were traced back to Courtney’s phone. Of course, the obvious suspect was Courtney. The problem was that the calls continued even when Courtney’s phone was turned off or when her parents had taken it away from her.

Things only got creepier from there. Whoever was calling described things the Kuykendall family were doing or what they were wearing. The stalker left voice mails that were recordings of conversations they had, even the one when the police had visited to talk about the calls. This continued for over four months, and no suspect was ever found. The cell phone company didn’t think the technology to hijack a phone existed at the time. However, security experts said a phone could have been hijacked using spyware. The police thought that the family could have been making the story up, but two other families in the town also reported similar problems with their cell phones.

Ancient stone with strange carvings, possibly Anglo-Saxon, turns up in garden shop

A stone with mysterious carvings, possibly dating from the Anglo-Saxon or Viking era, had been on sale as a garden ornament when television host and archaeologist James Balme bought it recently, cleaned it and revealed an intricately designed carving.

He told LiveScience that it is believed to date from the Anglo-Saxon period, which lasted from 410 to 1066 A.D.

The stone weighs about 60 pounds (27.5 kilograms). Balme said it appears to be made of hard sandstone. Like some other Anglo-Saxon and Viking stones, it's wider at its base than the top. It’s 18 inches (46 centimeters) tall and 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide. The decorations are on the front face "although it does have many chisel marks on the sides and back," he told LiveScience.

In another case, in December a gardener in Chester, England, found a rare Anglo-Saxon carving in a batch of stone he bought for his garden. In yet another case, an auctioneer found a 1,100-year-old stone carved with Christian symbols in a garage in Surrey.