Monday, June 29, 2009
Something's in the sky over the greater Kansas City area - well, lots of reports of UFOs have been coming in recently. Marge Padgitt, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) state section director for Kansas City reports that June has been a popular month for UFO sightings. She is receiving at least one phone call or email daily from witnesses reporting UFOs in the greater Kansas City area. On June 11 and 12, two different local television news stations interviewed her about recent UFO sightings - coverage that may have sparked people to communicate directly with her, instead of reporting their sighting directly to MUFON. As always, witnesses are asked to file a report with MUFON as well so that the larger data may be studied. On June 13 we reported here on the number of sightings in this area in, Multiple UFO Sightings in Northwest Missouri spark MUFON investigations.On June 14, a woman called from North of Miami, Florida, to report multiple sightings over the past year. The same day a college student called to say that he has seen several UFOs over the UMKC campus at night - as Marge had mentioned in the television reports. On June 16, she received the sphere UFO sighting that we believe may be the same object spotted by two different Texas witnesses and reported on in Sphere UFO reported by three witnesses in two states. Then on June 20, Padgitt's MUFON and Missouri Investigators Skywatch group met at a remote farm East of Lee's Summit to look for UFOs. It was cloudy - and they saw nothing. Go figure. But on June 23, a man reported five to six huge fireballs flying across the city in straight line formation. We covered this story in UFO Traffic Report: 400-foot-long object hovers over Wisconsin driveway. On June 24, a woman called to report that she saw a disk-shaped UFO over her farm near Lone Jack, MO, just East of Kansas City. On June 26, a woman who is a police dispatcher send Padgitt an e-mail about a silver UFO moving very slowly in broad daylight on June 25 over downtown Kansas City, and then it just vanished.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Mythical Creature Or Sick Animal?
When Jim Jackson, who lives off PR 37 across from Dancing Bear on the Bandera-Medina county line, shot a strange creature on May 26 at the water trough he keeps for the deer, Jim and wife Sandra were convinced that they had confirmed the existence of the ever-elusive chupacabra. “Jim feeds the deer,” she explained, “and when he saw this ugly-looking creature drinking from the water trough he said it looked like something that needed to be shot. He shot it and a baby ran away.” Convinced that they had killed a legendary chupacabra, the couple took pictures of the animal from all sides and sent them to the Medina County game warden and to a veterinarian. Geographical locations have penned divergent descriptions of Chupacabras – “goat suckers” of contemporary lore – along two main delineations. Texas sitings have resulted in descriptions of animals that resemble hairless dogs, coyotes or wolves that have longer hind than front legs and oversized fangs. The South American chupacabra is the size of a small bear. It stands and hops like a kangaroo on two legs, has red glowing eyes and a row of spines down its backbone from the neck to the end of the tail. Sightings of both much-described and sought chupacabras have usually followed incidents of livestock killings involving an unusually large number of slaughtered animals.The veterinarian said the animal Jim shot was not a chupacabra, but rather, a coyote with severe mange. "First of all,” the veterinarian wrote, “no, this isn't a chupacabra. But I am concerned about sarcpoptic mange – scabies – a contagious mite that causes hair loss and severe itching.” The veterinarian said the dead animal could also have rabies, but that rabies typically does not cause hair loss. Other causes of concern included intestinal parasites, roundworms and hookworms. “Without seeing it,” she wrote, “I can only speculate that it had a severe mange, flea, and or tick infestation. There is what looks like hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin) on the tail and perianal area. This is usually from chronic disease. The abscesses (or again what appear to be abscesses) around the perianal area are probably from chronic disease (itching, fleas, mange causing abscesses)." The also cautioned against handling the carcass. For tunately, for the Jacksons, they wisely had not handled the carcass. So while Bandera and Medina counties will not claim the fame that Cuero did with their cupacabra sitings, the discovery of the mangy cupacabra-like coyote is a good reminder to pet owners to vaccinate their pets, put them on flea treatment and make sure they receive the veterinary care they need. That way if they get out of the yard and show up at a neighbor’s deer-watering trough, they won’t look like something that “needs to be shot.”
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Horror Of Kenya's 'Witch' Lynchings
Villagers, many straight from their farms, and armed with machetes, sticks and axes, are shouting and crowding round in a big group in Kenya's fertile Kisii district. I can't see clearly what is going on, but heavy smoke is rising from the ground and a horrible stench fills the air. More people are streaming up the hill, some of them with firewood and maize stalks. Suddenly an old woman breaks from the crowd, screaming for mercy. Three or four people go after her, beat her and drag her back, pushing her onto - what I can now see - is a raging fire. I was witnessing a horrific practice which appears to be on the increase in Kenya - the lynching of people accused of being witches. I personally saw the burning alive of five elderly men and women in Itii village. I had been visiting relatives in a nearby town, when I heard what was happening. I dashed to the scene, accompanied by a village elder. He reacted as if what we were watching was quite normal, which was shocking for me. As a stranger I felt I had no choice but to stand by and watch. My fear was that if I showed any sign of disapproval, or made any false move, the angry mob could turn on me. Not one person was protesting or trying to stop the killing. Hours later, the police came and removed the charred bodies. Village youths who took part in the killings told me that the five victims had to die because they had bewitched a young boy. "Of course some people have been burned. But there is proof of witchcraft," said one youth. He said that a child had spent the night walking around and then was unable to talk the following morning - except to one of the so-called witches. I asked the youths whether or not people involved in this supposed witchcraft should be punished. "Yes, they must be punished, every one," said the first youth. "We are very angry and that's why we end up punishing these people and even killing them." His friend agreed: "In other communities, there are witches all round but in Kisii we have come up with a new method, we want to kill these people using our own hands." I later discovered that the young boy who had supposedly been bewitched, was suffering from epilepsy. His mother had panicked when he had had an attack. The village elder was dismissive of my horror, saying that this kind of thing happens all the time in the western district of Kisii.He told me about Joseph Ondieki, whose mother had been burned to death less than two months earlier. I found Joseph and his wife Mary Nyaboke tending vegetables in their small shamba, or homestead. Mary told me that on the day her mother-in-law had been killed she had been visiting her own parents. She had heard a noise and discovered the truth when she came home. She said that in the 20 years she had been married, she had never had any reason to believe her husband's mother was a witch. Joseph told me he has suffered a lot since his mother died. "I was born here, but at this stage I feel as if this is not my home any more," he said. "I cannot visit neighbours or relatives. "Even when they see me standing by the road side, they point at me, saying: 'That is a son of the witch'. "And when I go to town they also start wondering what has taken me there. Is it that I am going to give evidence against them? "When I come back, they say I've been seen at the police station, but I've never been there. I've never reported the matter. "If I visit the neighbours, I always fear that they might put poison in the food. "So when I'm forced to visit, I make sure I don't eat anything. "If I can't get my own food I just have a glass of water and sleep." I set off with Joseph up the hill towards his house, which was far from the centre of the village. On the way we passed his mother's house. A neighbour was reluctant to talk to me and denied even knowing Joseph's mother. "Here in Kisii, people are being burned on mere allegation and most of them are old," Joseph said. "We now don't have any old people in the village to consult. "Even me I'm now approaching 50 years old - I'm afraid that they'll come for me also." I spent three days in Kisii trying to speak to the authorities, but nobody, neither the police nor the local government officials would talk to me. As night drew in, and it was time for me to leave, Joseph walked with me from his village to where my car was parked. When we arrived, he begged me to take him with me to Mombasa, where I am based. It was very difficult for me to leave him behind. As I drove away I passed signs pinned to trees, warning witches that they would be tracked down. "We know you by your names", someone had typed in bold.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Girl Who Doesn't Age
She's 16 years old, but has the body and mind of a toddler. Years have passed and doctors still can't solve a baffling mystery -- why hasn't Brooke Greenberg aged? Brooke is 16 pounds and 30 inches tall. She doesn't speak, but knows how to vocalize sounds to ask for things or express what she likes and doesn't like, just like an infant. Doctors have observed that Brooke's body is growing out of sync. For instance she still has baby teeth, but her bone age is estimated to be 10 years old. The only things that do consistently grow are her hair and nails. "Why doesn't she age?" Howard Greenberg, 52, asked of his daughter. "Is she the fountain of youth?"
At about 16 pounds and 30 inches, 16-year-old Brooke Greenberg has not aged significantly, physically or apparently cognitively, since she was a toddler. Doctors hope that her case could shed light on the mysterious genetics behind aging.Indeed doctors are hoping to use Brooke's case to figure out the genetics behind aging. Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida and geneticist Maxine Sutcliffe believe that Brooke has a genetic mutation that prevents her from aging. They are hoping to isolate the gene to figure out how it is that humans age. "Without being sensational, I'd say this is an opportunity for us to answer the question, why we're mortal, or at least to test it," Walker told ABC. "And if we're wrong, we can discard it. But if we're right, we've got the golden ring." Unlike Greenberg's condition, doctors have identified a bone growth disorder as being behind dwarfism. The world's smallest girl, who is a dwarf, is 15 years old and 2 feet tall.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
House Haunted By Spirits?
It’s the sort of house you might fantasize about. Three stories. A deck with an ocean view. A Laguna Beach address. But like the house in “Amityville Horror” or umpteen other scary movies, it creeped Lori Duarte out. She woke up screaming from nightmares. Saw things out of the corner of her eye. Heard strange noises. “It was a pretty house,” Lori says, “but it didn’t feel that way; I would rather be in a shack.” In November 2007, after a year and a half together, she and her husband decided to split up. And sell the house. It was on the market for the next seven months. There were no takers. Whatever was in that house, Lori says, was keeping buyers away. She told her ex that there was a woman in town they could hire to chase away the spirits. “If you can get it to sell,” he told Lori, “do whatever the hell you want.” Julie Belmont lives in Laguna Hills. She is an artist who works in oils and pastels and charcoal. She makes Victorian chokers. She knits scarves. And, she says, she sees dead people. Julie was 4 and living in Madrid when she woke one morning to find her aunt standing at the foot of her bed, wearing a gray dress and smiling kindly. The woman told her niece she had come to say goodbye. Then she faded away. “OK,” Julie says she remembers thinking. “I am awake.” She went to her parents and told them what she saw. She says they didn’t flinch. “Get your coat,” they told her. The family went to a hospital where the aunt had been ill. The old woman passed away soon after they arrived. It was the fall of 2007 when Lori, a flight attendant and mother of three, met Julie at the Chakra Shack in Laguna Beach. The woman who usually reads Lori’s cards wasn’t in, but Julie was. Some people might call Julie a psychic. She prefers the term “intuitive.” “People still stereotype,” Julie says. Since childhood, she says, she could see, hear and feel things that others couldn’t. The more she focused on her intuition, the more it developed. But, until relatively recently, she only shared it with friends and family. After growing up in Madrid, she moved to Toronto where she fell into modeling, becoming Canada’s first poster girl. A 1980 magazine spread titled “Battle of the Poster Girls” shows her in a bathing suit and Farrah Fawcett hair alongside cheesecake swimsuit photos of Cheryl Tiegs, Suzanne Somers and Cheryl Ladd. Soon, Julie moved to Newport Beach. She decided she wanted to be a cop. She enrolled in the Golden West Police Academy and, in a few years, she was a reserve officer for the Costa Mesa Police Department. Less than two years after that, she got pregnant and quit her job to raise what would be her only child, a girl, Krystle.
Julie Belmont has seen a rise in her services since more people are leaving their homes in foreclosure. She calls herself an"intuitional consultant" who cleanses houses of "bad spirits."For the next decade or so Julie was mainly a mom, living in Nellie Gale, making, and sometimes selling, her art. But about five years ago, some of her friends who work as psychics told her, “You’re just as good as us. Why don’t you get a job?” She got hired at the Chakra Shack, reading cards. She also does hypnotherapy and has written some books you can buy on Amazon. Then, about two years ago, watching yet another TV news report on foreclosures, Julie fell into a reverie about all those people leaving their homes in sadness and anger. What sort of negativity, she wondered, are they leaving behind? Julie arrived at Lori’s house armed with crystals, candles and rose water. Lori took her from room to room. Then Julie told Lori to go outside and wait, standard operating procedure since the person who lives in the home may become frightened. “Spirits gain strength from fear,” Julie says. Once alone, Julie walked through each room, counterclockwise, burning sage. “It’s a modern, everyday house, and that day was sunny,” she says of the house that is, at most, a few decades old. “Yet it felt dark, like something was there that shouldn’t be.” Julie emerged about 40 minutes later. Then, Julie and Lori sprinkled rose water in the backyard and said a prayer, asking for “whatever it was that was there” to leave. Julie calls what she does Spiritual Home Staging. “Don’t live in somebody else’s past,” her flier reads. Her most recent jobs were a house in Costa Mesa and an office in Long Beach. For both, she brought sage to burn and a mix of oils. “If it’s a heavy duty entity, I will call the archangels to help me.” Her fee for everything from basic “energy cleansing and balancing” to “communication with the unseen, and evacuation or dismissal of unwanted energies or other phenomena,” is $200 an hour. Does she realize that some people out there might think she is a kook, or even worse, a fake? “There’re always skeptics.” Lori is not one of the skeptics. Still, she worries that people who read about her decision to hire Julie might think she is, in her words, “a fruitcake.” “Some people just don’t believe in this sort of thing,” Lori says. “And that’s fine. But unless you’ve experienced it…” Her voice trails off. The bottom line: “I would wake up at night screaming, open my eyes, and see people standing next to me. It felt like I was hallucinating. I hated being alone in that house. It just felt creepy. “And everyone who would visit would say the same thing.” After Julie left, Lori says, her house felt lighter. The cold, dark feeling was gone. And within a month she had a buyer. Today Lori and her kids live only a few blocks from their former home, in a more modest house. Her daughter still plays with their former next door neighbor’s child, so they still go by the old place all the time. “And it looks like a different house,” Lori says. “I don’t know how to explain it. Physically, nothing’s changed. "There’s things out there you just can’t put your finger on. I don’t know. Do you believe it?”
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
DyingTycoon Told Of `Being Under Curse'
Billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum believed someone placed a curse on her, just months before she died of cancer in April 2007, a court heard yesterday. Dr David Ho Wai-tak also told the Court of First Instance that Wang appeared mentally unstable when he met her in September 2006, and when she told him a friend had offered to exorcise the curse by taking her underwear and strands of hair to the mainland. Ho, a general surgeon at Baptist and St Teresa's hospitals, testified he first met Wang in 2004, when he acted on behalf of Baptist to purchase a block of property from the Chinachem Group. A few days after a meeting between Chinachem and the hospital, at which the billionaire was not present, Wang called Ho and said she would like to seek a medical opinion from him. The two arranged a lunch date, during which Wang appointed Ho as an "honorary medical adviser." The third and final occasion Ho saw Wang was in September 2006.
Nina Wang Kung Yu-sumHo said he was shocked because Wang had lost a lot of weight and her voice had changed. Wang told him she felt very uncomfortable and was a bit scared as "she felt someone was following her and doing her harm." "[Wang said] `I thought recently somebody has put a curse on me,"' Ho testified. "I figured she was ... mentally and physically not well ... sometimes mentally incoherent." He said he advised Wang to see a doctor. Wang then told Ho a good friend - whom she did not identify - had said he could help her. She said the friend "asked me for my underwear and strands of hair, which he could take to the mainland to do something [with them]. He said after that I would be okay." Wang also told Ho people had asked her to sign blank documents, and that she was still being followed. Fung shui master Yu Chi-lun was another to testify yesterday. He had provided fung shui services for Wang in 2005. Yu had been anonymously sought by Wang to check on the compatibility between her and Tony Chan Chun- chuen. Chan is expected to testify today.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Park District To Lead Ghost Hunt
Curious about the paranormal? Interested in experiencing sudden temperature changes, things that go bump in the dark, eerie noises or apparitions? The Licking Park District's "Ghost Hunt at the Reformatory" tour might be the experience for you. Join the Licking Park District and Michael Robare, Founder of Central Ohio Paranormal Society, on July 24 for a night of ghost-hunting in the Historic Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield.Once home to Ohio's criminals, the Reformatory is now a historic site dedicated to education and unique experiences. This will be an extended overnight tour. No accommodations will be provided, only ghost hunting. Participants must be age 21 or older. There is a $125 per person fee for this trip, which includes transportation to and from the reformatory and a pizza dinner before beginning the hunt. Park Express members receive a 10 percent discount on their reservation. Deadline for registration is June 30. To register, call (740) 587-2535 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Charity Night In Haunted House Turns Wrexham Friends Into Ghost Believers
Hour upon hour of ghostly goings on proved very successful in raising hundreds of pounds for the special baby care unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital. A group of friends from the Wrexham area – Claire Westhead, Kurtis Baines, Michael Griffiths and Leanne Westhead – decided to stay overnight at Plas Teg, near Mold, which has a reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in Wales, and were sponsored by friends and family to the tune of £383. They said their time spent at the imposing country house was a very spooky occasion with several incidents taking place. "During the time there we did a number of different things, including table-tipping. That is when four people gently place their hands on a table," said Claire. "If there are any spirits present they are asked by the medium to help lift the table on to two legs, then eventually onto one, and are asked to move the table around the room – which to our amazement they did. "The table was bouncing around the room on one leg. We thought it was the medium pushing it, but he asked someone else to go in his place to prove he wasn't doing anything, and the table continued to bounce." Claire said the friends then went on to a different room where they had the opportunity to use a message board. "During the time we were on it, Kurtis' friend's nana came through and spelt out her name, her grandson's name and her daughter's name. We were all amazed. "Seconds later my grandad came through. He even knew about a tattoo which my cousin has had on her wrist in remembrance of him and knew about my daughter Darcie, who was born after my grandad had passed away."It was really weird but amazing at the same time. It was as if we were in a dream, as it all seemed too hard to believe what was going on was real." Claire said that Leanne experienced a sensation of somebody blowing on her face in one room, and Kurtis felt he was being touched on the back of his neck. "While we were on the message board a spirit from the house came through, a little boy named Jack who was seven years old. He said it was him who helped us tip the table in the previous room. We asked if it was him who kept touching Kurtis' neck and the glass went straight to yes. It then spelt out fun games. "Kurtis came off the message board to let someone else have ago. When another member of the group put their finger on the glass it just stopped moving. We asked questions and waited a few minutes, but nothing, so the medium asked Kurtis to go back on it. "As soon as Kurtis went back the glass started moving again. We asked if it was Jack that was still with us and it went to yes. We asked if he liked Kurtis and he said yes, because he reminded him of himself. We asked Jack why and he spelt out the word fun. It was really creepy. "The medium then closed down the table to all spirits and we went to explore the rest of the mansion where we saw a number of orbs, and felt coldspots in different rooms. "None of us believed in ghosts before, but after visiting Plas Teg for the night all of us have said that we take back everything we ever said about ghosts not being real."
Friday, June 19, 2009
Voodoo Ritual Lands Girl In Hospital
A New York mother and grandmother have been charged with setting a six-year-old girl on fire, as part of a voodoo ritual. Police have said the girl was set alight with lighter fluid during the ritual that caused severe burns to over 25 per cent of her body.The girl was only taken to a hospital after a relative intervened. The 29-year-old mother has been charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The girl's grandmother, 70, was charged with reckless endangerment of a child.