Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ark. Woman's Death Was 'God's Choice,' N.J. Voodoo Priest Says

Houngan Hector Salva, a native of Vineland, claims he can improve people's fortunes, get the incarcerated out of jail and return lost lovers. But he, too, answers to a creator who does not grant interviews. That's why the mysterious death earlier this month of Lucie Marie Hamilton, 20, a male-to-female transgender woman from Little Rock, Ark., who traveled to the voodoo priest's home in Camden County for a spiritual cleansing, can't be solved on an earthly level, he said. "That's God's choice," he told the Daily News yesterday. "I don't have no say in when God deems your turn." Authorities are awaiting results of a toxicology test to determine the cause and manner of Hamilton's death, which has not been deemed suspicious. No charges have been filed, and Salva, who goes by "Houngan Hector," said he is "100 percent confident" there was no wrongdoing on his part. Salva, soft-spoken and polite with a constant smile, said that no drugs were involved in the spiritual cleansing called the Lave Tet, but that small amounts of rum sometimes are consumed. "Maybe a sip," he said, but he added that Hamilton had "passed on the rum." Salva said Hamilton was referred to him by someone else, and was in good spirits when he picked her up July 10 at Philadelphia International Airport. He said she was undergoing hormone treatment for an eventual sex-change operation, although friends of Hamilton's have said that isn't true. The following night, he said, Hamilton's last hours in the house on Loch Lomond Drive, in Gloucester Township, were spent "laughing, dancing and singing voodoo songs" with the other six participants, some of whom traveled from as far as Canada and the Netherlands to pay for the spiritual cleansing. "She was happy, very positive," he said. "She seemed very fine as far as everyone knew." What happened about 11 p.m., Salva said, is the same scenario he told dispatchers during a frantic 9-1-1 call. "She was taking a nap and we woke her up to see if she was hungry, and she was nonresponsive," he reiterated yesterday. "We kept calling her name and she wouldn't respond." The other participants in the ritual could not be reached for comment. Salva declined to provide their names. Authorities and hospital officials have declined to say why Salva and the others in the house were taken to Virtua Hospital in Berlin Township for treatment July 11. Salva said that everyone was having their "spirits called" and may have looked "different" to police. "A true spiritual possession changes the way a person looks," he said, adding that everyone was cleared from the hospital in an hour and that no blood was drawn.
Houngan Hector Salva
Since the death, Salva said, he has moved his fiancee and his four children from Gloucester Township because of the negativity he feels has been heaped upon him by neighbors, the news media and some in the voodoo community. He and his supporters also needed to mourn, he said. "We all loved Lucie, that's why we didn't speak to the media," he said. "Lucille was a family member to us as well." Hamilton used both the names Lucie and Lucille. Salva said he had contacted Hamilton's mother, Karen Michele Thompson, after the death, and had sent flowers to the funeral in Little Rock. Thompson, in an e-mail to the Daily News, confirmed the conversation with Salva but could not be reached for further comment. Salva's neighbors on Loch Lomond Drive spoke to reporters in the days after the incident, recalling strange smells and chanting in foreign languages emanating from his home on most weekends, with the occasional dead chicken showing up in nearby woods. "Most of what they said about me is based on too much television," he said with a smile. Voodoo is not a religion of darkness or evil, and is most likely more widespread in South Jersey than anyone can imagine, he said. "My branch of voodoo does not deal with zombies," he said. An ethnic Puerto Rican born and raised in Vineland as Hector Salva, he said that he was initiated as a voodoo priest in Haiti in 2003 and that the "magical" side of the tradition is now his main source of income. He has traveled to Spain, Germany, Mexico and various other countries to speak to supporters of his Gade Nou Leve Society and partake in rituals, he said. "The voodoo religion believes in God, and we believe in spiritual assistants and guides that assist us through life," he said. "They're not all that different from what people in the Catholic Church refer to as saints and angels." In voodoo, there is no discrimination against race, gender or sexual orientation, which is why Hamilton felt so welcome, he said. "I don't care if Lucie was black, white or purple," he said. "She was a beautiful person who I knew as Lucie." News reports that Hamilton was forbidden to bring a cell phone or laptop were untrue, he said. His computer, along with a skull, have been confiscated by police. "They're just doing their jobs," he said. Salva said that he'll continue to practice voodoo and that the lingering mystery of Hamilton's death hasn't fazed the supporters he's garnered on Yahoo and Facebook voodoo groups. "What people have to understand is death is part of life," he said. "Anyone could have a guest stay the night and when they go to wake them, they don't wake up. "No one is promised tomorrow."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cannibal Mom

A woman charged with murdering her 3 1/2-week-old son used a knife and two swords to dismember the child and ate parts of his body, including his brain, before stabbing herself in the torso and slicing her own throat, police said Monday. Otty Sanchez, 33, is charged with capital murder in the death of her infant son, Scott Wesley Buchholtz-Sanchez. She was recovering from her wounds at a hospital, and was being held on $1 million bail. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the early Sunday morning attack occurred a week after the child's father moved out. The child's aunt and two cousins, ages 5 and 7, were in the house, but none were harmed. McManus, who appeared uncomfortable as he addressed reporters, said Sanchez apparently ate the child's brain and some other body parts. She also tore his face off, chewed off three of his toes and decapitated the infant before stabbing herself. "It's too heinous for me to describe it any further," McManus said.Officers called to Sanchez's house at about 5 a.m. Sunday found her sitting on the couch "screaming that she killed her baby," police spokesman Joe Rios said. They found the boy's body in a bedroom. Police said Sanchez said the devil told her to kill her son. "It was a spontaneous utterance," McManus said. "She said she was hearing voices." Sanchez does not yet have a lawyer, police said, and was hospitalized in San Antonio. The police declined to identify other family members. No one answered the door Monday at Sanchez's home, where the blinds were shut. A hopscotch pattern and red hearts were drawn on the walk leading up to the house. Neighbor Luis Yanez said everyone on the street was appalled by the news. "Why would you do that to your baby?" said Yanez, 23, a tire technician. "It brings chills to you. They can't defend themselves."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Church Offers Voodoo Water Ceremony To Protect Bastards From Satan

In a bold, modernising step the Church of England is to offer couples a voodoo water ceremony to protect their bastard offspring from the horned one. Couples who are getting married in church will be offered a baptism for any children that may have been produced by frenzied bouts of demonic pre-marital rutting, probably from behind. A CofE spokesman said: "We have to recognise that in the modern world an increasing number of children are vulnerable to Beelzebub until we've soaked their head in some tap water that we've waved our hands at. "And of course children born outside of wedlock are in even greater danger because Jesus was not there to help daddy put his thingy in mummy's doo-da."But if we can at least throw some water at their head when their mummy and daddy are getting married then hopefully they will only be half-possessed by one of the minor demons." He added: "You can have your entire family unit protected from the Dark Lord and his army of goblins for only £272 + VAT and we'll even throw in a bottle of Diet Fanta and a family-size portion of nachos." Bride-to-be Emma Bradford, from Stevenage, said: "I'm so relieved that we can have both our marriage and our bastards approved by the baby Jesus. "In a way it's kind of an apology to God for getting up the duff after swapping my knickers for a bag of chips on the way home from the pub." She added: "Come to think of it, Joseph was only Jesus's step-dad and I don't remember anything in the bible about the Virgin Mary getting married to God, and if she did then she would have been a bigamist, which is surely worse than my aforementioned chip-induced knicker removal. "Maybe I should say something to the vicar."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Humans Naturally Glow In The Dark

The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal. Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals. (This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.) To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan employed extraordinarily sensitive cameras capable of detecting single photons. Five healthy male volunteers in their 20s were placed bare-chested in front of the cameras in complete darkness in light-tight rooms for 20 minutes every three hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for three days.
Schematic illustration of experimental setup that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities.
The researchers found the body glow rose and fell over the day, with its lowest point at 10 a.m. and its peak at 4 p.m., dropping gradually after that. These findings suggest there is light emission linked to our body clocks, most likely due to how our metabolic rhythms fluctuate over the course of the day. Faces glowed more than the rest of the body. This might be because faces are more tanned than the rest of the body, since they get more exposure to sunlight — the pigment behind skin color, melanin, has fluorescent components that could enhance the body's miniscule light production. Since this faint light is linked with the body's metabolism, this finding suggests cameras that can spot the weak emissions could help spot medical conditions, said researcher Hitoshi Okamura, a circadian biologist at Kyoto University in Japan. "If you can see the glimmer from the body's surface, you could see the whole body condition," said researcher Masaki Kobayashi, a biomedical photonics specialist at the Tohoku Institute of Technology in Sendai, Japan.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

DCP Goes Ghost Hunting

"It’s just nonsense. It’s my regular visit. I requested for a change and my higher ups permitted me. There is no question of me hunting the ghost and spending the whole night in the High Court corridors. I’m just discharging my duty as a night patrolling cop. There’s nothing special about it."

This is how Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vidhana Soudha Security) Kumaraswamy reacted when asked to comment on his ‘ghost hunting trip’ to the High Court on Wednesday night. A section of the media had reported about a “ghost” menace in and around the HC premises. Some people had claimed that they spotted a woman in white attire making strange sounds and wandering in the HC corridors. It is also said that some of the hotel workers in the HC premises fell sick recently due to ghost menace.After a lot of speculations and rumours, the DCP decided to visit the HC corridors during late in the night during Amavasya Day (Wednesday). When asked, Kumaraswamy said he was curious after hearing such stories and decided to visit the HC corridors. He obtained permission from the higher ups to visit all the corridors, he said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Indian Farmers Fight Bad Monsoon With Frog Marriage

Indian farmers are falling back on a trusted local method to bring badly needed monsoon rains -- marrying off two frogs. Villagers in West Bengal state pooled their money together this week to marry Ram and Sita, two frogs named after India's most revered mythological couple from the epic Ramayana. Following an ancient Hindu belief, the frogs' heads were smeared with vermilion paint and the pair were held up in the air in a ritual in front of a traditional clay candle."We feted about 3,000 villagers and solemnised the marriage with every single ritual," Shobin Ray, head of a local council in Madhya Baragari village, about 750 km (470 miles) north of state capital Kolkata, told Reuters by phone. The women at the wedding fasted beforehand and then invited the river to join the ceremony and give its blessing, as is customary in Bengali tradition, he said. India this year suffered its worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades, causing drought in some states.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cannibal Now Wants Love On The Menu

An Indonesian cannibal is seeking love, promising his people-eating days are over. Sumanto, currently residing in rural Central Java, was jailed after he dug up an old woman's body for a "cheap and tasty meal". "She was delicious," he told AFP from his room at a Muslim mental rehabilitation centre in rural Central Java. "I love meat... all types of meat as long as it's cooked. But I don't eat people anymore." But after a lengthy stint in prison, the former farmer now longs for the taste of love. "What is love? How can I describe it when I've never experienced it, never tasted it?" Sumanto said his cannibal days are over and that spinach was all he ate nowadays in a bid to be accepted back into normal village life."I'm sad. People said so many bad things about me. I will strive to get the villagers to open their hearts and accept me again," he said. But his plea for love doesn’t seem to be working. He was rejected by his village upon his release from prison with a next-door neighbour fearing she could be Sumanto’s next meal. "Sumanto? That corpse-eater. He was a bad-tempered man who often stole our rice and chickens," she said. She said she would never forget the stench of death and the sight of a bowl of whitish-yellow human flesh drenched in soy sauce. "There'll be chaos if he ever comes back. I don't want him to kill me and have me for dinner." Despite admitting his love for meat - and spinach - Sumanto said he will now survive on "water, vitamins and minerals" alone if it helped him find love. "Meat is definitely nicer than vegetables, but if there's no meat I can make do with grass. It's healthy and I could braise or stir-fry it to make it taste good," he said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boulder Garage Burned To `Kill Satan'

Investigators say an ax-wielding man arrested near a garage fire told an officer that he set the blaze because he thought Satan was inside. Forty-eight-year-old Gary Lee Shestak of Boulder is being investigated for the fire at a detached garage early Friday and another blaze July 12 at the same building that also damaged another structure.Shestak approached a police detective and a fire marshal at the scene with an ax with the blade pointed outward. The detective, a 12-year veteran, drew his gun and was able to subdue Shestak without harm. Boulder police say Shestak asked for help killing Satan, who he believed was inside the garage. A number listed for Shestak, who faces a felony menacing charge, was disconnected. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Talking Toy 'Translates' Dog Barks

Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy said on Thursday that it would launch a talking version of its Bowlingual gadget that can "translate" dog barks into the human language. The new model analyses six emotions, including joy, sadness and frustration, and speaks phrases such as "Play with me!" -- an improvement on the original which just showed them on a screen. "Dog owners can enjoy the toy at a dog run and a park," said Tomy spokeswoman Chie Yamada.The original version of the toy, which has a handset and a microphone attached to a dog collar, won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. The awards, a parody of the Nobel Prizes, celebrate achievements that make people laugh and think. The new Bowlingual Voice, priced at 19,950 yen (212 dollars), will be launched in Japan next month, Yamada said. It will be only available in Japanese at present. The original non-speaking version is also available in English and Korean.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

13 Year Old Beaten Up By Ghost

A Priest has been called in by a distraught mum after her teenage son told her he had been attacked by a ghost in the family home. Terrified mum Beverley Wilkins turned to the church after son Daniel was left bruised and bewildered by what his family say could only have been a ghost or poltergeist. The 13-year-old had finished school and was alone in their home in York Road, Hartlepool, when he claims he was suddenly pulled upright, dragged across the living room, taken to the front door and thrown out into the street. The incident, on Monday, is said to have lasted five minutes before the startled youngster fled to a neighbour's house. Mum Beverley was collecting her five-year-old son, Ethan, from the town's Barnard Grove Primary School at the time and returned to find a group of neighbours and a trembling Daniel outside her locked front door. Single mum Beverley, 33, who does not work, told the Mail: "Daniel told me he had been sitting on the sofa listening to music when he felt someone grab him and pick him up. "His feet came off the floor and then someone started pushing him towards the living room door. "Whatever it was then tried to push him into the kitchen. "He said that the front door then flew open and he was grabbed by the arms again and pushed into the street. "He did not see anyone throughout the whole thing but said it sounded like a man because of the heavy breathing."
Daniel Wilkins
After cautiously entering their home, the family turned and fled after hearing banging upstairs and the sound of someone walking around. They dashed to St Paul's Church and explained what had happened to parish priest Father Richard Masshedar. After enlisting the support of her mum, Kathleen Galloway, Beverley, her two-year-old daughter, Ellie, Daniel and Ethan all spent the night huddled together in one bedroom. Throughout the night they claim a smoke alarm mysteriously bleeped with heavily-pregnant Beverley managing just one hour's sleep. Yesterday afternoon, Father Masshedar visited the family to offer support and say prayers for them. He said: "I went to see the family as a first step and to offer prayers. "We take it one step at a time and the first step was for me, as parish priest, to visit the family with a church warden." The landlord, who told the Mail it was the first time he had ever come across such a happening, said that if the family were too upset to stay at the house they would be moved as soon as another suitable property became available.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Image Of Virgin Mary Appears In Bird Dropping

The Pachuca family of Bryan says an image on their pickup truck is a miracle. The image that came in an unlikely form of a bird dropping appeared on Sunday. That was the first time Salvador Pachuca had been back to the home since having an accident there four months ago. "I told my brothers come over here and see what this is and they say this is the Virgin," he said. Family members made their way outside to see the image on the truck's side mirror. Cristal Pachuca said she took pictures and began making calls to invite others to see, what she describes as, a miracle. "We just all feel protected. It's a blessing to our family and to everybody that comes to see it," says Cristal Pachuca. Cristal says the truck doesn't get much use, but last weekend her husband decided to take it out of their garage and wash it.A few moments later the image appeared. Since Sunday, a steady stream of family, friends, neighbors and strangers has stopped by to pray and take pictures of the image. The Pachuca's say the image is more than a coincidence especially since it happened on the 12th. The family says in Mexico, Dec. 12 is celebrated as the day of The Virgin Guadalupe. Onlookers say the image is a miracle because the distinct colors and outline of the image on the truck match the image of Virgin Guadalupe. The Pachuca's say they will continue to welcome anyone who wants to see the image, because the image isn't going to go away anytime soon. "I think we're going to just put it on a shelf outside, probably take off the mirror and keep it there cause its something special to us. I'm not going to wash it off," says Cristal Pachuca.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

UFO Detected Hovering Above Area 51

Rumor has it that Area 51 is a secret American army base that was built to test state-of-the-art aircraft. The photographs made from space reveal numerous runways and hangars. Ufologists suppose that humans cooperate with aliens at Area 51, or at least try to study the machines captured from extraterrestrials. The fragments of a “flying saucer” that crashed in the USA in 1947 were reportedly delivered to the base. The residents of neighboring towns support the anomalous mystery. They even designed road signs to warn people against a possible arrival of alien spaceships. Crowds of tourists visit the towns to see something extraordinary. Many see. The official version says that there is nothing unusual in the Nevada desert, except for an ordinary air base. Researcher Joseph P. Skipper, known for his studies of anomalous phenomena, has recently found something to prove the anomalous version. Skipper analyzed a photograph of Earth’s surface taken from space. The picture, which captures the territory to the south of Area 51, appeared on Google Earth website.On the photo, the researcher noticed an oblong disk, about 50 meters in diameter. By Skipper’s opinion, this disk floats several meters above the ground. The scientist said that it was definitely a man-made aircraft made with the use of advanced technologies, since it was supposed to be highly maneuverable to be able to fly at low altitudes. The photo, Skipper believes, confirms that there is something strange happening at the mysterious base. The photo of the UFO floating above Area 51 was made in April of 2006. Strange as it may seem, but the renowned photo of a flying car was made the same year in the Australian city of Perth. The photo also appeared on Google Earth. The shadow, which the car cast on the ground, made many think that the vehicle was flying about five or six meters above the ground.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monster Fish Killed After Attacking Swimmers

Police have ended the reign of terror of a huge fish that was attacking swimmers in a Swiss lake. The zander, which was 70 centimetres long and weighed eight kilos was harpooned on after it bit six swimmers over the weekend, fish warden Fabio Croci said. Two swimmers were treated in hospital for bite wounds up to 10 centimetres long after being attacked on Lac Majeur, which borders Italy.
Caught out ... the zander was harpooned by police after it bit six swimmers
Police divers at first tried to capture the carnivorous fish with a net, but when this failed they pursued the zander with a harpoon and managed to kill it. The meat from the captured fish was served up to tourists at the lake. "It is quite unusual for zanders to bite humans", Mr Croci said, adding he suspected the fish was suffering from a hormonal imbalance which could be responsible for its aggression.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Michigan Dogman

Monday, July 13, 2009

'Haunted' Milwaukee Hotel Spooks Baseball Teams

First Carlos Gomez heard voices. Then he watched his iPod go haywire after he got out of the shower, sending him scrambling for the lobby without stopping to put on his pants and shoes. After last year's experience, the Minnesota Twins outfielder didn't want to go back to Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel. But Gomez had to stay there when the Twins were in town to play the Brewers last month, so he brought some protection: teammate-turned-roommate Francisco Liriano and a Bible. "Everything's scary," Gomez said. "Everything in the hotel, the paintings and pictures, it's a lot of old, crazy stuff. No good, man. No good." The Pfister is Milwaukee's most regal address, having hosted every U.S. president since William McKinley and scores of celebrities who can take a self-guided tour of the hotel's Victorian art collection. Today, it's the place to stay for upscale business travelers and out-of-town visitors, including many Major League Baseball teams. Commissioner Bud Selig, a Milwaukee native, is a frequent visitor. But some players don't care for the 116-year-old hotel's posh accommodations and reputation for privacy. They swear it's haunted. Gomez, San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval, St. Louis' Brendan Ryan and several Florida Marlins all say they've had odd experiences, though Ryan later said nothing really happened. Others aren't willing to talk publicly about what they've seen and heard.Brewers visiting clubhouse manager Phil Rozewicz has heard it all from sleepy-eyed players who would rather hang out at Miller Park than spend one minute more than they have to at the Pfister. "There was a rookie ball player and he was back in his room and he woke up in the middle of the night and his blinds were open, the window was opened and he was panicked," Rozewicz said. "So he went into the bathroom, splashed water on his face, came back out and went to bed. Shut the blinds, the window. Woke up in the morning. Same thing. Slept on the couch in the lobby the next night. Refused to go to his room. Finally, went to a Motel 6 or whatever up the street and just stayed there." Of course, some of this could be mischievous teammates pulling pranks. But Pfister ghost stories go well beyond the ballpark. Allison Jornlin, who leads haunted history tours for the folklore research organization Milwaukee Ghosts, said guests have reported seeing a "portly, smiling gentleman" roaming the halls, riding the elevator and even walking his dog. The apparition is said to resemble Charles Pfister, who founded the hotel with his father, Guido. "His ghost is thought, usually, to behave very well," Jornlin said. "But MLB players seem to bring out his mischievous side." Why's that? "Obviously, he's a Brewers fan," Jornlin said. But even some of the Brewers won't stay there in the offseason."Even if I come into town for FanFest or whatever, I'm staying somewhere else," said Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron, who moved his family to another hotel after one night last offseason. "I mean, it's not a bad place. But there has been a lot of stories, a lot of creepy things that have gone on." Hotel general manager Joe Kurth won't acknowledge any specific ghost stories from ballplayers or other guests, citing privacy concerns. But he doesn't shy away from the rumors, suggesting that guests interested in seeing a spirit might want to stay in the hotel's historic wing. The Pfister does have its fans. Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy loves the quiet atmosphere, though the same couldn't be said for Tracy's players when he was managing the Los Angeles Dodgers. "I was hearing suggestions, to the point that they were saying, "I've got to go to a different hotel,"' Tracy said. That sounds familiar to Gomez, who said he hears voices and noises when he stays there and had his worst experience after hopping out of the shower last year. He'd just started putting his clothes on when his iPod started playing with a static noise. He grabbed it and the iPod changed music suddenly before going to static again. "I grabbed my pants and my shoes and I ran to the lobby," Gomez said. Gomez wishes the Twins would stay somewhere else. "I'm scared to go there," he said. "They should change the hotel. Everybody here doesn't like the hotel. Why (do) they always put us in the same hotel when you can't sleep?"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Easter Island Compound Extends Lifespan Of Old Mice

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and two collaborating centers reported that the Easter Island compound - called "rapamycin" after the island's Polynesian name, Rapa Nui - extended the expected lifespan of middle-aged mice by 28 percent to 38 percent. In human terms, this would be greater than the predicted increase in extra years of life if cancer and heart disease were both cured and prevented. The rapamycin was given to the mice at an age equivalent to 60 years old in humans. The studies are part of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Interventions Testing Program, which seeks compounds that might help people remain active and disease-free throughout their lives. The other two centers involved are the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The Texas study was led by scientists at two institutes at the UT Health Science Center: the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) and the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. "I've been in aging research for 35 years and there have been many so-called 'anti-aging' interventions over those years that were never successful," said Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., director of the Barshop Institute. "I never thought we would find an anti-aging pill for people in my lifetime; however, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that." Discovered in the 1970s, rapamycin was first noted for its anti-fungal properties and later was used to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. It also is used in stents, which are implanted in patients during angioplasty to keep coronary arteries open. It is in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer.The new aging experiments found that adding rapamycin to the diet of older mice increased their lifespan. The results were the same in Texas, Michigan and Maine. "We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the aging process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age," said Randy Strong, Ph.D., who directs the NIA-funded Aging Interventions Testing Center in San Antonio. He is a professor of pharmacology at the UT Health Science Center and a senior research career scientist with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. The findings have "interesting implications for our understanding of the aging process," said Z. Dave Sharp, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Biotechnology and professor and chairman of the Health Science Center's Department of Molecular Medicine. "In addition," Dr. Sharp said, "the findings have immediate implications for preventive medicine and human health, in that rapamycin is already in clinical usage." Aging researchers currently acknowledge only two life-extending interventions in mammals: calorie restriction and genetic manipulation. Rapamycin appears to partially shut down the same molecular pathway as restricting food intake or reducing growth factors. It does so through a cellular protein called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), which controls many processes in cell metabolism and responses to stress. A decade ago, Dr. Sharp proposed to his colleagues that mTOR might be involved in calorie restriction. "It seemed like an off-the-wall idea at that time," Dr. Richardson said. In 2004, a year after the launch of the NIA Interventions Testing Program, Dr. Sharp submitted a proposal that rapamycin be studied for anti-aging effects. The proposal was approved, and testing centers in San Antonio and elsewhere began to include rapamycin in the diets of mice.The male and female mice were cross-bred from four different strains of mice to more closely mimic the genetic diversity and disease susceptibility of the human population. Dr. Strong soon recognized a problem: Rapamycin was not stable enough in food or in the digestive tract to register in the animals' blood level. He worked with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio to improve the bioavailability of the compound through a process called microencapsulation. The reformulated drug was stable in the diet fed to the mice and bypassed the stomach to release in the intestine, where it could more reliably enter the bloodstream. The original goal was to begin feeding the mice at 4 months of age, but because of the delay caused by developing the new formulation, the mice were not started until they were 20 months old - the equivalent of 60 years of age in humans. The teams decided to try the rapamycin intervention anyway. "I did not think that it would work because the mice were too old when the treatment was started," Dr. Richardson said. "Most reports indicate that calorie restriction doesn't work when implemented in old animals. The fact that rapamycin increases lifespan in relatively old mice was totally unexpected." Added Dr. Strong: "This study has clearly identified a potential therapeutic target for the development of drugs aimed at preventing age-related diseases and extending healthy lifespan. If rapamycin, or drugs like rapamycin, works as envisioned, the potential reduction in overall health cost for the U.S. and the world will be enormous."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Virgin Mary Spotted In Irish Tree

Religious fever has taken root in the Irish village of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, after workmen claimed the image of the Virgin Mary appeared in the remains of a felled churchyard tree. The supposed vision surprised locals who have come in their hundreds to pray and light candles in the grounds of Holy Mary Parish church. While some believe the willow should be preserved and covered in glass, others think the believers are just barking up the wrong tree. Noel White, Rathkeale Community Council Graveyard Committee chairman, said workmen sprucing up the church land saw the image when they cut the tree. "One of the lads said look, our Blessed Lady in the tree," Mr White said. "One of the other lads looked over and actually knelt down and blessed himself, he got such a shock. "It was the perfect shape of the figure of Our Lady holding the baby." Candles and rosary beads have been draped over the stump by prayerful locals with up to 700 holding a candlelight vigil last night and into the early hours of the morning. Mr White said people have been travelling from neighbouring Co Kerry as word of the phenomenon spread, while it is believed a local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club from a nearby parish also brought two busloads of people. "It is just a tree, but it is what it depicts when you look at it," Mr White said. "It is just phenomenal what's going on. And it's not just Rathkeale, they're coming in from all over the place." But not all villagers have seen the supposedly divine image with some treating the discovery with scepticism. Local priest Fr Willie Russell refused to get caught up in the hype but said he was not surprised by the outpouring of interest. "This is just going to go on and on," he said. "My impression of it at the moment is that I have no impression of it. "It doesn't interest me that much at the moment. "I have seen the tree ... it's only a tree."Fr Russell also insisted not everyone in the area believes the image of Our Lady appeared on the tree. "The local views are kind of mixed," the priest added. Scepticism over the reported appearance is shared by the Catholic Church's hierarchy in Ireland, according to Fr Paul Finnerty, official spokesman for the Limerick diocese. "The Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism," he said. "While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition." Cynics have already pointed to the coincidental timing of Ireland's latest "appearance" amidst a recession after the Celtic Tiger boom years. The last time the country was plagued by massive joblessness in the 1980s there were numerous reported sightings of moving statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the first - and most prominent of the alleged phenomena - was in Ballinspittle, in Co Cork, where locals insisted they witnessed the statue of Our Lady floating in the air. The claims drew worldwide attention as busloads flocked from long distances to see the roadside grotto in the small rural village in the hope of seeing the same. The "sighting" sparked a wave of similar claims around the country as people held vigils at other roadside grottoes which mostly sprang up during the Marian Year of 1953. Former postmaster and councillor John Griffin said that while he had no difficulty with people coming together to pray, it was just a tree stump. "I respect everybody's belief but when I heard about this and had a look, what I saw were the remains of a felled tree," Mr Griffin said. "I see a shape, the shape of a felled tree. It is in the shape of a cloaked lady or cloaked person, but that's because of the way it was cut. I'm not attributing anything supernatural." But for believers the big question is what to do now? "If it is left there I would imagine we would have to get expert advice on how to preserve it, maybe cover it with glass or something," Mr White said. "Because people are taking bits off the tree or stroking the tree and taking the skin off, and if they keep doing that there'll be nothing there soon." Fr Russell added: "Whatever the people want, there's no problem there. It doesn't create a problem for me."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Man Claims To Be Devil, Attacks Stranger

Authorities say a homeless Treasure Coast man claimed to be the devil and attacked another man outside a Port St. Lucie convenience store. The victim told police that a man, later identified as 53-year-old John Eugene Yale Jr., approached him early Monday morning and began speaking with him. After a few minutes, Yale shouted, "I am the Devil and I am going to kill you."A reports says Yale jammed his thumbs into the man's eyes, which were caused to bleed. The victim told police he hit Yale and ran home. Officers found Yale nearby a short time later. Yale was charged with aggravated battery. He was being held on $20,000 bail.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson's Ghost Spotted At Neverland

Michael Jackson's ghost has been spotted at Neverland. Fans of the late pop star, who died of a suspected cardiac arrest on June 25, aged 50, claim the image of his spirit can be seen in the background of a TV show filmed inside his beloved ranch. During an interview with Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson for CNN's 'Inside Neverland' TV show, a strange shadow appeared on the wall before crossing the corridor and moving around the room. Fans believe the shadow is the 'Thriller' singer's spectre, which has returned to his former home from beyond the grave. Gareth Jones, 26, said: "It's an incredible couple of seconds of footage."
The ghostly apparition was missed by Jermaine, US interviewer Larry King and the film crew who failed to noticed its presence during the recording of the show. However, the video - which was aired a week after Michael's death - has become an internet hit since it was posted on video streaming website YouTube and hundreds of fans have commented on the footage believing it is the ghost of their idol.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Son Charged In Stabbing Spoke Of Devil

Lolita Windsor could hear her adult son in the darkened kitchen as he rummaged through drawers. He was looking for something. It was just after midnight. "Deshawn?" she called. No response. Windsor, 40, went to the kitchen doorway, where she caught a glimpse of her son in the dark holding a serrated knife above his head. Windsor turned to run. The knife pierced the back of her head. She fell to the floor. Deshawn, 22, was silent as he stabbed her in her back, legs and arms, Windsor said as she recalled the night in an interview with The Des Moines Register. Police say Deshawn plunged the knife into his mother's body at least 30 times. Windsor said each time she moved, inching to take cover under a nearby coffee table, her son stabbed her. When she finally was able to drag herself under the table, Windsor said she lay motionless for two hours, her blood pooling around her. She asked herself: How could something like this happen? To her? To him? To them? Experts say what played out on that horrific May night in Windsor's living room was not a symptom of a broken mental health system, professional neglect or someone who "fell through the cracks." When an adult with mental illness rejects help, violence is often the only thing that triggers change. Windsor said she had watched her son fall into a deep depression just before he graduated from Hoover High School, where he had excelled academically. He distanced himself from friends and relatives, became obsessed with evil spirits and the devil, and had begun to clean his ears with toothpaste. But Deshawn Lamont Davis refused to seek medical help. Now, he is in the Polk County Jail on a $270,000 cash bond, charged with attempted murder. A judge will decide July 14 whether he is mentally fit to stand trial. Violent psychotic episodes often erupt in late adolescence or early adulthood, according to Cynthia Steidl, who leads the Polk County Mobile Crisis team. But such episodes cannot be predicted. The crisis team, eight people trained to help law enforcement officers deal with the mentally ill, has been called out more than 1,900 times in the past year. Only two other Iowa counties have similar teams. It requires more than strange behavior to force an adult into mental health treatment, Steidl said. "If he's talking about demons or toothpaste, that's not a reason to take somebody to the hospital," she said. "People have rights. "It's not against the law to be mentally ill." Other high-profile cases have put a spotlight on the challenge family members and mental health experts face in trying to understand how to help individuals with possible mental health issues:

- Last month, 24-year-old Mark Becker allegedly shot and killed his former high school football coach in Parkersburg. A witness heard the shooter scream, "Make sure Satan knows!" right after the assault. Becker was discharged from a mental health unit at a Waterloo hospital the day before the slaying.

- In April, a Delaware County man, Jesse Fierstine, 32, allegedly attacked his 63-year-old father and used a penknife to carve a pacemaker from the man's chest. Fierstine has since undergone psychiatric evaluation that will determine when and if he stands trial for attempted murder.

- In 2005, a judge ruled that a former Maharishi University of Management student was insane when he stabbed a classmate to death. Shuvender Sem had been hospitalized nearly a dozen times for psychiatric problems.

About 41 percent of Iowa's more than 8,000 prisoners are mentally ill, according to the state Department of Corrections. When Davis routinely accused others of being the devil, his family shrugged it off. "I just thought it was because he was brought up spiritually," Windsor said. She knew her son needed help, but she didn't think he was dangerous. Davis was arrested in November after he started fires in the backyard and driveway of his grandfather's former house, down the street from his mother's home. "He was trying to kill the spirits," Davis' grandfather, Arvell Windsor, said. "He had painted himself red and black." Davis moved in with his grandfather when he was 17 and stayed there on and off for several years. "Everybody was the devil but him," Arvell Windsor said. When Arvell Windsor remarried and moved to be with his new wife, Davis stayed in the house, even though there was no electricity or water. Neighbors who reported the fires to police said they had witnessed strange behavior from Davis, such as when he walked down the street in a parka in 100-degree heat. "That cat was out there," neighbor Jeff Cavil said. "His mom really tried to get help for him, she really did. But nobody would keep him locked up, and he ended up stabbing her. It's a shame."Lolita Windsor convinced a judge to send Deshawn Davis, against his will, for an evaluation at Broadlawns Medical Center several months after he graduated from high school. She said he was hospitalized for about a week, but Davis, then 18, did not give permission to release his medical information, and none of that information is contained in court documents. Broadlawns spokesman Rick Barrett said adults, by law, must give written consent for medical information to be released, even to relatives. Des Moines Police Sgt. Lori Lavorato said there is nothing in police records from the November arrest that points to Davis' strange behavior. She said a detective marked "No" under "mental health problems" on a checklist that was completed before Davis was taken to jail. "If he would have said he was seeing demons, the officer would have written, 'Yes,' " Lavorato said. Davis spent 11 days in jail, pleaded guilty to reckless use of fire, and was released. Arvell Windsor's former house was foreclosed on last year, but Davis returned to stay there. He broke in four times while it was being renovated by a new owner. Davis was eventually arrested May 8. "He thought that was his home," his mother said. "It was his home before." Davis was released from jail and had been ordered to be in court on June 3. He stayed with his mother in the meantime, in his old room in the basement. His name is written in wax on the door. Below it, also in wax, is scrawled: "Great One." Star Salazar, 29, along with her husband and seven children, moved next door to Windsor two days before the stabbing. She said she saw Davis wash the base of a tree trunk and gave it offerings of bread, pour vodka on a dandelion, and hold a bowl of what appeared to be urine and spin around to spread it in the yard. Salazar said she also saw neighborhood children walk by and kick the window to Davis' basement window to taunt him. On May 28, Lolita Windsor had just finished talking to a friend on the telephone and had turned on the television. It was late. She told Davis to go to bed so he could wake up early to look for a job. He went instead to the darkened kitchen and opened a drawer. Windsor said Davis repeatedly stabbed her over the next two-and-a-half hours. When he broke a serrated knife during the attacks, he went back to the kitchen for another - twice. Court documents say Windsor was stabbed 30 times. Windsor said surgeons patched 74 wounds. Two of Windsor's other children - a girl, 10, and a boy, 7 - were asleep in a nearby bedroom. They awoke to their mother's screams for help, but stayed put and weren't harmed, Windsor said. From under the coffee table, Windsor said she pleaded with her son for a telephone: "I won't tell them you did this." It worked. Windsor called her father, who called police. The first officer to arrive saw Davis near the back door and ordered him to the ground. Davis pointed at the house and whispered: "She's inside." "He had a very distant look in his eyes," the officer wrote in a report. Windsor continues to recover at her mother's home a few blocks away from her own. She hasn't gone back since the stabbing. Her hands and arms took the brunt of the attacks. Windsor, who works at Mercy Medical Center, says she knew to protect vital areas, like her neck. Her thumb and three fingers on her left hand are still numb, but doctors hope the feeling will return with time. Davis was in court on June 9. The judge ordered a psychological examination because Davis didn't "appear to understand the charges or the reasons he is in court," according to court documents. Davis went before the judge "with Kleenex stuffed in his nose and hanging out several inches - he says he has a runny nose." "It wasn't my son who did this to me," Windsor said through tears. "That wasn't him." A hearing is set for July 14 to determine if Davis can stand trial. Windsor hasn't seen him since the stabbing, but she was told he will likely be sent away for six months for treatment. She hopes her real son comes back when it's over.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Disc Shaped UFO Appears In Colorado Photo

A photo was taken in Colorado along Route 470 at 6:50 p.m. on June 27, where a disc-shaped object appeared in the clouds, according to witness testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database. The photographer reports that the object was not seen at the time the photo was taken, but like many other reports of this kind, the object was not noticed until the image was moved to and viewed on a computer. to be disc-shaped with a dark edge to the object.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Raleigh's Mysterious Sewer Creature

When a video of a mysterious, slimy "creature" living in the sewers of Raleigh, N.C., was posted on YouTube early this week, millions around the world flocked to the site to satisfy their curiosity. Since June 30, "Unknown Lifeform in North Carolina Sewer!" has been viewed more than 4.7 million times. Some called it an extraterrestrial, others believed it was monster, much like the "Montauk Monster" purported to have washed up on a Long Island, N.Y., beach.
The video, posted by someone apparently with the Web site, shows a shiny, slimy mass pulsating for the camera. But it appears that the bizarre mystery has been solved. Local officials told reporters that the "creature" is nothing more than a colony of tubifex worms.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Europeans Were Once Child-Eating Cannibals

The remains of the "first Europeans" discovered at an archaeological site in northern Spain have revealed that these prehistoric humans were cannibals who particularly liked the flesh of children. "We know that they practiced cannibalism," Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, one of the co-directors of the Atapuerca project, said. A study of the remains revealed that they turned to cannibalism to feed themselves and not as part of a ritual. They also ate their rivals after killing them, mostly children and adolescents. "It is the first well-documented case of cannibalism in the history of humanity, which does not mean that it is the oldest," Mr de Castro said. The remains discovered in the caves "appeared scattered, broken, fragmented, mixed with other animals such as horses, deer, rhinoceroses, all kinds of animals caught in hunting" and eaten by humans, he said. "This gives us an idea of cannibalism as a type of gastronomy and not as a ritual." The Atapuerca caves were first discovered in the late 19th Century when a tunnel was blasted through the mountain for a railway line.The first excavations did not take place until 1978. Then in 1984, the team found 150 human remains. In 1992 they found a complete, intact skeleton and two years later they discovered remains dating back more than 800,000 years. Those remains probably correspond to the first humans who reached Europe, known as Homo antecessor, after the Latin word for pioneer or explorer. Homo antecessor, who lived before Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, probably came to the caves of Atapuerca after a long migration from Africa and through the Middle East, northern Italy and France. The area at the time was heavily forested, with oaks, chestnut trees and junipers and abundant with bears, lynxes, panthers, foxes and hyenas. They found water and food in abundance, could hunt wild boar, horses, deer, which means that they did not practice cannibalism through a lack of food. Cannibalised remains were discovered on two levels, which showed it was not a one-off thing but continued through time. "Another interesting aspect is that most of the 11 individuals that we have identified were children or adolescents," a spokesman for the team said.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alabama Hopes 'Ghost Trail' Will Scare Up More Tourism Dollars

In Wilcox County, Ala., it's known as "The Billie Hole," where in antebellum times, a female slave is reputed to have jumped into a wooded pool because she didn't want to be sold. Stories abound that on nights of the full moon, Billie can be seen to rise up out of the hole wearing a long white dress. Officials in Alabama's historic Black Belt region hope that story and others like it will make tourism rise as well. In an effort to cash in on the history of things that may or may not go bump in the night, city officials here and across the USA are increasingly turning to ghost tales and trails to boost tourism. The Southwest Alabama Regional Tourism and Film Office is working to establish a ghost trail stretching through the 18 counties that make a swath through the middle of the state starting this summer. Named for its rich black prairie soil, the Black Belt was where cotton was king before and after the Civil War. "The Black Belt is rich in the history and culture of the Scots-Irish settlers and the African Americans who toiled as slaves," says Linda Vice, of the tourism office. "Both cultures valued story telling as a way to preserve their history, and both cultures understood the concept of second sight and a spirit world. So we have plenty of stories of ghosts and 'haints' to chose from for our trail." Tourism is big business in Alabama. In 2008 it generated an economic impact of $9.6 billion, according to Edith Parten, communications director for the Alabama Board of Tourism. Last year there were about 22 million people who visited the state, she said. While there are no national statistics on the subject, paranormal tourism is becoming increasingly popular in communities across the country are taking advantage of haunting pieces of folklore and legend to bring in business, tourism officials say.

•Richmond, Va.: Demand from visitors was so high this year another tour was added to the May through October Haunts of Richmond schedule, says Sandi Bergman, who started the company with her husband, Scott in 2004.

•Cape Fear area of North Carolina: The city of Wilmington has nightly ghost walks that travel through the 275-year-old alleys and streets of the port city. This year an additional two routes are being added to the ghost walks, says Connie Nelson, communications and public relations director for the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

•Long Beach Island, N.J.: Lantern lit ghost walking tours will return this summer to the Town of Beach Haven, says Maggie M. O'Neill, who started the tours as a way to inform visitors of the town's history. The tours began last year.

•Houston: Discover Houston Tours added cemetery tours this spring, held each Sunday, says Lindsey Brown, director of marketing and public relations for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.For most people, the attraction to scary stories is just natural, says Dr. Allen K. Hess, a psychology professor at Auburn University Montgomery. "If life were all vanilla it wouldn't taste good," he said. " Whether its boredom or curiosity, seeking arousal is part of being human. We are attracted the unknown and a certain element of danger. We are after the thrill being scared provides." The Black Belt trail is planned to be a self-guided driving affair. The ghost stories will also be told on video that will be posted on a web-site. The trail set to open this summer with stories from Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties. The effort is gathering stories from each of the counties in the region, which will be added to the tour as work is completed. The stops include the St. James Hotel on Selma's Water Avenue. Overlooking the muddy waters of the Alabama River, the building's history goes back to 1837. Corner Room 301 is said to be haunted by the outlaw Jesse James. He and his brother, Frank, visited relatives in the area after the Civil War and stayed in the hotel, says William Ezell, the hotel's manager. Jesse James stayed in the room and the light is said to be his ghost looking out the window watching for the law. "Jesse stayed in that room several times, because it offered good views of the streets around the hotel," Ezell says. "His brother stayed in a separate room in the hotel, so there was always a chance of one of them getting away." In the Black Belt, it's common for people to be accepting, even welcoming, of spirits seen as benevolent. That's the case with Charles and Jenny Holmes of Marion, a Perry County town about 30 miles northwest of Selma. In 1978 the Holmes moved an antebellum home about four miles down the road to their farm. The renovated the home and in 1980 they moved in. This year they opened a bed and breakfast in the home. Jenny Holmes says she has seen a mist-like form, wearing a white gown, several times in the front hall. "I guess when we moved the house, she decided to come along," Jenny Holmes said. "I've never felt any fear or have doubted what I had seen. We have three sons, grown and moved away now. Of course my husband and boys wondered about me when I first told them what I had seen. But my oldest son has seen her too, so we just accept her."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grasshoppers Invading Central Utah

Grasshoppers, when leaping on Tony Atherley's front door, make a "pop" like the sound of cooking popcorn. Atherley has been hearing thousands of pops since June 1, when the grasshoppers infested his Pine Canyon neighborhood, about four miles northeast of Tooele. One neighborhood child is so afraid of the swarms of grasshoppers outside her bedroom window that she sleeps away from home. Atherley's 4-year-old daughter was so scared when the grasshoppers first arrived that she asked her parents to carry her into the house. Swarms of grasshoppers infest Utah agricultural lands in 10-year cycles, and by all accounts, the summer of 2009 is the beginning of another cycle in central Utah — the Uintah Basin and Sanpepte, Millard, Sevier and Tooele counties. For the next few summers, the grasshopper population will increase until it peaks, said Clint Burfitt, an entomologist with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Shortly after the grasshopper population peaks, they get infected with a deadly fungus, and the population quickly drops off. The cycle will begin again in seven years. "We work with some researchers at (Utah State University) who are trying to identify and culture that fungus, so in the future we would work with what we call a biological control versus pesticides," Burfitt said.The particular grasshopper invading Utah this year eats all types of crops. The state is helping farmers and ranchers by covering 90 percent of a pesticide that costs about $9 an acre. "This particular grasshopper hatches out 2,000 (insects) per square foot," Burfitt said. "By their sheer abundance, they can be very devastating to cropland." When they're young, the grasshoppers are a couple millimeters, but they can grow to be 4 to 5 inches, Burfitt said. Atherley would like the state to also help residents living with the infestation. The Atherleys are now using back doors to their house, since the front of their house has been invaded. "I'd be willing to guess I have 4,000," Atherley said. The family doesn't dare open the front door or garage, he said, because "they'd just swarm in." Despite such cautions, some grasshoppers have made their way into the house through tiny cracks in the weather seal. "Some people might say that's not that big of a deal," Atherley said. "But nobody's said they're going to go away in a month." Atherley and his wife lived through the previous cycle of grasshoppers 10 years ago. He remembers constantly running to the store, spending $15-$20 every couple of days in bug spray. "I think what myself and a lot of my neighbors would like to see is a little more action on either the state or the county's part," he said. On Tuesday morning, the Atherleys got a call from a licensed pest-control company that learned of the family through media coverage. They promised their product was more effective than over-the-counter insecticide, Atherley said. "It's supposed to work for a couple of weeks," he said.