Thursday, January 28, 2010
The remains of a witch doctor who lived 800 years ago in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayeque and who was buried with 500 seeds believed to have aphrodisiac properties were found by archaeologists in La Pava de Mochumi, the local press said. The individual not only performed cures but also spoke with the gods as was the shaman's role in the Mochica and Lambayeque cultures, the director of the La Pava de Mochumi archaeological complex, Marco Fernandez, told the daily El Comercio. The ceramic vessel containing 500 nectarine seeds was the first clue to finding the remains of the witch doctor from the pre-Incan Lambayeque culture, buried near the valley of the Tucume Pyramids. Archaeologists also found a Peruvian scallop shell for inhaling tobacco, gourds for drinking mate, pieces of textiles, a globular jug and a wooden cane.Fernandez said that they found the remains of another individual from the same culture, which flourished about 800 to 900 years ago, buried with objects that identify him as a middle-ranked official. Together with the latter were found ceremonial knives of copper gilt, fragments of quartz and seven ceramics. Meanwhile the director of Lambayeque's Bruning Museum, Carlos Wester, said that the burials discovered, both of the medicine man and the official, were evidence of intense cultural, artistic, technological and ritual activity in the Mochumi area. The Peruvian government has set aside more than 1 1/2 million sols ($500,000) for archaeological research at Lambayeque, one of the regions where important pre-Inca cultures such as the Mochica, Chimu and Lambayeque arose.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Return Of The Montauk Monster
Workers at a golf course in Runaway Bay, an hour north of Fort Worth, Texas, recently found what they thought might be the carcass of the vampire beast "el chupacabra." The strange dog-like animal was mostly hairless, with tan-brown skin. It didn't look like anything the men had ever seen before. Was it the legendary goat-sucker, the bloodthirsty Hispanic version of Bigfoot? As it turns out, no. Jennifer Barrow, a biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, examined the carcass and noted that the teeth, skull, and feet all matched a raccoon. It's not clear why the animal lost its fur, though there are several diseases that can cause hair loss. This is not the first time that a hairless raccoon has been (initially) misidentified as a monster. The so-called "Montauk Monster" was a strange creature that supposedly washed ashore on a beach in Montauk, New York, in July 2008. A photo of the odd animal circulated around the Web and became the subject of national media interest. Some thought it was a hoax; others believe that the photo depicted a pig, while others vaguely and cryptically suggest that the animal is somehow a result of "biological warfare."Darren Naish, a British paleontologist, examined photos of the animal and concluded it was a raccoon: "The Montauk monster... owes its bizarre appearance to partial decomposition," Naish said. "The tendency for the soft tissues of the snout to be lost early on in decomposition immediately indicates that the 'beak' is just a defleshed snout region: we're actually seeing the naked premaxillary bones. The match for a raccoon is perfect once we compare the dentition and proportions. The Montauk animal has lost its upper canines and incisors (you can even see the empty sockets), and raccoons are actually surprisingly leggy (claims that the limb proportions of the Montauk carcass are unlike those of raccoons are not correct)." It seems that a dead, hairless raccoon on Long Island will be called the Montauk Monster, while the same unfortunate beast in Texas will become the fearsome chupacabra. It is not surprising that people could not identify the dead animals, since most people have never seen a dead, hairless raccoon. Once again science shows that ordinary decay can create extraordinary monsters.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
House For Sale, Ghost Stays
Martha Rixten had admired the old Catholic rectory house on Wolfe Island for a very long time before she bought it 30 years ago. She'd grown up on the island, a 15-minute free ferry ride from downtown Kingston, and dreamed one day of owning the home. From the first day she walked through the front door, the owner says, "I felt I wasn't alone here. I felt surrounded by a loving energy, I heard footsteps. When my son was a little boy, he would walk past the bathroom door and close it. I asked him why. He said, 'because there are three ladies in there.'" Ms. Rixten believes her 1901-era home is haunted. Occasionally, she'll hear what sounds like someone in work boots on the third floor, or a heavy object being dropped, when she knows she's alone. But that's not why she and husband Rod McDonald -- a fervent non-believer in the spirit world -- are selling (it's listed for $1.89-million). After operating Wolfe Manor for the past six years as a bed and breakfast, they feel it's time to take life easier, and plan to build a smaller home down the road. When Ms. Rixten bought the 8,000-square-foot home, it was a "shambles," she says. She spent the next quarter-century gutting the interior and rebuilding it to her high standard. She met Mr. Mc-Donald and they built a 1,600-sq.-ft. west wing to live in, and opened the adjacent old rectory as a seasonal B&B. Mr. McDonald says Wolfe Manor could continue as a B&B, but the possibilities are endless -- perhaps it could become an artist's studio, spa or family compound. "The island needs a seasonal high-quality restaurant. This place is fitted for a restaurant," Mr. McDonald says of the newer wing, pointing to the upgraded electrical service and roughed-in plumbing for additional toilets. Listing agent Scott Stren of Harvey Kalles Real Estate says Wolfe Manor would be a "turnkey operation" for anyone interested in taking over the bed and breakfast. It even has reservations for its spring opening. With the separate smaller home next to the rectory, Mr. Stren says, "it would also offer privacy to the parents of a large family or it could be an ideal corporate retreat." The rectory's main floor consists of one ensuite bedroom, open-concept eat-in kitchen and lounge with wood-burning fireplace, library and 14-foot ceilings. The other three ensuite guest suites on the second floor are reached by a refinished hardwood staircase. One suite consists of adjoining bedrooms. There are two additional fireplaces. The third floor is a large open room dominated by a billiard table that had to be lifted into place by crane. The table stays, Ms. Rixten insists.Stairs from this level lead up to a partially enclosed widow's walk, offering 360-degree views of the woodland and fields, Lake Ontario and Kingston beyond. The rectory features decks and verandahs on three sides, with gardens and woods. There are two garden fountains and a path that leads to the still-in-use Roman Catholic church next door. The eight-acre property is zoned commercial and annual taxes are $7,500. Nearby is a wind farm, income from which has helped to keep the island's property taxes down, says Mr. McDonald. Mr. Stren says there are more than 80 windmills on Wolfe Island. "They're close enough to see, but not close enough to hear," he points out. As you turn off the street at the edge of the island village of Marysville, a winding, tree-lined laneway leads to the main house. The laneway is one of Mr. McDonald's favourite features. "You turn the curve in the driveway and all of a sudden you see the house. What a sight!" The main house retains its original hardwood doors, floors and mouldings. Finishes from its days as a rectory remain, including decorative windows and a cross high above the main entranceway. "There are a lot of traditional aspects to the home," says Mr. Stren. "Updates keep to the period the house was built." The addition, reached from the rectory by way of an attached deck, has an open-concept main level and two-bedroom, two-bath second level. There is also a nearby carriage house. The island boasts many seasonal homes and the permanent population of 1,500 doubles during the summer. There are 40 operating farms and 70 home-based businesses. The Kingston ferry runs year-round and while it is shut down from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., someone is always on call for emergencies. There is a privately run toll ferry to Cape Vincent, N.Y., during the summer. Ms. Rixten admits to mixed feelings about selling. "It's been a happy house, a place with a good feeling about it. There's a lot of love in the house." Guests who hear about Wolfe Manor's friendly ghosts often come hoping for an experience, she says. "Some say they feel something, but if you're not sensitive to these sorts of things, you're not going to feel anything here." Mr. McDonald insists he does not believe in haunted houses. Yet when attempts to reach a reporter by phone one clear, calm morning result in static and several dropped calls, he is asked whether he thinks the spirits might be having fun. Mr. McDonald forces a laugh. "Well ... maybe," he says.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Heavenly Fruit Found In Lockport
A Lockport man says he believes an image of Jesus and Mary can be found in an orange he cut open for breakfast Christmas morning. Paul Kulniszewski of Lockport, a self proclaimed non-holy man, says as soon as he cut the orange open, he noticed the image of Jesus hanging from a Crucifix with an image of the Virgin Mother just below. Kulniszewski took a picture of the pith, or the white stringy portion that runs down the middle, where he says the image is, to be sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. "I quickly called my wife and said, come see this... tell me it's not my eyes. I mean, am I seeing what I'm seeing?" says Kulniszewski. Kulniszewski took evidence photos for the New York State Police for 30 years and now enjoys photography as a hobby. He says he's glad he thought quickly enough to capture the images before the orange wilted.Kulniszewski says he knows there are people out there who will think he is crazy but says, he knows what he sees. "Apparitions are neither accepted or denied by the Catholic Church. They are based on what the recipient of the apparition believes and to me, I believe that it is Jesus Christ and Mary in the orange." says Kulniszewski. The married, father of 6 says he has no intention of selling the orange that he's now preserved in resin, to keep within his family. Kulnisnewski plans to duplicate the picture of the orange and sell it for around $15.00 including shipping. He says half of the proceeds will go towards his Roman Catholic Church in Lockport. "I'm happy with it because I know what it is and what it was at the outset. I know what I see... it's there. I've had my a-ha moment and I hope everybody else gets the same opportunity."
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Waxworks’ Resident Ghost Won’t Be Homeless
When Brading’s famous wax museum shut its doors for the final time — one spooky exhibit was still promised a permanent home. The skeletal remains of Frenchman Louis de Rochefort, who was murdered by Puritans at the former Crown Inn site, are set to remain in-situ, in his glass-topped coffin, whoever occupies the building. And they had better not be scared of the dark, as people say Louis’s ghost is regularly seen in one of the upstairs bedrooms. There are also rumours Louis’s dying screams and the sound of a coach rattling along the street outside can still be heard at night. Last week, local news reported how the attraction, renamed Brading the Experience, had closed, with its collection set to be broken up and sold off. Val Monger, of Daniel Street, Ryde, contacted the paper, anxious to find out what would happen to Louis’s remains, which was her favourite exhibit when she was a child.The skeleton was unearthed by workmen in the 1960s, when they were putting in a water main. They were found to be the remains of Loius de Rochefort, who was assassinated while trying to get a message to Charles I, when he was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle. Efforts to track down Louis’s relatives failed, with nobody claiming the bones and he is set to remain interred on the IW. Robert Ball, director of Brading Trading, the operating company for Brading the Experience, said he remained sceptical the skeleton was actually that of Louis. He said: "There is a skull there but I would not suggest the skull is original. There is a little bit of artistic licence going on there."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Sheep Born With Human Face
Sheep born with human face in Turkey is true. Yes, it’s indeed true and 100% true. The lamb’s head had human features on. Like the eyes, the nose and the mouth. It was reported that only the ears were those of a sheep. Veterinarians said that the rare mutation most likely occurred as a result of improper nutrition since the fodder for the lamb’s mother was abundant with vitamin A. Unfortunately the lamb with the human face died before it was born. It is believed that this is not the first time a birth of an animal has had human features. The sheep with a human face is likely the result of the mother’s improper nutrition.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A green sea slug appears to be part animal, part plant. It's the first critter discovered to produce the plant pigment chlorophyll. The sneaky slugs seem to have stolen the genes that enable this skill from algae that they've eaten. With their contraband genes, the slugs can carry out photosynthesis — the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. "They can make their energy-containing molecules without having to eat anything," said Sidney Pierce, a biologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Pierce has been studying the unique creatures, officially called Elysia chlorotica, for about 20 years. He presented his most recent findings Jan. 7 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Seattle. The finding was first reported by Science News. "This is the first time that multicellar animals have been able to produce chlorophyll," Pierce told LiveScience. The sea slugs live in salt marshes in New England and Canada. In addition to burglarizing the genes needed to make the green pigment chlorophyll, the slugs also steal tiny cell parts called chloroplasts, which they use to conduct photosynthesis.The chloroplasts use the chlorophyl to convert sunlight into energy, just as plants do, eliminating the need to eat food to gain energy. "We collect them and we keep them in aquaria for months," Pierce said. "As long as we shine a light on them for 12 hours a day, they can survive [without food]." The researchers used a radioactive tracer to be sure that the slugs are actually producing the chlorophyll themselves, as opposed to just stealing the ready-made pigment from algae. In fact, the slugs incorporate the genetic material so well, they pass it on to further generations of slugs. The babies of thieving slugs retain the ability to produce their own chlorophyll, though they can't carry out photosynthesis until they've eaten enough algae to steal the necessary chloroplasts, which they can't yet produce on their own. The slugs accomplishment is quite a feat, and scientists aren't yet sure how the animals actually appropriate the genes they need. "It certainly is possible that DNA from one species can get into another species, as these slugs have clearly shown," Pierce said. "But the mechanisms are still unknown."
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Loch Ness Monster 'Is Not Extinct'
The president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club has said that reports of the creature's death have been greatly exaggerated. Gary Campbell said that he was concerned until Nessie was spotted near the Clansman Hotel on June 6 last year. Campbell said: "That's why were so relieved to have heard about this sighting. In June, when it was reported, nobody had seen anything for a year. If it hadn't been for that one, we would have been really, really worried.
"Ten years ago we had a lot of good sightings, but in the last two or three years, they have tailed off. What we regard as a dependable sighting is very much down to the person who sees it." Of the suggestions that the famed monster had died, he continued: "If people start to believe this, it might start to affect tourist numbers. "Whether you believe in Nessie or not, the Loch Ness Monster is one of the most important tourist attractions we have." He added: "Perhaps, though, the answers are to be found underwater instead of on the loch's surface. "Unknown sonar contacts happen all the time. Maybe Nessie is just keeping her head down."
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Family Films 'Creepy' Silent, Monkey-Like Creature On Hike Through Snow-Covered Woods
Bitterly cold in January, the north-eastern U.S. state of Maine is not known for its monkey population. So when a family hiking through snow-covered woods claimed they had spotted a strange, ape-like creature sitting silently in a tree, it was not long before the suggestion that Bigfoot had been spotted was made. The unidentified family managed to capture what they said was a monkey-like creature on video. The footage, posted on YouTube by American user webtech88 five days ago, has been continuously clicked on ever since and become one of the first internet hits of 2010. It opens with a shot of the creature, sitting high in a tree in a snow-covered forest. A woman can be heard telling a child to look at 'the bear' in the branches. 'I don't like bears,' the child tearfully replies - understandably so. Strangely, the prospect of coming across a bear in the woods while walking with a child does not seem to perturb the adults in the group. The group appear to have approached the creature from behind and the cameraman can even be heard whistling, presumably in an effort to attract the 'bear's' attention. 'I think its face is the other way,' remarks one of the party before a new angle emerges showing the creature's face. As the camera closes in, however, the adults grow a little concerned as they realise it might not be a bear. Without moving a muscle the creature steadfastly gazes back at the party.
'I see an ape,' says the confused woman. 'It does look like a monkey,' the cameraman agrees. 'I can't believe we saw a porcupine bear,' the woman jokes. 'That really looks like a monkey,' says the cameraman, adding: 'Creepy.' The creature remains perched in the tree. Although hair on the top of what appears to be its head is visible, its face remains obscured in shadow. 'I'm going to climb the tree,' the woman announces. The cameraman laughs at the suggestion. 'Did his mouth just open?' he says as the creature shifts position. 'That looks like a freaking monkey.' 'I think it's a snow monkey,' the woman says as the footage comes to an end. The family has not come forward to speak about the incident. Maine has had a plethora of Bigfoot sightings over the years. Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a creature which supposedly lives in forests, predominately in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Maine is on the opposite side of the U.S., in the top north-east corner of the country. It is usually described as a large, hairy creature which most consider to be a figment of folklore and hoaxes.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Comet Encounters The Sun
The solar system has one less comet. The subtraction occurred yesterday when a bright comet discovered by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft plunged toward the sun and evaporated. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) had an excellent view of the encounter. The doomed comet was a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family.
Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see. The comet was found on Jan. 2nd by Australian amateur astronomer Alan Watson, who was inspecting images obtained by STEREO-A's Heliospheric Imager on Dec. 30, 2009.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Psychic Predictions For 2010
Those who claim to see beyond the veil of space and time are predicting more bad news for 2010. A Toronto psychic known as Nikki has already made headlines and raised eyebrows with her prediction of the possible assassination - or attempted assassination - of President Obama in 2010. Nikki claims to have successfully predicted the death of Michael Jackson and the September 11 attacks. Other predictions from Nikki for 2010: Sarah Palin will pose nude and giant bats will attack a South American city. Psychic heavyweight Sylvia Browne also predicts a presidential assassination involving a complicated scenario designed to "damage the American people’s faith in their government" as if such a thing was possible.She hedges her bets by noting that it may not happen this year. Sometime between now and 2020, she says. This prediction should be safely forgotten by the end of the decade. The “channeler, spiritual teacher and spiritual healer” Oneesha of Las Cruces, NM, sees war between Israel and Iran and an attack “from within” on the United States. St. Paul's Fatima takes a safe bet and predicts "more wars." She's probably right on that one. Even Indian fortune tellers are predicting a rough row to hoe in the upcoming year though there may be some improvement in the second six months. Not all the psychics are doom and gloom. Barbara Soblewski Garcia sees a period of strong economic growth in real estate and the stock market, which will be nice. If we can avoid the giant bats.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Eerie Outpost Unnerves US Marines With Strange Lights And Whispers In The Night
The Marines found the bone as they scraped a shallow trench. Long, dry and unmistakably once part of a human leg, it was followed by others. They reburied most of them but also found bodies. Three of the graves were close together; in another was a skeleton still wearing a pair of glasses. The Marines covered the grave and told their successors to stay away from it. Observation Point Rock sits a few hundred metres south east of Patrol Base Hassan Abad, where a company from 2/8 Marines has been stationed for the past seven months. It is a lonely and exposed outpost 20 metres (65ft) above the surrounding landscape, which has been in Nato hands since it was captured from the Taleban in 2008. Groups of Marines are posted to guard it, usually for a couple of months at a time, and “the Rock” has acquired a peculiar reputation. American troops widely refer to it as “the haunted Observation Point”. It is hard to say how much the 100F (38C) heat, round-the-clock guard shifts and months spent living in trenches and peering out of sandbagged firing points have gilded the legend of OP Rock. The only break from the tedium, apart from dog-eared magazines and an improvised gym, has been small-arms or rocket-propelled grenade attacks from the Taleban, usually on a Sunday morning. But as Sergeant Josh Brown, 22, briefed his successor when a detachment of men from Golf Company was swapped for an incoming contingent from Fox Company, he warned of the strange atmosphere and inexplicable phenomena that plagued OP Rock. “The local people say this is a cursed place,” he said. “You will definitely see weird-ass lights up here at night.” Others in the outgoing unit had reported odd sounds. “It is weird what you hear and don’t hear around here,” he added. Each successive detachment that guards the Rock appears to add its own layer to the legend, which has spread through the Marine units pushing into southern Helmand. There is talk of members of the Taleban entombed in caves below; the bodies buried on the summit are identified confidently as dead Russian soldiers from the ill-fated Soviet invasion.
Corporal Jacob Lima, right, and another Marine at Observation Point RockCorporal Jacob Lima’s story is the latest addition. One night he was woken by the sound of screaming. It was Corporal Zolik, a Marine who has since been moved to a unit farther south. “He was yelling and begging me to go up to the firing point he was guarding,” Corporal Lima, 22, told the men taking over from him. “When I got there he said that he was sitting there when he heard a voice whisper something in his ear. He said it sounded like Russian. He begged me to stay in there with him till he was relieved from guard duty. After that he really didn’t like standing post up there.” The Marines’ predecessors, a unit of Welsh Guards, also produced tales of the unexpected. “The Brits claimed to see weird things, hear noises,” Corporal Lima said. “Lots of them said it’s creepy at night, especially from midnight till 4am. You see a lot of unexplained lights through night-vision goggles.” Its elevation has clearly made the Rock a natural defensive position for centuries. It is not a rock, though it resembles one. Medieval arrow slits and the remains of fortified turrets on its eastern flank show that this was once a large mud fort that collapsed in on itself and was probably built upon in turn. The locals say that it dates back to Alexander the Great, and another similar structure is visible in the distance to the south, part of a supposed line of such forts built at some point in Afghanistan’s history of invasion and war. When US Marines seized the post last summer they dropped a 2,000lb (900kg) bomb on one side, collapsing part of the structure on to what its current occupants claim was a cave where Taleban fighters were sheltering. “This place really sucks,” said Lance Corporal Austin Hoyt, 20, putting his pack on to return to the main base. “The Afghans say it’s haunted. Stick a shovel in anywhere and you’ll find bones and bits of pottery. This place should be in National Geographic — in the front there are weird-looking windows for shooting arrows. You know, they say the Russians up here were executed by the Mujahidin.” He looked meaningfully at his successors and prepared to leave.