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Perhaps today shall be the day
you won't get out of bed. Why tempt the fates? Maybe today
should be the day you won't fly...or go to work...or do anything at
all. Perhaps today shall be the day you won't get out of
bed. Cosmic forces conspire against you. Malignant energies
weave their way through the universe to seek you out for their dark
missions. Black cats walk across your path. Today is Friday
the 13th. Perhaps today shall be the day you won't get out of bed.
week Conspiracy Journal brings you such paraskavedekatriaphobia tales as:
Former Bush Surgeon General
Says he was Muzzled -
The Car That Ran on Water
- Niece of Betty and Barney Hill Writes Book
on UFO Experience -
AND: Girl Says She is Reincarnated
All these exciting stories and MORE
in this week's issue of
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
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MYSTERIES MAGAZINE #17
In This Fantastic Issue:
The Hidden History of Haitian Vodou By K. Filan
Oak Island Money Pit:
The Dig Just Keeps Getting Deeper
An Interview with Ray Santilli
The Signs of Stigmata
George Hensley's Serpent Handlers
PLUS: Summer Horoscopes
Get your issue TODAY at your favorite bookstore
or magazine stand.
- POLITICS INSTEAD OF TRUTH
Former Bush Surgeon General Says he was Muzzled
The first U.S.
surgeon general appointed by President George W. Bush accused the
administration of political interference and muzzling him on key issues
like embryonic stem cell research.
"Anything that doesn't fit into the political
appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored,
marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the
nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of
"The problem with this approach is that in public
health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring
science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by
changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the
doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona
Carmona said Bush administration political appointees
censored his speeches and kept him from talking out publicly about
certain issues, including the science on embryonic stem cell research,
contraceptives and his misgivings about the administration's embrace of
"abstinence-only" sex education.
Carmona's comments came two days before a Senate
committee is due to hold a hearing on Bush's nomination of Dr. James
Holsinger as his successor. The administration allowed Carmona to
finish his term as surgeon general last year without a replacement in
Gay rights activists and several leading Democrats
have criticized Holsinger for what they see as "anti-gay" writings, but
the White House has defended him as well qualified.
U.S. surgeons general in the past have issued
influential reports on subjects including smoking, AIDS and mental
"Political interference with the work of the surgeon
general appears to have reached a new level in this administration,"
said Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who chairs the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee to which Carmona testified.
"The public expects that a surgeon general will be
immune from political pressure and be allowed to express his or her
professional views based on the best available science," he said.
Carmona said he was politically naive when he took
the job, but became astounded at the partisanship and manipulation he
witnessed as administration political appointees hemmed him in.
Bush in 2001 allowed federal funding for human
embryonic stem cell research, but only with heavy restrictions that
many scientists condemn as stifling.
Carmona said the administration prevented him from
voicing views on stem cell research. Many scientists see it as a
promising avenue for curing many diseases. But because it involves
destroying human embryos, opponents call it immoral.
Carmona said he was prevented from talking publicly
even about the science underpinning the research to enable the U.S.
public to have a better understanding of a complicated issue. He said
most of the public debate over the matter has been driven by political,
ideological or theological motivations.
"I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision
had already been made -- stand down, don't talk about it," he said.
Carmona testified with two predecessors, Dr. C.
Everett Koop, who served under President Ronald Reagan, and Dr. David
Satcher, named by Clinton but whose term ended under Bush.
Carmona said some of his predecessors told him, "We
have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as
mean-spirited as it is today, and you clearly have worse than anyone's
Source: Reuters News
WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW DEPARTMENT -
The Car That Ran on Water
Nine years after his death, inventor's dreams -- and suspicions --
Stanley Meyer during a test of his dune buggy, about 1980. This screen
shot was taken from a DVD sent to The Dispatch by his twin brother,
Stephen Meyer. After more than 20 years of research and tinkering, it
was time to celebrate.
Stanley Allen Meyer, his brother and two Belgian investors raised
glasses in the Grove City Cracker Barrel on March 20, 1998.
Meyer said his invention could do what physicists say is impossible --
turn water into hydrogen fuel efficiently enough to drive his dune
buggy cross-country on 20 gallons straight from the tap. He took a sip
of cranberry juice. Then he grabbed his neck, bolted out the door,
dropped to his knees and vomited violently.
"I ran outside and asked him, 'What's wrong?' " his brother, Stephen
Meyer, recalled. "He said, 'They poisoned me.' That was his dying
Stanley Meyer's bizarre death at age 57 ended work that, if proved
valid, could have ended reliance on fossil fuels.
People who knew him say his work drew worldwide attention: mysterious
visitors from overseas, government spying and lucrative buyout offers.
His death sparked a three-month investigation that consumed and
fascinated Grove City police.
"Meyer's death was laced with all sorts of stories of conspiracy,
cloak-and-dagger stories," said Grove City Police Lt. Steve Robinette,
lead detective on the case.
If Stephen Meyer was shocked at his twin brother's collapse and death,
he was equally amazed at the Belgians' response the next day.
"I told them that Stan had died and they never said a word," he
recalled, "absolutely nothing, no condolences, no questions.
"I never, ever had a trust of those two men ever again."
Today, Stanley Meyer is featured on numerous Internet sites. A
significant portion of the 1995 documentary It Runs on Water, narrated
by science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke and aired on the BBC,
focuses on his "water fuel cell" invention.
James Robey wants a permanent place for Meyer in his Kentucky Water
"He was ignored, called a fraud and died without his small hometown
even remembering him with so much as a plaque," Robey wrote in his
self-published book Water Car.
Meyer had euphoric highs and humiliating defeats. He was kind and
generous yet paranoid and suspicious. He would be hailed as a visionary
and a genius. He also would be sued and declared a fraud.
As many of his more than 20 patents expire this year, and gasoline
prices hover around $3 per gallon, there is growing interest in his
inventions. But it remains unclear how much was true science and how
much was science fiction.
Meyer was born and lived on Columbus' East Side before moving to
Grandview Heights, where he finished high school. He briefly attended
Ohio State University and joined the military.
"We were always building something," Stephen Meyer recalled of their
youth. "We went out and created our toys."
At 6 feet 3 and with a booming voice, Stanley Meyer was charismatic and
persuasive, equally conversant with physicists and bricklayers. He was
also eccentric. His favorite phrase was "Praise the Lord and pass the
ammunition," friends said.
He once called Grove City police to his home and laboratory on Broadway
to report a suspicious package. The Columbus bomb squad detonated the
parcel, only to discover it was equipment that he had ordered.
His focus on water as a fuel began in earnest in 1975, a year after the
end of the Arab oil embargo, which had triggered high gas prices,
gas-pump lines and anxiety.
"It became imperative that we must try to bring in an alternative fuel
source and do it very quickly," Meyer says in the documentary.
The basis for Meyer's research, electrolysis, is taught in
middle-school science labs. Electricity flows through water, cracking
the molecules and filling test tubes with oxygen and hydrogen bubbles.
A match is lighted. The volatile gases explode to prove that water has
separated into its components.
Meyer said his invention did so using much less electricity than
physicists say is possible. Videos show his contraptions turning water
into a frothy mix within seconds.
"It takes so much energy to separate the H2 from the O," said Ohio
State University professor emeritus Neville Reay, a physicist for more
than 41 years. "That energy has pretty much not changed with time. It's
a fixed amount, and nothing changes that."
Meyer's work defies the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states
that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
"Basically, it says you can't get something for nothing," Reay said.
"He may have had a nice way to store the hydrogen and use it to make a
very effective motor, but there is no way to do something fancy and
separate hydrogen with less energy."
Nevertheless, Meyer attracted believers, investors and, eventually,
"I was a sucker for some of this stuff at the time," William E. Brooks
said from his home in Anchorage, Alaska.
Brooks invested more than $300,000 in Meyer's technology. He hoped to
find applications for his aviation business.
Today, he and his wife, Lorraine, laugh about the ordeal, made easier
because their money was returned in a 1994 settlement in Franklin
County Common Pleas Court.
Two years later, a Fayette County judge found "gross and egregious
fraud" in Meyer's contract negotiation with two businessmen. Their
money was returned.
Roger L. Hurley, a retired Darke County judge, defended Meyer and still
believes in him.
"I would not represent someone who I would consider to be a shyster or
a bum," said Hurley. "He was a nice guy."
Meyer's creativity seemed to peak after he met Charles and Valorie
Hughes, truck drivers who lived in Jackson Township.
Julia Hughes, the youngest of their seven children, was 5 years old
when Meyer rang the doorbell of her home on Marlane Drive.
"His first few words were, 'The Lord sent me here to this home; I'd
like to use your home as an experiment,' " she said.
Maybe it was the two-story garage-shop or the privacy of towering oak
and sycamore trees; Julia isn't sure what Meyer saw there. But she knew
her parents didn't have room for a struggling inventor.
Yet after visiting with the family for several hours, Meyer stayed the
night, and then the next few years in the late 1970s.
In return, Meyer built the family a solar silo, designed to both heat
and cool the home. The structure required thousands of clear resin
"light guides," a crude form of fiber optics, which Meyer baked and
molded in the family kitchen. Julia Hughes recalled the chemical stench.
The system was supposed to channel the sun's rays into the tower's base
to heat water and generate electricity for an air conditioner. Despite
extensive efforts that included re-plumbing the house, the invention
That didn't bother Charles Hughes, Julia's father, who is retired in
Jackson, Ohio. He would see Meyer power his tractor for 15 minutes on
well water, he said. He would put his nose to the exhaust.
"There was no fumes whatsoever," he recalled. "It was just clean, hot
"He was just very trustworthy, very religious. I just had the feeling
that he would not take anything from me, and he never did," Mr. Hughes
Belief in Meyer continues today. So does suspicion about plots to
silence him. Stephen Meyer recalled a phone call to his brother's home
in the 1980s.
"He turned to me and said, 'They just offered me $800 million. Should I
"I said, 'Hell yes. How much money do you want?'
"He got very quiet. When he got into that thinking process, I just let
him alone," Stephen recalled.
Charlie Hughes, now 36, vividly recalls the strangers who visited his
parents' home in the late 1970s.
He had been playing outside when the driveway suddenly filled with
limousines. Men in turbans stepped out. In "stern, thick accents," they
asked for Meyer. "I remember, because I was not allowed in my own house
They left briskly. Charlie was about to go inside when the driveway
filled again, this time with military vehicles. "Army brass," he
At dinner that night, Meyer told them: "The Arabs wanted to offer me
$250 million to stop today. You and this lovely family can live in
peace and prosperity the rest of your days."
The Army officials, meanwhile, had questioned Meyer about what the
foreigners wanted, thinking that a deal might have been struck, Charlie
recalled Meyer telling the family.
Meyer discusses the offers in the Clarke documentary.
"Many times over the last decade, I have been offered enormous amounts
of money simply to sell out or sit on it … The Arabs have offered me a
total of a billion dollars total pay simply to sit on it and do nothing
The Grove City police investigation of Meyer's death included taped
interviews of more than a dozen witnesses.
Absent, however, were audiotapes of the two Belgians, Phillippe
Vandemoortele and Marc Vancraeyenest.
The men had agreed to purchase 56 acres along Seeds Road in Grove City.
The city had approved a research campus there two months before Meyer's
Lt. Steve Robinette said it's possible the men's interviews were not
Calls and e-mails to Vandemoortele and Vancraeyenest for this story
were not returned.
The Franklin County coroner ruled that Meyer, who had high blood
pressure, died of a brain aneurysm. Absent any proof of foul play, the
police went with the coroner's report.
The only detectable drugs were the pain reliever lidocaine and
phenytoin, which is used to treat seizures.
And what became of the dune buggy that captivated a community for at
least a few years?
A longtime friend of Meyer's, who doesn't want to be named because he
fears that people will bother him about the invention, led a reporter
to the basement of a property south of Columbus recently.
"I really shouldn't be showing you this," he said.
After passing through several darkened rooms scattered with computers
and electrical equipment, he opened a door. In the far corner of a
garage sat the buggy, its leather seats cracked, its engine partially
covered with a cloth.
A decal on the bright red paint declares: "Jesus Christ is Lord."
Then the man quickly led the way out. Lights went dark. Doors clicked
In his front yard, he sat on a lawn chair and sipped fruit punch. He
watched the cars and trucks drive by on the road, burning gasoline.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch
A BIT OF UFO HISTORY DEPARTMENT -
Niece of Betty and Barney
Hill Writes Book on UFO Experience
Stratham author Kathleen Marden, niece of Betty and Barney Hill, poses
with her new book "Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience,"
which gives the true story of the couple's alien abduction.
There were decades during which Kathleen Marden didn't divulge who her
aunt and uncle were. She'd witnessed firsthand the circus that engulfed
their lives, pro and con. So later when the Stratham resident became a
social worker and educator, she decided it was best not to mention her
relationship to Betty and Barney Hill.
But her interest and curiosity, as well as her love for the two people
at the center of one of the most famous — alleged — UFO abductions,
eventually led her back to the subject. Along with Stanton T Friedman,
Marden has penned "Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience,"
which will be released in August by Career Press/New Page Books.
"I was absolutely flabbergasted. But, I had learned in school that none
of the planets were inhabited. I never though of anything outside the
solar system," she says. "I just assumed we were the only life forms."
Nonetheless she believed them. "I had a great respect for them. My aunt
was a well-educated social worker for the state and Barney worked for
the Boston Post Office and was active in the civil rights movement, a
lifelong member of the NAACP. ...; But I was amazed."
Marden goes on to explain how well established the two were. The
importance of laying the ground is evident as she checks off their
involvements and accomplishments. She knew these people. They were not
Marden's book is intended as a biography of Betty Hill. "It follows her
life since 1957 till her death (in 2004). ...; There's a chapter on
Betty and Barney's relationship (a bi-racial couple), how it
developed." But given the impact of the UFO event on their lives it's
the focus. "It changed their world view and changed their life.
Marden recalls, within days of the alleged abduction, she and her
family were at the Hills' home looking at evidence. "The tops of
Barney's car showed deeply scraped forms ...; which he couldn't
explain. They were the size of silver dollars, highly polished,
circular, on the trunk of the car. And when Betty placed a compass over
the sports it spun and spun." Their watches they'd been wearing had
stopped working, "though they'd been running perfectly the night before
the event. ... They never operated right again."
They told of a close encounter with a craft, "at the closest point
about 100 feet from them. It was disc-shaped, with a double row of
rectangular windows, and an intense blue-white light. There was a red
light that telescope from each side of it."
For some time the story was kept close and quiet. "They wanted to keep
it confidential. ...; But they thought as citizens they needed to
report it to Pease Air Force ...; they did on Sept. 20, 1961, the day
after arriving home."
Curious, Betty started researching UFOs at the local library. In one
book she found reference to NICAP, a private organization located in
Washington, D.C., comprised of military personnel, and scientists
interested in "the UFO problem, dilemma whatever you want to call it,"
says Marden. Her aunt wrote the group.
"She described that Barney returned to the car and was afraid ...; that
they heard what Betty described as electric beeping and Barney
discussed as buzzing, a series of sounds." The latter incident the last
Barney recalled till reaching Ashland, N.H., 35 miles south of the
Betty retained fleeting memories. Both recalled a roadblock and a huge
moon, or red-orange orb silhouetted against the trees. Initially Marden
learned most the details a month after the incident when Walter Webb,
an astronomer with the NICAP, arrived in October of '61.
News of the abduction broke in 1965. Life for the couple and their
The pair told their story at a NICAP meeting, in Quincy, Mass. "They
weren't on any official agenda, but had agreed to stand up and tell
...; what they saw. Apparently it was tape recorded."
One of those in attendance handed the information on to a reporter with
the "Boston Traveler." He contacted them and was insistent they talk.
They refused and hired a lawyer. "They had a good reputation in the
community. ...; They certainly didn't want to be considered crackpots."
This is another important point for Marden. In the past the Hills,
Betty in particular, were accused of seeking publicity. It just wasn't
that way, says the niece. "Barney was appointed chair of Rockingham
County Community Action Program and was also on the state advisory
board for economic opportunity board. He was also a N.H. representative
to the Civil Rights Commission and legal redress to the NAACP and on
the New Hampshire regional board." Betty also held positions in these
organizations, and was an envoy to the United Nations through their
"So they really had a lot to lose. ...; They took what action they
could to prevent it from being told. But they couldn't stop it."
On Oct. 25, 1965, the incident hit the papers with five follow-up
articles. "I think not only myself, but the entire family was concerned
about it." The reason was simple, "because of the way it would reflect
on Betty and Barney and because we were members of the family it would
reflect on us as well."
Marden was in high school at the time and initially felt no strong
effect. Her brother on the other hand was bullied and beaten because of
the story. During college and later entering the work field Marden
thought twice about divulging the connection. "I was worried that it
would effect my professional career and how people would perceive me.
So I only told friends until I retired. ...; I sort of separated myself
from the affair for a number of years."
Today the incident and the research regarding UFO sightings is a part
of her life. "I'll tell you why. When I left my profession back in the
early '90s I was spending more and more time with my aunt. And
something I'd always wanted to do was investigate ...; to find out in
my own mind if it had happened, or if Barney had absorbed Betty's
dreams." (Barney passed in 1976).
While Betty was still alive Marden started what she describes as
intensive research. She mapped out distances, looked at landmarks, even
took Betty along with her several times. "I had the opportunity to ask
lots of questions. ...; I think what cemented it for me was when she
gave me the hypnosis tapes."
"While you can't really confirm without outside verification, what I
was looking for was the independent corroborating information. And I
believe I found that." It was in the inconsequential things, she says.
Marden explains that when the Hills underwent hypnosis, the doctor
imposed amnesia after each session, in part to keep them from
exchanging ideas. In 1996 Marden transcribed the tapes and started
comparing them with one another and with Betty's dreams. She feels the
two accounts often corroborated one another.
"During part of the hypnosis I do believe Betty was mixing dreams with
other things, a combination of fantasy and reality. I don't think so
Betty Hill appointed Marden trustee and executor of her estate. After
Betty's death in 2004, Marden compiled two permanent archival
collections for the Milne Special Collection and Archives Department at
the UNH Dimond Library. One is the Hills' civil rights collection,
comprised of documents, letters, photographs and newspaper articles
pertaining to Betty's and Barney's social and political activities. The
UFO collection contains all of all the correspondence, articles, and
other material from Betty's extensive files, including new material,
Betty's dress, and the forensic paintings of her captors by N.H. artist
David Baker. They will soon become available to qualified researchers.
"I read every letter she'd written, letters from researchers, serious
scientists ...; whose identities will never be revealed. They're
studying it quietly. I had her diaries, her memories. The book is based
on all this information." There are also hours of tape from interviews
between Marden and Hill, with the niece often playing devil's advocate.
After retiring from her professional life, Marden became more involved
in the UFO world. She was on the board of the international group
Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for 10 years, till resigning recently. She
was MUFON's director of field investigators, the arm that trains and
tests field investigators, "people qualified to investigate after UFO
The upshot of her own family's sighting? "I do believe there is enough
evidence to say I think they probably were (abducted)," says Marden.
And yes, she does believe in UFOs, though she's very skeptical of most
"I'm very interested in the subject. I'm not a person that is going to
go out advocating or proselytizing about UFOs. I think of myself as
taking more of a curious, social-science-perspective look at this sort
of thing. I find abductions fascinating interesting and perplexing.
...; but unless you show me evidence, I can't say yet it happened."
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE JUNGLE DEPARTMENT -
A Huge Amazon Monster Is
Only a Myth. Or Is It?
RIO BRANCO, Brazil — Perhaps it is nothing more than a legend, as
skeptics say. Or maybe it is real, as those who claim to have seen it
avow. But the mere mention of the mapinguary, the giant slothlike
monster of the Amazon, is enough to send shivers down the spines of
almost all who dwell in the world’s largest rain forest.
Amazon tribes relate tales of confronting the mapinguary. A statue
depicting the fearsome creature has been erected in remote Rio Branco,
Brazil. Tales of mapinguary encounters are common in Rio Branco.
The folklore here is full of tales of encounters with the creature, and
nearly every Indian tribe in the Amazon, including those that have had
no contact with one another, have a word for the mapinguary (pronounced
ma-ping-wahr-EE). The name is usually translated as “the roaring
animal” or “the fetid beast.”
So widespread and so consistent are such accounts that in recent years
a few scientists have organized expeditions to try to find the
creature. They have not succeeded, but at least one says he can explain
the beast and its origins.
“It is quite clear to me that the legend of the mapinguary is based on
human contact with the last of the ground sloths,” thousands of years
ago, said David Oren, a former director of research at the Goeldi
Institute in Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon River. “We know
that extinct species can survive as legends for hundreds of years. But
whether such an animal still exists or not is another question, one we
can’t answer yet.”
Dr. Oren said he had talked to “a couple of hundred people” who had
said they had seen the mapinguary in the most remote parts of the
Amazon and a handful who had said they had had direct contact.
In some areas, the creature is said to have two eyes, while in other
accounts it has only one, like the Cyclops of Greek mythology. Some
tell of a gaping, stinking mouth in the monster’s belly through which
it consumes humans unfortunate enough to cross its path.
But all accounts agree that the creature is tall, seven feet or more
when it stands on two legs, that it emits a strong, extremely
disagreeable odor, and that it has thick, matted fur, which covers a
carapace that makes it all but impervious to bullets and arrows.
“The only way you can kill a mapinguary is by shooting at its head,”
said Domingos Parintintin, a tribal leader in Amazonas State. “But that
is hard to do because it has the power to make you dizzy and turn day
into night. So the best thing to do if you see one is climb a tree and
Geovaldo Karitiana, 27, a member of the Karitiana tribe, claims to have
seen one about three years ago, as he was hunting in the jungle near an
area that his tribe calls “the cave of the mapinguary.”
“It was coming toward the village and was making a big noise,” he said
in a recent interview on the tribe’s reservation in the western Amazon.
“It stopped when it got near me, and that’s when the bad smell made me
dizzy and tired. I fainted, and when I came to, the mapinguary was
Mr. Karitiana’s father, Lucas, confirmed his son’s account. He said
that when his son took him back to the site of the encounter, he saw a
cleared pathway where the creature had departed, “as if a boulder had
rolled through and knocked down all the trees and vines.”
Though the descriptions of the mapinguary may resemble the sasquatch of
North America or the yeti of Himalayan lore, the comparisons stop
there. Unlike its counterparts in the Northern Hemisphere, the creature
is said not to flee human contact, but to aggressively hunt down the
hunter, turning the tables on those who do not respect the jungle’s
unwritten rules and limits.
“Often, the mapinguary gets revenge on people who transgress, who go
where they shouldn’t go or harvest more animals or plants than they can
consume, or set cruel traps,” said Márcio Souza, a prominent
Brazilian novelist and playwright who lives in Manaus, in the central
Amazon, and often draws on Amazon history and folklore in his works.
Amazon folklore, in fact, is full of fanciful creatures that are used
to explain unwelcome or embarrassing phenomena. The boto, for example,
is a type of dolphin that is said to be able to transform itself into
human form, wearing a white hat to cover its air spout, and seducing
and impregnating impressionable young virgins.
When a hunter or woodsman gets lost in the jungle, he often blames the
curupira, a mischievous red-haired elf who has feet that face backward
and takes delight in making trails that lead travelers astray. And when
an experienced navigator inexplicably disappears or drowns in calm
waters, he is usually said to have fallen victim to the iara, a cross
between a siren and a mermaid.
Scientists link the current mapinguary legends to the Megatherium, one
of the largest mammals ever. It vanished thousands of years ago.
“If you’re a rubber tapper and you’re returning to camp empty-handed,
you’d better have a pretty good explanation for your boss,” said Marcos
Vinícius Neves, director of the government’s department of
historical and cultural patrimony in Acre State, where a statue of a
mapinguary has been erected at a public plaza here in the capital. “The
mapinguary is the best excuse you could possible imagine.”
Mr. Souza, the writer, counts himself among those who believe the
mapinguary is a myth. The deforestation of the Amazon has accelerated
so rapidly over the last generation, he argues, that if the creature
really existed, “there would have been some sort of close encounter of
the third kind by now.”
Partly for that reason, most zoologists scoff at the notion that it
could be real.
The giant ground sloth, Megatherium, was once one of the largest
mammals to walk the earth, bigger than a modern elephant. Fossil
evidence is abundant and widespread, found as far south as Chile and as
far north as Florida. But the trail stops cold thousands of years ago.
“When you travel in the Amazon, you are constantly hearing about this
animal, especially when you are in contact with indigenous peoples,”
said Peter Toledo, an expert on sloths at the Goeldi Institute. “But
convincing scientific proof, in the form of even vestiges of bones,
blood or excrement, is always lacking.”
Glenn Shepard Jr., an American ethnobiologist and anthropologist based
in Manaus, said he was among the skeptics until 1997, when he was doing
research about local wildlife among the Machiguenga people of the far
western Amazon, in Peru. Tribal members all mentioned a fearsome
slothlike creature that inhabited a hilly, forested area in their
Dr. Shepard said “the clincher that really blew me away” came when a
member of the tribe remarked matter of factly that he had also seen a
mapinguary at the natural history museum in Lima. Dr. Shepard checked;
the museum has a diorama with a model of the giant prehistoric ground
“At the very least, what we have here is an ancient remembrance of a
giant sloth, like those found in Chile recently, that humans have come
into contact with,” he said. “Let me put it this way: Just because we
know that mermaids and sirens are myths doesn’t mean that manatees
Even so, the mystery of the mapinguary is likely to continue, as is the
“There’s still an awful lot of room out there for a large sloth to be
roaming around,” Dr. Shepard said.
Source: NY Times
A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE VEIL DEPARTMENT -
How to Become Sensitive to
Why is it that some people can sense danger or a problem before it
happens? Or they can hold an object belonging to a stranger and know
accurate details about that person?
Others can feel or sense right away the presence of a spirit or
invisible creatures in a place, while their companions may not feel
anything at all.
These people have somehow, developed a sensitivity to subtle or psychic
forces and energy. They are called by various names: sensitives,
psychics or people with multi-sensory faculties.
They are able to combine all senses at once and form conclusions faster
than ordinary individuals. They can "read" thoughts, "feel" colors or
"see" invisible things.
People with such heightened sensitivity to subtle or psychic forces
represent the next phase of human evolution, according to some
thinkers. They have developed an extra sense, or what is commonly known
as the "Sixth Sense."
But everybody possesses a so-called Sixth Sense or psychic perception
to a lesser or greater degree. It is not a monopoly of a few highly
Given some training and mental discipline, anyone can develop his/her
sensitivity to psychic forces or energy. Psychic functioning is a
natural ability of every human being.
How can ordinary individuals, with no extraordinary psychic powers or
perception develop or heighten his sensitivity to psychic or subtle
forces? Simply by becoming aware of his thoughts and feelings at any
given moment of time.
Awareness is therefore the key to this faculty. But awareness to what?
Isn't it that when we are awake we are aware of things around us? Not
Consider this: Why is it that when two persons are looking at the same
room, one will see or sense the presence of a spirit, but the other
will not? The person who senses the spirit can even describe it while
it is completely invisible to his/her companion.
This is because one has developed sensitivity to the spirits, the other
Another example. If two persons hold a quartz crystal, one will feel a
very strong energy emanating from the crystal, but the other person may
feel nothing at all. Why is this so?
One person has developed a sensitivity to the subtle energy of the
crystal, while the other has not.
There are very simple methods or techniques for developing one's
sensitivity to psychic or subtle energy. The following are only a few
examples of what anyone can do without any cost to him/her:
Be aware of the energy emanating from a place or room you enter. How
does the room feel when no one is around? How does it feel when another
person enters the room without you looking at the person? Does the
energy in the room change? Does your feeling change? What is the change?
Can you tell the difference when a room contains a living plant and
when the plant is not there?
When you meet a person for the first time, can you tell the type of
energy radiating out of him/her? Is it positive, negative or neutral?
Can you sense feelings of affection, envy, hatred, jealousy or
suspicion in a person without talking to him/her? Can you read the body
When holding natural rock quartz crystals, can you tell the type of
energy emitted by the crystal and can you distinguish the difference in
the energy of each crystal? At first you may not feel any difference at
all, but by practice this will soon be clear to you.
Each living creature, from the lowest to the highest form of life,
radiates certain colors called the aura. Can you sense light coming out
of a person's body? From a plant or animal? Try sensing the aura of
plants, animals and people around you.
Once you begin to focus on or be aware of the subtle energy emanating
from objects, animals, plants and people, you will become more and more
sensitive to the subtle forces that normally escape the average person.
Later you can use this ability to read the soul of things.
Source: Asian Journal Online
NATIONAL DON'T GET OUT OF BED DAY DEPARTMENT -
Friday the 13th Phobia
Rooted in Ancient History
On Friday the 13th some people are be so paralyzed with fear they
simply won't get out of bed. Others will steadfastly refuse to fly on
an airplane, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip. It's Friday the
13th, and they're freaked out.
"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in
business on this day because people will not fly or do business they
would normally do," said Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress
Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.
Among other services, Dossey's organization counsels clients on how to
overcome fear of Friday the 13th, a phobia that he estimates afflicts
17 to 21 million people in the United States.
Symptoms range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. The
latter may cause people to reshuffle schedules or miss an entire day's
When it comes to bad luck of any kind, Richard Wiseman—a psychologist
at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England—found that
people who consider themselves unlucky are more likely to believe in
superstitions associated with bad luck.
"Their beliefs and behavior are likely to be part of a much bigger
worldview," he said. "They will believe that luck is a magical force
and that it can ruin their lives."
Wiseman found that one quarter of the 2,068 people questioned in a 2003
survey associate the number 13 with bad luck. People with such
feelings, he found, are more likely to be anxious on days like Friday
the 13th and thus more prone to have accidents. In other words, being
afraid of Friday the 13th could be their undoing.
So how did Friday the 13th become such an unlucky day?
Dossey, also a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore,
Phobias and Fun, said fear of Friday the 13th (known as
paraskavedekatriaphobia) is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck
associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky
entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.
Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a
dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th
guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the
blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy
and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
"Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It
was a bad, unlucky day," said Dossey. From that moment on, the number
13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.
There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the
apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.
Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of
12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.
Thomas Fernsler, an associate policy scientist in the Mathematics and
Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware in
Newark, said the number 13 suffers because of its position after 12.
According to Fernsler, numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number.
There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of
Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of
In exceeding 12 by 1, Fernsler said 13's association with bad luck "has
to do with just being a little beyond completeness. The number becomes
restless or squirmy."
This fear of 13 is strong in today's world. According to Dossey, more
than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the
13th gate. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is
addressed as 12 and a half. In France socialites known as the
quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests
to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are
known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
As for Friday, it is well known among Christians as the day Jesus was
crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the
forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that
Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th.
So, what are triskaidekaphobes to do?
Dossey said "practical" cures are as simple as learning to refocus
one's thoughts from negative feelings to positive. His mantra: "What
you think about, you begin to feel. What you feel generates what you
do. And what you do creates how you will become."
In other words, those stricken with negative thoughts about Friday the
13th need to learn how to focus on pleasant thoughts. Those, in turn,
will create pleasant feelings that make one's fears less overwhelming,
according to Dossey.
"They haven't lost their mind. They've lost control of their mind,"
Dossey said of triskaidekaphobes. "They are focused in the wrong
direction. In their mind they have a big, large, looming picture of
something horrible that could happen."
Wiseman, the University of Hertfordshire psychologist, offers similar
advice to those stricken with the fear of Friday the 13th.
"They need to realize that they have the ability to create much of
their own good and bad luck," he said. "And they should concentrate on
being lucky by, for example, looking on the bright side of events in
their lives, remembering the good things that have happened, and, most
of all, be[ing] prepared to take control of their future."
Folklore offers other remedies, however. One recommendation is to climb
to the top of a mountain or skyscraper and burn all the socks you own
that have holes in them. Another is to stand on your head and eat a
piece of gristle.
So if you fear the 13th, take your pick of remedies and let the day
bring its luck—good or bad.
Source: National Geographic
LET'S DO IT ALL AGAIN DEPARTMENT -
Girl Says She is Reincarnated
A four-year-old girl who claims her name is Kalpana Chawla and that she
died up in the skies four years ago is drawing huge crowds in a village
in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Residents of Nar Mohammadpur village, where little Upasana is visiting
her relatives, think she might be the reincarnation of the India born
astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died when U.S. space shuttle Columbia
broke apart upon reentry four years ago.
The news of the girl's claim spread quickly in the area after she spoke
to some villagers.
"I am Kalpana Chawla," says Upasana, who reportedly fears the sight of
an aircraft. She has been telling her illiterate parents that she died
in a "crash" up in the skies.
"Upasana has been telling us ever since she started speaking that her
name was Kalpana Chawla and that her father's name was Banarsi Das
Chawla but we could not figure out anything as we had never heard of
Kalpana," Upasana's father Raj Kumar told reporters.
Raj Kumar who works as a labourer in Pata village of Etawah district,
from where the family had come to Bulandshahr to visit relatives, has
no clue about space research or spacecraft.
"Yet Upasana's proclamation led us all to believe that she was actually
talking about her previous birth," he said. "She claims that the
spacecraft was hit by a huge ball of ice that sent it crashing and
ended her life."
Upasana was born barely two months after the astronaut's death in 2003.
The news of her reincarnation spread like wild fire after her
interaction with some local persons in Khurja. Meanwhile, TV
reports said that Kalpana's father has refused to buy the rebirth story.
Source: SIFY News
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