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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.

This 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 Shuttle Astronaut

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
CONSPIRACY JOURNAL!

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


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Do exotic creatures still exist in the deepest jungles of South America?  Read about a brave explorer found ripped to shreds by a King Kong-like monster, and the native women who coupled with large "apes."  Learn of their hybrid progeny, whose "language" consists only of moans and howls.
 
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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
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- POLITICS INSTEAD OF TRUTH DEPARTMENT -

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 Representatives committee.

"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 added.

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 place.

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 health.

"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 had."

Source: Reuters News
http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1034212120070710

- 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 -- linger.

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 declaration."

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 Fuel Museum.

"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.
'Always building'

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, legal trouble.

"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 never worked.

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 air.

"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 said.

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 take it?'

"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 that day."

They left briskly. Charlie was about to go inside when the driveway filled again, this time with military vehicles. "Army brass," he recalled.

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 with it."
Coroner's report

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 death.

Lt. Steve Robinette said it's possible the men's interviews were not taped.

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 shut.

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
http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/07/08/
hydroman.ART_ART_07-08-07_A1_4V77MOK.html

- 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 crackpots.

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 field.

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 relatives changed.

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 church.

"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 with Barney."

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 sightings."

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 claims.

"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."

Source: Seacoastonline
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=
/20070708/ENTERTAIN/707080308

- 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 hide.”

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 gone.”

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 territory.

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 sloth.

“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 don’t exist.”

Even so, the mystery of the mapinguary is likely to continue, as is the search.

“There’s still an awful lot of room out there for a large sloth to be roaming around,” Dr. Shepard said.

Source: NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/world/americas/08amazon.html?_r=3&ref=
world&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

- A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE VEIL DEPARTMENT -

How to Become Sensitive to Psychic Energy

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 gifted individuals.

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 necessarily.

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 has not.

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 language?

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
http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=53&a=21446

- 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 work.

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 Jesus.

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
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0212_040212_friday13.html

- LET'S DO IT ALL AGAIN DEPARTMENT -

Girl Says She is Reincarnated Shuttle Astronaut


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
http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14488118&cid=2485&name=Don't

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