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Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain – he may be trying to control your mind with microwave beams.  Or he could be hiding the truth about aliens and UFOs.  Or he could be selling drugs to finance some government priority that the public need not know about.  Or he could be reading the latest issue of the number one, weekly conspiracy newsletter of strange stuff and high weirdness - Conspiracy Journal!

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such foot-stomping stories as:

- Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch -
- Physicist Throws Time-Travel Theories a Curve -
- Pressure Grows on Norway's Psychic Princess -
- Mysterious Water Creatures Inhabit Siberian Lakes -
AND:  Ghostly Happenings in Murfreesboro

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


DO REPTILIAN SHAPESHIFTERS RULE THE WORLD?

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WARNING: TO BE USED BY MEMBERS OF THE 'HUMAN RESISTANCE' AS A GUIDE TO ALIEN STRATEGY!

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O Horrible battle between humans and aliens.
O AGHATRA - Contact with the subsurface world beneath our feet.
O What this group of ETs WANT!
O The great Biblical Deluge.
O Tribal memories of Flying Saucers.
O TELOS -- city beneath Mt Shasta.
O Chinese on the moon 4300 years ago.
O Underwater Bases.
O The Seven Sisters Constellation.
O Tunnel Beneath Salt Lake City.
O Secret Microwave Stations identified.
O Mysterious Disappearances in the Black Mountains.
O The Illuminati tie in.

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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
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- LIVING IN THE MATRIX DEPARTMENT -

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch

Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims.

But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.

This simulation would be similar to the one in “The Matrix,” in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains while their bodies are suspended in vats of liquid. But in Dr. Bostrom’s notion of reality, you wouldn’t even have a body made of flesh. Your brain would exist only as a network of computer circuits.

You couldn’t, as in “The Matrix,” unplug your brain and escape from your vat to see the physical world. You couldn’t see through the illusion except by using the sort of logic employed by Dr. Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford.

Dr. Bostrom assumes that technological advances could produce a computer with more processing power than all the brains in the world, and that advanced humans, or “posthumans,” could run “ancestor simulations” of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems.

Some computer experts have projected, based on trends in processing power, that we will have such a computer by the middle of this century, but it doesn’t matter for Dr. Bostrom’s argument whether it takes 50 years or 5 million years. If civilization survived long enough to reach that stage, and if the posthumans were to run lots of simulations for research purposes or entertainment, then the number of virtual ancestors they created would be vastly greater than the number of real ancestors.

There would be no way for any of these ancestors to know for sure whether they were virtual or real, because the sights and feelings they’d experience would be indistinguishable. But since there would be so many more virtual ancestors, any individual could figure that the odds made it nearly certain that he or she was living in a virtual world.

The math and the logic are inexorable once you assume that lots of simulations are being run. But there are a couple of alternative hypotheses, as Dr. Bostrom points out. One is that civilization never attains the technology to run simulations (perhaps because it self-destructs before reaching that stage). The other hypothesis is that posthumans decide not to run the simulations.

“This kind of posthuman might have other ways of having fun, like stimulating their pleasure centers directly,” Dr. Bostrom says. “Maybe they wouldn’t need to do simulations for scientific reasons because they’d have better methodologies for understanding their past. It’s quite possible they would have moral prohibitions against simulating people, although the fact that something is immoral doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

Dr. Bostrom doesn’t pretend to know which of these hypotheses is more likely, but he thinks none of them can be ruled out. “My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that,” he says, “is that there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.”

My gut feeling is that the odds are better than 20 percent, maybe better than even. I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon.

It’s unsettling to think of the world being run by a futuristic computer geek, although we might at last dispose of that of classic theological question: How could God allow so much evil in the world? For the same reason there are plagues and earthquakes and battles in games like World of Warcraft. Peace is boring, Dude.

A more practical question is how to behave in a computer simulation. Your first impulse might be to say nothing matters anymore because nothing’s real. But just because your neural circuits are made of silicon (or whatever posthumans would use in their computers) instead of carbon doesn’t mean your feelings are any less real.

David J. Chalmers, a philosopher at the Australian National University, says Dr. Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis isn’t a cause for skepticism, but simply a different metaphysical explanation of our world. Whatever you’re touching now — a sheet of paper, a keyboard, a coffee mug — is real to you even if it’s created on a computer circuit rather than fashioned out of wood, plastic or clay.

You still have the desire to live as long as you can in this virtual world — and in any simulated afterlife that the designer of this world might bestow on you. Maybe that means following traditional moral principles, if you think the posthuman designer shares those morals and would reward you for being a good person.

Or maybe, as suggested by Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University, you should try to be as interesting as possible, on the theory that the designer is more likely to keep you around for the next simulation. (For more on survival strategies in a computer simulation, go to www.nytimes.com/tierneylab.)

Of course, it’s tough to guess what the designer would be like. He or she might have a body made of flesh or plastic, but the designer might also be a virtual being living inside the computer of a still more advanced form of intelligence. There could be layer upon layer of simulations until you finally reached the architect of the first simulation — the Prime Designer, let’s call him or her (or it).

Then again, maybe the Prime Designer wouldn’t allow any of his or her creations to start simulating their own worlds. Once they got smart enough to do so, they’d presumably realize, by Dr. Bostrom’s logic, that they themselves were probably simulations. Would that ruin the fun for the Prime Designer?

If simulations stop once the simulated inhabitants understand what’s going on, then I really shouldn’t be spreading Dr. Bostrom’s ideas. But if you’re still around to read this, I guess the Prime Designer is reasonably tolerant, or maybe curious to see how we react once we start figuring out the situation.

It’s also possible that there would be logistical problems in creating layer upon layer of simulations. There might not be enough computing power to continue the simulation if billions of inhabitants of a virtual world started creating their own virtual worlds with billions of inhabitants apiece.

If that’s true, it’s bad news for the futurists who think we’ll have a computer this century with the power to simulate all the inhabitants on earth. We’d start our simulation, expecting to observe a new virtual world, but instead our own world might end — not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a message on the Prime Designer’s computer.

It might be something clunky like “Insufficient Memory to Continue Simulation.” But I like to think it would be simple and familiar: “Game Over.”

Source: NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/science/14tier.html?pagewanted=1&ei=
5090&en=22bfff4070a81187&ex=1344744000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

- GONNA GO BACK IN TIME DEPARTMENT -

Physicist Throws Time-Travel Theories a Curve

What do you get when you join a 1981 DeLorean, a "flux capacitor" and a digital dial set to Nov. 5, 1955? If you're the character of Dr. Emmett Brown in the 1985 movie Back to the Future, you've created a time machine.

The possibility of time travel has occupied the fantasies of philosophers, authors, children and directors. But to some physicists, it's more than pure fancy.

Some time ago in the issue of Physical Review Letters, Amos Ori, professor of physics at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, argues that the laws of physics don't stand in the way of building a time machine.

Ori hasn't created, or even designed, a physical time machine. He instead constructed a situation — a mathematical model — in which the laws of physics will make one for him.

"I write (the situation) mathematically. That doesn't mean that I know how to implement it practically." However, he says, if inhabitants of some highly advanced civilization could set up the conditions he describes, they might be able to travel in time.

The time machine Ori proposes isn't quite like the phone booth in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure or Back to the Future's DeLorean. Ori's solution forms a closed, timelike curve. It's a bit like a song that never ends. Think of each musical note as a point in space. As you sing the notes, you move forward in time. You can travel around the curve — sing the song — but when you get to the end, you are also at the beginning.

"If you had a closed, timelike curve, that means that something could run around it forever and ever, always going to the future but always coming back to the beginning," says Ted Jacobson, professor of physics at the University of Maryland.

Ori isn't the first physicist to create a theoretical time machine. Unlike previous models, Ori's proposal doesn't require any unknown matter or energy. The previous theories were forced to use unrealistic negative energy to warp space and time.

Ori's plan requires absolute emptiness — a vacuum. That means that, in principle, a closed, timelike curve could even happen naturally, possibly through cataclysmic astronomical collisions in the abyss of space.

It is difficult for experts to imagine the exact conditions, but extremes in the universe, such as super-dense black holes, could create the conditions necessary for the formation of a time machine.

When Einstein declared that space and time were intimately connected, time travel became a physical possibility. If you could zip around like a beam of light, you wouldn't age, but physics won't let that happen. It remains to be seen whether physics will allow time travel, but Ori's work suggests it will.

Einstein opened the door for the scientific pursuit of a time machine, and physicists are searching for solutions. Ori says maybe it's possible, but "this isn't something that we are going to construct soon."

Source: USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2005-07-27-time-travel_x.htm

- CRASH GO THE SAUCERS DEPARTMENT -

Saucer Recovery

Most people have heard of the crashed flying saucer at Roswell, New Mexico. But this was not the only supposed crash of an alien craft.

One of the earliest recorded UFO crashes is said to have happened on 6 June 1884 when a blazing object crashed in Dundy County, Nebraska. Local farmhands rushed to the scene and found sand fused to a glass-like substance, and a large pile of hot debris. One person who got too close suffered blisters similar to radiation exposure today. It took several days for the debris to cool down, whereupon the local paper reported it was extremely light metal but incredibly strong. It could have been aluminium, except it had not yet been invented. Local papers of the time even speculated the object could have come from outer space.

THEY KEEP COMING DOWN

Researcher Todd Zechel learnt from witnesses about a possible UFO retrieval when a saucer crashed in Laredo, Texas, on 7 July 1948. Prior to the crash, the 90 foot disc was seen by pilots, and said to be travelling at 2,000mph. Witnesses at the crash site spoke of a craft being taken away by US forces, and that a hairless, four foot alien had died there.

At the time it was dismissed as a hoax, and government papers since released show that Nazi V2 rockets were being modified in the area at the time.

Researcher Ivan Sanderson collected sighting reports of an object that flew over the Great Lakes on 9 December 1965. Towards early evening there was a boom in the sky, followed by a trail of smoke and a tremor shook the ground in a wood near Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. A Soviet rocket, Cosmos 96, had re-entered that day, but 13 hours earlier.

In 1980, the fire chief who attended the incident finally told that he saw a conical craft 12 feet high embedded in the ground, but they were cleared away by the military. Later that night, a truck left the site, the military claiming nothing was found.

TOLD AFTER THE FACT

In 1973, US scientist Fritz Werner contacted UFOlogist Ray Fowler, telling him of an event at Kingman, Arizona, on 20 May 1953. Picked up by a blacked-out bus, he and over a dozen other scientists were taken out into the wilderness to do tests on a 30 foot diameter disc embedded in the soil.

Taking a quick peek into nearby tents, Werner observed the body of a four foot alien in a silver suit. Four years after Werner had told his story, confirmation came from a pilot, then at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He knew of crates being received one night in mid-1953 containing wreckage with strange writing on it, and the bodies of three aliens packed in dry ice.

THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL

One of the latest episodes comes from Brazil. In the early hours of the morning of 20 January 1996, a farmer outside the city of Varginha saw a bus-sized object hovering above the ground spewing smoke.

By 08.30, the fire department received an anonymous call about a bizarre creature in the Jardim Abdere neighbourhood. When they arrived at the scene they found a group of adults chasing the creature which was bald, brown-skinned, had bulging, blood-red eyes and strange limbs. Capturing it, it was driven away in an army truck.

Rumours circulated that there had been more than one creature, and platoons of soldiers were seen throughout the day, with sporadic machine gun fire. At 15.30 hrs the Da Silva sisters were walking across a field when they saw a creature hiding fearfully behind a brick wall.

Within 24 hours of the first sighting of the craft, three extraterrestrials are said to have been taken to a Hospital, where medical tests killed at least one of them. The following day, bodies of the aliens were said to have been transferred to the University of Campinas, never to be heard of again as a military cover-up attempted to deny anything had occurred.

MILITARY MIS-IDENTIFICATION

Could the above have been real extraterrestrial events, or could something else be going on? There seem to be several factors identical to most of these episodes. First of all, something appeared to crash. And second, in many cases, it isn’t until many years later that people come forward to talk about it.

As these incidences usually revolve around military personnel, it is taken for granted that aerial phenomena that led to the ‘crash’ could not have been mis-identified. Yet how valid is this assumption?

As an ex-military man myself, I can testify to numerous exercises where personnel have ended up chasing shadows. A report comes in of an incident in the dead of night and it is soon blown up out of all proportion, with personnel regularly ‘seeing’ things that are not there.

The process can lead to a form of induced, and communal, self-hypnosis. You know that what is going on cannot be real, but your senses conflict with what you’re seeing. The Angels of Mons is not the only time such incidences have occurred, usually fuelled by fatigue followed by a rush of adrenalin.

A RECURRING THEME

After the event – a form of communal hallucination – the personnel involved feel rather stupid, and the authorities conspire to keep the event quiet. After all, it is inadvisable to let it be known that the military can occasionally seem to go insane.

Over the years, the personnel put the experience to the back of the mind, but as a culture forms out of research by non-military investigators, ‘false memories’ begin to form of what actually happened. And in no time at all, you’re sure that, as the books say, such events really did happen.

Hence, the result is a continuing culture of saucer crashes, almost identical in every case, because they are more a product of the researcher’s mind than the actual experiencers.
Indeed, this is a theme that can be found again and again in all manner of ‘paranormal’ experience, from exact mechanisms behind past-life regression through hypnosis, to the archetypal alien abduction event.

Of course, I am not saying that saucer crashes are not exactly what they seem. I am merely saying the possibility of other cultural and psychological processes should not be discounted.

Source: Beyond the Blog © Anthony North
http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/saucer-recovery/

- NEVER A PROPHET IN ONES OWN LAND DEPARTMENT -

Pressure Grows on Norway's Psychic Princess

Calls were spreading on Monday for Princess Martha Louise to give up her royal title, to eliminate what's considered an inappropriate mix of her privileged position with her new controversial psychic venture.

Even relatively conservative newspapers are criticizing the princess for "earning money on her princess title," as Bergens Tidende wrote in an editorial in Monday's editions.

The newspaper, Norway's largest outside the Oslo area, also noted that "as a princess and theoretically an heir to the throne," Martha Louise "needs to relate to the rest of us others within a certain framework." The editorial questioned whether the princess' new business, in which she claims she will teach customers how to contact angels, is in line with the "rational" leanings of most Norwegians.

Princess Märtha Louise launched a web site for a new business venture called Astarte Education. The princess claimed on the web site that she’s had supernatural powers since she was a child, and now wants to train others through "readings, crystals, healing and hands-on treatment."

She caught the most attention for saying that she has contact with angels and will teach others how to contact their own angels.

In a country where direct criticism of Norway's royal family is rare, the princess seems to have gone too far this time in blending her royal and commercial activities. Newspaper Aftenposten, long a staunch support of Norway's monarchy, also carried an editorial Monday pointing out how problematic the princess’ business ventures have become.

The princess herself has predictably blamed the media for stirring up the controversy around her. After weeks of refusing to answer questions on her new angel school, she was given a large block of air time on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Saturday evening in which she called angels "messengers from God." No other founder of an angel school would have been granted so much free prime time publicity.

She claimed she sees angels "around everyone," and that they're found in all religions. She didn't seem to see any problem with using her royal title in promotional material for her angel school.

She admitted, though, that she can understand that "very many people have problems" understanding her venture. "I have a role as princess, and I understand that many are provoked when I move out of that role," she said.

But she dismissed media criticism as "bullying," adding that if she'd attempted such a venture centuries ago, "I'd probably have been burned at the stake."

However, the Princess does have her defenders. Crown Princess Mette-Marit has said that the unusually warm hands of her sister-in-law treated and cured her of a pelvic inflammation.

Mette-Marit's testimonial of the princess' treatment is found in an official biography of Princess Märtha Louise that was written by author Erik Fosnes Hansen six years ago years ago in connection with her 30th birthday.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who was joining the royal family at that time, said she wanted to talk about her sister-in-law’s hands in the book.

"It may sound strange, but she has a completely special warmth in her hands," the crown princess said. "There are, of course, many people who have warm and good hands, but she almost has a little sun inside her."

Mette-Marit told Fosnes Hansen she was "a bit nervous" the first time Märtha Louise treated her, "but it was a very relaxing and relieving treatment that helped me a lot."

Source: Aftenposten
http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1934523.ece

- THROWING LIGHT ON A MYSTERY DEPARTMENT -

Strange Balls of Light Seen In UK

Strange lights are being seen across Liverpool, from Crosby to Kirkby, from Speke to Seaforth, and several readers have even provided me with photographic proof of these mysterious luminous entities.

On Monday 6 August at around 7.30pm, a woman visiting a relative at Broadgreen Hospital was astounded to see a ball of light hovering less than 100 yards from the hospital main entrance.

‘I thought it was a flare at first,’ says the witness, ‘but could plainly see no parachute. I took two pictures of the light with my phone camera, but it only came out on one. I didn’t see it move off or vanish, I just looked back and saw it had gone.’

My first thought was that the glowing orb had been ‘ball lightning’ – a poorly understood meteorological phenomenon in which a luminous sphere of energy manifests itself in mid-air, sometimes during thunderstorms, but also on clear sunny days.

These balls of what seem to be super-heated plasma have drifted into houses through open windows and exploded, and in one local case in the 1970s, a housewife tried to swat a globe of ball lightning away with her hand, and her wedding ring melted instantly and dripped onto her kitchen floor, yet she never sustained a burn.

Instead, the ball exploded and she was left with mild concussion. If the lights being seen across this region are ball lightning, the weather may be to blame, as we have had alternating days of rainy and sunny weather recently, but the reports of the Liverpool Lights seem to defy such a rational explanation.

In West Derby Village on 1st August at 8pm, a small golf-ball-sized light was seen whizzing along Meadow Lane.

The light followed the curvature of the lane, flying about 6 feet from the ground, and flew upwards over Muirhead Avenue East.

A 16-year-old girl named Chloe saw this mini-UFO heading straight towards her as she walked onto Meadow Lane from Parkside Drive, and thought it was a firework rocket coming in her direction.

An identical ball of light was seen on the following night at rooftop level in Bootle, flying over Selwyn Street at 10.20pm, and later that same night, two unidentified lights which left a greenish trail behind them were seen flying over Queens Drive, Walton.

A 53-year-old man named Steven Garrett saw a bright light hovering outside his cousin’s window on Park Road, Toxteth, on 5 August, and he initially assumed it was one of Merseyside Police’s remote-controlled CCTV helicopter ‘spy drones’ but when Steven got a close look at the light he could see it not only had nothing attached to it, it was ‘silent as the grave’ and it suddenly flitted off at an incredible speed towards the Brunswick Dock.

Source: icseftonandwestlancs
http://icseftonandwestlancs.icnetwork.co.uk/icmaghull/news/tm_headline=
throwing-light-on-a-mystery&method=full&objectid=19631256&siteid=60252-
name_page.html#story_continue
- STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE DEPARTMENT -

Mysterious Water Creatures Inhabit Siberian Lakes

The Russian media has recently reported on a huge monster with the head of a serpent and the body of a crocodile lurking at the bottom of a lake near the village of Somin in Western Ukraine.

The lake is 56 meters deep. A number of underwater karst caves stretch its bottom. That is where the mysterious monster lies in wait, according to locals. As a rule, locals steer clear of the lake because they are said to have been terrified by the hideous creature hiding underwater. It reportedly attacked domestic animals in the past. Some 30 years ago a local groom fell prey to the monster, according to one of the stories circulating through the village. The groom got drunk and fell fast asleep in the grass near the shore. The monster reportedly crept out of the water and had the groom for lunch. Another creepy story features a disobedient boy who decided to take a swim in the lake. Needless to say, the boy has never come back home or so the story goes.

The news from Ukraine caused quite a stir in the Russian media. One of the Russian TV stations was even planning to make a film about a “new Nessie.” A naïve person might have expected hordes of zoologists heading for Ukraine from all over the world. However, nothing of the kind happened. Scientists are well-aware of the laws of genetics, which say that a population of large vertebrates must comprise a minimum of 300-500 species in order to survive. Would they have had enough room in Lake Somin, whose total area is about 6 hectares? Besides, they would have long eaten up all the fish in the lake. Plenty of fish still occur in the lake. Several cat fishes caught in the lake reportedly measured up to two meters in length. The legend of the lake monsters seems to stem from one of the local fish stories.

Several dozen similar lakes scattered around the former Soviet Union are claimed to have monsters, which scientists still have to identify. Some of the cases on record are made up of pure mystification and rumors; others may contain some grains of truth.

Lake Khainyr is located in Yakutia, outside the Polar Circle. The lake is very small, measuring 500 by 600 meters, and quite shallow, about 7 meters deep. The lake is of termokarst origin; it is actually a thawed patch in the permafrost. In 1964, Komsomolskaya Pravda published an article featuring an interview by G. Rukosuyev, head of the Northeastern Expedition of the Moscow State University. The scientist cited an account by one N. Gladkikh, a migrant worker hired by the expedition. Gladkikh claimed to have run into a lake monster on a misty early morning. The worker was about to draw some water from the lake when he spotted an unusual water creature lying on the shore. He provided Rukosuyev with the following description of the animal:

“It had a long gleaming neck with a small head. Its body was huge, covered with black-blue skin. There was a big dorsal fin on the back of its body. All of sudden, the animal slid back into the water. Some time later I saw it standing out the water in the middle of the lake. The animal started swinging its long tail to whip the water. The waves were rippling the surface of the lake.”

Aside from citing the “eyewitness account,” Rukosuyev also threw in a few other pieces of information to add color to the story. For instance, he claimed that there was no fish in the lake and birds had never landed on its surface. He also referred to some “muffled sounds and splashes of water” frequently heard by locals.

An expedition was dispatched to the location to investigate the case. As a result, the whole story proved to be a fake. Researchers found out that birds did land on the surface of the lake, which had a lot of fish swimming in its waters. None of the locals had ever seen any strange animals in the lake. Scuba divers combed the bottom of the lake but found nothing strange.

Researchers also had a heart-to-heart talk with Gladkikh, the so-called eyewitness. Gladkikh admitted that he had made up his story for reasons he could not clearly explain. He concocted it either to entertain himself and his friends or as an excuse for shirking his duties at work.

Karelia is well-known for its numerous lakes, which are amazingly blue in color and rich in fish. Lake Vedlozero looks like a typical Karelian lake. It is 15 km long and about 7 km wide. The lake is of glacial origin. A large village sits on its left banks. The first reports of the Vedlozero appeared in the mid-1990s. One of the reports quoted the late P. F. Yegorov, a local old-timer who claimed he had seen a large shining object fall into the lake from the sky. However, nothing was found at the bottom of the lake by members of several expeditions. However, Viktor Sapunov, a cryptozoologist who took part in one of the missions, later published a report based on accounts provided by local residents who claimed to have seen “water goblins” in the lake. The mysterious midget men with rounded heads were somehow associated with the fall of the “heavenly body” in the lake.

Our team arrived in the location last fall. We asked around several old residents of the village. None of them saw any “water goblins” in or near the lake. Some people recalled spotting seals in the lake on several occasions. “I go fishing on a regular basis. I have never seen any ‘water goblins’ in our lake. I have never heard about them. As for the seals, they drop by the lake now and then. One of the locals even caught a seal several years ago. He carried a camera on that day so he took a picture of the animal. There is nothing strange about seals coming down the lake. Lake Ladoga is not so far away from here. They just travel to and fro through the tributaries,” said Vasily Efremov, head of the village council.

Efremov’s explanation seems quite logical. City guys who went fishing in Lake Vedlozero may have spread the rumors about the “water goblins” after noticing seals in the lake. Any diver will agree that that seals in the water can be easily taken for humans. Besides, Lake Ladoga is located in close proximity to Lake Vedlozero. Perhaps the territory populated by seals or other species of freshwater pinniped animals in Russia was much wider in the past. The assertion could explain quite a few Russian legends of mermaids and water goblins.

A large number of lakes scattered around the vast territory of Northwest Siberia are the lakes that vary greatly in size and shape. They lie in the swampy taiga and forest tundra. Many of them are connected to one another via tributaries.

Professor N. Vereshchagin, a zoologist and self-proclaimed “fighter against “the snowman buffs,” recently published an article, in which he ironically quoted one of the letters addressed the Institute of Zoology. Prof. Vereshchagin poked fun at the letter’s author who maintained that either seals or hippopotamuses lived in some of the lakes in the Irtysh basin. However, some enthusiasts of cryptozoology refrain from making a mockery of similar reports. They opt to check them first. The late Maya Bykova, one of the first “snowman buffs” in this country, made several trips to the area. She put down a number of eyewitness accounts; most of them read more or less like this:

“I was rowing my boat across the lake when I heard that splash. The sound of it made me stop. I was wondering what kind of a fish could have splashed like that. I lifted the oars and peered in that direction.

The next moment I saw something big emerge from the water, it looked like a haystack rising to the surface. I looked on and saw that the creature was covered with fleecy dark-brown skin resembling that of a seal. It made a hissing sound and dived back into the water.”

Other eyewitness accounts recorded by Bykova contain a similar description of the “monster:” creatures covered with fleecy dark-brown skin quickly rise to the surface, force air violently out through their noses and go back into hiding.

We are quite pleased to emphasize a few important things with regard to the above case as we look at it with the laws of nature in mind. First, the incidents did not take place in a single lake shut away from the rest of the world. On the contrary, the monsters have been seen in several bodies of water, which are frequently connected by means of tributaries. And those lakes are scattered over the vast and sparsely populated area. There is enough room for thousands of species to live virtually unnoticed by anybody. Second, animals can get enough food to survive and multiply. And, last but not least, any visual contact is most likely to involve local villagers who are very few in numbers, hence a sharp decrease in the possibility of a chance meeting. Besides, locals are not used to reporting their observances to the Academy of Sciences. Given a rather skeptical stance on the phenomenon among members of science community, such a letter would be either ignored or laughed at.

The question is: What are those mysterious creatures? Their fleecy skins indicate that they are warm-blooded mammals… In my opinion, they could belong to some unidentified species of penniped animals, freshwater seals. If some seals can live in Lake Ladoga and Lake Baikal, what is so strange about other seals populating in other freshwater bodies of water?

Other theories look pretty weird, to say the least. One of them has gained lots of popularity recently. According to the theory, the lake monsters are mammoths which turned into aquatic animals for reasons unknown. The theory is simply preposterous because mammoths had very few sebaceous glands under the skin, and therefore their long hair could get easily wet. A similar theory put forward by N. Avdeyev, a cryptozoologist from the city of Perm, features relic wooly rhinoceroses which somehow managed to survive. The latter theory does not seem so foolish, compared to the “water mammoths” of the former one. Still, it can hardly hold any water either.

Source: Pravda
http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/06-08-2007/95690-strange_monsters-0

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Ghostly Happenings in Murfreesboro

The happy sounds of children laughing and playing sometimes can be heard in the hallways but no one is there. Knickknacks are unexplainably moved out of their place on office desks.

These kinds of tales are being told by some of those who work or have worked in the former Rutherford County Health Department building at 303 N. Church St. for the past 10 months or so.

They say spirits of some sort, most of which seem to be children, are causing some minor disturbances in the building.

“It is not scary,” said Linda Wilson, who works on the first floor of the building in the Rutherford County Drug Court offices. “Apparently they are good spirits. They have not hurt us or done anything.”

The Rutherford County Health Department is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the development of health care and public medicine in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Until the building opened to the public in 1931, Rutherford County had no permanent public health care.

The facility played an important role in the promotion of public health care programs and training of health care professionals in the South. The health department was one of four Commonwealth Fund of New York health projects that sought to bring modern health care to rural communities.

It’s unknown who if anyone could be haunting the 76-year-old building. Some suspect the impressions of children, thousands of which must have come through the doors of the building over the years to receive some form of medical treatment, remain in the building.

The building recently underwent a massive renovation now houses the Rutherford County drug court, human resources and archives.

Wilson said she hasn’t felt the presence of spirits, but she has seen some things that can’t otherwise be explained.

She mentioned a rag doll that sits on a shelf in a co-workers office.

Several times since she and her co-workers moved into the building in mid-June, she and others have seen the doll’s left arm up in the air pointing towards the wall.

A former co-worker who had small toys around her computer would often come into her office in the morning and find that they had be knocked over or rearranged.

The presence of spirits was perhaps felt most by members of the construction crew.

Charles Gilmore, a member of the crew, doesn’t know if he really believes in ghosts or spirits, but he had some encounters that he also couldn’t explain any other way.

One day he was on a ladder on the second floor of the building when he heard a young girl exclaim, “No mama no, no mama no.”

Gilmore immediately went to the nearest windows see where the noise was coming from. No one was outside.

“I didn’t believe anything could manifest like that,” he said.

While alone in the building one evening, another member of the crew apparently saw shadowy figures walking through the building and heard heavy footsteps on the slate stairs.

Most of all the spirits seemed to make the process of renovating the building much more difficult.

“It was just a nightmare job,” Gilmore said. “Nothing would work.”

He said it almost seemed like the building didn’t want to have its face lifted.

One thing after another would go wrong.

“I call it the ghosts in the machine,” Gilmore said. “Nothing went right the whole time.”

If there was a list of a 1,000 things to do, then only three of them would work out properly.

Everything went wrong from materials not being delivered to the site or having materials mixed improperly and machinery failing to work.

He said for the massive amount of hours the crew spent working on the renovation two new facilities of similar size could have been built with less headaches.

Despite the problems, Gilmore said he never felt uncomfortable working in the building or being there by himself.

Gilmore would often work in the basement in the pitch dark.

“I never felt uncomfortable being in the building,” he said. “It is not a bad energy. Things are not being destroyed. It just didn’t want to be bothered.”

But even now as Gilmore has moved on to other projects, he is having dreams about the renovation. He said it has weighed on his minds like no other project.

Source: Murfreesboro Post
http://www.murfreesboropost.com/news.php?viewStory=5810

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