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Don't open the door! Don't go into the basement! Don't look under the bed! Don't open the closet! Is it ghosts? Is it ghouls? Is it little hairy monsters with big teeth and claws? Is it the bank come to foreclose on your home? Is it politicians making all sorts of promises they'll never keep? NO - It's another spine-tingling issue of your favorite weekly newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else spooky and scary - CONSPIRACY JOURNAL.

This weeks issue of Conspiracy Journal looks at such soul-sucking stories as:

- Secret JFK Documents Discovered In Dallas -
- Is Bigfoot in the Mountain State? -
- UFOs Made U.S. Skies As Deadly as Korea -
- Does Faith Healing Really Work? -
AND:  Exorcisms in Big Demand All Over the World

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of
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O Think you hear voices? Well you probably do as big brother attempts to pervert our thinking and confuse the hell out of us. Don't become a human zombie. Learn how to protect yourself.
O Think that Earth is one molten ball of fire on the inside? Where have you been my friend -- its hollow with a central sun (and even the famed explorer Richard Byrd wandered inside while exploring the poles), and the planet is also honeycombed with caverns inhabited by all sorts of creatures. Ask Richard Shaver who was down there with the Dero and the Tero. No this is not science fiction -- it's the real thing dear friend.

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In This Incredible Issue:
Sleep Paralysis, Split Personalities, and Spirit Possession

Michelle Belanger: Life as a Psychic Vampire

Science and Psychism:The Future of Artificial Intelligence

From Microbes to Monoliths:The Search for Life on Mars

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News Blackouts and the Non-Reporting of UFOs

The Mysterious Disappearance of Agatha Christie

College Campus Urban Legends:Tall Tales that Students Tell

Moonville, OH:A Haunted Railroad Town

Virginia’s Twitching Illness and Other Mass Maladies

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- A CONSPIRACY IN TEXAS DEPARTMENT -

Secret JFK Documents Discovered In Dallas

A curious transcript purportedly about President John F. Kennedy's assassination has been discovered among boxes of memorabilia that were long forgotten in an old safe at the Dallas County district attorney's office.

While the transcript reads like a conspiracy theorist's dream Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby plotting to kill Kennedy the DA's top assistant said it's likely material for a proposed movie.

Other items found in an old safe on the 10th floor of the county courthouse include letters to and from former DA Henry Wade, the now-dead prosecutor in the Ruby trial, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday's editions. Ruby shot and killed Kennedy assassin Oswald two days after the president's death.

There are also letters to Ruby, records from his trial, a gun holster and clothing that probably belonged to Ruby and Oswald, said District Attorney Craig Watkins, who planned to discuss the find at a news conference Monday.

Much of the attention is bound to focus on the transcript purporting that Ruby and Oswald met at Ruby's nightclub on Oct. 4, 1963, less than two months before the Nov. 22 assassination. In it, they talked of killing the president because the Mafia wanted to "get rid of" his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Says Oswald in the transcript, "I can still do it, all I need is my rifle and a tall building; but it will take time, maybe six months to find the right place; but I'll have to have some money to live on while I do the planning."

Sceptics on the authenticity of the transcript were quick to denounce it, despite having seen it or even conducting any proper verifying research.

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum near where the president was shot, hasn't seen the transcript but doubts it's real. It is well-documented that Oswald was in Irving the evening of Oct. 4, at a home where his wife was staying, Mack said.

"The fact that it's sitting in Henry Wade's file, and he didn't do anything, indicates he thought it wasn't worth anything," Mack said. "He probably kept it because it was funny. It's hilarious. It's like a bad B movie."

Terri Moore, Watkins' top assistant, said she believes the latest transcript is part of a movie Wade was working on with producers. The former prosecutor wrote about the proposed movie, "Countdown in Dallas," in letters found in the safe.

"It's not real. Crooks don't talk like that," Moore said. "If that transcript is true, then history is changed because Oswald and Ruby were talking about assassinating the president."

The transcript resembles one published in a report by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy's assassination and determined that Oswald was the lone gunman. The FBI determined that conversation between Oswald and Ruby about killing the governor was definitely fake.

The account in the commission report was "re-created" for authorities by a now-deceased Dallas attorney who claimed he recognized Oswald in a newspaper photo as the man he saw talking to Ruby.

It's unknown whether the boxes Watkins and others found in the courthouse about a year ago have information previously undisclosed to the public or the Warren Commission.

The search began after Watkins was told the gun used to kill Oswald was somewhere in the courthouse. They didn't find the gun, which Mack said is privately owned. The boxes probably sat in the safe since being moved when the courthouse opened in 1989.

The items are still being processed and eventually will be donated to an entity that can authenticate them, preserve them and make them available to the public, Watkins said.

"It's interesting, and it's not ours," Watkins said. "It's the public's."

Source: ABC News
http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=4303901

- WHAT LIES BENEATH DEPARTMENT -

Autistic Girl Writes to Describe Disorder From the Inside

Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough.

Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice.

"All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. "It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."

Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism and why she makes odd noises or why she hits herself.

"It feels like my legs are on first and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly said through the computer.

Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.

"We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism.

"It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." "Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," Arthur Fleischman said.

Therapists say the key lesson from Carly's story is for families to never give up and to be ever creative in helping children with autism find their voice.

"If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn't have the child we have today. We would have written her off. We would have assumed the worst. We would have never seen how she could write these things, how articulate she is, how intelligent she is," the grateful father added.

"I asked Carly to come to my work to talk to speech pathologists and other therapists about autism," said Nash. "What would you like to tell them? She wrote, 'I would tell them never to give up on the children that they work with.' That kind of summed it up."

Carly had another message for people who don't understand autism.

"Autism is hard because you want to act one way, but you can't always do that. It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would be that I don't want to be this way. But I am, so don't be mad. Be understanding."

Source: ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4311223&page=1

- HAIRY MONSTER ROUNDUP DEPARTMENT -

Is Bigfoot in the Mountain State?

People who believe in Bigfoot will be trudging through the West Virginia woods in a couple of months hoping for a close encounter with the legendary creature.

The Mountain State has been picked by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, considered the nation's authority on the search for Sasquatch, as the site of an April expedition.

Based on the number of recent reports by people who claim they've seen the hairy apelike animal in person, Bigfoot experts and devoted believers think there's a good shot they'll find some evidence of its existence in the state. Among those who'll be scouting backwoods hollers and mountain trails are a couple of folks with longtime West Virginia ties.

Stephen Willis is a retired military officer who grew up in West Virginia and now runs a successful business across the state line in Virginia manufacturing parts for industrial equipment and mining machines.

Pam Lovins works in healthcare administration in Huntington. They're both well respected in their fields, have a lot of friends and seem to be bright, logical people. But they acknowledge their hobby - searching for Bigfoot - can be difficult for some people to swallow.

"There's not a lot of funding out there for Bigfoot research, so we do have to have our day jobs," says Lovins, who's in her 40s and lives in Kenova.

Willis, 56, and Lovins are official investigators for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

Founded in 1995 by California attorney Matthew Moneymaker, the group has dozens of volunteer investigators, who by day are scientists, journalists and business owners. In their spare time, they meet with people claiming to have had a Bigfoot encounter and decide the validity of those eyewitness reports.

In the past couple of years, Willis and Lovins have investigated dozens of reported sightings in the Mountain State. In April, they'll join other Bigfoot researchers for the four-day expedition through the West Virginia wilderness. They'll be looking for footprints and any physical evidence to prove their theory that Bigfoot abounds in places all across the country. And as always, they'll be holding their breath and hoping for a close encounter with the creature.

It will be the second time in the past few years such an expedition has taken place in the West Virginia woods. In 2006, the organization led a mission over two consecutive weekends in Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties. Willis, who's been on 14 such expeditions from California to Texas, will head up the search for the first time.

"We choose areas with a history of sightings," he said, careful not to divulge the exact locations of the April trek.

"We can't tell people exactly where we're going before we do this because we don't want people coming in with guns blazing," Willis said. "There are a lot of people who'd like to kill one.

"But we are just out to collect evidence, and if we have a sighting, that's great."

Willis, 56, is a native of Webster County. He lived in West Virginia until a couple of years ago, when he retired from the U.S. Army and opened up his industrial business near Wytheville, Va. He's getting ready to sell that, and plans to retire with his wife and travel full time, mostly to volunteer with the Bigfoot group.

He said he there's no doubt in his mind that Sasquatch exists.

Growing up, he was accustomed to his grandfathers talking about the weird noises and howls they heard in their rural community, and of running into things in the wild they could not explain.

"They would talk about unknown creatures in the woods that would make these holy whooping kinds of sounds," said Willis, a graduate of Cowen High School in Webster County. "A lot of it was from the early 1900s, when my grandfather was a little kid. They attributed some of the noises to mountain lions, but it always sounded to me like something else."

He distinctly remembers when his interest in Bigfoot piqued. It was 1960 - he was nine - and a report surfaced in a Clarksburg newspaper that a bread truck driver had a Sasquatch encounter. The man said a Bigfoot ran in front of his truck on a rural road on the Webster and Braxton County line.

"It scared him so bad he quit his job on the spot because he was too scared to drive the route," Willis said.

But it's Willis' own experience that makes him a believer.

"Like a lot of people, I've heard a lot of stuff," he said. "As a kid growing up, all the noises associated with Sasquatch I had heard, but you never know what they are.

"When I got involved with the (research organization) and started listening to the sounds and we started talking about this, I had heard them all. And (researchers) said, 'Well, that's because you had a Sasquatch living around you.'"

The closest Willis said he's ever gotten to actually seeing one of the animals was during an expedition last year in California. He was using a thermal imaging system to monitor a patch of wilderness at night, and he says he clearly saw one of the creatures lit up in infrared.

He also has photographs of footprints he found in Texas that he says are unmistakably the tracks of a large Sasquatch and its smaller offspring.

Willis says his wife, Kathryn, saw two adult male Bigfoots walking on a trail during the 2005 West Virginia expedition.

She was on one side of the Greenbrier River and saw them walking up a bank on the opposite side, not far from Watoga State Park.

Lovins, too, said her belief is grounded on evidence she has uncovered and the second-hand stories she's heard from people who've been up close and personal with Bigfoot.

"I've never seen them, but I've seen enough evidence of them, and I do believe I've heard them," she said. "When you are out in the woods or on the side of a mountain and you hear this, there's no mistaking it. It's not a bear or an owl or a coyote unless they weight 400 pounds. You know immediately when you hear it what it is and what it isn't."

Lovins said she'd been interested in Sasquatch lore since she was a child.

"I think it was the old 70s' 'In Search Of...' shows," Lovins said. "When they would show the old Patterson film, I just got interested."

Bigfoot aficionados offer up that film, allegedly showing a Bigfoot walking in Bluff Creek, Calif., in Oct. 1967, as the best visible account of a Sasquatch. Others say it's one of the best hoaxes perpetrated in American history.

But you don't need to travel to the Pacific Northwest to meet people who say they've got a Bigfoot living in their backyard.

Reported sightings detailed on the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Web site, www.bfro.net, include 13 Class A sightings in West Virginia in just the past two years.

The organization designates sightings as Class A if a creature is clearly visible to a witness. Class B sightings have more potential for misidentification because they're based mostly on audible evidence, according to the Web site.

- August 12, 2007, just northeast of Linside in Monroe County: A 12-year-old girl reports seeing a Sasquatch as she was walking up her family's quarter-mile driveway to get the newspaper. It was a sweltering day, and she bent over to pull her hair up in a ponytail. When she looked up she saw a large, hump-backed creature with short hair that was clumped together. It was not far from her in a patch of trees, but ran off into the woods when she noticed it. Other family members reported hearing strange poundings in the woods around their home at the time, and of other wildlife suddenly becoming very scarce.

- July 29, 2006, near a surface mine outside of Ridgeview in Boone County: A biology crew had been commissioned to search an active mine site for evidence that rare Indiana bats were roosting there. Crew members, who were working at night, reported hearing strange whooping and howling sounds. On the third night of the operation, three crew members were inspecting a site at about 2:30 a.m. when they were startled by a noise. One member shone a flashlight at a nearby road, and the trio saw what they believe was a 7-foot-tall, two-legged creature "completely covered in short, coarse-looking black hair," except for its face, which was brown. The creature looked at the witnesses before scrambling up a nearby embankment. After finding several large footprints, the crew was sufficiently scared enough to break down their camp and leave the site.

- July 8, 2007, on U.S. 33 between Harmon and Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County: A Virginia couple was taking the long way home after visiting friends in West Virginia. The male driver threw on his brakes, as did the car behind them, and reported seeing what he at first described as a man wearing "a tree costume." He said the creature was covered in gray-greenish hair and was about six feet tall. Investigators said this was the third similar sighting in this area of Pendleton County during the summer of 2007.

- Aug. 10, 2006, on U.S. 52 right outside of Kenova in Wayne County: A woman and her grown son were driving to work at about 4:30 in the morning. Just two miles from their home, they rounded a corner and slowed down because they thought a man was crossing the road in front of them. The witnesses said they immediately identified the creature as a Bigfoot. They said it had black hair and walked upright, but hunched over and with what appeared to be a limp.

Lovins spoke to this mother and son and investigated the incident, deeming it quite credible.

"The people who have seen these things - it really affects them profoundly," Lovins said. "When they talk to you, they shake. For many of them, it's really upsetting.

"Some of them are embarrassed, and a lot of them think no one is going to believe them."

Lovins said she has investigated at least two dozen reported sightings in West Virginia in the past couple of years, most of the time meeting personally with witnesses and going to the scene of the alleged Bigfoot encounter.

"We have very specific criteria for investigating reports," she said. "The main thing is to check the credibility of the witness and to see geographically if it's likely. Sometimes it is just a mistaken identification. That happens sometimes in rural areas."

Often though, the sightings don't happen in the midst of a secluded thicket or a remote mountainside.

"A lot of them, it's really not out in the middle of nowhere, and that's why people run across them," Lovins said. "The sightings will occur right along roadways. One will cross a road right in front of a car, and that's when it happens."

Lovins said in most cases, people will report a Bigfoot sighting while trying to talk themselves out of what they've seen. In essence, even the believers are skeptical, she said.

"One man in Jackson County, he just kept telling me, 'I'm a religious person. I just don't believe in this stuff, but I'm telling you, I saw it.' I try to explain that it shouldn't have any affect on their religion and these sorts of things, that it's not something that's out of this world. It's an animal. It's just a separate species, and there's no hocus pocus to it."

The skunk ape: Florida's answer to the abominable snowman

Deep in the swamps of Florida, something is stirring. Witnesses to its haunting presence speak of howls in the night, unexplained footprints in the mud and glimpses between the trees of a fiery-eyed creature that reeks of death.

Now, a 30-strong team from The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) has embarked on an expedition to try to flush out the mighty skunk ape - the Sunshine State's answer to the abominable snowman. They have thermal imaging equipment, video cameras and microphones poised to capture the secrets of the hairy, 7ft-tall hominid with yellowing teeth and dubious personal hygiene.

“We have to keep these expeditions low-key because unfortunately the subject is still a little stigmatised,” sighs Matthew Moneymaker, head of the BFRO, as he drives to the expedition's secret base camp in southwestern Florida.

“When people don't take this subject seriously, we don't even call it scepticism - it's ignorance. People only know about this stuff from tabloids ... they've created this “other Bigfoot”, a kind of cartoon concept rather than a rare species. They don't understand how creatures could live and die in the woods without us knowing.”

Purported sightings of the Southernmost Bigfoot, as it is dubbed, prowling in and around the Everglades wetlands date back decades. There are claims of it lurking behind trees and crouching in roadside ditches, trailing a foul odour akin to a mixture of rotten eggs, mouldy cheese and dung on account of its penchant for camping in disused alligator nests.

It is strangely camera-shy - although, in a quirk of fate eight years ago, one happened to lunge past a campsite at Ochopee, 35 miles southeast of Naples, where self-appointed expert Dave Shealey runs the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters and souvenir shop selling ape-man T-shirts and copies of his Everglades Skunk Ape Research Field Guide. A companion clutching a video camera managed to shoot 15 seconds of fuzzy footage showing the pungent primate trotting through the long grass.

The mystery deepened in 2000, when the Collier County Sheriff's Office received two photographs from a local homeowner, showing an ape-like creature shambling around her rural back garden. “Is someone missing an orang-utan?” she asked.

With hundreds of reports of Bigfoot sightings all over the US, Moneymaker's $300-a-head expeditions are popular with fans of cryptozoology, the study of creatures whose reported existence is unproven.

Guns are banned from the trips. But for the faint-hearted, knives, machetes, spears and Tasers are permitted, lest the group runs into a Bigfoot that hasn't read the rules.

In 2005, Scott Marlowe, a Florida cryptozoologist, claimed to have been hit on the head by a skunk ape armed with a stick; and in 1975 another was seen tottering along a roadside with an armful of stolen corn.

Others tell the tale of a group of huntsmen who were startled one night by a clumsy-footed skunk ape falling through the roof of their log cabin. Not even stopping to brush itself down, the panicking apeman dived through a window and lumbered off.

Moneymaker resents those who say such stories are just monkey business.

“A lot of people believe in Jesus,” he says. “But they don't have to see Jesus running across the road in front of their car or find Jesus's tracks to believe.”

Sources: The Charleston Daily Mail/Times Online (UK)
http://www.dailymail.com/News/statenews/200802180141
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3377967.ece

- SHOOT ON SIGHT DEPARTMENT -

UFOs Made U.S. Skies As Deadly as Korea


In the summer of 1952, the Pentagon’s kettle was whistling.

At a time when the U.S. was bracing for Soviet airstrikes, UFOs were systematically exposing holes in the defense netting with publicized incursions over Washington, D.C., nuclear plants and military bases. Maj. Gen. Robert Ramey of the U.S. Air Force went on record saying jet fighters had been scrambled several hundred times to pursue UFOs. Not surprisingly, the brass decided to get aggressive.

On July 29, the International News Service announced, “The Air Force revealed today that jet pilots have been placed on a 24-hour nationwide alert against ‘flying saucers’ with orders to shoot them down if they refused to land.” The order was so provocative that Robert Farnsworth, president of the U.S. Rocket Society, wrote a letter of protest to the White House. Hostile action against UFOs, Farnsworth wrote, “could cause unbelievable suffering and death.”

After the '52 wave had subsided, Capt. Edward Ruppelt, former director of the USAF’s Project Blue Book, revealed that UFOs — contrary to an emerging opinion suggesting peaceful intentions — weren’t to be trifled with.

In alluding to the loss of military pilots who gave chase, he wrote, "If the Air Force hadn't slapped down the security lid, these writers might not have reached this conclusion" about peaceful aliens. "There have been other and more lurid duels of death. That's what everybody missed.''

Ruppelt didn’t elaborate, but Port Orange author Frank Feschino tries to connect the dots in his 2007 book, “Shoot Them Down.” Using New York Times figures, Feschino notes that the military lost 185 fighter aircraft over the U.S. and its coastal waters from 1951-56, versus 104 fighter planes downed in the Korean War during roughly half that same time period. On the domestic front, those crashes claimed the lives of 199 aviators in what were labeled as accidents.

It may be impossible to get to the bottom of all those “accidents.” As William E. Burrows pointed out in 2001, deception is the cornerstone of national security.

In “By Any Means Necessary: America’s Secret Air War in the Cold War,” Burrows described how, from 1950-69, 18 planes with more than 160 U.S. airmen and agents were lost during covert operations against communist nations. To avoid embarrassment, authorities told survivors their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers were killed during routine missions.

Maybe those events include some of Ruppelt’s “lurid” casualties as well — who knows. But Feschino’s exhaustive research — which includes newspaper accounts of carnage on the ground when downed jets crashed into residential neighborhoods — indicates The Times’ accident figures are incomplete. He also establishes a pattern between UFO sightings and routine-mission “accidents.”

Feschino’s riskiest scenario occurred Sept. 12, 1952, when sightings over the eastern seaboard were widespread and documented in the press. Thanks to inconsistencies and contradictions in Air Force records, Feschino projects that a dogfight started that afternoon over the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, engaged other jets off the Virginia coast during the early evening, and resulted in several direct hits on UFOs, one of which went down in West Virginia in front of eyewitnesses. A military search team was dispatched to recover debris near the rural town of Flatwoods.

At least one thing about “Shoot Them Down” is indisputable. Based on newspaper reports, the number of 1952 UFO incidents listed in Project Blue Book is under represented. The relevance for today? The military reported no routine training accidents during last month’s Stephenville UFO incident in Texas.

“I think they learned their lesson" from 1952, Feschino says.

Source: The Herald Tribune
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080218/BLOG32/816297006

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Tales of the Beaman Monster Linger

SEDALIA | People have told tales of the Beaman Monster for more than 100 years, although no evidence of the creature exists.

Some speculate the origins of the beast may have more to do with moonshine than anything else.

One Beaman native says the legend dates back to the early 1900s. Russell Holman, 81, of Sedalia, was born a mile northeast of Beaman.

"I've heard about the Beaman Monster most of my life," he said. "It escaped from that circus train."

Holman's father told him a train wrecked in 1904, and all the animals were caught except one, a 12-foot tall gorilla.

"They claim the Beaman Monster was the offspring of this gorilla," he said.

Holman also remembers an uncle, who lived on Glenn Road, telling a story about a commotion in his cornfield in the late 1950s.

"People were out there with all kinds of shotguns walking through his cornfield," he said. "They were hunting that Beaman Monster."

Stories of the Beaman Monster quieted until recently, Holman said.

"It seems like they revive that story every 50 years," he said. "Dad said, when the boys would get out of hand, they'd call out the Beaman Monster if you didn't behave. I never did see anything."

Most describe or think of the Beaman Monster as a type of Sasquatch, but one Sedalia man remembers it as being shaped like a wolf or coyote.

"I've seen what my uncles told me was the Beaman Legend," said Daemon Smith, 29. "I haven't heard nobody speak of it since I was little."

Smith said the sighting happened when he was about 10. He was riding in the bed of a pickup truck when a wolf-shaped creature came out of the woods and began to run alongside the vehicle.

"It wasn't quite animalistic," Smith said. "It's hard to explain unless you've seen it."

Other strange happenings occurred around the farm of Smith's uncle. Smith remembered when a pig was found mauled to death without any signs of another animal, such as tracks. Another time, a dark figure moved around in the woods during a thunderstorm, he said.

"It's like one of those things, it could be something or it could be your imagination," Smith said.

Others have reported seeing large footprints, which they view as evidence of the beast's existence. Steve Mallard, 41, grew up near Smithton. When he was about 12, Mallard and a friend went behind his parents' barn to dig for fishing worms.

It was a dewy, spring morning, and Mallard and his friend noticed a spot where it "looked like a deer or something had laid down." Then they noticed the footprints.

"There were these huge footprints," Mallard said. "We followed them down to the pond and just got spooked. They were big; we couldn't stride that far apart."

A couple of people recall the Beaman Monster as a prank in the 1950s. Jerry Laudenberger, 65, of Sedalia, was in high school in 1957 or 1958, when Broadway Boulevard was widened to four lanes.

"This was about the same time the technology came along that used strobe lights as a caution (for the road construction)," he said.

Some teenagers stole a construction sign with large, round, yellow flashing lights, covered it with brush and hid it in a field near Beaman.

"We would drive out there just to see who was out there checking on the monster," Laudenberger said. "Mainly to see who was gullible enough to see the monster. ... It did kind of look like eyes flashing."

Laudenberger said he knows the culprits behind the prank, but "I've held the secret 50 years; I'm not telling now."

The Beaman Monster may make the books as folklore, but seeing is believing.

"It's not like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny," Smith said. "I think something does exist that's unexplainable."

Mallard said he thinks the Beaman Monster may exist, especially after watching documentaries about American Indians who described seeing similar creatures.

"I get made fun of for it all the time, but I know what I saw that morning, and I'll never forget it," he said.

Source: The Sedalia Democrat
http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/494704.html

- LET ME HEAR YOU SAY HEAL DEPARTMENT -

Does Faith Healing Really Work?       

After six years of agonising pain, Ailsa Marsh was stunned to the core when a spiritual healer managed to banish her suffering in an instant.

"It was gone in the blink of an eye," says Ailsa, a 28-year-old complementary medicine student from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. "It felt as if he had put his hands inside my shoulders and turned off a tap."

"Before the healing I was constantly wracked with tortuous pain. I was bed-ridden with ME and couldn't leave the house. All of my senses became hypersensitive. If somebody spoke to me it felt as if they were shouting. I couldn't bear the light so my parents hung duvets over the windows. Even lying in bed or sitting down was difficult and painful.

"It got to the stage where I just wanted to end my life. The only reason I didn't kill myself was because I couldn't bear the thought of my mother finding my body."

Ailsa's suffering began in 1998 following a bout of glandular fever. At the time she was a bright, gregarious politics and philosophy student at Durham University. But the disease robbed her of drive and energy, eventually forcing her to leave university and return home to her parents. Over the following months she became weaker and weaker and was eventually diagnosed with ME, a disease which leaves the sufferer listless and bed-ridden. It also left Ailsa in intense pain.

Conventional medicine offered no hope. She saw over 20 doctors and was hospitalised countless times. All doctors drew the same conclusions: they could find no cause for the ME and there was no cure.

Then in January 2004, quite by chance, Ailsa read an article about the spiritual healer David Cunningham.

"I'd tried everything else," says Ailsa. "So I thought I might as well try David.

"I went along not knowing what to expect. I thought he might start chanting at me or making weird symbols with his hands. Instead he listened intently to me for about half an hour. He then put on a tape of soothing music and I began to relax.

"David then placed his hands about a centimetre above my shoulders. I felt as if he was putting his hands inside me and untwisting a tap. The pain just vanished. It went in an instant. That day I left David with more energy than I'd had in six years."

Over the following four months, Ailsa returned every week to complete the healing. Within a few months she was able to go shopping and walk from one side of Newcastle to the other.

"After ten months I went on a family holiday," says Ailsa. "There's pictures of me doing handstands in the sea. I'd gone from being in a wheelchair to being able to do all the normal things a woman of my age could do. That's when I knew I was alright. I'd recovered!"   

Although Ailsa is utterly convinced that David Cunningham cured her of ME, many others are rightly sceptical. How can a man with no medical training treat a chronic painful disease merely by placing his hands over a patient's body? No drugs were administered and no operations performed. Even the maligned "placebo effect", where a patient ‘tricks' themself into getting better, takes far longer to take effect. Everything we know about conventional medicine screams that spiritual healing is a myth, a delusion and a hoax perpetrated on the feeble minded.

For these reasons and more, cases such as Ailsa's have been dismissed by researchers for decades. But now scientists in the US and UK may have found proof that prayer and spiritual healing might actually work.

Professor Harald Walach, from the University of Northampton, says: "We should take this phenomenon seriously even if we don't understand it. To ignore it would be unscientific.

"Our work shows that there is a strongly significant effect."

The most common form of spiritual healing in Britain remains the humble prayer. When you are really up against the wall, only the most devout of sceptics manages to resist a prayer. And who doesn't pray for a loved one when they are dying?

Despite being the most widely practised alternative remedy, science has only recently begun to investigate whether spiritual healing actually works. Scientists and doctors simply assumed that it didn't because there is no obvious way that it could.  

One of the first attempts to investigate healing focused on its flipside - the curse. In the late 1960s, American scientists decided to see whether focusing bitter, vindictive and negative thoughts on a mould - the scientific equivalent of the witch's curse - could inhibit its growth. Out of 194 mould samples ‘cursed', 151 showed retarded growth. And if all that wasn't strange enough, in later experiments some of those attempting to influence the mould were stationed 15 miles away. Other scientists soon found that negative thoughts could also slow the growth of the food poisoning bug E. coli.

With potency like that, it's hardly surprising that the US military started taking an interest. They were not interested in killing mould and bacteria of course, but people. The renowned psychic Uri Geller was even recruited into a secret programme to harness the power of negative thought to kill Uri Andropov, head of the KGB. Uri left when his masters decided to test his powers by asking him to psychically kill a pig by stopping its heart. It clearly hadn't occurred to them that a vegetarian would be extremely reluctant to kill an entirely innocent animal.

At around the same time, civilian scientists began researching whether prayer and spiritual healing could be used to help animals. Experiments quickly revealed that mice awake faster after a general anaesthetic if healing thoughts are sent their way. In other studies, mice recovered faster and more completely from a form of breast cancer if healers "laid on hands" whilst sending them positive thoughts and energy. Positive thoughts were soon shown to help human blood cells resist damage and brain cells to grow faster.

If healing helps ailing lab animals, might it also help the sick to recover faster? Surprising as it seems, there's  growing evidence that it just might. According to the cardiologist Dr Randolph Byrd at San Francisco General Hospital, heart patients who are prayed for by Christians need less medicine and suffer fewer complications. In case you were thinking that he is a wacko fringe scientist, its worth noting that his work was  published in the prestigious Southern Medical Journal and numerous other scientists have found similarly inexplicable results.
 
And prayer doesn't just appear to help heart patients. In virtually every area they have looked, scientists have found evidence that praying for the sick helps them recover faster. For example, studies at the California Pacific Medical Center on AIDS patients found that they survive in greater numbers, become sick less often and recover faster than those who are not prayed for.

All these studies beg the question: which form of spiritual healing works the best? Is Reiki better than the traditional, almost biblical, "laying on of hands". Is Buddhist meditation as good as praying to the Christian God? Or does something as simple as relaxing and cultivating a positive mental attitude beat them all into a cocked hat? It's extremely difficult to answer questions like this, but scientists have discovered the tantalising possibility that the kind of prayers taught in Sunday school might be the best of all.

Several years ago spiritual healers from around the world were recruited into a study to answer just this question. Dr Michael Krucoff, a respected cardiologist at Duke University in the US, persuaded people from a range of faiths and beliefs to help him. Jews left prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Buddhists prayed in monasteries in Nepal and France, Carmelite nuns in Baltimore offered prayers during vespers, and Moravians, Baptists and fundamentalist Christians prayed in church.
 
It turned out that those who were prayed for in the traditional manner fared the best, followed by those who had been treated by the "laying on of hands" or who had been coached in stress reduction. Those undergoing conventional medical treatments fared least well.

Surely, whilst admittedly fascinating, these results might simply be the result of chance? Sceptics argue that there must be a more rational explanation than believing in such medieval-sounding things as prayers and curses. Whilst many would wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments, there's a growing body of doctors and scientists who would not.

Professor Harald Walach, who now works at the University of Northampton, recently conducted an exhaustive analysis of all the data and came to the conclusion that spiritual healing really does work. And he's gaining powerful supporters.

Professor Peter Fenwick, from King's College London, says: "The studies do point to healing actually occurring.

"There's four possibilities. Either we're dealing with fraud on a massive scale, large numbers of able and gifted researchers are simply wrong, or hundreds of reports disproving healing haven't been published. All these seem unlikely so we're left with the possibility that the effect is real."

"Now we need to move on and understand what ‘healing' is and how it works. And we're starting to do just that."

Dean Radin, working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, is in the vanguard of this research. He and his colleagues at the California Pacific Medical Center have found compelling evidence that one person's positive healing thoughts has a noticeable impact on another's mind and body.

Radin focused his work on couples, one of whom had cancer, reasoning that any ‘psychic' connection would be strongest between people who loved each other. He trained the healthy partner to cultivate and project positive healing thoughts towards their ailing loved one. The healing thoughts were promoted using the Tibetan practice of Tonglen, a meditation focused on cultivating loving kindness and applying compassionate intention towards others. The healthy partner was then asked to send the healing energy at a time randomly chosen by computer.

The results were amazing and startling in equal measure. At the precise moment the healthy partner transmitted the healing thoughts, remarkable changes occurred in the mind and body of their ailing partner. Their breathing and blood flow increased significantly whilst their brain and skin electrical activity went berzerk. Clearly something profound was happening.

"We saw the equivalent of having a warm feeling inside," says Dr Radin. "Whether this promotes healing remains to be seen. According to anecdote though, it does have a noticeable affect on health."

Of course, all of these studies don't wash with the sceptics who think that all complementary therapies are bunkum. They point to a study of prayer on heart patients published earlier in the year. This claimed that prayer had no effect - and may even have harmed patients

Emeritus Professor Lewis Wolpert of University College London says that spiritual healing "is out of the question".

"I don't believe that you can send thoughts," he says. "I'm terribly suspicious of these studies. If you're looking for something then that's what you will find. Either that or it's due to chance and the placebo effect."

Although the apparent effectiveness of spiritual healing is shocking and inexplicable in equal measure, this hasn't stopped the NHS from employing healers to help seriously ill and dying patients.
 
Ruth Kaye, mother of the Daily Mail's astrologer Jonathan Cainer, treats patients at the Yorkshire Centre for Clinical Oncology in Leeds. She has spent the last sixteen years spiritually healing patients in the NHS. Her aim is to augment conventional medicine and to help eliminate the side effects of such treatments as chemotherapy. She emphasises that she is not offering a cure for cancer.

Ruth works by the ‘laying on of hands' to help realign the body's energy. It's been described as chemotherapy for the soul.

She says: "The spirit is the missing link that medicine does not address but it is the key and secret of life. One of my patients described my work as a three legged stool. There is the medicine, the surgery and the spirit. Without the spirit, the stool would fall over.

"Patients who use things like spiritual healing often use less drugs, they are less reliant on anti-depressants or sleeping tablets. In short they are less of a drain on what we know is an over-stretched NHS. If the sceptics really took the time to analyse it, they'd find it was in fact very cost-effective."

And those who have benefited from Ruth's healing hands agree wholeheartedly. Dr Jenny Quantrell, who successfully underwent treatment for breast cancer, says she was helped enormously by Ruth.

"Ruth has a special gift. I simply closed my eyes when she was healing me and I saw loads of bright lights. It felt as if I was having my battery recharged. She gave me energy and calmness. At the time of my treatment I hadn't slept for days but afterwards I fell into the most wonderful relaxing sleep.

"I don't know how it works but I know that it does. I don't need to understand it."
 
And that's perhaps all the faith you need to be healed. It can't do you any harm and if Jenny, Ailsa and countless others are right, it just might work.

Source: News Monster
http://www.newsmonster.co.uk/health/does-faith-healing-really-work.html

- GET THEE BEHIND ME DEPARTMENT -

Exorcisms in Big Demand All Over the World


The Catholic Church has revealed how growing interest in Satanism and the occult has led to a rise in exorcisms across Queensland.

One priest, who asked not to be named for fear of "reprisals", said he was carrying out at least one exorcism a fortnight.

More requests for exorcisms came from the Gold Coast than anywhere else.

An exorcism involves holy water, sacrament and Bible reading and can go on for many hours, the priest said. Linda Blair made the subject famous in the 1973 film, The Exorcist.

"Being possessed by a demon is terrifying in one's mental and emotional life," he said. "Some of these manifestations are extremely powerful, causing people to be plagued by disturbances. They hear voices and see hideous creatures in their sleep.

"There has been a recruitment of pagan practices, and it's sheer poison.

"The Gold Coast is not good at all. I do far more exorcisms there than Brisbane."

The Catholic Church has vowed to "fight the devil head-on" by training hundreds of priests as exorcists. Bishop Brian Finnigan, acting head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, said it was important for the church to carry out exorcisms.

"People need to be freed of that burden," he said.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 82, the Pope's Exorcist-in-Chief, announced the initiative recently amid church concerns about an increase in people dabbling in the occult. Under plans being considered, each bishop would have a group of priests in his diocese who were specially trained in exorcism.

Father Amorth said: "Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the devil. You have to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist."

Queensland Catholic priests can carry out exorcisms only if they have been authorised by an archbishop.

The priest source, who is based in Brisbane, is the only one permitted to do exorcisms in the state. He said he had travelled to Rockhampton, Cairns, Townsville and Toowoomba to save people.

"We are not very plentiful and certainly need more of us to cope with the big occult following that is emerging today," he said.

"It's frightening what can happen when you invite entities into your life which are not meant to be part of God's world."

He said one woman he had met had been plagued by demonic manifestations since taking part in a playground witch game as a child.

Ritual of Dealing With Demons Undergoes a Revival

In Poczernin, Poland the Rev. Andrzej Trojanowski, a soft-spoken Pole, plans to build a "spiritual oasis" that will serve as Europe's only center dedicated to performing exorcisms. With the blessing of the local Catholic archbishop and theological support from the Vatican, the center will aid a growing number of Poles possessed by evil forces or the devil himself, he said.

"This is my task, this is my purpose -- I want to help these people," said Trojanowski, who has worked as an exorcist for four years. "There is a group of people who cannot get relief through any other practices and who need peace."

Exorcism -- the church rite of expelling evil spirits from tortured souls -- is making a comeback in Catholic regions of Europe. Last July, more than 300 practitioners gathered in the Polish city of Czestochowa for the fourth International Congress of Exorcists.

About 70 priests serve as trained exorcists in Poland, about double the number of five years ago. An estimated 300 exorcists are active in Italy. Foremost among them: the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, 82, who performs exorcisms daily in Rome and is dean of Europe's corps of demon-battling priests.

"People don't pray anymore, they don't go to church, they don't go to confession. The devil has an easy time of it," Amorth said in an interview. "There's a lot more devil worship, people interested in satanic things and seances, and less in Jesus."

Amorth and other priests said the resurgence in exorcisms has been encouraged by the Vatican, which in 1999 formally revised and upheld the rite for the first time in almost 400 years.

Although a Vatican official denied reports in December of a campaign to train more exorcists, supporters said informal efforts began under Pope John Paul II -- himself an occasional demon chaser -- and have accelerated under Pope Benedict XVI. A Catholic university in Rome began offering courses in exorcism in 2005 and has drawn students from around the globe.

One of the recruits is the Rev. Wieslaw Jankowski, a priest with the Institute for Studies on the Family, a counseling center outside Warsaw. He said priests at the institute realized they needed an exorcist on staff after encountering an increase in people plagued by evil.

Typical cases, he said, include people who turn away from the church and embrace New Age therapies, alternative religions or the occult. Internet addicts and yoga devotees are also at risk, he said.

"This is a service which is sorely needed," said Jankowski, who holds a doctorate in spiritual theology. "The number of people who need help is intensifying right now."

Jankowski cited the case of a woman who asked for a divorce days after renewing her wedding vows as part of a marriage counseling program. What was suspicious, he said, was how the wife suddenly developed a passionate hatred for her husband.

"According to what I could perceive, the devil was present and acting in an obvious way," he said. "How else can you explain how a wife, in the space of a couple of weeks, could come to hate her own husband, a man who is a good person?"

Jankowski said that an archbishop granted him the authority last October to perform exorcisms and that he's been busy ever since. As for the afflicted wife? "We're still working with her," he said.

Exorcists said the people they help can be in the grip of evil to varying degrees. Only a small fraction, they said, are completely possessed by demons -- which can cause them to display inhuman strength, speak in exotic tongues, recoil in the presence of sacred objects or overpower others with a stench.

In those cases, the exorcists must confront the devil directly, using the power of the church to order it to abandon its host. More often, however, priests perform what some of them refer to as "soft exorcisms," using prayer to rid people of evil influences that control their lives.

Exorcisms remain a touchy subject even among priests who perform them, aware that the rite is associated with medieval witch-burnings and the 1973 Hollywood horror film, "The Exorcist."

More recent horror stories have also taken their toll. In Germany, memories are still fresh of a 23-year-old Bavarian woman who died of starvation in 1976 after two priests -- thinking she was possessed -- subjected her to more than 60 exorcisms. In 2002, a German bishop resigned after a woman accused him of sexually abusing her during an exorcism.

Exorcists said they are careful not to treat people suffering from mental illness, and that they regularly consult with psychologists and physicians. At the same time, they said, conventional medical therapy often neglects spiritual ailments.

"My remedy is based on spiritual means, which cannot be replaced by any pharmaceutical remedies," said Trojanowski, the priest who is overseeing plans for the new exorcism center. "I do not stop at the level of just treating symptoms. I'm very much interested in the soul of a person. As a priest, I keep asking questions a doctor will never ask."

Trojanowski is a priest in the northwestern Polish port city of Szczecin. He said that he sees as many as 20 people a week who are under the influence of evil spirits, but that he needs more space to treat them properly. At his exorcism center, he said, people could check in for a few days and receive ministrations.

Plans for the center were announced in December after an archbishop gave approval to build it on church land in Poczernin, a village surrounded by cabbage fields about 20 miles outside Szczecin.

The news came as a bit of a shock to the villagers, who said they hadn't been consulted and weren't sure they liked the idea of demons coming home to roost.

"People are worried about the potential for crazy people coming here," said Ksawery Nyks, 50, a longtime resident. He said most people were opposed unless the church could guarantee the exorcism center would have adequate security.

Others were more sympathetic. "I don't think it's going to harm us," said Romnalda Banach, 46, who runs a food shop on the muddy street that runs through the heart of the village. "Every person, if he or she needs help, should be able to get it somehow."

Source: The Courier Mail (AU)
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23223768-3102,00.html

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