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This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such creature-feature stories as:

- Gulf War Syndrome Firmly Linked to Chemical Exposure -
- A Brief History Of Time Machines -
Wisconsin - Where the 'Bear-Wolf' Roams -
- Weird 'Gnome' Caught on Video -
AND:  'Magnetic Boy' Keeps Crashing Computers

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

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INCREDIBLE MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE

WHAT CAN WE REALLY BELIEVE ABOUT SCRIPTURE?
BIBLICAL STORIES - TRUTH? or FICTION?



The Great Flood and Other Myths and Legends of the Old Testament

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Frazer presents astounding proof that a global flood has left the strongest single historical imprint upon all of humanity, no matter where on the globe folks had later moved and settled. In fact, amongst 120 different tribes in North and South America, no one tribe exists that has not related distinct or vague traditions of such a calamity. Here also are stories told by many cultures of the down fall of the Tower of Babel and the Creation of Man.

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MYSTERIES MAGAZINE  #20

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

PLUS: From Dwarfs to Giants: Sightings of Unusually Sized Humans

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

The Children of God:Jesus Freaks and Flirty Fishing

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- AFTER ALL THIS TIME DEPARTMENT -

Gulf War Syndrome Firmly Linked to Chemical Exposure

Nearly two decades after veterans of the 1991 Gulf War came home complaining of odd illnesses, enough evidence has been gathered to determine that many of them were sickened by chemical exposure, a study has concluded.

And some of the damage was likely caused by pills prescribed to protect against the use of nerve gas and pesticides used to control sand flies, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While the military has subsequently stopped using the pills, the pesticides continue to be used in agriculture and for pest control in homes and offices in the United States and around the globe.

"Enough studies have been conducted, and results shared, to be able to say with considerable confidence that there is a link between chemical exposure and chronic, multi-symptom health problems," said study author Beatrice Golomb of the University of California San Diego's school of medicine.

"Furthermore, the same chemicals affecting Gulf War veterans may be involved in similar cases of unexplained, multi-symptom health problems in the general population."

Golomb examined the results of scores of studies looking at the health impact of the class of chemicals to which the veterans were exposed either through pesticides, the anti-nerve gas pills or the demolition of a weapons depot containing the nerve gas sarin.

Her study linked exposure to the chemicals to Gulf War syndrome, a chronic health problem which affected between 26 and 32 percent of deployed troops.

Symptoms routinely reported by these veterans include memory problems, trouble sleeping, muscle or joint pain, fatigue, rashes and breathing problems.

While the findings "do not imply that all illness in Gulf War veterans" is the result of this exposure it "may account for some or perhaps much of the excess illness seen in Gulf War veterans" she concluded.

Golomb also discovered why some veterans were sickened while others with equal or greater chemical exposure were not affected.

"There is evidence that genetics have something to do with how a body handles exposure to these chemicals," Golomb said.

"Some people are genetically less able to withstand these toxins and evidence shows that these individuals have higher chance of suffering the effects of exposure."

Some 250,000 service members were given the bromide pills as a preventative measure. Those with the mutations that reduced their ability to detoxify the pills were at significantly higher risk of illness, Golomb found.

Previous studies have shown that this mutation is also linked to increased rates of some neurological diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Source: Yahoo News
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080311/tts-health-us-iraq-military-syndrome-972e412.html

- READ A BOOK FOR GOD'S SAKE DEPARTMENT -

The Dumbing of America

"The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

This is the last subject that any candidate would dare raise on the long and winding road to the White House. It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an "elitist," one of the most powerful pejoratives that can be applied to anyone aspiring to high office. Instead, our politicians repeatedly assure Americans that they are just "folks," a patronizing term that you will search for in vain in important presidential speeches before 1980. (Just imagine: "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain . . . and that government of the folks, by the folks, for the folks, shall not perish from the earth.") Such exaltations of ordinariness are among the distinguishing traits of anti-intellectualism in any era.

The classic work on this subject by Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter, "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," was published in early 1963, between the anti-communist crusades of the McCarthy era and the social convulsions of the late 1960s. Hofstadter saw American anti-intellectualism as a basically cyclical phenomenon that often manifested itself as the dark side of the country's democratic impulses in religion and education. But today's brand of anti-intellectualism is less a cycle than a flood. If Hofstadter (who died of leukemia in 1970 at age 54) had lived long enough to write a modern-day sequel, he would have found that our era of 24/7 infotainment has outstripped his most apocalyptic predictions about the future of American culture.

Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture (and by video, I mean every form of digital media, as well as older electronic ones); a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.

First and foremost among the vectors of the new anti-intellectualism is video. The decline of book, newspaper and magazine reading is by now an old story. The drop-off is most pronounced among the young, but it continues to accelerate and afflict Americans of all ages and education levels.

Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated, according to a report last year by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1982, 82 percent of college graduates read novels or poems for pleasure; two decades later, only 67 percent did. And more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book -- fiction or nonfiction -- over the course of a year. The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games.

Does all this matter? Technophiles pooh-pooh jeremiads about the end of print culture as the navel-gazing of (what else?) elitists. In his book "Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter," the science writer Steven Johnson assures us that we have nothing to worry about. Sure, parents may see their "vibrant and active children gazing silently, mouths agape, at the screen." But these zombie-like characteristics "are not signs of mental atrophy. They're signs of focus." Balderdash. The real question is what toddlers are screening out, not what they are focusing on, while they sit mesmerized by videos they have seen dozens of times.

Despite an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at encouraging babies as young as 6 months to watch videos, there is no evidence that focusing on a screen is anything but bad for infants and toddlers. In a study released last August, University of Washington researchers found that babies between 8 and 16 months recognized an average of six to eight fewer words for every hour spent watching videos.

I cannot prove that reading for hours in a treehouse (which is what I was doing when I was 13) creates more informed citizens than hammering away at a Microsoft Xbox or obsessing about Facebook profiles. But the inability to concentrate for long periods of time -- as distinct from brief reading hits for information on the Web -- seems to me intimately related to the inability of the public to remember even recent news events. It is not surprising, for example, that less has been heard from the presidential candidates about the Iraq war in the later stages of the primary campaign than in the earlier ones, simply because there have been fewer video reports of violence in Iraq. Candidates, like voters, emphasize the latest news, not necessarily the most important news.

No wonder negative political ads work. "With text, it is even easy to keep track of differing levels of authority behind different pieces of information," the cultural critic Caleb Crain noted recently in the New Yorker. "A comparison of two video reports, on the other hand, is cumbersome. Forced to choose between conflicting stories on television, the viewer falls back on hunches, or on what he believed before he started watching."

As video consumers become progressively more impatient with the process of acquiring information through written language, all politicians find themselves under great pressure to deliver their messages as quickly as possible -- and quickness today is much quicker than it used to be. Harvard University's Kiku Adatto found that between 1968 and 1988, the average sound bite on the news for a presidential candidate -- featuring the candidate's own voice -- dropped from 42.3 seconds to 9.8 seconds. By 2000, according to another Harvard study, the daily candidate bite was down to just 7.8 seconds.

The shrinking public attention span fostered by video is closely tied to the second important anti-intellectual force in American culture: the erosion of general knowledge.

People accustomed to hearing their president explain complicated policy choices by snapping "I'm the decider" may find it almost impossible to imagine the pains that Franklin D. Roosevelt took, in the grim months after Pearl Harbor, to explain why U.S. armed forces were suffering one defeat after another in the Pacific. In February 1942, Roosevelt urged Americans to spread out a map during his radio "fireside chat" so that they might better understand the geography of battle. In stores throughout the country, maps sold out; about 80 percent of American adults tuned in to hear the president. FDR had told his speechwriters that he was certain that if Americans understood the immensity of the distances over which supplies had to travel to the armed forces, "they can take any kind of bad news right on the chin."

This is a portrait not only of a different presidency and president but also of a different country and citizenry, one that lacked access to satellite-enhanced Google maps but was far more receptive to learning and complexity than today's public. According to a 2006 survey by National Geographic-Roper, nearly half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 do not think it necessary to know the location of other countries in which important news is being made. More than a third consider it "not at all important" to know a foreign language, and only 14 percent consider it "very important."

That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it's the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism -- a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse. Not knowing a foreign language or the location of an important country is a manifestation of ignorance; denying that such knowledge matters is pure anti-rationalism. The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.

There is no quick cure for this epidemic of arrogant anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism; rote efforts to raise standardized test scores by stuffing students with specific answers to specific questions on specific tests will not do the job. Moreover, the people who exemplify the problem are usually oblivious to it. ("Hardly anyone believes himself to be against thought and culture," Hofstadter noted.) It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality. If this indeed turns out to be a "change election," the low level of discourse in a country with a mind taught to aim at low objects ought to be the first item on the change agenda.

Source: The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/
AR2008021502901.html?referrer=digg

- DAYS OF FUTURE PAST DEPARTMENT -

A Brief History Of Time Machines

The dream of time traveling, to the past or future, is probably as old as the human imagination. When H.G. Wells published The Time Machine in 1895, he called it a "scientific romance" because no one knew whether time travel was possible.

A mere 10 years later, Albert Einstein would put forth his theory of special relativity, and part of the question would be answered--to the astonishment of many--in the affirmative.

One of Einstein's predictions, now verified by countless experiments, is best illustrated by the parable of the twins. One twin stays home while the other makes a round-trip voyage into outer space, traveling at nearly the speed of light for 10 years, as measured by the stay at home twin. When the traveled twin returns, she finds her sister has aged 10 years, while she has hardly aged at all. The traveled twin has jumped 10 years into the future.

This is the "time-dilation" effect of special relativity, and although it is most noticeable when extreme velocities are involved, it is happening around us all the time. As we move relative to each other we are--all of us--traveling into the future at different rates. The differences in these rates are very small, sure, but they are real. Time travel into the future is inescapable, a consequence of the structure of the universe.

Time traveling to the past, or returning back from a trip to the future, is a somewhat more challenging proposition. Until a few decades ago, the subject was consigned to science fiction. In fact, a query from a first-time science-fiction author provoked the beginnings of the first serious and sustained study.

In 1985, astronomer Carl Sagan was working on the manuscript for his novel Contact. The book's heroine required some means of rapid interstellar transit, and since Sagan wanted to get the physics right, he solicited advice from his friend Kip Thorne, a Caltech theoretical physicist. Thorne recommended the use of a "wormhole," a tunnel-like shortcut through space and time predicted by Einstein and well known among science fiction aficionados. Sagan dutifully incorporated the suggestion.

That same year, Thorne realized that if you treated the two mouths of a wormhole as you treated the twins--keeping one mouth fixed, moving the other at a velocity near the speed of light and then returning it to the vicinity of the fixed mouth--you could create a time machine. If the traveling mouth had been moving for 10 years as measured by the fixed mouth, then Thorne could jump into the traveling mouth and emerge from the fixed mouth 10 years into the past.

Physicists had been skittish on the subject of time travel, considering it science fiction. But Thorne's work was license to take it seriously, and suddenly there appeared a torrent of papers, many of which were published in the most prestigious journals. By the mid-1990s there were at least half a dozen ideas for other ways to twist and fold space-time like origami.

All this thinking was decidedly theoretical--no one was building a time machine in his basement. One reason was that in most cases, the plans required a kind of anti-gravity called negative energy to sustain the warping of space and time. Negative energy is difficult, if not impossible, to produce in the quantities necessary. Still, the idea of time travel was getting serious attention.

Naturally, not all that attention was enthusiastic. Stephen Hawking, for one, suspected that by some as-yet-undiscovered mechanism, nature prohibited traveling back in time. One sticking point was the "grandfather paradox": If I traveled back in time and killed my grandfather, I could not have been born. But if I have not been born, I cannot live to travel back and kill my grandfather.

The Russian-born physicist Igor Novikov, an enthusiastic investigator into the subject of time travel, has suggested that the paradox doesn't apply because space-time is probably self-consistent. That is, I may be able to travel back in time and somehow become interwoven into a past of which I was already a part, but I will not be able to kill my grandfather, quite simply because I have not killed him already.

Novikov has also thought a good deal about the other time travel conundrum--the "bootstrap paradox." Suppose I travel to 2009, find a design for a zero-emission automobile engine and return with it to 2008 and patent it. Suppose further that the patent is developed into the design that I find in 2009.

The obvious question: Who would have invented the zero-emission engine? The answer is, no one would have invented it. The design would have been generated quite literally from nothing, courtesy of a time machine and (perhaps) a skirting of some yet-to-be-written intellectual property laws.

British physicist David Deutsch, invoking the "many-universe" interpretation of quantum mechanics, believes that "pastward" time travel would require travel to another, parallel universe--one in which I could kill my grandfather and in which I (therefore) would never be born. Via a time machine, I would have removed myself from this universe to take up residence in that one.

The idea has some interesting implications. Deutsch has suggested that one reason we have detected no extraterrestrial civilizations may be that, using time machines, they have left this universe, preferring to live in another.

Metaphysical and philosophical questions aside, exactly how realistic is the physics of pastward time travel? Each of the several schemes for making a time machine creates a region in which pastward time travel is possible and separates it from a region in which time travel is impossible. The boundary between these regions, the "chronology horizon," has remained a mystery, in part because its nature depends upon the characteristics of space-time on the smallest possible scales.

We have at best a dim understanding of these scales, and we will not have a real understanding until we have developed a full theory of quantum gravity. This is the holy grail of theoretical physics: the so-called "theory of everything" that would eliminate disparities between relativity (which explains nature on very large scales, where gravity becomes important) and quantum mechanics (which explains nature on very small scales, where quantum effects become important).

Some physicists think the theory of everything is 10 years away; others suspect it is a good deal further off. For the moment, then, the question of whether time travel is possible has been put on hold.

The recent (and, no doubt, temporary) decline of interest in traveling to the past is welcomed by physicists who argue that work in less fanciful areas might yield a greater intellectual profit. New Zealand physicist Matt Visser, himself the architect of a number of theoretical time machines, calls that attitude overly cautious and "boring."

More than two decades after Thorne's seminal work, we still don't know whether time travel is possible. But one thing is certain: Even as an idea, it's anything but boring.

Source: Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2008/02/28/time-travel-machine-oped-time08
-cx_dt_0229travel.html

- WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT DEPARTMENT -

Wisconsin - Where the 'Bear-Wolf' Roams

Did it really happen? Did Brett Favre retire? What if winter lasts until July? What was that lurking near the abandoned barn last night?

Rest easy, Northeastern Wisconsin. Except for the fact that Favre really did blow out of Titletown, we haven't totally lost our marbles. But if anyone is snapping cell-phone shots of a Bigfoot-type beast roaming the northwoods or a Nessy look-a-like breaking the surface of Lake Michigan, they're not sharing those secrets too close to home.

But there are stories. Stories that a shadowy wolf-like, bear-like creature seen foraging in the woods wasn't the average Wisconsin carnivore.

Those with enough nerve to share the sightings — or more accurately, what they think they saw — contact people like Linda Godfrey, an author from Elkhorn, who has written several books on weird goings-on in the state.

Godfrey spends a majority of her time traveling the highways and byways, compiling notes on long lost tales of pig men in Brussels or one-eyed horse tormentors in Green Bay-area stables. Some areas have richer and more well-traveled tales than others. That the stories exist speaks volumes about the human imagination and that people want to believe the unbelievable.

"People definitely want to believe that there are other things out there," said Godfrey, author of "Weird Wisconsin" and "Strange Wisconsin: More Badger State Weirdness."

"I've seen enough from the little bit that I've been able to explore to know that there are things you can't explain. That's why I think you're seeing a huge interest in ghost hunter shows, paranormal shows, monster shows. People really want to believe beyond what our senses tell us."

Do 'bear-wolves' live among us?

Godfrey, a former reporter who also has authored several books on werewolves — not the man-to-wolf transformational kind — says there's enough consistency in statewide sightings to believe a creature in the wilderness has some 'splainin to do.

"I don't think we're talking about Lon Chaney-style werewolves. I don't believe these are humans changing into wolf form," said Godfrey. "It does make for a sexier book title.

"It's strange, though, because I've received probably close to 200 reports just in Wisconsin and Michigan that have been consistent over years … and the way people describe its strength and speed, how it seems interested in staying out of sight, yet it stares people down, sometimes chases them before hiding in cover, it's a lot of the same.

"Sometimes, it's on two legs, runs away on four. Or sometimes, its starts on four and gets up and runs away on two. Either way, it's enough for people to say, 'I know what a wolf looks like. I know a dog or a bear. That wasn't it.' "

When conducting research, Godfrey said she's a skeptic. She does interviews to sniff out hoaxes, while information that passes the smell test is used to track patterns of consistency.

And wouldn't you know it? The Wisconsin werewolf in question has been to our neck of the woods.

"Green Bay is in a different area, in a sort of circle that extends to Wausau back to Green Bay and down to the West Bend area, the northern reaches of Milwaukee," she said. "It walks upright, and while it has a wolf-like head and ears, the body is bulkier. It's kind of been dubbed the 'bear-wolf.'"

"Bear-wolf." Check.

Now what about the legend of the little one-eyed man?

According to Godfrey's "Strange Wisconsin" book, the early settlers of Green Bay included French immigrants who shared stories about Les Lutins, tiny one-eyed men who loved to terrorize horse stables. Equivalent to goblins, whenever something was wrong with a horse, Les Lutins was blamed by owners.

That led Jacques, a Green Bay stableman, to sleep with his horses one night, eventually leading to noises and movements under a plank in the barn floor, the book said. A tiny cap poked through a hole, but went back under when the Cycloptic troublemaker realized a trap had been set.

"Geez, I've been in this job for 30 years and I've never heard that one before," said Mary Jane Herber, historian at the Brown County Library.

Herber had a meeting of the minds with two longtime residents and together they couldn't pin down any pervasive myths or legends tied to the area. Locations like Scray's (or Ghost) Hill, have history in terms of how they got their names — it stems from an illusion where cars were thought to be moving backwards by themselves up the hill — but she wasn't aware of anything that had stood the test of time.

"We all thought the same thing, that because of the strength of the churches in this area, both Lutherans and Catholics, that it probably wasn't something that was in the norm," Herber said. "People probably dismissed (those kinds of stories) right away."

The same might hold true in Door County.

Jon Jarosh said his area has several ghost tales, with tours capitalizing on the paranormal interest. But no deep woods or lake creatures to speak of. Just oversized fish.

"There's been a lot said about big fish over the years, because obviously there are some decent sized sturgeon that can swim around here," said Jarosh, marketing director with the Door County Chamber of Commerce. "But no lake creatures. And no Bigfoot around here. But we'd love to have him. Or her!"

Abnormalities also exist in Native American culture, though for the Oneida Tribe of Indians, it's intrinsic to its culture, which places the conversation at a different level.

Stories about the Goat Man, Deer Woman or shape shifting have persisted, often as scare tactics, among various tribes. But they aren't a matter of myth or legend to many who grew up with them, said Brian Doxtator of Oneida.

"For those of us who have been here for years, it's not something that brings raised eyebrows," he said.

What they haven't been able to control is how outside influences have taken the cultural concepts of Mother Earth and medicine and presented them as matters of black magic or witchcraft, Doxtator said. So maintaining who they are as tribal members — and passing that identity to the younger generation -- is something he'd like to see persevere.

"For my own self, it's something I try to practice. Storytelling," Doxtator said. "And occasionally I'll get teased, 'Oh, there's Brian telling a story again.' But we're all storytellers. Every one of us.

"But I'm also careful not to feed into the romanticized version of who we are as (supernatural) people. It's integrated in our community, but it's a small piece of the whole."

Then there's the Hodag.

Perhaps the most well-known Wisconsin-bred mythical monster, the Hodag has infused itself with all of Rhinelander.

The green dragon-like beast is used in city logos and advertising. It's Rhinelander High School's mascot. A smiling statue sits out front at the Chamber of Commerce. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

"Oh, we embrace it wholeheartedly, all the businesses, everything," said Trisha Gaffron, executive director at the chamber. "If you ask locals, you will not get one of them to tell you the Hodag is not real."

The Hodag story is credited to a logger named Gene Shepard who had the community eating out of his hand with the tall tale of a seven-foot-long creature roving the desolate pine forests in the late 1800s. The creation gave him a reputation for P.T. Barnum levels of showmanship, and by time he was found out, the story had cemented itself as local legend, Gaffron said.

"More than likely he's not around anymore … but you know, he was very real back in the day," Gaffron said with a laugh.

Source: Green-Bay Press-Gazette
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/GPG04/
803090747/1250/GPGlife

- BIGFOOT GETS ALL THE PRESS DEPARTMENT -

Five Monsters You've Never Heard Of

From jungle walruses to gigantic worms, these nightmarish creatures are lurking

BIGFOOT, NESSIE, MOTHMAN, even the dinosaur-like mokele-mbembe have become as familiar to us as wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. The difference is that the first group might still be hanging around out there somewhere.

There are many other crypto-creatures whose names might not be so familiar to you, however. And as we go through our list, you’ll notice that most of them share a trait in common: they have been reported by native tribes in remote, mostly unexplored parts of the world. This fact raises these possibilities as to the reality of their existence:

    * They are merely folklore of the tribespeople.
    * They are modern-day creatures known to science, but as yet unidentified.
    * They are species as yet unknown to science.
    * They are species known to science but thought to be extinct, such as creatures from the dinosaur era.

It’s that last possibility that whets our appetite, of course, because it certainly is feasible that a prehistoric animal could have survived in these dense, tropical areas, protected from human civilization.

The only way to find out which of these possibilities is true for any of these creatures is to mount expeditions to these isolated pockets of jungle and swamp and document evidence. Such expeditions have taken place, in some cases, but came up empty-handed. (Naturally, if they were successful, these creatures wouldn’t be listed in 5 Monsters You Never Heard Of – they’d be big news.)

BURU

If it existed at all, this swamp-dwelling monster may have only recently died out. Local tribes of the Apa Tani Valley and the Jiro Valley in northern Assam, India, claimed to have seen this large, crocodile-like monster many times over the years. They described it as measuring between 11 and 13 feet long with a long snout, four limbs, and 5-foot-long tail. Unlike a crocodile, however, the buru did not have scales, but rather was smooth with blue and white coloration. Natives testified that it would occasionally lift its head out of the water and let out a bellow that could be heard over great distances.

After many run-ins with the creature, the natives deliberately set out to destroy the creature by draining its swamp habitat. The last one may have died sometime in the early 1940s, although some natives believe it only retreated underground. An expedition sponsored by London’s Daily Mail in 1948 proved fruitless, although it came away convinced that the natives were quite sincere in their belief in its existence.

Cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shukar, after examining all the available evidence, surmised that the buru might have been a species of giant lungfish.

DINGONEK

A walrus-like creature in the heart of Africa? Such is the description of the dingonek by John Alfred Jordan, an explorer who actually shot at this unidentified monster in the River Maggori in Kenya in 1907. Jordan claimed this scale-covered creature was a big as 18 feet long and had reptilian claws, a spotted back, long tail, and a big head out of which grew large, curved, walrus-like tusks.

Natives of the area further described it as having a scorpion-like tail and reported that it would kill any hippos, crocodiles, or human fisherman that dared encroach on its territory.

This sounds like a fantasy creature, but consider this: At the Brackfontein Ridge in South Africa is a cave painting of an unknown creature that fits the description of the dingonek, right down to its walrus-like tusks.

EMELA-NTOUKA

Emela-ntouka literally means “elephant killer,” aptly named by natives of the Republic of Congo who have seen this swamp-dwelling monster attack and disembowel elephants that cross its path. The instrument of this disembowelment is a large, ivory or bone horn on the animal’s head, leading to speculation that the emela-ntoouka might be a surviving relative of the triceratops or styracosaurus.

This is a nasty, vicious creature, according to the natives, who further described it as having a red-brown color, massive legs, and the ability to hide totally submerged beneath the water. Interestingly, its attack on elephants seems only to be defensive or territorial, since the monsters don’t eat the elephants. They seem to be plant-eaters.

KONGAMATO

Pterodactyl-like flying monsters are said to have been sighted in modern-day Southwestern United States. The kongamato is the African version of this dinosaur-era holdover, reportedly seen in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although not as large as pterodactyls known from fossils – 4- to 7-foot wingspans compared to as large as 33-foot wingspans – the kongamato resembles the prehistoric creature in virtually every other respect: a long, tapered jaw filled with sharp teeth, bat-like membranous wings, and an overall lizard-like appearance.

Some researchers think the kongamato could in fact be a large species of bat. However, in 1923, explorer Frank Melland heard of this creature while traveling through Zambia. Intrigued, he showed illustrations of a pterodactyl to the locals, and "every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked out and identified it as a kongamato."

MINHOCÃO

Let us leave the African continent now and travel to South America, where there have been reports not of a dinosaur-like creature but (perhaps more disturbingly) of a giant worm. Witnesses in Uruguay and southern Brazil describe the monster as looking like a gigantic armor-plated slug. Imagine a black slug as big as 14 feet long with a snout like a pig’s and two tentacles poking out of its head. Some reports have it as long as 75 feet! Normally living underground, the minhocão occasionally surfaces, leaving deep trenched in its wake.

Most scientists think its length has been exaggerated and suggest that the minhocão could either be: an unknown species of horned viper; a glyptodont, a giant relative of the armadillo, thought to be extinct; or an outsized caecilian, a subterranean worm-like amphibian.

Those are good guesses. But we know what the minhocão really is. Like the other creatures profiled in this article, they are the living, breathing monsters that hide in the damp, dark shadowy corners of our planet.

Source: Paranormal.about.com
http://paranormal.about.com/od/othercreatures/a/aa031008.htm

- STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE DEPARTMENT -

Weird 'Gnome' Caught on Video

A town in South America is living in fear after several sightings of a 'creepy gnome' that locals claim stalks the streets at night.

The creature - which wears a pointy hat and has a distinctive sideways walk - was caught on video last week by a terrified group of youngsters.

Teenager Jose Alvarez - who filmed the gnome - yesterday told national newspaper El Tribuno that they caught the creature while larking about in their hometown of General Guemes, in the province of Salta, Argentina.

He said: “We were chatting about our last fishing trip. It was one in the morning.

“I began to film a bit with my mobile phone while the others were chatting and joking.

"Suddenly we heard something - a weird noise as if someone was throwing stones.

"We looked to one side and saw that the grass was moving. To begin with we thought it was a dog but when we saw this gnome-like figure begin to emerge we were really afraid."

Jose added that other locals had come forward to say they had spotted the gnome.

He said: “This is no joke. We are still afraid to go out - just like everyone else in the neighbourhood now.

"One of my friends was so scared after seeing that thing that we had to take him to the hospital.”

Source: The Sun
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article902014.ece

- HE'S A LIVE WIRE DEPARTMENT -

'Magnetic Boy' Keeps Crashing Computers

An American schoolboy appears to have developed a special talent – for crashing computers. Joseph Falciatano, a 12-year-old from New York state, has taken on the moniker 'Magneto Man' after continuously causing his school's computers to stop working.

Experts are baffled as to why the youngster has the bizarre power but believe it is down to the unique amount of static electricity he produces. In order to keep their IT suite running, the school put a grounding pad under Joe and gave him an anti-static wrist-strap.

"Another student could use a computer, and it would be fine. But if Joe was on it, weird things started to happen," Marie Yerdon, computer lab teacher at Lura Sharp Elementary School in Pulaski, told local newspaper The Post-Standard.

"I think there's something in his body chemistry, something in his makeup that causes the computers to go haywire."

The school also emailed his parents to inform them of their son's capacity to stop electrical devices – a tendency they also see at home.

Joe also had problems with his Xbox console, and was 'forced' to upgrade to an Xbox 360 as a result of the issues the wired controller on the older model was having.

The Xbox would freeze whenever Joe tried to use it and even with the wireless controller used on the Xbox 360 he has to sit across the room from the games console.

Joe's special powers also almost resulted in the cancellation of an awards ceremony for his fellow students and their parents after a slide show of the fifth-grade schoolchildren began to crash because he was too near.

"They were going through the slide show, and my son was sitting quietly," Joe's dad, also called Joe, said.

"And all of a sudden, the music started to slow down and get distorted, and the pictures were messing up, stuff like that. As parents, we didn't think anything of it, until two teachers sprinted over to get to Joe. We're thinking, 'What did he do? Did he do something wrong?'

"The teachers moved him away to the side of the room, and then the slide show started going again, and the computer went back up to speed. And then we realized that it wasn't that Joe was misbehaving. They were moving him away from the hard drive so the computer wouldn't crash."

Static experts have been called in to monitor the youngster but have been so far unable to pinpoint the cause, admitting that his super-static ability remains a "mystery".

Source: Metro
http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=115434&in_page_id=2

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