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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  Is it the CIA?  Is it the Illuminati?  Is it the extraterrestrials who hover over your house late at night?  Is it the Men-In-Black who are sitting outside your home in their black cars watching your every activity?  Well don't worry.  They aren't interested in you...they are just waiting for another exciting issue of their favorite weekly, newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and everything else weird and strange -- CONSPIRACY JOURNAL!

This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such hair-pulling stories as:

- Vatican Scientist Says It's OK To Believe in Aliens -
- Britain Releases Batch of Files on UFO Sightings -
- The Lizard Man of South Carolina -
- The Ancient Secrets of Levitation -
AND: Capture Lake Pepin Lake Monster For $50,000

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


LITTLE GREEN MEN ARE NOT FROM MARS!
 
UFOS, TIME SLIPS, OTHER REALMS AND THE SCIENCE OF FAIRIES

An attempt has been made by the self-styled luminaries of UFOlogy to convince the public that the entire phenomenon can be explained in terms of craft visiting Earth from Outer Space. The truth is exceedingly more complex and weirder than anything you might imagine.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

The occupants of these "craft" come in all shapes and sizes and have the ability to mesmerize those they encounter.

They are able to cloak themselves in various disguises and have made deceitful attempts to convince those who observe their activities that they are visitors from another planet ... even if their claims are contrary to the evidence.

A hundred years ago the good citizenry might have identified these denizens as fairies or Leprechauns, whereas in this technological age the term" alien" is more applicable.

These beings often behave more like specters, phantoms or spooks, rather than flesh and blood creatures from another planet. They can materialize as inter-dimensional shape shifters able to change form at will. Frequently they "abduct" humans and take them to "another land: where a slippage in time occurs. When the hapless mortals return to this "state of being" hundreds of years may have expired.

UFOS, TIME SLIPS, OTHER REALMS, AND THE SCIENCE OF FAIRIES incorporates a rare manuscript by Edwin Hartland on the existence of a kingdom of elementals consisting of fairies, dwarfs, fire sprites and earth lights, as well as the updated research of top notch researchers whose investigations into this "alternative reality" reach conclusions that will astound and amaze.

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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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www.mysteriesmagazine.com

- ANGELS OR ALIENS DEPARTMENT -

Vatican Scientist Says It's OK To Believe in Aliens

Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican's chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.   

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom, he said.

The interview, headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother," covered a variety of topics including the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and science, and the theological implications of the existence of alien life.

Funes said dialogue between faith and science could be improved if scientists learned more about the Bible and the Church kept more up to date with scientific progress.

Funes, an Argentine, said he believed as an astronomer that the most likely explanation for the start of the universe was "the big bang", the theory that it sprang into existence from dense matter billions of years ago. But he said this was not in conflict with faith in God as a creator. "God is the creator. There is a sense to creation. We are not children of an accident ...," he said.

"As an astronomer, I continue to believe that God is the creator of the universe and that we are not the product of something casual but children of a good father who has a project of love in mind for us," he said.

Funes said science, especially astronomy, does not contradict religion, touching on a theme of Pope Benedict XVI, who has made exploring the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy.

The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "reasonable" explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.
 
Funes urged the church and the scientific community to leave behind divisions caused by Galileo's persecution 400 years ago, saying the incident has "caused wounds."

In 1633 the astronomer was tried as a heretic and forced to recant his theory that the Earth revolved around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

"The church has somehow recognized its mistakes," he said. "Maybe it could have done it better, but now it's time to heal those wounds and this can be done through calm dialogue and collaboration."

Pope John Paul declared in 1992 that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."
 
The Vatican Observatory has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world's best.

The observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, is based in Castel Gandolfo, a lakeside town in the hills outside Rome where the pope has a summer residence. It also conducts research at an observatory at the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

Source: Yahoo News
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080514/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_pope_extraterrestrials_1

- LOOK, UP IN THE SKY DEPARTMENT -

Britain Releases Batch of Files on UFO Sightings

LONDON - The most comprehensive Government files on UFO activity have been opened to the public and they disclose that even air traffic controllers and police officers have seen mysterious craft in the skies over Britain.

The sightings range from incredible tales of little green men visiting the Wirral to corroborated accounts from policemen and pilots of Unidentified Flying Objects hovering above towns and cities.

All are recorded on official forms, held by air bases and police stations, and compiled by the Ministry of Defence between 1978 and 2002.

Disclosed for the first time is a report from three experienced air traffic controllers who attempted to "talk in" a UFO which landed on the runway before them. The men were experienced, calm professionals. Nobody was drinking. But they were so worried about losing their jobs that they demanded their names be kept off the official report.

In the control tower a senior air traffic controller (satco) was supervising his deputy and an assistant.

According to the report, the deputy was in contact with a light aircraft preparing to land on runway 22 when the satco noticed lights approaching the other runway.

The unidentified object came in at speed, made a touch and go on runway 27 then departed at terrific speed in a near vertical climb, according to the files.

It was described as a "brilliant solid ball of light, bright silvery in colour". The file noted that "witnesses do not wish to be identified in case their professional integrity is questioned".

Others in the aviation industry also encountered unidentified flying objects, including a Sea King helicopter crew who tracked two objects on their radar for 40 miles, travelling at almost one nautical mile per second, in September 1985.

Four months later two constables in Woking police station, Surrey, saw a white light with a tail above the town centre which then "descended into the Horshall area".

They reported it to their inspector, who recorded it as a "genuine report" but noted that the officers were slightly embarrassed because Horshall Common features in the works of the science fiction writer HG Wells.

They were not alone. In June 1984, three officers at Edgware station in north London had been called to a garden after a sighting in Stanmore.

On their arrival the uniformed officers found a "flashing light 45 degrees up in the sky" with a "dome on top and underneath" which they watched through binoculars.

"We observed the object for one hour. During this period of time the object moved erratically from side to side, up and down and to and fro, not venturing far from its original position," wrote the officers, who also sketched a cartoon-like image of the spacecraft.

But a couple in the Wirral claimed to have had an encounter of an altogether closer kind. The husband reported visiting bases in Cheshire of green aliens, including one called Elgar who was killed by another race in 1984.

His wife saw their craft crash over Wallasey Town Hall but the official response was recorded as a terse "no reply".

The documents are contained in eight files that have been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Over the next four years more than 150 files will be made available at the National Archive in Kew, south-west London.

Nick Pope, who worked for the MoD for 21 years and was responsible for investigating the sightings, said: "Most of the UFO sightings here are probably misidentifications of aircraft lights and meteors, but some are more difficult to explain."

Ministry of Defense officials indicate in the files that UFO reports were only investigated to make sure no enemy aircraft had illegally entered British airspace. This was crucial during the Cold War when Russian planes posed a threat.

Officials said they did not try to solve UFO riddles once an enemy attack had been ruled out.

The vast majority of UFO reports come from members of the public who see strange things in the sky and jump to the conclusion that a UFO is involved even though there are logical explanations for what they observe, experts said.

"The most common things are aircraft lights, bright stars and planets, satellites, meteors, airships and things like that," said Nick Pope, another UFO expert who helped the Ministry of Defense investigate the phenomenon.

That was the case when a number of people leaving a Tunbridge Wells pub one night reported seeing a strange craft "with red and green" lights, according to the released documents.

Asked by police where the object seemed to be traveling, the pub crawlers said it appeared to be heading for London's Gatwick Airport. It didn't take a scientist to figure out it was a commercial plane making a routine approach.

Source: Yahoo News
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080513/ap_on_sc/britain_ufo_files

- STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE DEPARTMENT -

The Lizard Man of South Carolina

There have been no official sightings of the Lizard Man of SC since August of 1988. The first person to see the creature was Christopher Davis, a 17 year old boy from Bishopville, SC, who was driving home from work at 2AM on the morning of June 29th in 88. It was when Chris stopped his car on a secluded road by Scape Ore Swamp to change a tire that he encountered the monster. It was quite a shock for the young man and at first he thought the moonlight was playing tricks with his vision, as he only saw the outline of something big moving towards him. By the time the creature was as close as fifty feet, Chris knew it was time to get out of there.

Chris Davis described the horrendous being as able not only to walk upright on its' two hind legs, but run. It was taller than the average man, had red glowing eyes, not unlike the eyes of a gator at night and a face unlike anything the boy had ever seen before. Chris said it looked reptilian but also somewhat human. Davis went on to say that the beast was covered with greenish brown rough skin and it had a long heavy tail, also much like that of a gator.

The young man also noticed that the monster had three big fingers on both hands and feet that ended in long heavy dangerous looking claws. He got a pretty close look at these claws because the monster jumped on Davis' car when the youth hopped back into the vehicle and raced away from the area. Chris said he had to do some pretty fancy driving to shake the thing off.

When Chris got home, he and his father examined the vehicle; finding that the creature's terrible claws left clear puncture marks and deep scratches on the automobile. His side-view-mirror was badly damaged and there were scratch marks where the creature had sunk his claws into the metal to hang on. There was no other evidence of Davis' encounter with the monster, but his parents could see that the boy was badly shaken. The Lizard Man made front-page news that day.

In the weeks that followed other reports of a large lizard like creature were called into different local police stations. These sightings were mostly in areas close to the swamp. There were also reports of odd mischief done to personal property. People complained of unusual damage done to their vehicles more than any other vandalism. People said they not only found deep scratches, but what appeared to be bite marks which punctured metal. These reports came in from areas close to and around Bishopville, but reports show that Bishopville residents suffered the most damage.
   
On August 5th of the same year, an airman stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, named Kenneth Orr reported that he had had an encounter with the beast while driving on highway 15. Orr said he stopped his car and shot at the creature, but only wounded it. He saved a few scales and a small amount of blood as proof. There are no records to show whether any forensic or DNA tests were preformed on these samples.
   
The Lizard Man got a lot of press that year. And since 88 there have been other reported sightings of the Lizard Man, mostly in swampy areas, but no physical evidence was ever found connected to these sightings. The later reports were made by hunters or fishermen, but these encounters left no damage to humans or property and none of these witnesses claimed to have harmed the Lizard Man in any way, so there was never any further blood or biological evidence. There was never anything to instigate another investigation, so the reports were filed and then forgotten. Things were quiet with the creature for a good long time and the odd life form seemed to stay out of sight and out of the minds' of men for years.
   
All that changed March 4th, 2008 when the creature made another appearance. March 4th was the day Bobby and Dixie Rawson of 990 St. Charles Rd. in Bishopville, SC, woke up to find that their 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan had been chewed up during the night. It looked as if someone had gone at it with a can opener. The couple could clearly see the damage to the van, which had been parked in there driveway, from the back door. Cautiously they went out to examine the vehicle more closely. They were stunned at what they found.
   
Again there were bite and claw marks found on the van that punctured the metal. Experts said the bite presser of the creature that did the damage to the Rawsons' vehicle must be as great as that of a gator. The scratches were so deep in the metal, even the stoutest of hearts would think twice about tracking the beast down.
   
The Rawsons also found that most of their 17 cat were missing. The couple said they believe that the damage was done to the car when this odd life form attacked the cats who must have sought refuge under the vehicle. There was more than a bit of blood on the front and sides of the van, ominously suggesting a fight to the death for the cats.
   
The Rawsons called the police, the local paper and also contacted a Columbia TV station, the story was aired on CNN. Again the monster made front-page news.

This publicity and new evidence attracted famous monster hunter from California, Tom Biscardi. Tom has been searching for Bigfoot for some 35 years and has made some interesting discoveries, documenting evidence of Big Foot in different area of the US.
   
Biscardi and his five-man team came to SC to conduct a scientific study to determine if it was a Bigfoot, rather than the Lizard Man that caused the damage to the Rawsons' property. They came prepared to work, equipped with thermal imagers, high-tech cameras and sound recorders, among a number of other scientific devices. First they conducted initial forensic tests on the blood and other tissue found on the van. The samples and evidence collected were quickly sent back to a lab in California. Biscardi said he has used this lab for years and trusted their findings.
   
Then Biscardi's crew setup cameras, planning to observe the area for a few nights. After three nights of filming, Biscardi's team found no clear cut proof that the damage to the Rawsons' van was caused by a monstrous freak of nature. They didn't find anything that would prove that a monster was not in the area either.
   
Biscardi said he hasn't ruled out the possibility that a bear may have been the culprit, but local wildlife experts say they never heard of a bear attacking cats or cars. The Big Foot hunter admitted that he doesn't know if Bishopville's latest incident is related to the Lizard Man, or if the creature that did the damage is more like a Big Foot, adding whatever it is, he thinks it must be territorial. The only thing he was sure of is that there are certainly grounds for more investigation.

Source: Jeanne Evans

- HE FLOATS THROUGH THE AIR WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE DEPARTMENT -

The Ancient Secrets of Levitation

Great stone structures and megaliths around the world stand as mysteries to how they were constructed. Is it possible their builders possessed the powers of defying gravity?

Did ancient civilizations possess knowledge that has since been lost to science? Were amazing technologies available to the ancient Egyptians that enabled them to construct the pyramids - technologies that have somehow been forgotten?

The ruins of several ancient civilizations - from Stonehenge to the pyramids - show that they used massive stones to construct their monuments. A basic question is why? Why use stone pieces of such enormous size and weight when the same structures could have been constructed with more easily managed smaller blocks - much like we use bricks and cinderblocks today?

Could part of the answer be that these ancients had a method of lifting and moving these massive stones - some weighing several tons - that made the task as easy and manageable as lifting a two-pound brick? The ancients, some researchers suggest, may have mastered the art of levitation, through sonics or some other obscure method, that allowed them to defy gravity and manipulate massive objects with ease.

The Egyptian Pyramids

How the great pyramids of Egypt were built has been the subject of debate for millennia. The fact is, no one really knows for certain exactly how they were constructed. The current estimates of mainstream science contends that it took a workforce of 4,000 to 5,000 men 20 years to build the Great Pyramid using ropes, pulleys, ramps, ingenuity and brute force.

And that very well may have been the case. But there is an intriguing passage in a history text by the 10th century Arab historian, Abul Hasan Ali Al-Masudi, known as the Herodotus of the Arabs. Al-Masudi had traveled much of the known world in his day before settling in Egypt, and he had written a 30-volume history of the world. He too was struck by the magnificence of the Egyptian pyramids and wrote about how their great stone blocks were transported. First, he said, a "magic papyrus" (paper) was placed under the stone to be moved. Then the stone was struck with a metal rod that caused the stone to levitate and move along a path paved with stones and fenced on either side by metal poles. The stone would travel along the path, wrote Al-Masudi, for a distance of about 50 meters and then settle to the ground. The process would then be repeated until the builders had the stone where they wanted it.

Considering that the pyramids were already thousands of years old when Al-Masudi wrote this explanation, we have to wonder where he got his information. Was it part of an oral history that was passed down from generation to generation in Egypt? The unusual details of the story raise that possibility. Or was this just a fanciful story concocted by a talented writer who - like many who marvel at the pyramids today - concluded that there must have been some extraordinary magical forces employed to build such a magnificent structure?

If we take the story at face value, what kind of levitation forces were involved? Did the striking of the rock create vibrations that resulted in sonic levitation? Or did the layout of stones and rods create a magnetic levitation? If so, the science accounting for either scenario is unknown to us today.

Other Astonishing Megaliths

The Egyptian pyramids are not the only ancient structures constructed of huge blocks of stone. Far from it. Great temples and monuments around the world contain stone components of incredible size, yet little is known about their means of construction.

    * The Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, Lebanon has a foundation that contains the three largest stone blocks ever used in a man-made structure. Each block is estimated to weigh as much as 1,000 tons! No super crane in existence today could lift one, yet they are positioned together with such precision that not even a needle could fit between them. Nearby is an even bigger stone. Known as Hajar el Hibla - the Stone of the Pregnant Woman - it lies abandoned in its quarry, never used. But the giant rectangular block is the largest piece of stone ever cut by humans, weighing an incredible 1,200 tons. It is estimated that it would require the strength of 16,000 men to even budge it, and represents a formidable challenge to 20th century machines and technology.
    * On an isolated plateau at Tiahuanaco Bolivia, 13,000 feet above sea level, stands an impressive monument called Puerta del Sol, or Sun Gate. The elaborately carved gate weighs an estimated 10 tons, and how it arrived at its present location is a mystery.
    * Nan Madol, sometimes called "the Machu Pichu of the Pacific," is a great ruins on the island of Pohnpei, capitol of the Federated States of Micronesia. This lost city, constructed around 200 B.C., is made up of hundreds of stacked stone logs, each about 18-feet-long and several feet in diameter. The logs, stacked like cordwood, constitute walls that are 40 feet high and 18 feet thick. Each stone log is estimated to weigh about 2.5 tons. How they were moved and lifted into position is unknown.

What was the secret these diverse and ancient cultures possessed to manipulate these great stone blocks? A massive supply of slave labor straining human muscle and ingenuity to their limits? Or was there another more mysterious way? It's remarkable that these cultures leave no record of how these structures were constructed. However, "in almost every culture where megaliths exist," according to 432:Cosmic Key, "a legend also exists that the huge stones were moved by acoustic means - either by the chanted spells of magicians, by song, by striking with a magic wand or rod (to produce acoustic resonance), or by trumpets, gongs, lyres, cymbals or whistles."

Tibetan Secrets of Levitation

In his book The Bridge to Infinity, Bruce Cathie recounts an amazing story that he says originated in a German magazine. It tells the story of astonishing feats of levitation accomplished by priests in a monastery high in the Tibetan Himalayas. Here, in English translation, are excepts from that German article:

    A Swedish doctor, Dr. Jarl... studied at Oxford. During those times he became friends with a young Tibetan student. A couple of years later, it was 1939, Dr. Jarl made a journey to Egypt for the English Scientific Society. There he was seen by a messenger of his Tibetan friend, and urgently requested to come to Tibet to treat a high Lama. After Dr. Jarl got the leave he followed the messenger and arrived after a long journey by plane and Yak caravans, at the monastery, where the old Lama and his friend who was now holding a high position were now living.

    One day his friend took him to a place in the neighborhood of the monastery and showed him a sloping meadow which was surrounded in the north west by high cliffs. In one of the rock walls, at a height of about 250 metres was a big hole which looked like the entrance to a cave. In front of this hole there was a platform on which the monks were building a rock wall. The only access to this platform was from the top of the cliff and the monks lowered themselves down with the help of ropes.

    In the middle of the meadow. about 250 metres from the cliff, was a polished slab of rock with a bowl like cavity in the center. The bowl had a diameter of one metre and a depth of 15 centimeters. A block of stone was maneuvered into this cavity by Yak oxen. The block was one metre wide and one and one-half metres long. Then 19 musical instruments were set in an arc of 90 degrees at a distance of 63 metres from the stone slab. The radius of 63 metres was measured out accurately. The musical instruments consisted of 13 drums and six trumpets. (Ragdons).

    Behind each instrument was a row of monks. When the stone was in position the monk behind the small drum gave a signal to start the concert. The small drum had a very sharp sound, and could be heard even with the other instruments making a terrible din. All the monks were singing and chanting a prayer, slowly increasing the tempo of this unbelievable noise. During the first four minutes nothing happened, then as the speed of the drumming, and the noise increased, the big stone block started to rock and sway, and suddenly it took off into the air with an increasing speed in the direction of the platform in front of the cave hole 250 metres high. After three minutes of ascent it landed on the platform.

    Continuously they brought new blocks to the meadow, and the monks using this method, transported 5 to 6 blocks per hour on a parabolic flight track approximately 500 metres long and 250 metres high. From time to time a stone split, and the monks moved the split stones away. Quite an unbelievable task. Dr Jarl knew about the hurling of the stones. Tibetan experts like Linaver, Spalding and Huc had spoken about it, but they had never seen it. So Dr Jarl was the first foreigner who had the opportunity to see this remarkable spectacle. Because he had the opinion in the beginning that he was the victim of mass-psychosis he made two films of the incident. The films showed exactly the same things that he had witnessed.

    The English Society for which Dr Jarl was working confiscated the two films and declared them classified. They will not be released until 1990.

Were the films of this fascinating feat released in 1990? Did they ever even exist? Or is this just another tall tale that lends more mystery to the land of Shangri-la?

Coral Castle

How unfortunate that these secrets of levitation - if they ever existed - are lost to antiquity or the remoteness of the Himalayas. They seem to be forever elusive to modern Western man. Or are they?

Beginning in 1920, Edward Leedskalnin, a 5-ft. tall, 100-lb. Latvian immigrant, began to build a remarkable structure in Homestead, Florida. Over a 20-year period, Leedskalnin single-handedly build a home he originally called "Rock Gate Park," but has since been named Coral Castle. Working in secret - often at night - Leedskalnin was somehow able to quarry, fashion, transport and constructed the impressive edifices and sculptures of his unique home from large blocks of heavy coral rock.

It’s estimated that 1,000 tons of coral rock were used in construction of the walls and towers, and an additional 100 tons of it were carved into furniture and art objects:

    * An obelisk he raised weighs 28 tons.
    * The wall surrounding Coral Castle stands 8 ft. tall and consists of large blocks each weighing several tons.
    * Large stone crescents are perched atop 20-ft.-high walls.
    * A 9-ton swinging gate that moves at the touch of a finger guards the eastern wall.
    * The largest rock on the property weighs an estimated 35 tons.
    * Some stones are twice the weight of the largest blocks in the Great Pyramid at Giza.

All this he did alone and without heavy machinery. No one was ever witness to how Leedskalnin was able to move and lift such enormous objects, although it is claimed that some spying teenagers saw him "float coral blocks through the air like hydrogen balloons."

Leedskalnin was highly secretive about his methods, saying only at one point, "I have discovered the secrets of the pyramids. I have found out how the Egyptians and the ancient builders in Peru, Yucatan and Asia, with only primitive tools, raised and set in place blocks of stone weighing many tons."

If Leedskalnin had indeed rediscovered the ancient secrets of levitation, he took them with him to his grave.

Source: Paranormal.about.com
http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa031901a.htm

- HISTORIES MYSTERIES DEPARTMENT -

German Archaeologist on Trail of Ark of the Covenant

BERLIN — It is only a breathless Hollywood script: treasure-hunter Indiana Jones races with German archaeologists to track down the fabled Ark of the Covenant, the chest that held the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were etched.

Now German researchers claim to have found the remains of the palace of the Queen of Sheba — and an altar that may have held the Ark.

The discovery, recently announced by the University of Hamburg, has stirred skeptical rumblings from the archaeological community.

The location of the Ark, indeed its existence, has been a source of controversy for centuries. Regarded as the most precious treasure of ancient Judaism, it is at the heart of a debate about whether archaeology should chronicle the rise and fall of civilizations or explore the boundaries between myth and ancient history.

Professor Helmut Ziegert, of the archaeological institute at the University of Hamburg, has been supervising a dig in Aksum, northern Ethiopia, since 1999.

"From the dating, its position and the details that we have found, I am sure that this is the palace," he said.

The palace, that is, of the Queen of Sheba, who is believed to have lived in the 10th century B.C. After she died, her son and successor, Menelek, replaced the palace with a temple dedicated to Sirius.

The German researchers believe that the Ark was taken from Jerusalem by the queen — who had a liaison with King Solomon — and built into the altar to Sirius.

"The results we have suggest that a Cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant, and continued until 600 A.D.," an announcement by the University of Hamburg on behalf of the research team said.

Sothis is the ancient Greek name for the star Sirius.

The Ark was made, according to the Bible, of gold-plated acacia wood and topped with two golden angels. It is said to be a source of great power. In about 586 B.C., when the Babylonians conquered the Israelites, the Ark vanished.

For many centuries finding it has been one of the great quests — inspiration not only for the 1981 film "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but also for countries seeking to position themselves in the mainstream of ancient civilization.

Many archaeologists believe that their profession should not be in the business of myth-chasing. Even if the Ark were found, it would be impossible to establish scientifically whether it was the original receptacle for the Ten Commandments.

Iris Gerlach of the German Archaeological Institute in Sanaa, Yemen, believes the religious centre of Sheba is in present-day Yemen.

Although she does not go head-to-head with her colleague Professor Ziegert, the message is clear: A relic such as the Ark would have been stored in an important religious city rather than in Aksum.

— The location of the Ark has been put in Egypt, Zimbabwe and even Ireland, where the Hill of Tara was excavated.

— The Ethiopian holy town of Aksum is regarded as a more credible site.

— Ethiopians believe that it is defended by monks in the church of St. Mary of Zion and is seen only by the guardian of the Ark, making it impossible to verify.

Source: Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355264,00.html

- WHERE IS MY DIVING SUIT DEPARTMENT -

Capture Lake Pepin Lake Monster For $50,000

There's one creature in Minnesota that's so hard to track that $50,000 reward is out for proof it exists.

Ever since the 1800s, residents around Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minn. say they've spotted a sea monster. They call him, Pepie.

"It was very strange," said Larry Nielson, who says he's seen the mysterious creature. "We watched it for quite a while and we watched it for about 15 minutes and could not figure out what it might be."

Steve Raymond shares the same story.

"Now, I'm the third person who's reported it. I distinctly remember three humps, with one hump looking like a head," recalled Raymond about his experience on Lake Pepin.

The first sighting of the creature was in April 1871. An artist has tried to show what the monster, with a hypnotic red-eye and demon-like head, might look like. It's said to live within the depths of Devil's Abys.

"So you never know what you're going to see out here," said Nielson. "There have been stories of something mysterious here."

Boaters have told stories of being attacked while on the water, first hearing several loud knocks on the hull, followed by several violent back and forth swings of the boat.

Nielson wants people to try and see for themselves because this mysterious monster that's eluded most cameras for more than a century. He's offering $50,000 for undisputable photographic and scientific evidence.

"The idea behind the reward is make sure you come up with a camera. You might catch Pepie, but the worst thing that's going to happen is that you're going to get pictures of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world," said Nielson.

This reward is also a marketing tool for Lake City. The local tourism bureau hopes the chance to see Pepie and get money for it will bring people to the area.

Whether anyone finds anything specific on Pepie is yet to be seen. Nielson and Raymond don't need more proof from the public, because they already agree that they've seen something strange in the lake.

Source: WCCO-TV
http://wcco.com/local/lake.pepin.monster.2.717605.html

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