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Welcome again to your number one source of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else weird and strange. Is your local newspaper afraid to print the truth? Does your 6:00pm television news leave you bloated with nonsense?  Are website blogs filled with extremist, political baloney? Then Conspiracy Journal is the weekly conspiracy newsletter for you!

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such eye-popping stories as:

- "Bigfoot" Body Is A Hoax -
- Does a Lost Tribe of "Cavemen" Live In The UK? -
- Poltergeists and Our Plastic Reality -
- Do Numbers Hold Sacred Powers? -
AND: Chile Promotes UFO Tourism

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

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MYSTERIES MAGAZINE  #21

In This Incredible Issue:

FEATURES:

The Mysterious Subterranean Realms of California.

The Mysterious Blast at California’s Port Chicago.

California’s Lake Monsters.

PsiSpies: The History of Remote Viewing.
By Louis Proud

COLUMNS
strange customs   
Italian Community Secretly Builds Breathtaking Underground Temples

Commentary   
The Dangers of Hallucinogens

Urban Legends   
Amusement Parks:Fodder for Scary Stories

Haunted Heritage   
Ghostly Activities at California’s Cal-Neva Resort

Arcane Cults   
The John Frum Movement:A South Pacific CargoCult

From the Skies   
2008:The Year of the UFO?

Interview   
Mary Ann Winkowski:The Original Ghost Whisperer


COMING SOON to your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.

www.mysteriesmagazine.com

- AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR EVERYONE DEPARTMENT -

"Bigfoot" Body Is A Hoax

So it really was a rubber suit after all.

Last week's excitement over a supposed Bigfoot body, which culminated Friday in a circus-like press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., collapsed like a wet soufflé Sunday as an independent investigator determined it was all fake.

SearchingforBigfoot.com owner Tom Biscardi had paid an "undisclosed sum" — Internet rumors put it at $50,000 — to Georgia residents Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer for their frozen "corpse" and the privilege of trotting them, but not the body, out in front of TV cameras.

At the same time, Biscardi sent self-described "Sasquatch detective" Steve Kulls to a secret location — apparently Muncie, Ind. — to check out the specimen.

Kulls, it's safe to say, was severely disappointed.

The upshot? Bigfoot, once found, is now again missing. So are Whitton, Dyer and Biscardi's money.

In a long statement on SearchingforBigfoot.com, Kulls reveals what he found early Sunday morning Eastern time as the body thawed out.

"I extracted some [hair] from the alleged corpse and examined it and had some concerns," Kulls writes. "We burned said sample and said hair sample melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair."

Kulls called Biscardi in California, who told him to heat the body to speed up thawing.

"Within one hour we were able to see the partially exposed head," Kulls continues. "I was able to feel that it seemed mostly firm, but unusually hollow in one small section. This was yet another ominous sign."

Then came the clincher.

"Within the next hour of thaw, a break appeared up near the feet area. ... I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot."

That jibes with what Jerry Parrino, owner of Internet Halloween-costume retailer TheHorrorDome.com, told FOXNews.com last week.

"It definitely looks like our [Sasquatch] costume," Parrino said after viewing photos of the body.

The Biscardi team immediately went into crisis mode. Biscardi called Whitton and Dyer at their California hotel.

They admitted it was a hoax and agreed to sign a promissory note at a meeting set for 8 a.m. Pacific time at the hotel.

But when Biscardi got there, he "found that they had left."

"At this time action is being instigated against the perpetrators of this fraud," Kulls writes on Biscardi's Web site. "On behalf of myself I can say with certainty Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer [are] not the best Bigfoot trackers in the world!"

Asked to confirm rumors that he'd given Dyer and Whitton a $50,000 advance on future earnings from the bogus Bigfoot, Biscardi would say only that "it was a substantial amount of money" numbering in the thousands which came from unnamed "investors."

Loren Coleman, who runs the influential Cryptomundo.com Web site devoted to mysterious animals, isn't buying Biscardi's pleas of ignorance.

"He's a huckster, a circus ringmaster," Coleman told FoxNews.com. "It's all about money with him. It probably didn't matter to him whether it was real or not."

So why would Dyer, described as a former security guard, and Whitton, a police officer with the Clayton County, Ga., department, make it all up?

"They probably started out small, as a way to promote their Bigfoot tracking business, and got in way over their heads," Coleman figured. "These are not very intelligent individuals."

The involvement of Biscardi, who Coleman says was introduced to the pair by Kulls, brought them attention they didn't need.

"In a way, both sides may have been trying to out-con each other," said Coleman.

The Bigfoot Field Research Organization, another Bigfoot group that refused to take seriously what Coleman dubbed the "Georgia gorilla," wants everyone connected with the "body" — Biscardi, Dyer, Kulls and Whitton — arrested.

"Warrants need to be issued immediately before Biscardi leaves the country," the organization's Web site states.

As for Whitton, he doesn't seem to have a job to come back to in Georgia.

Asked for comment on Officer Whitton, Clayton County, Ga., Chief of Police Jeffrey Turner, corrected FoxNews.com. "You mean ex-officer Whitton."

"As soon as we saw it was a hoax," Chief Turner explained, "I filed the paperwork to terminate his employment."

Turner said he hasn't heard from Whitton, and that he was mystified at the former officer's involvement in such a blatant scam.

"He was a real go-getter," Turner said, citing Whitton's wounding in the line of duty earlier this summer while apprehending a suspect who had allegedly shot a woman in the head. "For someone to do a complete three-sixty like that, I can't explain it."

The woman who answered the phone at Biscardi's Searching for Bigfoot office in Menlo Park, Calif., said he was out ill but would return calls when he could.

Source: Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,406101,00.html

- STRANGE THINGS UNDER OUR FEET DEPARTMENT -

Does a Lost Tribe of "Cavemen" Live In The UK?

A tribe of subterranean creatures who surface on Cannock Chase to hunt for food could be behind a rash of 'werewolf' and Big Foot sightings near Stafford.

And the mysterious beings could also be responsible for a string of pet disappearances, it has been claimed.

West Midlands Ghost Club, our area's top paranormal investigation group, say they have been contacted by a number of shocked eye-witnesses who claim they have come to face to face with a 'hairy, wolf-type creature' at the beauty spot.

A scout leader and a local post man are amongst the 'credible' witnesses to contact the club. Theories behind the sightings range from a crazed tramp to aliens.

But now another paranormal expert has put foward the theory the sub-human beast is not a werewolf at all - but a Stone Age throwback.

The investigator, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us: "Strange sightings in this area have been made over many years by civilians, military, police, ex-police and scout leaders on patrol.

"Some incidents have been reported and logged but others not - some people don't want to be classed as 'mad'.

"The strangest rumour has come from a senior local resident who believes the mysterious intruders to be subterranean," he told us.

"The creatures have made their way to the surface via old earthworks to hunt, for example, local deer."

And, on the surface, the far-fetched tale could be easily dismissed. However, our expert added: "It's a fact that there has been significant mining activity under Cannock Chase for centuries. And it's a fact there is a high rate of domestic pet disappearance in the area - especially dogs off the lead...just ask anyone who walks their dog near the German War Cemetery..."

Nick Duffy, a lead member of West Midlands Ghost Club, told us he was intrugued by this new theory: "It's as likely as any of the others - so it could well be," he said.

Source: Phantoms and Monsters
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2008/08/sightings-of-wolf-like-creatures-and.html

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Poltergeists and Our Plastic Reality
By Brad Steiger

Harry Price, the British journalist-psychical researcher, devoted much of his life to an examination of the poltergeist phenomenon. His Polter­geist over England (1945) is a classic study of the wide range of poltergeist activity, and many of his articles have served as references for other writers in the field of paranormal inquiry, including myself (Strange Guests, Anomalist Books, (2006).

As might be expected, Price received accounts of poltergeist activity from all over the world, and it appears that he was in the process of writing a much larger work on the poltergeist at the time of his death on April 24, 1948. Price's letters and notes regarding this particular phe­nomenon went to the well-known British clairvoyant, John Pendragon, who had assisted in the research at Borley Rectory (once called the most haunted house in England) and who would later serve as the subject of one of my books (Pendragon, 1968). When Pendragon passed on in January, 1970, I learned that he had made me his heir and that his solicitors had bundled up stacks of Harry Price’s research papers and posted them to me.

I felt incredibly honored by such an inheritance, for the “ghost hunter” heroes of my early days of research were Hereward Carrington, Dr. Nandor Fodor, Sir William Crookes, William James, Sir Oliver Lodge, Fredric W.H. Myers, and Harry Price.

For those serious investigators of our plastic reality, I am pleased to share herewith selections from the dozens of letters Harry Price received in regard to his inquiries regarding psy­chokinetic and haunting manifestations:

From Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, British Malaya {Malaysia}:

Some European girls whom we know rang us up one evening to say that peculiar things were happening in their house--knives and spoons wouldn't stay on the table; potatoes and onions kept leaping out of their box; wooden clogs were thrown at people. We all went down to investigate that evening, and after a number of days, we are all entirely convinced that there is no hoax, but that this is a genuine poltergeist case.

I have myself seen with my own eyes. and am prepared to swear on any oath, that the following occurred: 1.) A round Stone about an inch in diameter dropped from a completely bare ceiling; 2.) a piece of glazed tile fell out of a tiled roof; 3.) a knife flew past my face when I was the only person in the room; 4.) several potatoes and onions leapt out of a wooden box and rolled across the floor.

The medium, or whatever you wish to call it, of all the manifestations seems to be the Malay maid, as she is always around when these things happen. She has only recently been engaged, and before she came, nothing was reported. All the skeptical policemen who have investigated, and myself, are quite convinced that this is not a put-up job. I have so often read of these things that it is fascinating to have first-hand acquaintance with them, and to be convinced, as I am, that such things do happen by some agency or power that one cannot at present explain.

From a major in the British Army who during April, 1940, had been billeted in a small farm about five miles west of Orchies, near Douai, France:

One evening during the last week of April--I am unable to remember the exact date--I was Duty Officer and, as was the custom, I visited the posts along the France-Belgian frontier. Shortly after midnight I arrived back at the farm. It was a very bright moonlight night, and as I had walked back I had noticed the complete absence of any wind or noise.

I undressed ... opened the windows and shutters (along the narrow windowsill were my shaving and washing kit), then I put out the oil lamp and got into bed.

Within a very few minutes I suddenly heard a sound that appeared to be human hands fumbling along the outside wall of the farm toward my window, but no sound of footsteps, although the road was cobbled.

Nearer and nearer came the sound. I lay back watching the window, not knowing what to expect. Then the sound stopped and slowly a dark shape, the head and shoulders of a very small but broad human being, appeared over the windowsill, silhouetted against the bright moonlight background. No features were visible and not a sound could be heard.

By now I had decided that the only action to be taken was to attack. As I moved to leap out of bed, the form disappeared. Then with a crash, the windows and shutters closed, throwing my washing utensils onto the floor. I threw myself out of bed and with all my strength threw open the windows and shutters and brought my fists down against the outside of the house. They hit nothing but the wall.

Within a matter of seconds I was outside the front door accompanied by the dogs. As I looked around, I felt the dogs close up to my legs. They were whimpering and hugging my feet. They were as scared as I was.

I was the only witness to this occurrence, but there are three things which I feel need some explanation: 1.) Why did I not hear footsteps on the cobbles--if it was a human being? 2.) What force could close the shutters? 3.) What scared the dogs'

In my own mind I know that this form was not human, but I can give no explanation to what it was.

The major also presented Harry Price with a second account, that of a drinking glass which had appeared out of nowhere to explode over a table on which he and other officers were studying a map.

No one was injured, although we were all somewhat surprised. On investigation, the following facts were found :

1.) Fragments of the glass were scattered not only all over the table but also all over the floor directly under the table. 2.) The only fragment of any size was from the base of a glass which was not the type of glass that we had on the sideboard. How did the fragments get under the table? Where did the glass come from?

From a woman in Stalbridge, Dorset, England, who had been beset by ghostly phenomena since, as a child of eleven, she would awaken to become aware of a small child lying beside her:

Early in February, 1940, I awoke to the sounds of the most terrific bangs on my bedroom door. I called out, "Who is there?" A short silence, then another set of dreadful bangs. I quite thought the door would give way.
I opened it expecting to face a burly ruffian. Instead, all was calm and serene, and not a soul to be seen. I am not particularly nervous, but that did upset me, and in fact, made me ill. For some time afterward I slept downstairs, but eventually returned to my old quarters ....

One day last year, five of my windowpanes were badly cracked at about the same time, with nothing whatever to account for it.

On another occasion, I took a ring off my finger whilst in the kitchen, dropped it, heard it run over the linoleum, and after giving a spin, come to rest behind the door. But when I went to pick it up, I could not find it. Many weeks later, on going to my dresser cupboard to get a tall tin from an inner corner of the lower part, I found my ring reposing behind it.

That cupboard was closed when I dropped the ring. Even if it had been open, there is a deep ledge along the bottom of it which the ring would have had to jump over and then get into that far corner behind the big tin, which nearly reached the shelf above it. And even now I can distinctly recollect hearing the ring roll across the floor and give a spin before coming to rest behind the door.

From Worcester, England, the recollections of a woman who had lived with an aunt and her family while they were under siege by a poltergeist:

When I was about thirteen the whole household became disturbed as a result of extraordinary rappings on the windows of the house. Queer noises, shufflings, etc. were the terror of my young life.

The rappings on the windows and showers of stones apparently hurled in handsful from without never seemed to have been connected by the family with myself. The young daughter of the house seemed to be favoured by these attentions, as they usually happened in a room where she was present and usually when she was alone.

We all heard the rappings; indeed, they were so violent one could not have failed to hear them, even though one might not actually be in the particular room where the demonstration was taking place.

For many years I did not experience anything of the same character, until, in 1913, I went to live in a large house near the Station in Mayfield, Sussex. There we were worried by sounds like deep breathing under door frames, doors constantly being slammed, a barking dog we could never trace, and sounds suggesting the upheaval of large pieces of furniture in the attics, which were devoid of any furniture.

The temptation is to personify the poltergeist force and to endow it with attributes of intelligence. Traditionally, the poltergeist was thought to be a rather nasty, disembodied spirit. The word itself is German for "noisy ghost,” “throwing ghost.” But it seems that the poltergeist is most often “born” when some aspect of the human personality is being denied more accepted ave­nues of expression.

The letters go on, stacks of them, from men and women in all walks of life. There is an extremely long report from MacKinlay Kantor, who would one day win a Pulitzer Prize in literatute, telling of a baffling poltergeist case in his home town of Webster City, Iowa.

Among the letters are theories from learned individuals suggesting various approaches to a more complete understanding of the poltergeist phenomenon.

One of the questions that I am most interested in answering is whether these breaches of our physical laws can be accomplished through mental effort --either conscious or unconscious--or if the physical organism is no more active in its participation in the process than are the chunks of ice, stones, and crockery that appear to drop from the sky.

The temptation is to personify the poltergeist force and to endow it with attributes of intelligence. Traditionally, the poltergeist was thought to be a rather nasty, disembodied spirit. The word itself is German for "noisy ghost,” “throwing ghost.” But it seems that the poltergeist is most often “born” when some aspect of the human personality is being denied more accepted ave­nues of expression.

The raw energy of the sex changes that occur during puberty and the sexual adjustments of the marital state have often been identified as hav­ing somehow provided the impetus for the peculiar psychokinetic dis­charge responsible for poltergeist activity. Many "psi" researchers have observed that more often a girl than a boy is at the center of poltergeistic disturbances, and that the sexual change of puberty is associated with either the beginning or the termination of the phenomena.

Since all these letters to Harry Price are circa 1947, I found it interesting that a young doctor from London would boldly present an explanation for the poltergeist that included its interaction with the "psycho-physiological phenomena of sex": “It is, of course, exceedingly difficult to make experiments on these things, as human material is not exactly forthcoming; but so far, I am satisfied scientifically on at least one important point, which is, of course, common knowledge, namely that in the orgasm, both of male and female, very large amounts of energy are used; and this, I think, has a significant bearing on the subject of poltergeist mediums.

“The difference between the boy and the girl at puberty is that the boy actually has ‘wet dreams,’ or else masturbates himself, thereby using up his sexual energy, if I may so term it; but the normal girl does not have intercourse, or orgasms in any form, so that the sexual energy is latent, though present, and this latent sexual energy ... (is) ... large enough even (if all used at once) to move heavy objects, which the ordinary somatic physical strength of one man could not do.”

This frustrated desire to more fully express one's self, combined with the chemical changes taking place in marital or sexual adjustment, then may literally explode into violent, unrestrained psychokinetic activity.
It may be startling to consider the mind capable of bursting free of its three-dimensional bonds and utilizing specialized talents that know vir­tually no limits. The poltergeist seems to offer measurable proof of the mind's limitless creative capacity, but the tragedy is that the poltergeist phenomena represent a perverted, uncontrolled aspect of this ability.

The perverse talents of the poltergeist range from the tossing of pebbles to the manufacturing of disagreeable odors. Poltergeists throw things, break windows, and can even cause fires. But, as one investigator commented, "The phenomena are exactly such as would occur to the mind of a child or an ignorant person."

If the poltergeist is provided with enough psychic energy to develop a voice or the ability to communicate by raps or automatic writing, its communications are usually nonsensical, ribald, or downright obscene.

Author Sacherverell Sitwell observed that the poltergeist appeared always to direct its power toward "the secret or concealed weaknesses of the spirit ... the obscene or erotic recesses of the soul. The mysteries of puberty, that trance or dozing of the psyche before it awakes into adult life, is a favorite playground for the poltergeist."

Why the baser elements of the human subconscious should find their ex­pression in the poltergeist has been a matter of great speculation among psi researchers. Why shouldn't our noblest instincts be projected too? Physical violence is often directed toward the unconscious energy center of the phenomena, and a parent, a spouse, or a sibling may come in for his or her share of the abuse as well.

Because of the poltergeist's general low-level activities, the uncon­scious energy center, as well as his or her family, will generally declare the manifestations to be the work of some demonic, external agent. On the other hand, the question of external intelligence somehow interacting with the unconscious agent of poltergeist activity is difficult to resolve. Many percipients of poltergeist phenomena have reported seeing gro­tesque, gargoylelike entities that they felt were in some way associated with the haunting. Whether these beings are externalized projections of the agent's unconscious may be debated extensively--and, at present, inconclusively.

It may be well within the creative power of the human psyche to materialize other voices, other personalities, and junior psyches. (Isn't this what novelists and playwrights do quite "normally"?) If a poltergeist can manifest voices and forms, as well as pebble-throwing and crockery-smashing, then we are still talking about the human mind shaping a lively piece of our plastic reality. But if a poltergeist is an entity possessing an intelli­gence independent of the agent, then the noisy ghost is indeed "feeding" upon its medium's psychic and sexual energies and using a human agency to implement whatever purpose it may have.

Source: Haunted America Tours
http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/ghosthunting/poltergeistreality.php

- THE SHROUD OF MYSTERY DEPARTMENT -

Shroud of Turin Stirs New Controversy

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- The tie that binds John and Rebecca Jackson is about 4 feet by 14 feet, woven of herringbone twill linen. It once led to their romance; years later, it still dominates their thoughts and fills their conversations.

It brought Rebecca, an Orthodox Jew, to the Catholic Church; it led John to suspend himself from an 8-foot-tall cross to study how blood might have stained the cloth. Together, the two have committed to memory every crease, scorch mark and unexplained stain in their years-long pursuit of the mystery:

Is the Shroud of Turin -- which allegedly bears the image of a crucifixion victim -- the burial cloth of Jesus?

In 1988, science seemed to put that question to rest.

Radiocarbon dating by three separate laboratories showed that the shroud originated in the Middle Ages, leaving the "shroud crowd" reeling. Shroud skeptics responded, "We told you so." The Catholic Church admitted that it could not be authentic. Many scientists backed away.

But John Jackson, one of the shroud's most prominent researchers, was among those who insisted that the results made no sense. Too much else about the shroud, they said, including characteristics of the cloth and details in the image, suggested that it was much older.

Twenty years later, Jackson, 62, is getting his chance to challenge the radiocarbon dating. Oxford University, which participated in the original radiocarbon testing, has agreed to work with him in reconsidering the age of the shroud.

If the challenge is successful, Jackson hopes to be allowed to reexamine the shroud, which is owned by the Vatican and stored in a protective chamber in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

Jackson, a physicist who teaches at the University of Colorado, hypothesizes that contamination of the cloth by elevated levels of carbon monoxide skewed the 1988 carbon-14 dating by 1,300 years.

"It's the radiocarbon date that to our minds is like a square peg in a round hole. It's not fitting properly, and the question is why," he said.

On that point, Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, seems to agree.

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow, and so further research is certainly needed," says a statement on his website. "Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information."

Steven Schafersman, a geologist who maintains a website skeptical about the shroud, dismisses the effort as one that's bound to fail.

"He's had other ideas, but they've all been shot down, and this one will be shot down too," he said of Jackson. "Ordinary people know this is just a relic."

But others are challenging the radiocarbon date.

At a conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group at Ohio State University this weekend, the Los Alamos National Laboratory presented findings that the 1988 test results were flawed because the samples tested came from a portion of cloth that may have been added to the shroud during medieval repairs.

The shroud's historical record dates back to 1349, when a French knight wrote to the pope of his possession of a cloth he described as the burial shroud of Christ. In 1978, a team of scientists led by Jackson conducted a series of tests on the shroud, including X-rays and chemical analyses. They concluded that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained and that the blood stains were real. But those findings did little to quell the controversy surrounding the shroud.

Many believe that Jesus imprinted his image on his burial cloth during his resurrection, and others think that the shroud is the authentic burial cloth but that the image was formed by natural processes. Skeptics maintain that the shroud is a forgery created by a medieval artist seeking to display it to relic-hungry pilgrims. The debate often is bitter; each side accuses the other of twisting facts and ignoring evidence that doesn't fit its view.

In this world, Jackson has long been a central figure.

A former professor at the Air Force Academy and scientist at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Jackson holds a doctorate in physics from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Born and raised in Denver, he also is a devout Catholic who has been transfixed by the shroud since he first saw its image at age 13.

"If you love Christ, why wouldn't you want to explore the possibility that you have an artifact of his material existence on Earth?" he said, adding that his faith isn't incompatible with his scientific training: "How I think about the shroud comes from the shroud. It's not, 'Gee, I'm a Christian, so I'll force it to be what I want it to be.' That's not scientific logic."

Whereas Jackson has focused single-mindedly on the shroud for 35 years, his wife is a relative newcomer.

 Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rebecca Jackson, now 60, was 34 when she impulsively decided to enlist in the Army and ended up at Ft. Carson, near Colorado Springs, as a cook. She converted to Christianity, a religion she said began to appeal to her as a teenager.

In 1990, she was watching a documentary on the shroud when it occurred to her that the image of the man's face looked like her grandfather's. She tracked down Jackson, who had appeared in the film and also lived in Colorado Springs, to talk about her reaction. Their shared interest in the shroud led to a relationship between the soft-spoken academic and the effusive woman, and her religious conversion followed. Together, they give speeches worldwide and run the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, with their research funded mostly by donations.

Twice a week, John Jackson works with a team of volunteer researchers in his Colorado Springs laboratory. Stretched across one wall is a life-size photo of the shroud; on a table is the Styrofoam figure of a man, dubbed Roger, an approximation of Jesus' body in his tomb. Jackson has conducted research on the shroud's crease marks, image formation and how blood flows from a crucified body, which he studied by suspending his own body from a cross.

Keith Propp, 55, has worked with Jackson for the last 23 years. "It's like we're on an archaeological expedition that's not finished. I'm not sure we'll ever be truly finished," he said. "A lot of the pleasure is in the journey itself."

These days, the journey focuses on the radiocarbon issue -- working to prepare samples for evaluation at Oxford.

"If we get to the point where we believe we have a viable hypothesis that works in the lab, then we have scientific grounds to go to Turin and say, 'Here's what we think has happened to the shroud. These are the effects we need to look for. Can we please have access?' " said Jackson, who does not subscribe to the theory that the tested sample was different than the rest of the shroud.

Though Ramsey, of Oxford, agreed to collaborate, he has said that he doesn't believe contamination would have had much effect. So far, Jackson's initial tests have shown no significant reaction. But the team has yet to reproduce the specific storage conditions of the shroud, Ramsey noted.

Because his laboratory is small, with only one reaction chamber in which to prepare the samples, Jackson said, it could take many months to complete the experiment.

But to a man who has already spent 35 years on the subject, that may not be so long. "We'll do what we have to do to get the information we need," he said.

Source: LA Times
http://www.latimes.com/features/religion/la-na-turin17-2008aug17,0,4950965.story
- THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNIVERSE DEPARTMENT -

Do Numbers Hold Sacred Powers?

We live in a numbers-oriented world, but can certain sacred numbers empower people or hold spiritual significance in their lives?

The Bible is loaded with some special numbers.

For example, references include, but are not limited to, these special numerical selections:

• Two or three are significant numbers.

— "... That in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18:16)

—"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)

— Peter, James and John made up the core group of Christ's disciples.

— Jonah was three nights and three days in the whale's belly.

— Christ rose from the tomb on the third day.

• Seven also is significant in the Bible.

— Among other references, there were seven years of famine in the Book of Genesis; forgiveness is mentioned to take place for the same sins at least seven times; the seventh day was the Sabbath day in Moses' time; and there's mention of the seventh seal in the Book of Revelation.

• Twelve is another important number.

— Both the Old and New Testaments contain many examples of 12. Elijah took 12 stones; there were 12 Tribes of Israel; Christ called 12 disciples.

• Forty is another important biblical number.

— It rained upon the Earth for 40 days and 40 nights as the flood of Noah's time came.

— The children of Israel ate manna for 40 years and also wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

— Christ fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.

• Seventy appears as a sacred number.

— There were 70 elders of Israel, and Christ appointed 70 special men.

The Rev. Neal Humphrey of Fruit Heights' Westminster Presbyterian Church said he understands that 40 days may or may not be the actual length of Christ's time in the wilderness or even of Noah and his family's time on the ark.

"It means a long time," he said of the 40 days, believing it to be more of a biblical expression — not a literal number.

Still, he feels that 40 days is a long enough period for someone to develop a new discipline in their life, so that is spiritually significant.

• Other numbers: Jehovah's Witnesses consider 144,000 to be a sacred number.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses many special numbers. For example, there are three members in its First Presidency; 12 apostles in its Quorum of the Twelve and 12 men serve on a high council; it calls Seventies as general authorities; and there are three members in its bishoprics and stake presidencies.

Since the LDS Church and some other faiths believe in tithing, one-tenth is a special numerical representation, too.

• There are some undesirable numbers in the Bible, too. For example, 666 is said to be the mark of the beast in the Book of Revelation.

Even the numbers two and three have their negative side, too. Peter denied Christ three times before the cock could crow.

Source: Deseret News
http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700251205,00.html

- BRING ALL THE LITTLE ALIENS DEPARTMENT -

Chile Promotes UFO Tourism

Santiago - When it comes to attracting tourists to a remote region in central Chile, the town of San Clemente is aiming high - playing up its reputed connection to visitors from outer space.

The Andean municipality, 240 kilometres south of Santiago, has opened the country’s first UFO trail, a 30-kilometre long stretch that takes in a supposed landing site for flying saucers and optimal lookouts for extraterrestrial craft.

Sernatur, Chile’s tourism service, is backing the initiative.

"We support the creation of this UFO trail because experts say that it is a ’hot zone’ for watchers," the service’s director, Oscar Santelices, told AFP.

However, just in case hordes of foreign tourists of the terrestrial variety turn up expecting to get a close encounter of a first, second, third or - heaven forbid - fourth kind (alien abduction) out of their trip, Sernatur had a bucket of cold water.

"In no way can we guarantee that a tourist coming to San Clemente will see a UFO," it said in its brochure.

The Chilean town has long been am unofficial destination for UFO-watchers in the know, though mainstream curiosity-seekers looking for a bit of interplanetary mystery have been more often drawn to neighbouring Peru to see the Nazca Lines, those centuries-old gigantic representations of animals in a desert which can only be fully appreciated from the air.

UFO researchers say hundreds of UFO sightings have been reported in San Clemente since the mid-1990s.

Rodrigo Fuenzalida, president of the Chilean Grouping for UFO Research (AION), said between January 1995 and the middle of 1996 there was around one sighting per week.

The last unidentified flying object spotted was in the third week of February this year, he said.

"It was an orange object located about 400 meters (1,312 feet) in the distance, with oscillating movements," he said.

A site of special interest is a flat zone of huge volcanic blocks known as El Enladrillado, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from San Clemente and at an altitude of 2,300 meters (7,546 feet), which locals claim is a UFO landing pad.

"There, sightings have been made of shining spheres going into the water and into wooded zones without any human explanation," Fuenzalida said.

El Enladrillado, which can only be accessed after hours of trekking over rough terrain, forms the central part of the UFO trail.

Other points along the path include signs detailing sightings, as well as restaurants, camping sites, hostels and cabins to serve hungry or weary Earthlings, Juan Carlos Cerro of the local tourist office said.

Source: The Times
http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=826136

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