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6/12/09  #525
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Strangeness abounds. Weirdness stalks the night. Craziness continues to lurk in the open. Madness meddles those who seek openness and truth.  That is why we bring you Conspiracy Journal every week - to uncover the uncoverable. To reveal the unrevealable. And to enlighten the unenlightenable all the strange news that everyone else is afraid to even admit.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such brain-draining tales as:

- Recycled Radioactive Metal Contaminates Consumer Products -
-
The Weirdest Examples of Mass Hysteria -
- Southern “Little People” and Gnomes Abroad -
Illinois is Haunted By Spooky Tales -
AND: Mysterious Stones and Tadpoles Fall From Sky

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


UFO Abduction From Undersea

UNDERWATER UFO TAKES ABDUCTEE TO OCEANIC BASE FOR EXAMINATION AND REPROGRAMMING!

Unidentified Submerged Objects USOs -- Have Been Observed Descending Into Bodies Of Water All Over The World. . .There Is Now Evidence That They Have Established Several Deep Sea Installations Around The Globe.

The abduction experience of Filiberto Cardenas is in a class by itself! When the events originally transpired, Cardenas s story was the lead item on the nightly news on every Hispanic TV station imaginable coming at the height of an unparalleled UFO wave, and the beginning of the abduction scenario as we have come to accept it today. To a stunned audience of millions, Cardenas told how he was lifted up onboard a craft in front of multiple witnesses. Investigators later backed up his account upon determining that there were anomalies with the engine block of the car that he was driving at the time and which had stalled for no apparent reason.

But this is the least of what transpired. . .For here in UFO ABDUCTION FROM UNDERSEA, is Filiberto Cardenas full story as told by Dr Virgillio Sanchez-Ocejo and Lt Col. Wendelle Stevens (Ret.), including the complete documented and ILLUSTRATED -- report on the incident which involved: Two Abductions Onto The Alien Spacecraft. Elevated Aboard In A Beam of Light. Physical Examination By Alien Beings. A Trip As Guest Aboard The Other Worldly Vessel. Several Varieties of Flying vehicles Used. A Submarine Base Visited By The Witness. A Tour Of The Alien's Earth Facilities. Conversations With The Alien Beings. High-technology Transceiver Implanted In Witnesses Head. Photos Of Flying Discs From Under Sea, As Well As Maps Of Pertinent Locations.

If you order right now, UFO Abduction From Undersea is available at the special price of only $20.00 + $5 s/h. (All Foreign Orders $13 Shipping)

OR -You can order with our secure order page:  
CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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NOW AVAILABLE...
MYSTERIES MAGAZINE  #23

In This Incredible Issue:

Feature Articles
 
Decoding the Bible
Whether resting on an altar, courtroom podium, or bedroom nightstand, the Holy Bible commands respect. Although the longest debate about its teachings concerns evolution versus creationism, today’s controversy is not generating sermons or atheists’ arguments inasmuch as  challenging a standard belief system. The Good Book is getting a  closer look from people who are learning that past tragedies, such as 9/11 and the future    Apocalypse, may actually be encrypted in this 3,200-year-old text.
 
Sunspots and the Number 11 in the 2012 Prophesy
Our times are bracketed by two specific dates—September 11, 2001 and  
December 21, 2012—the greatest single act of terrorism on the continental United States and the end of the Mayan calendar. If, as some observers suspect, something more than a coincidental relationship exists between these two events, its explanation must lie beyond the powers of ordinary human reason and in the world of numbers.
 
The Mayan Calendar: Ancient Prophesies for a New World
On December 21, 2012, the world as we know it will cease to exist.  This prediction, made thousands of years ago by Mayan shamans, has  raised many questions: What does the ancient prophecy mean? Will a cataclysmic event destroy the planet and how and why did the Mayans choose the winter solstice in a year so far into the future? Scholars claim the answers to all these questions are found in the Mayan  
calendar.
 
The Loch Ness Monster: Hoax or Horror?
Whichever estimate of sightings we accept, be it 600, 3,000, or 10,000, there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence that a strange creature inhabits Loch Ness.

Now available at your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.

www.mysteriesmagazine.com

- WHY IS THE BABY GLOWING DEPARTMENT -

Recycled Radioactive Metal Contaminates Consumer Products

Thousands of everyday products and materials containing radioactive metals are surfacing across the United States and around the world.

Common kitchen cheese graters, reclining chairs, women's handbags, children's toys and tableware manufactured with contaminated metals have been identified, some after having been in circulation for as long as a decade. So have fencing wire and fence posts, shovel blades, elevator buttons, airline parts and steel used in construction.

A Scripps Howard News Service investigation has found that -- because of haphazard screening, an absence of oversight and substantial disincentives for businesses to report contamination -- no one knows how many tainted goods are in circulation in the United States.

But thousands of consumer goods and millions of pounds of unfinished metal and its byproducts have been found to contain low levels of radiation, and experts think the true amount could be much higher, perhaps by a factor of 10.

Government records of cases of contamination, obtained through state and federal Freedom of Information Act requests, illustrate the problem.

In 2006 in Texas, for example, a recycling facility inadvertently created 500,000 pounds of radioactive steel byproducts after melting metal contaminated with Cesium-137, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records. In Florida in 2001, another recycler unintentionally did the same, and wound up with 1.4 million pounds of radioactive material. And in 1998, 430,000 pounds of steel laced with Cobalt-60 made it to the U.S. heartland from Brazil.

But an accounting of the magnitude of the problem is unknown because U.S. and state governments do not require scrap yards, recyclers and other businesses -- a primary line of defense against rogue radiation -- to screen metal goods and materials for radiation or report it when found. And no federal agency is responsible for oversight.

"Nobody's going to know -- nobody -- how much has been melted into consumer goods," said Ray Turner, an international expert on radiation with Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based River Metals Recycling. He has helped decontaminate seven metal-recycling facilities that unwittingly melted scrap containing radioactive isotopes.

"It's your worst nightmare," Turner said.

It is also one that has only barely begun to register as a potential threat to health and safety.

What is known now is that -- despite the shared belief of officials in six state and federal agencies that tainted metal is potentially dangerous, should be prevented from coming in unnecessary contact with people and the environment, and should be barred from entering the United States -- there is no one in charge of making sure that happens.

In fact, the Scripps investigation found:

-- Reports are mounting that manufacturers and dealers from China, India, former Soviet bloc nations and some African countries are exporting contaminated material and goods, taking advantage of the fact that the United States has no regulations specifying what level of radioactive contamination is too much in raw materials and finished goods.Compounding the problem is the inability of U.S. agents to fully screen every one of the 24 million cargo containers arriving in the United States each year.

-- U.S. metal recyclers and scrap yards are not required by any state or federal law to check for radiation in the castoff material they collect or report it when they find some.

-- No federal agency is responsible for determining how much tainted material exists in how many consumer and other goods. No one is in charge of reporting, tracking or analyzing cases once they occur. In fact, the recent discovery of a radioactive cheese grater triggered a bureaucratic game of hot potato, with no agency taking responsibility.

-- It can be far cheaper and easier for a facility stuck with "hot" items to sell them to an unwitting manufacturer or dump them surreptitiously than to pay for proper disposal and cleaning, which can cost a plant as much as $50 million.

-- For facilities in 36 states that want to do the right thing, there is nowhere they can legally dump the contaminated stuff since the shutdown last year of a site in South Carolina, the only U.S. facility available to them for the disposal.

-- A U.S. government program to collect the worst of the castoff radioactive items has a two-year waiting list and a 9,000-item backlog -- and is fielding requests to collect an additional 2,000 newly detected items a year.

Experts say you needn't empty your home of metal implements for fear of radiation. The peril from most individual items is generally not considered great, although some could be hazardous on their own.

In fact, everyone is exposed every day to the "background" radiation found in nature. For instance, some ceramic pots emanate low levels of radiation that occurs in clay. Granite countertops often contain measurable, but individually insignificant, amounts of naturally occurring uranium.

Other exposures come from small and contained amounts of radiation used in smoke detectors and medical devices.

The potential danger comes, however, from the cumulative effect of proximity to radiation, particularly over time and in relation to other contaminants. The precise degree of that danger has not yet been definitively determined for low-level radiation, such as that contained in commonplace goods and materials.

One scientific school of thought, which has been losing favor in recent years, holds that low levels of radiation mean low-level threats. An opposite camp contends that exposure to any level of radiation -- especially if it is chronic -- carries health risks. The U.S. government has so far sidestepped the issue of how little radiation is too much.

According to a 2006 report by a National Academy of Sciences panel, there is a direct relationship between radiation and an increased risk of cancer. Prolonged exposure can also lead to birth defects and cataracts, studies have shown.

Because the amount of tainted metals in circulation is unknown, the cumulative overall health effect -- now and over time -- is impossible to calculate. Whatever it is, there is little debate that unnecessary exposure to radiation is best avoided.

"There is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," said Richard Monson, chairman of the Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation, at the release of the National Academy report.

There are no reports of anyone dying or being hurt in the United States after contact with the contaminated metal goods and materials. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaves no doubt that tainted metal poses a particular threat.

"Radioactively contaminated scrap threatens both human health and the environment," reads a cautionary statement on the EPA's Web site.

The Scripps investigation used the federal Freedom of Information Act to gain access to a previously un-mined NRC database, the only official assemblage of reports of radiologically contaminated items that have turned up in scrap yards, trash dumps and manufactured goods since 1990.

But because such reporting is neither required nor consistent, neither state nor federal environmental officials -- nor many in the scrap-metal industry -- consider the NRC accounts an accurate reflection of the problem's true dimensions. (The only mandatory rule is that anyone knowingly transporting radioactive material must notify the U.S. Department of Transportation.)

"Typically, these go unreported," said Carolyn Mac Kenzie (cq), a U.S. Department of Energy physicist who is a world expert in radioactive metals. "Whatever number you come up with would not reflect reality."

One of the most conservative estimates comes from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which put the number of radioactively contaminated metal objects unaccounted for in the United States in 2005 at 500,000. Others suggest the amount is far higher. The most recent NRC estimate -- made a decade ago -- is 20 million pounds of contaminated waste.

What is known is that the NRC's national Nuclear Material Events Database has documented 18,740 cases involving radioactive material in consumer products, metal intended for their manufacture and other inadvertent exposures to the public, the vast majority since 1990. State environmental reports -- obtained under state freedom of information requests -- also reveal dozens of others.

A recent example emerged last summer, when a Flint, Mich., scrap plant discovered a beat-up kitchen cheese grater that was radioactive. The China-made grater bearing the well-known EKCO brand name was laced with the isotope Cobalt-60. Tests showed the gadget to be giving off the equivalent of a chest X-ray over 36 hours of use, according to NRC documents.

Estimated to have been in circulation for as long as a decade, the grater likely was four to five times more radioactive when it was new. EKCO's parent company, World Kitchen, of Rosemont, Ill., described the incident as isolated and found no need to issue a recall, spokesman Bryan Glancy said.

It was not the only cheese grater found. NRC documents show that another Cobalt-60-tainted grater had turned up in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2006. The reports do not indicate what brand of grater it was or if it was related to the one that surfaced in Michigan.

Cobalt-60 also tainted a 430,000-pound shipment of metal from Brazil in 1998. Part of that load found its way to Michigan and then Indiana, where it was used to make brackets for 1,000 La-Z-Boy recliners.

The contamination was detected by a radiation monitor when scrap leftover from the brackets job was shipped to the Butler, Ind., steel recycler Steel Dynamics, according to NRC documents.

The Cobalt-60 tainted Reclina-Rocker chairs, which would have given off a chest X-ray's worth of radiation every 1,000 hours, were still in warehouses when the contamination was discovered, and never made it to stores or living rooms, according to Rex Bowser, director of the Indoor Air and Radiological Health Emergency Response Program of the Indiana State Department of Health.

The recliners' radiation levels were "enough above background to be a concern for people sitting in La-Z-Boy chairs," Bowser said.

In many instances where contamination is identified -- generally by companies that have invested in costly detection equipment -- the contamination comes from the inadvertent blending of radioactive sources with piles of other scrap that metal recyclers reprocess and later sell.

Often, when a factory shuts down or a plant relocates, industrial smoke detectors, measuring gauges and other machines and parts that contain small amounts of radioactive material are left behind. Because they commonly are encased in a protective shell, the devices pose little risk when the plant is operating.

But when a facility closes, the devices frequently are trashed as scrap. If those radioactive parts are later heated during reprocessing, the radiation can escape and blend with the finished recycled product.

Many large scrap outfits invest in radiation detectors -- which can cost $50,000 each -- that provide a measure of protection. Steel company Gerdau Ameristeel, based in Toronto and Tampa, Fla., installs as many as six levels of detection at its scrap mills, at a cost of as much as $1 million for each facility, said Jim Turner, corporate environmental director.

But even scrap and recycling operations that are diligent in scanning incoming and outgoing loads can unknowingly wind up with tainted material.

One reason is that monitoring devices are not all strong enough to penetrate a full truckload of scrap and may miss the radioactive sources. And even the weather can foul things up, as Gerdau Ameristeel learned when a 2001 thunderstorm disturbed detectors at its Jacksonville, Fla., recycling operation, permitting radioactive Cesium-137 to slip through. The plant's cleanup cost was $10 million, according to an NRC report.

Sometimes the devices containing radiation simply disappear. In January, for instance, Wal-Mart admitted that it could not account for about 15,000 illuminated exit signs, which each contain tritium, a radioactive isotope, according to the NRC.

And other times, they are purposely masked in an attempt to dump the hot items on someone else, often to avoid the cost of proper disposal. Those fees have mushroomed in the past three decades from $1 per cubic foot to more than $400, with forecasts for them to more than double in coming years, according to a 2004 estimate by Robin Nazzaro, the audit agency GAO's natural-resources and environment director.

Recycler Doug Kramer, owner of Los Angeles-based Kramer Metals, recounted how workers once found a radioactive object wrapped in lead and hidden in a beer keg -- presumably to keep the radiation from being detected.

The global dimension of the recycling of radiation problem is large, and growing, experts say.

Between 2006 and 2007, for instance, authorities in the Netherlands found about 900 women's handbags that had originated in India and were decorated with metal rings laced with Cobalt-60 on each bag's shoulder strap. Once discovered, they were sent to a radioactive waste site in the Netherlands.

Last fall, radioactive metal also from India was used by a Connecticut company to make 500 sets of buttons for Otis elevators in France and Sweden. No one realized the elevator buttons -- which had been installed -- were radioactive until a similar shipment tripped radiation alarms at the U.S. border with Mexico, according to Otis Elevator spokesman Dilip Rangnekar.

Otis scrambled to remove the tainted buttons from the elevator cabs, Rangnekar said. But an international authority on rogue radiation said it is likely even more of the buttons remain in circulation.

"Thousands and thousands were produced," said Abel Gonzalez, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency's division of radiation and waste safety. "I doubt they have found all of them."

U.S. officials and metal experts say evidence is mounting that radioactive metal from abroad is increasingly --- and intentionally -- being sent to the United States, sometimes decades after the contaminated material was first detected and returned to its source.

In 1991, an Indian supplier sent to the United States more than 50 shipments of chain-link fencing, some of which was tainted. Investigators found the fencing scattered around the country, including in Florida, Tennessee, New York and Washington state.

"The NRC told them not to ship more material to the U.S., but it allowed them to keep what was here, here," said Paul Frame, a radiation expert at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

But a decade later, another shipment of tainted Indian fencing reached the United States, Frame said.

"My guess was that it was the same stuff," he said. "You suspect that in some cases they know the material is radioactive but they're going to ship it out anyway because it's money."

John Williamson, administrator of Florida's radiation control bureau, agrees and predicts that tainted steel from China and products from India will continue to surface, at the borders and on the plant floors.

One reason is that, after U.S. customs rejects a load of contaminated material, no one knows what happens once it is sent back to its overseas producer because no tracking system exists, he and other front-line experts said.

"In China and India, who knows what happens?" Williamson said. "My belief is it goes back into the hopper."

NRC reports give weight to his belief. Construction reinforcement materials from Mexico laced with Cobalt-60 that were detected at the border in 2006 were traced back to metal from a contaminated batch produced and exported more than 20 years before by two Juarez, Mexico, foundries.

Some experts say the United States bears some blame for the infiltration of tainted metal and products. Even though there is little debate that radiation-laced material is unwelcome, neither Congress nor federal agencies have established a "safe" level of contamination, despite two decades of wrestling with the issue.

That has created a loophole that overseas metal dealers and product manufacturers can exploit, critics say. But forbidding all radioactive material in metal would throw a damaging and costly wrench into the recycling industry, according to John Gilstrap, safety director for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries trade group.

"If we set the thresholds unrealistically low, we're inflicting pain on businesses for no necessary reason," Gilstrap said.

But Gerdau Ameristeel's Turner disagrees. Asked what the allowable level of radiation in metal should be, Turner replied via e-mail: "ZERO."

To officials in several states, it is the absence of federal oversight and indistinct rules about materials and goods tainted with low-level radiation that is causing undue pain. After the South Carolina waste site closed last summer, six states called on Congress to act. So far, it has not.

"There is no one federal agency responsible for regulating all ionizing radiation, and therefore regulations are fragmented or non-existent in some areas," said Michael Mobley, head of a commission formed last summer by officials from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia.

"If we address all radioactive materials across the board and the waste that is generated from them, we will protect public health and the environment to a greater extent than we do now," he said.

Source: Scripps News
http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/43577

- RADIO ROUNDUP DEPARTMENT -

Tim Swartz on Paranormal Radio With Capt. Jack

Tune in this Friday (June 12) to Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack with special guest Tim R. Swartz, editor of the Conspiracy Journal newsletter and author of such books as The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla, Admiral Byrd's Secret Journey Beyond the Poles, and Richard Shaver-Reality of the Inner Earth.

Beginning at 9:00pm EST at: http://www.wprtradio.com/

Timothy Green Beckley on The Kevin Smith Show

This Friday (June 12) starting at 10:00pm EST - Tim Beckley and the UFO country western singer Johnny Sands will be on the Kevin Smith Show. Hear about their forthcoming UFO Hunters appearance and Johnny meeting with strange life forms and harassment later by the Men in Black. It all happened in 1975 outside Las Vegas -- and he hasnt talked about it since.
 
Tell your friends and have them listen on

A HOLLOW EARTH WEEKEND
Live interviews - call-ins welcome - live chat on blogtalkradio

The Hollow Earth Insider Research Report Editor/Publisher Dennis Crenshaw will discuss his research into the Hollow Earth/Subterranean worlds theories exclusively for the first time in 10 years.

Saturday Night
6/13-14/09
12 Midnight
Unraveling the Secrets Radio
Special Guest: Mary Martin

Dennis Crenshaw & Co-Host Rick "OZ" Ozmon welcome Mary Martin, "The Best of the Hollow Hassle" (2008) for a show devoted to the inner earth and related subjects.


- IT WAS ALL IN THEIR HEADS DEPARTMENT -

The Weirdest Examples of Mass Hysteria

For a topic involving laughter, what you're about to read is not amusing. Creepy and disturbing, yes. Funny, no.

1. The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic

Things supposedly started innocently enough. Kashasha, near Lake Victoria in Tanzania in 1962: One girl in a boarding school there told another girl a joke. Maybe, "Have you heard the one about?" or "A Jew, an Indian, and Herbert Hoover walk into a bar …" or "Take my wife, please … " Whatever the setup, the delivery, or punch line, the result was laughter. Whether it was a giggle, a guffaw, a chortle, a snort is irrelevant. The listener found it funny.

But then things went dark, weird, and creepy: one girl laughed, but then so did another, and then another, and then another, and then another.

After exposure, the incubation period from nothing to hysteria was short, from a few hours to a couple of days. There was no fever, no physical symptoms, just laughter and occasional crying between short moments of exhausted recuperation. When victims were restrained they sometimes became violent.

No one knew what to do. The school administrators were puzzled, local doctors were confused. Trying to put a lid on the phenomena, the administrators shut the school down.

But that was too little, too late: Whatever it was began to spread. It infected other schools and worked its way into the village, seemingly carried by infected students. It traveled to another village 20 miles away, and another 55 miles from Kashasha.

Even weirder, it wasn't a constant thing. Like little hysterical explosions, the laughter would pop up, disable small groups for days at a time, then vanish.

Want to know what it was like? Well, it wasn't funny, I can tell you that: one victim in Tanganyik reported watching it spread around him, hitting one neighbor after another: giggles, guffaws, chortles, snorts – horrible, nightmarish laughter. Terrified, he retreated into his home. But then he began to feel it too, a compulsion to join in with the hideous joke. He shouted and cried and – naturally -- laughed throughout the night.

The phenomena is called Mass Psychogenic Illness, more commonly known as mass hysteria, and although the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic is an extreme version, it's more common than you think. In fact what's really scary about the giggling madness that sprung from one girl's joke in Kashasha isn't that it occurred but that many researchers believe it happens so often, and is so powerful, that we simply aren't
aware of it. Or rather we aren't aware how much the phenomena controls us.

2. The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

Ever hear the one about the Mad Gasser of Mattoon? In the 1930s -- all the way through to the mid 40s -- the residents of Botetourt County, Virginia, and Mattoon, Illinois, were terrorized by a surreal specter. Also called the "Anesthetic Prowler" or "The Phantom Anesthetist," he was supposedly a dark, mysterious figure responsible for dozens of victims falling ill from mysterious gasses flooding their homes. Whole families reported sudden attacks of choking, dizziness, headaches and various respiratory ailments.

The cops couldn't catch him and doctors were baffled by the mysterious ailments of his victims. The FBI was called in but they couldn't catch him either. Bulletins were circulated, newspapers warned residents to be on the lookout, vigilante groups roamed the streets trying to catch him -- in short, everyone went more than a little nuts trying to catch this gassy assailant.

But evidence suggests that he never existed. Sure, lots of people got sick, dozen and dozens and dozens more reported seeing dark and mysterious figures up to hideous no good stalking the night, and the authorities were run ragged with reports but there were no leads, nothing solid; nothing but suggestion, victims suffering from anxiety and fear, and the bizarre power of mass hysteria.

3. The Monkey Man of New Delhi

Ever hear the one about the Monkey Man of New Delhi? About four feet tall, sporting a metal cap and steel claws, he terrorized many a New Delhi night in 2001. Victims reported being savagely scratched and bitten by the odd ape. What's worse is what happened to people scared of the ape: an unlucky short man was beaten by a mod who suspected him of being the ape, a pregnant woman fell down some stairs because neighbors had shouted that the ape had been seen, and others were said to have seriously injured themselves running away from what they thought was the ape.

The punch line for the Monkey Man is the same as for the laughing girls of Kashasha and the Mad Gasser of Mattoon: it was all in their minds

------------

You might guffaw and giggle about how silly those girls behaved, or how naive the folks of Mattoon were, or how ridiculous the Monkey Man sounds, but before you do too much laughing think about what some researches are hypothesizing: that much of what we believe about the world, about its horrors and mysteries -- including witch trials of every sort, UFOs, some cases of communist conspiracies and so much more -- are nothing but signs of the tremendous power of the human mind, coupled with the drive to become one with the crowd in order to deceive itself.

Now ain't that funny?

Source: Dark Roasted Blend
http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/06/weirdest-examples-of-mass-hysteria.html

- ENTERTAINING ANGELS UNAWARE DEPARTMENT -

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Angel or hallucination, a sensed presence has often rescued those in desperate situations.

Joshua Slocum, on his way to becoming the first man to sail around the world alone, encountered one in 1895, an inexplicable presence that steered Slocum’s ship through a 48-hour gale while the Nova Scotian lay prostrate with food poisoning. Reinhold Messner, the great Italian mountain climber, felt its comforting nearness in 1970, during the nightmarish descent from Kashmir’s Nanga Parbat mountain that killed his younger brother. And on 9/11 one called Ron DiFrancesco by name and convinced the broker that the route to safety in the stairwells of the World Trade Center’s south tower meant running though flames.

Once you start looking for accounts of a “third man,” a mysterious, saving—and literally impossible—presence who appears to people at times of extreme stress and danger, you can find them by the dozen, says John Geiger, who presents an array of them in The Third Man Factor (Penguin). They’re fascinating to read, but this deeply humane book is far more than the sum of its parts: Geiger elegantly demonstrates how these divergent and very personal experiences reveal our profoundly social nature.

The sensed presence takes its name from T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” (1922), perhaps the most famous modern poem in English: “Who is the third who walks always beside you? / When I count, there are only you and I together.” (That’s despite the fact Eliot was inspired by Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, who described a fourth presence he had detected in his party of three, and even though he—or, just as likely, she—most often appears to a single soul in deep physical distress.)

Certainty about the sex of the “third man” is one of the intriguing common features of the experience. Sometimes the presence is behind the sufferer, urging him on, or far ahead, showing the way to safety, or glimpsed from the corner of an eye. “But even if they don’t know anything else, everyone knows whether it was a man or a woman,” notes Geiger. That’s a detail utterly fundamental to human interaction—the first question that we ask about a newborn baby.

Sometimes, though, the presence is recognizable. Slocum, who had Christopher Columbus much on his mind when he set out on his epic voyage, was powerfully reassured after he concluded that the pilot of the Pinta, one of Columbus’s three ships—a man who had successfully sailed a tiny vessel into the unknown—had taken over his helm. A female polar explorer saw and heard her paternal grandmother. For DiFrancesco, a devout Roman Catholic, the voice urging him through the flames was indisputably a guardian angel’s. What social scientists call an individual’s cultural narrative is key to how they visualize the third man. “If you’re religious,” says Geiger, “you’ll know this was an angel—it’s the only possible explanation. If not, you will see or conclude something else. Interestingly, I’ve not encountered any conversion experiences, where a non-believer concludes he is in the presence of an angel or God himself.”

But angel, grandmother or grizzled Spanish navigator, seen or unseen, the presence is always trusted and always authoritative. The third man does not only offer sympathy and consolation—those who experienced that on a frozen mountaintop might well lie down and give up. No, the presence takes over, and tells the nearly dead how to save themselves. James Sevigny—bleeding internally, his back and arms broken, his face smashed by a Rocky Mountain avalanche that killed his companion—was about to slip into unconsciousness and death when a female presence told him exactly what to do: get up, go back to camp, follow the blood dripping from the tip of his nose, to avoid travelling in circles. She stayed with Sevigny, just behind his right shoulder, for the entire, agonizing, day-long journey, not leaving until three skiers found him.

Geiger is relentless and persuasive in investigating the science behind the experiences, and describing the cascade of factors involved, starting with monotony (humans don’t cope well with sensory deprivation) and multiple triggers (deadly combinations of hunger, thirst, fear, isolation, loss). But what he keeps coming back to, rightly, is the social nature of the phenomenon. Whether it is our brains or our guardian angels providing the solution, they do not proffer it as the fruits of our own wisdom. “We’re hardwired for companionship,” Geiger concludes. “What’s more natural for us in dire situations, that when we’re most in need of a helping hand from another human, that is what we have.”

Source: Macleans
http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/01/28/someone-who%E2%80%99ll-watch-over-
me/#more-30316

- LAND OF THE ROAMIN' GNOMES DEPARTMENT -

Southern “Little People” and Gnomes Abroad

Several years ago, I remember Joshua Warren informing me about a phone call he had received on the L.E.M.U.R. office line from a woman in Burnsville, North Carolina, who shared a strange story. In her message, she had described an encounter with a “strange little man” in the backwoods between her home and the nearby town of Spruce Pine. I made a follow up call within a few days, and was able to speak to the witness about her peculiar experience. While camping in the area, a remote region with one primary highway winding throughout heavily wooded valleys, she described how a strange, fur-covered little man had appeared and leaped onto her car one evening. “My boyfriend and I had been hearing weird noises, and we put out the fire and went and got in the car,” I remember her telling me. “Around that time, this little thing came running out of the woods and leaped up onto the hood. In the darkness it was too difficult to get a good look at it, as it was mostly in silhouette. It climbed onto the top of the car, and I remember hearing it scratching around up there right before we took off.” Needless to say, they left in a hurry.

Based on what was described, I’m not convinced that what the witnesses actually saw wasn’t a raccoon. I asked if this creature had appeared to move upright or on four legs, to which she said she wasn’t certain. As for the mysterious “scratching” sounds on the roof of her car, the clawed paws of a raccoon certainly would be the most likely solution, and the raccoon hypothesis nonetheless explains the fur she and her boyfriend described seeing in the creature’s silhouetted outline also. Whether or not the folks who shared this story were actually accosted by a strange little “man”, North Carolina and many other parts of the world nonetheless have folk traditions and histories that involve “little people”, presumed to be spirit folk, which sometimes do appear to cause mischief.

The Southeast has a long tradition held among the Cherokee Indians regarding “little people” who inhabit caves and other small subterranean dwellings throughout the Appalachian Mountains. Often mischievous in nature, these beings are known to appear under peculiar circumstances, and though most are known to be helpful and benign by nature, it is advised in native traditions that one who witnesses a little person should ignore them, so as not to draw attention to their presence. The Cherokee divide these spirit folk into three categories: the Rock People, vengeful and angry dwarfs who are known for accosting lost travelers by tossing stones at them for invading their space; the Laurel People, generally regarded as tricksters; and the Dogwood People, who are the most helpful and kind-hearted of the Little People.

Though such legends are traditionally considered Native beliefs, I find it interesting that the most fascinating accounts of contact with the Little People I have collected from the region don’t originate from the Cherokee themselves, but instead were told to me by locals living in the more remote areas around Western North Carolina. J.R. Sutton, a friend of my family I had known while growing up, had lived near the Cherokee Indian reservation decades ago, and told me about an encounter with “little bearded folks of short stature” he had observed on one occasion. Sutton always used to keep horses, and one afternoon while tending to them he said he was astonished to find three small people sitting on the bare back of one of the animals. “I looked at this and thought they were kids,” Sutton said. “Then one of the little fellers looked around at me and he had a long beard.” Sutton expressed some degree of superstition about the encounter, adding that he “was familiar with the legends, and didn’t want to bother the little folks.” Were the small, bearded dwarves Sutton encountered in his pasture that afternoon the same mischievous spirit folk the Cherokee have told of for centuries?

Two counties away, an even stranger encounter with a little person took place. John Capps, an entrepreneur and Western North Carolina native, lives with his wife on a remote piece of property stretching over an entire mountain on the outskirts of Buncombe County. One day several years ago, John had ridden a golf cart to the base of the mountain to collect a few bundles of firewood to bring back up to their house. The entire property has a peculiar air, and near the area where he had stopped, John has since told me about a large, curious-looking rock with a wide, flat top, which locals say was once used in Indian rituals. “I was loading up the wood down there at the base of the mountain, when I looked over and saw this strange looking little man. He was kinda leaning against a tree, and was wearing these little coveralls, just standing there.” John winced as he searched for words as he related this story to me, saying “he had a funny little look on his face. I’ll tell ya what it was—it was a little shit-eatin’ grin. That’s the best way I could describe it.”

John found the odd demeanor of the little man disconcerting, and decided to ignore the fellow, climbing into his golf cart and heading back up the mountain. “I got back up there to where I was unloading the wood, and I turned around and saw the same little character about twenty yards off, watching me just like he had done all the way down at the base of the mountain. He scared me to death, and for days I wouldn’t go anywhere without my wife riding around with me. I even started carrying a gun.” Before long, John’s wife began to wonder about what might have scared her husband, who was normally a calm, laid-back individual. “I finally told her, and she just said ‘I’ll fix this’.” John’s wife was one-quarter Cherokee herself, and also knew the legends regarding the Little People very well. “She got in touch with some family members who knew the native stories, and whatever they did to ask the little man to leave seemed to have worked.” John and his wife never saw the entity around their property again.

Further East, near the town of Winston-Salem lies what is called the Single Brother’s House in the historic Old Salem Village and Gardens. The building was originally used as a communal home for unmarried men in the area, which had been a Moravian settlement. It is here that encounters with a ghostly entity called “the Little Red Man” were said to occur up until a few decades ago. Perhaps the most famous encounter with the Little Red Man involves the granddaughter of a resident of the house named Betsy. “Little Betsy” as she was called had suffered from a childhood illness which caused deafness, though she maintained the ability to speak. One day Betsy returned from playing in the garden and told her grandmother about seeing “a small man wearing a red cap” who had beckoned her to come and play. Legends say that the entity, though seemingly harmless, was encountered again in the cellar of the building while an important public figure was visiting the house. This prompted his removal, and a minister was asked to come and exorcise the strange little fellow from the property. Winston-Salem’s “Little Red Man” was never again seen.

More recently, another strange incident involving similar phenomenon was reported across the United States in California, as related by a woman named Tammy to Jason Offutt, author of Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us (of which, I might add, Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books was kind enough to send me a review copy. Keep an eye out for my review of this fine book in an upcoming Gralien Report post).

Tammy reported that she and her children had lived on a lot with five houses “and one very spooky old barn.” Tammy had begun to notice that “none of the neighbor’s animals, or stray animals for that matter, would go anywhere near that barn.” Eventually, strange things began to occur around the area, and one evening Tammy finally says she heard a “very freaky, very evil-sounding chuckle.” Looking in the direction of the sound, Tammy and her son witnessed what she called “a gnome”. Offutt describes for us what this strange man of diminished proportions looked like: “The entity was about two to three feet tall. Baggy black pants hung from its waist and the “creature” wore a gold-colored shirt. It had a salt and pepper beard and hair that ran from beneath a red, pointed hat.” By all accounts, it appeared to be a traditional gnome; and a creepy one, at that!

Of course, reports of “creepy gnomes” aren’t restricted to the United States. In fact, readers of this blog may recall posts around March of 2008 dealing with a “creepy gnome” seen around the Salta province of Argentina. Strangely, this creature was described as looking very much like a typical gnome as represented in Germanic folklore; culturally, this creates a few problems. To quote myself from the original article, “For the reasons above, culturally there are many problems with a “gnome” appearing in Argentina; for instance, these creatures are a part of the folklore of mostly northern and eastern Europe, having been known famously by such names as Kaukis and Tomten in Germanic traditions, as well as Barbegazi further south in France. Having been a part of the culture of this region for centuries, one might find it more credible if reports of a “gnome” were seen here, especially with his trademark pointed hat.” Apparently, these creepy gnomes no nothing of culture when it comes to where they decide they want to appear.

Are there indeed strange, very small “spirit folk”, or “fairies” which exist in remote areas around the world? Could they be strange, hidden races of “hobbits” which exist primarily underground, hidden from view? Or could they be mere folklore, nothing more than legends that represent some weird archetypal element in the human psyche?

Source: The Gralien Report
http://gralienreport.com/fortean-phenomena/land-of-the-roamin-gnomes-southern-little-
people-and-gnomes-abroad/

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Illinois is Haunted By Spooky Tales

Coletta Przekaza was in the mood to tell a haunting tale. So the 72-year-old Palos Hills resident told a group of about 20 about her deceased mother's music box, which she said would play a tune every morning when she walked past it.

"It did that for about two years," said Przekaza. "The whole song would play. It wouldn't play when my husband walked past it.

"I don't know if I believe in ghosts," she said, "but it's sure strange."

Chad Lewis believes in ghosts. He even considers himself a modern-day ghost-buster. And that's why Lewis, co-author of "The Illinois Road Guide to Haunted Locations," recently drove from his home in Eau Claire, Wis., to Green Hills Public Library in Palos Hills to give a slide show presentation on some of the Midwest's most haunted sites.

Armed with cameras, motion detectors, laser-guided thermometers and even a Geiger counter to detect radiation, Lewis, 35, has traveled the world -- including all of Illinois -- in search of the unexplainable. He describes Illinois as a "weird state" with a number of haunted locations. Some of the scariest can be found right in our own backyard.

Lewis said each state is known for different types of ghosts. He said Illinois has a reputation for gangster ghosts like those of Al Capone, who supposedly can be seen standing near his grave at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, and the ghost of John Dillinger, who allegedly roams the Biograph Theater on Chicago's North Side.

"I do believe in ghosts," said Lewis, who has a psychology degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. "What they are I don't know. I haven't had any experiences myself with them but many people do. I don't believe everybody is hoaxing their experiences. I think that's part of the curiosity that keeps me moving to the next case."

Lewis has traveled the world looking for ghosts and "mythical creatures," including tracking vampires in Transylvania and searching for the elusive Loch Ness monster in Scotland. In most cases he brings his equipment along.

"If there's a 50-degree temperature drop in one area of the room, that just proves to me something weird is going on," Lewis said. "Does that mean it's a ghost? Who knows? I use [the equipment] more to rule out normal explanations. Maybe a draft is coming in. Most of the time we never really know for sure."

He said he likes ghost stories because of thehistory attached to them.

"That's what keeps me interested in the paranormal," Lewis said.

As for Przekaza's husband, he just likes to hear about them.

"It's fun to get scared," said Lee Przekaza, 73. "It's entertaining."

Source: The Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-haunted-sw-zone-
05jun10,0,5404064.story

- COSMIC DUMPING GROUND DEPARTMENT -

Mysterious Stones and Tadpoles Fall From Sky

Mr Anil Hota of Ichchbatipur, under Baruna gram panchayat, in Kamakshanagar subdivision of India, was carrying a palm leaf sheet over his head, while moving around in the village.

Scorching heat, is not the only reason for such protective measures adopted by Mr Anil and other villagers, as all of them resort to leaf sheets or umbrellas, at the dead of the night, these days too. Much to the disbelief of the outsiders, the villagers of Ichchbatipur claim that, for last few days they have been witnessing bizarre and mysterious incidents like dropping of stone pieces and splinters from above and other directions.

Hence, it was no surprise that at the Pandua outpost and Kamakshanagar police station police officers, were taken aback yesterday when the villagers came in large numbers and narrated the “disturbance” in the village, which is taking place from Saturday night, while requesting them to take “necessary action”. The police, however, were helpless too and could do nothing except visiting the village and starting an inquiry.

Saturday night June 6 was as like any other night for Mr Hemant Mohapatra. But at about midnight, his slumber was disturbed by a strange sound. He woke up and realized that stone pieces were falling on his roof. Though, he immediately could not figure out what exactly had happened or who was doing it, he saw similar “attack” on the verandah and roof of many neighbours. They too could not understand what was happening and with utter disbelief, fear and confusion, all started searching for any clue, but in vain.

Mr Srikant Hota, a fellow villager informed the curious and confused neighbours that one big stone had fallen from above injuring him. He showed the injuries marks on his body.

As the news spread in the morning, thousands of people from nearby areas rushed to the village. Though the whole incident is still wrapped in mystery, the villagers preferred to remain indoors.

“We searched extensively for the origin of the stones, but found no answer for the mystery,” said Mr Hemant Mohapatra, who has sustained injuries.

Many villagers feel that it is a supernatural phenomenon, while some maintain that this was the handwork of a sorcerer. Kamakshanagar MLA, Mr Prafulla Mallick, visited the village and discussed the strange incidents with the residents.

Meanwhile, the villagers are getting ready to offer mass prayer before Lord Hanuman, seeking divine intervention to ward off the evil power.

Meanwhile, in the Japanese city of Nanao, around 100 tadpoles were seen mysteriously falling from the sky around 08:00 on the morning of June 7.

Otsuki Yoshihiko, Professor Emeritus, Waseda University, believes the creatures might have been swept up from a river or lake by a gust of wind before being dumped on a parking lot in the community.

Another alternative, he suggests, is that the tadpoles were first scooped up by a heron or black-tailed gull. Such birds often eat tadpoles in paddy fields and herons have been known to spit out their meal when attacked by a crow.

However, one witness to this fortean event says there was no birds present in the sky at the time.

Source: The Statesman/
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=9&theme=&usrsess=1&id=257243
http://www.hokkoku.co.jp/

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