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Did you ever feel that you were being watched? Did you ever think that you were being followed and closely monitored? Is your mail and e-mail being tampered with and read? Are there unknown forces manipulating our existence? If you answered YES(or even maybe) to any one of these questions then CONSPIRACY JOURNAL is the answer to your woes. Each and every week, Conspiracy Journal wings its way into your e-mail box with the latest news of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, strange creatures and just plain weird stuff. All the things that THEY don't want you to know.
This weeks exciting edition brings you such knuckle-dragging tales as:
- Mac Tonnies Passes Away -
- Timothy Beckley Goes On The Trail Of The Dreaded
Men-In-Black With The UFO Hunters -
- Historic Sightings of Flying Snakes -
- New Moon Rising: Return of the Werewolf -
AND: Demon Dog Haunts Illinois Road
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
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NEW CONSPIRACY JOURNAL CATALOG #28
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Tim Swartz on Badlands Radio and UFONAUT Radio
Tim Swartz, editor of Conspiracy Journal, will be the featured guest on Badlands Radio with Capt. Jack, Friday Oct. 23 at 9:00pm EST.
Swartz will discuss the mysterious life and death of Phil Schneider who claimed to have insider information about government cover-ups, black budgets, and alien infiltration.
Also! Tim Swartz with be on UFONAUT Radio with host Jesse Randolph on Sunday Oct. 25 at 10:00pm to discuss such favorite topics as Nikola Tesla, time travel, UFOs, paranormal phenomenon and who knows what else. This is sure to be a fascinating show!
- THIS JUST IN DEPARTMENT -
Mac Tonnies Passes Away
Nick Redfern just called to tell me (Greg Bishop) that our friend and colleague Mac Tonnies was found in his apartment this (Thursday) afternoon, apparently dead of natural causes. There was no evidence of foul play or suicide according to a close friend.
It is hard to find the right words to describe my feelings at this moment.
The last time we talked was just after his appearance on Coast To Coast on September 28th. He asked if I thought he had done a good job. I said he hit one over the fence. Tentatively, I asked if he would consider collaborating on a fiction project, and he liked the idea. Now, I don’t really know what to do or say.
The manuscript of Mac’s last book was apparently complete and ready to be delivered to the publisher.
Nick will have his feelings and more details to follow, but Mac’s family have been informed, and we wanted to get the news out to people who either knew Mac, or were inspired by his original and highly intelligent contributions to the study of UFOs and other anomalies, as well as many aspects of leading-edge science and technology.
Just an indescribable loss. In the next day or so, perhaps I’ll have more to say.
Source: UFO Mystic
- THE SILENCERS DEPARTMENT -
Timothy Beckley Goes On The Trail Of The Dreaded
Men-In-Black With The UFO Hunters
An Exclusive Interview With "Mr. UFO" As He Hits The Dusty Road In Search Of MIBs With The History Channel's Intrepid Threesome - by Sean Casteel
"UFO Hunters," The Silencers Episode, Tentative Air Date: October 29, 2009 On the History Channel, 8 pm Eastern Time, repeating at midnight (check local listings)
What do we really know about the fabled and mysterious Men-In-Black? Perhaps the best person to ask is longtime veteran of the UFO wars Timothy Green Beckley, whose book on the subject is nowadays considered the definitive work on the bizarre "heavies" of Ufology. And who should ask Beckley for his informed take on the subject but Bill Birnes and the team behind the popular History Channel program UFO Hunters.
In a recent interview conducted for this site, Beckley filled in some of the background on his upcoming appearance.
"Several months ago," he said, "I was contacted by the History Channel, the producers of the UFO Hunters show. They were interested in doing an episode on the Men-In-Black. Now it turns out that the episode is titled "The Silencers," and of course the name of the book I wrote on the MIBs is titled The UFO Silencers: Mystery of the Men in Black. So that's a good thing for both them and me. It's sort of a built-in tag line to promote the book I did, which has become a classic in Ufology being that it is the only legitimate overview of the subject of these dark-suited individuals who have threatened eyewitnesses, contactees and abductees."
Along with contributing his own expertise, as well as what he says is the only authentic photograph of a real Man-In-Black (about which more later), Beckley also helped the show line up some additional guests.
"I suggested they reach out," Beckley said, "to several other people who had been harassed by these cloak-and-dagger-like individuals and strongly recommended they get in touch with a gentleman by the name of Johnny Sands, if it was humanly possible to locate him after all these years. The truth is, I hadn't heard from Johnny since his original experience took place toward the latter part of December, 1975. Johnny Sands has been for many years a country and western singer and a stuntman and an illusionist and magician who had a very interesting experience while driving towards Las Vegas.
"He was within view of the city lights," Beckley continued, "so he couldn't have been that far out of town, although the lights up and down the Vegas strip certainly do illuminate for many, many miles into the surrounding desert. Johnny says he was driving towards the city to see one of the agents who books acts for the lounge at this particular casino. Johnny had just come out with a new record and wanted to get a gig doing a live concert at this particular venue. He was anxious to get into town before it got too late and was disturbed by the fact that his engine seemed to be sputtering."
Sands next observed a strange light and his vehicle came to a complete stop. Two beings appeared, descending on a shaft of light. One of the beings stood off in the distance, while the other one approached Sands and his stalled automobile. Sands later told investigators that the beings were about 5 feet 8, were completely bald and had what appeared to be gills instead of ears.
"For the next ten minutes or so," Beckley went on, "they had a brief telepathic conversation about the lights off in the distance, what people did there. The beings produced a holographic image of the Earth, showing Sandy what appeared to be explosions taking place around the miniature globe, indicating perhaps some future global conflict. Finally, the beings got back into their ship, which then shot straight up."
About as typical as typical gets with a UFO encounter. But there was more, according to Beckley.
"The tie-in with the UFO Hunters show on The Silencers," Beckley explained, "is that Sands later had a rather hair-raising incident with the Men-In-Black who took him into the desert where he was confronted literally by a small army of more MIBs and two hairy creatures that reminded him of Cousin It from the Addams Family Show. I was always fascinated with Johnny's claims especially since he passed a lie detector test and had undergone a psychological examination by a trained professional, and I thought it would make a good addition to the UFO Hunters episode that was in the early planning stages."
The producers of the program, however, were unable to track Sands down and told Beckley they believed the gentleman had died some five years ago. The news greatly saddened Beckley, but then an interesting moment of synchronicity took place. Beckley went to visit his friend, a performance artist known professionally as Zamora The Torture King, who was doing a show on Coney Island near Beckley's home in Manhattan.
"I happened to mention," Beckley recalled, "since both of them are from the Las Vegas area, that I had tried to get in touch with Johnny Sands to get him on the History Channel and they had told me he had passed away. Zamora got a big chuckle out of that. 'Well, I don't think so,' he said, 'because I just interviewed him recently for my book Weird Nevada.' So it turns out that the producers of the show did finally manage to get in touch with Johnny and booked him for the show."
Beckley said that the show would eventually include himself and Sands, as well as UFO historian Allen Greenfield and John Rhodes. Rhodes has had personal experiences with the Men-In-Black and is widely known as a leading authority on reptilian aliens and the unexplained mysteries of the Inner Earth, which is where some researchers think the Men-In-Black may call their home, the netherworlds hidden underground.
"Part of the episode was shot near the Grand Canyon," Beckley said, "and then the UFO Hunters and the crew went on to I think Salt Lake City to shoot the rest of the program. So it probably took about oh, I guess, four or five days to put this all in the can and then several weeks of editing before it is aired nationally. For me, it was a nice trip and an exciting experience, but then again most folks know I love radio, television and filmmaking."
For those unfamiliar with the program, Beckley offered some basic background.
"Each episode of the program involves a different aspect of the UFO phenomenon," he said. "Recently, they've had a show on abductions; they've had a show on the grays; they've had one on undersea saucers or USOs. They've had an episode on pilots who have been buzzed. So each show is themed, and this one is on the Men-In-Black."
Beckley said his interest in the MIB mystery goes back over four decades.
"One of the first books I ever read on UFOs," he recalled, "was by the late Gray Barker and called They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. In its pages, the author describes how certain UFO researchers had gotten too close to the truth about the origins of and the occupants who pilot the flying discs that were being seen all over America in the 1950s and 60s. The researchers were visited by gentlemen wearing black suits, black hats, sometimes dark sunglasses, usually traveling in black limousines or Cadillacs, who threatened the researchers that if they told what they knew about flying saucers then something tragic would happen to either them or their families.
"Probably the first person to be silenced that we know about," Beckley continued, "is Albert K. Bender, who was the head of the International Flying Saucer Bureau, an organization that reigned supreme in the early 1950s. Bender had several thousand members all over the world, and put out a very nice little newsletter called Space Review. And apparently he had printed something he should not have in the pages of his newsletter, which got back to 'them,' whoever they are! We don't know whether they're extraterrestrial. Some of them may be government officials. I have my own theory, which I discuss on the show, as to where the Men-In-Black may be originating."
Bender's tale continued.
"So, these three men appeared at Albert K. Bender's door one day. They proved to him that they were not of earthly or human origin, let's say. They materialized and dematerialized in front of him, and they told him to shut down his international UFO organization, which he did. At around this time, which would have been 1953 or 1954, there were other individuals who were being harassed by these Men-In-Black. There were freaky phone calls and strange poltergeist-like phenomena that were taking place inside the houses of UFO witnesses and heads of various UFO organizations as well."
Beckley told the story of John Stewart, who ran the New Zealand branch of the International Flying Saucer Bureau and was attacked by some unknown force and was actually pushed down a flight of stairs in a large department store in front of hundreds of witnesses by some unseen hand. His girlfriend was molested by some invisible creature inside her home. The two were so terrified by what had happened that they immediately quit their UFO investigations, ceased their correspondence and retired from the field, never to be heard from again.
"So little by little," Beckley said, "other researchers started being frightened by these Men-In-Black. This went on for quite a number of years. My work, UFO Silencers: Mystery of the Men In Black, detailed many dozens of cases involving these MIBs. And this of course was long before Will Smith and the movie version came out, which was jazzed up for public consumption. There were some pretty strange cases that I wrote about, including one or two incidents where UFO witnesses were savagely attacked and the possible murder of a sixteen-year-old boy found within feet of where a flying saucer had landed on the banks of the New York State Barge Canal in Scotia, on New York's Mohawk River."
But Beckley has done more than simply research the subject of MIBs. He has also had a personal firsthand encounter.
"While I was not the person being stalked or harassed," he said, "I was directly involved in this bizarre incident. There had been a huge flap of sightings up and down the East Coast that lasted from 1965 to 1968. One of the individuals I was associated with, John J. Robinson, had collected a lot of this data. Not just of strange phenomena in the sky, but also of creature sightings, different flying beings, as well as Bigfoot-type apparitions. He was also a researcher into strange events that were taking place underground known as the Shaver Mystery, the Inner Earth mysteries and so forth. He strongly believed that some UFOs might be originating from under our very feet.
"Now Jack, as his friends called him of course, was an associate editor of Jim Moseley's "Saucer News." At that time, "Saucer News" was the largest UFO publication in the world, with around 12,000 subscribers. Jack wrote articles for Jim's magazine as well as a newsletter I was putting out. Jack lived over in Jersey City but commuted to his day job, which was working at a bank in Manhattan.
"His wife Mary," Beckley went on, "would do the chores and the shopping. Every morning she'd go out around nine o'clock to go to the local supermarket or the deli."
On more than one occasion, Mary reported to Beckley and Moseley, who worked out of an office on Fifth Avenue that served as the "Saucer News" headquarters, that whenever she left home she would notice that there was "this strange fellow, almost very, very wooden looking with a very pale face, kind of standing recessed back in a doorway across the street and dressed all in black with a black hat and a black suit on."
The strange interloper appeared to be watching Mary leaving the building as well as watching the activities of other people around her apartment house. Jack and Mary had also been receiving strange phone calls, people calling in the middle of the night and hanging up. Some of their files were broken into and some UFO casebook material disappeared completely.
"So Mary was very, very concerned about this," Beckley said, "and she would call us repeatedly. Well, Jim and I didn't know whether she was just trying to get our attention or whether it was her imagination running wild or whether there really was this individual there stalking the Robinsons. So we decided one morning to take a ride over to Jersey City without letting Mary or Jack know we were coming. We would pay them a surprise visit and see if indeed there was somebody watching their apartment as Mary had insisted."
When Beckley and Moseley arrived, they discreetly passed down the block where the Robinsons lived.
"And sure enough," Beckley recounted, "there was a fellow, just as described, standing in the doorway and peering just off into the distance and dressed in black with a black overcoat, black shoes and black pants. Out in the street, parked right in front of where he was standing, was a black car of some type or another.
After circling the block, which took a full five minutes, the pair returned to find that the stranger and his car were both gone. Beckley feels that the simple act of taking the photo may have scared off the Man-In-Black and the Robinsons never saw or heard from the interloper again.
"So I do believe," Beckley concluded, "that, as far as I know, this is the only authentic photo of what purports to be a true Man-In-Black." Beckley still defends the authenticity of his photo more than forty years later. He told Bill Birnes, Kevin Cook and Patrick Uskert, the three primary characters of the UFO Hunters program, that there is no "earthly" reason for the figure to have been standing there at the time or at any other time.
"Several people have suggested, though, that it looked kind of like a pall bearer from a funeral," Beckley said. "Well, I guess you could say it did. Even more peculiar or strange is the fact that once we had confronted this individual by taking a photograph of him, he just sort of slinked into this other realm or other dimension, which is where I believe that the Men-In-Black originate."
And just who or what are the Men-In-Black? Beckley offered more than one theory.
"Some of these individuals may be extraterrestrial," Beckley explained, "because they don't act like humans. They seem to be possessed by a very peculiar behavior pattern. I describe some of the details of these behavior patterns in my book The UFO Silencers. Others may be government officials. Still others may be Earth people pulling pranks."
There have been numerous further reports of injuries suffered by witnesses to the Men-In-Black. Beckley recounted the story of a man named Carl Wayne Watts, who had been on his way to meet with the pioneering UFO researcher, the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek.
"Now Mr. Watts had taken several photographs of UFOs," Beckley said, "including a cigar-shaped object hovering in the sky. There was also a picture I used in my book of an alien being who the witness claimed was the occupant of the ship. It looked to me to be some sort of robot with a hard outer shell, or maybe he had a space helmet on. Sort of like the robot in The Day The Earth Stood Still. Anyway, on the way to be interviewed by Dr. Hynek, he claimed his automobile was forced off the road and that he was hit over the head by one of these MIBs. After that, course, he refused to talk to anybody, including Dr. Hynek, about his experiences."
Beckley's publishing company, Global Communications, recently released a book called The Secret Life of Paul Villa, which also deals in part with harassment by the Men-In-Black.
"Paul Villa was a gentleman of Mexican-American heritage," Beckley said, "who lived in the American Southwest, near Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a good part of his life, which is where he took a series of quite phenomenal UFO photographs from 1962 to around 1973. He says the UFO beings posed their ships especially for him. They can be seen close by in the sky, hovering above his truck, over his house, between trees. Some of them are just within a few feet from the ground. One very remarkable photograph shows an object with tripod landing gear about to land.
"Mr. Villa's story gets pretty wild as he claimed to have had contact with beings from another solar system. He also claims he was harassed by the Men-In-Black as well as by his neighbors. His trailer was set on fire and his truck was overturned. He had to move on several occasions because he felt that his life was in danger and eventually he just kind of disappeared from sight because of this harassment by some unknown force."
Having provided that additional historical background on some of the encounters with the MIB that Beckley has collected over the years, the conversation returned to the recent filming of UFO Hunters. Beckley said that over the past forty years he has made several movies himself in addition to working with various motion picture and television production companies, and he can honestly declare that the cast and crew of UFO Hunters are a topnotch outfit.
"These fellows had it all together," Beckley said. "A lot of times things were chaotic and hectic and didn't go very smoothly, but the crew there from UFO Hunters was very professional and we got the whole thing done on time. Although during the final little segment that I was in, we just caught the last rays of the sun. Another two or three minutes and we would have had to re-shoot the next day. So everything went according to plan. The weather was great and of course the locations out there in Arizona around the Grand Canyon were really fantastic.
"And I must say," he continued, "that of all the crews I've worked with over the years, these guys are really polished and I wouldn't mind working with them again. And of course Bill Birnes is the best. He knows the subject, as did everyone else that was involved with the episode."
There are some critics of the program who fail to give it much in the way of credibility, but Beckley quickly dismissed those negative voices.
"Some people have asked me, well, is everything on UFO Hunters for real? Or is it just a lot of hokum and sensationalism? I have to say, regarding the episode that I shot, called The Silencers, that everything seemed to be on the up and up. Everyone on the program seemed to be remarkably sure of what they were saying. True, to some, the statements made may be a little more farfetched than people who are into the hardcore science of Ufology, what we call the nuts-and-bolts people, may be comfortable with. They might say, 'Well, there isn't enough evidence.' But these three guys are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Nothing is made up on the set; everything is legitimate as far as that goes.
"And I think the UFO Hunters do a very good job in getting the information over to the public-a very large percentage of the public who are really not that familiar with the subject whatsoever. You know, it is television, and it has to appeal to a large audience. It's not just what we call 'talking heads.' In order to make a show like this successful, there has to be the appearance of some kind of action. Not just people standing around looking at the sky. For those who find fault with UFO Hunters, I strongly recommend they try their hand at producing a UFO-oriented show and see just how easy it is.
"There is room out there for several programs on the subject, but it takes more than talk to produce a series for television. That's 13 shows a season. It's a hump-busting process and one that requires time, dedication, money and of course the ability to sell it to a network.
"But the end result of my involvement with this process," Beckley said, "is that I believe that UFO Hunters works within the accepted creative process to present the subject in a fair and balanced manner, without being overly sensationalistic, and represents the best interests of the field. I hope there are future seasons to look forward to."
More About Tim Beckley: Involved with the paranormal from an early age, author Timothy Green Beckley has had three UFO sightings. As a teenager, he created one of the first UFO periodicals, which he collated together with mimeographed sheets. Later, he merged his publication with Jim Moseley's "Saucer News." As a journalist, he interviewed John Lennon's girlfriend May Pang, who described Lennon's UFO sighting off his Manhattan terrace of a large circular craft that shot off a beam of light.
Beckley was invited by his late friend, the Earl of Clancarty, Brinsley Le Poer Trench, to speak before a private UFO group formed inside Britain's House of Lords. In addition to his book The UFO Silencers, Beckley has authored more than 30 works, including MJ-12 and the Riddle of Hangar 18, Subterranean Worlds Inside Earth, and Strange Encounters. For eleven years he edited the nationally distributed UFO Universe magazine. Today he writes regularly for Bill and Nancy Birnes at UFO Magazine as well as his editorial duties at www.ConspiracyJournal.com
Also, visit these helpful websites:
Source: UFO Digest
- THE UNIVERSE ON A TABLE TOP DEPARTMENT -
Chinese Scientists Build Working Black Hole
Researchers theorized how to design a table-top black hole earlier this year. Now two ambitious Chinese scientists have actually built one—using the same materials that made invisibility cloaks possible.
A theoretical design for a table-top black hole to trap light was proposed in a paper published earlier this year by Evgenii Narimanov and Alexander Kildishev of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Their idea was to mimic the properties of a cosmological black hole, whose intense gravity bends the surrounding space-time, causing any nearby matter or radiation to follow the warped space-time and spiral inwards.
Narimanov and Kildishev reasoned that it should be possible to build a device that makes light curve inwards towards its centre in a similar way. They calculated that this could be done by a cylindrical structure consisting of a central core surrounded by a shell of concentric rings.
The key to making light curve inwards is to make the shell's permittivity – which affects the electric component of an electromagnetic wave – increase smoothly from the outer to the inner surface. This is analogous to the curvature of space-time near a black hole. At the point where the shell meets the core, the permittivity of the ring must match that of the core, so that light is absorbed rather than reflected.
Now Tie Jun Cui and Qiang Cheng at the Southeast University in Nanjing, China, have turned Narimanov and Kildishev's theory into practice, and built a "black hole" for microwave frequencies. It is made of 60 annular strips of so-called "meta-materials", which have previously been used to make invisibility cloaks.
The working Chinese model consists of a cylinder, made up of strips of a special material that increasingly affects electric fields. As rays of light approach the device, they curve inward towards its center, where the permittivity (a characteristic that describes how the material affects an electric field) is such that the light cannot escape. The device then converts the light into heat energy.
Each strip takes the form of a circuit board etched with intricate structures whose characteristics change progressively from one strip to the next, so that the permittivity varies smoothly. The outer 40 strips make up the shell and the inner 20 strips make up the absorber.
"When the incident electromagnetic wave hits the device, the wave will be trapped and guided in the shell region towards the core of the black hole, and will then be absorbed by the core," says Cui. "The wave will not come out from the black hole." In their device, the core converts the absorbed light into heat.
Narimanov is impressed by Cui and Cheng's implementation of his design. "I am surprised that they have done it so quickly," he says.
Fabricating a device that captures optical wavelengths in the same way will not be easy, as visible light has a wavelength orders of magnitude smaller than that of microwave radiation. This will require the etched structures to be correspondingly smaller.
Cui is confident that they can do it. "I expect that our demonstration of the optical black hole will be available by the end of 2009," he says.
Such a device could be used to harvest solar energy in places where the light is too diffuse for mirrors to concentrate it onto a solar cell. An optical black hole would suck it all in and direct it at a solar cell sitting at the core. "If that works, you will no longer require these huge parabolic mirrors to collect light," says Narimanov.
Source: New Scientist
- KEEP YOUR EYES TO THE SKIES DEPARTMENT -
Historic Sightings of Flying Snakes
Do “flying snakes” exist? Roy Mackal and other cryptozoologists have investigated flying snake reports in Africa. Did you know there are files on airborne serpentine reptiles in North America? Here are some reports for your consideration. You will rapidly discover that there are varying levels of credibility in these articles. ~ Loren Coleman
The earliest known recorded sighting can be found in the journal writings of Hieronymus Benzo, an Italian naturalist who traversed the New World from 1541 to 1556. In his text Istoria de Mondo Nuovo Libr. III, Benzo included the following entry on an expedition into what is now Florida:
"I saw a certain kind of Serpent which was furnished with wings, and which was killed near a wood by some of our men. Its wings were so shaped that by moving them it could raise itself from the ground and fly along, but only at a very short distance from the earth."
Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio, 9/16/1875
In August of 1875, an unnamed woman dwelling in the southern side of Leavenworth, Texas made local headlines with her insistence that a smallish winged snake was undertaking excursions over her neighborhood. So astonishing was her testimony that a local, aged psychic was stirred to boldly foretell (to the local newspaper) “in a short time the air would be full of flying serpents”. Perhaps, if the next 35 years might be interpreted as “a short time”, she was partially right.
In September of that same year, two young men surnamed Remington and Jenkins, while hunting in the woods near Leavenworth, were astonished to see this oft-gossiped about creature soaring straight toward them at an altitude of about four feet. Jenkins quickly removed his cap and, with an accurate sweep, netted the little beastie. It turned out to be quite harmless; it was approximately one foot in length, spotted and bore wings approximately the size of their hands. After dispensing of it, the two intelligent lads brought the now lifeless body home and preserved it in a jar of alcohol. Tragically, this essential physical specimen appears to have been lost to time, most likely in much the same manner as myriads of copies of Action Comics #1 have been innocently tossed by mothers with other attic junk, without realization of what they possessed.
Galveston Daily News
May 23, 1899
Has a Skull Like an Adder and a Bat-Like Expression.
New York Journal.
A flying snake five feet long has built its nest in one of the tall trees at Waterford, N.J., and when it is not setting on its eggs to hatch out a lot more flying snakes it is roving about intimidating the natives.
No amount of hunting in mere natural history books will reward the searcher with a glimpse of a picture of a flying snake or any information about one. The creature does not exist in any scientific work. It is found only in Waterford, where a party of indignant citizens are making a desperate effort to locate it before it eats some of the farmers.
Robert McDougall, who saw the flying snake, is perhaps the most prominent citizen of Waterford - a fact that the intelligent reader has already guessed, for persons who see sea serpents, flying snakes, wild men, or horned gazoozas are invariably described by their neighbors as prominent in order that the story may not be doubted and the town thereby indirectly reflected upon.
This gentleman was taking a short trip through the woods, cogitating as he walked as to the turnip crop, when suddenly the flying snake darted from the low branch of a [illegible] pine tree and flapped its wings with hoarse cries until it vanished from view. Its bearing was plainly vindictive.
“It had the look of a bat in its face,” says McDougall, “but it was a flying snake sure enough; one of the venomous kind, I should say. Its skull resembled that of a puff adder, but it had no hair, and it had a tapering tail and eyes that flashed fire, but never before did I see eyes on a monster like that,” and Mr. McDougall shuddered at his narrow escape.
On the following morning the Waterford vigilantes armed themselves and repaired to the lair of the flying snake. They found its footprints, not in the air, where it might be expected that a snake on the fly would leave them, but on the ground. They were web-like prints, something like those of a swan. The local indignation increased when it was thereby proved that the monster is amphibian.
Hiram Beechwood, who lives at a place called Elm, says he saw the flying snake at daybreak crossing a road near a swamp. As soon as it noticed it was observed[,] it exchanged looks of deadly hate with him and then, uttering an angry bleat like an exasperated sheep, unwound a pair of bat-like wings and slowly flew into the swamp, where it is feared it has a nestful of eggs.
According to the ornithologists of the place, flying snakes are an established fact. They stick pretty closely to the thick undergrowth unless driven out by forest fires or lack of food. They build in tall trees, Mr. McDougall says, and when in a good temper utter a note something like that of a robin who has just found a worm. When annoyed or frightened, however, they emit an angry scream that is very terrifying.
Some of the residents hold that the snake is a vegetarian and won’t eat Jerseymen. Others wisely say that this may be so, but still it might bite them, and they are going after it to put it out of its misery.
March 25, 1885
A flying snake is on exhibition at Virginia City, Nevada. The reptile is four feet long and has two wings attached to its body, about four inches back of the head.
Greenville Evening Record
June 16, 1900
Venango county papers note the appearance of a flying snake and also a leathered snake. The latter was captured by Arthur Savage, of Canal township, and is said to have a fine coat of feathers and a head like a chicken. It is about three feet in length. It eats nothing but grain and drinks an abundance of water. Mr. Savage intends to take it to some zoological garden.
Alton Evening Telegraph
August 9, 1905
The moonshine whiskey business appears to be flourishing in Missouri. At least flying snakes are reported in several places in the Ozark Mountains region.
Washington Post; Washington DC, 10/29/1911
St. Charles, Missouri
Another specimen was observed over St. Charles, Missouri, not far from the Mississippi River in 1911. Mrs. John Bishop and her children were startled from their work and play by an odd sound evocative of a monoplane. This buzzing though was not from an engine, but rather from the highly rapid fluttering of a sizeable pair of wings attached to a three-foot-long spotted snake passing over their residence. The awe that overtook the unsuspecting family quickly transformed into terror however, as the airborne snake turned and approached the terrified group of witnesses. The mother hastily herded the children into the home where they watched in safety as the creature performed various aeronautic feats for almost twenty minutes before it disappeared over the horizon in the direction of Alton, Illinois.
The Washington Post also noted on June 5, 1911 that the “passengers and crew of the White Star liner Celtic brought with them to New York today a revival of the sea serpent tales of other years. They reported having passed early yesterday morning a formidable looking creature that was going at a high speed in pursuit of a school of young whales. The monster, they say, had wings, and rose frequently 10 feet or more from the water. Whales and pursuer faded from sight within a few minutes.”
Bonham, Texas, June, 1873
In June of 1873, a farmer in Bonham, Texas, looked up from his work and was astonished at what he saw. There appeared to be an enormous flying snake, banded with brilliant yellow stripes, writhing and twisting in the sky above him. Other people in the Bonham vicinity also witnessed this strange apparition, which was said to be at least as long as a telegraph pole. According to a report in the local newspaper, Enterprise, the bewildered eyewitnesses watched the creature coil itself up, and thrust forward its enormous head as if striking at something.
Sky Dragons - Amphipteres
These winged serpents were spotted in the skies of Great Britain until the mid 1600s. Described most commonly as a large snake with small wings behind the head, they could grow to lengths around nine to ten feet. Their heads were dragon-like, with multiple tongues and sharp fangs. Villagers reported having been able to scare them away by throwing rocks.
Similar creatures were reported in India. These sky dragons, or winged serpents, were nocturnal, and equipped with a singular form of defense. Their urine was like acid, and could melt the skin of anyone walking below.
Winged serpents also plagued the ancient Middle East. Arabia and Egypt were overrun with these snakes, reportedly small in size yet devestating to crops and livestock. Luckily, ibises ate these sky snakes. Even Moses was reported to use ibis birds to help his attack on Ethiopia who had invaded Egypt.
An intriguing variation on the mythology and anecdotal history of North American winged snakes is the contemporary investigation of Northern Arizona University anthropology student Nick Sucik into Navajo and Hopi legends that tell of snakes that can take brief flight through convoluted spiral contortions and lunges. He published a well-researched paper in 2004 on these mystery animals that nicely bridged the fields of theoretical herpetological physiology and cryptic anthropological folklore.
Sucik’s flying snakes of Arizona were hypothesized to be wingless—by definition of bat or bird—but capable of limited aeronautics through extended flaps that stretched over a significant portion of their bodies. He discredited the few reports he found (which did not include any of these presented here) that testified to bat-like or scaled wings, writing them of as justifiable misidentifications made under startling circumstances.
Thanks to Jerome Clark and Scott Maruna for archival input.
- EVEN A MAN WHO IS PURE AT HEART DEPARTMENT -
New Moon Rising: Return of the Werewolf
Forget vampires. A raft of new werewolf films looks set to take horror to hairy new levels. It's time to stock up on the silver bullets, says Brad Steiger.
Is the vampire's reign as creature of the night coming to an end? For some time now, bloodsuckers have been hogging the moonlight in everything from the chaste, teen-friendly Twilight to HBO's kinky True Blood, while October alone has given us Park Chan-wook's mad sanguinary love story Thirst, and Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.
But could the release earlier this year of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the return to cinemas of John Landis's influential comedy-horror An American Werewolf in London, and the delayed arrival next February of the remake of George Waggner's seminal The Wolfman, starring Benicio del Toro as the titular lycanthrope, be a sign that the scales are tipping in favour of another mythical creature? As will be evident when The Twilight Saga: New Moon is released, werewolves are on their way back – and they're coming in force. It had to happen, eventually.
"If vampires are popular, it follows that werewolves must soon arrive," says Brad Steiger, author of The Werewolf Book. "In cinema, the two are paired like horse and carriage. You can't have one without the other." Chris Weitz, director of New Moon, concurs. "I suppose they're the two most relatable human monsters we can think of," he said recently. "They nicely encapsulate restraint and passion. Vampires are cold-blooded, literally, and werewolves are hot-blooded."
Whether we will go as loopy over lycanthropes as we have vampires remains to be seen. But like them or loathe them, they will be hard to avoid. Indeed, New Moon will offer a whole (six) pack of buff Native American werewolves. The writer/producer/director Alan Ball has promised that the beasties will soon be padding around True Blood's Bon Temps. Jack and Diane, a notorious lesbian werewolf movie originally, but no longer, starring Juno's Ellen Page, looks likely to finally appear in 2011, while MTV is developing a pilot for a series based on the popular 1985 Michael J Fox movie Teen Wolf. Fox network's "dramedy" Bitches – yes, really – about a quartet of female New Yorkers who happen to be werewolves, has, apparently, been put on the back-burner for now.
Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, is putting together a "Gothic re-imagining" of Little Red Riding Hood, with Twilight director, Catherine Hardwicke, at the helm. Some early oral versions involve a werewolf rather than a wolf; after all, the girl's fate at the end of the first published version, by Charles Perrault, was more grim than Grimm.
Add to this list a proposed, some might say pointless, remake of An American Werewolf in London, and the news that the film rights to Maggie Stiefvater's best-selling teen novel Shiver, about a young girl and her wolfy teenage boyfriend, have been snapped up by the producers of Lord of the Rings and Blade, and who can doubt that the fur is really going to fly? Why now? According to Steiger, the werewolf might just be the perfect creature for today.
"What could give one more of a sense of power in these troubled times," he muses, "than being able to shapeshift into a wolf and run off into the night, howling at the moon, and being able to demolish one's enemies and anxieties?" Steiger has a point. Who doesn't feel like going wild these days?
Werewolves in various forms have stalked the imagination for millennia, the reasons for their existence changing over the centuries. In some legends, people become werewolves by choice, says Steiger; they "seek the power of transmutation through incantations, potions or spells, glorying in their strength and in their ability to strike fear into the hearts of all who hear their piercing howling on the nights of the full moon. They also become great warriors in the legends of the Norse and other countries."
After the Church condemned them as Satanic in the Middle Ages, however, a lycanthrope was one of the last things anyone wanted to be identified as. Take the case of Peter Stubbe, in 1589, for instance. He was accused of a series of wolf attacks near Cologne – the wolf itself having vanished – and confessed under torture to making a pact with the Devil, who he claimed gave him a belt that transformed him into a wolf. He said he had killed and eaten children, including his own son, and livestock, and committed incest. The least grisly part of poor Stubbe's punishment was his beheading.
Today, our concept of the werewolf comes mainly courtesy of Hollywood. Though there had been earlier werewolf films, notably Universal's Werewolf of London, in 1935, it was the same studio's The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr, six years later, which would fix the creature in popular culture, and for a long time serve as the blueprint, effectively, for future werewolf movies.
Intelligently scripted by Curt Siodmak, the film "rewrote centuries of werewolf lore and legend", says Steiger. Even the film's famous poem – "Even the man who is pure at heart/ And says his prayers at night/ May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms/ And the moon is clear and bright" – was written by Siodmak.
"The Wolf Man created a number of faux werewolf traditions that became cinematic werewolf dogma in many horror films to follow," notes Steiger. These included the transmission of lycanthropy via a bite or scratch, the first full moon following an attack as the trigger for the victim's initial transformation into a werewolf, the look of the creature, the "clouding of human compassion by blood lust", and the lethal effect of silver. A silver bullet in the heart, he points out, was not added until Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943.
If werewolves have anything to be thankful for, it is surely that, unlike vampires, at least they aren't undead. The sun's rays are harmless to them, they can see their reflection in mirrors, and crucifixes pose no danger. On the other hand, pentagrams, especially silver ones, must be avoided.
The years since The Wolf Man have seen the creature's popularity wax and wane, as actors including a pre-Little House on the Prairie Michael Landon (I Was a Teenage Werewolf), Oliver Reed (The Curse of the Werewolf) and Jack Nicholson (Wolf) have followed in Chaney Jr's paw prints.
In 1981 the sub-genre gained a new lease of life with the release of An American Werewolf in London. The film was a perfect meld of comedy, horror and satire, and featured groundbreaking, ultimately Oscar-winning special effects by Rick Baker, which seamlessly transformed David Naughton's hapless backpacker, horrifyingly, into a ravening wolf before our eyes.
The momentum was maintained by two other films released the same year: Joe Dante's The Howling and the more serious-minded Wolfen. While the rest of the 80s produced further memorable outings for werewolves, such as A Company of Wolves and Teen Wolf, the 90s proved disappointing, offering the likes of Mike Nichols' so-so Wolf and the dire An American Werewolf in Paris.
The Canadian cult favourite Ginger Snaps gave the werewolf a much needed boost at the beginning of the Noughties, and the creature has barely been away since, re-appearing in Dog Soldiers, the Underworld and Harry Potter films, and Van Helsing, among others.
Next year, The Wolfman will take us back to the creature's cinematic roots. It is a risky business remaking a classic and time will tell whether it works like moonlight on the werewolf sub-genre, or a silver bullet. "I am not a fan of remakes, but I do have great hopes for the film," says Steiger.
With any luck, it will be – ahem – a howling success.
Source: The Independent
- SECRET MESSAGES DEPARTMENT -
Police Officer Sees "Aliens" at Crop Circle
A police officer contacted British UFO experts after seeing three aliens examining a freshly made crop circle near Avebury, Wiltshire.
The sergeant, who has not been named, was off-duty when he saw the figures standing in a field near Silbury Hill, and stopped his car to investigate.
However, as he approached the 'men' – all over 6ft tall with blond hair – he heard "the sound of static electricity" and the trio ran away ''faster than any man he had ever seen''.
The officer returned to his home in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and contacted paranormal experts and told them he had spotted a UFO.
Wiltshire Police has refused to comment on the incident, saying it is a ''personal matter'' for the officer involved.
Crop circle researcher Andrew Russell, who is investigating the bizarre sighting on behalf of the officer, described the moment his sighting was made.
He said: ''At first he thought they were forensic officers as they were dressed in white coveralls. He stopped his car and approached the field.
''The figures were all over 6ft and had blond hair. They seemed to be inspecting the crop. When he got to the edge of the field he heard what he believed to be a sound not dissimilar to static electricity.
''This crackling noise seemed to be running through the field and the crop was moving gently, close to where the noise was.
''He shouted to the figures who, at first, ignored him, not glancing at him. When he tried to enter the field they looked up and began running.
''He said; 'They ran faster than any man I have ever seen. I'm no slouch but they were moving so fast. I looked away for a second and when I looked back they were gone.
''I then got scared. The noise was still around but I got an uneasy feeling and headed for the car. For the rest of the day I had a pounding headache I couldn't shift.''
The bizarre incident occurred on the morning of July 6 this year as the police officer was driving.
The officer claims the three figures were examining a crop circle, which had appeared several days earlier, when he stopped his car and began walking towards them.
However, the mysterious beings disappeared when he ''looked away for a second'' and he contacted UFO experts after witnessing other paranormal activity.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: ''The police officer was apparently off duty when this happened so we have no comment to make because it is a personal not a police matter.''
Crop circle expert Colin Andrews, who investigated the incident alongside Andrew Russell, said he is ''convinced'' by the police officer's story.
He said: ''I am quite convinced the officer had an experience that day and one that we have not fully explored.
''I think with the unusual movement of the being and the poltergeist experiences there is too much additional information to say that is something in nothing.''
Source: Telegraph (UK)
- THINGS THAT GO BOO IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -
Demon Dog Haunts Illinois Road
A demonic dog lurks across the lonely stretch of asphalt known as Bloods Point Road near the community of Cherry Valley, Illinois.
Ghosts from a fatal school bus crash haunt the bridge where the students met their demise.
"Did you read the one about the ghost truck? The black truck that chases you and all of a sudden you look back and it's gone?" said Russell Mothkovich, who lives along the famed Boone County road and says it's nothing out of the ordinary. "We read that one, and we had just bought a new truck two years ago. And of course, it's black."
Though residents who live along Bloods Point Road don't like the tales that depict their rural community as a haunted hot spot, outsiders certainly seem to get a kick out of it. The road is a destination for people searching for a scare.
That trend isn't likely to stop now that FEARnet has named Bloods Point one of the nation's 10 scariest roads in its "Streets of Fear" online video and On Demand series.
FEARnet, a multiplatform movie network of all things creepy, chose 10 roads from across the country with the scariest names and back stories for the second year of "Streets of Fear."
The road becomes so popular this time of year that the Boone County Sheriff's Department ups its patrols to try to curb vandalism.
"Other than the name of the road, I can't see the draw. I've driven on it many times. It's just a rural road," Lt. Phil Beu said. "Bottom line, if they go out there and they're found, they can be arrested. It's criminal trespassing like anything else. We are watchful because there has been a lot of vandalism."
Mike Rutlin, a shop teacher at Jefferson High School and member of the Forest City Paranormal Society, was interviewed for the series because of his experience with the legendary hell hound.
While he was driving down the road with a friend, they heard the sound of twisted metal dragging behind them. Just then "there was a huge dog head in the window, growling and barking. We were doing probably 40 mph. This thing came out of nowhere," the 37-year-old said.
"I hate to make it sound like a bad horror movie, but it was a huge head, and it had the red eyes. It was in the window of my car. ... It seemed like forever at the time, but was probably just for 10 seconds and then it vanished."
But with every good horror tale comes the matter of separating fact from fiction.
Take one of the most famed stories, for instance. The legend that a school bus filled with children crashed over a bridge on Bloods Point Road, killing everyone inside. The popular story goes that if you stop your car in this spot and put it in neutral, it will be pushed across the bridge by ghosts of the children. Toss a little baby powder on the bumper, and you'll even see their handprints, according to the tale.
A look through Register Star archives came up with no record of the crash. The Register Star tried to authenticate the tale in 2003, also coming up with no results.
"The bus accident doesn't exist," Rutlin said.
Here's what is confirmed: The road is named for Arthur Blood, who settled there in the 1830s.
Some say Blood's family consorted with a witch, leading to the hauntings. Others say if it weren't for his last name, the tales would never have been born.
Robert Morris, 55, who has lived on Bloods Point Road for 28 years, has never seen or heard anything supernatural, despite the fact his home is "supposed to be" haunted. His wife has lived there her whole life without so much as a trace of a ghost, he said.
Source: Rockford Register Star
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