11/13/09  #546
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Perhaps today shall be the day you don't get out of bed.  Why tempt the fates?  Maybe today should be the day you don't drive your car...go to work...make important decisions...or do anything at all.  Perhaps today shall be the day you don't get out of bed.  Cosmic forces conspire against you.  Malignant energies weave their way through the universe to seek you out for their dark missions.  Black cats walk across your path.  Today is Friday the 13th.  Perhaps today shall be the day you don't get out of bed.

NOTE: If you have not been receiving your issues (getting a blank email instead) please let us know right away. But, now that I think about it, if you are having problems receiving your issues, you couldn't be reading this...but, anyway, just let us know so we can attempt to fix them for you. Thanks, Tim R. Swartz, Editor, Conspiracy Journal.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such paraskavedekatriaphobia tales as:

- Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life -
- 'Something May Come Through' Dimensional 'Doors' at LHC -
- Have You Seen the Saucers? -
-
Psychics Find Skeletal Remains In 100-Year-Old Mansion -
AND: Teenage Boy Claims Magic Turns Him Into Woman

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

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- THE WHOLE, WIDE UNIVERSE DEPARTMENT -

Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life

Four hundred years after it locked up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church.

"The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration," said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.

Funes, a Jesuit priest, presented the results Tuesday of a five-day conference that gathered astronomers, physicists, biologists and other experts to discuss the budding field of astrobiology — the study of the origin of life and its existence elsewhere in the cosmos.

Funes said the possibility of alien life raises "many philosophical and theological implications" but added that the gathering was mainly focused on the scientific perspective and how different disciplines can be used to explore the issue.

Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona, said it was appropriate that the Vatican would host such a meeting.

"Both science and religion posit life as a special outcome of a vast and mostly inhospitable universe," he told a news conference Tuesday. "There is a rich middle ground for dialogue between the practitioners of astrobiology and those who seek to understand the meaning of our existence in a biological universe."

Thirty scientists, including non-Catholics, from the U.S., France, Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Chile attended the conference, called to explore among other issues "whether sentient life forms exist on other worlds."

Funes set the stage for the conference a year ago when he discussed the possibility of alien life in an interview given prominence in the Vatican's daily newspaper.

The Church of Rome's views have shifted radically through the centuries since Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for speculating, among other ideas, that other worlds could be inhabited.

Scientists have discovered hundreds of planets outside our solar system — including 32 new ones announced recently by the European Space Agency. Impey said the discovery of alien life may be only a few years away.

"If biology is not unique to the Earth, or life elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version, or we ever make contact with an intelligent species in the vastness of space, the implications for our self-image will be profound," he said.

This is not the first time the Vatican has explored the issue of extraterrestrials: In 2005, its observatory brought together top researchers in the field for similar discussions.

In the interview last year, Funes told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that believing the universe may host aliens, even intelligent ones, does not contradict a faith in God.

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said in that interview.

"Just as there is a multitude of creatures on Earth, there could be other beings, even intelligent ones, created by God. This does not contradict our faith, because we cannot put limits on God's creative freedom."

Funes maintained that if intelligent beings were discovered, they would also be considered "part of creation."

The Roman Catholic Church's relationship with science has come a long way since Galileo was tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant his finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

Today top clergy, including Funes, openly endorse scientific ideas like the Big Bang theory as a reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.

Earlier this year, the Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."

The event snubbed proponents of alternative theories, like creationism and intelligent design, which see a higher being rather than the undirected process of natural selection behind the evolution of species.

Still, there are divisions on the issues within the Catholic Church and within other religions, with some favoring creationism or intelligent design that could make it difficult to accept the concept of alien life.

Working with scientists to explore fundamental questions that are of interest to religion is in line with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, who has made strengthening the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy.

Recent popes have been working to overcome the accusation that the church was hostile to science — a reputation grounded in the Galileo affair.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared the ruling against the astronomer was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."

The Vatican Museums opened an exhibit last month marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first celestial observations.

Tommaso Maccacaro, president of Italy's national institute of astrophysics, said at the exhibit's Oct. 13 opening that astronomy has had a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves.

"It was astronomical observations that let us understand that Earth (and man) don't have a privileged position or role in the universe," he said. "I ask myself what tools will we use in the next 400 years, and I ask what revolutions of understanding they'll bring about, like resolving the mystery of our apparent cosmic solitude."

The Vatican Observatory has also been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world's best.

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

Source: Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573806,00.html

- THROUGH THE SCARY DOOR DEPARTMENT -

'Something May Come Through' Dimensional 'Doors' at LHC

A top boffin at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) says that the titanic machine may possibly create or discover previously unimagined scientific phenomena, or "unknown unknowns" - for instance "an extra dimension".

"Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it," said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, briefing reporters including the Reg at CERN HQ earlier this week.

The LHC, built inside a 27-km circular subterranean tunnel deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border outside Geneva, functions like a sort of orbital motorway for extremely high-speed hadrons - typically either protons or lead ions.

The differences are, firstly, that the streams of particles are moving at velocities within a whisker of light speed - such that each stream has as much energy in it as a normal car going at 1000mph. Secondly, the beams are arranged in such fashion that the two streams swerve through one another occasionally, which naturally results in huge numbers of incredibly violent head-on collisions.

These collisions are sufficiently violent that they are expected to briefly create conditions similar to those obtaining countless aeons ago, not long after the Big Bang, when the entire universe was still inconceivably small - it was smaller than a proton for quite some time, seemingly, still with all the stuff that nowadays makes up all the supra-enormity of space and galaxies and so forth packed in somehow.

Naturally, some extremely strange phenomena are to be expected when one mangles the very fabric of space-time itself in this fashion. Various eccentric nutballs have claimed that this would doom humanity in one fashion or another; perhaps converting the entire Earth, everything on it and possibly the rest of the universe too into "strangelet soup", monopole mulligatawny or some other sort of frightful sub-particulate blancmange or custard.

It has also been suggested that cack-handed boffins at the LHC might inadvertently call into being a miniature black hole and carelessly drop this into the centre of the Earth, rather irritatingly causing the planet to implode. It's certainly to be hoped that the button marked "Call Black Hole Into Being" on the control board has some kind of flip-down cover over it.

Obviously all that's utter rubbish. But some boffins have speculated that black holes might alternatively act as spacewarp wormhole portals into alternate universes, or something. This would seem to chime with Bertolucci's remarks this week on hyperdimensional "doors" out of which might come unspecified "somethings".

Anyone who has watched a TV, read any sci-fi or seen any movies will be well aware that hyperdimensional spacewarp wormhole portals don't normally lead to anything boring like empty space, parallel civilisations where humanity lives in peace and harmony or anything like that.

Rather, it seems a racing cert that we're looking here at an imminent visit from a race of carnivorous dinosaur-men, the superhuman clone hive-legions of some evil genetic queen-empress, infinite polypantheons of dark nega-deities imprisoned for aeons and hungering to feast upon human souls, a parallel-history victorious Nazi globo-Reich or something of that type.

We took the matter up with Dr Mike Lamont, a control-room boffin at the LHC.

"We're hoping to see supersymmetry and extra dimensions," he confirmed.

Pressed on the matter of doors through which something might come, as hinted at by Bertolucci, Lamont rather elliptically said "well, he's a theorist", before recommending the book Warped Passages by physicist Lisa Randall. This explores ways in which extra-dimensional space and entities might interact with our own. It uses among others the example of how a sphere moving in 3D space would appear to someone living on a single 2D plane-space - that is as a mysterious circle suddenly blossoming into existence, growing, perhaps moving about and then shrinking down and vanishing again.

"There's no maths in it," added Lamont encouragingly, having assessed the intellectual level of the Reg news team with disconcerting percipience.

Summarising, then, it appears that we might be in for some kind of invasion by spontaneously swelling and shrinking spherical or wheel-shaped creatures - something on the order of the huge rumbling stone ball from Indiana Jones - able to move in and out of our plane at will. Soon the cities of humanity will lie in smoking ruins, shattered by the Attack of the Teleporting Juggernaut-tyrants from the Nth Dimension.

Dr Bertolucci later got in touch to confirm that yes indeed, there would be an "open door", but that even with the power of the LHC at his disposal he would only be able to hold it open "a very tiny lapse of time, 10-26 seconds, [but] during that infinitesimal amount of time we would be able to peer into this open door, either by getting something out of it or sending something into it.

"Of course," adds Bertolucci, "after this tiny moment the door would again shut, bringing us back to our 'normal' four dimensional world ... It would be a major leap in our vision of Nature, although of no practcal use (for the time being, at least). And of course [there would be] no risk to the stability of our world."

Source: The Register
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/06/lhc_dimensional_portals/

- THE WORLDWIDE INTEREST IN UFOS DEPARTMENT -

Have You Seen the Saucers?

Aliens are living in Yunnan, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to a professor of physics at Yunnan University.

"The complicated terrain of these places makes them perfect for observation of us earthlings," said Zhang Yifang, director of the Kunming UFO Research Association.

The Yunnan capital city accounts for one-tenth of all sightings in the province – more than 400 since 1972 when a large group of people in Xishan district reported a shiny brass bowl-like object, he said.

Zhang, 62, was just one of hundreds of sky watchers who convened to discuss unexplained phenomena at the October 31-November 16 Kunming UFO Forum, perhaps the only place in China where "have you seen the saucers?" is a preferred greeting.

The only reason why Yunnan has so many UFO sightings is there are so many UFO enthusi-asts, the critics argue.

They are wrong, Zhang insists. The aliens are living right here among us and he knows it.

"Yunnan is a mysterious place, full of oddities," he said. "The aliens' intelligence is beyond us. They must have a good reason to choose to stay in Yunnan."

No solid evidence proves they are in Yunnan, he concedes.

"But I believe they are nice and they have no intention of attacking us," he said. "Perhaps they are shape-shifters camouflaged as human beings or they have manufactured human-like robots to watch us."

How many aliens or robots, or when they first came to settle, he could not say.

UFOs are an "old" topic in China: the elderly took up about half the seats at the forum hosted by Zhang on Saturday, a half-empty hall with capacity for about 200. Zhang joined the Kunming UFO Research Association in 1980 and has shared sightings with associations from other provinces.

"Many people in China believe aliens exist," he said, "but only a few UFO lovers devote themselves to doing the research."

Zhang's son, Zhang Shu, 29, is one of the youngest members of the UFO association. His passion for research has been deeply influenced by his father.

"Young people don't really like to spend time researching something when you don't even know if it exists," he said. "It feels like you are researching the air."

"What's more, if they tell their friends they are doing UFO research, they would be mocked incessantly."

Zhang Zhousheng, 52, a former astronomer at the Yunnan Observatory, is famous for his prediction in June 1981 that "We shall all see a UFO in late July."

On July 24, 1981, millions of people in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan Province witnessed a flying luminous spiral-shaped body appear in the sky, according to Zhang.

"For many, the UFO is an unidentified flying object," Zhang said, "but for me, it is identified because I can calculate when they are coming."

As an astronomer, Zhang can frequently be found spending his evenings peering into the night sky from his backyard telescope. He first got involved in UFOs in the early '70s when he saw something flying across the skies of Sichuan Province.

"I can still remember how shocked I was when I saw the spiral object moving across the sky for about five minutes," he said.

Since then, he has been drawn deeper and deeper into the study of UFOs. His initial prediction was covered by dozens of newspapers and magazines and he later published articles explaining his theories of prediction.

But now Zhang asserts that was the first and last time he will make a public prediction as people won't stop asking him about it.

"UFO prediction is different from meteor shower," Zhang said. "I can predict when a UFO comes, but I cannot be sure they are in the right location where we can see them."

Still, he confided he remains quite confident. "I know more than anyone else in the world about prediction," he said.

"Sometimes witnesses call me and tell me that they saw a flying object," Zhang said. "I always stop them right in the middle of the sentence as I know exactly what they are going to say because I predicted it," he said.

He left the Yunnan Observatory in 2005 and started up his own lucrative industrial crane business.

"What I have seen is maybe a UFO or some phenomenon in astronomy that we have not figured out yet," he said. "Anyway, no matter what it is, I will continue to study it after retirement."

"After all, it's different here from western UFO lovers who can get money from the govern-ment to do research.

"We have to spend our own money on it."

Twenty-nine-year-old Yang Zheng is one of the youngest members of the Kunming UFO Research Association and also one of the most frequent witnesses of a UFO.

"Altogether six times, once in Beijing and five times in Yunnan," he said. "But I don't know why I keep seeing them."

His first encounter dates back to 20 years ago when he was at his aunt's home. He spotted a strange red object in the sky through the window.

He immediately checked the popular Chinese children's book 100,000 Whys, but found no answer.

His father told him "it was just a plane". Tired of disappointments, he decided to find out himself and started posting his eyewitness reports online and doing research on UFO cases.

"The more I study, the more I feel like my belief is changing," he said.

The most dramatic case he has investigated was in November 2006 when thousands of villagers in Zhenyuan Yi, Hani and Lahu Autonomous County of Yunnan Province claimed to have witnessed seven flickering white hemispherical-shaped objects hovering right over one cadre's yard for nearly two hours.

It was said the objects' shapes kept changing. Small village, big mouth. Word soon spread that something was stirring in the cadre's backyard and more and more villagers came to see. They started pursuing the circling objects.

Then, suddenly, the lights disappeared.

Yang conducted an on-the-spot investigation, talking to villagers and cadres and asking them to draw pictures of what they had seen.

"Even though I cannot prove it was real, I tend to believe they weren't lying," Yang said. "Because only well-trained actors could lie so naturally."

After he finished the investigation, he headed back to Beijing. It was there that a UFO showed up right in front of him -- again.

One evening when he was playing an online game at home he suddenly felt excited, like something was going to happen. He turned off his computer, walked out of his home into the courtyard and looked at the sky. He saw a huge cloud in the sky, nothing more.

"Then I said ‘Stop toying with me! Please come out. I swear I won't tell anyone else!' and the moment I finished the sentence, I saw a red spark coming from the cloud. It was like they heard what I said."

No experts from the association could say why Yang keeps seeing all these UFOs, but he believes it must mean something.

"All the research and investigations I have done are not to prove the existence of aliens," he said. "Quite the opposite. It helps us to understand more about ourselves and the world around us.

"I think that is the message they want to send to me."

Cheng Weiguo, 40, came to the UFO forum with many questions and a mission to sell his design concept for a flying saucer.

Soon after the opening of the forum, he could not wait to display his efforts and kept raising his hand during the speech of Wang Sichao, astronomer and ufologist.

"Yes, that gentleman who keeps raising his hand for a long time," Wang said.

"Dear professor, I was wondering if there is any way we could get rid of gravity?" Cheng said.

"Then we need to discuss why you want to get rid of gravity," Wang replied.

Cheng introduced his energy-saving, anti-gravity flying saucer, or "the future of human transportation," as he put it.

"Unlike the plane, it can fly in all directions and stop wherever you want," he said. "I believe it will become the most popular personal transportation for a family-of-three in the future."

"And a small one only costs 20,000 yuan," he said loudly.

The audience began muttering, one professor saying in a low voice: "Anti-gravity? He must be kidding."

Asked how much for the design, Cheng said it had taken him "years of studying flying saucers". He'd only sell for a "good price".

Cheng told the professor he was a real UFO lover. Wherever a UFO shows up, he's there in a Kunming minute.

"I waited half a month once in the summer of 1995 in Guizhou Province to see a UFO," he said.

The cool audience response did not dampen Cheng's passion. He turned on his PC and displayed his three-dimensional design to the crowd.

"Everyone come look! See? It can fly in all directions. Isn't my idea amazing?" he said.

"Please bring us a small model next time, then we will talk about it," said Zhang Yifang.

The hardcore fans crowded Ma Ying out of any discussion with expert ufologists, he said.

"UFO fans are a passionate, curious and hard-working group of people whose minds are preoccupied by beer-drinking and day-dreaming when they are not preoccupied by unidentified objects," the 37-year-old Kunming engineer said.

Although not a member himself, Ma hoped the forum promotes communication about sightings among UFO associations across the country.

The UFO forum is "very meaningful" to combine with astronomy, said Wang Sichao, a researcher at the Zijingshan Astronomical Observatory in Nanjing, Zhejiang Province.

"UFOs may be just a flight of fancy, but astronomy is trustworthy," he said. "The forum successfully attracted amateur astronomers who have made a great contribution to the collection of UFO sightings."

Source: Global Times
http://special.globaltimes.cn/2009-11/483739.html

- GIVE ME BACK MY BONES DEPARTMENT -

Psychics Find Skeletal Remains In 100-Year-Old Mansion

WELLSBURG, W.Va. -- The sprawling Aspen Manor mansion was built in 1895 by the Vandergrift family as a boys' getaway that hosted gambling and cockfights.

Later, the Catholic community took over and turned it into an assisted living home where nuns and priests once lived. Most recently, it's been converted to a bed and breakfast.

But now, the historic Brooke County mansion in West Virginia is at the center of a police and paranormal investigation after skeletal remains were found hidden in a wall.

The discovery was made on Friday November 6, 2009 when the Brooke County Paranormal Society visited the mansion to conduct what they call a paranormal investigation, something they do frequently at different locations.

While there, some members of the group said they sensed someone was buried in a basement wall and said they followed the voice to the area.

"A couple of the psychics that were part of that group got physically sick when they went down there and they couldn't figure out why," said Gene Valentine, who owns the building.

The paranormal group came to the 76,000-square-foot mansion in search of spirits, but had no idea what they would find skeletal remains.

"It wasn't what we actually went in looking for," said Kathy Larntz, a member of the group.

Larntz said they found a bone on the floor, so she picked it up thinking it was probably an animal bone. She kept digging, and as she did, she found more and more bones.

Sheriff Richard Ferguson said the bones had "been chopped up into pieces" and had saw marks on them.

The remains were removed from the wall and are being sent to the state medical examiner, who will determine if they are human or animal.

"They found some questionable bones and I still cannot confirm or deny that they're human," Sheriff Richard Ferguson said. "They appear to be very old, but still intact, and we have no time frame. We're actually looking back into the history of this area."

In the meantime, in the former nuns' quarters, Larntz said she, her husband and another investigator made another paranormal finding.

She said the trio was using electronic voice phenomenon equipment and heard clicking sounds.

"Nuns would use these clickers when kids would get like really loud (and) wouldn't settle down, they'd start clicking," she said.

She said with such a long history behind the manor, there are many possibilities of who or what the bones belong to.

"It's exciting," she said. "This is a find for our group that's really major."

Valentine is restricting access to the mansion until the sheriff's department gets more answers, but members of the group said they hope to go back inside with other paranormal investigators to see what else they can discover.

Valentine said he isn't surprised by the findings.

"I've had a few psychic friends walk through here and they've had really bad reactions in the house," Valentine said.

Valentine said he is in the process of remodeling, but said if officials determine the bones are human, he will let them do whatever is necessary to investigate and find out what else might be hidden on the property.

Source: WTOV-9
http://www.wtov9.com/news/21573274/detail.html
- EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN -

Mongolia: Shamanism is Making a Comeback

When Degi, a 24-year-old web designer in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, hit a pedestrian in July 2008 with his Daewoo sedan, his luck took a turn for the worse. His company didn’t get a contract he was hoping for, and misfortune seemed to hover over his personal life. The family of the victim extorted money from him, threatening to sue and warning him that they had connections in the courts. So Degi, like many Mongolians, took his troubles to a shaman.

Shamans -- people who purportedly have a direct link to the world of the spirits of dead ancestors -- have an ancient history among Mongolians. During the Communist era in Mongolia, shamanism came close to disappearing. In the early 1990s, there were only a handful of shamans -- perhaps 10 -- practicing in the country, according to Bumochir Dulam, the chair of the social and cultural anthropology department at the National University of Mongolia.

Over the last 15 years, though, shamanism has been making a comeback. And over the last year, it’s boomed. Shamanism is a decentralized practice, and there are no statistics measuring the numbers of shamans and those seeking help from shamans, but "it’s unbelievable how much the number has increased," Bumochir said. Shamanism is now reentered the mainstream in Mongolia, even among the urbane youth of the capital Ulaanbaatar. It’s reached a point where shamans advertise on television, and even well known actors are becoming shamans. "Everyone is talking about shamanism these days," Bumochir said.

Explanations as to what’s driving the trend depend on your level of belief in the phenomenon, Bumochir said. "Like many Mongols, I am between believer and non-believer," he added. The most cynical explanation is that the anything-goes new world of capitalism in Mongolia has created opportunities for charlatans. And there are no doubt many charlatans among today’s new shamans, he said: "It’s a very easy way to make a lot of money, to buy a Land Cruiser and an apartment and have a nice life."

But that doesn’t explain everything, he added. Shamans usually accept their calling after a period of "shamanic sickness," in which the person (and sometimes his or her family members) undergoes a difficult period of bad health and bad luck. The afflicted person then consults with an experienced shaman, who uses his or her links to the spirit world to convey the message that one of the afflicted’s ancestors needs a conduit to the human world, and has chosen that person to be a shaman. "Some of them accept their destiny as a shaman, and some of them fight," Bumochir said.

Some who accept their fate are from rich families who have nothing to gain by becoming shamans. Bumochir said he knew of one prominent Mongolian diplomat who was serving in the United States, whose teenaged child came down with shamanic sickness and eventually had to move back to Mongolia and become a shaman. "What about these people? They don’t have any reason to become a shaman. So we have to look for other answers," he said. "Shamans are asking too, ’Why now do we have so many shamans?’"

Bumochir offered a traditionally Mongolian take on the situation: he explained that a clash in the spirit world may be going on between "black heaven" and "white heaven."

"When black and white heaven fight, the one who has more spirits is more likely to win. So now those spirits are recruiting new, let us say, soldiers," he said. Others have attributed the rise in shamanism to economic and cultural factors, saying the modernizing ways of many contemporary Mongolians is conflicting with the traditional, nomadic ways of their ancestors.

Udval, a 28-year-old woman in Ulaanbaatar, became a shaman in 2008 after a long period of shamanic sickness. To her, it was an experience of a troubled adolescence with some time as a street child, followed by an attempted migration to Turkey, where she got a job in a textile factory. She suffered chronic headaches and was itchy and hot all the time. "I thought maybe I was having allergies, or problems with the food," she said. But she moved back to Mongolia and the problems persisted. She visited a shaman, who told her that a male ancestor eleven generations back wanted her to become a shaman. "I was so frightened and cried for a long time," she recalled. But she was won over by pity for her ancestor. "He told the other shaman’s spirit ’I’m here alone in the empty desert,’ and so I decided to have the spirit."

Becoming a shaman involves very little learning, she said. "Before, I thought there might be courses to study," she said. "But the spirit leads everything," she said: She just had to learn a song to perform to get the spirit to enter her body. She is now a shaman and advises people on issues ranging from business problems to advice on what color car to buy.

Through word-of-mouth, Degi arranged a session with Udval to discuss his problems stemming from the car accident. On a Friday night, he brought along a friend (and this reporter) and drove the bumpy dirt road to Udval’s house just north of Ulaanbaatar’s center, where she lives with her mother, husband and baby daughter. (She learned she was pregnant just after accepting her ancestor’s spirit). While her mother cooked dinner and listened to the radio in the kitchen, Udval changed from a sweatsuit into a blue silk del (the traditional Mongolian dress) that her spirit had instructed her to make, accented with black ropes draped all along the chest and back, representing snakes.

She sat on a plastic stool in her living room, next to an altar with oil lamps and several bowls of aaruul, a curdled milk snack. She began to bang on a skin drum, slowly making it louder and louder, then softer. After several minutes she jumped out of the stool and began to hobble, and her husband gently led her to a cushion on the floor, where the normally shy and girlish woman took on a gruff demeanor and a man’s open posture, legs crossed, tapping her boot. Her husband served her -- now the spirit -- milk tea, the traditional Mongolian gesture of hospitality for guests.

Eventually, she, or the spirit, asked Degi to come forward and explain his situation. "This could be difficult," she said. But she told Degi what the spirit wanted him to do: she put a white thread and a black thread in some milk, told him to drink the milk and then keep the threads "until the grass grows again," the next summer. She gave him a small bowl of water, told him to take it outside the house and throw it out under his left arm, toward the northeast. She gave him some small stones and told him to carry them with him and drop one every three days, and also sacrifice a small amount of vodka and chant an incantation every night. And he was to gather any "black and shiny" clothes he had and use them as a pillow for the next seven days.

Looking dazed, he asked his friend to write down the list of instructions, and when Udval was finished he took the list and studied it intently. He reverently placed a 5,000-togrog note (a little more than $3) on the altar and quietly thanked her. As to whether he felt it would help, he didn’t say. Udval, too, looked dazed after coming out from the trance, as if she had just woken up. She looked at this reporter, and asked: "So, did that look strange?"

Source: EurasiaNet
http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav110509a.shtml

- A REAL HOTFOOT DEPARTMENT -

Villager Leaves Mysterious Burnt Footprints

Ab early morning walk to his farm has left footprints which burnt portions of grass on his village lawn. Villager Sikeli Nadiri, who lives in Daroko settlement, outside Savusavu, is baffled as he tries to figure out the cause of his mysterious brown prints.

The incident has attracted fellow villagers to his house to have a feel of his feet trying to find a clue to the mystery.

Mr Nadiri said it happened the previous week on Wednesday when he went to his farm to tend to his cows. The ground he walked on were seen scorched the next morning leaving footprints leading from his house to the farm.

He said on Thursday, villagers were talking about the strange footprints which had turned brown.

He was told of news when villagers noticed that the scorched portions of grass had started from his house. Mr Nadiri said he followed the footprints and told the villagers that it was his footprints but he had no idea how the withered portion came about.

Last week, police visited him on Tuesday and the ground he walked on during the interview was also affected.

The next day, Mr Nadiri said he followed the footsteps he took during the interview and noticed the same kind of footprints. The grass had withered and turned brown in colour.

Mr Nadiri said he had two sets of footprints in two separate weeks. He said he didn't step on any chemical before walking to his farm to check on the cows.

Mr Nadiri said if he had stepped on chemicals, his feet would have been affected. He said there were no traditional links or history related to his mysterious footsteps.

Strange it may seem, the incident has not stirred any fear or trouble in the village as the villagers continue to live their lives as usual.

Source: Fiji Times
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=132729

- STRANGE STUFF IN SIERRA LEONE -

Teenage Boy Claims Magic Turns Him Into Woman

Residents of Babadorie were recently griped with disbelief and fear to behold the mysterious transformation of fifteen years old boy to a woman.

The incident occurred on Sunday 24th October 2009, when the junior secondary school three, JSS 3 pupil, known as Yusiff Kamara transformed himself to what residents described as a very beautiful, attractive, charming and well presentable lady.

The mysterious boy was exposed during an attempt to use witchcrafts to kill one Corporal Rogers, a military officer attached to the Ministry of Defence.

The scene at the Lumley Police Division can best be described as chaotic, when throngs of people stormed the Division to see the boy, where he was detained for questioning.

This medium gathered from the Crime Section of the Lumley Police Division that Corporal Rogers on Sunday 25th October 2009 reported a case of assault and attempted murder.

Corporal Rogers reportedly told the Lumley Police that during the late hours of Saturday 24th October 2009, he was driving home when he came across an attractive young lady standing at the junction of Blue Bell along Spur Road in the west end of the city.

He reportedly decided to give the lady a ride. According to Lumley Police sources, the Corporal proposed to take the lady to a hotel; a request that the lady reportedly rebuffed and suggested that her house would be fine.

The lady reportedly introduced herself as Mabel Sesay, and skillfully led the officer to her home.

On arrival, Mabel left the officer in her room, and returned minutes later only for her to allegedly hit her guest with a stick on his face. The corporal is also quoted to have told the police that the lady mysteriously blew a heavy wind from her mouth on his face.

Griped with fear, the Corporal reportedly dashed out of the house shouting at the top of his voice for help.

By the time the neighbours intervened, the lady had already transformed herself to a teenage boy.

Fifteen years old Yusiff Kamara confessed to the Awareness Times at the Lumley Police Division that he became a member of a cult group since he was three years old. According to him, he was introduced to the group by his father, Samuel Kamara, adding that he now holds a very senior position in the group. The boy furthered that his mission is to spiritually transform himself into a woman to hunt men who go after prostitutes at night for sexual purposes. The sperm of his victims, he continued, is gathered and submitted to the Cultic Head, who, according to the boy, is residing in the Atlantic Ocean. He said the victim will afterwards be faced with severe hardship, troubles, diseases and ill-luck for the rest of his life.

"Our general mission is to totally get rid of men who go after prostitutes at night seeking sexual intercourse from them. This act hurts our kingdom so much that we are well determined to put a halt to it in our own way," the mysterious boy pointed out.

He said his kingdom is capacitated with millions of demonic members, who he informed, were listening as he was making his confession.

Source: Awareness Times
http://www.news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200513479.shtml

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