5/21/10  #573
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Don't touch that dial!  We control your television. We know what you watch. We have control of your computer - We have your email - We know what you want to read - And that is Conspiracy Journal!  Yes, once again it is time for your favorite email newsletter of the world of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and everything else weird and strange.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such curtain-climbing stories as:

- Scientists Create First Synthetic Life Form -
- Did the U.S. Army Help Spread Morgellons and Other Diseases?  -
-  Bigfoot: Alive and Living in Greater Minnesota? -
-
Royal Navy Does Not Keep Sea Monster Sighting Archive -
AND: Dostoevsky Images on Metro ‘Could Cause Suicides’

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


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- IT'S ALIVE...ALIVE DEPARTMENT -

Scientists Create First Synthetic Life Form

Scientists have created the world's first synthetic life form in a landmark experiment that paves the way for designer organisms that are built rather than evolved.

The controversial feat, which has occupied 20 scientists for more than 10 years at an estimated cost of $40m, was described by one researcher as "a defining moment in biology".

Craig Venter, the pioneering US geneticist behind the experiment, said the achievement heralds the dawn of a new era in which new life is made to benefit humanity, starting with bacteria that churn out biofuels, soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and even manufacture vaccines.

However critics, including some religious groups, condemned the work, with one organisation warning that artificial organisms could escape into the wild and cause environmental havoc or be turned into biological weapons. Others said Venter was playing God.

The new organism is based on an existing bacterium that causes mastitis in goats, but at its core is an entirely synthetic genome that was constructed from chemicals in the laboratory.

The single-celled organism has four "watermarks" written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and help trace its descendants back to their creator, should they go astray.

"We were ecstatic when the cells booted up with all the watermarks in place," Dr Venter told the Guardian. "It's a living species now, part of our planet's inventory of life."

Dr Venter's team developed a new code based on the four letters of the genetic code, G, T, C and A, that allowed them to draw on the whole alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks to write the watermarks. Anyone who cracks the code is invited to email an address written into the DNA.

The research is reported online in the journal Science.

"This is an important step both scientifically and philosophically," Dr Venter told the journal. "It has certainly changed my views of definitions of life and how life works."

The team now plans to use the synthetic organism to work out the minimum number of genes needed for life to exist. From this, new microorganisms could be made by bolting on additional genes to produce useful chemicals, break down pollutants, or produce proteins for use in vaccines.

It took years to first figure out how to make an artificial chromosome with assembled artificial genetic sequences. They then had to figure out how to transfer this into another bacterium.

At first, nothing happened. It turned out there was a single error in the more than one million "base-pairs" in the genetic sequence. "Our success was thwarted for many weeks," they wrote in their report.

"So accuracy is essential," Venter said

Their eventual goal: "Can a complete genetic system be reproduced by chemical synthesis starting with only the digitized DNA sequence contained in a computer?" they asked in their paper.

Venter said the team consulted many different experts in ethics before they started. The institute's Dan Gibson said they also briefed the White House because of the security implications -- the technique might be used to synthesize biological weapons, for instance.

Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, said: "Venter is creaking open the most profound door in humanity's history, potentially peeking into its destiny. He is not merely copying life artificially ... or modifying it radically by genetic engineering. He is going towards the role of a god: creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally."

This is "a defining moment in the history of biology and biotechnology", Mark Bedau, a philosopher at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, told Science.

Dr Venter became a controversial figure in the 1990s when he pitted his former company, Celera Genomics, against the publicly funded effort to sequence the human genome, the Human Genome Project. Venter had already applied for patents on more than 300 genes, raising concerns that the company might claim intellectual rights to the building blocks of life.

Source: Guardian (UK)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-form

- DEADLY PLAYTHINGS DEPARTMENT -

Did the U.S. Army Help Spread Morgellons and Other Diseases? 
By  Hank P. Albarelli Jr., Zoe Martell

I went to put some of the medicated salve on the lesions on my face and when I put the salve near them the filaments beneath my skin moved into a group and then moved away from the area I was going to treat. I was dumbstruck. I didn’t know what to think. I screamed for my husband to come … the damn things beneath my skin were alive; they moved to avoid treatment.
Morgellons victim, Vermont, May 2010.

One reader, former military scientist, Dr. Hanley Watson, revealed that the Army, “from 1950 to at least mid-1976” conducted “numerous experiments simulating biological or germ warfare attacks in dozens of locations across the country.” Said Watson, “Previously these experiments were downplayed by the Pentagon as ‘harmless tests’ occurring in about 8 areas in the US and employing benign substances, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Watson was referring to a 1976 Pentagon press conference during which an Army spokesman revealed that researchers with the Army’s Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal, both in Maryland, conducted “simulated germ warfare attacks, using nondisease [sic] causing biological substances in 8 areas of the US.” Among these experiments were a 1950 operation off the coast of San Francisco; a 1966 biological warfare experiment in Manhattan in which “the vulnerability of the New York subway system was tested”; and at least three experiments conducted in Pennsylvania, Fort McClellan, Alabama, and California with “fungal substances” to “perform field evaluations to determine vulnerability to enemy biological attack.”

As widely reported in the mid-1970s, the San Francisco experiment resulted in the death of at least one person. Additionally, the 1952 Alabama experiments resulted in a doubling of pneumonia cases in the surrounding areas. Nonetheless, Army officials stated, “There is nothing we have that shows any links between these tests and any outbreak of infection or any deaths.”

Army officials went on in defending themselves and the experiments by stating that the substance the Army used in many of the experiments was Serratia marcescens, which they maintained is harmless. Said the Pentagon, “The substance is present throughout the environment and is considered not to cause disease.” But other physicians said this claim is simply wrong. Several responsible physicians pointed out that Serratia marcescens does cause infection in humans; and is commonly found in bathrooms and public rest rooms. Doctors also state that some strains of the bacterium are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Eventually in 1976, the Pentagon amended its position, stating: “For some individuals who lack a capability to develop immunity to most disease Serratia marcescens could conceivably act as an opportunist and produce an infection.” Assumably, the Pentagon was not referring to AIDS patients, however, it is interesting to note that 1976 was about 6 years into its research on a disease that sounded remarkably like AIDS. Also, apparently the Pentagon was unaware of a 1946 Fort Detrick medical journal paper by Dr. Tom F. Paine, which detailed an Army experiment with Serratia marcescens that resulted in illness and infection in 4 subjects exposed to the bacterium delivered in aerosol form.

Explained Watson further, “The experiments conducted from the early 1950s through 1976 were many more in number than officially stated, and they were conducted in many more locations than the reported eight.” Added Watson, “In the 1950s and 1960s alone there were easily about two dozen experiments conducted in the New England area.” One of the larger experiments, as detailed in my book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments [1], is the strange, and allegedly coincidental, experiment at a Manchester, New Hampshire woolen mill that resulted in the anthrax-related tragic deaths of 4 mill employees. In September 1957, at the same time the outbreak took place, biochemists from Fort Detrick just happened to be on site at the mill performing tests with an anthrax vaccine. Fort Detrick researcher Dr. George G. Wright had developed the prototype vaccine being tested at the mill. Wright’s vaccine is essentially the same controversial serum administered today to American troops.

Watson also cited a number of Army experiments conducted during the same time period and later with spore-borne diseases. One of these experiments was conducted in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. There the Army used a fungal substance known as aspergillus fumigatus. Watson said that this fungal substance could result in disease and severe infection in humans. In addition to the aspergillus fungus, Watson and a former Fort Detrick microbiologist said the Army, through the Special Operation Division (SO) at Fort Detrick, experimented with several other fungus substances including spore-borne C. gattii from Australia, and with a “substance very much like Morgellons disease in its effects.”

This substance was referred to as “FD-CPX.” Said the former Detrick scientist, who worked under project MK/NAOMI, a joint CIA-Army program for 6 years, “CPX was a problematic substance for us. We worked with it in mutated form, and a number of sub-contractors came down with the disease and that caused all sorts of additional problems. They were still working with it when I left the post. I don’t know if SO ever got it right.”

The Mechanicsburg experiment took place, according to Pentagon officials, “in a warehouse in the area” that “was completely closed off to others not participating in the tests.” Said an Army spokesman, “The fungus was not released into the atmosphere outside the warehouse and presented no dangers to anyone unrelated to the activity.”

In light of future developments in Mechanicsburg, following the experiment, this assertion is difficult to accept. Several years after the Army activities, scientists in Pennsylvania began to notice that an unusually large number of animals, including cats, dogs and horses that had become ill from the fungus infection. Reportedly, the number of animals that became ill increased for a number of years.

Dr. Watson, along with two other former Fort Detrick researchers, including the late Dr. Henry Eigelsbach, also revealed an odd experiment that took place in Pascagoula, Mississippi and produced one of the most puzzling UFO and strange entity cases on record in America. This was the incident, detailed in Albarelli’s book, involving two local fishermen who claimed to have been abducted by aliens from a fishing pier in October 1973. Much overlooked in the case is that the pier was not far away from a former Fort Detrick research site, Horn Island. The barrier island was formally used from 1943 to 1945 by Army researchers, but former microbiologists with the military report that several experiments were conducted on the island, and other islands off the coast of Maryland, in the late-1960s and early1970s. Detrick microbiologists conducted intensive experiments on the islands “involving human research subjects” and a number “of natural hallucinogenics as well as advanced neuroscience techniques” aimed at the objection of producing “previously unexplored and unique psychological warfare methods.” Some researchers maintain that these experiments were part of the Army’s top-secret Operation Strange Man, which is said to have involved “mutated human subjects.” As unbelievable as these reports seem, there have been unexplained sightings, some by law enforcement officials, of very odd humanoid creatures in several of the related locations over the years. Said one of Watson’s former Detrick colleagues: “These were experiments involving human subjects that went way beyond what anyone could imagine. Some of the findings and technology was transferred to Southeast Asia during the later stages of the war there.”

Besides Horn Island, the Army’s Chemical Corps and Fort Detrick conducted numerous experiments at Plum Island off the coast of New York. Plum Island, originally known as Fort Terry, In the early 1950s it was under the command of the Army Chemical Corps, and then in 1954 it was nominally transferred to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the mission of its research was changed from “one which encompassed studies on various exotic animal diseases to determine both their offensive and defensive potentialities as biological warfare agents to one which pertains only to the defensive aspects of [animal diseases],” according to writer Michael Carroll, who wrote a book on Plum Island. Despite the changes made to the official record, research at Plum Island changed little in reality; diseases with the potential to be used as offensive agents continued, unhindered, and a close relationship remained in place between Plum Island and the Department of Defense.

Lyme disease is a tick-vectored spirochetal disease, which was identified in 1975 when a mysterious illness broke out among residents in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It rarely appears by itself in humans, with sufferers often testing positive for infection by several tick-borne diseases concurrently. The Plum Island animal diseases laboratory is located a mere twelve miles from the first identified cases of Lyme disease.

Research at the Plum Island facility is known to have included diseases carried by arthropods; in fact, Carroll describes in his book the historical presence of a large “tick colony” on the premises. Carroll’s history of the testing done at the facility indicates that outdoor, field testing of diseases was done on and near Plum Island, and also details numerous breaches in safety procedures throughout the history of the laboratory’s operation. In 1978, for example, a cattle disease called Hoof and Mouth disease escaped from the Plum Island, infecting cattle in neighboring areas.

According to declassified army documents, Fort Derick scientists also experimented widely with Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus (VEEV). Several documents cite that Fort Detrick assigned some its top researchers to efforts to weaponized the virus, but say nothing about the number of former Nazi biochemists who worked closely with Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal researchers, including the much overlooked German scientist, Dr. Gernot Bergold.

The U.S. Army’s Project Paperclip [2] secretly brought Bergold to the United States after the war. In America, Dr. Bergold, who under Hitler’s Third Reich headed the Nazi’s Entomological Department and the Department of Insect Vectors of the Division of Virus Research, secretly worked on the VEE virus for the military at Fort Detrick, and then at a military-sponsored facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Psychologist Dr. Karen Cronick, who now works in Venezuela, reports that in the 1970s, at about the same time Bergold was conducting his work with VEE, there was an outbreak of the virus in Michigan. This outbreak has been virtually blacked out by the media and state officials.

Dr. Cronick states, “The coincidence of these events has always troubled me. A tropical disease that was researched in Michigan suddenly appeared there in the general population. There is no way the insect vector that transmits the disease could get so far north by any normal migration. Could the Michigan outbreak have been a controlled experiment? It is the perfect place to carry one out: the Great Lakes and winter are natural limits to any unrestrained expansion of infected vectors.”

As reported in an earlier Voltaire Network [3] by this author, Morgellons disease, which was experimented with by Fort Detrick in the 1960s and beyond, has recently been reported as a “disease of high-level concern” in certain areas of the country, including Vermont, and Florida, Texas and California. For reasons thus far unknown, Morgellons seems to be wide spread among Vermont’s small population of 600,000. Some doctors in Chittenden County, Vermont’s most populated region estimate that about 300 people in the state have the disease.

According to a number of organizations dedicated to the study of Morgellons, there are about 15,000 people in the US suffering from the disease. Included in this number are many well-known names, singer Joni Mitchell, baseball player Billy Koch, and others.

Natasha Cebek, 44, who lives in Vermont with her 3 children, reported that she has had Morgellons disease for about 3 years. “I don’t really know how I contracted the disease,” she said in an interview this week. “I came to Vermont years ago to live in a clean, natural environment free from pollution and environmental assaults and never imagined anything like this would happen to me.”

Cebek says she has been to several physicians nearly all of whom “gave me a Stepford wives-type smile. One even offered to send me to a psychotherapist. That made me quite angry; I had been healthy all my life; I had taken special care to eat properly and live a quality life and to teach my children to do the same. I didn’t need psychological attention; I needed medical care; quality, expert care.”

Cebek states, “There’s no comfort in numbers. I’ve learned that well over a hundred people have sought treatment for this disease at the same facilities I’ve visited. That’s a major outbreak in my view; that’s a major public health problem, but health officials here don’t speak about it publicly.”

Kathleen Vanoudenallen, a registered nurse who is a close friend of Cebek’s, and who has intensively studied Morgellons for years, and first diagnosed Cebek, stated this week, “I don’t think there’s much doubt that Morgellons looks like something that has been altered, something not natural that may have been created in a lab, something weaponized. Some former military researchers say they worked on just such a disease years ago. How it got out into the general population is anyone’s guess. Nobody wants to go the record with information about the government’s work with the disease.”

Recounted Cebek, “When I learned that this disease could possibly be a result of covert biological warfare work performed by our government I was outraged. I wanted to scream, to smash the wall. How dare they do this to unsuspecting citizens? How dare they use people like this? What gives them the right? Who the hell do they think they are?”

Source: VoltaireNet
http://www.voltairenet.org/article165450.html

- STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE DEPARTMENT -

Bigfoot: Alive and Living in Greater Minnesota?

BENA, Minn. - Bigfoot alive and living in northern Minnesota?  The co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say, "100 percent yes."

They said they  have received more than 75 reports of sightings, captured images, and Bigfoot footprints in just three years. They're sharing their insight while sorting fact from fiction as they take KSAX on the hunt for Bigfoot.

"I'm a skeptic of Bigfoot because I've trapped this whole area and never, ever did we see any Bigfoot tracks or see Bigfoot anywhere," William Tucker of Bena said.

Long time trapper William Tucker is anything but a believer, but just miles away from Bena, mind boggling footprints were found.

Each track was a bit different, different pressures, different depths, eliminating the possibility of some sort of footprint stamp.

This is just one of the things the co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say confirms the fact, Bigfoot is out there.

"I'm 110% convinced that it exists. There's just too much evidence, too many people's emotions showing when they recount their stories," Bob Olson, a co-founder of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society said.  "One lady cries when she recounts her story of how this thing stood up and looked at her. She felt it looked into her soul."

Since 2006, Olson and Don Sherman have received about 75 reports of similar Bigfoot sightings in Northern Minnesota, some of which have been captured on camera.

The most recent was captured in Remer. Though to some, the image may look like a man in a suit, a comparison with 6 foot 5 inch Bob Olson showed this man would have had to have been at least 7 feet tall.

Sherman and Olson say "wood knocking" is just one more way Bigfoot makes his presence known. Olson said Bigfoot responded to him at Carey Lake when he knocked on a tree five times.

What about bones? One KSAX reader says,  "I believe Bigfoot is 100% real, as are a lot of the other creatures of Cryptozoology. But i believe in their true form, they are spiritual creatures, that manifest in flesh as they so desire. That is why we will never find bones, or other such evidence of them."

On the other side of the coin, Olson says giant bones belonging to Humanoid creatures were found in the late 1800's, stretching 10 to 12 feet.

While there haven't been any Bigfoot skeletons found, many trappers say they've never come across any bear, wolf, or other large animal skeleton either.

Other signs Bigfoot exists include branches plucked straight out of trees, strange looking shelters, and stick men to warn other Bigfoot of humans in the area.

"When there's stuff that doesn't go away, there's gotta be something to it and the evidence just keeps mounting up," Olson said.

For some Bena residents, the legend of Bigfoot is far from a tall tale.

"I never seen it, but like I says I believe in it," New Prague resident Leo Hinderscheid said.

"I don't know what to say Megan but I believe in it and that's the way it will be," Helen Tibbetts of Bena said.

So, the hunt for Bigfoot continues.

If you've seen, heard, or had some kind of Bigfoot encounter, Bob and Don want to hear about it! You can reach them at 218-308-1451.

On a related note, according to FlashNews, Bigfoot mating season is underway in the Florida Everglades and the furry, horny creature is out for blood.

Dave Shealy, an RV park owner in Ochopee, Florida, is the leading researcher of the Skunk Ape, Bigfoot’s “smaller, smellier cousin.”

He says there are seven to nine Skunk Apes currently living in the Everglades and right now is the best time to spot one because it’s their mating season.

Lately, he’s heard lots of campers report strange sounds coming from the swamps. He figures it’s the Skunk Ape’s mating call, which sounds like a low-pitched dove cooing.

Though Skunk Apes are generally shy, Shealy says women on their periods should be careful when hiking the area because the cryptoids are attracted to the scent of menstruation.

They’re also aroused by used lingerie, so female campers shouldn’t hang their panties out to dry because, in his words, “That’s like raising a flag and inviting them in.”

Source: KSAX
http://ksax.com/article/stories/S1566237.shtml?cat=10230

- 4.7958 DEPARTMENT -

The Hidden Roots of the 23 Enigma

In the Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea I first encountered the rudiments of the 23 enigma. As the history of the origin of the 23 enigma has it, Robert Anton Wilson first heard of this puzzling bit of Forteana from William Burroughs. Writes Wilson in the May, 2007 issue of Fortean Times:

    "According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark's ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23."

This chain of events so struck Burroughs, that he began to collect data on odd incidents and synchronicities involving the number 23. The 23 enigma did not, however start with Burroughs' Captain Clark in the 1960's. Neither did it start with what is probably the earliest example from Burroughs' collection of cases involving the 23 enigma and notorious gangster Dutch Schultz during the 1930's. Inspired by Burroughs, Wilson began to collect data on the 23 enigma after 1965, and it is said that he believed that Burroughs' was the first person to notice the 23 enigma. But that notion of the 23 enigma can be found decades earlier as the following three examples demonstrate.

I was leafing through the pages of the German pre- second world war occult periodical Zentralblatt für Okkultismus, in search of something else, when I found an intriguing item on page 460 in its July, 1930 edition. It was written by Rolf Zahlmann and entitled 'Schicksalszahlen' (Fateful Numbers).

Rolf Zahlmann, Schickzahlszahlen, Zentralblatt für Okkultismus, July 1930.

In it, Zahlmann writes:

    "Eight years ago I read in the book Der Geist meines Vaters by Maximilian Dauthendey, that the number 23 had played a possessive part in his life. The occult began to resound in my being. I was curious, if in my life too, a number would obtain a special meaning. To my surprise I noticed that I was a companion in fate of my fellow country man. I am born at a twentythird...."

After which Zahlmann lists a number of correlations in eventful affairs in his life with the number 23, ending with the remark:

    "...The list could be substantially expanded."

Zahlmann referred to German painter, poet and writer Maximilian Dauthendey (1867 - 1918). Dauthendey's Der Geist Meines Vaters was published in Germany in 1912. About his strange affiliation with the number 23, and describing himself as a ‘numbers fanatic' who kept a keen eye on lucky and unlucky numbers in daily life, Dauthendey had this to say:

    "My burdensome fateful number that accompanies me throughout the entire life is the number 23. Twentythree years after the death of my mother my father died, and I can be certain, that always the twentythird of the month delivers some burdening message, a twist of fate, a rare case of luck or an extraordinary case of bad luck..."

Max Dauthendey, Der Geist meines Vaters, München, Albert Langen Verlag, 1921 edition.

Then there is the strange case of motorcycle patrolman Charles Stahl, of Alton, Illinois. The 23 enigma somehow had developed a liking for him. "No. 23 Following Patrolman Stahl", as the header of a short article in the Alton Evening Telegraph of 30 October, 1940, announced.

    "Motorcycle Patrolman Charles Stahl of 436a East Eight street waited with interest today to see if it were to be 23 for him as result of the draft lottery in the national capitol.

    "Stahl rides city motorcycle No.23 which bears city licence No.23 And between 2 and 3 p.m. Monday he rode to the headquarters of the local draft board in the Armory of Battery F of the 123rd Field Artillery to see what number had been assigned him.

    "It was No. 2323."

Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois, 30 October 1940.

Stahl returned the curious affliction that the 23 enigma had for him. He tried to secure a state automobile licence numbered 232323. As the Alton Evening Telegraph of 17 December, 1940, noted:

    "His request was not precisely filled. He drew number 232322. "Those 23's are evidently in real demand, Stahl remarked."

Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois, 17 December 1940.

The strange twist in Stahl's 23 enigma was published nationwide in a number of American newspapers (sofar I counted four), with headers such as ‘Figure 23 Dominates Cycle Patrolman's Days' and ‘Blue Coat Finds Figure 23 Important.'

Source: Charles Fort Institute Blogs
http://blogs.forteana.org/node/119

- AWWW, YOU'RE NO FUN DEPARTMENT -

Royal Navy Does Not Keep Sea Monster Sighting Archive

Sailors can note unusual sightings on the ocean waves in their ship's logs, the Navy said.

But they are not required to do so and none of the information is assembled in a central archive devoted to sea monsters.
 
Any sightings of strange marine animals reported to the Navy by the public are passed on to the UK Hydrographic Office, which provides charts and other navigational services for mariners.

Details of the Navy's policy on giant creatures of the deep emerged in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

A marine biologist inquired whether the Ministry of Defence held records about "abnormally large or dangerous sea monsters hundreds of metres under the sea" that had not been revealed to the public.

In reply an official wrote: ''The RN (Royal Navy), and MoD in general, does not maintain any form of central repository of information purely devoted to sea monsters.

"Personnel might be inclined to record unusual sightings in ship's logs but there is, as far as we know, no actual requirement for them to do so, and it would be beyond the resource constraints of an FOI request to check every line of every RN log book for any such references since 2005.

"However, the RN does invite people to report sightings of marine mammals, and it's possible this could include unusual sightings.

"These are forwarded to the UK Hydrographic Office at Taunton."

The MoD's stance on sea monsters contrasts with the policy on UFOs it maintained for more than 50 years.

Thousands of reports of strange sights in the skies were recorded by the military's UFO investigation unit until it was shut down on December 1 last year.

Old maps often included illustrations of fearsome sea dragons and serpents and there are many tales of mariners' encounters with weird creatures.

Dr David Clarke, an expert in unexplained phenomena, said the Navy showed an interest in sea monsters in the 19th century.

The National Archives in Kew, west London, contain several historic Royal Navy files about strange sightings on the oceans, he said.

These include an 1830 report sent to the Admiralty in London by the captain of the ship Rob Roy about a "great thundering big sea snake" measuring about 129ft long seen by his crew in the waters near the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic.

Another file records how Commander George Harrington, captain of the Castilian, saw "a monster of extraordinary length" rear its head out of the sea, again near St Helena, in 1857.

Dr Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said: "At this time they were exploring areas of the world where they thought there may well have been such creatures living.

"I have looked at some of the ship's logs in the National Archives, and there are instructions about what people should record.

"Any unusual observations of any kind should be recorded in the ship's log."

He said the MoD would argue that it was only funded for defence and not to investigate strange phenomena.

"They should be recording those kind of things, but I don't think anybody is recording them," he said.

"It's short-sightedness – but that's bureaucracy."

Source: Telegraph (UK)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7730281/Royal-
Navy-does-not-keep-sea-monster-sighting-archive.html

- DRIVING THEM OVER THE EDGE DEPARTMENT -

Dostoevsky Images on Metro ‘Could Cause Suicides’

The author of Crime and Punishment never had a reputation for lightness in his soul. Now the Moscow authorities have postponed the opening of a metro station named after Fyodor Dostoevsky over fears that illustrations from his works that decorate it could turn the station into a "mecca for suicides".

The new station was decorated with black and white marble mosaics of scenes from Dostoevsky's most famous novels, including Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. But unsurprisingly for a writer famously preoccupied with death, the scenes include images of suicide and murder.

On one wall, Rodion Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment brandishes an axe over the elderly pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, his murder victims in the novel. Near by, a character from Demons holds a pistol to his temple.

The pictures quickly caused a sensation. Bloggers and websites called the images that appeared on the internet in April "depressing" amid speculation that the images could attract suicides.

The opening of the station, which was meant to be today, has been put back indefinitely. The metro has refused to comment but the daily Izvestia claims that it was the transport system's chief who raised the question of changing the decorations when he visited the site last week. Sources at the metro told The Independent that the controversy was convenient cover for the fact that the stations are not ready.

The fate of the murals is now in the hands of Moscow's Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, a man familiar with controversial public art. His love of monolithic bronzes by the Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli has bitterly divided Muscovites. He recently had to back down from plans to put posters of Stalin up around the city for Victory Day.

Whatever the Mayor decides, Ivan Nikolaev, the artist behind the murals, is unapologetic. "What did you want? Scenes of dancing? Dostoevsky doesn't have them," he told Izvestia. "I tried to convey Dostoevsky as a man, an artist, a philosopher."

Source: The Independent (UK)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dostoevsky-images-
on-metro-lsquocould-cause-suicidesrsquo-1973964.html

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