5/10/15  #820
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This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such icy tales as:

- What It's Really Like to Live with Morgellons Disease -
-  Mexico’s Bizarre Zone of Silence -
"Dinosaur-Like" Birds Spotted Around The U.S.
AND: The Beast of Bladenboro

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

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America's Strange and Supernatural History

Find out what the "Powers That Be" Don't want you to know regarding the truly hidden - occult - history of the United States.

No one would likely dispute the fact that times are stranger in America than ever before, and indications are that things are getting weirder with each passing day. But a look at our hidden – SECRET – history alerts us to the startling fact that our country has been steeped in “high strangeness” since its founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, provocatively, even before.

It is nevertheless apparent that our proud nation owes a great “debt of ingratitude” to the mysterious, the macabre, the downright bizarre and the unseen realm of the occult. Did the ancient Lemurians, a Pacific Ocean race similar to the fabled Atlanteans to the east, erect the mysterious walls found in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay area? Writer Olav Phillips explores the enigma first hand.

Sean Casteel provides an overview of historical incidents of cannibalism, stories that go back as far as “The Starving Time” of the Jamestown colony in 1609, and Wm. Michael Mott offers up some of the UFO and creature sightings he has collected from the state of Mississippi.

Publisher/writer Timothy Green Beckley and his friend Circe returned to Sleepy Hollow, New York – of “Headless Horseman” fame – and discovered that paranormal activity is still rampant there, while author Tim Swartz would like suitable explanations for all the supernatural mysteries of his native Indiana.

In a Bonus Section: “The Spiritual Destiny of America” - The future of America as seen through the eyes of prophecy and the occult is revealed. You can feel the chills already, eh? Read “America’s Strange and Supernatural History” and get ready to kick those chills up a notch or two.

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- IT CAN'T BE IGNORED ANY LONGER DEPARTMENT -

What It's Really Like to Live with Morgellons Disease
By Cindy Casey Holman as told to Diana Pearl

According to a press release from the Charles E. Holman Foundation for Morgellons Disease, Morgellons is a multi-system infectious disease that presents itself in the form of severe fatigue, forgetfulness, memory loss and fibers in the skin that cause lesions.

Famed singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell, who is currently in the hospital, has stated in the past that she has struggled with the disease. "I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it's from outer space," she told the Los Angeles Times. "Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: They cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral." The disease has long confused the medical community.

Her health scare has thrust Morgellons disease back into the spotlight. PEOPLE spoke with Cindy Casey-Holman, who's lived with Morgellons for over a decade and currently serves as the executive director of the Charles E. Holman Foundation, about what it’s really like to live with this disease. Here, she describes her own battle.

It starts like a bug bite.

Just a patch of itchy, red, raised skin, looking much like a mosquito bite would. But then more start to spring up, and before you know it, your skin is covered in lesions. They're painful – and they just keep getting worse and worse.

On top of that, there's endless fatigue and increased forgetfulness and memory loss. I could sleep for 16 hours and still wake up exhausted. My husband started noticing that when he would ask me a question, I'd take a long time to answer. It felt like my brain wasn't working.

These are the symptoms that characterize Morgellons, a disease I've been suffering from for over a decade. But perhaps even more frustrating than dealing with these ailments is the fact that Morgellons is still not recognized in many medical communities. In my journey to diagnosis and treatment, I've encountered countless doctors who smirked and rolled their eyes at me. Some even tried to diagnose me as delusional.

Morgellons has long confused the medical community. When I first started exhibiting symptoms in the mid-'90s, I had no idea what it was, either. Lesions had been popping up all over my legs in smaller numbers. But it wasn't until 2003 that they broke out all over my body. I was miserable, so I decided to seek out medical care.

It seemed like a skin condition, so I went to a dermatologist. The first didn't offer me any help. Neither did the second, or the third. After the sixth dermatologist sort of rolled their eyes at me, I began to wonder, "What is going on here?"

And the crazy thing is, I'm a medical professional. I've been a nurse my whole life. It was hard not getting a diagnosis, and beyond that, just not really knowing.

Clues and Clarity

Because of the doctors' refusal to diagnose me, I had no idea what I was suffering from. But one day, a friend called me and told me she might have found the answer. "Watch the news tonight," she told me. "There's a story about a condition called Morgellons, and it looks exactly like what you have."

I watched the news special, and in it, they recommended using a microscope on the lesions to view the fibers, which is the quality that's most indicative of a case of Morgellons.

That day, my husband went and got a handheld microscope, and we went and looked. Sure enough, there were fibers all embedded into my skin. It wasn't just on the lesions – there were webs of fibers all over my skin, even in the unbroken areas.

A common misconception when it comes to Morgellons is that these fibers are of a textile nature. Thanks to a greater level of scientific research on the disease, we know now that these fibers are made of collagen and keratin, and our own bodies produce them.

Finally Getting a Diagnosis

Crazily enough, even with this knowledge, I still couldn't get a diagnosis. I had seen the fibers, and I knew what Morgellons was, but nothing. Nothing, that is, until I found a Lyme disease specialist in Texas in 2004. That's when I got both a Lyme disease and a Morgellons diagnosis.

Lyme disease and Morgellons are connected, although we still don't know exactly what this connection is. But Lyme disease really brought Morgellons to life because it was Lyme disease specialists that kept seeing it in their patients. Oftentimes, the same bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia, is present in Morgellons patients, too.

With Morgellons, the frustration isn't just due to a lack of a diagnosis but the inaccurate diagnoses that people try to give you. For me, the most difficult to deal with was when doctors would tell me that I was delusional. I had a full neuro-psych evaluation, and they tried to put me on an anti-psychotic, which I declined.

I was really distraught throughout the whole experience, but my husband kept saying, "We can fight this. This is so wrong." He knew we could make a difference.

Raising Awareness

So that's when we started the foundation, now called the Charles E. Holman Foundation for Morgellons Disease in honor of my husband, who passed away in 2007. Almost immediately after I received my diagnosis, my husband transformed what was once our wedding website into the foundation's website. We received nonprofit status in 2006.

Our goal is to raise awareness about Morgellons and also to find out more about this disease. The research we've done and the science we've found through the foundation is a huge part of my story. Now there have been a number of articles published about Morgellons, which offer scientific proof to discredit negative rumors about the disease.

Joni Mitchell, who is probably the highest-profile sufferer of Morgellons, may be a celebrity, but she isn't exempt from the judgment that those with this disease face.

Mitchell reached out to the foundation back in 2008, and from early on, she told me two things: Never read your reviews, and the media is not our friend. And she would know. She's dealt with criticism for this all her life. It's criticism that I know well, too.

Thankfully, I'm much better now. I have a great dermatologist here in Austin, Dr. Jason Reichenberg, who takes the Morgellons debate seriously. In fact, he's the author of the only medical textbook chapter on Morgellons in existence. It took me nine years to find a dermatologist who would take this seriously.

There are hardly any lesions on my body anymore – just a few small spots on my legs, back and arms. What's really helped me is long-term antibiotics. It took over a year for them to truly be effective, but eventually, they started working. They gave me back my quality of life.

Source: People
http://www.people.com/article/morgellons-disease-first-person-cindy-casey-holman

- ON THE EDGE OF SHADOWS DEPARTMENT -

Mexico’s Bizarre Zone of Silence
By Brent Swancer

There is no denying that this planet of ours abounds with strange wonders. From the highest mountains, to the most desolate deserts, to the eternal night of chasms at the bottom of the sea, there are anomalous places scattered throughout our world that have managed to elude our efforts to explain them, have challenged our views of reality, and have stoked the fires of our imagination for centuries. In the blazing, unforgiving Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico, one such place exists; a wandering mystery zone where all forms of radio and TV signals fail to penetrate and which has been ground zero for a variety of UFO phenomena and numerous unexplained events.

What has become known as the “Zone of Silence,” or La Zona Del Silencio, is located in a barren patch of desert in the Bolsón de Mapimí region in Durango, Mexico, around 400 miles south of El Paso, Texas. It is a remote area, with the nearest human settlement of any size being the quiet town of Ceballos, some 25 miles away, which ekes out a living in the harsh, parched landscape. The area once was under a vast ocean in prehistoric times, and marine fossils and shells can be found among the scrub, which has given the area its other nickname, the Mar de Tetys, or The Sea of Thetys. This is a desolate, lonely place seemingly as barren and alien as the surface of some other planet, and over the centuries has become synonymous with a wide range of strange, inexplicable phenomena.

Locals have known something was weird about the area since at least the mid-nineteenth century, when farmers would occasionally complain of searing hot pebbles that mysteriously rained down from the sky from time to time, even on perfectly clear days. It was also said that some of the plants and animals living here displayed mutations and deformities. There have also long been reports that the area has the effect of instilling a certain sense of deep unease, and can distort perceptions or cause visual and auditory hallucinations.

The region has been known as an intense UFO hotspot for many years. Over the years, many reports accrued of travelers and ranchers in the area seeing orbs of light or fireballs cavorting about in the sky or streaking across the horizon. On occasion, these lights were said to descend and set the scrub brush ablaze. Nevertheless, despite the weird stories, this bizarre swath of desert remained mostly unknown to the outside world.

The area first came into the public consciousness in the 1930s, when a Mexican pilot by the name of Francisco Sarabia reported that his plane’s instrumentation had gone haywire and his radio had ceased to function while on a routine flight over the region. In the 1970s, an Athena missile carrying containers of the radioactive element cobalt 57 launched from White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico and suddenly and inexplicably malfunctioned over the area and crashed. It was reported that the missile had suddenly veered wildly off course, almost as if it had been drawn by some mysterious force. Considering the rocket’s radioactive payload, a recovery mission was immediately launched. The missile was eventually found in a remote area and removed along with tons of irradiated soil. When the military went to investigate, it was also found that radio signals and all communications equipment failed to work there for some unknown reason. A few years later, it was reported that booster rockets used for the Apollo project broke up and crashed into the area as well.

An organic chemist by the name of Harry de la Pena had already documented the zone’s unique characteristic of creating a “dark zone” of radio communications in 1966 while on a photographic survey. While out exploring with some companions, it was noticed that walkie talkies ceased to operate in the area, and portable radios showed a dramatically diminished capacity, only barely audible even at full volume. It would be later found that television signals also failed to penetrate the zone, and to this day it is said that TVs will not work here. For whatever reason, the Zone of Silence seems to have the ability to severely dampen all television, radio, short wave, microwave, or satellite signals, rendering all devices utilizing these all but useless.

This phenomenon has since been studied by scientists from all over the world, yet no definite cause has been found yet. It is thought that perhaps the effect is created by magnetic anomalies caused by a large amount of the iron ore magnetite in the area, as well as a high level of meteorite activity, which has imbued the soil with various minerals and ores that could possibly create magnetic disturbances that have an effect on radio waves. There has also been discovered in recent years large reserves of uranium in the mountains facing the zone, although it is unclear what effect this would have on transmissions. One of the strangest things about the Zone of Silence is that it tends to move around, with its exact location shifting and unpredictable.

Magnetic anomalies and the inability of all manner of radio waves to work here are far from the only bizarreness of the Zone of Silence. For years there have been various strange accounts from people passing through the region of all manner of high strangeness. One recurring story is that of a trio of blonde-haired strangers that are occasionally seen wandering the landscape here. Allegedly the trio is made up of two males and one female who are dressed in clothes that are inappropriate for the desert environment. Those who have met them say they are very physically attractive, extremely polite and speak perfect Spanish with a slightly musical lilt. The strangers are said to sometimes ask ranchers for water, but never food or anything else. When asked where they are from, their typical response is to say “from above.”

These beings, whoever they are, are said to be non-threatening and in fact are rather benevolent in nature. One scientist working at the desert “Biosphere” research station in the area reported how he had wandered away from the facility and became lost. It was then that he was approached by a trio of tall, blonde humanoids who guided him back to the research station before vanishing. Interestingly, the Biosphere itself has garnered a reputation for mystery. Although its official purpose is to study desert life, it has often been rumored to be doing secret experiments with animals, researching UFO phenomena, and conducting psychic research.

One bizarre account connected to the Biosphere and this strange trio comes from journalist Luis Ramirez Reyes, who visited the zone in November of 1978 as part of a news team covering the mysteries of the area. At the time, their destination was the mysterious Biosphere research station, but Reyes and his photographer got lost in the desert on their way. Since they had not brought food or water with them, the gravity of their situation was abundantly clear. As they drove along, Reyes saw a trio of figures walking ahead, and told the photographer, who was driving, to stop so they could ask for directions but the photographer didn’t see anyone and so continued on without stopping.

A short while later much further down the road, the truck again bizarrely passed by the same trio once again, and once again the startled Reyes told the driver to stop, but his companion still did not see anyone. Nevertheless, at the imploring of Reyes he stopped the truck. Reyes claimed to have asked the trio if they had seen a truck like their’s pass earlier but they said they had not. It was at this point that Reyes noticed that the people were not dressed or equipped at all for the harsh desert environment, despite the fact that they were on foot out in the middle of nowhere, far from any settlement. When asked where the Biosphere was, the odd strangers were only too happy to help, and pointed the journalists in the right direction. When they arrived at the Biosphere, they told the staff there of their encounter, but were met with the insistence that the research faculty were the only people out there for hundreds of miles. Who were those strangers? No one knows.

There are other reports of strange beings here as well. Perhaps one of the most well known accounts comes from a couple by the name of Ernesto and Josefina Diaz, who ventured into the area to collect fossils on October 13, 1975. As they sifted through rocks, they noticed that a storm was brewing on the horizon. Aware of the danger of flash floods and sudden storms in the area, the couple hastily packed up and drove off, but were soon caught up in a deluge of rain. Their new pickup truck became swiftly mired in mud, the tires quickly sinking down into the muck. As the couple struggled to free their vehicle, they noticed two unusually tall men wearing yellow raincoats and caps approaching them. The two strangers instructed the couple to get in their car while they pushed. When they complied, the truck was soon freed from the mud, but when Ernesto got out to thank the men, they were nowhere to be seen even though the terrain was totally flat and devoid of places to hide. There were also allegedly no footprints of any kind in the mud to show that anyone had been there at all.

Yet another odd tale was related by a Ruben Lopez, who was on his way to visit a relative in Ceballos when his engine began to experience difficulties and stalled. He then noticed 5 small figures several feet tall by the side of the road, who he at first mistook to be children. Upon closer inspection, he could see that the figures were wearing silver outfits and wearing helmets that opened in front, revealing clearly adult faces rather than the children he had been expecting. The figures began approaching the truck of the increasingly unnerved Lopez, who gunned the engine until it sputtered back to life enough for him to leave the weird beings in the dust. As soon as they were out of sight, the truck allegedly began working normally.

The region in which the Zone of Silence lies also remains a hotbed of UFO sightings, with many high profile accounts made here. One impressive sighting in particular happened in September 1976, at around 8:59 p.m. Residents of the town of Ceballos reported a truly immense flying object hovering at the outskirts of town, which was estimated to be a staggering 300 meters in length. The craft was described as being rectangular, and ringed with pulsing lights that changed colors from green to white to blue. From deep within it, some inscrutable machinery produced a deep thrumming and humming noise from its bowels. Allegedly, all of the dogs in the area went berserk, howling and barking incessantly until the immense object finally floated over the landscape to disappear from view in the direction of the Zone of Silence.

The heavy UFO activity reported in the zone has caused speculation running the gamut from plausible to fringe. Scientists tend to attribute the many UFO sightings here to the large number of meteorites that pass through the area. The Zone of Silence region boasts one of the highest concentrations of meteor strikes in the world, with small meteorites falling here practically daily. In fact, one of the largest known meteors to have ever struck the Earth crashed into the ground here at a place called Pueblito de Allende in February, 1969. What is now known as the Allende Meteorite came down at an estimated speed of 10 miles per second, creating a massive shockwave and cracking boom heard over vast distances that was one of the loudest sounds ever recorded. Witnesses said the flash produced by the meteor impact was like looking into a flashbulb. Another odd meteorite containing unusual crystalline structures estimated as being around 13 billion years old, far older than our solar system, crashed here in the 1950s, and there are constant falls of small, metallic orbs in the area that locals call guíjolas.

Incidentally, the presence of such spectacular meteorite activity may lie behind an archeological mystery to be found in the zone. Mysteries ruins that show no known link to known peoples of the area have been found that are estimated to be thousands of years old and are thought to have served as some sort of astronomical observatory, perhaps somehow linked with the intense meteorite activity. As of yet, no one knows the true purpose of this ancient observatory. It is also possible that the area’s magnetic aberrations have the ability to cause potent hallucinations, a phenomenon that has long been reported from here by locals and travelers alike.

Other theories point to aliens, with some theorizing that the zone represents a stopping zone for aliens or even a portal through which extraterrestrials or inter-dimensional beings travel. Magnetic anomalies such as those found in the Zone of Silence have long been associated with UFO activity and the ancient astronaut theory, with such travelers being said to be drawn to these potent magnetic zones for unknown purposes. Those that subscribe to this theory point out that Mexico’s Zone of Silence is near the Tropic of Cancer and lies along the same latitude south of the 30th parallel shared by other mystical sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and the Bermuda Triangle. Could the Zone of Silence be demonstrating phenomena similar phenomena that is seen with the Bermuda Triangle or other mystery zones?

Although the presence of alien spacecraft and beings from another world cannot be supported by any evidence, it certainly seems that something strange is going on in the Zone of Silence. The area with its magnetic aberrations seems to have the ability to draw things into it, perhaps the reason for why so many meteorites and rockets have come down here and quite feasibly somehow connected to the various other phenomena reported from here. To this day, no one is quite sure just what is going on here, and TVs and communications equipment still fails to work properly when caught up in the roving, ever shifting zone.

What so imbues this patch of Mexican desert with its bizarre oddities? Does this have anything to do at all with ancient aliens, inter-dimensional portals, and travelers from other worlds? Or is this all merely an unexplained curiosity of the natural world, perhaps mixed in with a healthy dose of folklore and overactive imaginations? It seems this remote, searing land of brutal heat, scrub brush and parched earth seems to be a place that holds mysteries that continue to elude us, and perhaps always will.

Source: Mysterious Universe
http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/05/mexicos-bizarre-zone-of-silence/

- ON THE WINGS OF NIGHTMARES DEPARTMENT -

"Dinosaur-Like" Birds Spotted Around The U.S.

A man has claimed that more than ten years ago he saw a dinosaur-like bird at a public park about 50 miles northwest of Tucson, Arizona.

28-year-old construction worker Ruben Navarrete said that he and a friend were driving through the north side of Eloy, Arizona, when he spotted the large bird 13 years ago at North Park, a place dedicated to provide the city residents with sports and a variety of recreational activities.

“I saw the bird  sitting on  top  of  some  over  grown  trees,” he said about the winged creature.

The man claims the sighting lasted about 15 seconds and that they did not stop the vehicle to investigate. His friend Rey, who was the driver at the moment of the sighting, did not see the animal.

“It was huge. The way I’d describe it… it sounds crazy but it was like the dinosaur bird,” he explained, referring to the extinct flying reptile known as pterosaur, Greek for “wing lizards”.

Its color, he said, was dark brown and its skin did not have feathers nor hair. Navarrete believes the size of the bird was about 12 feet in height.

In 1890, Arizona newspaper The Tombstone Epitaph reported that two ranchers had allegedly killed a “winged monster”, similar to an “alligator”, in the desert between the Whetsone and Huachuca mountains.

The city of Eloy, located in Pinal County, has a population of 17,000 and is the place of birth of ex-professional football player Levi Jones.

“Everybody in my family knows what I saw. Now that I know other people have seen something like I did, makes me want to let people know what I saw and that I’m not crazy,” said Navarrete.

Sighting in Alabama

A 53-year-old man says he and another person witnessed an “ungodly huge black bird” flying over their heads while boating in an Alabama lake.

Eclectic resident Jeff Wallace, who works as an engineers assistant, said that he was at Martin Lake Reservoir on a “midnight boat ride” with his family, mostly children, when they spotted the feathered creature at about 10 p.m. in July of 1998.

“I was running about 20 mph and this thing was gliding overhead and looking down into the boat,” Wallace said. “This incredibly large bird was gliding above our boat and keeping pace in a glide. As I was looking up at it, I saw its head moving, as if taking stock of the contents of the boat. My daughter’s boyfriend Bo Dreher eventually noticed me looking upward and looked up to see what I was entranced about, he looked just in time to see the bird flair its wingtips and disappear into the dark night sky. We were the only two in the boat that even noticed it.”

The boat, Wallace said, was about 19 feet long and the alleged bird was “almost as big”.

“It had a wingspan three to four times as wide as our boat. It was jet black, darker than the night sky. Its wings were flat across the tips as it glided, but flared out as it turned and flew off and upward to the South. The estimated wingspan would be about 20 to 30 feet. The birds body shape was that of a raven or crow, but extremely large. It had finger-like feathers.”

The man states that the sighting didn’t last longer than 10 or 15 seconds.

He believes that what they saw that night was an Argentavis magnificens, also known as Terrator and believed to be extinct. Remains of this bird, which lived in Argentina about 6 million years ago, were found by curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Kenneth Campbell.

“After doing a little research, I found this. This is what we saw that night,” Wallace explained.

Wallace believes that the animal was looking down at them from about 12 feet above the boat, and that it could have easily carried one of the smaller children away.

“Not me,… and still fly, anyway. I would have been quite a load for this bird, even back then.”

The man, a Florida native, says that the sighting  was “earth shattering” and that it changed his “whole view of the world” and that he was not under the influence of any substance.

“Definitely not. My father didn’t allow drinking at all. No drinking is, was or ever was allowed at his lake house. I had eight to nine children in the boat. I’m sure this thing saw my boat zipping across that dark lake that night and came down to have a look. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one on board who saw it,” Wallace said. “Seems the more you talk about these things, the more most folks think you’re nut cakes. Could care less who believes me or not.”

In 1927, a similar event took place in the Australian town of Fernvale when a few giant birds visited the area, causing panic among the town’s residents.

In 2012, an Ontario man photographed a large bird while fishing at Lake Huron with his father.

Lake Martin is a 44,000-acre lake located in Tallapoosa, Elmore and Coosa counties. It is formed by the dam built on the Tallapoosa River. In 2011, an EF4 tornado destroyed life and property across the lake.

Source: Cryptozoology News
http://cryptozoologynews.com/i-saw-a-dinosaur-like-bird-says-arizona-man/

- THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT DEPARTMENT -

Black Dogs and UFOs
By Nick Redfern

Three weeks ago a fascinating story was related to me by a colleague from my old home county of Staffordshire, England. “You’re not going to believe this one,” he told me excitedly down the phone. Well, I’ve heard some bizarre things in my time as an investigator of all-things weird, and so I sat back and listened to his story - that was provided to him by the person directly involved.

Essentially, the story centers upon a 1991 encounter with the unknown at a place called Castle Ring, which at 801 feet above sea-level is the highest point on a large area of forest in central England called the Cannock Chase. A plateau bordered by the Trent Valley to the north and the West Midlands to the south, the Chase is situated only several miles from where I grew up; and it is a beautiful, expansive area full of dense woods, a variety of wild animals, and magical tales of mystery and wonder.

Indeed, the area has a rich and long history of reported encounters with Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, big cats and even the occasional wallaby. It has also been the site of a number of disturbing animal mutilations that have been linked with occult activities.

Built between 500 BC and AD 40, Castle Ring is an Iron Age structure commonly known as a Hill Fort. Its main ditch and bank enclosure is 14 feet high and, at its widest point, is 853 feet across. Little is known about the people who built Castle Ring or its purpose, except to say that its creators were already in residence at the time of the Roman invasion and remained there until around AD 50.

But back to the story, which involves a historian and folklorist who lives in the English city of Lichfield. It is the historian’s belief that all of the weird activity that has occurred on the Cannock Chase - whether it be encounters of the alleged Bigfoot kind or ET kind - is a direct result of people dabbling in archaic rituals and rites designed to conjure up the denizens of some netherworld that co-exists with ours.

Such claims are not new, and having experienced more than a bit of high-strangeness myself on the Cannock Chase, I am highly inclined to believe that such a scenario is indeed the correct one. And it seems that the historian has good reasons for coming to such conclusions.

It was December 1991, around 10.00 AM on a cold winter morning, and the historian was walking around the Castle Ring, taking photographs, when his attention was drawn to a small, dense - and “hovering” - area of fog situated at a distance of about 250 to 300 feet. Curious as to what would cause such a phenomenon, he headed towards it, with some trepidation, he admitted. As he got within about 20 feet of the fog, he felt his hair become “static and electrified,” and an intense smell of burning metal filled the air: brimstone, no less.

But the bizarre activity had barely begun: suddenly, out of the fog loomed a large, and certainly monstrous, black dog. According to the historian, the dog looked in appearance like a cross between an Alsatian (or, for American readers, a German Shepherd) and a Pit-Bull, but was around the size of “a young horse.” The man detected an air of menace from the creature, which, he said, seemed to be “vibrating at a very high speed, like shaking impossibly quickly.” It positively oozed menace, and stamped its leg on the ground “like a bull would when it’s getting ready to charge.”

The man slowly backed away, and the black dog did likewise, retreating into the impenetrable depths of the fog. As the man reached a point perhaps 150 feet from the fog, he was both startled and shocked to see a small ball of light “zoom in” over the fog and duly cast down a vivid blue column of light in its direction. In an instant, the fog and the ball of light were gone, the black dog was nowhere to be seen, and normality was restored.

So, we might well ask: what on earth was all that about? Well, Britain has a long history and tradition of encounters with such black dogs. In centuries past they plagued the countryside, and to see one was considered an ill-omen, indeed. Death, disaster and untold tragedy were all said to follow an encounter with these spectral beasts. With names like Old Shuck, Black Shuck, and the Shug Monkey, they struck terror into the hearts of the people of Britain during the Middle Ages. Occasionally and curiously, however, the black dogs would act as guides for lost souls, directing them back to the safety of ancient pathways and roads, or direct them away from danger. But whatever they were, the black dogs were certainly nothing normal.

Today, encounters with such creatures are reported very infrequently, but they do occur - such as this one at the Castle Ring in 1991. Then, of course, we have the strange, aerial ball of light present at the Ring, that adds significant UFO overtones to the story. Can the whole weird saga be resolved? The historian believes it can.

Indeed, he is of the firm opinion that ancient man - who certainly constructed the Castle Ring - had mental abilities that extended far beyond our own, and was able to essentially tap into other realms of existence, and construct “from the mind” images of bizarre and monstrous beasts that inhabited those same realms.

The purpose? To act as guardians to prevent any harm being done to the areas that ancient man deemed to be of spiritual significance. It is the historian’s belief that some of the residual energy that led to the creation of these wild images is still in place at Castle Ring and elsewhere; and that when the time is right, they will once again manifest and take up their role as both guardian and protector of the old world.

I had come to similar conclusions myself a number of years ago. Of course, this raises deep and important questions about both Ufology and Cryptozoology, such as: how many of the still-elusive things that we pursue are flesh-and-blood entities, and how many may - in reality - originate in realms far stranger than we can possibly imagine? Certainly, the Cannock Chase has been the site of a number of Bigfoot-style encounters that have distinctly paranormal aspects to them, and that have occurred in the exact same locations where significant UFO activity has also been reported.

Needless to say, such observations have been made for decades by authorities such as John Keel. But, as this case serves to emphasize, whoever was responsible for those centuries old reports of ghostly black dogs, they were still up to their bizarre tricks deep in the heart of Castle Ring only 16 years ago.

Next time you visit a prehistoric site, keep one eye on the sky and one on the ground. If you’re lucky, you may see something far stranger than mere ancient, standing stones…

Source: UFOMystic
http://www.ufomystic.com/the-redfern-files/black-dogs-and-ufos/

- CAN'T SEE ME DEPARTMENT -

Spontaneous Human Invisibility
By Stephen Wagner

A woman named Melanie in Ventura, California had a strange experience while sitting on her own living room sofa. While just staring at the wall, she became, she believes, invisible. Her husband walked around the house looking for her. He even walked right by her -- just a few feet away -- and did not see her. The episode lasted about 10 minutes, then suddenly she was visible again.

This unusual story is one of several documented by Donna Higbee who is conducting extensive, ongoing research into a phenomenon she calls Human Spontaneous Involuntary Invisibility.

According to the anecdotes Higbee tells at her website, The Research and Writings of Donna Higbee, people suddenly and unexpectedly become invisible. They don't seem to feel any differently when this occurs, and they can see and move around normally, just as if nothing has changed. Yet other people don't see them. They are ignored -- totally -- as if they aren't there.

NOT IGNORED

The victims of this bizarre phenomenon attest that the experience is not the same as being ignored. Certainly, most of us have had feelings of being invisible in awkward moments at social occasions. But this experience is far different.

One of the anecdotes Higbee relates, in fact, takes place at a party. A 37-year-old man goes into a bathroom and comes out, apparently, totally invisible. He attempts to engage in conversation with several people, including his own girlfriend, but is ignored completely. He asks her for a cigarette, but receives no response. At first he thinks they are playing a joke on him and so returns to the bathroom in anger.

When he comes out again, it's as if nothing had happened. Everything is back to normal and he could be seen again.

Higbee has collected several of these stories, and in every case the phenomenon takes place spontaneously, without warning, lasts a few minutes, and then ends. Several people have fallen victim to the invisibility more than once -- they seem to be susceptible to it. She has even heard from people who claim to be able to occasionally control their invisibility at will.

Daniel S. felt he became invisible one day when he was with some friends who were setting off firecrackers. Daniel wanted them to stop because he was afraid the cops would show up and check IDs. This especially meant trouble for him because he had several unpaid tickets in his name. He was fearful of going to jail and losing his job. The police did show up, and they checked everyone's ID -- except Daniel's:

    "The cops started at the other end of the line (there were two lines, one in front of the other) of people. I was standing behind a friend, who was a girl. The cop asked each person to hand him their IDs as he passed down the line. Then he would take the ID and call in each person. I was the last one in the behind line. I was also the largest person there. I was even larger than the policemen. The cop never even acted like he saw me. He never asked me for my ID. Neither of the two cops paid any attention to me. All of my friends, except the two who were taken in by the police, thought I had left. Many asked me afterward where I went to hide. I told all of them that I was there. No one would believe me."

IS THERE EVIDENCE?

Higbee offers no explanations for the phenomenon, yet wonders if it is in any way related to the powers claimed by yogis and practiced members of the Rosicrucians, both of whom say that human invisibility is not only possible, but controllable. Higbee raises the possibility that this invisibility might somehow correlate to the experiences of UFO abductees. In the cases of many abductees, their abductors not only seem to be able to become visible and invisible at will, but the abductees themselves are often rendered invisible by their alien captors, transporting them through closed windows and solid walls all the way up to the spaceships which, themselves, may be capable of invisibility.

If the stories these victims relate are true, then it's difficult to know what to make of the phenomenon. But Donna Higbee continues to investigate it and to collect information and experiences from all those who are willing to share them.

Is there proof of any kind? How about photos? There have been some anomalous photos taken that allege to show partial human invisibility:

    A photo called "She's Lost Her Head" from the Coast to Coast website was taken in Las Vegas. When the fellow took the photo inside one of the hotels, a woman stepped in front of him -- but she doesn't seem to have a head. Her torso with her coat and purse strap are clearly visible, but her head is invisible.
    In this mystery photo at GhostStudy.com of a group of World War II soldiers, one of the soldiers in the background seems to be transparent. Is it a photo anomaly, a ghost or a case of human invisibility?

VOLUNTARY INVISIBILITY

The above cases concern people who seem to have become invisible spontaneously - unknowingly and without effort.

But what if you WANT to become invisible? Is there a method for achieving this?

    There is an unconfirmed story of a man who achieved invisibility through the use of his self-invented Electro-Helmet in 1934. Before witnesses, the story goes, he placed the helmet on his head, stepped into a cabinet and touched some "contact gloves" above his head. When an electric current was switched on, he gradually became invisible, from toe to head. The young scientist's body could be felt through touch, it is said, but not seen. Real or a magician's trick?
    Wingmakers, which says it gets its information from "guardians," has a webpage on inducing invisibility on small objects as well as your own body.
    Richard Bartle says he knows how to make invisibility paint. His witch's brew includes cob webs, slug's eye stalks, and the sting "from a poisonous cat" (?) among other things. The crazy ingredients seems to make the creation of the paint impossible -- which, of course, it is.

Source: Paranormal.about.com
http://paranormal.about.com/cs/humanenigmas/a/aa112403.htm

-I WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN DEPARTMENT -

Birthmarks and Reincarnation
by Larry Dossey    

Birthmarks are common, occurring in up to 80 percent of infants. Many fade with time, while others persist. Parents in Western cultures often refer to them as angel kisses, stork bites, or other cute terms that are intended to diminish the concern of the affected child.

There is widespread gender bias about the origins of birthmarks. In many parts of the world, they are believed related to the thoughts and actions of the mother. They are called voglie in Italian, antojos in Spanish, and wiham in Arabic, all of which translate to "wishes," because of the assumption that birthmarks are caused by unsatisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant woman does not satisfy a sudden wish or craving for strawberries, it is said that the infant may bear a strawberry birthmark; if she desires wine and does not satisfy the wish, a port-wine stain birthmark may result; if the desire for coffee is not satisfied, cafe au lait spots my result. In Dutch, birthmarks are called moedervlekken, in Danish modermaerke and in German Muttermal (mother-spots) because it was thought that an infant inherited the marks solely from the mother. In Iranian folklore, it is said that a birthmark appears when the pregnant mother touches a part of her body during a solar eclipse.2 Some beliefs hinge on "maternal impressions" — birthmarks and birth defects appearing when an expectant mother sees something strange or experiences profound emotional shock or fear.

Children Who Remember Previous Lives

    Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other.
    — Mahatma Gandhi

The late Ian Stevenson (1918-2007), who was Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Personality Studies at the Health Sciences Center, University of Virginia, investigated thousands of children who, about the age of two, begin making comments suggesting a previous life. In many of these cases, birthmarks and physical deformities in the child correlated with events in the alleged former life. For instance, malformed fingers corresponded to the amputation of fingers from a sword in a remembered lifetime; a birthmark corresponded to the entry and exit wounds of bullets in the remembered personality; congenital constriction rings in the legs of an individual mirrored being bound by ropes in a previous existence; the congenital absence of the lower leg corresponded to an accidental amputation of the leg in the previous personality; various birthmarks corresponded to burns, knife wounds, and various other traumas occurring in the life of the remembered individual.

In addition to memories, birth defects, and birthmarks, Stevenson believed specific behaviors might be carried over from life to life. For example, he found that children often experience phobias consistent with the mode of death of the remembered personality. A child remembering a life that ended in drowning might be afraid of being immersed in water. One who recalls a life terminated by a shooting might demonstrate a phobia for guns and loud noises. If death involved an auto accident, the child might be phobic of cars, buses, and trucks. These phobias often begin before the child can speak, and there may be no obvious factor in the family that might explain them.

Philias also occur. These may take the form of a desire for particular foods not eaten in the subject's family or for clothes that are entirely different from whose worn by family members. For example, there might be craving for tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs the previous personality was known to use, although they are tabooed in the current family.

Some subjects show skills they have not been taught or have not witnessed, which the remembered personality was known to possess.

Experimental Birthmarks

    If reincarnation is a useful biological idea it is certain that somewhere in the universe it will happen.
    — Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1993

Stevenson coined the term "experimental birthmark" to describe a custom found in several countries in Asia. In this practice, the body of a dying or recently deceased person is marked with a substance, most often soot, in the belief that if the individual is reborn the infant's body will bear a birthmark corresponding to the placement of the mark on the deceased — a death mark becoming a birthmark. The mark on the body serves as a kind of bar code confirming identity through time. Stevenson found that this custom was widespread in Asia, particularly in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). In the 1990s, he reported 20 such cases.

Psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker, who now occupies Stevenson's position at the University of Virginia, and psychologist H. H. Jurgen Keil, of the University of Tasmania, have reopened this line of research. In 2013 they reported 18 cases of experimental birthmarks — 13 in northeastern Thailand and five in Myanmar.

Two Cases

    I started out really young, when I was four, five, six, writing poems, before I could play an instrument. I was writing about things when I was eight or 10 years old that I hadn't lived long enough to experience. That's why I also believe in reincarnation, that we were put here with ideas to pass around.
    — Willie Nelson

Let's take a look at examples from the seminal paper on experimental birthmarks by Tucker and Keil.

Five years after her maternal grandfather died at age 59, Ning (not her real name), a girl, was born with an unusual birthmark in Loei province in Thailand. The birthmark carried special significance in Ning's family. At the time of her grandfather's death, one of his daughters decided to mark his body about two hours after he had expired in order to determine if rebirth occurred. She scraped soot from the bottom of a rice pot with her index finger and made a black mark above the deceased man's right lateral ankle.

The daughter doing the marking, Ning's aunt, made a mental wish that her father would take the mark with him should he be reborn, as a sign he had been reincarnated. Following her father's death, Ning's mother, a sister of the woman who marked the body, dreamed more than ten times about him shortly after he died. In the first dream he told her that he wanted to live with her family again.

Ning's birthmark was a flat, hyperpigmented nevus on her outer right lower leg. It was in good agreement with the location of the mark her aunt made on her grandfather's body.

Had the grandfather reincarnated as Ning, or was the correspondence of the marks a coincidence? Gender crossovers at rebirth are considered common in cultures that believe in reincarnation. Sometimes the ostensible reincarnated individual will speak of a former life as the deceased person, but Ning said very little that could be construed as a previous existence. One possible link, however, was that she vigorously opposed her mother's interest in gambling; the grandfather had also criticized his daughter's gambling habit. Another behavior of interest was that Ning stood while urinating approximately half of the time. Other cases have been reported in which girls who urinate while standing up claim to remember previous lives as males.

Another case reported by Tucker and Keil involves not one but two experimental birthmarks. Mya (not her real name), a girl, was born outside of Yangon, Myanmar, and raised by her maternal aunt and her husband. Her maternal grandmother had died of kidney disease at 68, nine years before Mya was born. About 2 hours after she died, her daughter, Mya's aunt, made two marks on her body with soot — one on the lateral surface of the left leg just proximal to the ankle, the other on the medial surface of the right leg on and distal to the ankle.

Before Mya's mother became pregnant with her, she dreamed three times that her mother said she wanted to come live with her. Mya's mother initially said no, but the grandmother became more insistent and her mother eventually said, "As you wish." She became pregnant one month later. When Mya was born, she had birthmarks corresponding to the two marks made by her aunt on her grandmother's body. She had no other birthmarks, and neither did her two brothers.

At about 18 months of age, she began speaking about a variety of personal idiosyncrasies, habits, and events suggesting her deceased grandmother. Among these was one habit of particular interest to her family. She would eat with one leg hiked up in her chair. She and her grandmother were the only two in the family to do that. This, and a variety of additional memories she could seemingly not have invented, as well as the two birthmarks, convinced the mother and other family members that Mya was the reincarnation of her grandmother.

Problems With Conventional Explanations

    A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me.
    — Kahlil Gibran

Only 30 to 50 percent of birth defects can currently be explained by genetic abnormalities, teratogens such as thalidomide and alcohol, and infections such as rubella.[11] This leaves 50 to 70 percent in the "cause unknown" category. Moreover, geneticists can't tell us why one fetus and not another is affected, nor why a birth defect takes a particular form, nor why a birthmark occurs at a particular place. In contrast, reincarnation, if real, provides a reason why a particular defect or birthmark occurs in one individual and not another, where it occurs on the body, and the shape it takes.

Genes, in Stevenson's view, are being asked to explain far more than they are capable of. They provide instructions for the production of proteins, yet they give us almost no knowledge about how proteins and other metabolites become organized into cells and the complex organs that make up our bodies. These limitations are not widely admitted. As Stevenson says, "Some geneticists are not modest in assuring us that they will in due course supply all the information we need to understand embryology and morphology. This amounts to a promissory note with no immediate cash value, and in the meantime we are free to consider the possibility of other contributory factors," such as reincarnation.

What Difference Does It Make?

    I died as a mineral and became a plant,
    I died as a plant and rose to animal,
    I died as an animal and I was Man.
    Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

    — Rumi, 13th century Persia

What difference would it make if reincarnation were accepted? The most important consequence, Stevenson believes, would be the recognition of the duality of mind and body. "We cannot imagine reincarnation without the corollary belief that minds are associated with bodies during our familiar life, but are also independent of bodies to the extent of being fully separable from them and surviving the death of their associated body [and at some later time becoming associated with another body]"

In saying this, Stevenson declares himself a proponent of interactional dualism, an idea that has an ancient history. Two of its most lustrous recent proponents were William James, the father of American psychology, and the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher Henri Bergson. The main idea of interactional dualism is that the brain and consciousness interact, but are not the same. The brain processes sensory stimuli and affects the content of consciousness, but it does not "make" consciousness, contrary to assumption of most neuroscientists. How mind and brain actually interface with one another remains a mystery and "is part of the agenda for future research; but that is equally true of the claims confidently made by many neuroscientists who assert that minds are reducible to brain activity."

If dualism is accepted as a requirement for reincarnation, where do minds exist while waiting to take on another terrestrial existence? "I believe that we are obliged to imagine a mental space that, necessarily, differs from the physical space with which we are ordinarily familiar," Stevenson states. "I think that introspection can show that our thoughts occupy a mental space distinguishable from physical space, even while we are alive....[This] mental space where discarnate personalities might exist ... has already been ... described in considerable detail by several philosophers familiar with the evidence of the phenomena now called paranormal." Stevenson believes that thoughts and mental images might abound in this space, and some might be reincarnated. These diathanatic ("carried through death") qualities might include cognitive information about the events of a previous life, a variety of likes and dislikes, and, in some cases, residues of physical injuries or other markings of the previous body. The intermediate vehicle carrying these qualities he designates as the psychophore, meaning "mind-carrying."

The information that is carried over, however, does not come through in its original detail but is much attenuated. This is true not just of thoughts but of physical phenomena as well. Thus, "The baby's body shows marks or defects at the sites of these [previous] wounds, but not the wounds themselves (except for occasional minor bleeding or oozing of fluid)." Birthmarks and birth defects are therefore not exact reproductions of bleeding wounds, but can be considered "mental scars" of such wounds affecting the previous body.

In Search of Mechanism

    Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
    — Rumi, 13th century Persia

How might experimental birthmarks — a dab of soot on a corpse — be transferred from a deceased individual to a newborn?

The concept of maternal impressions or maternal suggestion is often offered as an explanation. It relies on the mother as intermediary: she sees the experimental birthmark, which makes an impression in her mind, and this is somehow transferred to the developing fetus. Some suggest that this process may be similar to that of hypnotic suggestion, in which highly hypnotizable subjects can develop blisters, stigmata, or other specific and localized skin reactions. Although these hypnotic phenomena are well known, the mechanism underlying them is obscure. As Tucker and Keil state, "As for experimental birthmarks, the question of how the suggestion of a birthmark in a mother's mind would be transmitted to the skin of the fetus remains unanswered, but so does the question of how a suggested injury is transmitted to the skin of a hypnotized subject." In other words, there is plenty of ignorance to go around; it isn't limited to the possibility of maternal impressions. For Tucker and Keil, maternal impressions are not inconceivable. They say, "While the psychosomatic mechanism for such a process remains unexplained, we now know, of course, that some substances can cross the placenta, and we have evidence that at least in a general way a mother's emotional state can affect the fetus."

But even if maternal impressions are transferrable to a fetus, this could not explain all the 18 cases of experimental birthmarks reported by Tucker and Keil, because mothers actually saw the experimental birthmark in only five of the eighteen cases. The mother heard, or may have heard, of the markings in eight others, but in at least two of these they did not know the site of the markings. In at least five cases the mother did not even know the deceased had been marked.

What are other possible explanations? Tucker and Keil suggest that experimental birthmarks may represent "a phenomenon of consciousness." They consider two types. In one, the prayers, wishes, or intentions of the mourning family might exert physical effects in the fetus, causing the development of a birthmark in the newborn that corresponds to the marking of the deceased. The ability of intentions to alter physiological processes in others has been demonstrated in many studies in both humans and nonhumans.

And, these authors note, there are "more than 800 experiments in the parapsychological literature suggesting that consciousness can affect random physical systems." Even so, we are still groping for an explanation. Tucker and Keil: "Even these provide little basis for the idea that a prayer at a funeral could influence the fetal development of a child born months or years later, but they suggest the possibility should not be rejected out of hand."

"The second consciousness-related possibility," say Tucker and Keil, "involves what the villagers believe: that there is a continuation of the consciousness of the deceased individual in the child born with the birthmark. While this possibility may be the most speculative, it should be noted that Stevenson collected more than 2500 cases of children who appear to remember previous lives5 and more than 200 cases of children with birthmarks that correspond to wounds or other marks on the body of the identified previous personality. Taken in that context, the six cases in our series in which the child made statements related to the life of the deceased individual indicate that this explanation warrants consideration.... Whether these cases represent a psychosomatic phenomenon, a consciousness-mediated one, or some other process, they at least deserve more study."

The Most Important Question

    He had a thousand-year-old stare.
    — Louise Erdrich, The Antelope Wife

The question of the survival of bodily death deserves our sincerest consideration. As Stevenson observed, "It has been wisely said that the question of a life after death is the most important one that a scientist — or anyone — can ask." And to critics who tiresomely screech that this question should be ignored because we can never know the answer for sure, Stevenson said, "I believe it is better to learn what is probable about important matters than to be certain about trivial ones."

For millennia, the primary evidence favoring the survival of bodily death, which involves the extension of consciousness in space and time, was anecdotal. In our era, however, the tools with which we have objectively explored this possibility are formidable. These techniques make it possible to buttress experience with experiment. As a result, several lines of evidence now reveal a dimension of consciousness that is nonlocal with respect to space and time, as I have described in One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters. Several areas of consciousness research, including remote viewing, ganzfeld studies, precognition/presentiment, and psychokinesis, have yielded positive results in hundreds of experiments demonstrating odds against chance in each of these areas of more than a billion against one.

To put it bluntly, we now know that minds can do things brains cannot do. Minds, these experiments tell us, are not bounded. They are not limited, confined, or localized to specific places in space such as brains and bodies, nor are they localized to specific moments in time such as the present. Minds behave as if they are spatially and temporally nonlocal, therefore infinite in space and time, because a limited nonlocality, we must always remind ourselves, is a contradiction in terms.

The image of consciousness that has arisen from these careful, copious, and replicated experiments is that nonlocal minds are temporally infinite, therefore eternal and immortal. While the evidence for nonlocal mind does not confirm or endorse any specific instance of reincarnation, it is cordial to the possibility because it demolishes the prohibitions that materialistic science has erected forbidding the survival of consciousness following physical death.

Humans throughout history have diligently sought to demonstrate reincarnation. One way, we've seen, is by marking a dying or deceased body with soot and observing whether the mark reappears on a subsequent newborn as a birthmark at the same location. If the "birthmarked" child begins to recall events in the "deathmarked" individual's life that could not be known through normal means, the significance of this sequence of events increases. Although inconclusive, I admire this approach; it is simple, ingenious, noninvasive, and about as low budget as can be imagined. This ancient, sooty method deserves our respect, because it points in the same direction as modern research: the indestructibility of consciousness through time.

Voltaire observed, "It is not more surprising to be born twice than once." He realized that the marvel is consciousness itself, not how many turns it makes on the wheel of life.

Source: Open Sciences
http://opensciences.org/blogs/open-sciences-blog/228-birthmarks-and-reincarnation 
- ALL THINGS DARK AND SCARY DEPARTMENT -

The Beast of Bladenboro

In 1954, a savage killer kept a small North Carolina town in a grip of terror. He left big tracks, a bloody trail and a hair-raising legend. Was it a bear? A vampire-cat? To this day, the creature remains a mystery.

The two butchers at the Dublin IGA grocery store are a little confused about what exactly “the Beast of Bladenboro” was. A Revolutionary War tale, one says. The other jokes that he knows what it is: His daddy.

Just up N.C. 410, in Bladenboro, a man with a graying five o’clock shadow pays the gas station attendant for a bottle of Sun-Drop. He notices someone not from around town and strikes up a conversation.

“Yeah,” he says of the beast, “I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know what it is.”

These folks shouldn’t feel too bad. To this day, nobody really knows what, in 1954, went around killing dogs, goats, hogs and small cows in the most unusual way – breaking their jaws, crushing their heads flat and sucking the blood from their bodies, according to local newspaper reports.

It was downright gruesome. Women and children stayed locked in their homes. Men dared not walk outside without some kind of firearm. Big-game hunters from around the country infiltrated Bladenboro, a town about 60 miles west of Wilmington.

The Beast of Bladenboro was big news then, but today, the story is buried in clumsy rolls of microfiche. Local headlines only give sensational clues: “Mysterious Beast is Still At Large,” “Vampire Tendencies Found In Bladenboro’s ‘Monster,’” and “Guns, Dogs Circle Blood-Lusty Beast.”

Only a few people who experienced the fear are still kicking around Bladenboro. Ask the people at Town Hall if they know anybody who was around when the beast roamed, and you’ll get a pretty good chuckle. But you’ll also get a file of newspaper stories kept in the town vault. And Delane Jackson, town manager, will direct you to Tater Shaw, a man who saw the carnage first-hand.

In 1954, witnesses gave conflicting descriptions of the beast to Bladenboro police. We turned over a summary of the characteristics to Gary Longordo, a local law enforcement sketch artist, and asked him to draw up a rendering of the beast.

* Four and a half feet long, bushy and resembling either a bear or a panther
* 150 pounds, with a footprint like a dog’s
* A 90-100 pound lion
* Three feet long, 20 inches high with a tail about 14 inches long. Dark in color, with a face like * a cat
* Gray in color – not vampire-like or vicious, but “strange”
* Four feet long, two feet high, with a long tail. A large head with “runty-looking ears.” Brownish and tabby, indicating a furry appearance.

“Vampire lust”

Shaw lives in a nursing home not too far from Town Hall. On a recent October morning, the 87-year-old man, with his perfectly combed hair and neat long-sleeved gray shirt, sits in the commons area, people using walkers and canes clunking all around him.

“You want to know about the beast?” he says, throwing his hand up as if to shoe away someone. “Oh, you don’t want to talk about that. I’ve told that story before.”

It takes a little encouragement, but before long, he guides his electric wheelchair down the long, waxed linoleum corridor toward his room. You know you’ve reached it when you see a plaque on the door, “Tater’s Place” burnt into the wood.

Inside, bright family portraits and black-and-white World War II navy photos hang on the wall. Shaw glides over to a small table and pulls out a three-ring binder with typed pages out of the drawer. Years ago, a friend of his wrote a screenplay about the beast and based a character on Shaw. He seems quite proud of that.

Then, after shutting the book, Shaw gets comfortable in his wheelchair and says, “It started out one morning.”

Shaw, then the 35-year-old owner of a gas station, had heard about a goat killed on a fellow’s farm out on the edge of town. He’d been told there was something mighty odd about how it died. Curious, he decided to go see for himself.

“His head was flat as a fritter,” he says. “It had a great big ol’ track . . . It was weird.”

Shaw spreads four fingers of his right hand and places them on his left palm, simulating the size of the paw. Then he looks up and says the beast killed small cows, too, and “two or three” hogs.

Those details are missing from newspaper accounts of the time, though the Wilmington Morning Star (what is now the Star-News) and the Wilmington News, as well as others, thrived off the story for a good part of January 1954.

The stories start Jan. 4, 1954, with the deaths of three dogs, their “skulls crushed in and chewed.” There’s no mention of a goat, but then there’s a lot about this beast that is only uncovered with time.

People were already getting distressed enough to cause Police Chief Roy Fores to go out hunting for the killer with three coonhounds. The “dogs refused to follow the trail.”

Maybe they were smarter than their master. The next day, the chief released a chilling detail. Fores called it the “vampire aspect of the animal.”

The story in the Morning Star on Jan. 5 began, “This nervous town chewed its collective nails today, dreading the pitch of night that might bring a return visit by a mystery killer-beast with vampire lust... (Fores) said a dog found killed last night ‘was opened up today. And there wasn’t more than two or three drops of blood in him.’ In all three cases, the victims’ bottom lip had been broken open and his jawbone smashed back.”

People gettin’ crazy

Shaw remembers the fear. “Everybody was scared,” Shaw said. “Everybody, near ‘bout, that had a gun was carrying it.”

Irrationality began to set in. Locals claimed to have seen the beast, described it, then retracted their statements.

Another resident got trigger happy. He heard his dogs barking one night, looked through a window and saw a shadow. Grabbing his shotgun, he rushed outside, blasting away. On closer inspection, he found his child’s bicycle “crumpled to the ground with the tires in shreds and the seat ripped with buckshot.”

Witness accounts of the beast conflicted. Some said it was about 90 pounds, others said 100 or even 150 pounds. Some claimed it was black, or brown, or tabby, or just “dark in color.” Most people agreed it was a cat, but one veterinarian said it could be a big dog.

The sound is about the only thing people halfway agreed on. They described it as like either a baby or a woman crying, only louder and blood curdling.

“Anyhow, it was getting so bad, it was getting in the newspapers and the radio,” Shaw said. “There came hunters from all over, I mean big hunters.”

At the height of the hunt, according to newspaper accounts, 1,000 men armed with pistols, shotguns and rifles divided into posses and combed about 400 acres of swamp. Some were fraternity boys from UNC Chapel Hill looking for a good time; others were professional hunters accustomed to killing lions and tigers.

Bladenboro only had about 1,000 residents at the time. It only has about 1,700 now. You’d think that if anything was out there, somebody would’ve stepped on it.

Many of these hunters would stop by Shaw’s gas station on their way to the Green Swamp and brag about how they were the ones who were going to kill the beast. Those same men usually stopped back by after the hunt – and always empty-handed.

A friend of Shaw’s, Jabe Frink, also owned a gas station during this time. Frink lives in a brick house just a couple miles from the nursing home. He’s 82 and doesn’t mind talking about beast at all. Frink remembers one group of hunters who brought trained “bear dogs” to turn loose in the swamp. “They said they gonna ‘catch that vampire,’ but they never did,” he said.

Mostly, Frink remembers how terrified everyone was. “It kept snowballing and snowballing. It got so nobody would walk out on the street at night,” he said. “There was a dog that scared that lady on her porch, though.”

Frink is referring to a 21-year-old mother named Mrs. C.E. Kinlaw. She apparently walked out onto her front porch at about 7:30 p.m. January 6, 1954. She was minding her own business when she looked up and saw the “beast” stalking toward her. It was only about 20 feet away, she told the Morning Star.

Kinlaw screamed and ran into the house. Her husband, Charles Kinlaw, grabbed his shotgun and ran outside but only found cat-like paw prints all around his yard.

Everyone’s worst fears seemed to be confirmed. The beast had shown interest in a human.

Not long after that, S.W. Garrett, an experienced hunter from Wilmington, warned women and children to stay indoors. Residents were also advised to keep dogs, “whose nighttime howling reportedly grows more piteous nightly,” locked up indoors.

Source: Wilmington Star
http://www.wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061029/NEWS/
61027007/1051
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