9/15/19  #1021
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Hovering high overhead, the UFO and its otherworldly occupants scan the Earths communications -- silently awaiting word that they have finally intercepted the secret information that has eluded them all week. Yes that's right! They are waiting for this weeks exciting issue of the newsletter of conspiracies, secrets, the paranormal and MORE - Conspiracy Journal is here once again to inflame your senses and question your beliefs.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such brain-racking stories as:

- UK Airline Pilots Report UFO Near-Misses - 
- Navy Withholding Data on UFO Sightings, Congressman Says -
- On the Horrors of Having Your Children Snatched by Fairies -
AND: Virgin Mary Painting 'Cries' at Beleaguered Chicago Church

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

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UK Airline Pilots Report UFO Near-Misses

UFO experts say more should be done to uncover the truth about near misses in the skies after an investigation has revealed dozens of reported close calls between aircraft and mystery objects.

There were five reported incidents in UK airspace in April this year alone – where passenger plane pilots confirmed sighting an unknown object from the cockpit – two of which were judged to have involved a definite risk of collision.

Real life X-Files investigator Nick Pope has described the findings by Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit as “fascinating and disturbing” and he said the reports made to the UK Airprox Board raise “important defence, national security and air safety issues”.

Since May 2017, the Board which aims to enhance aircraft safety has reviewed 36 unknown object reports detailing airborne near misses across the country - and nearly a quarter were in the most serious risk category.

Pope, who investigated UFO sightings for the Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, said: “It's clear that pilots and air traffic services personnel are witnessing many near misses in UK airspace.

“The suspension of flying at Gatwick Airport earlier this year leads the media and the public to assume such occurrences involve drones, but applying the UK Airprox Board's own guidelines, many of the reports being attributed to drone activity should more properly be characterized as 'unknown objects'.

“Pilots frequently see things in the skies that they can't identify. The UK Airprox Board has a significant number of such accounts and there are numerous reports in the MoD's UFO files.

“In most cases, sightings turn out to be birds, weather balloons, plastic bags or bin liners, or Chinese lanterns, while some are indeed attributable to drones.

“However, other cases remain unexplained even after thorough investigation, and this is of concern, especially if we're missing a trick by being too quick to blame drones.

“Pilots tend not to be comfortable reporting a 'UFO' sighting, because of the perceived stigma, so it's much easier to talk about 'unusual aircraft', 'unconventional helicopters' or 'drones'.

“However, in April the US Navy issued guidance to its pilots, advising them what to do if they encounter 'unidentified aerial phenomena' - UAP being the recognized military term for what the public term UFOs.

“While the guidance itself remains classified and won't be made public, it's an encouraging sign and I'd like to see something similar in the UK.

“The situation has been under-resourced since the 2009 termination of the MoD's UFO program, and while I'm aware that the MoD continues to study such matters - being careful to avoid using the term 'UFO' - more should be done.

“Having investigated UFOs for the MoD back in the 1990s, I can confirm that whatever the true nature of the phenomenon, it raises important defence, national security and - as we see here - air safety issues.”

Janet Walker, from the the Lancashire Aerial Phenomena Investigation Society (LAPIS) echoed many of Mr Pope’s concerns and voiced worries that some pilots are not reporting incidents.

“I think there’s a ridicule factor that pilots and other staff won’t report things they see because they think they will be laughed at,” she explained.

“It does happen that people spot things and these UFOs are not necessarily spaceships. It does happen and some are never identified.”

The Civil Aviation Authority said it was likely that the vast majority of unknown near miss reports involved drones, model aircraft or balloons but the pilots could not be sure what they had seen. However – it is against the law to fly a drone above 400-ft or near to an airport boundary; and a spokesman for the CAA said if a drone recklessly or negligently endangers an aircraft it is a criminal offence and the operator could face up to five years in prison.

Interestingly - the majority of the most baffling reports reviewed by the UK Airprox Board, which is sponsored and funded by the CAA and the MAA (Military Aviation Authority), involved sightings of unknown objects at thousands of feet off the ground.

In eight out of nine cases, where the Board could not determine the nature of the object witnessed, reports detailed sightings at altitudes ranging from nearly 5,000-ft to 16,000-ft.

Drone pilot Jason Goodlad, who runs Hawk-Eye Vision Ltd in Stourbridge, West Midlands, said it would be a “struggle to get a drone up to 6,000 to 7,000-ft as the battery would die” and he added: “At a really high altitude it’s doubtful it would be a drone.”

The CAA trained drone operator said it would be “really difficult to pin-point at such distances and speeds” what had been seen and he added: “There’s so many things it could be. The sky’s like a motorway – there’s a lot going on up there that we don’t really know about.”

Among the puzzling near misses investigated by the UK Airprox Board was the sighting of a “small, metal object” at around 17,000-ft by Typhoon fighter pilots flying from Coningsby, Lincolnshire, at 22.40am on January 15, 2019.

The report states: “The object reflected sunlight and appeared to have a linear form. The wingman independently saw the same object as it passed over the leader’s aircraft. The Typhoons were at FL150 (15,000-ft) and reported that the object appeared to be at FL170 (17,000-ft). There were no plots, hits or any other indication on the radar.”

An RAF spokesman said of the incident: “The RAF takes all reported air incidents very seriously, with air safety remaining at the core of all our activity. In this case, the single incident involving a military aircraft was assessed as category C which means there was no risk of collision.”

A high risk incident did, however, occur as the pilot of an Embraer 175 passenger plane approached Glasgow airport at 6.45pm on December 30, 2018.

The report states: “When passing about 600-ft he saw an object pass between three and 10-ft from the aircraft, at the same level. He couldn’t tell was the object was, it was lit up in various places and was more horizontally long than it was vertically.”

The Board was unable to identify the object, but it determined there had been a definite risk of collision and “providence had played a major part in the incident”.

The report did not say which airline was involved but the type of aircraft is among those operated by Flybe.

In another high risk of collision incident the Captain of a Boeing 757 business jet preparing for approach at Gatwick in busy airspace at nearly 4,800-ft reported “a fairly large, irregular shaped, dark black object pass down the left side at the same level, within 200-ft of the aircraft”.

The Board gave the incident a risk rating of B – just below the most serious – and it determined “safety had been much reduced below the norm”. It is not known how many were on board but B757s can carry around 200 passengers.

In dark skies in Manchester at 6.10pm on February 1, 2018, the pilot of an Airbus A321 was descending through 10,000-ft when he caught sight of a “greyish thin-profiled ‘something’ which passed very close at the same level down the left-hand side at great speed”.

The report states: “His initial reaction was that he had seen an internal reflection in his glasses or the windshield, but it was immediately apparent the First Officer and another person on the flight deck had also seen it. None had a clear view because it was in the landing-light beam for a split second. The pilot noted that having seen balloons in flight before, this object did not fit that profile.”

It is not known which airline was involved but the A321 is among the planes operated by Thomas Cook Airlines and can carry up to 200 people.

On July 5, 2018, at 9.30am, the pilot of a BE90, a small propeller aircraft usually used for charter flights, saw “a rectangle or elliptical object pass 500-1000-ft below” while cruising at 16,000-ft about 10 nautical miles north of Birmingham. The report states: “He estimated it to be 50-100cm long, although he only saw it for about two seconds before it passed underneath the aircraft. It was either hovering or travelling in the opposite direction, there was no time to take any avoiding action.”

The incident was described as one where safety had been reduced but the Board determined there had been no risk of collision.

Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit tried to obtain reports into near misses between UFOs and UK aircraft from the CAA, but an FOI request was refused.

The CAA said under EU regulations the information was exempt from disclosure and it would only be made available to those involved in aviation safety.

Journalist, author and university lecturer Dr David Clarke, from the Centre for Contemporary Legend at Sheffield Hallam University – who has written extensively on UFOs, said: “Until 2015 you could obtain summaries of MORs (Mandatory Occurrence Reports) from the CAA - some of which relate to UFOs - but it seems they decided to restrict access to these, citing a piece of European legislation to justify the change in policy.

“I feel this is scandalous and a blow against open access to information - especially as journalists and academics are excluded.

“I wondered at the time if the change was linked to the growing menace from drones. “Drones are effectively UFOs as the events at Gatwick last Christmas demonstrate.”

He believes most near miss reports are likely balloons or drones, but he said: “If you’re in an aircraft, you see them for such a tiny space of time, it’s virtually impossible to know what you have seen.”

Not convinced the sightings are of intergalactic spacecraft, he added: “Things that are unexplained are likely to be natural phenomenon – not aliens from other planets.”

“I’ve not seen any evidence,” he said. But he was quick to add: “That’s not to say those reports are of no interest. Some of the incidents sound very familiar to the stories I collected from the MoD/CAA files during my work for The National Archives 2008-13. Someone should be sitting down and collating it and looking for information for flight safety and for scientific purposes. There’s a lot that could be learned if we got away from the ridicule.”

The Ministry of Defence said it welcomes all recommendations made in air proximity reports and does whatever it can to prevent similar incidents from happening again. A spokesman added: “No flying is without risk, nevertheless, millions of military and civilian flights are made in UK airspace each year with only a very small number of air proximity reports being made which rarely identify the aircraft were in danger. The low number of these incidents highlight the professionalism of commercial, military and private aviators.”

Paranormal and UFO researcher David Taylor, from Halesowen, West Midlands, who is a member of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), said: “The majority of all anomalous reports – I would say around 95 per cent - are explainable in rational terms, either with known phenomena such as misidentification, drones, birds, military tests etc and currently little understood phenomena such as ball lightning, earthquake lights etc.

“However, this isn't to say all reported anomalies are easily explainable, and we must resist the temptation to dismiss them all out of hand.”

Source: The Bolton News


Mystery Primate Spotted in Santa Fe
 By Michelle Homer

SANTA FE, Texas - An elusive primate on the loose in a Texas neighborhood is perplexing authorities and wildlife officials who have yet to see the animal despite receiving numerous phone calls and claims on social media from residents.

Patricia and James De La Mora said they were trying to get back to sleep after being awakened by thunder after midnight Monday when they heard something else outside, KHOU reported.

"I look out the window and I see it was in there. It was a monkey, a big one," Patricia De La Mora told KHOU. "He tried to find something. And he looked over there, then he looked over there and I closed the curtain. I didn't want him to see me."

A short time later, she said her husband looked out the window and saw cars and the beams of large flashlights, as people were searching the area.

"I think that somebody owns it or has it illegally, you know, because it's dangerous to have an animal like that in a neighborhood," James De La Mora told KHOU.

Police were called to the scene but were unable to find any evidence of an animal.

On Tuesday, police were again called for a possible monkey sighting in the area. A 90-minute search yielded no primate.

There were also posts on social media indicating a primate attacked pets and people, however, there were no images or videos included. Authorities and wildlife officials contacted the people who made the posts but did not get replies.

"The Santa Fe Police Department has been unable to substantiate that there is a primate on the loose, or that anyone has been attacked," officials said in a statement.

But authorities said they are not ruling out the possibility.

"I'm not saying that there is no monkey. In fact, I'm sure there is one on the loose. Out here, anything is possible," Santa Fe Police Department spokesman Lt. Greg Boody told KTRK.

It's unknown if the animal is owned by anyone in the area. Owners of primates and other exotic pets are required to have a wildlife diversity permit issued by the state. All licensed primates were accounted for, KTRK reported.

Primate experts were called in to help. A drone was also deployed during the search, but it did not reveal anything. The search was suspended and the animal is believed to be in hiding.

"We covered a lot of ground but if it's scared and hiding, we're not finding it," Sarah Haywood, the director of Bayou Animal Services, told the Galveston Daily News.

Because the reports of sightings may be rumor, officials are not quite sure what type of primate is potentially on the loose.

Texas wildlife officials said they believe it could be a chimpanzee, KHOU reported. Animal shelter officials said they think it could be a capuchin monkey.

"We'd take it seriously, no matter what," Haywood told the Galveston Daily News. "We're hoping it's not a hoax, because that would be a severe waste of time."

Bayou Animal Services urged members of the public who legitimately spot the primate to take a picture and call animal control. It warned against approaching the animal, stressing that wildlife experts and law enforcement are currently in charge of handling the situation.

"Please do not call animal control or the police station with false statements you yourself are unable to verify," it said on Facebook. "This is not helpful to the authorities or to the animal.

"The safety of residents, and the animal are top priority. Please allow the primate team to do their job, and please keep phone lines free in order for us to take actual verifiable reports."

Source: KVUE


Navy Withholding Data on UFO Sightings, Congressman Says
By Bryan Bender

A top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee is accusing the Navy of withholding information about reports of unidentified aircraft after officially requesting more data on the mysterious encounters.

Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, the ranking member of the Intelligence and Counterrorism subcommittee, asked Secretary Richard V. Spencer in July to outline what resources the Navy is dedicating to investigating the sightings. He also asked if officials have found "physical evidence" to substantiate the claims, and whether they are aware of any foreign nations or private companies that have introduced breakthrough technologies that could explain them.

Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly responded in a brief letter on July 31 that "the Department of the Navy takes these reports very seriously and continues to log sightings and fully investigate the accounts," according to a copy provided to POLITICO.

But Walker said he is discouraged by the Navy's seeming unwillingness to provide his committee with more data about the so-called unidentified aerial phenomena — the term the Pentagon prefers over the more traditional "unidentified flying objects," or UFOs. He has expressed concern publicly that the craft could pose a threat to U.S. forces or territory.

“While I am encouraged the Under Secretary of the Navy confirmed that UAP encounters are fully investigated, there is frustration with the lack of answers to specific questions about the threat that superior aircraft flying in United States airspace may pose," Walker told POLITICO in a statement.

Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher responded that the service is prepared to accommodate any further congressional requests for information. "At this point in time, however, we have not received any new requests for updates on this issue," he said by email.

Congressional interest in the unidentified aircraft reports has grown since revelations by POLITICO and other news outlets in late 2017 that the Pentagon had investigated the sightings through a program established a decade earlier by former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

Among the revelations were sightings reported by pilots and other personnel assigned to the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt battlegroups in 2004, 2015 and 2016, including footage of unknown aircraft exhibiting characteristics that appear to defy known aerodynamic properties. The Pentagon also financed a series of theoretical studies to try to explain how the aircraft might operate — ranging from "Detection and High Resolution Tracking of Vehicles at Hypersonic Velocities" to "Warp Drive, Dark Energy, and the Manipulation of Extra Dimensions."

Members of Congress on several oversight committees have also sought classified briefings from the Pentagon on the research in recent months.

The Navy has insisted it is taking the reports seriously, including the potential the sightings could be explained by "unmanned aerial systems," or pilotless drones. Modly's brief letter to Walker, for example, explains that "the wide proliferation and availability of inexpensive unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has increasingly made airspace de-confliction an issue for our aviators."

Modly's response added that "naval aircrews have been provided reporting guidance to determine the frequency and location of UAS operating in training areas," and that the Navy "continues to dedicate resources to the tracking and investigation of reports that could affect the safety of our aircrews."

POLITICO first reported in April that the Navy has updated the process for personnel to report unidentified aircraft.

But Walker specifically queried the Navy on "UAPs," not drones — citing reports of aircraft traveling at speeds and making maneuvers that go well beyond what is believed to be technologically possible.

In his July 16 letter to Spencer, Walker asked a series of specific questions about the sightings, including: "Does the Department continue to dedicate resources to tracking and investigating the claims? If so, to what measure? Has the Department found physical evidence or otherwise that substantiates these claims?"

In a recent interview, Walker said he believes Congress needs to know what more the military has been doing since the Advanced Aerospace Identification Program set up by Reid was officially wound down in 2012. "Has it ended? If it has ended are we documenting anything? Where are the resources coming from?" Walker asked. "That’s a fair question that constituents and the American people would like to know.”

Walker told POLITICO that his abiding interest is mainly out of concern that a potential adversary like Russia or China could have leapfrogged the United States in aerospace technology.

"If the Navy believes that China or Russia possesses advanced aerospace technologies that represent a national security vulnerability, the American people have the right to know what their government is doing about it," he said in his statement to POLITICO.

In the recent interview, Walker, a former pastor, also acknowledged that he is open to the possibility that there are no easy explanations — or the answers could change how humanity perceives the known universe.

"The way I look at this: What if [U.S. government agencies] already do know about it but the rest of us don’t?" he added. "I certainly have an open mind to see where this leads us. We are going to stay on the issue and follow through like we said we wanted to do."

Source: Politico


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On the Horrors of Having Your Children Snatched by Fairies
By Tristan   

In today’s world, parents often worry about whether their kids are eating healthy and getting a good education, and in the case of long car trips, whether the children have their phones fully charged. It’s tough being a modern parent, but at the least, you don’t have to worry like Europeans did about your spawn being snatched by fairies. While the concept of the changeling has now been relegated to folklore, it was once a serious threat for many superstitious moms and dads. Well after the Enlightenment,  between 1850 and 1900, courts across Europe were still handling cases of people who abused or killed children accused of being changelings.

According to folktales and historical accounts, a fairy-swapped child could be identified by physical deformities, a sickly or underdeveloped body, and an excessive (or small) appetite. By the 19th century, scholars recognized that stories of changelings likely stemmed from children who were disabled or mentally challenged. The idea of the changeling is thought to have originated with peasants’ recognition that something was “wrong” with their children, and it could have been used to justify abusing and killing the poor kids.

An interesting historical example of a changeling comes from the English poet and topographer George Waldron. While working as an official on the Isle of Man, the London-born Waldron wrote a book about the island’s history and culture, 1726’s “A Description of the Isle of Man.” Criticizing the Manx for being superstitious, Waldron noted that the belief in fairies was still alive and well. “The old story of infants being changed in their cradles,” he observed, “is here in such credit, that mothers are in continual terror at the thoughts of it.”

When Waldron was presented with an alleged changeling, he described the child as having a beautiful face and delicate complexion. The boy was five or six years old, with long and thin limbs. He didn’t talk or cry, hardly ate anything, and was unable to walk and stand. When the kid was left alone, people watching from his window would see him laugh by himself. It was believed that he was in the company of fairies then, and that they would wash the boy and comb his hair.

In another example, Waldron heard a story from a mother who claimed to have been continually harassed by fairies. The trouble began four or five days after she gave birth to her first child. All of a sudden, her family heard somebody shout that there was a fire. They ran out of their house to see where it was, leaving the mother and her baby alone in their room. As she trembled in bed, the woman watched incredulously as her baby was picked up by an invisible hand and stolen away. When the rest of the family came back inside, finding no fire anywhere in their neighborhood, they discovered the baby lying at the entrance of the house. Naturally, fairies were blamed for moving the child.

A year after this incident, following the birth of the mother’s second child, the family heard a loud commotion from their cattle barn. As they rushed to see what the problem was, the mother and her new baby were once again left alone. Inside the barn, nothing was out of the ordinary, and no cows had gotten loose. Reassured, the neglectful family made their way back to the house, where they were greeted by the second baby lying in the entryway. As with the first child, this mysterious displacement was believed to be the work of the little people.

As the saying goes, the fairies figured that the third kidnapping’s the charm. Not long after this same mother delivered her third child, another commotion was heard in the barn. Like clockwork, everybody ran outside, leaving the mother and baby with a nurse who was fast asleep. As the nurse snoozed, the mother watched with horror as an invisible set of hands promptly snatched her baby and carried it away. The woman screamed for her nurse to get up, but it was too late: The fat and beautiful baby was spirited away.

When her family returned, the mother was found crying hysterically. Although the husband pointed out that the baby was still inside the bed, the mother couldn’t be fooled. This was a skinny and deformed impostor, a changeling. The creature, Waldron reported, lived with the family “near the space of nine years.” During its brief existence, the changeling ate “nothing except a few herbs, nor was ever seen to void any other excrement than water: it neither spoke, nor could stand or go,” resembling the child Waldron met on the island. While our English reporter doesn’t detail what ultimately happened to this particular changeling, I think we could sadly conclude that the child suffered from malnutrition and neglect, if not deliberate abuse.

Source: Bizarre and Grotesque


Hunters Describe Bizarre Encounter in New Mexico
By Staci Matlock

TAOS — Josh Brinkley and Daniel Lucero went hunting for elk over the Labor Day weekend in rugged terrain northwest of Taos, New Mexico. They encountered, instead, something so strange they don’t know what to call it.

Still dressed in camouflage gear after several days in the wilderness near Cerro de la Olla, also known as Pot Mountain, the Santa Fe County bow hunters described a close encounter with what they said appeared to be otherworldly beings and a giant tent-like white structure that vanished in seconds.

“We’re a couple of guys that don’t believe in much,” said Brinkley, 41, of Cerrillos, who called himself a family guy who works in construction and on movie sets. “But we believe now.”

He’s been going to Pot Mountain area to hunt for 15 years, he said, and had never seen anything particularly odd before last week’s sightings.

Lucero, 26, said it was his first time hunting in the area.

Bow hunting season opened Sept. 1. The two men, longtime co-workers, had gone to Pot Mountain a couple of days early to scout for elk. On opening day, they set up along tree lines surrounding a field, each taking a different side, and waited. After three hours and no elk, Brinkley became restless. It was about 9:30 a.m.

“I take off walking, creeping around through the woods, looking for elk,” he said.

He reached the top of the mountain, where there’s a caldera — a wide bowl left behind by a collapsed volcano. As he walked to edge, he said, he saw two figures a short distance away. At first he thought they were fellow hunters.

But they were too tall, and their heads too big.

They were “standing side by side, staring right at me,” Brinkley said.

He walked toward them across the brushy field, a distance he estimated to be about 35 yards. As a bow hunter, he said, he’s adept at measuring distance because it’s critical to hitting a target.

“Figured I would talk to them,” Brinkley said. As he walked around a bush in his path, however, the figures disappeared.

“They were gone, just gone.”

He thought about what he had seen: Two tall figures concealed below the waist by brush.

“The shape that would be like their heads, it looked like they had huge hoods on,” he said. “It looked like two ribbons coming off either side to a point at the top and bottom. The right side was black, left side was white and a little shiny. Torsos were kind of black. I couldn’t see many details. It definitely looked like clothes. In the middle of the oval was just gray.”

Later, he would draw what he could remember of the figures in a leatherbound sketchbook he carries with him. And he would draw what he and Lucero both saw the next day.

In the meantime, Brinkley hurried down the mountain and back to the field, where Lucero was still waiting for an elk. He didn’t immediately tell his friend what he had seen. At first, he said he had spotted a couple of other hunters.

Back at camp, he finally told Lucero about the sighting. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” Brinkley said.

Lucero didn’t know what to believe.

On Labor Day, the pair headed out early in the morning to hunt again. They hiked all around the area. No elk. They gave up and returned to their Jeep around 2:30 p.m.

“We couldn’t figure out why there was no elk,” Brinkley said.

They decided to drive around the mountain to see if there were other hunters scaring off elk or people riding off-road vehicles. As they drove, the men said, they noticed there were no signs of wildlife at all.

After about 10 minutes of driving, they said, they saw a strange structure about a quarter-mile away that appeared to be a movie base camp — or a film set for an alien ship scene.

“It’s this big tent structure, like a circus tent — 50, 60 feet tall,” Brinkley said. “Coming off the left of it was this long building, almost like what you would build for an archery lane for target practice. It was a third the height, but really long, maybe a couple hundred feet.”

They drove down a hill and lost sight of the structure for about five seconds, Brinkley said. “When we topped the hill, it was gone. Just gone.”

“There was no dust. There was nothing,” Lucero added.

They drove around the area until dark searching for the structure.

“I just know it was real,” Brinkley said. “It was huge and white and then gone.”

When the two men reached a place with cellphone service, they called a few friends and told them what they had seen. They thought about calling the Air Force.

One friend gave them a number for Peter Davenport, longtime executive director of the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state.

Davenport confirmed the men had called him with their story. “It was a dramatic story,” he said. “If it is true, it is profoundly unsettling.”

Out of the thousands of calls he gets every year about possible alien sightings, Davenport said, the callers rarely describe seeing alien beings on the ground.

Brinkley and Lucero aren’t the first hunters to report a sighting they can’t explain. Four hunters in Challis, Idaho, in 2000 described a large triangular craft they said had hovered a couple of hundred feet above them before moving off over some mountains.

After listening to some 350,000 phone calls over 25 years, Davenport said, he thinks he can tell which ones are credible.

The Pot Mountain story was one of them, he said.

Brinkley and Lucero said they weren’t drinking and weren’t using drugs during their strange encounter. They aren’t the kind of guys who fabricate such stories. Still, they know their tale will be met with doubt, they said.

“People probably think we are insane,” Brinkley said.

He didn’t believe in UFOs before last week, adding, “I sure do now.”

Lucero said he still isn’t sure about UFOs and aliens. “I just know I’ve never seen anything that big just disappear.”

Source: Santa Fe - New Mexican


Virgin Mary Painting 'Cries' at Beleaguered Chicago Church
By Cate Cauguiran

A caretaker seeing what appeared to be tears streaming from the eyes of a painting of the Virgin Mary has brought renewed attention to a historic Chicago church's struggle to survive.

Athena Metropoulos, who works at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Belmont Central, said that she was shocked to see that a painting of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus had a trail of liquid leaking from each eye early Sunday morning. She first though it was some kind of oil, but upon closer inspection realized it was watery.

Metropoulos ran into the office of Father Nicholas Jonas and told him of the "weeping" painting. He collected the liquid with cotton balls and posted images of the painting on Facebook. Since Sunday, more than 300 people have come to the church to see the apparent miracle.

"There's something she's trying to tell us," Jonas told the station, "so we're just going to seal our lips and listen to what she has to say."

"It's common throughout the Orthodox church to see a phenomena like that," he added. "But to have it personally was very overwhelming. When these things happen, I feel like a little kid when first going into a candy factory—and you're just in awe."

Founded in 1897, Holy Trinity is the second oldest Greek Orthodox congregation in the United States. But it's struggled financially for some time—the church building was up for foreclosure last year before an anonymous donation allowed its doors to stay open. It's still $8 million in debt, though, and the congregation thought this might be the last week of services.

A judge approved the sale of the church for $2.5 million to Universal Life Church. Holy Trinity will now have 75 days to relocate.

Some worshippers see the tears as a sign from God and hoped Mary's tears were an indication that another miracle would save it from being sold off.

The residue of the oil-like substance streaming from the Virgin Mary's eyes remains, with many believing the oil has healing properties and that its origins are a blessing from God.

"I can't explain why she is tearing, but I do know as human beings we are usually crying for two reasons: either joy or sorrow," Fr. Jonas said.

A steady stream of visitors have been visiting the icon as well; about 300 people Sunday, according to the secretary of the church, and even more Monday. A nun from California traveled across the country to see the weeping icon in person as well.

"It's the type of thing you never forget and I always will be inspired by [it]," said Mother Angelina.

These types of unusual events go back throughout history. Numerous ancient Greek accounts refer to statues that could move their heads, eyes, or limbs, perspire, weep, bleed and make sounds. The idea that statues, especially of divinities, possessed agency has a deep history, long before the fifth and fourth centuries BC when artists began to create exceptionally lifelike figures.

Plutarch, who lived in the first century AD, wrote in chapter 38 of his Life of Coriolanus, discusses the phenomenon of weeping and bleeding statues, with special reference to the case of a statue of Fortuna that allegedly spoke to a crowd in Rome.

On Sunday, November 4, 1696, in the village church of Pócs, during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy the faithful noticed that the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos on the iconostasis was shedding tears. As days passed by, the weeping of the Blessed Mother continued until Dec. 8, 1696, when the tears finally stopped.

A crying Mary statue in Pavia, Italy, in 1980 was ultimately determined to be a fraud. The statue's owner had apparently been spraying it with a squirt gun, according to the Center for Inquiry.

In July 2018, a weeping Mary was reported at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Hobbs, New Mexico. Samples were taken and the fluid was determined to be olive oil, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Source: ABC 7 Chicago

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