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4/06/07  #411
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Welcome one and all to the greatest show on Earth!  Inside the big top we have such mysteries as you've never seen before!  A three-ring extravaganza of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and much, much, MORE!  So sit back and relax and prepared to be amazed, because Conspiracy Journal is here once again for your viewing pleasure.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such knee-knocking tales as:

- AP Diary Adds Clue to Earhart Mystery -
- Soviets Built German UFOs -
- Are GM Crops Killing Bees? -
- French Architect Says Great Pyramid Built From Inside Out -
AND:  Do Animals Have Telepathy?

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



The Incredible Search for Dr. Halsey
By Sean Casteel With Original Material by Michael X Barton

In 1965, renowned researcher and author, Michael X. Barton, began a quest to find the remains of one of his dearest friends, Dr. Wallace Halsey.  A respected UFO and occult researcher himself, Dr. Halsey had disappeared  two years earlier while flying a small plane from Logan, Utah to Sunset  Beach, California. Along with his flying companion, Harry Ross, Halsey was presumed dead but, since no bodies or wreckage had ever been found, Halsey's widow could not collect the much-needed life insurance monies until seven years had passed.

This is one of the things that gave Barton a sense of prove for legal reasons that Halsey and Ross had, indeed, died in a plane crash enroute to California. But there was soon an added dimension that spurred Michael Barton onward. He began to receive strange messages through which the spirit of Halsey seemed to be leading him to the exact location where the wreckage and bodies could be found!

What follows is an inspiring story of courage, both physical and psychic, as Michael Barton ventures into the desert and mountains beyond, with the spirits of the dead and an aerial display of UFOs as his guide!

GONE FOREVER IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE contains the full text of Michael X. Barton’s 1965 book on the spiritual journey, THE INCREDIBLE SEARCH FOR DR. HALSEY, as well as new material written by Sean Casteel that delves into the history of other mysterious disappearances down through the ages.

Gone Forever in the Blink of an Eye is only $20.00 (plus $5.00 for shipping) and if you order RIGHT NOW, we will throw in for FREE the audio CD - Tim Beckley as Mr Creepo reads Tales of the Unknown and Unexplained. 

So don't delay, be the first kid on the block to own this fantastic book and get your free audio CD as well.

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                    In This Issue:
* The Enduring Quest for Eternal Youth
* Interview with Dead Famous TV Host
   Chris Fleming
* Doppelgangers: Seeing Double
* The Mystery of Astral Projection
* Cattle Mutilations Continue to Mystify
And Much, Much More!


AP Diary Adds Clue to Earhart Mystery

It's the coldest of cold cases, and yet it keeps warming to life. Seventy years after Amelia Earhart disappeared, clues are still turning up. Long-dismissed notes taken of a shortwave distress call beginning, ``This is Amelia Earhart...,'' are getting another look.

The previously unknown diary of an Associated Press reporter reveals a new perspective.

A team that has already found aircraft parts and pieces of a woman's shoe on a remote South Pacific atoll hopes to return there this year to search for more evidence, maybe even DNA.

If what's known now had been conveyed to searchers then, might Earhart and her navigator have been found alive? It's one of a thousand questions that keep the case from being declared dead, as Earhart herself was a year and a half after she vanished.

For nearly 18 hours, Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra drummed steadily eastward over the Pacific, and as sunrise etched a molten strip of light along the horizon, navigator Fred J. Noonan marked the time and calculated the remaining distance to Howland Island.

The date was July 2, 1937, and the pair were near the end of a 2,550-mile trek from Lae, New Guinea, the longest and most perilous leg of a much-publicized ``World Flight'' begun 44 days earlier in Oakland, Calif.

At the journey's end there a few days hence, Earhart, already the most famous aviator of the decade, was to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

Noonan, a former Pan American Airways navigator, estimated when the plane would reach an imaginary ``line of position'' running northwest-southeast through Howland, where they were to land, rest and refuel for the onward flight to Hawaii.

Earhart pushed the talk button on her radio mike and said, ``200 miles out.''

Her voice - described as a ``whispery drawl,'' evoking her Kansas roots - was heard by the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, rocking gently in calm seas off Howland. The U.S. government had built an airstrip on the treeless, 500-acre coral spit, and at the request of Earhart's husband and manager, publisher George Putnam, dispatched the cutter from Hawaii to help her find her way.

During the night, Itasca's radio operators had become increasingly exasperated. Earhart's voice had come through in only a few, brief, static-marred transmissions - ``sky overcast'' was one - and hadn't acknowledged any of Itasca's messages or its steady stream of Morse code A's sent as a homing signal: dot-dash, dot-dash... They decided the glamorous 39-year-old ``Lady Lindy'' was either arrogant or incompetent.

What nobody knew - not Earhart, and not Itasca - was that her plane's radio-reception antenna had been ripped away during the takeoff from Lae's bumpy dirt runway. The Itasca could hear Earhart, but she was unable to hear anything, voice or code.

Also listening in the Itasca's radio room was James W. Carey, one of two reporters aboard. The 23-year-old University of Hawaii student had been hired by The Associated Press to cover Earhart's Howland stopover. His job was to send brief radiograms to the AP in Honolulu and San Francisco.

But during the eight days since arriving at Howland, Carey also had been keeping a diary.

In small notebooks, he jotted down comments about the island's ``gooney birds,'' beachcombing and poker games in Itasca's wardroom. He also noted how Earhart's delayed departure from Lae was affecting crewmembers' morale, writing on June 30: ``They are getting tired of waiting for a `gooney' dame who doesn't seem to be aware of the annoyance the delays have made.''

Carey's diary was unknown to Earhart scholars until last September, when a typewritten copy turned up on eBay and was bought by a member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR. The non-profit organization believes Earhart and Noonan were not lost at sea, but landed on an uninhabited atoll called Gardner Island, and lived for an unknown period as castaways.

``Even though the diary doesn't answer the big question, it's an incredible discovery,'' said TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie, who has led eight expeditions to the island since 1989, and plans another this July if his group can raise enough money.

``We have long had the transcripts of the radio traffic, but this is the first document that puts a real person aboard Itasca and tells us something from a firsthand witness about what went on during those desperate hours and days.''

On July 1, word came from New Guinea that the Electra was finally airborne.

Early on Friday, July 2, Carey wrote in his diary: ``Up all last night following radio reports - scanty ... heard voice for first time 2:48 a.m. - `sky overcast.' All I heard. At 6:15 am reported `200 miles out.'''

By the time Earhart, her voice stronger, reported she was ``100 miles out,'' a welcoming committee had gone ashore and was ``waiting restlessly,'' Carey wrote.

If Noonan's dead-reckoning did not bring the plane directly over Howland at the ``line of position,'' Earhart would fly up and down the 337-157 degree line until she found the island.

``To the north, the first landfall is Siberia,'' says Gillespie, ``so if they didn't find it soon, they'd have turned back south, knowing that even if they missed Howland, there were other islands beyond it - Baker, McKean and Gardner - on that same line.''

But nothing was that simple. By now, Earhart would be burning into her five-hour fuel reserve, and even in daylight, islands could be obscured by billowy clouds and their shadows on the water.

At 7:42 a.m. local time, Earhart's voice suddenly came loud and clear: ``KHAQQ to Itasca. We must be on you but cannot see you. But gas is running low. Been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet.''

At 7:58 a.m., there was a nervous edge to Earhart's normal calm. A log entry had her saying, ``we are drifting but cannot hear you.'' An operator changed this to ``we are circling.'' Gillespie believes she actually said, ``we are listening.''

As birds wheeled over the Howland shoreline, human ears strained for the sound of engines, and binoculars scanned for any sign of the silver Electra. Itasca continued sending Morse code A's.

About 8:30 a.m., believing Earhart must be out of gas, Itasca's captain, Cmdr. Warner K. Thompson, ordered the welcoming committee back to the ship. ``Flash news from ship Itasca: `Amelia down,''' Carey wrote in his diary.

Suddenly, at 8:55 a.m., Earhart was back on: ``We are on the line 157 337... we are running on line north and south.'' The radiomen agreed she sounded distraught; one thought she was near hysteria.

Then the radio went silent.

Having won a coin-toss with his United Press rival, Howard Hanzlick, to decide whose news bulletin would go first, Carey had prepared two versions: ``Earhart landed -- Howland time,'' and ``Flash Earhart crackup landing -- Howland time.''

He had not anticipated a third alternative, that she might not land at all.

Now, with all frequencies reserved for possible distress calls, neither reporter could send anything. While AP broke the ``Earhart missing'' story from Honolulu, quoting Coast Guard officials there, it would be 18 hours before Carey's first report reached San Francisco.

In the meantime, he kept busy with the diary: ``Itasca set off `full speed ahead' to search the northwest quadrant off Howland,'' the most likely area for the plane to be afloat on empty gas tanks.

Nothing was sighted, and by evening the ship's mood, Carey wrote, had ``taken a turn to the more serious side.''

Seventy years later, the mystery lingers. Millions have been spent on expeditions and deep-sea probes, and although legally declared dead by a California court in early 1939, Earhart has been the subject of more than 50 nonfiction books.

``In 1937 she was a celebrity - today she's an icon,'' says Gillespie, of Wilmington, Del., whose own book, ``Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance,'' was published last year.

Theories have ranged from the official version - that the Electra ran out of gas and crashed at sea - to the absurd, including abduction by aliens, or Earhart living in New Jersey under an alias.

A 1943 Hollywood movie, ``Flight for Freedom,'' echoed groundless claims that the pair were on a secret government spying mission against the Japanese and were captured and executed. A 1999 book asserted, without proof, that ``the solution to the Earhart mystery lies on the ocean floor under 17,000 feet of water.''

Gillespie's book, along with ``Amelia Earhart's Shoes,'' a 2001 book written by four other TIGHAR volunteers, offers a bold, reasoned thesis that Earhart and Noonan crash-landed on a flat reef on Gardner, in the Phoenix Islands, 350 miles south of Howland, and survived, perhaps for months, on scant food and rainwater.

Searches of the remote atoll, now called Nikumaroro, have produced a tantalizing, if inconclusive, body of evidence.

In 1940, Gerard Gallagher, a British overseer on Gardner, recovered a partial human skeleton, a woman's shoe and an empty sextant box at what appeared to be a former campsite, littered with turtle, clamshell and bird remains.

Earhart being his first thought, Gallagher sent the items to Fiji, where a British doctor, examining the human bones secretly to avoid ``unfounded rumors,'' decided they belonged to a stocky European or mixed-blood male, ruling out any Earhart-Noonan connection.

The bones later vanished, but in 1998, TIGHAR investigators located the doctor's notes in London.

Dr. Karen Ramey Burns, a forensic osteologist at the University of Georgia, found the Fiji doctor's bone measurements were more ``consistent with'' a female of northern European descent, about Earhart's age and height. Burns' report was independently seconded by Dr. Richard Jantz, a University of Tennessee forensic anthropologist.

On their own visits to Gardner, TIGHAR teams recovered an aluminum panel that could be from an Electra, another piece of woman's shoe and ``Cat's Paw'' heel dating from the 1930s; another shoe heel, possibly a man's, and an oddly cut piece of clear Plexiglas.

The sextant box might have been Noonan's. The woman's shoe and heel resemble a blucher-style oxford seen in a pre-takeoff photo of Earhart. The plastic shard is the exact thickness and curvature of an Electra's side window.

The evidence is promising but, as Gillespie is careful to note, remains circumstantial. ``We don't have serial numbers,'' he says.

As the news that the aviators were missing flashed around the world, confusion, official bungling and missed opportunities had only begun.

Itasca searched along the ``line of position'' northwest of Howland, wrongly assuming the plane's empty fuel tanks would keep it afloat.

The Navy ordered six warships into the hunt, including the battleship USS Colorado from Pearl Harbor and the aircraft carrier USS Lexington from San Diego, 4,000 miles away.

On July 3, a day after Earhart vanished, her technical adviser, Paul Mantz, suggested to reporters that she had crash-landed in the Phoenix Islands. Even if the plane's undercarriage was damaged, Mantz said, ``the fliers could have walked away ... uninjured.''

Meanwhile, several shortwave radio listeners as far away as the U.S. mainland were picking up the faint voices of a woman and a man, sending apparent distress calls. And both the Itasca and a New Zealand cruiser, HMS Achilles, reported what seemed to be Morse code ``dashes.''

When Pan Am's Pacific stations triangulated the signals to the Phoenix Islands, the Achilles, less than 48 hours away at its top speed of 32 knots, was ignored. Instead, the Colorado was sent south, but by the time it reached the area a week later, the radio calls had ceased.

After a float-plane search of eight atolls, senior pilot Lt. John O. Lambrecht reported that ``signs of recent habitation were clearly visible'' at Gardner Island, but ``repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants, and it was finally taken for granted that none were there.''

Had Lambrecht known that the island had been uninhabited for more than 40 years, he might have looked more closely. In an interview years later, he described the signs only as "markers," without elaboration. Inexplicably, the final report by Colorado's captain said no sign of habitation had been found.

Among reports of voice messages, two from teenagers using shortwave antennas rigged by their fathers were most disturbingly credible.

In Rock Springs, Wyo., Dana Randolph, 16, heard a voice say, "This is Amelia Earhart. Ship is on a reef south of the equator." Radio experts, aware that "harmonic" frequencies in mid-ocean often could be heard far inland, viewed the report as genuine.

Turning the shortwave dial in St. Petersburg, Fla., 15-year-old Betty Klenck was startled to hear a woman say, "This is Amelia Earhart Putnam," followed by pleas for help and agitated conversation with a man who, the girl thought, sounded irrational.

Having heard Earhart's voice in movie newsreels, she had no doubt that it was her.

"In my mind, a picture of her and what she was saying lasted for years. I remembered it every night of my life," Betty Klenck Brown, now 84 and widowed, said in a recent telephone interview from her home in California.

The man, she recalls, "seemed coherent at times, then would go out of his head. He said his head hurt ... She was trying mainly to keep him from getting out of the plane, telling him to come back to his seat, because she couldn't leave the radio.

"She was trying to get somebody to hear her, and as the hours went by she became more frantic."

Betty listened for nearly two hours, taking notes in a school composition notebook as the signals faded in and out. They ended when the fliers "were leaving the plane, because the water was knee-deep on her side," she said.

She believes she may be the last living person to have heard Earhart's distress calls.

Her father, Kenneth, who also heard the voices, contacted the Coast Guard at St. Petersburg, but was brushed off with assurances that the service was fully engaged in searching for the fliers, she said. "He got mad and chucked the whole thing because of the way he was treated."

Both teenagers' accounts would support TIGHAR's premise that Earhart crash-landed on Gardner's flat reef at low tide, was able to run its right engine to power the radio, and escaped the aircraft before tides eventually carried it off the reef into deep water.

On July 18, 16 days after Earhart and Noonan disappeared, the Navy and Coast Guard ended what the AP called "the greatest search ever undertaken in behalf of a lost flier." To justify the official finding that the Electra was lost at sea, the government dismissed the radio distress calls as hoaxes or misunderstandings.

Betty Klenck Brown's response today: "I know I am right."

Last September, Arthur Rypinski, a TIGHAR volunteer who regularly scans the Internet for Earhart-related material, found a woman in West Virginia offering an "Amelia Earhart Original Flight Plan" for sale on eBay.

"I was deeply intrigued," says Rypinski, of Rockville, Md., and he bought the document for $26.

The "flight plan" proved instead to be a copy of Carey's diary, along with news clippings and other items. Stamps showed it was once owned by the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pa. The seller, Dolores Brown, told Rypinski she probably had found it at a Goodwill store.

According to Carey's son, Tim Carey of Woodbridge, Va., his father served as a naval officer in the Pacific in World War II and had a career in public relations before his death in 1988.

His role as an AP reporter on the Earhart story became part of family history, his son says. And he adds: ``The diary was completely in character for him. He was a real note-keeper.''

Now raising funds for a ninth TIGHAR expedition to Nikumaroro in July, Gillespie says the Carey diary serves as a reminder to always "expect the unexpected" in the Earhart case.

"Pacific islanders don't wear shoes, so we know there was one foreign castaway, and maybe two, a man and a woman, on Gardner ... We hope this summer to recover human remains for DNA testing and find aircraft pieces that could be conclusively identified as from Amelia's plane.

"This is the expedition that could at last solve the mystery. I think we are right on the edge of knowing for a certainty what happened."

Source: The Guardian,,-6523626,00.html


Soviets Built German UFOs

On the summer morning of July 16, 1951 part of the La-11 1619-Northern Fleet out of Murmansk was on a routine patrol in the coastal territory. The first 30 minutes of the flight proceeded normally, and then lead Captain Peter Vusov, flying at an altitude of about 4000 meters above the sea, spotted a slowly moving object. "But, by getter closer, I saw a strange object-dark disc 20 meters in diameter and unmarked, but armed with powerful cannons below. I have never seen such a machine and immediately contacted the base and reported the craft. At that point the pilot of the unknown probably noticed our planes and dramatically changed course." The fighters on this patrol were armed and Vusov decided to attack the strange object. They fired 23mm shells, which apparently caused no damage so he went around for a second attack, but the results were the same. The commander then radio them, Vusov and lieutenant Ivanchenko who was piloting a second plane, were ordered to cease-fire and immediately return to base.

The pilots waited to be debriefed and to their surprise a stranger not in military uniform accompanied the senior officers. This man was obviously an important person who worked for the government. "I was scared", recalls Vusov. The pilots were told not to tell anyone about what they saw and that the matter was of national security. After the debriefing both pilots were transferred: Vusov to the Pacific fleet, and Ivanchenko to Khabarovsk. Both pilots were also promoted.

In the early 1930s, a young German, Oregon Irman Mayer designed an aircraft with an inverted shape with ringbolts in the center. Such a design would protect vital engineering components from possible enemy fire and the area was of sufficient size to accommodate the onboard weapons. However, it was only a theoretical design, and he was well aware of its shortcomings. Fortunately, the young and talented aircraft designer noticed the work of his colleague Heinrich Zimmermann, who was involved with unusual aircraft, of which the most promising was based on the so-called thin wings. Both designers created the Brian Zimmerman Mayer project to design new and innovative aircraft. Mayer proved to be an excellent collaborator and he generated ideas that were an important element of their future designs.

In 1942-1943 eyewitnesses claim to have seen what looked like a turned upside down disk. The centre was designed with a transparent cockpit. The disk was powered by turbojet engines (Jumo-004B) that could be steered and had a flying speed of about 700 km/h and a landing speed of 60 km/h.

This craft has been extremely unstable in flight. It was tested at concentration camp KT-4A, and one of the disks successfully took off, but because of strong wind overturned, crashed, caught fire and exploded.

From 1943 to 1945 the designer team solved the instability problems caused by the operation of the engine and built a larger version.

In the spring of 1945, with the project almost finished, the Allied forces defeated Germany. The German military ordered that all paper, models, designs be destroyed. They even ordered the executions of all of the engineers involved in the project. Fortunately, the designers managed to escape.

After the defeat of Germany, the allies did not find any evidence of the existence of this system. Soviet search teams were luckier. The Soviet Union not only discovered all of the documentation on the project, they found Irmana Mayer and his entire team of engineers who have taken refuge in a wine cellar on the outskirts of Berlin. They were then taken to the Soviet Union to continue their work.

In 1946, a talented graduate of Leningrad military engineering academy Mikhail Dubik received an unusual request. He was to be tested on his knowledge of the German language, which he passed, and to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Designer Mayer Mikhail Yuryevich Dubik had for more than half a century kept the secrets regarding the unusual craft. Only now, he agreed to share his memories and Mikhail was there to translate.

Originally the Jumo 004V1 engine was planned to be used by the German team to power the craft, which went into mass production under the symbol RD-10 at the on Ufimskom aircraft factory No. 26. But this engine proved to be too small and therefore they decided to use the new engine British Nene I, which went into production in 1947 in the USSR at the factory No. 45 under the symbol RD-45 with a thrust 2,040 kg.

The first flight took place in total secrecy at one of the northern airfields. The deafening roar of the three rocket engines easily propelled the craft from the ground and into the sky, recalls Mikhail Dubik. The disk had outstanding characteristics, notably the minimum cruising speed that could easily reach 100 km/h, and manoeuvre beautifully, which traditional fighters of the time could not. Mindful of the roots of the German machines, pilots called this craft Strausa, or simply strausom.

After so spectacular a demonstration, it was decided to design and build a craft suitable for combat. The development was a veritable masterpiece as the huge military craft had a diameter of 25 metres and a special pilot turret on top, radar equipment and four tank turret guns below. German engineers, with a depth of talent and wealth of experience on the development of these craft, made the entire dish into a flying wing. The craft had three directional turbojet engines and biased nozzles with variable vector control. This was complimented by a dynamic side bow, which provided sustainability and the fantastic manoeuvrable flying at low speeds.

The central purpose of the craft was to cause total destruction of American heavy bombers, the B-29s. One of the most likely paths for the Americans was considered to be by flying over the North Pole. It seemed logical to combat the enemy slightly farther from the frontiers of the Soviet Union, so they decided to put squadron at a point belonging to the Union, but based on the Line of America-North Pole-Moscow. This point was the Svalbard archipelago.

In 1948, the Soviet Union began work on the rehabilitation of coalmines on Svalbard. This seemed odd because of the minerals available on the mainland, but they proceeded with the development and transportation of coal from this remote island in the Arctic Ocean. It proved to be astronomically expensive. But what the commanders of the ships transporting the coal and others didn't know was that along with mining equipment on board was also a super secret weapon.

It was decided to use combat aircraft platforms so that in the event of an alarm a squadron could quickly be sent airborne and gain altitude of 10 km and with the assistance of on-board radar systems track B-29s, which potentially could drop atomic bombs on Moscow. After visual detection of the enemy the disks would rise above the bombers and shot 37-millimetrovykh AA down on the American bombers. In theory, a squadron of only six craft could easily wipe out up to hundreds of bombers in a single battle.

In total 12 disks were built and tested. The crew of each disk originally consisted of eight people: four artillery operators, the operator radar navigator, the co-pilot and commander. Tests were completed to determine maximum speed range and the maximum altitude ceiling. In order to maintain secrecy these disks did not display any identification or nationality. This was quickly changed and red stars were added after being almost shot down by their own aircraft.

By the fall of 1952, the flying "plates" had completed the testing program, according to available reports and documents.

On November 27, 1952, the North 1st squadron went active and captain Gregory Savichenko was assigned as chief of the new squadron.

But in March 1953, Stalin died, and the situation changed radically. Khrushchev came to power, and set about building missiles to launch nuclear bombs and anti-aircraft missiles capable of destroying hostile aircraft. Squadrons of MiG-15 fighters were deemed unnecessary and many were crashed and destroyed by bulldozers.

It is not surprising that the same fate befell the Soviet flying disks. All prototypes, equipment and valuable instruments were sunk off the coast of Svalbard where they lay at a depth of 300 metres waiting to be discovered.

Original source - Russian text:

Source: UFO Digest/Dirk Vander Ploeg


Are GM Crops Killing Bees?

A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Walter Haefeker is a man who is used to painting grim scenarios. He sits on the board of directors of the German Beekeepers Association (DBIB) and is vice president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association. And because griping is part of a lobbyist's trade, it is practically his professional duty to warn that "the very existence of beekeeping is at stake."

The problem, says Haefeker, has a number of causes, one being the varroa mite, introduced from Asia, and another is the widespread practice in agriculture of spraying wildflowers with herbicides and practicing monoculture. Another possible cause, according to Haefeker, is the controversial and growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Mysterious events in recent months have suddenly made Einstein's apocalyptic vision seem all the more topical. For unknown reasons, bee populations throughout Germany are disappearing -- something that is so far only harming beekeepers. But the situation is different in the United States, where bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.

Felix Kriechbaum, an official with a regional beekeepers' association in Bavaria, recently reported a decline of almost 12 percent in local bee populations. When "bee populations disappear without a trace," says Kriechbaum, it is difficult to investigate the causes, because "most bees don't die in the beehive." There are many diseases that can cause bees to lose their sense of orientation so they can no longer find their way back to their hives.

Manfred Hederer, the president of the German Beekeepers Association, almost simultaneously reported a 25 percent drop in bee populations throughout Germany. In isolated cases, says Hederer, declines of up to 80 percent have been reported. He speculates that "a particular toxin, some agent with which we are not familiar," is killing the bees.

Politicians, until now, have shown little concern for such warnings or the woes of beekeepers. Although apiarists have been given a chance to make their case -- for example in the run-up to the German cabinet's approval of a genetic engineering policy document by Minister of Agriculture Horst Seehofer in February -- their complaints are still largely ignored.

Even when beekeepers actually go to court, as they recently did in a joint effort with the German chapter of the organic farming organization Demeter International and other groups to oppose the use of genetically modified corn plants, they can only dream of the sort of media attention environmental organizations like Greenpeace attract with their protests at test sites.

But that could soon change. Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.

In an article in its business section in late February, the New York Times calculated the damage US agriculture would suffer if bees died out. Experts at Cornell University in upstate New York have estimated the value bees generate -- by pollinating fruit and vegetable plants, almond trees and animal feed like clover -- at more than $14 billion.

Scientists call the mysterious phenomenon "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), and it is fast turning into a national catastrophe of sorts. A number of universities and government agencies have formed a "CCD Working Group" to search for the causes of the calamity, but have so far come up empty-handed. But, like Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, they are already referring to the problem as a potential "AIDS for the bee industry."

One thing is certain: Millions of bees have simply vanished. In most cases, all that's left in the hives are the doomed offspring. But dead bees are nowhere to be found -- neither in nor anywhere close to the hives. Diana Cox-Foster, a member of the CCD Working Group, told The Independent that researchers were "extremely alarmed," adding that the crisis "has the potential to devastate the US beekeeping industry."

It is particularly worrisome, she said, that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature."

In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi -- a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed.

The scientists are also surprised that bees and other insects usually leave the abandoned hives untouched. Nearby bee populations or parasites would normally raid the honey and pollen stores of colonies that have died for other reasons, such as excessive winter cold. "This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them," says Cox-Foster.

Walter Haefeker, the German beekeeping official, speculates that "besides a number of other factors," the fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role. The figure is much lower in Germany -- only 0.06 percent -- and most of that occurs in the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. Haefeker recently sent a researcher at the CCD Working Group some data from a bee study that he has long felt shows a possible connection between genetic engineering and diseases in bees.

The study in question is a small research project conducted at the University of Jena from 2001 to 2004. The researchers examined the effects of pollen from a genetically modified maize variant called "Bt corn" on bees. A gene from a soil bacterium had been inserted into the corn that enabled the plant to produce an agent that is toxic to insect pests. The study concluded that there was no evidence of a "toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations." But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened. According to the Jena study, a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees" occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt poison feed.

According to Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a professor at the University of Halle in eastern Germany and the director of the study, the bacterial toxin in the genetically modified corn may have "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry -- or perhaps it was the other way around. We don't know."

Of course, the concentration of the toxin was ten times higher in the experiments than in normal Bt corn pollen. In addition, the bee feed was administered over a relatively lengthy six-week period.

Kaatz would have preferred to continue studying the phenomenon but lacked the necessary funding. "Those who have the money are not interested in this sort of research," says the professor, "and those who are interested don't have the money."

Source: Spiegel,1518,druck-473166,00.html


Skull for Scandal

Temples, human sacrifices and a mysterious crystal skull draw visitors to Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun.

LUBAANTUN, BELIZE–It's a nondescript area of the Mayan ruins here, the original entrance to what is now known as Lubaantun, or "place of falling stones." But it's the site of an enduring modern mystery.

Mayan guide Nathaniel Mas gestures beyond a stone altar towards to a grassy corner. "The crystal skull was found there," he says, casually. And thereby hangs a tale.

The mystical skull was supposedly discovered on New Year's Day of 1924, by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, an orphan from Port Colborne, Ont. Anna had been adopted by British adventurer and story-spinner Frederick Mitchell-Hedges, who was excavating the Lubaantun ruins, looking for clues about the lost city of Atlantis.

Remarkably, it just happened to be Anna's 17th birthday.

She had spotted something shining deep inside a chamber of the ruins and was lowered by ropes to investigate. What she found was a wondrous piece of quartz crystal carved in the shape of a skull. The detachable crystal jawbone was found later.

Now aged 100, Anna Mitchell-Hedges still has the skull, though it is mostly kept locked away in a bank vault. Anna moved away from her Kitchener home more than a decade ago and now stays with friends in the United States.

"She's in good health," Bill Homann, one of those friends, told the Star in a recent telephone interview. "She has some aches and pains but we all have that."

There's still intense interest in the skull, Homann says – he and Mitchell-Hedges are planning to give a couple of lectures on it in New York and Arizona later this year.

But controversy continues to swirl around the skull and the story of its discovery, particularly after it was revealed that Frederick Mitchell-Hedges had bought the skull at a Sotheby's auction in 1943.

It is one of 13 such crystal skulls apparently discovered in Mayan and Aztec ruins. The Lubaantun skull, however, is remarkable for the clarity of the crystal and the skill and detail of the carving. Other examples, including one in the British Museum in London, are cruder, more stylized and lack the detachable jawbone.

"It's a remarkable piece of craftsmanship but that's all it is," paranormal investigator Joe Nickell told the Kitchener-Waterloo Record's Colin Hunter in 2005, adding that he doubted Anna's story: "I would say (Anna's) veracity seems no better than her father's."

Nathaniel Mas gives a dismissive shrug when I ask him what he thinks. "There are different stories and lots of rumours," he says.

Tucked away in southern Belize, neither Lubaantun or nearby Nim Li Punit are as well known as some of the major Mayan sites in Mexico and Guatemala. Nor have they been as extensively restored; you need to bring your imagination with you, along with a bottle of water and some stout shoes.

"They are fairly small scale but well worth visiting," says Canadian Sherry Gibbs, a Belize-based archaeologist who has been to both sites several times and worked Pusilha, another southern Belize site.

"The architecture in the south is very different. At Nim Li Punit you have that gorgeous sandstone and at Lubaantun you have beautifully cut stone, so perfectly done that they didn't have to use mortar," says Gibbs, who lives in San Ignacio with husband Fernando and nine-month-old son Joaquin and works as a consultant.

"Nim Li Punit is one of my very favourites. In fact, the first time I saw it, I told my boss I really wanted to work there."

Earlier archaeologists displayed little such affection for Mayan ruins. Lubaantun, in fact, was miserably treated by some of those who worked there and there's no mystery about how it got its modern name.

The site was first excavated in 1903 by Thomas Gann who seemed to favour dynamite rather than gentle exploration with a trowel and brush.

"He couldn't get into the temples very easily and was wondering what was in the centre and the easiest thing was to blow it up," says Mas. "Perhaps that's why they named the site the falling stones. Everything collapsed and he didn't find anything. It's a shame."

Then there was Harvard University's R.E. Merwin who visited the site in 1914 and made off with three priceless ball-court markers, which are now on display in Harvard's Peabody Museum.

Interestingly, the markers depict a singles match between two men, rather than a team game. "At this site, they sacrificed the loser, pulling out his heart and then burying the body," says Mas.

Lubaantun, which flourished between 730 and 860 AD, has three ball courts and five plazas. It's unusual for several reasons – the buildings have rounded corners; an unusual number of pottery figurines were found during excavations; and there are no carved stone monuments (stelae).

Lubaantun was probably an administrative headquarters for trade; Nim Li Punit, on the other hand, is thought to have been the religious and ceremonial centre of the area. And it's full of stelae – 25 or more of them.

In fact, the name Nim Li Punit or Big Hat comes from a figure wearing a large headdress made of Quetzal bird feathers, carved on the site's tallest stela.

The 9.5-metre stela was discovered in 1976 by a company oil worker, says Mas, as we wander through the small museum built to house several stelae and other artifacts.

"This is the second-largest stela in the Mayan world," he says. (The first, the 10.75-metre Stela E, is at Quirigua, in Honduras.)

Shockingly, several of the stelae have chip marks on them – the work of vandals and the reason why the museum was built in 1997.

It's something of a treat to visit the site with Mas – it's not often you get to visit Mayan ruins with someone who actually made a major find there.

Mas was part of a small team reconstructing a wall here in 1998 when they noticed the ground nearby had a hollow sound.

"There was a little tiny hole there, so what we decided to do was to cut a piece of stick about five or six feet long and shove it in the hole," Mas recalls. "It went right in.

"We told the guy in charge that there could be a tomb so he gave us an extra guy and we started to clear. We found two tombs on that day. Everything was covered with bedrock, which had collapsed inside, so we just moved it out, carefully."

Inside the tombs were some pieces of ceramic, including a bowl, and human and animal bones.

The first tomb had been discovered in 1986 by Richard Levington and it was thought to date back to 800 AD.

"It belonged to the ruler, the highest person of his time. Jadeite was buried with him and a mask pendant was discovered there, too."

It's a beautiful spot, about 65 metres high and nestled in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The views are spectacular; on a clear day you can see the Caribbean Sea.

We wander towards yet another ball court, with stepped sides. "The rubber ball was five to six pounds," says Mas, showing me a rubber tree on site. "And the players were well equipped with helmets, gloves and knee pads."

Goals were scored by shooting the ball through a hoop. "Many people think the hoop was made out of wood and that's why they haven't survived."

But at least here at Nim Li Punit, the loser apparently escaped with his life.

"He wasn't sacrificed here, unlike Lubaantun," says Mas. "The high priest gave blood which was collected and used as the sacrifice."

Gibbs says archaeologists have many different theories about the ball courts.

"They may have been used for different purposes. One may have been for theatre-like spectacle, another for religious ceremonies. Maybe they were used for exercise and maybe the game was like tennis, keeping the ball moving rather than putting it through a hoop.

"Each theory is as good as the other."

It's yet another mystery swirling around these fascinatingly enigmatic ruins.

Source: The Star


French Architect Says Great Pyramid Built From Inside Out

A French architect said yesterday that he had cracked a 4,500-year-old mystery surrounding Egypt's Great Pyramid, saying it was built from the inside out.

Previous theories have suggested Pharaoh Khufu's tomb, the last surviving example of the seven great wonders of antiquity, was built using either a vast frontal ramp or a ramp in a corkscrew shape around the exterior to haul up the stonework.

But flouting previous wisdom, Jean-Pierre Houdin said advanced 3-D technology had shown the main ramp that was used to haul the massive stones to the apex was contained 10 to 15 yards beneath the outer skin, tracing a pyramid within a pyramid.

"This is better than the other theories, because it is the only theory that works," Houdin said after unveiling his hypothesis using 3-D computer simulation.

To prove his case, Houdin teamed up with a French company that builds 3-D models for auto and airplane design, Dassault Systemes, which put 14 engineers on the project for two years.

Now, an international team is being assembled to investigate the pyramid using radars and heat detecting cameras supplied by a French defense firm, as long as Egyptian authorities agree.

"This goes against both main existing theories. I've been teaching them myself for 20 years but deep down I know they're wrong," Egyptologist Bob Brier said at the unveiling.

"Houdin's vision is credible, but right now this is just a theory. Everybody thinks it has got to be taken seriously," said Brier, a senior research fellow at Long Island University.

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities was not immediately available for comment.

Dassault said Brier and other Egyptologists attending the ceremony were supporters of Houdin's theory but had no financial links to him or the firm.

Houdin began working full-time on the riddle eight years ago after a flash of intuition passed to him by his engineer father, and five years before actually visiting the site.

He found that a frontal, mile-long ramp would have used up as much stone as the pyramid, while being too steep near the top. He believes an external ramp was used only to supply the base.

An external corkscrew ramp would have blocked the sight lines needed to build an accurate pyramid and been difficult to fix to the surface, while leaving little room to work.

Houdin, 56, also says he has shed light on a second enigma surrounding the purpose of a Grand Gallery inside the pyramid.

The Frenchman believes its tall, narrow shape suggests it accommodated a giant counter-weight to help haul five 60-ton granite beams to their position above the King's Chamber.

The architect also thinks that no more than 4,000 people would have built the pyramid using these techniques rather than the 100,000 or so assigned by past historians to the task of burying the pharaoh.

Source: Boston Globe


Spirits on the Information Highway

Do you believe that a spirit can haunt a person via the internet? If I were asked that question before January 2006, I would have probably smirked and answered "impossible". What happened to me may just bea case of a spirit conjured up by thought; not necessarily a haunting by computer. Either way, the medium at hand was the internet. I've always been a believer in the paranormal despite never having had an outstanding encounter.

I love to roam around the net browsing the plethora paranormal sites, relishing the many spine tingling stories of ghostly experiences. This chilly winter day was different than no other, except that I took a look at some sites devoted to ghost towns and abandoned mines. I came across the site for The Bureau of Land Management that gives statistics on abandoned mines as well as safety reminders for those who are out exploring. There is also a section devoted to the unfortunate souls who failed to heed the warnings posted at the entrances to dangerous mines.

There were a few stories that were particularly shocking, but the one that really bothered me was about a man who had fallen down a shaft that was about eight stories high. When his remains were found some time later, the medical examiner stated that the man more than likely survived the fall with nothing more than a broken leg. What killed him was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

This person was a well prepared explorer who packed plenty of survival gear including a gun. I began to imagine, very vividly, the man at the bottom of this mine shaft in complete complete agony. His pain, both emotional and physical, must have been unbearable.

As the hours passed and his anxiety escalated, he began to accept that he was too far out in the terrain for someone to come by. The chance of rescue was nil. He began having thoughts about his family, his life. I could picture the man completely breaking down and sobbing, knowing that there was only one way to end his suffering. I felt so saddened, and wondered to myself what I would have done.

I immersed myself in these feelings of terror and hopelessness for some time, so much so that I began to feel a sickening feeling in my body. Although I was shocked and moved by this tragic story, I proceeded on to another site. That's when the lamp on the desk next to me began flickering, making a buzzing noise that sounded like an electrical surge.

I figured the bulb was loose, so I checked it and found that that wasn't the case. At that point, my stomach dropped to my knees when I began to feel the presence of someone or something around me. I sat back down and carried on, not wanting to tip off my "visitor" that I was aware of what was going on. The lamp flickered again. I ignored it. A short time later, I went into the bathroom when the light in the ceiling did the same strange flickering as the lamp. At this point, I became frightened and bolted.

Over the next few days more bizarre electrical occurrences happened. I was at the stove cooking when suddenly the oven timer went on, scaring the you know what out of me! That same day the bathroom light went on the fritz again and this time I was already, um, seated.

I became angry (and brave)yelling out "Do you mind?! I'm trying to use the bathroom here!!" With that, a tiny little flicker of the light, and then it ceased.

My pet cat was also acting strangely, his eyes seemingly following something or someone who was not there. At other times he would awaken out of a sound sleep with a jolt; focusing on one part of the room blinking in curiosity. I eventually smudged my house with a sage stick and the activity abruptly stopped. Could it have been that my strong feelings and thoughts about this man enticed his spirit to me? Or perhaps another random entity I picked up on the information highway that day? Who knows. I firmly believe that the human mind is even more powerful than we realize, and that those on the other side can tune into that power.

So I'll ask again: Do you believe that it's possible a spirit can haunt a person via the internet? I do.

Source: Unexplained Mysteries/Melyssa Glennie-Puckett


Do Animals Have Telepathy?

A cat disappears when her owners go on vacation each year, yet arrives back at the house right before they return.

A man sits on the couch, his dog asleep in the next room. He thinks, "I should take Daisy for a walk," and suddenly his dog comes bounding in the room, leash in mouth.

A cat curls up next to the phone just before a family member calls, but never when anyone else is about to call. These stories are told by many pet owners from all over the world.

Most dogs and cats are attuned to their owners and learn their patterns, read their body language and anticipate what's going to happen next.

But there are so many stories of pets seeming to know more than their natural senses would allow that it has been the subject of study and debate for years. Are their natural senses even greater than we ever imagined? Or do they have a sixth sense?

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, author of "Dogs That Know When Their Owner is Coming Home," believes that animals have perceptive abilities of telepathy and premonitions. Veterinarian and author Dr. Allan Schoen says in his book, "Kindred Spirits," that people and animals are intimately connected. Pets whom we feel especially close to seem to understand our needs, read our moods, and even communicate with us on a level that transcends words or body language.

Can pets be so connected and attuned to their owners when they are far apart, even when there is no possible way they could be using their sense of smell or hearing?

Physician and author Dr. Larry Dossey says there is a connection between all species, which is not limited by locality. He refers to it as a "nonlocal mind." Consciousness is not restricted to the brain or the body, or time or place. Therefore, people and animals can have an effect on each other, even when miles apart.

Traditional scientists remain skeptical about psychic abilities among people -- let alone pets. They say much of the phenomenon can be explained in other ways, through pets' acute senses of hearing and smell, reading human body language, or noting other cues.

Dogs and cats live mostly in a scent and sound world. It may be that when an owner thinks about taking her dog for a walk, this happy thought causes a change in her body chemistry, which the dog can smell and associate with walks. Some who swear their dog knows when their owner is coming home may find their pets are unable to do so when they come home in a different car.

A simpler explanation is that owners notice their pets' mysterious behaviors only when related events coincide. The cat may curl up by the phone now and then, but the owner doesn't notice. If the cat happens to sit by the phone when "dad" calls, the owner is more likely to take note.

There is no dispute that our pets live on a sensory level that's different from our own. Though we share the same five known senses, dogs and cats take in their world mostly through scent and sound and act on instinct. We take in our world mostly through sight and act on intellect and emotion. So it's not surprising that our pets are able to clue in on things that we can't imagine could be possible. But sometimes, hard science has no explanation for extraordinary pet perception.

The debate goes on.

Source: The Herald News,4_5_JO02_

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