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11/7/08  #494
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It is one week after Halloween...the candy buzz is slowly wearing off. The cardboard witches and black cats have been taken down and stored away for another year. The carved jack o' lanterns still sit on front porches, their faces slowly succumbing to the elements, melting to an even more gruesome caricature of frightening faces half-glimpsed in the dark from underneath sweat-soaked blankets. But don't be sad, for even if your regular newspaper or nightly news has turned away from tales of haunted houses and ghostly visitors, Conspiracy Journal is back once again to bring you all of the strange and weird news that happens every month, every week, every day...even if it is not Halloween.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such melting chocolate stories as:

- Army Working on Science’s Outer Limits -
- Massive Waves a Mystery at Maine Harbor -
- UFOs Blamed For Massive Black-Out -
- Tapping Into the Supernatural to Crack Crimes -
AND: Legend of the Dog Man Still Haunts the Woods of Michigan

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~

Andrew Crosse:
Mad Scientist - Diary Of A Monster Maker!



His contemporaries in the scientific community were puzzled by the very nature of his experiments. And while the eye does not deceive, they were unable to duplicate his findings and reproduce under controlled conditions the striking life forms that were plainly visible and clearly moving around Crosse's laboratory table.

To the farmers living in the area surrounding Crosse's palatial Fyne Court, he quickly became recognized as a heretic dabbling in dark areas that led him to be on the receiving end of a significant number of irate letters from God-fearing folk who summarily and loudly accused him of blasphemy, or even trying to replace their God as the ultimate creator.

The contentions of the nearby country folk  were only compounded by Andrew Crosse's ability to seemingly capture bolts of lightning and direct them through a mile long coil of copper wire that was suspended from poles and trees all around his estate.  Events reached a boiling point when Crosse started to receive anonymous death threats. There were those who firmly blamed him for a failure in the year's wheat-crop; and there was even a demand that an exorcism of the whole area be undertaken in the surrounding green hills.

Here, in his own words, Andrew Crosse describes in great detail his life and times and the experiments that caused such a great controversy in his day -- and continue to frighten and bewilder us even now!  In a breathtaking update paranormalist Nick Redfern takes us behind the scenes and actually describes Crosse's relationship with the creator of the Frankenstein novel, Mary Shelley.

Discover a page from history that they DID NOT teach you in science class! This book can be yours for the special Conspiracy Journal price of only $22.00 plus $5.00 for shipping.  YOU WON'T FIND A BETTER DEAL ANYWHERE ELSE.

And as an extra special bonus, we will send you a FREE DVD of one of the most shocking independent movies to ever be released. This movie is so incredible that we dare not risk revealing its title. But you can get your FREE copy by buying ANDREW CROSSE: MAD SCIENTIST!

Order ANDREW CROSSE: MAD SCIENTIST for the Low, Low price of only $22.00, plus $5.00 shipping.

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In This Incredible Issue:


America’s Oldest Mystery: Rhode island’s Newport Tower - Newport, RI, has long been famous as the summer playground for the fabulously wealthy. But nestled amongst the luxurious mansions and the private yachts is a mysterious stone tower whose history has baffled historians for centuries. It is believed to be the oldest stone structure in America, though no  one can say precisely when it was built.
Was there a Golden Age? Historical Proof for the Garden of Eden
Almost all of the ancient cultures of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have myths which speak of an earlier time when life was easier and humans lived in harmony with nature and each other.  Most historians believe that these myths are little more than fairy tales, perhaps the result of our need to idealize the past. However, there is now evidence that suggests that these myths may contain a kernel of historical truth, a kind of distant folk memory of an actual historical era.
The Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Collider: Seeking the God Particle - Tucked away in a sleepy Swiss  village lies the Center for Nuclear Experimentation and Research, the site of the recently completed Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider and perhaps the most complex machine ever built. The principle goal of the LHC is to reveal the so-called god particle: the Higgs Boson, which is about 120 times more massive than a proton, and gives mass to all other particles as they emerge from the primordial quantum field.

The Parapsychology Revolution: An Interview with Dr. Robert
Schoch - A geologist and paleontologist by profession, Dr. Schoch has studied some of the greatest ancient monuments around the world including the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx,and the underwater structures near Yonaguni Island, Japan. He has also written several bestselling books, including his most recent, The Parapsychology Revolution.

Coming soon to your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.

If you ever thought about publishing your own paranormal magazine, now is the time to act as Mysteries Magazine is up for sale! The business was valuated at $80,000, but Kim, the publisher would be happy to provide creative financing opps, such as being retained as editor/art director for a contracted stipend or paying her a yearly fee for a number of years, etc.
This would be the perfect magazine for a book publisher or radio program, as they could use it to promote their books/programs free of charge.

If this sounds like the chance you have been waiting for, then contact Kim at:
and she will provide you with all the details.


Army Working on Science’s Outer Limits

It's like something out of "The Terminator." Self-aware virtual humans, regenerating body parts on "nano-scaffolding," mind controlled weapons - all the stuff of movie robots, comic heroes and otherworldly tomes.

But for some, this kind of higher-than-high tech is as real as life and death.

Dr. John Parmentola, Director of Research and Laboratory Management with the Army's science and technology office, told military bloggers Nov. 3 that the Army is "making science fiction into reality" by creating realistic holographic images, generating virtual humans and diving into quantum computing.

It may sound like a trailer for the next "Star Trek" installment, but Parmentola is deadly serious.

For the last several years, the Army has kept a close eye on research into areas of science that might have once been called "paranormal;" its practitioners drummed out of the academy as kooks and nut-jobs. But now the idea of implanting specific memories or erasing damaging ones, for example, isn't mere fantasy.

Dr. Joe Tsien, a neurobiologist at the Medical College of Georgia and co-director of the Brain Discovery Institute, has been able to erase certain memories from mice subjected to traumatic experiences in a laboratory environment, Parmentola said. From a practical standpoint, the Army could use this kind of technology to help Soldiers who've been psychologically scarred by staring death straight in the eye.

"You can imagine people who have horrifying memories, it would be great if we could eliminate them so this way they're not plagued by these memories uncontrollably," Parmentola said. "We have Soldiers that have this problem, like PTSD and traumatic brain injury, but there are many other examples that occur in the civilian world."

The Army plans to highlight Tsien's and other research into the ragged edges of science fiction at the 26th Army Science Conference in Orlando next month, where experts in neurorobotics, high-tech computer displays and quantum physics will explain how Soldiers could benefit from the types of radical science most have only seen on episodes of the "X-Files."

Take mind communication, for example. Experiments have shown that certain thoughts generate electrical impulses on the surface of the scalp, Parmentola said. Think commandos who can stealthily communicate without using their voice or Soldiers who control weapons with their thoughts from a distance over a wireless connection.

"You could wear a cap that is sensitive to these electrical impulses, pick up the pattern and amplify those small signals send it over a wire [or wirelessly] connect it to a device," Parmentola said. "So if you think of a thought 'turn on,' it will automatically turn on a computer or that device."

Or how about regenerative medicine? Parmentola said researchers aren't far away from being able to grow back body parts - both internal organs and limbs - that have been lost in combat or other accidents. The technique focuses on the use if molecular-sized particles that act as a kind of scaffolding to support the growth of body tissue - say, a finger - and dissolves as the biological material solidifies.

It's not that unlike what a salamander can do when it loses a limb.

"We're beginning to understand how this occurs and if we can, it holds the hope of, being able to regrow limbs on people," Parmentola said.

Then some of this space-aged research takes a turn into the Einsteinian world of quantum mechanics and particle physics - places most mere mortals who simply hump hills with ammo-laden rucks fear to tread.

"Quantum ghost imaging," for example, is as complicated as it sounds. Basically it's a phenomenon of physics that allows images to be rendered through the pairing of photons that do not reflect or bounce off an object, but off of other photons that did, thereby creating a sort of "ghost" image of it. This technology would enable the Army to generate images of personnel and equipment through clouds and smoke.

"It's like having a tracing tool … that goes over the image and that's connected to another one on a piece of paper that exactly imitates what it is that you are tracing with the other pen," Parmentola said. "It takes advantage of a remarkable property of quantum mechanics to try and do this."

And if you do end up at the Army Science Conference next month, don't be startled by the three-dimensional holographic image of a soldier talking to you (not that the regenerated arm, mind-controlled computer or implanted memories won't freak you out enough) as you walk down the hall. It might just be the virtual human Army researchers are creating to make simulators and war games more realistic for training, Parmentola said.

They're working on creating "photorealistic looking and acting human beings" that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang.

"I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding," Parmentola said.

To test out the computer generated humans' "humanity," Parmentola and his researchers want to unleash some of their cyber Soldiers into so-called "massively multi-player online games" such as "World of Warcraft" or "Eve Online" - games frequented by thousands of super-competitive human players in teams of virtual characters fighting battles that can last for days.

"We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human," he said.



Bio Lab in Galveston Raises Concerns

Much of the University of Texas medical school on this island suffered flood damage during Hurricane Ike, except for one gleaming new building, a national biological defense laboratory that will soon house some of the most deadly diseases in the world.

How a laboratory where scientists plan to study viruses like Ebola and Marburg ended up on a barrier island where hurricanes regularly wreak havoc puzzles some environmentalists and community leaders.

“It’s crazy, in my mind,” said Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer in Houston. “I just find an amazing willingness among the people on the Texas coast to accept risks that a lot of people in the country would not accept.”

Officials at the laboratory and at the National Institutes of Health, which along with the university is helping to pay for the $174 million building, say it can withstand any storm the Atlantic hurls at it.

Built atop concrete pylons driven 120 feet into the ground, the seven-floor laboratory was designed to stand up to 140-mile-an-hour winds. Its backup generators and high-security laboratories are 30 feet above sea level.

“The entire island can wash away and this is still going to be here,” Dr. James W. LeDuc, the deputy director of the laboratory, said. “With Hurricane Ike, we had no damage. The only evidence the hurricane occurred was water that was blown under one of the doors and a puddle in the lobby.”

The project enjoyed the strong support of three influential Texas Republicans: President Bush, a former Texas governor; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; and the former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, whose district includes part of Galveston County. Officials at the National Institutes of Health, however, say the decision to put the lab here was based purely on the merits. It is to open Nov. 11.

Dr. LeDuc acknowledged that hurricanes would disrupt research. Each time a hurricane approaches the island, scientists will have to stop their experiments and exterminate many of the viruses and bacteria they are studying.

And Hurricane Ike did not provide the worst-case test the laboratory will someday face, some critics say. Ike’s 100-m.p.h. winds were on the low side for a hurricane, yet it still flooded most of the island’s buildings. The university’s teaching hospital, on the same campus as the lab, has been shut down for more than a month.

“The University of Texas should consider locating its biohazards lab away from Galveston Island and out of harm’s way,” Ken Kramer, director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “As destructive as it was, Hurricane Ike was only a Category 2 storm. A more powerful storm would pose an even greater threat of a biohazards release.”

The laboratory is one of two the Bush administration pushed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The second is being built at Boston University Medical Center, where it met stiff community resistance.

Not so in Texas, where there was hardly a whimper of protest. For starters, the University of Texas Medical Branch is one of the largest employers on the island of 57,000 people.

In addition, the leaders of the medical school skillfully sold community leaders and politicians on the high-tech safety measures at the lab and on the economic boon to Galveston, an impoverished town in need of the 300 jobs the laboratory would bring.

University leaders met twice a month with community leaders for several years to dispel fears of pathogens escaping. Then they created a permanent advisory committee of residents that included some of their critics.

The campaign to win over residents was effective. In 2004, the university built a small laboratory and won federal approval to study extremely lethal pathogens there. The smaller laboratory — named for Dr. Robert E. Shope, a virus expert — helped persuade federal officials it was feasible to erect the national laboratory next to it.

Nonetheless, some community members remain skeptical about the safety measures.

“It is not a geographically good location, and the safety measures are only as good as the people who work there,” said Jackie Cole, a former City Council member who now serves on a citizen’s advisory board for the laboratory.

Other environmentalists who might have fought the project were bogged down in a battle against a liquid natural gas plant that was to be built in Texas City, a refinery town across a narrow channel from the island.

“It kind of went under the radar,” said Bob Stokes, who heads the Galveston Bay Foundation, a group dedicated to cleaning up water pollution.

Dr. LeDuc and other scientists at the laboratory say it is almost impossible for diseases to escape. The air pressure in the laboratories is kept lower than in surrounding hallways. Even if the double doors into the laboratories are opened accidentally, air rushes in, carrying pathogens up and away through vents to special filters, which are periodically sterilized with formaldehyde and then incinerated.

All the laboratory tables have hoods that suck contaminated air through the vents to the filters, as do the rooms themselves. Liquid waste, feces and urine go to tanks on the first floor, where it is heated to a temperature at which nothing can survive before being put into the sewage system.

Other waste — carcasses of laboratory animals and disposable lab equipment — is sterilized in autoclaves, giant steam-pressure cookers, before being incinerated off site, Dr. LeDuc said.

When hurricanes threaten the island, researchers will shut down their experiments at least 24 hours before landfall, decontaminate the labs and then move the stocks of deadly pathogens into freezers on upper floors, where they are kept at 70 below zero, Dr. Joan Nichols, an associate director of research, said.

Even if the emergency power system were to fail, the freezers can keep the samples of killer diseases dormant for about four days, she said.

The precautions are necessary. The laboratory will do research into some of the nastiest diseases on the planet, among them Ebola, anthrax, tularemia, West Nile virus, drug-resistant tuberculosis, bubonic plague, avian influenza and typhus.

In the top-level secure laboratories, where deadly filoviruses like Ebola are studied, the scientists work in pressurized spacesuits inside rooms with airtight steel doors. Before leaving the secured area, they take a chemical shower for eight minutes in their suits, then a conventional shower, Dr. LeDuc said.

The university’s bid for the laboratory benefited from friends in Washington. Mr. DeLay, who resigned from Congress in 2006, pushed hard to bring the project to his district, as did Mrs. Hutchison, who sits on the Appropriations Committee.

On a visit to Galveston with Mr. Delay in 2005, Mr. Bush said: “This hospital is going to be the Texas center for bioshield research, to help us make sure that our country is well prepared as we engage in the war on terror. No better place, by the way, to do substantial research than right here at the University of Texas.”

Galveston’s medical school has long had a top-notch faculty in infectious diseases; the school’s proposal beat out bids from the University of California, Davis, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Wadsworth Center in Albany, among others.

Dr. Rona Hirschberg, a senior program officer at the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, an agency of the National Institutes of Health, said politics played no role in the decision to build the lab here. The threat of hurricanes was outweighed, she said, by the presence of some of the best virologists in the country, she said.

“You could put it out in the middle of nowhere and it would be a safe, secure facility,” Dr. Hirschberg, a molecular biologist, said. “But the research wouldn’t get done.”

Source: NY Times


Massive Waves a Mystery at Maine Harbor

Dockworker Marcy Ingall saw a giant wave in the distance last Tuesday afternoon and stopped in her tracks. It was an hour before low tide in Maine's Boothbay Harbor, yet without warning, the muddy harbor floor suddenly filled with rushing, swirling water.

In 15 minutes, the water rose 12 feet, then receded. And then it happened again. It occurred three times, she said, each time ripping apart docks and splitting wooden pilings.

"It was bizarre," said Ingall, a lifelong resident of the area. "Everybody was like, 'Oh my God, is this the end?' " It was not the apocalypse, but it was a rare phenomenon, one that has baffled researchers. The National Weather Service said ocean levels rapidly rose in Boothbay, Southport, and Bristol in a matter of minutes around 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 to the surprise of ocean watchers. Exactly what caused the rogue waves remains unknown.

"The cause of it is a mystery," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Jensenius, who first reported the waves from a field office in Gray, Maine. "But it's not mysterious that it happened."

Specialists have posed a variety of possible explanations, saying the waves could have been caused by a powerful storm squall or the slumping of mountains of sediment from a steep canyon in the ocean - a sort of mini tsunami. The last time such rogue waves appeared in Maine was at Bass Harbor in 1926.

Jensenius said the occurrence is so unusual, that specialists don't have a name for the phenomenon.

"That's part of our problem," he said.

A similar occurrence in Florida more than 15 years ago continues to baffle researchers. A series of 12- to 15-foot waves hit Daytona Beach on July 3, 1992, injuring more than 20 people and lifting and tossing dozens of cars.

Jeff List, an oceanographer at the US Geological Survey at Woods Hole said he and other researchers studied the occurrence, but no one has been able to pinpoint the cause. And he said similarly enormous waves appeared once on the Great Lakes.

Could such a wave or waves enter Boston Harbor, or even engulf the Massachusetts coast?

"It seems a little unlikely one could hit Boston," List said. "But then again, these things are always surprises when they occur."

A squall line surge, which occurs when fast-moving storm winds sweep over water that is traveling the same speed, can create such a wave. (The speed of waves is directly related to wind speed and the depth of the ocean at any given point.)

List and other specialists said such an occurrence is exceedingly rare, but when it occurs, "you get this interaction that causes a large bulge of water to rise up."

Jensenius said that might have been a factor last week, when a major storm front brought rain to most of the East Coast, particularly southern New England. But he said that does not solve the mystery, adding that he had not ruled out a massive "land slump" underwater. Such slumps can create waves that may be classified as tsunamis, although no where near the size and scale of the tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2004. Those fast-moving and deadly waves were caused by a massive earthquake.

Tsunami-like waves may not be as rare on the East Coast as most people think. Jensenius referenced a 2002 article in the International Journal of the Tsunami Society that called the threat of tsunami and tsunami-like waves generated in the Atlantic Ocean "very real despite a general impression to the contrary."

The article said such waves appear "in most cases to be the result of slumping or landsliding associated with earthquakes or with wave action associated with strong storms."

Explosive decompression of underwater methane could also be a factor.

Jensenius said he is trying to gather information on the waves that hit Boothbay Harbor, adding that he has asked local businesses such as banks whether the event might have been recorded on security videos.

"It could be this or it could be that, but as a science, it is very difficult to tie it down," he said of the waves.

List also said the waves could have been triggered by the same conditions that cause a tsunami, including a breaking glacier. Rogue waves can result from a tsunami traveling through the ocean that breaks "down into numerous waves."

According to the National Weather Service, no earthquakes or seismic activity were reported in the area when the Boothbay waves appeared. List noted that there was no seismic reading when the Daytona waves struck.

Tom Lippmann, an oceanographer in the Marine Sciences Department at the University of New Hampshire, said he also suspected that the Maine wave was a squall line surge. The National Weather Service incorrectly called it a tide surge, he said.

"Tides in the Gulf of Maine are essentially driven by celestial bodies' pull on the earth's water," he said. "They're very well predicted and very well known."

Residents and business owners in Boothbay said they were glad the phenomenon didn't happen at high tide, when it might have caused massive flooding and more extensive damage. Janice Newell, who lives nearby in Head of the Harbor, told the local newspaper the rushing water "was of biblical proportion."

"There were three large whirlpools in the inner harbor, up to within a foot of my neighbor's wall," she told the Boothbay Register. "It was beautiful, but it was scary."

Elena Smith, a waitress and part-owner of McSeagull's restaurant overlooking the harbor, said the late-afternoon lunch crowd sat speechless as the waters rose and receded. She was stunned to see the normally safe and placid harbor suddenly run like rapids. Some residents reported seeing massive whirlpools of water that disappeared, leaving clam shells and seaweed in vortex patterns on the harbor floor.

"It felt like somebody took the plug out somewhere" in the ocean, Smith said. "It felt like there must have been water missing in the ocean someplace."

Source: Boston Globe


UFOs Blamed For Massive Black-Out

UFOs are being blamed for a massive power cut which affected more than 14,000 people in Chorley, UK.

During the last week of October, thousands of homes and businesses across the borough were left in semi-darkness when two primary sub stations lost power for several minutes.

John Szwarc, of Greenside, Euxton, was travelling along Runshaw Lane in his car at the time of the blackout and says he saw two strange objects flying across the sky.

He said: "There were two UFOs. The main one was a huge bright cross which shone with a brilliant silver colour, although my wife thought that it was more a gold color.

"There was also a small globe or circular object close to it composed of the same uncanny brilliance.

"Both were static in the daylight sky and both disappeared at exactly the same moment. I am aware that electrical power cuts have been associated with UFO activity in the past."

He added: "The cross was very big and very imposing and altogether weird looking.

"It didn't last very long, perhaps just a few seconds before it went, but it was long enough for us to realise that what we were seeing was quite alien to the sky.

"It certainly wasn't space debris or anything like that."

United Utilities confirmed the power cut but said they did not detect any signs of extraterrestrial involvement.

A company spokesman said: "There was a fault on a cable in a sub station. There can be a number of reasons for such a fault but we didn't find any aliens.

"And we have never had any reports of faults being caused by unidentified flying objects."

A spokesperson for the MoD said: "No reports of aliens or UFO sightings have come across my desk but you can be sure we will be on the lookout in future."

The sighting has now been reported to the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), which is based in London, for further investigation.

Source: Lancashire Evening Post


The Great Fear of the Unknown

So much for the end of the world.

Fears that the atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider would create black holes — gravitational sinkholes from which not even light can escape — and end life as we know it have joined UFOs and Bigfoot on the roster of pseudoscientific scares.

Before it was launched on Oct. 10, bloggers, late-night comedians, worried parents around the world and at least two lawsuits greeted the mere start-up of the collider with dismay. But Earth clearly survived the collider's first nine days of operations before a technical glitch shut it down.

Experts at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN — an acronym kept from an earlier name), which created the $6 billion grand experiment in particle physics, are resigned to the scares kicking up again when the collider starts back up next year and begins smashing protons.

"It's only natural. We are curious about the unknown, and that's why we explore mysteries like the conditions of the early universe," says CERN spokesman James Gillies. "At the same time, we fear the unknown, and particle physics can be one of those things that is hard for people to understand."

The collider — a 16.6-mile underground race track that will smash protons together in an attempt to re-create conditions from the beginnings of the universe — is the most recent example of a scientific experiment that taps into the public's deep reserve of doomsday fears.

There is something in the human psyche that makes us view some innovations or research with great suspicion, fearing that careless scientists will blow us all to kingdom come, says sociologist Robert Bartholomew, author of the 2001 book Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion. "People see what they expect to see in a search for certainty, especially during times of crisis, as they attempt to confirm their worst fears and greatest hopes."

Lack of understanding, "combined with anxiety, has been responsible for scares of all sorts over the centuries," he notes, ranging from witchcraft trials to UFO sightings. Scares often arise from such anxieties as war jitters, including the phantom zeppelin sightings that convulsed Great Britain before World War I.

Other great fears

Among the "nightmare" science scares in the past:

•The Halley's Comet Scare of 1910, when New Englanders were stuffing keyholes with rags and barricading themselves in their cellars on the night the tail of Halley's comet passed nearest to Earth.

•The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic of 1954, when hundreds reported dime-sized pits in their windshields after Pacific Ocean H-bomb tests. The pits, as it turned out, had been there all along.

•The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider "Disaster Scenarios" at Brookhaven National Lab of 1999, when the start-up of an atom smasher in Upton, N.Y., triggered worries identical to those that greeted the Large Hadron Collider.

The most famous science scare in popular lore might be Orson Welles' 1938 re-creation of H.G. Wells' science-fiction classic The War of the Worlds. Initial reports claimed that millions, thinking they were listening to a real news broadcast, were panicked by the radio drama. Later studies showed the reports of mass panic were mostly just a media sensation.

And then the Large Hadron Collider joined their ranks.

"I believe this is a social delusion with legs," Bartholomew says. After all, the actual collisions of protons at the lab won't start again until spring, when he believes fears will resurface that the colliding protons will create black holes in the same way that imploding stars do in space.

"In the case of the 'Collider Calamity,' believers are likely to redouble their efforts to stop the experiments, and their numbers are likely to grow in the short term," Bartholomew says. "Most 'believers' seem to think Armageddon will happen when the experiments become more sophisticated

Other great fears

Physicists are hoping that the collider's brief period of operation has assuaged public fears. "Such (proton) collisions cannot be dangerous," concluded the 2007 LHC Safety Group. The group noted that cosmic rays — radiation from stars, black holes and elsewhere in space that, like the LHC protons, are submicroscopic — regularly smack into the atmosphere with more oomph than the lab possesses without destroying Earth.

"I would get calls from mothers who say their kids are scared and can't sleep at night," says LHC spokesman Gillies. "It is a phenomenon. We didn't anticipate it getting the level of attention it did."

Concerns have been circulating since CERN was featured in the Dan Brown novel Angels & Demons as the source of dangerous antimatter — which has the same gravitational properties as ordinary matter, but an opposite electric charge — that was stolen to be used as a weapon against the Vatican. CERN replied that its facilities create so little antimatter that a terrorist would need to wait billions of years for the lab to accumulate the amount needed in a bomb.

A movie version of the book, starring Tom Hanks, is set to open in May, just about the time the lab will have started collecting data from proton collisions.

"What's intriguing about this scare is the key role being played by Internet blog sites where everyone with a computer and a phone line can weigh in," says Bartholomew. "The trouble is, scientists tend to avoid absolutes and speak in terms of probabilities. A number of respected scientists have made statements to the effect that the chances of a calamity are virtually nil — which is not saying it's zero, though they may mean it."

Lawsuit thrown out

In Hawaii, a federal judge recently dismissed a headline-garnering lawsuit, filed in March, demanding a halt to the proton collider over fears that collisions between beams of protons traveling at nearly the speed of light, 670 million mph, might result in a runaway fusion reaction, eventually converting all of Earth into a single, huge "strangelet." A strangelet is an exotic form of matter created in collapsed stars.

The suit also warned of black holes and magnetic monopoles, particles capable of causing the decay of all normal matter. But it was thrown out for jurisdictional reasons, as the collider resides near Geneva, on the Swiss-French border. A similar suit is still alive in Germany.

But now that a helium leak blew out an electrical connection between magnets, the collider is back in the shop until next year. "If we had to do it again, we would have responded to the fears more up-front and immediately," Gillies says.

"We are going to see some wonderful things once the collider starts gathering data," says Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek

By 2010, data from the proton smash-up should start piling up. The collisions will heat clouds of protons to temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the center of the sun, creating a soup of elementary subatomic particles like those first spawned by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. "We hope and expect to see something new," Wilczek says.

In particular, they expect to see signs of a particle called the Higgs Boson, whose existence explains the mass of other elementary particles. But they hope to see more exotic, heavier particles observable at higher temperature that serve as high-energy counterparts to the everyday atomic particles more often studied in physics experiments.

"Personally, I'm not losing sleep," says MIT physicist Max Tegmark. "Particles from nearby black holes in space crash into Earth all the time, creating way more violent collisions than (the) LHC ever can, and this clearly hasn't killed us. Space is a really violent place."

A 2005 Nature journal study Tegmark authored with English futurist Nick Bostrom of Oxford University found that observations of nearby planets and stars concluded that catastrophic black-hole-creation events could occur spontaneously at most once every 10 trillion years, roughly 1,000 times longer than the age of the universe.

No chance, in other words.

Source: USA Today


Tapping Into the Supernatural to Crack Crimes

A police investigation into a burgled office safe was compounded by the lack of evidence. The company's owner had locked her staff's salaries in the safe and gone home. The next morning, a secretary opened the office to discover that it had been ransacked, the safe opened and the money missing.

Suspicion fell on an elderly employee, but he denied wrongdoing. The owner decided to consult a psychic. Under hypnosis, the elderly employee admitted that he was the thief. His confession was recorded and used by police as evidence.

The incident, as told by Moscow psychic and hypnotist Darya Mironova, is not unique. Law enforcement officials are actively working with paranormal experts to solve crimes, a little-discussed practice that goes back decades.

Law enforcement agencies, perhaps understandably, are reluctant to talk about the use of paranormal experts. But in a rare revelation, Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said earlier this year that investigators had used hypnotists in several recent cases, including the bombing of a Moscow-St. Petersburg train.

In fact, law enforcement agencies are so keen to find people with paranormal powers that they have employed Mikhail Vinogradov, a prominent forensic psychiatrist, to watch "Bitva Ekstrasensov," or "Psychics Competition," on TNT television for possible recruits, Vinogradov said.

"If I personally like someone, I direct them … to the special services," Vinogradov said. "If a person works out, they get him involved."

He said he has recommended less than 10 contestants, and he refused to elaborate on which agencies he was assisting, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

"There are about 20 really powerful psychics in Russia, and they all wear epaulettes," Vinogradov said, referring to their membership in law enforcement agencies.

Vinogradov said the KGB first engaged him 40 years ago, when as a medical student he worked out a method to predict how people would act in emergencies based on their appearances.

To test his skills, the KGB asked Vinogradov to detect spies at diplomatic receptions in embassies a few times, and his guesses proved accurate, Vinogradov said.

Mironova said she has assisted the police for a decade and helped them draw up a psychological portrait of the so-called Bittsevsky Maniac when his name was not yet known. Serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, dubbed the Bittsevsky Maniac because he killed most of his victims in Moscow's Bittsevsky Park, was sentenced last year to life in prison for 48 murders.

The Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service asked that questions for this article be submitted in writing.

Questions sent in July had not been answered by Friday.

The Investigative Committee rejected a written inquiry, saying it did not want to "hamper investigations."

Bastrykin, the Investigative Committee chief, said in March that hypnotists had helped investigate the August 2007 bombing of the Nevsky Express train, which injured 60 people. "Witnesses under hypnosis remembered the numbers on the license plate of the car used by the criminals," Bastrykin said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Bastrykin also said hypnotists were involved in an investigation into the March killings of two Dagestani journalists, Gadzhi Abashilov and Ilyas Shurpayev.

The head of the Investigative Committee's forensic department, Yury Lekanov, said forensic experts started involving psychics in their investigations about 20 years ago, Noviye Izvestia reported.

The first state laboratory to study paranormal activities was created under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, Vinogradov said.

The law does not prohibit involving psychics or hypnotists in investigations, but questions have been raised about the credibility of evidence obtained through their counsel.

"Prosecutors and courts should not consider testimony given under hypnosis as evidence because they cannot be sure that the idea was not planted into the person's mind," said Lev Ponomaryov, a leading human rights campaigner and former State Duma deputy.

Incidentally, the elderly employee hypnotized by Mironova in the safe robbery never went on trial. The company owner ultimately forgave him and deducted the stolen amount from his paycheck, Mironova said.

The reliability of psychics' predictions is very low, according to studies conducted by the Emergency Situations Ministry in the 1990s, Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a 2005 interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The ministry conducted the studies after being flooded with offers from psychics who claimed that they could predict catastrophes.

Among the psychics was Grigory Grabovoi, who in July this year was sentenced to 11 years in prison on fraud charges after promising to resurrect children killed in the Beslan school attack in 2004. The ministry said Grabovoi had examined airplanes for hidden defects during the government studies.

Western law enforcement agencies are cautious about the use of paranormal experts.

In Germany, hypnosis is only allowed when questioning witnesses, and even then restrictions apply, said Rudolf Egg, director of the Criminological Center, a state-sponsored think tank in Wiesbaden.

"I can indeed imagine that someone remembers more under hypnosis, but the question is whether this can be used later in court," he said.

In Britain, police do not actively seek the help of psychics during investigations, but all information received from a psychic who feels he is "able to assist … is given due consideration," Scotland Yard spokeswoman Kate Southern said in an e-mailed statement.

Southern said, however, that she was unaware of any investigations that progressed significantly because of information provided by a psychic.

Southern had no information on the use of hypnotists in connection with investigations.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment for this article.

A Moscow police officer said he had been consulting a psychic in missing persons investigations since 2000. The officer, who requested anonymity, saying he feared that his superiors would label him "helpless" if they knew, said the psychic helped him solve cases faster by pointing him in the right direction.

He said the psychic typically gives him a large area to search for a missing person and then he uses his experience as an investigator to determine which parts to comb.

"Sooner or later, any case is solved, even without a medium's assistance," he said. "I turn to the medium to save time."

Source: The Moscow Times


Legend of the Dog Man Still Haunts the Woods of Michigan

KALAMAZOO -- Some say they've seen a "dog man" stalking the woods of Michigan.

And this man-sized, two-legged, upright-walking canine reportedly has been sighted as nearby as Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, according to author and researcher of the weird Linda Godfrey.

Fact or just fiction?

Judge for yourself when Godfrey speaks about her latest book, "Strange Michigan: More Wolverine Weirdness," at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St.

Godfrey, of Elkhorn, Wis., said in a phone interview that now, because of Halloween and the associated interest in the strange and paranormal, is one of her busier times of year.

"Oh, yeah," she said, "this is my crazy time."

Godfrey admitted she has never seen Dog Man, which it is commonly called in Michigan, but said she receives many reports from those who have -- reports from all over the world.

"I don't know the exact percentage" of sightings in Michigan, she said, "but there are quite a few ... and they occur mostly in the Lower Peninsula from the Indian River area (an upscale community northeast of Traverse City). ... And about halfway between Traverse City and Grand Rapids is another area of multiple sightings, and then down by Kalamazoo."

Godfrey, author of "Hunting the American Werewolf" and "The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf," and co-author of "Weird Michigan" and "Weird Wisconsin," is well-known in cryptozoology circles. Cryptozoologists study animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster.

"I've talked to hundreds of people who've seen it and they're all quite convinced they saw something real," she said of the Dog Man. "If it's not real, there's some really strange mass hallucination that's unexplainable by science -- probably more unexplainable by science than a canine that manages to adapt itself to walk upright sometimes."

Godfrey believes it's possible the creature could be a species of wolf that's simply adapted over time to be able to walk on its hind legs when it wants to. What she doesn't think is that it's an actual werewolf.

"I do not think it's what people consider a traditional werewolf, a human being changing physically into a wolf," she said. "(But) I refuse to put a label on it because once you decide it's one thing you close the door on investigations -- you may as well just quit."

Her door to opportunities stays open.

"I just finished a book called 'Mythical Creatures,'" she said. "It's part of a series I've been doing for a New York publisher. And I'll probably do a third beast book.

"I did another book titled 'Werewolves' for the New York publisher, (and) I'm working on a novel. I have lots of things going on," Godfrey said.

Godfrey said her novel is a fantasy about a German gnome.

"It's an experience my friend had," she said. But "it does have a werewolf in it."

Source: The Kalamazoo Gazette

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