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2/27/09  #510
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Hovering high overhead, the UFO and its otherworldly occupants scan the Earths communications -- silently awaiting word that they have finally intercepted the secret information that has eluded them all week. Yes that's right! They are waiting for this weeks exciting issue of the newsletter of conspiracies, secrets, the paranormal and MORE - Conspiracy Journal is here once again to inflame your senses and question your beliefs.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such brain-racking stories as:
- Navy Wants to Give Away Top-Secret 'Stealth" Vessel -
- Former Canadian Defence Minister Says UFO Proof 'Irrefutable' -
- Scientist Looks to Weaponize Ball Lightning -
- Woman Haunted by Mystery Noise -
AND: Monsters Down Under: Ape-Men, Giant Lizards & More

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



Every month we get dozens of e-mails and letters asking our opinion of the Swiss farmer Billy Meier's supposed contacts with extraterrestrials and his seemingly amazing UFO photographs of the beam ship. Our reply is that while his photos may seem impressive they do not stand alone in a category by themselves....that another individual has taken photographs that are just as exciting and perhaps even more genuine.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PAUL VILLA is being released this week with dozens of amazing color photos of unknown craft that hover near his home, his truck and are so impressive that one has to stand up and take notice.
We want to alert our "hard core" readers to the release of this exciting book written by Lt Col. Wendelle Stevens (Ret), who by the way is the individual who first alerted America to the Meier phenomenon.
You can be among the first to receive this tome at a discount of almost 20% over the published price. And if you order RIGHT NOW we will include FREE OF CHARGE a rare  audio CD of the late, great, newsman Frank Edwards delivering news worthy segments of his best selling book FLYING SAUCERS SERIOUS BUSINESS which hit the NY Times best seller list at number one in 1966. This is a $20 value in itself which we will GIVE YOU with the Paul Villa book for a total of just $25 + $5 s/h.

This incredible book is available now for just
$25.00 + $5.00 S/H

OR -You can order with our secure order page:  

You can also phone in your credit card orders to Global Communications
24-hour hotline: 732-602-3407

And as always you can send a check or money order to:
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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.

Find it at your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.


Navy Wants to Give Away Top-Secret 'Stealth" Vessel

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Anybody want some top-secret seagoing vessels? The Navy has a pair it doesn't need anymore. It has been trying to give them away since 2006, and they're headed for the scrap yard if somebody doesn't speak up soon.

One is called Sea Shadow. It's big, black and looks like a cross between a Stealth fighter and a Batmobile. It was made to escape detection on the open sea. The other is known as the Hughes (as in Howard Hughes) Mining Barge. It looks like a floating field house, with an arching roof and a door that is 76 feet wide and 72 feet high. Sea Shadow berths inside the barge, which keeps it safely hidden from spy satellites.

The barge, by the way, is the only fully submersible dry dock ever built, making it very handy -- as it was 35 years ago -- for trying to raise a sunken nuclear-armed Soviet submarine.

"I'm fascinated by the possibilities," Frank Lennon said one morning recently. Mr. Lennon runs -- or ran -- a maritime museum here in Providence. He was standing in a sleet storm on a wharf below a power plant, surveying the 297-foot muck-encrusted hulk of a Soviet submarine that he owns. His only exhibit, it was open to the public until April 2007, when a northeaster hit Providence and the sub sank.

Army and Navy divers refloated it this past summer with the aid of chains and air tanks. Mr. Lennon can't help but imagine how his sub might look alongside the two covert Cold War castoffs from the Navy. "They would be terrific for our exhibit," he said, watching the sleet come down.

But a gift ship from the Navy comes with lots of strings attached to the rigging. A naval museum, the Historic Naval Ships Association warns, is "a bloodthirsty, paperwork ridden, permit-infested, money-sucking hole..." Because the Navy won't pay for anything -- neither rust scraping nor curating -- to keep museums afloat, survival depends on big crowds. That's why many of the 48 ships it has given away over 60 years were vessels known for performing heroically in famous battles.

Museum entrepreneurs like Mr. Lennon who don't have much money can only fantasize about Sea Shadow and its barge. After all, a pair of mysterious vessels that performed their heroics out of the public eye can't have much claim to fame. Glen Clark, the Navy's civilian ship-disposal chief, has received just one serious call about the two vessels, and it didn't lead to a written application.

The Navy's insistence on donating Sea Shadow and the barge as a twofer may also explain the lack of interest. Here is the Navy's vision for a museum display as Mr. Clark describes it:

"When you're driving down the road, you can't see the Sea Shadow. You have to pay for your ticket to go on board the Hughes Mining Barge, and then you see the Sea Shadow. That has the capability of preserving the aura of secrecy of the program."

Possibly. It might also cause drivers to drive right by the hulking rust-bucket without devoting a thought to stopping.

The Hughes Mining Barge actually has nothing to do with mining or with the late, reclusive Mr. Hughes. He merely let the Central Intelligence Agency use his name in 1974 to cover up its mission to raise a Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

The adventure was publicized as the expedition of another new vessel, the Hughes Glomar Explorer, to mine for minerals on the seabed. To grab a sub, the ship needed a giant claw. But because it was big and unwieldy, the claw couldn't be installed in the ship at dockside. That's where the "mining" barge came in.

The claw was assembled inside it. According to Curtis Crooke, retired president of Global Marine Development Inc., the company that did the work, the barge with the claw inside was then towed off the California coast and submersed. The Glomar Explorer was positioned over it, and the claw hoisted into its belly.

Then the Explorer went sub hunting (exactly how much of the sub it retrieved, if anything, has never been declassified) and the barge went into mothballs.

"That's all it was used for," says Mr. Crooke, "to put the claw inside the Explorer." Would the barge work as a museum? "It's just a big old dumb barge," he says. "Now, the Sea Shadow, that's a way-out spacey kind of thing. You could tell a story about that."

The Glomar Explorer was refitted as a drill ship. The barge -- thanks to its satellite-proof roof -- got a second secret job for the Navy and its contractor, Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. In the early 1980s, Sea Shadow was assembled inside it. At a cost later put at $195 million, it aimed to attain the same invisibility at sea that it had in the federal budget.

Sea Shadow, 160 feet long and 70 feet wide, was the Navy's first experimental stealth ship. Its special coatings, sharp angles and other confidential doohickeys allowed it to baffle radar and sonar. Viewed bow-on, it looks like a squat letter "A" standing on two submerged pontoons for exceptional stability on rough seas.

From the start, Sea Shadow moved at night, towed from its California dock inside its barge and launched onto the open sea to sail on its own in darkness.

S.K. Gupta, now a vice president at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, was in the crew. He recalls watching a glass of Coke on the bridge barely ripple in 12-foot waves. In war games with the Navy off San Diego, he says, "We operated during the night with impunity. We could disappear and sneak up on whomever we wanted. Nobody thought we could do it. A ship is usually hard to hide."

The Navy brought Sea Shadow out of the shadows for daylight tests in 1993, setting off a flash of publicity. It hit the cover of Popular Mechanics. Revell made a plastic model. A mad media mogul used a Sea Shadow look-alike to foment war between Britain and China in a 1997 James Bond movie "Tomorrow Never Dies."

In 2006, its experimental life at an end, Sea Shadow and the barge it was boxed in were struck from the Navy's register and tied up in Suisun Bay, near San Francisco. The technologies it developed have sired a generation of land-attack destroyers and ocean-surveillance ships. "Sea Shadow is the mother of all stealth ships in the world," says Mr. Gupta. It ought to be displayed out in the open on dry land, he thinks, its invisibility visible to all.

The Navy's Mr. Clark says, "We're looking at that option." In December, Sea Shadow got a one-year reprieve from the junk yard. And in Providence, Mr. Lennon got one more year to dream.

Retreating from the sleet, he was in the Sealand Diner eating breakfast with Ed Sciaba. Mr. Lennon is 66 years old and an ex-Green Beret. Mr. Sciaba, 54, is a scrap dealer ready to tow Mr. Lennon's sunken Soviet sub to his yard.

Mr. Sciaba knew nothing of Sea Shadow or the CIA's sub-raising venture. As Mr. Lennon recounted the details, he got excited.

"Hell of an idea," he said. "That's a museum I'd go to."

"You could tell the story of the Cold War," said Mr. Lennon.

Mr. Sciaba banged his coffee mug on the table. "Let's go get 'em and tow 'em back here!" he said. Mr. Lennon turned his gaze to the storm outside, and Mr. Sciaba picked up the check.

Source: Wall Street Journal


Former Canadian Defence Minister Says UFO Proof 'Irrefutable'

'As far as I'm concerned, it's irrefutable."

Paul Hellyer is in his downtown Toronto office on a Saturday morning, just as he is the first five mornings of every week, still driven at 85 years of age.

He has been finishing up a book, his 13th, that is part memoir, and so he has been looking back on a remarkable career that once made him Canada's youngest member of Parliament, that took him to key cabinet posts in the governments of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and that had him run for the leadership of the two main national parties and even form his own political party.

Lately he has not been looking backward - but into the future.
Paul Hellyer in 2002

A future in which humans will have to accept they are far from alone in this universe.

Hellyer's "irrefutable" evidence received a bit of pumping this past week. A Winnipeg group that tracks UFO sightings across Canada says 2008 produced a record number of sightings - 1,004 - a 25 per cent increase from the year before. Ontario and British Columbia were the hot spots, reporting 334 and 272, respectively, while Prince Edward Island had only two mysterious objects flying about, Nunavut one and Northwest Territories none.

And that is just Canadian evidence. There is also a report coming out of the Carnegie Institution in Washington that there may not be just one planet out there somewhere that is capable of creating and sustaining life, but as many as 10 billion trillion planets.

Astronomer Alan Boss says that he and others now believe that almost every star similar to our sun could conceivably have a life-harbouring planet orbiting it.

Boss believes there are 100-billion sun-like stars in our galaxy and 100-billion galaxies in the universe, numbers that would result in Vegas putting the odds far, far greater that there is life out there than that there isn't.

Boss, in fact, predicts that some time within the coming three years or so a planet very much like Earth is going to be found spinning around some distant star.

No sooner had Boss had his say than another cosmologist, Paul Davies of Arizona State University, was suggesting that we may already be sharing Earth with forms of life we cannot even comprehend.

"It could be right under our noses," said Prof. Davies, "or even in our noses."

Let others snort at all this, Hellyer says. He doesn't. He's been a true believer since 2005, when he stunned the cautious Canadian political world by announcing in a speech that, in his opinion, "UFOs are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

He never believed so in the years that he was minister of defence, but in later years became convinced after watching a documentary on extraterrestrial life by the late Peter Jennings, a Canadian, and after reading a book on the 1947 incident at Roswell, N.M., where many believe a flying saucer crash was covered up by the U.S. military. Hellyer believes American intelligence has systematically sought to block or debunk any information that might convince people that life from other worlds often visits Earth.

"The cosmos is teeming with life," Hellyer believes.

His new book, as yet untitled, will be in three parts, the first part memoir, the second containing his views on religion and the third concerning his thoughts on what went wrong with world's banking and monetary system and how it, along with the environment, might be fixed. The current financial meltdown is almost precisely what Hellyer predicted in a previous book.

In Hellyer's musings about religion, he touches again on the possibility of other worlds, other life forms.

"I think there is a spiritual longing out there," he says. "People are so distressed at the present time by all that is going on in the world. The banking system has fallen apart. People worry there's a possibility of war between the Christian world and the Muslim world. We want something better."

This widespread longing, he suggests, covers everything from people actually hoping there is more intelligent life out there than here all the way to the remarkable rise of Barack Obama in the United States over the past two years.

"People want something with a wider world view," says Hellyer. "That's why Obama has been so well received.

"It's about hope - what we are all looking for."

The book, which he will finish in the next couple of weeks, will also contain a photograph of a UFO.

It was taken late last August, at twilight, from the dock of Hellyer's summer place in Muskoka.

Hellyer was not the photographer but says the man's name is instantly recognizable and that he has signed an affidavit verifying that under no circumstances was the picture rigged or altered electronically.

Hellyer believes, absolutely, that it is more "irrefutable" proof - even though he himself has yet to see a UFO no matter how often he looks up in the hopes of catching a glimpse of something unknown, perhaps unknowable.

"I haven't seen the Taj Mahal, either," says Hellyer.

Source: Globe and Mail


Scientist Looks to Weaponize Ball Lightning

Two hundred years ago, the warship HMS Warren Hastings was struck by a weird phenomenon: "Three distinct balls of fire" fell from the heavens, striking the ship and killing two crewmen, leaving behind "a nauseous, sulfurous smell," according to the Times of London.

Ball lightning has been the subject of much scientific scrutiny over the years. And, as with many powerful natural phenomena, the question arises: "Can we turn it into a weapon?" Peculiar as it may seem, that's exactly what some researchers are working on -- even though it hasn't even been properly replicated in the laboratory yet.

The exact cause and nature of ball lighting has yet to be determined; there may be several different types, confusing matters further. But generally it manifests as a grapefruit-sized sphere of light moving slowly through the air which may end by fizzling out or exploding.

In the mid-'60s, the U.S. military started exploring ways that the phenomenon might be weaponized. Take this 1965 Defense Technical Information Center report on Survey of Kugelblitz Theories For Electromagnetic Incendiaries, (Kugelblitz is German for ball lighting). The document summarizes and evaluates the ball lightning theories then prevalent, and recommends "a theoretical and experimental Kugelblitz program... as a means of developing the theory into a weapons application." This led to an Air Force program called Harness Cavalier, which seems to have ended without producing anything conclusive.

However, some years later scientist Dr. Paul Koloc was looking at methods of containing high-temperature plasma during nuclear fusion. There are many schemes for containing plasma in donut-shaped magnetic fields using a device called a Tokomak. Koloc's insight was that, under the right conditions, a donut-shaped mass of moving plasma would generate the required fields for containment itself. No Tokomak would be required for this "plasmoid," which would be completely stable and self-sustaining. It is a very close equivalent of the smoke ring -- another type of dynamic "vortex ring," which remains stable over a period of time, unlike an unstructured cloud of smoke.

Koloc also theorized that if a donut-shaped plasmoid was created accidentally -- say, during a lightning strike -- it would remain stable for a period of seconds of minutes. This he believes is the explanation for ball lightning. He has a lot of competition from other, wildly different theories of ball lightning, though, from nanobatteries to vaporized silicon to black holes. There is no scientific consensus.

In the '80s, Koloc's team succeeded in creating small, short-lived plasmoids from "chicken egg to softball" size in the laboratory. It was a good start, but not enough to convince the world that he's right about ball lightning. Ultimately the work might lead to a means of containing nuclear fusion... but there were some engineering challenges to tackle. Moreover, the scientific mainstream has not bought into the concept. While giant programs to achieve controlled fusion like ITER are sucking up billions, Koloc has found it much harder to attract funding. This is not like cold fusion or bubble fusion which has been challenged on scientific grounds, but it's been very much sidelined in favor of other "confinement concepts" for fusion power.

However, in 2002, Koloc's company, Prometheus II, briefly obtained funding from the Missile Defence Agency. The aim was to create stable 'magnetoplasmoids' a foot in diameter which would last between one and five seconds. In the subsequent phase, the magnetoplasmoid would be compressed and accelerate to two hundred kilometers a second. This "encapsulated EMP bullet" would make an idea anti-missile weapon, generating an intense electromagnetic pulse on impact which would scramble the guidance system and any electronics, as well as causing thermal damage.

Koloc called the weapon "Phased Hyper-Acceleration for Shock, EMP, and Radiation" -- PHASER.

"It can be used for a range of purposes from stunning personnel to destroying the functionality of electronically operated devices, smaller rockets, vehicles and packages that represent an immediate threat to the United States," he wrote. "This dial-able PHASER weapon can be set on 'Stun' or dialed down, selecting a non-lethal level for persons needed for later interrogation... One mundane application for law enforcement would be the disruption of the engine electronics to stop vehicles that would otherwise be the target of a high-speed chase. Dialable versions of the PHASER will be available for use in civilian encounters."

Nothing seems to have resulted after the Phase I contract, so I contacted Koloc to see how his research had progressed. He confirmed that they had successfully formed plasmoids a foot in diameter, but that these could not be made sufficiently stable.

To make it work and overcome the stability problem, they need a device known as a "fast rising parallel plate transmission line." There was not enough funding for this and the company is still trying to raise funds.

"Once the re-engineered formation system becomes operational, we will proceed to form plasmoids of approximately 35 to 45 centimeters in diameter with a stable lifetime of from one to thirty seconds," says Prometheus II Vice President D. M. Cooper. "The plasmoids should be rugged and energetic, and should attain quiescence (thus becoming very stable) within two or three milliseconds of the formation pulse. The plasmoids will be useful for energy applications even if the military applications are not pursued."

So a ball lightning weapon remains tantalizingly out of reach –- or does it? As I noted in a previous article on military ball lightning, the USAF’s Phillips Laboratory examined a very similar concept in 1993. Again, this involved accelerating a donut-shaped mass of plasma to high speed as an anti-missile weapon in a project called Magnetically Accelerated Ring to Achieve Ultra-high Directed Energy and Radiation, or  MARAUDER. Based on the Air Force's awesome Shiva Star power system, experiments spat out plasmoids at ultra-high speed that were expected to reach 3,000 kilometers a second by 1995. But nothing was published after 1993, and MARAUDER was classified, disappearing into the black world of secret programs.

Ball lighting is still mysterious 200 years later… and the next time a warship gets struck by weird fireballs they will probably be as baffled as were the sailors aboard the HMS Warren Hastings.

Source: Wired


Two Crop-Circle Experts Die Within Hours of Each Other

The crop circle community has been left stunned after two of its leading lights died within hours of each other.

Dorset investigator and conference organiser David Kingston passed away last week after a year-long battle with cancer.

Meanwhile, the body of crop circle investigator Paul Vigay was found on the Hampshire coast at Southsea.

Mr Kingston was a prominent organiser in the crop circle and UFO research fields, running one of the biggest website and holding a prominent annual conference in Dorchester.

The 70-year-old began full-time UFO research in 1976 and began investigating crop circles in the late 1980s. The Dorchester conferences began in the mid 1990s, after he started lecturing on UFOs, crop circles and conspiracy theories.

The conferences scheduled for this spring and summer were cancelled when Mr Kingston's health took a turn for the worse recently.

Fellow researcher and friend David Haith said: "His wife Mary and his family were at his bedside.

"He was a tireless worker for truth and through his website, conferences and lectures, encouraged a great number of people to go on their own explorations of the mysteries of the universe.

"Now David is en route to uncovering one of the greatest mysteries of all and we wish him a fond bon voyage on his last great journey," he added.

Mr Kingston, from Weymouth, said he first saw UFOs while serving with the RAF all over the world, and found his true calling when links were made between the new phenomenon of crop circles and UFOs in the late 1980s.

His conferences hosted lectures by the world's most prominent experts on UFOs and crop circles, including the British Government's former UFO investigator Nick Pope and Troggs frontman Reg Presley.

Another to have lectured at the Dorchester spring conferences was Paul Vigay, a mathematician and computer expert who became one of the leading lights of the crop circle world.

His body was found on the shore at Southsea, near Portsmouth, last Thursday – police say the circumstances surrounding his death are not suspicious.

Mr Vigay, 44, was well known in the fields of Wiltshire and renowned among crop circle devotees as an expert at decoding the hidden meanings in crop circle patterns. "Paul was one of the brightest stars in the crop circle universe," said circle photographer and researcher Lucy Pringle.

"A talented mathematician, computer technician and a maker of electronic gadgets, he was one of the first researchers into the crop circle phenomenon in the early 1990s, where his talents were quickly recognised.

"He had an exceptional gift for investigation and often led the field in deciphering the mathematical aspects found in certain crop circles. He was amazingly articulate and he had a rare knack of being able to explain technical details in the simplest language. He has made a major contribution to the subject and his place will not be easily filled," she added.

Mr Vigay's friend of 23 years Claire Diestler, 39, from Bedhampton, said she visited him for a cup of coffee last Tuesday. She said: "He was absolutely fine, that's why I am so shocked. There was absolutely no indication that anything was wrong. In fact he was quite jokey. We all feel a bit guilty having seen him.

"We are all worried we did not pick up on something.'

Mrs Diestler added: "He was really interested in UFOs and anything a bit unusual like crop circles.

"He used to go to Wiltshire quite a lot to take photographs of them. He was really popular and had a lot of friends. He was very funny and we always had some great laughs," she said.

Source: This is Bristol


Mystery of the ‘Land of Twins’

CÂNDIDO GODÓI, Brazil — High atop a hill behind his family’s home, Derli Grimm knelt and took a sip from a thin black tube leading from a natural spring.

Like so many in this farming town, populated almost entirely by German-speaking immigrants, Mr. Grimm, 19, believes that something in the water — a mysterious mineral, perhaps — is responsible for the town’s unusual concentration of twins.

“It can’t all be explained by genetics,” said Mr. Grimm, himself a twin.

Geneticists would like to disagree with him, but even they have no solid explanation for the 38 pairs of twins among about 80 families living in a one-and-a-half-square-mile area.

The mystery has persisted for decades, attracting international attention and inspiring books and investigations by geneticists. It is one reason locals are in no hurry to try to prove their water theory. They are too busy posing for journalists and marketing their town to tourists as the “twins capital of the world.”

Some researchers have suggested the darker possibility that Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, was involved. Mengele, residents say, roamed this region of southern Brazil, posing as a veterinarian, in the 1960s, about the time the twins explosion began. In a book published last year, an Argentine journalist, Jorge Camarasa, suggested that Mengele conducted experiments with women here that resulted in the higher rate of twins, many of them with blond hair and light-colored eyes. The experiments, locals said, may have involved new types of drugs and preparations, or even the artificial insemination Mengele claimed to know about, regarding cows and humans.

But neither Mr. Camarasa nor any other adherent of the Mengele theory has been able to prove the escaped Nazi conducted any experiments here. Mengele, who died in Brazil in 1979, was notorious for his often deadly experiments on twins at Auschwitz, ostensibly in an effort to produce a master Aryan race for Hitler.

“People who are speculating about Mengele are doing so to sell books,” said Paulo Sauthier, a historian who runs a museum here. “He studied the twins phenomenon in Germany, not here.”

A sign at the entrance to Cândido Godói says, “Garden City and Land of Twins.” More than 80 percent of its 6,700 residents are of German descent. They began arriving around World War I, lured by the prospect of cheap land, an agreeable farming climate and incentives from the Brazilian government to colonize the area.

The twins phenomenon is centered in the 300-person settlement of São Pedro, the part of Cândido Godói where the Grimms live. Mr. Sauthier, a twin, was born here in 1964. His mother, a Grimm, comes from one of the eight original families to settle São Pedro in 1918.

Even today they live a relatively isolated existence. Oxen still drag farm machinery. Residents speak a German dialect to one another.

It was in the early 1990s that the high proportion of twins was widely noticed. Soon, camera crews were rolling in from all over. Town leaders declared São Pedro to have the highest concentration of twins in the world. (A spokesman for Guinness World Records could not confirm that claim, saying Guinness did not keep track of the category.)

Today, residents relish the attention. Last year, at São Pedro’s sixth biennial twins party, they erected a statue of a woman holding a boy in one arm and his twin sister in the other, and installed a moat-like “fertility spring” that lights up at night.

Like many twins here, Fabiane and Tatiane Grimm, 22, have been posing for twins-seekers since they were babies. When a journalist and a photographer showed up unannounced, their mother ushered them from a barn into the house to shower before posing for pictures.

“It’s not too much of a mystery to me,” said Fabiane, whose family has five pairs of twins. “My brother married his third cousin. There are lots of cases like that, people marrying their cousins or other close family members.”

But to some, the mystery remains. A decade ago, Anencir Flores da Silva, a town doctor and former mayor of Cândido Godói, set out to solve it, and he has since interviewed more than 100 people. He said he believed that people were holding back information about Mengele.

“In a region full of Nazis, there are some that remain silent, who are scared,” Dr. da Silva said. “It is important that we discover the truth.”

A book he helped write about the twins, published in 2007, tells of several visits Mengele made to the region, using false names.

“I am convinced that Mengele was in the region and was observing the twins phenomenon,” Dr. da Silva said. He said a man identifying himself as Rudolf Weiss attended women with varicose veins and sometimes performed dental work. And some residents told him a German man was driving from home to home in a mobile laboratory, collecting samples and ministering to women.

Mr. Sauthier, the historian, said that the assertions lacked proof and that the German community did not deserve to be associated with “a criminal like Mengele.”

“There are no Nazi sympathizers in this region,” he said, although he acknowledged a historical interest in Nazi artifacts, including a 1937 metal milk can with a swastika in his museum and a 1936 photo of schoolchildren in Cândido Godói holding swastika flags that was included in Dr. da Silva’s book.

Geneticists say the most likely explanation for the twins is genetic isolation and inbreeding. Ursula Matte, a geneticist in Porto Alegre, found that from 1990 to 1994, 10 percent of the births in São Pedro were twins, compared with 1.8 percent for the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

There was no evidence of the use of contraceptives or fertility drugs among the women, nor of any genetic mixing with people of African origin, who have higher twinning rates than caucasians, Dr. Matte said. But the rate of identical twins here, at 47 percent of all twin births, is far higher than the 30 percent that is expected in the general population, she found.

While identical twins are generally thought to occur randomly in the population, independent of genetic factors, the remarkable discrepancy in the frequency of identical twins has led Dr. Matte to conclude that Sao Pedro is an "isolated phenomenon" where unknown genetic factors must be at work.

So the speculation continues.

Mr. Sauthier said he believed private water sources like the one Derli Grimm enjoys contain a mineral that affects ovulation. “To this day, no one has tested that water,” he said, noting that in the past decade the town switched to underground well water, a possible explanation for a recent decline in twin births.

Testing the spring sources would be expensive and, Dr. Matte said, would require some hypothesis about what the research was looking for. She doubts the town will ever push seriously to do a study. “They like to maintain the mystery,” she said.

Source: NY Times


Woman Haunted by Mystery Noise

A strange sound that vibrates through the walls at night; no known explanation, experts confounded ... It's a mystery that some might consider just a little spooky.

Mother-of-three Deborah Atsoparthis, 54, just wishes it would stop.

The former executive PA has been driven to despair by the mysterious night-time noise that first disrupted her sleep in the small hours five months ago.
Deborah Atsoparthis, right, with neighbour Kath Room

Shaken: Deborah Atsoparthis, right, with neighbour Kath Room, both complain they suffer sleepless nights

Since then the peculiar vibrating hum that reverberates through the walls of her two-bedroom flat each night has baffled a plumber, an electrician, a building surveyor and the noise experts at her local council's environmental health department.

Even a noise detector has failed to solve the mystery.

Now Mrs Atsoparthis, who stopped work after one too many sleepless nights, has been forced to take up residence in a nearby bed-and-breakfast in order to get the sleep she needs.

Each day she returns to her flat in Kidlington, Oxfordshire to hit the phones and computer in an attempt to solve the mystery, and each night she retreats to her £50-a-night sanctuary down the road.

Divorcee Mrs Atsoparthis, who brought the leasehold flat two and half years ago, told today how the problem first began in September.

'I would be asleep for about three hours and then it would start, it sounds like a washing machine, and it would eventually die down at about five or six in the morning.

'It vibrates and is worst in my bedroom where it feels like the bed is moving.

'I thought I was going mad.

'There's no way of getting back to sleep. Typically I'll move around the flat, try and sleep in the sitting room or the spare room, drag the duvet around, make a cup of tea, anything to get away from it. For a while I kept a fold-down bed made up in the sitting room.'

Mrs Atsoparthis spoke to the managing agent for the 18th-century building, who investigated whether noise from a neighbouring property could be to blame.

When that failed a plumber was called, then Cherwell District Council, a surveyor, an electrician and most recently a builder.

Mrs Atsoparthis was asked to keep a diary, which she was already doing, and was eventually given noise-detecting equipment - but it failed to pick up the strange vibration.

The vibration is so persistent, she said, that gaps have developed around the light switches as the walls are damaged.

Now the bewildered homeowner has given up on sleeping there.

'I've just had enough,' she said.

'I was so tired I couldn't even get myself to work. It was ridiculous. I am trying to stay positive but it's not nice. It is frightening and disturbing, especially not knowing what it causing the noise.'

A spokesman for Cherwell District Council said it had investigated.

He said: 'The council carried out intensive investigations in January and February 2009. These included visual inspections of the property and neighbouring flats and the installation of noise monitoring equipment. These did not indicate anything out of the acceptable noise range or show evidence of noise arising out of inappropriate activities by other occupants.'

Mrs Atsoparthis has been prescribed sleeping pills by her doctor and has no idea how much her investigations, lost job and breakfast bill have cost her - but says it is 'thousands of pounds'.

'It can't go on. I'm eating into my savings and I will soon run out of money,' she said.

The homeowner is not alone - neighbour Kath Room, 37, has also suffered sleepless nights.

She said: 'It is not as bad in my flat - it is definitely worse in Deborah's.

'It's so bad I don't know how she can sleep and nobody seems to be taking it seriously. It is very distressing.'

The most recent attempt to get to the bottom of the problem was made by a builder who visited this week and suggested some beams in the attic may need repair.

As for any suggestion of a paranormal explanation, Mrs Atsoparthis is sure there must be a more 'rational' answer.

'I suppose I could always ask a  priest,' she said. 'I don't think I need to call the ghostbusters, but I realise some people might look at it like that.

'I just want my life back. I cannot go on like this.'

Source: The Daily Mail


Monsters Down Under: Ape-Men, Giant Lizards & More

For most people, even just the briefest mention of monsters and mysterious creatures inevitably conjures up stark and surreal imagery of such famous beasts as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, the Abominable Snowman, sea-serpent, and the infamous, vampire-like Chupacabras of the island of Puerto Rico.
Less well known, however, is the rich and wide variety of strange and bizarre beasts that have been regularly reported from the land down-under. So, I figured that for this week’s Lair of the Beasts column, I would enlighten you a bit on some of these particular animal-oddities.
Australia, or to give it its official title, the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the southern hemisphere that is comprised of the mainland of the world's smallest continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous other islands in both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
And, there is a very real possibility that it may well be home to some distinctly strange critters, too.
Like a lot of nations all around the world, Australia has its own graphic tales, legends, myths and stories relating to so-called hairy, giant man-beasts that were said to roam the country’s wilderness countless eons ago.
Whereas the United States has the aforementioned Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, depending on which name you prefer), the icy Himalayas are home to the Yeti, China boasts of tales of the Yeren, and the wilds of Russia are the rumored haunt of the cave-man-like Almasty, the Australian equivalent of all of these is known throughout the nation as the Yowie.
Interestingly, a number of the Murri and Koori tribes of Eastern Australia have so-called “Dreamtime Legends” that tell of an ancient, violent war between their long-gone ancestors and a race of mighty, fearsome ape-men that struck terror into the hearts of one and all.
Needless to say, the tribes-people finally came out victorious, and the hairy monsters retreated to the safety and camouflage of the surrounding mountains, woods and forests – only surfacing now and again to steal babies and forage for food and water.
Of course, it could be convincingly argued that this is merely a classic folk-tale and nothing more – after all, most countries and cultures have stories of fantastic beasts seen in times long-gone. However, the interesting factor here is that reports of the Bigfoot-like Yowie still surface to this very day.
Then there is the fearsome, flesh-eating predator known as Megalania: a huge monitor-lizard (current estimates suggest its length may have been as much as 30-feet) that prowled around southern Australia, causing overwhelming havoc and mayhem in its wake, up to approximately 40,000 BC - at which point, science confidently assures us, it became extinct.
Or did it?
As is exactly the case with the Yowie, people still talk about occasional encounters with the monster-lizard itself: in both mainland Australia and in New Guinea - and up until very recent times, too
One such case – made both famous and notable by the fact that the witness had impeccable credentials – occurred in 1979, when a herpetologist named Frank Gordon reported seeing a truly gigantic lizard, in the region of 30-feet-in-length, in the Wattagan Mountains of the Australian state of New South Wales.
Needless to say, there are no monitor-lizards alive today of such immense size – or, at least, there most certainly should not be. That is, of course, unless the Godzilla-like Megalania really has survived extinction and still continues to haunt the Wattagan Mountains.
And, now, we come to the Thylacine, or Thylacinus cynocephalus - which is Greek for “dog-headed pouched one” – a highly bizarre-looking animal that had the extraordinary ability to stretch open its huge, muscular jaws to around 120 degrees.
Certainly the largest known carnivorous marsupial of the modern era, the Thylacine was native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, and – according to the mainstream scientific community, at least – became extinct in the 20th century.
But, yes, you’ve guessed right: sightings of the beast still surface to this very day. In other words, just like Megalania, the extinct Thylacine might not be quite so extinct, after all.
And with all of the above now firmly in mind, if you ever decide to pay a personal visit to Australia, and its vast wilderness, mountains and forests, keep a very close look-out: you just never know what you might stumble across.
Plus: if you are lucky enough to encounter the Yowie or the Thylacine, or if you come face-to-face with Megalania and you somehow miraculously live to tell the tale, let me know!

Source: Mania/Nick Redfern

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