4/2/10  #566
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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 stories as:

- Air Force Aims for Weather Control -
- Bigfoot Prints Found in Whiteriver Arizona -
- Saucers, Spying & Secret Files -
Tourists Flock to 'Jesus's Tomb' in Kashmir -
AND: Toads Can 'Predict Earthquakes' and Seismic Activity

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



Folklore? Mumbo Jumbo? Superstition? Or A Belief System So Strong And Powerful Millions Of Believers Still Practice It All Over The World?


Generally thought of among educated people as inherently evil or nothing more than a system of superstitious beliefs, in reality tapping into the forces behind Caribbean Magick allows people access to supernatural energies to improve their daily lives by gaining power in many areas of life, including luck, money, love, divination, health, employment and sometimes when necessary revenge.

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RARE BONUS: Included as part of this remarkable large format book is manuscript that has been almost impossible to secure in the last fifty years. Known as The Black Pullet or the Hen With The Golden Eggs. "Comprising the Science of Magical Talismans and Rings; the art of Necromancy and the Kabbalah, for conjuring the aerial and infernal spirits, sylphs, undines, and gnomes; for acquiring knowledge of the secret sciences; for discovering treasures, for the gaining of power to command all beings, and for unmasking all evil spells and sorceries.

This incredible book is now available exclusively for Conspiracy Journal subscribers at the special price of only $20.00, plus $5.00 shipping.  This deal won't last long...so get your copy NOW before it is TOO LATE!

(All Foreign Orders please email mrufo8@hotmail.com
for info on shipping costs and how to order)

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Air Force Aims for Weather Control

Someday the U.S. military could drive a trailer to a spot just beyond insurgent fighting and, within minutes, reconfigure part of the atmosphere, blocking an enemy’s ability to receive satellite signals, even as U.S. troops are able to see into the area with radar.

“This scenario may not be far away,” says Defense Tech pal Sharon Weinberger in this month’s edition of the always-excellent Defense Technology International.

An engineer with Research Support Instruments in Princeton, N.J. recently completed the first phase of work for a U.S. Air Force sponsored project called Microwave Ionosphere Reconfiguration Ground based Emitter, or Mirage.

The work involves using plasma an ionized gas to reconfigure the ionosphere. Mirage would employ a microwave transmitter on the ground and a small rocket that shoots chaff into the air to produce about a liter of plasma at 60–100 km. (36– 60 mi.) in altitude, changing the number of electrons in a select area of the ionosphere to create a virtual barrier.

Ionosphere reconfiguration offers two major applications of interest to the military: bouncing radars off the ionosphere, also known as over-the-horizon radar, and the ability to jam signals from the Global Positioning Satellite system, according to John Kline, the lead investigator for Mirage.

This work is only the latest effort in Kline’s more extensive investigations of atmospheric plasmas Before Mirage, Kline had another contract for a project called Plasma Point Defense, which explored the possibility of using a plasma weapon on board a U.S. Navy surface vessel to protect against threats ranging from surface-to-surface missiles to mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

In the past, NASA’s fringe science arm has looked into tweaking Mother Nature, to throw hurricanes off their course. But those were just computer simulations. No one actually tried to go out a build some weather control machine.

Source: Defense Tech


Can Troops Find Hidden Bombs with Sixth Sense?
By Steve Hammons

Recent research has determined that some U.S. military personnel are better than others in the ability to detect hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs). But why?

According to a U.S. Army research project, troops raised in rural and forested areas seemed to be better at it. Troops who grew up in tough urban areas also seem to excel in this kind of perception.

The common denominator is "situational awareness (SA)" that is key to hunting and being aware in the natural environment as well as in dangerous neighborhoods where people can become a victim of violence or other crime.

But what other important factors might be in play? And how might the understanding of human perception and consciousness benefit all of us?

In the first issue of the fascinating new magazine EdgeScience (October 2009 edition), editor Patrick Huyghe's article "Straight from the Gut" explored the two-year Army study on perception led by researcher and psychologist Steven Burnett. Huyghe also took a look at some of the media coverage on the study.

In addition, he notes the work of other well-known researchers on human consciousness who propose that other interesting elements may affect troops' abilities to perceive IEDs.

These theories, backed up by significant research, note that hunches, intuition and gut feelings might be linked to the acquisition of information through human consciousness in ways we do not fully understand.

The conscious perception that something is going on that we need to be aware of might be related to factors other than clues in the physical environment that troops and all of us process consciously and unconsciously.

In some cases, another kind of perception may kick in. These may be split-second premonitions or what has been called "presentiment." Troops and all humans (and maybe many animals) can use perceptual abilities and resources that have sometimes been called "anomalous cognition" of various types.

The recognition of danger, linked directly to personal and group survival, is a fundamental priority of human consciousness. As part of this perceptual priority, do we have a "sixth sense" that supplements and assists our other five senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste?


In Huyghe's EdgeScience magazine piece, he examined the New York Times article on the Army study by Benedict Carey who Huyghe described as an "experienced science writer hired by the Times in 2004 to cover human behavior and psychology." The headline of Carey's July 27, 2009, was "In Battle, Hunches Prove to be Valuable."

In Carey's article, he notes, "The United States military has spent billions on hardware, like signal jamming technology, to detect and destroy" IEDs. He also explains that IEDs "have proved to be the greatest threat in Iraq and now in Afghanistan."

"Still, high-tech gear, while helping to reduce casualties, remains a mere supplement to the most sensitive detection system of all – the human brain. Troops on the ground, using only their senses and experience, are responsible for foiling many IED attacks," Carey wrote.

Carey also pointed out, "Everyone has hunches – about friends' motives, about the stock market, about when to fold a hand of poker and when to hold it. But United States troops are now at the center of a large effort to understand how it is that in a life-or-death situation, some people's brains can sense danger and act on it well before others do."

Another article, this one in the Los Angeles Times, also examined the Army study. "Some troops have a sixth sense for bombs" was written by Tony Perry and published Oct. 28, 2009.

Reporting from the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Perry wrote, "Military researchers have found that two groups of personnel are particularly good at spotting anomalies: those with hunting backgrounds, who traipsed through the woods as youths looking to bag a deer or turkey; and those who grew up in tough urban neighborhoods, where it is often important to know what gang controls which block."

Perry added, "Of the bombs spotted before they could kill or maim, an estimated 90% were detected by someone, for instance, sensing something amiss along a dusty roadside in the southern Afghan province of Helmand or a crowded street in the western Iraqi city of Fallouja."

Both articles by Carey and Perry examined the Army research project in some depth, interviewed researchers and troops, and explored theories of training to perceive threats and possible psychological aspects of this perception.

But, did either article (or the Army researchers) "take the next step" as EdgeScience magazine editor Huyghe called it?

Huyghe pointed out in his article that extensive studies "show that the brain actually anticipates emotionally charged situations, not only before the person is aware of them, but before any hint of them is available in any way, shape, or form."

In other words, there are significant experimental and experiential indications that we have the capability to perceive things before they happen in linear time.

This view is consistent with research from the U.S. joint military and intelligence project of the 1970s, '80s and early '90s generally referred to as Project STAR GATE. This project documented and used aspects of human perception and human consciousness that did "take the next step."

A subsequent 2001 research paper by a Navy SEAL officer, prepared as part of his studies at the Marine Corps War College, proposed that implications from Project STAR GATE seem to demonstrate the advantages of learning more about human perceptual abilities.

In addition, he suggested that incorporating this kind of emerging understanding can be a key part of what he called "transcendent warfare."

Project STAR GATE research and operational activities involved what some might call extrasensory perception (ESP). The project involved strict protocols trying to make use of this kind of perception. These formal procedures and methods were key parts of what was eventually called "remote viewing."

Science journalists could focus more on these developments. In fact, journalists covering many kinds of beats may find important elements related to their work.


Interestingly, in the second edition of EdgeScience magazine (January-March 2010), a letter to the editor was published that provided more useful information on these subjects.

EdgeScience reader John MacLean explained that as a college instructor in Utah, he teaches a class in "Technology Management Program" called "Reliability Engineering and Safety." MacLean noted, "One of the chapters in this course is situational awareness."

MacLean provided a short definition of situation awareness (SA): knowing what is going on around you.

In addition to MacLean's succinct definition, SA has also been described as the perception of environmental factors within time and space, understanding the meaning of the factors and anticipating possible outcomes in the near future.

SA has become an important area in military activities, aviation safety, emergency services, critical engineering operations and similar fields.

"In this class we discuss how to have situational awareness and how to recognize when you have lost it. There are 11 clues that can be observed in one's operating vocations that tell you that you are losing your situational awareness," Maclean explained.

He points out in his letter to the editor that the 11 clues to the loss of situational awareness are primarily involved with conventional awareness of instrumentation, communication, adherence to standard procedures and similar aspects.

However, he notes that one of the clues involves "confusion, apprehensive feeling or gut feeling that something is wrong."

MacLean wrote, "Many dismiss various explanations as the subconscious observing a bad developing situation or seeing several of the clues by the subconscious. Personally, although some of these other explanations may be valid, I am wondering if precognition may be operable in these situations that are generally life threatening."

MacLean goes on to explain how this "gut feeling" clue appears to have been demonstrated. He wrote, "An incident several years ago occurred with a Flying Tigers Airlines 747 on approach to Kuala Lumpur in Indonesia in the middle of a very dark night. From the direction they were on approach, the Instrument Landing System was out of service and they would have had to go another hundred miles to come in from the other direction where it was in service."

"While several of the clues to losing awareness were eventually present, the first officer tried to get the captain to do the fly around, saying on three occasions, 'Captain, I really don't feel good about this, let's go around and use the instrument system.' These protestations occurred before any of the other clues were observable," MacLean said.

"Because of the ultimate presence of several of the clues, unrecognized, they flew into a mountain. The other four clues were observable only just prior to the crash. From the data I observed in this incident, it appears the first officer's comments were begun at least 15-20 minutes prior to the other four clues being observable."

MacLean concludes his letter with a thank you to EdgeScience editor Huyghe. "The info you supplied in your article ('Straight From the Gut,' EdgeScience No.1) will be valuable in my class when we discuss situational awareness. I can't put my finger on it precisely, but I have a feeling the ideas on precognition may be interacting somehow in the other 10 clues. Something to continue to ponder. Great article."


From SA training to premonitions, ESP and remote viewing, we see a growing body of research and knowledge about human perception and human consciousness.

New studies in neurobiology are looking more closely at how the human mind and body might be processing information from our environment that we have no consciousness knowledge of. And when we say "our environment," we can no longer limit the meaning of this term to the immediate environment that we can see, hear, touch, smell or taste.

Our perception can apparently reach out beyond these five senses. The hypothesized sixth sense may work both independently of, and in cooperation with our other five senses. And, we may have other sensory abilities we do not understand. These might have neurological, chemical and biological aspects.

We may even have some kind of perceptual abilities like the radar and sonar that some other mammals seem to use.

Emerging understanding from quantum physics implies that consciousness itself can be in more than one place at a time. Beyond the physical level of reality there may be more exotic energies and forces that work in mysterious ways.

Consciousness may not be bound by limitations of only the five senses and other possible neurobiological perceptions, nor bound by time and space.

The recent Army study into troops' ability to perceive IEDs seems to be another valuable step in the analysis of human perception, especially in the maintenance of safety and survival. However, as "EdgeScience" editor Huyghe noted, maybe we must be willing to go beyond some of the more conventional and limited perspectives.

The safety and survival of our troops, and all of us, are of the utmost importance. In addition, the larger field of human development may be an issue. Should current training and education in diverse and widespread settings include more robust examination of the emerging understanding about human perception?

Let's catch up to the leading edge of the research and knowledge in these areas and provide training for our troops, students, professionals and people in all walks of life. Let's cover these developments in science journalism and in the broader media.

Our safety, survival and success may depend on it.

(This article originally appeared on the Joint Recon Study Group and Transcendent TV & Media sites.)

Source: American Chronicle


Bigfoot Prints Found in Whiteriver Arizona

It did not take long after the snow began melting for Bigfoot to make his/her emergence from the hills surrounding Whiteriver.
A.K. Riley, former lawman in the community and renowned Bigfoot investigator, found a cache of new prints in the hills surrounding the area, saying he discovered them around March 17, 2010.

Riley gave The Independent exclusive access to the prints, which came out of the dense, brush-covered hills overlooking Whiteriver onto an extremely rough dirt trail/road, leaving around 20 feet of them before crossing over to the other side and continuing for about another 30 feet or so and then disappearing into the woods.

Riley said he was in the area performing his normal searches for signs of Bigfoot when he came upon the fresh prints, indicating the creature may be on the move again with the snow melting and it being easier to move about in the rough terrain.

Pointing down at the prints, Riley showed where curiosity seekers had already found and destroyed some by leaving their own prints either alongside Bigfoot's or inside to show the difference in size. He said it is natural for people to be curious and he often finds the same conditions when he comes across Bigfoot prints, but the problem is that after people leave their own shoe-clad impressions in or beside Bigfoot's and walk all over the area, it compromises the scientific integrity of the prints, often rendering them useless as evidence.

"You can see where they have put their feet beside them to show how much bigger they are, but it messes up the prints and makes them hard to see sometimes," Riley said while pointing down at the tell-tale impressions.
Before reaching the location of the newest Bigfoot tracks, Riley took The Independent to a riverbank of the White River running through the region and produced an earlier, almost washed-away print which clearly showed a deep impression where a heel would have come down on the ground while walking, as well as the faded impression of toes digging into the soil as whatever it was that left the print continued walking. The print was about 13 inches long and about four of five inches wide and had obviously been there for at least a few days while the fresh prints higher up on the hill were nearly pristine and flat.
"These have been here for some time," said Riley pointing at the faded earlier print by the river bank. "And you can see some others in the area as well, but they are faint and hard to see, but they were left here by Bigfoot too, probably a few days ago, but with the snow and melting you can not see them very well now."
Riley said the creature might have been looking for food or simply going from point A to point B while using the river as a guide, but whatever it was doing it left the telltale tracks behind. He said he did not get any new photos of Bigfoot, but he for one has no doubts in its existence.
A woman who lives in Whiteriver and passes on information to and from Riley in his research said she too believes in the existence of the creature. She said on at least two occasions she has seen evidence and heard noises compelling her to believe something is out there.
The woman asked to remain anonymous but said she and her daughter were out in their truck one evening and saw "something" cross the road in front of them that was "big and hairy" with about a three- to four-foot stride, which was able to cross the double-lane road in no more than three steps. She said on another occasion a friend of hers witnessed what she believed was Bigfoot in an abandoned trailer. The woman apparently heard some noise in a single-wide trailer and when she went in to investigate saw what she thinks was Bigfoot hunched over on a corner of the trailer trying to hide.
Riley said that type of behavior is not uncharacteristic for the creature and that it prefers to keep out of sight. Others in Whiteriver were not so sure of Riley's discovery of new Bigfoot prints saying no scat (feces) or any kind of carcass has ever been produced which could be proven to be Bigfoot or some other unknown creature which could explain the Bigfoot legend. One said until some kind of definitive, scientific evidence could be produced, which would provide undeniable evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, she would not be a believer.
For many years, sightings of Bigfoot have been reported on the Fort Apache Reservation, mostly by loggers and people who work in the woods. White Mountain Apache Police and game rangers with the Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Division have collected evidence of these sightings over a long period of time. The hair samples that have been sent to the DPS lab for testing have come back "non-human animal origin," leaving a lot of room for speculation.
Bigfoot believers say the persistence of reported sightings of Bigfoot-type creatures in North America and elsewhere has convinced leading researchers on primates, including Jane Goodall, made famous by her studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania, to call for something never seriously considered before: a legitimate scientific study to determine whether the greatest apes that ever lived persist in the world's moist mountainous regions.
Critics suggest people mistake bear prints for those of Bigfoot since the forests where sightings most often occur are inhabited by bears. Standing on their hind legs, bears roughly match the description of Bigfoot, but advocates counter that witnesses include experienced hunters and outdoorsmen, who claim to be familiar with bears, and insist that the creatures they have seen were entirely different.

Source: The White Mountain Independent


Saucers, Spying & Secret Files
By Nick Redfern

Back in February 2006, Anomalist Books published my title On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance; which was an in-depth study of how and why government, military and intelligence agencies have – for decades - secretly spied on certain players and groups within the UFO research arena.

In the four years that have now gone by since Saucer Spies surfaced, I have uncovered yet further surveillance files, suggesting that those saucer-seekers who do not have an official file may very well be in the minority!

As far as my book was concerned, I was able to show that many of the Contactees of the 1950s – such as George Adamski, George Hunt Williamson and George van Tassel – were the subject of extensive FBI files; as were Gray Barker and Albert Bender – two of the earliest chroniclers of the Men in Black puzzle; Bill Moore, Stan Friedman and several other of the premier Roswell investigators; crashed UFO data-collector, Leonard Stringfield; and various early UFO research groups, including the National Investigations Committee for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (APRO), to name just a few.

But, today, in 2010, the list has grown significantly.

For example, in their 2007 book, Flying Saucerers, Dave Clarke and Andy Roberts revealed that the British Police Force’s Special Branch had, back in the 1950s, opened a secret file on none other than the Aetherius Society, founded by Contactee George King. Special Branch files on the group state that it was: “…active in its campaign against nuclear weapon tests, and in this respect its policy is closely allied with that of the Communist Party” - even though, as the authors note, “no evidence of open Communist association with the Society” was ever found.

Moving on, a couple of years ago, I secured copies of the FBI’s records on a man named Oliver Kenneth Goff, who was described in a now-released FBI memoranda of 6 May 1955 as “a self-styled freelance Evangelist who for the past number of years has been speaking around the U.S. regarding the threat of communism to the U.S.” Interestingly, one of Goff’s regular lectures was titled: Traitors in the Pulpit, or: What’s Behind the Flying Saucers - Are they from Russia, Another Planet, or God?

Then there was the near-surreal affair of Harold Berney – an alleged Contactee who the FBI was deeply interested in; but not for ufological reasons. The reasoning was actually far less sensational; but ultimately very tragic: a June 10, 1959 FBI report titled Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, tells the odd story of Berney and how he unfortunately succeeded in exploiting the UFO issue for personal, monetary gain – a scheme that led a gullible woman, whose head was full of flying saucers, to part with nearly $40,000.

A further notable item of information, that appeared after On the Trail of the Saucer Spies was published, came from none other than well-known UFO researcher, Bruce Maccabee. In a review of my Saucer Spies that appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Maccabee said: “After I spoke at a UFO conference near Washington, D.C. in February 1993, I was contacted by an assistant military attaché who was stationed at the Russian Embassy. He wanted to know how to obtain US government files on UFOs.”

Maccabee added: “…you can imagine my surprise and amusement when, about six months later, while I was at work I got a call from the ‘dreaded’ FBI.” Maccabee expanded: “…it became obvious to me that the agent didn’t know much about the UFO phenomenon and was amused to learn about the FBI files on the subject. But he was especially interested in my interactions with the military attaché.”

Moving down-under: a file that has surfaced into the public domain from the archives of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) reveals the very odd story of how Australian intelligence watched the nation’s UFO research community for years. The 40-plus-page file is packed with material relative to (a) Australian Flying Saucer groups; (b) worries about communist-related issues and affiliations pertaining to members of some of those same groups; (c) fears of military personnel and non-military civilians with secret clearances becoming involved with UFO organizations; (d) potential leaks of security data of a distinctly non-UFO nature; and (e) even matters relative to vegetarianism and nudist organizations!

So, with that all said and updated, here’s the current listing of people and groups who have been the subject of files (whether FBI, CIA, Special Branch etc.) that have been declassified and are in now in my possession. In one fashion or another, and in varying degrees, they have all been involved in, or implicated in, the UFO subject.

In no particular order, they are:

George Adamski (Contactee); George Van Tassel (Contactee); George Hunt Williamson (Contactee); George King (Contactee) and the Aetherius Society; Gray Barker (MIB author); Albert Bender (MIB witness and author); Leonard Stringfield (crashed UFO researcher and author); Frank Stranges (Contactee); Philip Corso (The Day After Roswell co-author); the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP); Daniel Fry (Contactee); Oliver Kenneth Goff (ufological evangelist); Jackie Gleason (actor, allegedly saw alien corpses); Silas Newton (Aztec UFO crash player); Leo Gebauer (ditto; although I seem to have mislaid this file); Gabe Valdez (New Mexico State Police and cattle-mutes); Frank Scully (author of Behind the Flying Saucers); Dorothy Kilgallen (journalist and teller of crashed UFO story); Kenneth Arnold (Mr. UFO, of course); Aleister Crowley (invoker of the alien-Gray-like Lam); Morris Jessup (author and player in the Philadelphia Experiment story); Fred Crisman (of the Maury Island caper); Frances Swan (UFO/alien channeler); the Maier sisters, Mildred and Marie (UFO researchers of the 50s); Bruce Cathie (author of Harmonic 33 and other titles); Jack Parsons (legendary rocket-man and occultist); Theodore von Karman (player in the Project Twinkle investigations of the late 1940s); (Frank Edwards (of Flying Saucers – Serious Business); Nikola Tesla (brilliant scientist); James McDonald (ufological legend); J. Allen Hynek (of the Air Force, CUFOS, and author of The Hynek UFO Report and The UFO Experience); Wilhelm Reich (of Orgone fame); Paul Bennewitz (scientist); Harold Berney (cold-hearted crook and claimed Conactee) Philip K. Dick (science-fiction author); Mikel Conrad (actor, film-director); Carl Sagan (scientist); Donald Menzel (alleged player in the MJ12 saga); Vannevar Bush (ditto); Charles E. Rea (referenced in one of the Tim Cooper/MJ12 papers); and Truman Bethurum (met a shapely space-babe in the 50s; or so he claimed).

And, there are those who we know have been the subject of official files, but that are either still classified, or that have not been widely disseminated. Those parties include Stanton T. Friedman (no description needed – everyone knows Stan!); Bruce Maccabee (researcher, author); Bill Moore (co-author of The Roswell Incident); Gary Mckinnon (computer-hacker); Matthew Bevan (computer-hacker); Matthew Williams (broke into RAF Rudloe Manor, England); Robin Cole (wrote a report on UFOs and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ); and…me!

There’s probably several more whose files I have tucked away that I’ve forgotten about, so keep a look-out here for an update…or very possibly several…in the near future.

I’m still digging deep into this matter; so if you have any data on saucer-spying you may wish to share, let me know.

Source: Nick Redfern/The UFO Iconoclast(s)


Tourists Flock to 'Jesus's Tomb' in Kashmir

A belief that Jesus survived the crucifixion and spent his remaining years in Kashmir has led to a run-down shrine in Srinagar making it firmly onto the must-visit-in India tourist trail.

In the backstreets of downtown Srinagar is an old building known as the Rozabal shrine.

It's in a part of the city where the Indian security forces are on regular patrol, or peering out from behind check-posts made of sandbags.

There are still occasional clashes with militants or stone-throwing children, but the security situation has improved in recent times and the tourists are returning.

When I first searched for Rozabal two years ago, the taxi circled around a minor Muslim tomb in a city of many mosques and mausoleums, the driver asking directions several times before we found it.

The shrine, on a street corner, is a modest stone building with a traditional Kashmiri multi-tiered sloping roof.

A watchman led me in and encouraged me to inspect the smaller wooden chamber within, with its trellis-like, perforated screen.

Through the gaps I could see a gravestone covered with a green cloth.

When I returned to the shrine recently though, it was shut - its gate padlocked because it had attracted too many visitors.

The reason? Well, according to an eclectic combination of New Age Christians, unorthodox Muslims and fans of the Da Vinci Code, the grave contains the mortal remains of a candidate for the most important visitor of all time to India.

Officially, the tomb is the burial site of Youza Asaph, a medieval Muslim preacher - but a growing number of people believe that it is in fact the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

They believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion almost 2,000 Easters ago, and went to live out his days in Kashmir.

"What else could they do? They had to close it," Riaz told me.

His family home almost overlooks the shrine, and he is witheringly dismissive of the notion that Jesus was buried there.

"It's a story spread by local shopkeepers, just because some crazy professor said it was Jesus's tomb. They thought it would be good for business. Tourists would come, after all these years of violence.

"And then it got into the Lonely Planet, and too many people started coming.

"And one foreigner…" he gave me an apologetic look, "broke off a bit from the tomb to take home with him. So that's why it's closed now."

On cue, a couple of unwashed and exhausted Australians appeared, carrying the latest edition of the Lonely Planet travel guide to India, which, sure enough, carried the tale of Jesus's tomb, with some caveats about crackpots and blasphemy.

They asked me to take a photo of them outside the shrine - but were not desperately disappointed that it was closed.

The tomb of Jesus was just another place to tick off on their tourist-in-India must-visit list.

The ruins of a Buddhist monastery in a spectacular location halfway up a mountainside north of Srinagar are not, yet, mentioned in the Lonely Planet.

It's a spot that I had previously been unable to visit, because as a senior police officer told me, it was "infested with terrorists".

But the watchman now seemed prepared for the arrival of mass tourism, with his 50 words of English, and his hidden stock of ancient terracotta tiles for sale.

He informed me that Jesus was among the religious leaders who attended a famous Buddhist meeting here in AD80, and even pointed to the place where he sat.

The stories of Jesus in India are not just aimed at gullible tourists - they date back to the 19th Century.

They were part of attempts to explain the striking similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, a matter of great concern to 19th Century scholars - and also a desire among some Christians to root the story of Jesus in Indian soil.

There is talk of the missing years of Jesus, unmentioned in the gospels, when he was between the ages of 12 and 30.

Some say he was in India, picking up Buddhist ideas. These aren't notions that have entirely died out.

The US-based Christian sect, known as the Church Universal and Triumphant, is the best-known modern supporter of the belief that Jesus lived in Kashmir, though they don't believe he died there.

And in Islam, in which Jesus is the penultimate prophet, there is also a minority tradition adopted by the controversial Ahmadiyya sect , that Rozabal does contain the grave of Jesus.

Professional historians tend to laugh out loud when you mention the notion that Jesus might have lived in Kashmir - but his tomb is now firmly on the tourist trail - and a growing number of credulous visitors believe that he was buried in the Rozabal shrine.

And for those who scoff, remember that others have argued, just as implausibly, that Jesus came to Britain.

A theory that was much in vogue when the poet William Blake famously asked: "And did those feet in ancient time, walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Source: BBC


Toads Can 'Predict Earthquakes' and Seismic Activity

Common toads appear to be able to sense an impending earthquake and will flee their colony days before the seismic activity strikes.

The evidence comes from a population of toads which left their breeding colony three days before an earthquake that struck L'Aquila in Italy in 2009.
How toads sensed the quake is unclear, but most breeding pairs and males fled.

They reacted despite the colony being 74km from the quake's epicentre, say biologists in the Journal of Zoology.

It is hard to objectively and quantifiably study how animals respond to seismic activity, in part because earthquakes are rare and unpredictable.

Some studies have been done on how domestic animals respond, but measuring the response of wild animals is more difficult. Even those that have been shown to react, such as fish, rodents and snakes tend to do so shortly before an earthquakes strikes, rather than days ahead of the event.

However, biologist Dr Rachel Grant of the Open University, in Milton Keynes, UK, was routinely studying the behaviour of various colonies of common toads on a daily basis in Italy around the time a massive earthquake struck.

Her studies included a 29-day period gathering data before, during and after the earthquake that hit Italy on 6 April 2009. The quake, a 6.3-magnitude event, struck close to L'Aquila city, about 95km (60 miles) north-east of Rome.

Dr Grant was studying toads 74km away in San Ruffino Lake in central Italy, when she recorded the toads behaving oddly. Five days before the earthquake, the number of male common toads in the breeding colony fell by 96%.
That is highly unusual for male toads: once they have bred, they normally remain active in large numbers at breeding sites until spawning has finished.
Yet spawning had barely begun at the San Ruffino Lake site before the earthquake struck. Also, no weather event could be linked to the toads' disappearance.

Three days before the earthquake, the number of breeding pairs also suddenly dropped to zero.

While spawn was found at the site up to six days before the earthquake, and again six days after it, no spawn was laid during the so-called earthquake period - the time from the first main shock to the last aftershock.

"Our study is one of the first to document animal behaviour before, during and after an earthquake," says Dr Grant.

She believes the toads fled to higher ground, possibly where they would be at less risk from rock falls, landslides and flooding.

Sensing danger

Exactly how the toads sense impending seismic activity is unclear.

The shift in the toads' behaviour coincided with disruptions in the ionosphere, the uppermost electromagnetic layer of the earth's atmosphere, which researchers detected around the time of the L'Aquila quake using a technique known as very low frequency (VLF) radio sounding.
Such changes to the atmosphere have in turn been linked by some scientists to the release of radon gas, or gravity waves, prior to an earthquake.

In the case of the L'Aquila quake, Dr Grant could not determine what caused the disruptions in the ionosphere. However, her findings do suggest that the toads can detect something.

"Our findings suggest that toads are able to detect pre-seismic cues such as the release of gases and charged particles, and use these as a form of earthquake early warning system," she says.

Ants ignore quakes

One other study has quantified an animal's response to a major earthquake.

Researchers had the serendipitous opportunity to measure how the behaviour of the desert harvester ant (Messor pergandei) changed as the ground began to tremble in the Mojave Desert, California, on 28 June 1992.

The largest quake to hit the US in four decades struck during the middle of an ongoing study, which measured how many ants walked the trails to and from the colony, the distributions of worker ants and even how much carbon dioxide the ants produced.

However, in response to that 7.4 magnitude quake, the ants did not appear to alter their behaviour at all.

Source: BBC

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