5/28/10  #574
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Conspiracies come in all shapes and sizes. From someone plotting to toilet paper your yard, to the New World Order plotting to toilet paper your rights and freedoms. Well don't be caught with your pants down when the conspirators come a knocking! Keep up to date and informed with your subscription to the number one free, weekly e-mail newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and a whole lot more. Yes that's right! Conspiracy Journal is here once again to fill your minds with all the news and info that THEY don't want you to hear.

This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such neck-snapping stories as:

- Sun's Recent Behavior Is Odd, but the Explanation Remains Elusive -
- Scientist 'Infected' With Computer Virus -
-  Mysteries of Maine -
Keeping An Eye Out For Spotsy Sasquatch -
AND: The Cursed Bulgarian Cell Phone Number of Death

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

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* Attend Mae West’s First Séance.

* Journey With The Creepy Charles Manson And His Crew Down A Mysterious Hole To Find The Hollow Earth.

* Hunt For Ghosts In The Death Valley Opera House.

* Keep Your Distance From The Albino Bigfoot Running Loose.

* Unravel The Puzzle Of The Lost Viking Ships Of The Desert.

SECRETS OF DEATH VALLEY – MYSTERIES AND HAUNTS OF THE MOJAVE DESERT is a delightful, easy to read journey for the armchair paranormal sightseer or those looking to get out on the road.

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Sun's Recent Behavior Is Odd, but the Explanation Remains Elusive

In very rough terms, the sun's activity ebbs and flows in an 11-year cycle, with flares, coronal mass ejections and other energetic phenomena peaking at what is called solar maximum and bottoming out at solar minimum. Sunspots, markers of magnetic activity on the sun's surface, provide a visual proxy to mark the cycle's evolution, appearing in droves at maximum and all but disappearing at minimum. But the behavior of our host star is not as predictable as all that—the most recent solar minimum was surprisingly deep and long, finally bottoming out around late 2008 or so.

Solar physicists here at the semiannual meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week offered a number of mechanisms to shed light on what has been happening on the sun of late, but conceded that the final answer—or more likely answers—remains opaque. Beyond scientific understanding, motivations for better solar weather forecasts include hopes to use them to safeguard against electrical grid disruptions, damage to Earth-orbiting satellites and threats to the health of space travelers posed by solar radiation flare-ups.

One researcher has looked for clues to solar weather in the meridional flow, which moves from the solar equator toward the poles, and which seems to change speed during the shifting solar cycle. Another looked at the solar "jet stream," a slow current that originates at solar mid-latitudes and pushes in a bifurcated stream toward both the equator and the poles. Another scientist examined the inner workings of the sun through the oscillation of sound waves propagating through the solar interior; yet another looked at magnetic maps to chart the shifting flux across the sun.

"I think we're almost in violent agreement that this is an interesting minimum," said David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. By several measures—geomagnetic activity, weakness of polar magnetic fields, flagging solar deflection of galactic cosmic rays—the minimum was the deepest on record, Hathaway said, although some of those records contain just a few cycles. Hathaway focused on shifting speeds of the meridional flow, finding that the flow was anomalously fast at the most recent minimum. But, speaking of heliophysics forecasting techniques in general, he cautioned against leaping to any conclusions based on small-number statistics. "We need to be careful about extending what we've seen in one or two cycles to all of them," he said.

Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) instead examined the jet stream, a periodic east–west flow of material that corresponds with the onset and end of the solar cycle. With helioseismology data, which track acoustic oscillations on the sun, researchers can check in on the progress of the jet stream at depths of roughly 1,000 kilometers, potentially allowing for better forecasts of the timing of the solar cycle. But it is "still too early to tell" if the jet stream can robustly predict solar activity, Hill acknowledged, noting that the stream could be a cause or an effect of the cycle.

Hill's NSO colleague Sushanta Tripathy also turned to helioseismology to investigate the recent solar minimum, finding that in acoustic oscillations deep within the sun there were in fact two separate minima—one in late 2007 that did not correspond to the sunspot minimum, and one around late 2008 that did. In prior data, from 1995 to 2007, the frequency shifts in the oscillations had matched up well with the sunspot counts. And at shallower depths within the sun, the seismic and sunspot activity were in phase for the most recent solar minimum as well. All in all, the cycle was definitely unusual, Tripathy said.

Julia Saba of SP Systems, Inc., and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., had yet another approach, turning to magnetic maps to track regional differences on the sun. Her approach accurately forecast the timing of the 2008 solar minimum 18 months in advance, she said, but acknowledged that the forecast had been revised from an earlier prediction. Based on current data, Saba said, the next solar cycle looks like it will be weak and prolonged. But that could all change—her predictions assume "that the sun doesn't change on us again."

After hearing his colleagues' various approaches to investigating the sun's behavior, Hill took stock of a field with many open questions. "My main impression of all this is I'm gratified to see that we all agree that this is an interesting minimum," Hill said. "What's not so gratifying is we have no clue why any of these effects are happening."

Source: Scientific America


Scientist 'Infected' With Computer Virus

A British scientist claims to be the first human to have been infected with a computer virus after he contaminated an electronic chip which was inserted into his hand.

Dr Mark Gasson, of the University of Reading, said the device was programmed with a virus which could transfer itself to other electronic systems it came in contact with.

Any other chips that interacted with the infected systems would also contract the virus, he said, raising the possibility that in the future, advanced medical devices such as pacemakers could become vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Dr Gasson's chip, a refined version of the ID chips used to track animals, has been programmed to open security doors for him and to unlock his mobile phone automatically.

The results allegedly prove the principle that in future, human implants like this could contaminate increasingly complex medical devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants.

Dr Gasson told BBC News: "With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses."

Implanted technology has become increasingly common in the United States, where medical alert bracelets can be scanned to bring up a patient's medical history.

Professor Rafael Capurro, of the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics in Germany, added: "If someone can get online access to your implant, it could be serious.

"From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative. Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem."

Dr Gasson, however, said technology with surveillance capabilities could in future become widely used for non-medical purposes.

He said: "If we can find a way of enhancing someone's memory or their IQ then there's a real possibility that people will choose to have this kind of invasive procedure."

The project is not the first time Reading University scientists have combined electronics and the body in futuristic experiments.

In a separate project in 2008, experts created a robot that used cells from the brain of a rat to make decisions, in order to learn more about how the brain functions.

The robot, known as an "animat", interpreted electrical signals from the cells to navigate itself around a laboratory without bumping into obstacles.

Researchers said it could eventually help them design treatments for diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Source: Telegraph (UK)


Mysteries of Maine
By Rob Sneddon

A good mystery, like a Jeopardy answer, should be presented in the form of a question. For instance . . .
Did ball lightning bombard Bar Harbor?
The mystery man claimed that he had once out-ridden a prairie fire on horseback. And that he had narrowly escaped from a burning railroad car. “But,” he told the New York Times, “I look back at neither of these terrible situations with a sensation of having been so near to the borders of the other world as I felt that I was on the night of that frightful winter thunderstorm at Bar Harbor.” The man, identified only as “a gentleman of [New York],” spoke to the Times in 1884. The storm that he remembered happened in 1853.
“The lightning became a deep purple or violet color, and took the form of balls of fire,” the mystery man claimed. “That purple ball lightning flashed about and obtruded itself everywhere.” He said it destroyed a clock inside the house where he was staying, and left “scores of people” temporarily paralyzed. It also caused a violent explosion that sent chunks of frozen ground flying like shrapnel and uprooted many trees.
An Ellsworth Herald report from March 4, 1853, corroborates some of the details of the storm. The paper said that “a great many people were slightly injured” by the unusual lightning, which “resembled a volume of fire, whirling around and producing a cracking noise.”
Based on those accounts, can Bar Harbor claim to have endured history’s most extreme outbreak of “ball lightning”? John Jensenius of the National Weather Service office in Gray, a nationally recognized expert on lightning, doesn’t rule the possibility out. But he needs something more than a couple of nineteenth-century newspaper reports to rule it in.
Ball lightning, which can loosely be described as lightning that occurs not in a flash but as a lingering sphere, is a controversial phenomenon. Even contemporary accounts, with supporting video, are subject to interpretation. Some scientists question whether ball lightning exists at all.
Jensenius isn’t among them. “I have no doubt that it occurs,” he says. “I just don’t know what it is.”
In addition, Jensenius says, “Lightning is one of those things where the stories do tend to get embellished quite a bit.”
After reading both accounts of the 1853 storm, Jensenius says that some of the “otherworldly” aspects that the mystery man reported could have reasonable explanations. Winter lightning is often purple, for example, because it reflects off ice crystals. “And sometimes when lightning strikes something that’s metal, the metal may vaporize,” Jensenius says. “That could give the impression of a ball exploding.”
His conclusion: “I’m assuming that this storm was rather spectacular.”
But as for the mystery man’s apocalyptic vision of balls of purple fire raining down upon the snowy streets of Bar Harbor, Jensenius is diplomatic. “The person seems to have a somewhat vivid memory of the event,” he says.
What was the “Turner Beast”?
A dog. Period. End of story — or it should have been, anyway. But unlike the poor dog, speculation refuses to die. Because, says Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, “The media loves stories like that.”
Coleman is a world-renowned expert on “cryptids,” animals whose existence is a matter of conjecture, such as the Loch Ness Monster. Since 1991 stories had circulated throughout Androscoggin County of a hyenalike creature that had allegedly attacked large dogs and even livestock. So when the “Turner Beast” turned up dead in 2006, some people concluded that it was the “mutant” animal of local legend. But not Coleman. “I said, ‘Yup, that’s a dead dog,’ ” he says. Nevertheless, “by the end of the week it was a worldwide phenomenon. I was being interviewed by South African radio, and there were T-shirts being made in California.”
Two independent DNA tests confirmed that the animal was a dog. And still some media types refused to take yes for an answer — including producers of the TV show MonsterQuest, who came to Turner to do a story. “I said, ‘Why would you want to do a show on that? It’s a dog,’ ” says Coleman, a MonsterQuest consultant. “What people forget is that I’m open-minded, but I’m also extremely skeptical.”
As he probes reports of cryptids ranging from Bigfoot to Down East black panthers, Coleman treads the neutral ground between extremists. “You have the debunkers, who don’t even have an open mind,” he says. “Then you have the true believers. You could show them a YouTube video of Bigfoot walking a black panther and they’d say, ‘See? There’s the evidence.’ ”
For the record: Yes, there have been Bigfoot sightings reported in Maine. But Coleman finds those less compelling than accounts of what he calls “the two kinds of mystery cats.”
“I can’t give a talk in the state of Maine without somebody coming up to me afterward and saying, ‘My grandmother saw a mountain lion,’ ” Coleman says. “Or, ‘I saw a black panther.’ ”
Mountain lions (also known as cougars) were once common in Maine, but none has been positively identified in the state since 1938. “The black panthers are more of the ghost cats,” Coleman says. “We don’t have any zoological prece-dent for black panthers in the eastern United States, so that sort of notches that up to a different level of mystery.”
But what about sea monsters?
As far as Coleman is concerned, Maine’s most prized cryptid lurks not in the woods but in the water. “From the 1700s to the 1900s there was definitely a population of sea serpents that were regularly being seen off the coast,” he says.
Understand: He’s not talking about sci-fi monsters that attack ships and devour sailors. He’s simply saying that there may be some sort of large, unidentified creature in the Gulf of Maine. “ ‘Sea serpent’ is probably a misnomer,” Coleman says. It’s derived from the snakelike way the creature swims — or appears to swim. “The way they move in the water, up and down, gives an illusion of coils.”
Before you scoff at the notion of a “Casco Bay Sea Serpent,” as it’s commonly known, consider the oarfish. An eel-like creature that can grow up to thirty-six feet long, the oarfish is the likely source of “sea serpent” reports in other parts of the world. It’s fairly common in warmer oceans, but rarely seen because it swims in deep water. For years, oarfish photos were limited to dead or dying specimens at the surface. Only in the last decade, in the age of ubiquitous cameras, has anyone captured healthy specimens on video.
But if a cold-water equivalent of an oarfish — or a new species of whale or giant seal — lived in the Gulf of Maine, wouldn’t someone have come across a dead one by now? Not necessarily.
“The big change that has happened off the coast of Maine is that there are actually highways in the ocean now,” Coleman says. “Sea serpents seem to be steering away from those highways. So if they’re still out there, the population is probably pretty low, and they’re avoiding humans.”
Still, Coleman holds out hope that one may yet turn up. And no one would be more delighted. “To have a new animal identified in the Gulf of Maine would be just wonderful.”
Did the legendary White Bird crash in Washington County?
L’Oiseau Blanc — the White Bird — was a French biplane that disappeared en route from Paris to New York in 1927. Less than two weeks later, Charles Lindbergh stole the headlines by flying in the other direction aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.
Initially, the White Bird and its two-man crew, pilot Charles Nungesser and navigator François Coli, were presumed lost in the Atlantic. But soon reports came from Newfoundland of people who claimed to have seen a plane, or heard one droning in the overcast, along a line that roughly corresponded to the White Bird’s presumed flight path. A search of the area revealed nothing, however.
More than fifty years passed before anyone thought to look farther along the coast, in Maine. A 1980 Yankee magazine article by Gunnar Hansen was the trigger. The article was prompted by a Washington County legend that a fisherman on Round Lake, near Machias, had heard a plane pass overhead on the afternoon of May 9, 1927 — the correct date and approximate time that the White Bird would have crossed the area.
Moreover, the fisherman said he then heard the plane crash.
A spate of corroborating, if purely anecdotal, accounts followed. Several hunters claimed to have seen what could have been a large engine in the vicinity. It all added up to a tantalizing possibility. So tantalizing that Ric Gillespie, an aviation expert from Delaware, led twenty expeditions near Round Lake over eight years, starting in 1984. “Ultimately we never found anything except a lot of great stories,” Gillespie says. “Everybody [knew about] an engine in the woods. And they could always take us right to it. But they never could.” He laughs. “We talked about publishing a Field Guide to the Engines of Washington County.”
Gillespie thinks what most hunters likely saw was old logging equipment. “It’s only later when they read something in the paper about people who were looking for this famous French plane that they say, ‘Wait a minute, I saw an engine . . . ’ And their memory fills in the gaps so it looks like what it’s supposed to look like.”
Despite the futility of his quest, Gillespie developed a fondness for Washington County. And his experiences led him to found the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has since searched the world over for other vanished planes, including Amelia Earhart’s Electra. TIGHAR has made ten trips to the Pacific and believes it is close to locating the world’s best-known missing aircraft. “The work we did in Maine taught us our trade,” Gillespie says. “We learned a lot of hard lessons.”
Finding Earhart’s plane would likely make Gillespie famous. But if he could find just one missing aircraft, it would be the White Bird. “It’s a great mystery — the mystery that launched my whole career,” Gillespie says. “But we now believe it’s a mystery of Newfoundland rather than a mystery of Maine.”
TIGHAR has concentrated its most recent efforts on the Cape Shore peninsula in Newfoundland, where the body of evidence — including eyewitness affidavits filed in 1927 — is compelling. Still, Gillespie concedes, “Because we haven’t found the wreckage yet, that leaves a possibility that [the White Bird] got to Maine.”
Is there really buried treasure in Maine?
Yes. Any twenty-first-century dowser with a metal detector knows there is. Republic Jewelry & Collectibles in Auburn reports that a beachcomber recently uncovered a five thousand-dollar ring at Old Orchard. Another Republic client researched an old dump site, where he unearthed a button from George Washington’s inauguration. But storybook buried treasure? Pirates’ booty? Pieces of eight, gold doubloons, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum?
Not likely. Not that that’s never discouraged people from looking.
Most buried-treasure folklore dates not from the Golden Age of Piracy but from the Golden Age of Gullibility, which started about a century later. “Much of the northeastern U.S. was afflicted with a peculiar treasure fever in the late eighteenth century, and throughout the nineteenth,” says Colin Woodard, a Down East contributing editor and author of The Republic of Pirates.
Treasure hunters, or “diggers,” descended on Maine in astounding numbers. “They were out on Maine islands, in people’s fields, on mountainsides, creating enormous holes and pits,” Woodard says. “They undertook their projects with elaborate folk magic rituals.”
Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Treasure Island, published in 1883, probably drew from digger mythology, and certainly perpetuated it. Most lingering tales of buried treasure in Maine — such as Captain Kidd’s alleged stash on Monhegan Island — owe more to Stevenson’s imagination than to any credible historical accounts.
With one exception. As Woodard wrote in “Black Flags Down East” (Down East, August 2007), the longstanding legend that pirates once sailed up the Machias River has some documentation to support it. But Woodard stresses that while there may have been a pirate expedition up the Machias, it was not led by Sam Bellamy, as legend holds. Nor would pirates have had good reason to leave any valuables behind.
Still, the mere knowledge that pirates once sailed in Maine waters — and dropped by Damariscove and Monhegan — is all some fortune seekers need. Because it leaves room for the possibility that treasure may indeed be out there somewhere.
Just don’t expect to find it buried on an island, in a sea chest, with the spot marked by an X on some tattered old map. “The best place to look,” Woodard says, “is the seafloor, where treasure-bearing pirate vessels may have sunk.”
Who was the lady in black who died near Hendricks Head?
The solution to this mystery seems simple. Her name was Louise G. Meade, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At least that’s the name she used when she signed in at the Hotel Fullerton after arriving by bus in Boothbay Harbor on the afternoon of December 1, 1931. But after her body was retrieved from the surf and brought ashore at North Beach five days later, investigators were unable to confirm her identity. “No such person was reported missing,” a United Press International (UPI) wire-service story said.
The circumstances of the woman’s death inspired fanciful speculation. This was the lead of that UPI account: “Investigators believed yesterday a cryptogram found in her purse might aid in identifying an attractive woman in black whose weighted body was taken from the sea near lonely Hendricks Head lighthouse Sunday.”
The woman, whom witnesses estimated was in her forties, had left the Fullerton a few minutes after checking in. She asked where she could find “a sweeping ocean view.” Although it was late on a cold, windy day, she set off on foot for Hendricks Head, some five miles away.
The woman’s wrists were bound with a leather belt — “a man’s belt,” the UPI account said — when her body was found. The belt was attached to a flatiron on one side and her purse on the other. This was the alleged cryptogram, which was reportedly found inside a “waterproof packet” in the purse: 3-7, G-00011897, 11-20, N-1194667, R-3126238, 9, 40, 135, 1775, 439. Labels on a bag and on a pair of eyeglasses in the woman’s room indicated that those items had come from stores in New York.
None of those clues led anywhere. When no one claimed the body, the townspeople buried the mystery woman in an unmarked grave. But local legend has it that her spirit remains afoot.
When the Lewiston Sun Journal reported on the woman’s disappearance twenty-five years later, the story began with this: “These years she is seen mostly at twilight and so she has become known as the Lady of the Dusk. Sometimes she is seen in the very bright moonlight and there are those who swear they have seen her when the fog comes rolling in, picking her steps lightly and easily over the rocky coast, a creature more shadow than substance as befits a ghost.”
So who was here first?
Pre-Columbian scholars will throw down over this one. Celts, Vikings, Venetians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans — at some point pretty much everyone from across the pond has claimed to have been the first to reach the Maine coast.
All of these claims are based on debatable evidence. Harvard professor Barry Fell cited strange markings found on a rock near Monhegan Island as evidence that Phoenicians had visited North America before the birth of Christ. Others look at those same marks and see evidence of nothing more than erosion.
And then there was the “Maine penny,” a Norse coin found in Brooklin in 1957. How the coin, which was almost one thousand years old, ended up in Brooklin is a matter of considerable conjecture. The American Numismatic Society has concluded that “the Norse coin from Maine should probably be considered a hoax.” Among the suspicious aspects of the Maine penny is that it was the only Norse artifact at the Brooklin site, which also yielded some thirty thousand Native American artifacts.
That illustrates the absurdity of all “We discovered Maine” claims. Regardless of which Europeans visited Maine first, they were just that: visitors. Unless you are of Wabanaki descent, you’re from away — no matter how long your family has lived in Maine.
That’s the thread of enlightened thought that Skip Brack followed in developing the Davistown Museum. Brack, of Hulls Cove, originally conceived the museum as a way of documenting the history of the Davistown Plantation, a sixteenth-century settlement near present day Liberty. His research led him to an extensive extrapolation of Maine’s history dating back to “Norumbega,” an ambiguous catch-all term often used to describe Maine in the days before European settlement.
Brack is among the scholars who believe that Native Americans have lived in Maine for at least 12,000 years. That predates even the most farfetched claims of European visitors.
But even if that time frame is accurate, it still doesn’t solve the mystery. Native Americans are no more homogenous than Europeans. So the ultimate question is: Which of Maine’s Native American peoples was truly native to what is now Maine?
There’s simply no way to know. You might think that that would be a source of great frustration to a historian as passionate as Brack. But you would be wrong. As Brack writes in Norumbega Reconsidered, one of the many publications on Maine history available on the Davistown Museum Web site: “How boring would a definitive study of 12,000 years of Native Americans in Maine be if there were not at least one controversial question to prompt a reconsideration of Maine’s fascinating ethnohistoric past?”
Has Maine been visited by beings from away?
Reports of UFOs in Maine date back more than two hundred years. Witnesses claim to have seen everything from classic flying saucers to crop circles.
The most famous episode is the alleged Allagash Wilderness Waterway abduction of 1976, one of the world’s most widely circulated accounts of a “close encounter.” Four college students from Massachusetts claimed to have seen a large glowing object over their canoe while they were fishing at night on Eagle Lake. After being enveloped in a beam of light, the four experienced a block of missing time and ended up back at their campsite on the shore. Years later, under hypnosis, all four recounted being stripped naked and “examined” aboard the glowing UFO. (Their story was dramatized — and popularized — via the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. The segment is posted on YouTube.)
Whether you believe the Allagash Abduction really happened comes down to just that: a matter of belief. The four men can’t prove that their story is true. Disbelievers can’t prove that it’s not. So it goes with most accounts of UFOs and extraterrestrials. One way or the other, the truth is still out there.
Otherworldly spirits seem to feel at home in Maine
The Webisode has a style like The Blair Witch Project. No special effects, no spooky music, just some shaky camera work and a regular-looking guy providing narration as he investigates a local legend.
Internet rumor has it that five ancient stone markers along River Road in Brunswick possess mysterious powers. (“On full moons strange things happen near those stones,” one site claims. “You can hear old voices and singing.”) One theory is that the stones are remnants of a Native American burial ground.
It takes the narrator less than thirty seconds to debunk that notion. He points out that the first mystery stone has evidence of machining along the edges. “That’s from drilling,” he says. “To me, that completely dispels the rumor of some Native American stone.”
His conclusion: The stones are old land markers, with “no paranormal significance whatsoever.”
The narrator, Tony Lewis of Bowdoinham, made the video not because he doesn’t believe in ghosts but because he does. “We’re trying to increase public awareness of paranormal activity that’s real,” says Lewis, a cofounder of Maine Ghost Hunters (MGH). “So when we see those rumors, it’s a little irritating. That’s why we started doing investigations of some of the public places listed on these Web sites. Unless we can come up with evidence that there is paranormal activity, we have to assume that there isn’t.”
As Lewis suggests, most Internet ghost stories are dubious. One site claims that a certain Maine high school is haunted by the ghosts of five students “murdered mysteriously” in the 1950s. And yet somehow this mass murder never made the papers.
Other accounts are harder to dismiss out of hand. “On my desk is a five-page list of locations throughout the state where people have recorded evidence of paranormal activity,” Lewis says. “They range from old medical facilities to farmhouses to taverns and inns, bed-and-breakfasts, all the way from Kennebunk up through Bangor and beyond.”
Lewis’s wife, MGH cofounder Kat McKechnie, grew up in one such place. “She lived in one of oldest houses in Augusta — it was a tavern in the 1700s,” Lewis says. “She awoke during the night on several occasions with the feeling of an ice-cold hand going down her back. That would startle her and wake her up, and in the doorway she would see a figure.”
Although he’s long believed that “there’s something else out there; it’s not just us and our physical bodies,” Lewis never had a firsthand paranormal experience until he started his investigative work with MGH. His most profound experiences have occurred at Boothbay’s Kenniston Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast, a mansion built in 1786 by shipbuilder David Kenniston.
The inn’s claim to paranormal fame starts with a documented event: David Kenniston’s son, William Kenniston, was murdered there on May 9, 1888, at age eighty-one. A troubled youth with the Dickensian name Llewellyn Quimby confessed to the crime. Quimby “had worked for Mr. Kenniston,” according to the Bath Independent of May 12, 1888, “and . . . bore a bad reputation,” including a stint in the State Reform School.
Kenniston’s wife, Octavia, was also attacked but survived. The Independent’s account included this detail, presumably supplied by Octavia, that’s ready-made for an enduring ghost story: “The assassin lighted matches in the house to see his way, and in the light . . . his face was seen to be covered with a white cloth.”
MGH has reported multiple “cross-over” experiences with spirits at the inn. (You can see videos on their Web site, maineghosthunters.org.) Far from shying away from this notoriety, owner Dianne Ward actually embraces it. In advertising a recent MGH weekend, the inn’s Web site promised “a haunting experience on the Maine coast.”
That acceptance is consistent with Lewis’ experience since MGH began. “Based on the people that we’ve interacted with, I would say that Maine, as a collective, is pretty open to the concept that there is paranormal activity out there,” he says. “And they’re curious about it.”
Lewis discovered this when colleagues and clients in his professional life — he’s a software design engineer who once worked for Microsoft — learned of his unusual hobby. “At first I was concerned that they might think, ‘That’s kinda weird. Do we really want this guy in our building, working on our equipment?’ ” Lewis says. “But because of the awareness that’s been created by TV shows like Ghost Hunters, they’re intrigued. And some have invited us to come and do investigations of their residences or places of business.”

- Illustration by Dean MacAdam

Source: Down East Magazine


Keeping An Eye Out For Spotsy Sasquatch

Bigfoot researchers stake out 96 acres in Virginia to search for the elusive ape-like beast.

Hunting for the elusive Sasquatch is difficult enough, but rain makes it even harder. Billy Willard, 41, the director of the Manassas-based Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, said the din of rain makes it impossible to hear anything else.
And the rain keeps animals--even Bigfoots--under shelter.

On Saturday, Willard and four other Sasquatch researchers were on 96 acres in the Lake Anna area, connected to 3,000 acres of mostly forests. Willard said there have been a lot of sightings in this region, especially in Culpeper County.

Ever since Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin released the famous film of a Sasquatch in Bluff Creek, Calif., on Oct. 20, 1962, people have argued its validity and that of thousands of other sightings across the country.

In Spotsylvania County, Virginia, a man, a woman and a teenager reported spotting what appeared to be a Sasquatch in May 2009. They were about 300 yards away before it ran--fast.

"When I say running, well, all I can explain is it looked like it was on ice skates," said the woman. She asked that her name and exact location not be revealed because too often ridicule follows those who say they've seen Bigfoot; she also wants to protect adjoining property owners.

"If he lives here, and I think he does, it is smarter than a dog and dogs are smart animals," said the man who also reported seeing the creature that day.

Don't even try telling them that it was a bear.

"I've been in the woods since I was 5 years old; I know what a bear looks like," the woman said.

Her suspicions rose again in January when she heard a crazy noise in the woods that sounded like recordings she has heard on Bigfoot Internet sites.

"To me, the sound of hearing this thing was scarier than seeing it," she said. "It started with a low rumble and ended in a high-pitch scream."

The woman said she found Willard's website and invited him to the property. He's come back a half-dozen times.

Last month, he directed a weeklong Bigfoot expedition at the Spotsylvania site with five separate research groups.

The group heard strange Bigfoot-like sounds and filmed with a night-vision camera something very tall with red eyes. Two other researchers reported something shook their Jeep. A footprint impression behind the vehicle was cast.

"The eyes on the videotape, that was pretty impressive," Willard said.

But last weekend, the rain caused problems and it stopped the hunt early. The group got there at about 4 p.m. Saturday and stayed past midnight.

The only discovery that day was what appeared to be a large footprint near a pond.

Researchers like Willard often do their work with little fanfare. The full-time environmental engineer does not get paid for his Bigfoot research. He often gets tips and invitations through his website. He has been to at least nine states and has returned with plaster casts of a few different footprints.

His most frightening experience was in Paris, Texas, in 2007. The experience was so surreal that Willard thought it was a nightmare. He felt something grab him and he tussled with the creature for a few minutes while in his tent.

"I could feel nothing but thick hair on whatever this was," he said. "My hand didn't fit around the limb and I balled up my fist and hit it."

Not much high-tech equip- ment is necessary for expeditions. Researchers use night-vision game cameras and goggles and PA systems to broadcast Bigfoot calls and babies crying, which apparently creates a lot of action in the forest when played. There is also a lot of waiting, which leads to researchers sharing stories over a campfire about favorite trips, that often end up fruitless.

But not finding any evidence has little effect on their hope that someday one of them might get the evidence needed to prove Bigfoot does exist.

"There's no certification for this except a mental institution and an empty checkbook," Willard joked.

Source: Free Lance–Star - Fredericksburg, Virginia


Author Claims Europe Had First Pyramids

American author Paul Von Ward has backed a new campaign in Bosnia to have the "Bosnian Valley of Pyramids" given official recognition as the oldest and largest pyramids in the world.

Excavation of the site close to the central town of Visoko has been going on now for several years and Von Ward who was in the country this week confirmed he was giving his backing to the claim.

The Harvard trained author said: "The Bosnian Valley of Pyramids is the most exciting and most important archaeological place in the world. Bosnian pyramids are bigger than Egyptian ones."

"They are a stunning blow to conventional history - these mammoth structures were built bigger and better and even earlier - thousands of miles away in Europe - than the pyramids in Egypt.

"The Bosnian pyramids don't have pharaohs in them, but were instead built as tributes to ancient Gods by thousands of slave workers.

The Bosnian bid for recognition is also backed by Egyptian archaeologist Dr Nabil Swelim.

He said: "It is the biggest pyramid in the world. It is a building achievement of genius and great importance for the entire world. This is an unbelievable discovery. It will take a lot of time to understand how these great structures were built."

The Egyptian expert was invited to Visoko two years ago by a group attempting to disprove the claims of an amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic who believes pyramid shaped mountains in Visoko were man-made.

But instead he declared himself shocked by what he found - delighting Bosnian officials who had earlier decided to sponsor excavations at the site.

Bosnian Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic said at that stage: "We were told the world was laughing at us when we decided to back this excavation, but there is no government in the world that should stay quiet on things which are positive. Why should we deny something that has attracted the attention of the whole world? We want to have official institutions involved in research in Visoko and to be part of the discovery."

Osmanagic was born in Bosnia but moved to America where he made a fortune that he has spent on travelling the world visiting ancient sites - earning himself the nickname Indiana Jones.

Like the real adventure hero he rejected conventional wisdom and has continued his work in the hills close to Visoko together with hundreds of volunteers. He claims it is the greatest find since Tutankhamen after unearthing what he claims is proof that Europe had the first pyramids.

Locals say the find is the best thing that has happened to Bosnia since visits by Bono Vox or the Pope, and good for business.

Local shopkeeper Safet Salkic said: "People here were sceptical but now we believe in Semir Osmanagic. One can clearly see that the mountain above the town of Visoko is in a pyramid shape, we were so used to it we never saw it, but we have looked at the results so far and are amazed we never noticed what was before our noses.

"This is a great thing for the town and the entire country. It is at least some good news for our economy after years of war and economic crisis, but it is not a PR stunt - which many were claiming at first until big names started to back us and then the government decided to fund the research."

Semir Osmanagic agreed, saying: "Yes, everyone from taxi drivers to hotels, restaurants and coffee shops have benefited - but that wasn't our goal. We want to present to the world the great site that we have discovered in Visoko. Dr Swelim's remarks have now brought international verification that we have Bosnian pyramids. This discovery has changed the history of Europe."

Source: The Austrian Times


The Cursed Bulgarian Cell Phone Number of Death

A Bulgarian cell phone number has been suspended after three owners of the unique number have died in the last ten years.

The Mobitel number - 0888 888 888 - has proved to be both easy to memorize and deadly for three successive owners.

The first user - the former CEO of Mobitel - died of cancer in 2001. The number then went to Bulgarian mob boss Konstantin Dimitrov who was gunned down in an Amsterdam ambush in 2003. The final owner of the doomed cell number was another gangster, cocaine smuggler Konstantin Dishliev, who was shot to death outside a restaurant in 2005.

The number was on hold while the investigation of Dishliev's death was underway but now Mobitel has disabled the cursed number.

Ironically, the number 8 is considered a lucky number in Asia, where the Chinese word for eight sounds very much like the word for "prosper" or "wealth." In some dialects the word sound similar to the word for "fortune."

The number eight is considered so auspicious in the east that the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics began on 8/8/08 at precisely 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm local time.

And unlike Bulgaria, a Chinese phone number with all digits being eight would be considered very lucky. Just such a number was reportedly sold in Chengdu, China for $270,723 US dollars.

Source: Examiner

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