9/24/10  #591
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Don't open the door! Don't go into the basement! Don't look under the bed! DON'T OPEN THE CLOSET! Is it ghosts? Is it ghouls? Is it little hairy monsters with big teeth and claws? NO - It's another spine-tingling issue of your favorite weekly newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else spooky and scary - CONSPIRACY JOURNAL.

This week, Conspiracy Journal brings you such riveting tales as:

- UFOs Are Monitoring Our Nukes, Worry Ex-Air Force Officers -
- South America’s Procession of the Damned -
- Does Woman's Vacation Photo Show Mothman? -
John Keel, the MIB, and Long Island’s Vanishing Cars! -
AND: Last 'Sin-Eater' Celebrated with Church Service

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~





As one distressed UFO researcher put it, Ever since organized flying saucer research began, a disturbing number of serious investigators have suffered personal harassment, unusual accidents and even mysterious deaths. In some cases, sinister voices have whispered threats over the telephone and warned certain researchers to terminate specific projects they were focused on.

Recently, an increasing number of civilian UFOlogists have been visited by ominous strangers who have made it physically clear that their orders to discontinue all investigations would be enforced. Official disclaimers have only served to intensify the mystery of the bizarre incidents currently seeding chaos within the rank of civilian UFO investigators and instilling fear among those who witness flying saucer activity.


Featured on the History Channel's UFO Hunters and on Coast to Coast AM, eminent investigator Tim Beckley details dozens of additional bone chilling encounters with the MIB who have become a curse on the rank and file members of the UFO community.

++ Shadowy "Grim Reaper" like figures stalk the streets of a north Iowa town. What are they concealing in the bags they go about hiding in the woods?

++ Radio Talk Show host is ordered by metallic voice over phone (unlisted number!) to "meet them on the Mount". . .known as a haunted place and the site of a number of mysterious deaths and disappearances.

++ A large floating platform the size of 3 football fields hovers near a nuclear power plant. Witnesses observe several small bald headed aliens accompanied by 9 foot giants. Trying to leave the area, their car refuses to start. They are surrounded by military personnel and their vehicle is ransacked. They are told never to speak of the incident OR ELSE!

++ In the cemetery where Charles Fort is buried ominous black vehicles disappear down side roads never to be seen again. They pass by on the gravel pavement going over grates without the sound of tires. The cemetery is also haunted by a big black dog and a couple who fly over the tombstones at dusk in their pajamas!

Are these sinister sindividuals simply government agents gone amuck in their harassment of witnesses and investigators who have dedicated their lives delving into the unexplainable? Or are they something far more sinister as evidence in this volume indicates? Perhaps the MIB are representatives of an extraterrestrial "police force," whose job is to keep the gates to a parallel universe closed tightly behind them.


This frightening book is now available exclusively for Conspiracy Journal subscribers at the special price of only $22.00, plus $5.00 shipping.  (YOU WON'T FIND A DEAL LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE...SO GET YOUR COPY TODAY!)

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UFOs Are Monitoring Our Nukes, Worry Ex-Air Force Officers

Captain Robert Salas was on duty in Montana in 1967 when a UFO shut down the nuclear missiles on his base. And he's hardly the only one to make such a claim.

On Monday, September 27, six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about similar events at the National Press Club, all centering around unidentified flying objects and nuclear missiles. They plan to urge the government to publicly confirm the incidents, stating that they were ordered never to discuss the events.

"We're talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that," Salas told FoxNews.com. "They're often known as UFOs, you could call them that," he added. Salas, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch officer, will host the event along with researcher Robert Hastings, author of "UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites.

According to the pair, witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby.

"I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site," Salas said, regarding the March 16, 1967, event at Malmstrom AFB in Montana. "The missiles shut down, 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later," he said.

Are they evidence of unknown military action from a foreign country, or are these extraterrestrial visitors? Salas thinks the answer is clear -- and finds it curious that they're so interested in our nuclear arsenal.

"There's a strong interest [in our missiles] by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they're not from planet Earth."

Another participant, retired Col. Charles Halt, observed a disc-shaped object directing beams of light down into the RAF Bentwaters airbase in England and heard on the radio that they landed in the nuclear weapons storage area. Both men claim the Air Force warned them never to disclose details of the events.

"The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it," Salas said. Col. Halt adds, "I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted -- both then and now -- to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation."

The group plans to distribute declassified U.S. government documents at the event that they claim will substantiate the reality of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites extending back to 1948. The press conference will also address present-day concerns about the abuse of government secrecy as well as the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg, these stories," Salas told FoxNews.com.

Source: Fox News


South America’s Procession of the Damned
By Scott Corrales

The recent news stories surrounding the “Hopping Phantom of Calchín” led us to remember other similar experiences involving improbable transient creatures that appear in our midst out of nowhere. These apparitions are sometimes bestial, sometimes quite normal, and at others completely otherworldly.

Raul Núñez of the Instituto de Investigacion y Estudios Exobiologicos (IIEE) in Chile has drawn our attention to a case featured on his website (www.iiee.cl). The lengthy report bears the title “¿Qué Pasó en Cutún en 1976?” (What Happened in Cutún in 1976?) and is written by Sergio Alcaya, a systems engineer who has taken it upon himself to re-open the case, which is one of the strangest I’ve heard of, and straddles the “high-strangeness” no-man’s land of UFO, paranormal and parapsychological investigation.

Cutún is a community in northern Chile’s Valle de Elqui, a tourist destination favored by the country’s contactee groups as they endeavor to make contact with the ever-present “kindly space brothers”, a South American Sedona, if you will. But it appears that a particularly virulent poltergeist event also occurred here, one that draws our attention due to the presence of a Man-in-Black with a singular characteristic not reported in other cases.

In February 1976, a man named Nicasio Torres, the protagonist of the story, barged into the home of his neighbors, Angel and Gabriel Orrego to ask for help. The brothers did their best to calm him down and asked him to tell them what was going on. Gasping for breath, Torres told them that absolutely impossible events were taking place inside his modest home: stones were raining on his roof, but out of thin air. Assuring him that a childish prank was probably involved, the Orregos send Torres on his way, only to have him return the next day asking for assistance – the stones were now falling into his house, through the roof. Another person interviewed for the story recalled that whenever Nicasio Torres came looking for help, “all the dogs in the area would start to howl.”

Neighbors who lent their assistance in the case reported seeing doors and windows that wouldn’t close despite their best efforts, showers of rocks and human bones (including bones that came through windows without shattering the glass panes), intense whistling noises within the Torres home that drove every one out, and a rag doll – used as a pin cushion by the lady of the house – that would leap about, chasing Nicasio Torres’s small daughter, and was seen to jump out of one of the open, uncloseable windows.

“Many parapsychologists and mentalists,” writes Alcaya, “tried to find solutions to the phenomena taking place in Cutún, but none of them was truly effective. Neither the crosses made of Palquí, which were destroyed by invisible hands only minutes after having been placed, nor holy water were powerful enough against the phenomenon.” A pair of Argentinean parapsychologists urged the Torres family to place an altar in honor of Our Lady of Andacollo within the house, but on three separate occasions the same angry force toppled the plaster image. “When the parapsychologist learned that the force present within the home was too powerful to face, he decided to leave the area quickly, never to reappear.”

So far we have the makings of a poltergeist account that could sprung from the pages of Hereward Carrington’s Haunted People or a similar text devoted to the more frightening aspects of parapsychological research. The case received considerable media coverage and Alcaya’s interviews include newspaper clippings from 1976 describing the grisly events at Cutún. But there is an aspect that brings the incidents surrounding Nicasio Torres and his family into UFO/paranormal arena: the presence of a Man-in-Black (MIB), and a very different one at that.

Haydé Carvajal, one of the witnesses and a friend of Nicasio’s wife Rosa, had a fascinating story to tell. One evening, both women were startled by the sudden appearance of “a pale, black-haired man of average height, who asked if Nicasio was home.” When told that Mr. Torres was at work, the strange figure said that “he would wait for Nicasio at five minutes before midnight over there,” pointing at the summit of Cerro Cutún, a hundred meters distant from the house. This strange character “had red eyes”.

Gabriel Orrego also remembered the strange figure, telling the interviewer: “I was never so frightened in my life as when I had to face that man. He came around three times looking to Nicasio, always saying the same thing to [Mrs. Torres]: “Tell him I’m waiting for him – he knows where to find me.”

“The conclusion reached by several parapsychologists looking into the case,” recalls Orrego in the interview, was that the MIB represented “an agglomeration of negative forces.” Orrego had the chance to run into the character in broad daylight elsewhere in the community. “I noticed the man’s presence and I went out to challenge him, however, when I came to within four meters of this character, I was able to see that [he was] a pale man wearing a brown blazer, impeccably clean shoes and black hair, passing in front of the gate to my property. I saw him and was paralyzed. To my surprise, this man was floating some 50 centimeters off the ground, and made a sudden, ninety degree turn to look at me fixedly and deeply. For the first time ever, I knew what fear really was, and I broke into a sweat. The man made another ninety-degree turn and continued on his way before vanishing down the road.”

Other people also saw the bizarre apparition. Cab driver Nelson Alcayaga and his wife Ruthy Chelme saw a man “wearing a brown or green three-piece suit” drifting in the air toward them, as they drove along in their car. “The impression we had was that this man was floating toward us only centimeters off the ground, and Nelson hit the brakes, nearly flinging us against the windshield. When we looked again, he was gone.”

This blend of supernatural factors appears to be a constant in cases emerging from South America. On the other side of the Andean Range, Argentina has supernatural beliefs that combine native lore and European ceremonial magic. For those who believe that magic comes in two colors only, “red magic” can be obtained only through blood sacrifices, such as through Santería rituals. Red magic, it is believed, can be an offshoot of black magic if the blood employed in the ritual comes from someone else or through a sacrifice, and can come from white magic if it is one’s own blood. The belief in this third variant of occult lore is widespread, far from sophisticated urban centers like Buenos Aires or Mendoza, and it is a source of fear for the small farmer or landowner. This fear was exacerbated in the summer of 2002 by the high-strangeness events accompanying the wave of cattle mutilations that swept over Argentina and spilled over into neighboring countries.

On the night of June 20, 2002 personnel at the Puente Dique bridge over the Rio Colorado saw an object "giving off a powerful red light" whose intensity waxed and waned as it moved in bursts. Jorge Martinez, an operator at the bridge, added: "some say the lights are connected to the dead animals."

The lights were now appearing elsewhere in the country and causing physical effects in humans and machinery alike. Argentina's TELAM news agency reported that two young girls--Gabriela and Miriam del Valle Salto, ages 7 and 13 respectively, had been hospitalized in Santiago del Estero (northern Argentina) after having witnessed "multicolored lights". Other locals attested having seen potent violet lights in the sky: one woman said that an intense light shone outside the windows to her home while the internal lighting system dimmed. The mysterious lights seen over the town of Fernandez Robles between June 11-14, for example, were able to interrupt television signals, cause TV sets to shut down "without any interruption to power supply" or even change channels on the receivers.

The strange lights gave rise to much paranormal speculation. Residents of La Chiquita in northern Argentina blamed the mutilations on "red magic", an appellation possibly derived from the color of the strange lights that were seen hovering at treetop level over darkened fields. Daniel Acuña, crossing the darkened fields of La Chiquita on his way to work, saw the lights, which prompted him to remark "it was like an evil light, which I was told was those who practice red magic." The luminous presences had been seen prior to the mutilation of a horse (tongue ripped out, anus and eyes missing) in the vicinity--a death which deprived a local widow of her only means of earning a living, since the animal was used to haul coal and firewood for sale. Strange lights in the wilderness had been a factor decades earlier: In August 1968, disturbing luminous forms were reported over Santa Fé, Argentina, in the dark winter nights of the Southern Hemisphere. Farmers setting out on their chores were greeted by the surprising sight of circular burn marks on their properties following these sightings. Livestock losses mounted as a “sort of radiation” in the region was blamed as the cause. During these troubled times (as Argentina was experiencing political unrest as well ) a local family witnessed a jeep carrying four men in black coveralls drive up to their home. One of the men asked the owner what was the best way to get off the property. UFO sightings over the region ceased shortly after the incident involving these jeep-riding MIB.

In cases like the Cutún “poltergeist” – to find a convenient drawer to place it in – research or accident usually provide an answer in the end: the accursed property was built over a burial ground or something similar. But random manifestations of strange and unsavory figures, who remain for a brief period in our midst before disappearing and becoming part of the Fortean menagerie, often lack a provenance. In April 2004, the Argentinean town of Justo Daract was disturbed by a strange entity dubbed El uñudo (the clawed one) by the local media. Newspapers like Diario de la República ran the story of a child who had been attacked by the unknown entity. Multiple witness cases soon emerged, such as the group of young women who encountered the creature – a frightening, black-masked entity with taloned fingers -- as they left their night school classes at 23:00 hours.

Local radio reporter Maura Avila spoke to several local witnesses. "I was informed that there was a great deal of movement in Barrio Norte, near the hospital, and we headed there just as the police arrived. We learned that El uñudo had appeared -- a character who has gained notoriety in Justo Daract because he/it has been appearing for several days now, and has now terrified an 11 year-old on the corner of Liniers and Los Andes [...] Those who claim having seen El uñudo [say] that it doesn't have human form, rather an animal one, adding that it walks on four legs and hops, being capable of very swift movements." Avila added that the locals had discussed the existence of “black magic cults” in the area and feared that El uñudo could have been an entity summoned during the course of some unspeakable ritual – especially as the timing of these manifestations coincided with Easter Week.

As has occurred only recently with the “Hopping Phantom” in 2010, the good people of Justo Daract formed search parties aimed at tracking down El uñudo: aided by the local police and members of the neighborhood watch, found themselves walking along the train tracks in the dark due to a report that claimed the creature had climbed to the very top of the grain silos by the rails. The dangerous climb to the top of these structures revealed nothing of interest.

On 8 April 2004, another young woman returning home at 03:00 on her bicycle reportedly saw the strange character jumping from one rooftop to the next at the 331 Viviendas neighborhood of Justo Daract. Terrified beyond words, the girl pedaled furiously back to the local bus station – ten city blocks away – in order to take the bus home. Drivers and workers at the terminal attested to her distraught condition. Something strange – whether human or not – was scaring the hell out of the locals. Descriptions of El uñudo now ranged from “large and with a mask and horns; small and apelike, black or brown, with a nude upper torso and covered with tattoos; walking upright or on four legs; leaving goat-shaped hoof prints; climbing trees, pipelines or metal silos; jumping over wire fences and large lagoons, swift and elusive,” according to El Diario de la República.

Other sources reported that despite their failure to locate the supernatural intruder at the grain silos, officers had managed to apprehend the creature at some point, but that it eluded capture in a display of inhuman strength and “the slippery nature of its body” – a quality it shared with the Malaysian orang minyak or “oily man” who became a focus of mass hysteria in the 1960s.

Source: Inexplicata


Does Woman's Vacation Photo Show Mothman?

A woman from York captured an unexplained object in her holiday photos recently, and wants your help identifying it.

Abbey Linfoot, 22, was on a European holiday with her boyfriend when she took a photo of this street in Nuremberg, Germany.

When she looked at the photo later, she saw something she couldn’t explain, high above the buildings.

“I was taking lots of photos to show people where we’d been, but when I got back into the car I noticed there was something on this one,“ said Abbey, who is currently studying at Newcastle University “I just though, ‘What it that? That looks weird’, and couldn’t work out what it was.”

Abbey has shown the picture to friends and family, including a photography student, and nobody has yet come up with a clear explanation.

“I thought it looked like a cherub,” said Bev, Abbey’s mother.

“I also thought it looked a bit like a naked Buzz Lightyear toy, but could be a bee or an insect or something.”

Looking into the region online, Bev found there had been a fatal crash at an airshow near Nuremberg earlier this summer.

“There was a crash on September 5 where one person was killed and nearly 40 injured.

It’s really odd,” said Bev.

So what do you think - is this a trick of the light, a partly-invisible insect, mothman or something else?

Source: The York Press


John Keel, the MIB, and Long Island’s Vanishing Cars!
by Brent Raynes

In an article entitled “The UFO Silencers,” published in Saga magazine’s 1976 UFO Annual, John Keel described his own personal, very weird MIBish encounter. He wrote:

“On several occasions I came within minutes of crossing paths with the energetic MIB. While visiting witnesses on New York’s Long Island in the spring of 1967 I checked into a motel chosen at random. Before I had a chance to unpack my toothbrush the phone rang and I found myself talking to a deep male voice speaking in a flat monotone like a recording. He advised me to drive to a place called High Hold, the highest point on Long Island, at midnight. Before I could ask any questions the line went dead. So I wearily drove up the narrow dirt roads, convinced I was the victim of a hoax. But when I reached the rendezvous point I was astonished to find a large black limousine parked and waiting. As I drove slowly past, the limousine flashed its headlights on and off. I could make out two men in the front seat and in the dim light they looked decidedly Oriental. I had to drive a few yards before I could turn around. I planned to pull up and park behind the limousine but when I drew close to it the driver started his engine and drove slowly away. I followed the car up and down the winding hills until it passed out of sight behind a curve. When I rounded the curve I was surprised to find the road was a dead end and the car had completely vanished. There were no side roads or turnoffs.

"Later I decided the entire episode had been arranged to convince me that the witnesses were telling the truth when they talked about Orientals in black Cadillacs. During my subsequent investigations in several different states I had other fleeting encounters with the mystery men and their ghostly vehicles.”

In the July 1969 issue of the now defunct Beyond magazine, Jaye Paro, both a radio broadcaster and psychic investigator, wrote about her investigations into Long Island’s Mount Misery (right there at High Hold). Miss Paro documented all kinds of high-strangeness at this location. One case also involved a vanishing car!

The account came from a Mrs. Lee Canevari of Islip, New York. She reported:

“Early one evening in mid-March, my husband and I were driving on Old Country Road in the town of Melville, Long Island, trying to find a turn off to Round Swamp Road. A large old black station wagon which was directly in front of us made a right turn into what looked like a main road. Thinking this was the way to Round Swamp Road we turned also. The car driven by an elderly man carried many children, who by the way were singing. After a few minutes we realized we were on a deserted wooded road. Following the station wagon rather closely, we made the last turn of one of the many bends in the road. We could see the tail lights of the old station wagon fading away. Directly at the end of that bend we were face to face with a DEAD END sign and what looked like much heavy brush. We stopped, looked around and were completely bewildered, as the old station wagon disappeared and there was no sound or sight of a vehicle anywhere. We drove back alone on this narrow tree-lined passage just barely wide enough for one car. As we made our exit we observed that the road sign above us read Mount Misery Road.”

To see a picture of Jaye Paro, and a photograph she took of a frightening dark phantom figure at Mount Misery, go to: www.johnkeel.com/?p=246. These same pictures also accompanied her 1969 Beyond magazine article.

Does anyone know whatever became of Miss Paro?

For more info about the MIB, get your copy of "Curse of the Men-In-Black" by Timothy Green Beckley.  See ad at the top of this newsletter.

Source: Alternative Perceptions Magazine Issue #152


In the Slip of Time

Recently Ben and Aaron have been reporting a lot of timeslip stories–first-person accounts of that uncanny feeling of suddenly having slipped out of the present time and into the past.

Is it happening more often?  And if so, what does that mean for the future?  Past? Present?  Is the new immortality not about living longer, but living through infinite time all at once?  It sounds exhausting, like going to Disneyland, Universal Studios Tour and Paris all in one day. What was wrong with reincarnation? It was so much less stressful living one life at a time (and good to think of having another go ahead).

Of course, this could be a temporary temporal shift. If you’re into the 2012 meme, you’ll probably know that as the Mayan Long Calendar progresses to the final days, events are supposed to pile-on at an ever-more condensed and accelerated rate. Kind of like the acid-trip montage at the end of “2001, A Space Odyssey,” when the astronaut played by Keir Dullea tumbled through space and time as his life flashed before his eyes. Could it be that timeslips are becoming a more widespread phenomenon as we race to The End?

Or maybe more people are experiencing or simply reporting timeslips (and other psi phenomena) because popular culture — TVs “Lost,” Deepak Chopra on quantum aging, the documentary “What the Bleep” to name three out of infinite examples–has caught up with the scientific view spelled out at a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held in June of 2006 specifically to discuss the physics of time and retrocausation. (referred to by  Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence forAnomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect a recent paper by Daryl J. Bem from Cornell University) :
    “A central starting point for such discussions is the consensus that the fundamental laws of both classical and quantum physics are time-symmetric. In particular,they formally and equally admit time-forward and time-reversed solutions. Thus,though we began simply desiring to predict the future from the present, we find that the best models do not require in fact, do not respect this asymmetry.[Accordingly,] it seems untenable to assert that time reverse causation (retrocausation) cannot occur, even though it temporarily runs counter to the macroscopic arrow of time (Sheehan, 2006, p. vii).

That’s not to say that there’s anything new about suddenly finding oneself in the middle of history. In philosopher, paranormal researcher Colin Wilson’s “Beyond the Occult,” he traces the history of the out-of-timeline phenomenon to “The Information Universe.”

Wilson timeline ends with the work of  neuroscientist Karl Pribram and physicist David Bohm who conclude that  just as our senses interpret energy waves and sound waves as color and music, everything –past, future, present–already exist encoded as an interference pattern behind the familiar reality we can readily interpret.

Wilson does see the pattern in the practices of psychics, remote viewers, prophets who are able to access this background data by their ability to achieve the right state of mind. Famed psychic medium Eileen Garrett described in Adventures in the Supernormal A personal Memoir by Eileen Garrett:
    “In the clairvoyant experience, one follows a process. Light moves in weaving ribbons and strands, and in and out of these, fragmentary curing lines emerge and fade, moving in various directions. The perception consists of a swiftly moving array of these broken, shifting lines, and in the beginning one gathers meaning out of the flow as the lines create patterns of significance which the acutely attentive clairvoyant perception senses….

    I have referred to an inner condition of alertness which is the essential factor in many of these activities. It is a realization of superior vital living. I enter into a world of intensely vibrant radiation; I am extra competent, I participate fully and intimately in events that move at an increased rate of movement, and though the events that I observe are objective to me, I do more than observe them–I live them.”

So far the timeslip thing doesn’t sound like anything to worry too much about.  For most of us, timeslips happen randomly, perhaps due to finding ourselves in a setting where dramatic incidents from the past have imprinted deeply on the landscape or when our own state of consciousness is altered by unusual stress, exhaustion, or novelty, suddenly pitching us head first back in time.   It’s an interesting experience, but one that doesn’t seem to be spinning us into a time vortex.

Here is an account from Wilson’s “Beyond the Occult,”  recounting  the timeslip experience biologist Ivan Sanderson’s wrote about in his book “More Things,” about zoological oddities.

“After stating that he has never been interested in the occult, he tells how he and his wife were living in Haiti, engaged on a biological survey. One day, on a drive to lake Azuey, they made the mistake of taking a short cut that landed them up to their axles in mud and had to spend the night walking back. Sanderson and his wife were walking together, their assistant Frederick G. Allsop walking ahead, when:

‘…suddenly, on looking up from the dusty ground I perceived absolutely clearly in the now brilliant moonlight, and casting shadows appropriate to their positions, three-storied houses of various shapes and sizes lining both sides of the road. These house hung out over the road which suddenly appeared to be muddy with patches of large cobblestones.

The house were of (I would say) about the Elizabethan period of England, but for some reason I knew they were in Paris!

They had pent roofs with some dormer windows, gables, timbered porticos and small windows with tiny leaded panes. There and there were dull reddish lights burning behind them, as if from candles. There were iron-frame lanterns hanging from timbers jutting from some houses and they were all swaying together as if in a wind, but there was not the faintest movement of air about us….

I was marveling at this, and looking about me, when my wife came to a dead stop and gave a gasp. I ran smack into her. Then she went speechless for a time while I begged to know what was wrong. Finally she took my hand and, pointing, described to me exactly what I was seeing. At which point I became speechless.

Finally pulling myself together, I blurted out something like, ‘What do you think’s happened?’ but my wife’s reply startled me even more. I remember it only too well; she said, ‘How did we get to Paris five hundred years ago?”

We stood marveling at what we apparently both now saw, picking out individual items and pointing, questioning each other as to details, and so forth. Curiously, we found ourselves swaying back and forth and began to feel very weak, so I called out to Fred, whose white shirt was fast disappearing ahead.

I don’t quite remember what happened then but we tried to run towards him and, feeling dizzy, sat down on what we were convinced was a tall, rough curbstone.

Fred came running back asking what was wrong but at first we did not know what to say. He was the ‘keeper’ of the cigarettes, of which we had about half a dozen left, and he sat down beside us and gave us each one. By the time the flame from his lighter had cleared from my eyes, so had fifteenth-century Paris, and there was nothing before me but the endless and damned thorn bushes and cactus and bare earth. My wife also ‘came back’ after looking into the flame. Fred had seen nothing…”

Source: Mysterious Universe


Devils Lake Swallows Land and Buildings

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – It's been called a slow-growing monster: a huge lake that has steadily expanded over the last 20 years, swallowing up thousands of acres, hundreds of buildings and at least two towns in its rising waters.

Devils Lake keeps getting larger because it has no natural river or stream to carry away excess rain and snowmelt. Now it has climbed within 6 feet of overflowing, raising fears that some downstream communities could be washed away if the water level isn't reduced.

And those worries are compounded by another problem: Scientists believe the pattern of heavy rain and snow that filled the basin is likely to continue for at least another decade.

"It's a slow-moving torture," said 72-year-old Joe Belford, a lifelong resident of Devils Lake and a county commissioner who spends most of his time seeking a way to control the flooding and money to pay for it.

No other place in America has faced such a dilemma. The nation's only other significant "closed-basin" lake is the Great Salt Lake, which was in danger of flooding housing developments in the mid-1980s. But shortly after the state spent $70 million on huge pumps, a dry spell began. Those pumps now stand idle.

"We're unfortunately or fortunately — I don't know what it is — pretty unique," said Dick Johnson, mayor of Devils Lake, which has nearly 7,000 residents. The constant flooding "doesn't have the immediate impact that a hurricane or typhoon might have, but it's devastating."

Since the water began rising in the early 1990s, more than 400 homes around the lake have been relocated or destroyed.

The lake, about 160 miles northwest of Fargo, is the largest freshwater body in North Dakota, with an estimated shoreline of at least 1,000 miles. It's up to 75 feet deep and has attracted tourists from across the nation with excellent fishing and other recreational activities.

But local people and politicians are fretting that the lake is a catastrophic flood waiting to be released in their direction.

In the tiny town of Minnewaukan, the lake was once 8 miles away. Today it is lapping at the community from three sides, and residents are begging for help.

"This is tearing people apart," said Minnewaukan Mayor Trish McQuoid, fighting back tears. Proposals include moving the entire town to higher ground.

On Monday, the lake stood at just over 1,451 feet above sea level. If it climbs above 1,458 feet, its water will spill into the Sheyenne River, which flows through southeastern North Dakota before it joins the north-flowing Red River and heads into Canada.

Among the threatened communities along the Sheyenne is Valley City, west of Fargo. The mayor there said a spillover could raise the river more than 5 feet above a record 2009 flood, which forced most of the town's 6,300 residents to evacuate. That might flood up to half the city.

By the end of 2010, the federal government will have spent more than $1 billion to ease the threat, buying flooded property, building dikes and making other improvements. That figure does not include a $27 million floodwater-diversion channel built by the state on the west end of the lake. It also costs $330,000 a month for the electricity for pumps to take 1 inch off the lake.

All of those measures are considered temporary. The final solution — and its cost — is not known.

"The issue of stopping the flooding and trying to get water out of that lake is complicated," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat. "If it weren't complicated, it would have been solved long ago."

Devils Lake has nearly quadrupled in size since the early 1990s, flooding nearly 150,000 acres of land, inundating a million trees and destroying hundreds of homes and farm buildings. Many of those who lost property to the water were eventually bought out by the state or federal governments. The buyouts included the two tiny towns of Penn and Churchs Ferry, although some people remain in both communities.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say there's no way to predict exactly when a normal weather cycle will return. But the agency's models show a 72 percent chance that the current pattern will continue for at least 10 years.

Climate studies based on tree rings and lake sediment indicate that similar wet periods occurred in the Devils Lake Basin many times during the past 2,000 years, the agency said. The last time the lake overflowed was sometime prior to statehood in 1889.

A federal panel has been studying the lake, but it has not finished its report. Local officials say the recommendations should include creating a second flood-control channel on the east side of the lake and relaxing water-quality standards downstream to allow for the release of more water.

"If they don't do that, we're probably cooked," Johnson said.

Pumping water downstream has long raised opposition in southeastern North Dakota, Minnesota and even as far away as the Canadian province of Manitoba, which could receive some of the water from the Red River.

Officials in those places fear the water would contaminate other waterways with harmful plants and fish and increase sulfate levels in the drinking water. Water high in sulfates, including salts, can taste bitter and act as a laxative. Officials in Fargo and West Fargo are seeking federal help to improve their water treatment facilities for Devils Lake water.

The lake's sole natural outlet, a channel called the Tolna Coulee, is highly erodible and completely choked with sediment.

Madeline Luke, a Valley City doctor, suggests lining the outlet with concrete and storing more water upstream. She and others believe improving the coulee would prevent a wall of water from rushing downstream.

"I don't think anybody thinks there's going to be any one thing that is going to solve it," Luke said. "How to address it in the most efficient, cost-effective and least environmentally destructive manner is up for discussion."

Devils Lake officials are ready to take the issue to court, possibly to fight the federal government's water-quality requirements for lake runoff or to seek permission to build another drainage channel. The city has retained a Minneapolis law firm.

The rising lake, which is owned by North Dakota, has provided some economic benefits, too, particularly in construction and recreation, generating higher sales tax revenue and increasing housing demand.

Flooded farm fields are now a haven for sportsmen in search of walleye and other fish. Scores of Hmong and other Southeast Asian anglers come from hundreds of miles away to fish for white bass, which resemble a species native to their homelands. Fishing contributes an estimated $40 million a year to the local economy.

McQuoid, the Minnewaukan mayor, said she moved here from Minnesota four years ago so her husband could open a guide service. They later bought the general store. The lake has risen 5 feet since they arrived, forcing 13 homes to be moved or destroyed. It's also sparked a debate about saving the town.

McQuoid said she had to tell one resident never to enter the store after he raised a ruckus in front of other customers over an emergency ordinance about sealing water and sewer lines in areas that could be flooded.

"I've never been under so much stress my whole life. I feel it. I know what it's doing to me and others," she said. "But do I walk away now? No."

Source: Yahoo News


Last 'Sin-Eater' Celebrated with Church Service

The restored grave of the last known "sin-eater" in England has been at the centre of a special service in a Shropshire village churchyard.

The grave of a man believed to be England's last sin-eater has been restored at Ratlinghope Church. Campaigners raised £1,000 to restore the grave of Richard Munslow, who was buried in Ratlinghope in 1906.

Munslow, carried out the "very strange custom" of sin-eating, according to the vicar of Ratlinghope Church. Reverend Norman Morris said if someone died suddenly without confessing their sins, the sin-eater would come to the funeral and eat bread and ale or water to take away the sins allowing the deceased's soul to go to heaven in peace.

Sin-eaters were generally poor people paid to eat bread and drink beer or wine over a corpse, in the belief they would take on the sins of the deceased. However, Mr Munslow was a well-established farmer in the area.

Frowned upon by the church, the custom mainly died out in the 19th Century.

It was prevalent in the Marches, the land around the England-Wales border, and in north Wales, but was rarely carried out anywhere else.

The Shropshire writer, Mary Webb, referred to sin-eating in her novels.

"It's one of these practices we think was fairly widespread," said Rev. Morris. "Thirty or 40 years ago there would have been people who would have recalled this going on.

"It was a very odd practice and would not have been approved of by the church but I suspect the vicar often turned a blind eye to the practice."

Locals began the collection to restore the grave, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years, believing it would be good to highlight the custom and Mr Munslow's place in religious history.

It took a few months to raise the £1,000 needed to pay for the work, carried out by local stonemason Charles Shaw.

Rev. Morris said: "This grave at Ratlinghope is now in an excellent state of repair but I have no desire to reinstate the ritual that went with it."

Source: BBC

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