2/25/11  #610
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It comes in the soul-rending blackness of night - eager for the sweet taste of fresh, innocent psyches who live unknowing in the bright forgiving daylight. Unaware of clotting truths that infect the less-tangable voids that nestle alongside our own world. Surrounded by empty form, eyes that glow blood-red linger in a state of forever within the darkness reserved for our most secret, anguished nightmares. 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 spirit-lifting tales as:

- General Ordered Psy-ops on U.S. Senators -
- Solar Storms Could Create 'Global Katrina' -
- Giant Spider of the Congo -
Teen Says She Sees Ghosts, Wants to Help Police as Psychic -
AND: Catching Mermaids on Man

All these exciting stories in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


Round Trip To Hell In A Flying Saucer:
UFO Parasites - Alien Soul Suckers -
Invaders From Demonic Realms






It's the dirty little secret of UFOlogy -- something that only a few insiders dare discuss amongst themselves. For example, Lord Hill-Norton, the late five-star Admiral and the former head of the British Ministry of Defence, believed strongly in the existence of UFOs. But he did not see them in a positive light, professing instead in his privately printed UFO Concern Report: "UFOs are essentially a religious matter rather than a military threat and furthermore there is certainly a degree of psychic involvement in almost every case. Quite often, however, such experiences are definitely antithetical to orthodox Christian beliefs."

Journalist and author of "The Mothman Prophecies" (made into a film starring Richard Gere) John A. Keel was adamant when he stated: ". . ..The UFOs do not seem to exist as tangible manufactured objects. They do not conform to the accepted natural laws of our environment. . .The UFO manifestations seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age-old demonological phenomenon."

Other researchers of supernatural phenomena have noted that. . .The casting of magical spells, the performance of occult rituals and a ceremony to conjure up spirits are sometimes attempted by witnesses prior to a UFO appearing in their proximity.


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General Ordered Psy-ops on U.S. Senators

American soldiers were illegally ordered to apply psychological pressure to U.S. senators as they toured Afghanistan in a bid to secure more troops and money for the military, according to an officer serving in a unit specialising in 'psy-ops'.

The U.S. Army officer is said to have received an official reprimand after his unit resisted orders, from the command of Lieutenant General William Caldwell, which they said were illegal.

Those said to have been targeted for the operation were former presidential candidate Senator John McCain and VIPs including European diplomats and government ministers.

The allegations are included in the latest revelations about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan from American music, popular culture and politics magazine Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone ran an article last July entitled The Runaway General that profiled General Stanley McChrystal, who was then commander of the coalition forces in Afghanistan, which sparked a political controversy leading to that general's resignation.

McChrystal was quoted making critical comments of officials in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

He subsequently apologised but was recalled to Washington DC, where his resignation was accepted by President Obama.

General David Petraeus assumed command and he remains in charge of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), overseeing the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Now soldiers serving in an 'information operations' unit at Camp Eggers in Kabul are said to have been repeatedly pressured to target visiting politicians and dignitaries over a four-month period last year.

The leader of the unit, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holmes, is said to have received an official reprimand after the unit resisted orders, arguing that they violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against fellow citizens.

'My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,' said leader of the unit Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holmes, as quoted by Rolling Stone magazine.

'I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.'

Over a four-month period last year, a U.S. Army unit devoted to what is known as 'information operations' was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Lieutenant General Caldwell.

Verbal orders and emails are said to have required soldiers to compile profiles of visitors including senators' voting records, their likes and dislikes and issues that the senators considered to be of particular importance.

In addition to Senator McCain, those targeted are said to include influential Senator Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat, who has previously urged Congress to refuse to pass the bills funding the war.

The names of Connecticut's Senator Joe Lieberman, who serves on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, and Michigan's Senator Carl Levin, who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee were also mentioned.

Lieutenant General Caldwell's chief of staff was reported by Rolling Stone to have asked Lieutenant Colonel Holmes: 'How do we get these guys to give us more people? What do I have to plant inside their heads.'

Lieutenant Colonel Holmes and soldiers under his command are said to have provided the background briefings under duress after trying their best to resist the orders.

Preparing for the visitors was said to take priority over their other duties, including fighting the Taliban.

The Information Operations officer was said to have sought legal advice from a military lawyer, saying the order made him 'nervous', and the lawyer was said to have agreed.

Lawyer Captain John Scott advised Lieutenant Colonel Holmes to seek independent advice, saying: 'Using [Information Operations] to influence our own folks is a bad idea and contrary to to IO policy.'

A spokesman for Lieutenant General Caldwell gave a statement to Rolling Stone that 'categorically denies the assertion that the command used an Information Operations Cell to influence Distinguished Visitors.'

However, three weeks after the exchange of emails between Lieutenant Colonel Holmes and the military lawyer Captain Scott, the order was revised to require that the unit only use information in the public domain to create the background briefings for incoming visitors.

Lieutenant Colonel Holmes then learned he was the subject of an internal investigation, which had been ordered by Lieutenant General Caldwell's chief of staff.

The investigation referred to Lieutenant Colonel Holmes going off base in civilian clothes without permission, excessive use of Facebook, and queried the appropriateness of his relationship with a female comrade amongst other things.

Lieutenant Colonel Holmes believes the investigation and the formal reprimand he received were as a result of being targeted for questioning the legality of orders.

In January 2001, Lieutenant General Caldwell's command asked for another $2billion to train an additional 70,000 Afghan troops, on top of the $11billion already allocated for that purpose.

There is no way of knowing whether the alleged attempts to influence the visiting senators will have any impact on American policy.

U.S. politicians are currently debating a $1.2trillion spending bill, which includes $158billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Source: The Daily Mail


Solar Storms Could Create 'Global Katrina'

The threat of solar storms that could wreak havoc on the world's electronic systems must be taken more seriously, the UK government's chief scientist has warned. A severe solar storm could damage satellites and power grids around the world, he said, leading to a "global Katrina" costing the world's economies as much as $2tn (£1.2tn).

"This issue of space weather has got to be taken seriously," said John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC. "We've had a relatively quiet [period] in space weather and we can expect that quiet period to end. Over the same time, over that period, the potential vulnerability of our systems has increased dramatically. Whether it's the smart grid in our electricity systems or the ubiquitous use of GPS in just about everything these days."

"It's reasonable to expect there will be more [solar storm] events," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The watchwords are predict and prepare."

The sun's activity goes up and down on a roughly 11-year cycle, and the next period of maximum activity is expected in 2013.

A solar storm starts with a solar flare that is accompanied by a burst of electromagnetic radiation that, when it arrives at Earth, ionises the outer atmosphere. On the ground, we would be safe but GPS satellites and others would be affected.

"GPS is a critical part of almost everything we do," said Thomas Bogdan, director of the Space Weather Prediction Centre in Colorado. "The ubiquitous need for an uninterrupted power supply, satellite-delivered services – every time you go to a gas station and purchase a gallon of gas with your credit card, that's a satellite transaction taking place – and, of course, aviation and communications. We have made our lives increasingly dependent on these things, but each of them carries vulnerabilities to space weather with them."

Around 10-20 minutes after the initial flare would come a burst of energetic protons. "Now at risk would be satellites at geostationary orbit – if they do not have sufficient shielding around their sensitive electronics, they could be subject to problems with the internal computational activities," said Bogdan.

Around 10-30 hours later, a "coronal mass ejection" would hit the Earth's magnetosphere and cause electric currents to surge along oil pipelines and high-tension electricity lines. This could cause blackouts such as the one that occurred in Quebec in 1989. Around large parts of the world, people would see a lightshow in the sky similar to the aurora borealis.

Lubchenco said last week's solar flare illustrated the importance of paying close attention to solar weather. "That was the strongest solar flare in four years," she said. "As a consequence, airlines rerouted flights from polar regions in anticipation of the possibility that their radio communications would not be operational. That resulted in individuals being bumped from those flights, increased cost to the airlines because of longer routes and more use of fuel."

Bogdan said the time it takes for the worst aspects of a solar storm to travel between the sun to Earth gives authorities a window of opportunity to get ready for the coming electromagnetic disturbances. Power companies could prepare by hardening transformers at substations and installing capacitors to soak up current surges.

The most severe solar storm on record occurred in 1859, but there was little electric infrastructure in place around the world at the time. The storm did send currents running along the newly built telegraph systems, however. "They were so strong that the operators of the telegraphs could disconnect their batteries and still start sending messages," said Bogdan.

Source: Guardian


Ret. Col. Says UFOs Are Real, but Denies Government Cover-Up

Whether you believe or disbelieve the notion that UFOs are visitors from another planet, a former highly decorated military officer now comes forward with information that may infuriate those on both sides in the ongoing ET debate.

Retired Col. John Alexander, using his military savvy and high security clearance, spent a quarter of a century going through the top levels of the U.S. government and military searching for the group of people who were allegedly responsible for UFO information and the supposedly decades-old UFO cover-up.

His conclusions: Not only is there no such group and no cover-up, but disclosure about UFOs has already occurred on different official levels.

With so many people crying out these days for the U.S. government or the United Nations or even the Vatican to issue some sort of "we are not alone in the universe" disclosure statement, Alexander says the information has been dripping out all around us, over decades, with top officials casually making statements about UFOs.

He references this 1950 remark made by President Harry Truman: "I can assure you the flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on Earth."

"Disclosure has happened," Alexander added. "It starts with former presidents Truman, Carter, Reagan and [the Soviet Union's] Gorbachev. I've got stacks of generals, including Soviet generals, who've come out and said UFOs are real. My point is, how many times do senior officials need to come forward and say this is real?" Alexander told AOL News.

"At one time, before a lot of this information was released, I could see both the classified and the unclassified material. And I will tell you that 98 percent of the information was already in the public domain. The only things that weren't there was stuff like sources and method, which is protected, but the information about the incident was already out there."

Several months ago, a group of ex-military officers came forward to discuss their experiences when UFOs reportedly tampered with American nuclear missile sites. While Alexander acknowledges the events, he suggests why there was no intense intelligence investigation of these incidents.

"They absolutely happened, but when it's a one-time event, the attitude of investigators is: If it happens again, we'll get nervous, but since it didn't happen, put it aside.

"It's sort of an indictment that says, despite overwhelming evidence of interaction with strategic systems, nothing was done. And in my view, it is put, like a number of things, in the too-tough-to-handle bin."

The 74-year-old former Green Beret A-Team commander and developer of weapons at Los Alamos, N.M., is one of many speakers presenting his views at this week's International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, Ariz. He takes issue with both true believers (who assume any strange light in the sky is from another planet) and hard-nosed skeptics (who debunk any and all UFO reports and evidence to the contrary).

In his new book, "UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities" (Thomas Dunne Books), Alexander jumps right to the chase, saying, "UFOs are real! With no prevarication or qualification of terms, there are physical objects of unknown origin that do transit our universe. The evidence that supports those statements is simply overwhelming."

The evidence he speaks of includes the hard data of sensor technology that has frequently confirmed the reality of physical craft and the high quality of extremely reliable eyewitnesses who are "neither misreporting facts nor delusional."

After spending decades deeply embroiled behind the scenes, Alexander's assertion of the reality of UFOs still leaves the bigger question: What's the origin and purpose of these unexplained machines? (If, in fact, they are machines in the sense that we use that term.)

"The problem is, when you discuss UFOs, we are talking everything from little balls of light to hard craft a mile or more across, and everything in between. So what is it?" Alexander asked.

"I argue that, not only are we not solving the problems yet, we're not even asking the right questions, because we approach this wrong.

"I suspect that consciousness is a piece of the puzzle. We talk about UFOs, saying it's a technology that's 1,000 years in advance, but it really isn't. If you follow the history of these things, usually it is somewhat in advance, but not beyond our comprehension by any stretch of the imagination.

"The conundrum you get into is, yes, they are seen by sensors; however, at other times, they are not seen by sensors that should've seen them, and that's one I can't answer."

Alexander is a frequent guest on "Coast to Coast AM With George Noory," the popular overnight radio program. George Knapp, a multiple Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and a weekend "Coast to Coast" host, praises Alexander's stance and suggests his book "will almost certainly infuriate zealots on both ends of the UFO spectrum."

In his review of Alexander's book, Knapp wrote: "Alexander's military mind instinctively gets to the heart of UFO cases and issues, makes quick work of charlatans and fools, and will likely inspire a new round of speculation about his presumed role as an MIB-type spook who spies on the UFO community."

In the early 1980s, Alexander created a behind-the-scenes government UFO study group called Advanced Theoretical Physics, or ATP, that consisted of members of the military, scientific and intelligence communities. With a top-secret security clearance, Alexander also had a tremendous amount of flexibility.

A key outcome of that study group was, contrary to conspiracy theorists' beliefs, that nobody in the government was responsible for UFO information.

He says that after his ATP group looked at many UFO cases, they came to some key conclusions:

    * There was sufficient evidence supported by high-quality data to know that some UFO cases were real anomalies -- not just poor observation or misidentification.
    * There were cases involving military weapon systems that posed a significant threat and should be investigated.
    * Multisensory data supported observations of physical craft that performed intelligent maneuvers that were far beyond any known human capability.
    * There were cases that involved trace physical evidence.
    * Study of the UFO data could provide a potential for a leap in technology.

All that being said, Alexander also states that the infamous Roswell, N.M., UFO case of 1947 was not, in fact, a crashed alien spacecraft but a top-secret military project called Mogul.

"It was a real incident, no doubt about it. The Air Force played it abysmally, but I think there is a prosaic answer, and that was Project Mogul," Alexander explained. "It wasn't a weather balloon -- it was something really quite different. This was designed to listen to the Soviet Union.

"So when they say it was stretched out across the field, yup, exactly the way it was done. It was supersecret and it didn't involve UFOs."

After many years of deep research into UFOs, Alexander is convinced from both a personal and military point of view that it's a much more complex issue than the idea of Earth being visited by extraterrestrials. He proposes a concept called precognitive sentient phenomena.

"The point is there is something out there that is sentient. When I say precognitive, it knows -- whatever it is -- not only what it is going to present, but how we are going to respond to it.

"The public is interested but ambivalent in general. The public believes in UFOs, but it doesn't affect their daily lives," Alexander explained. "In the military, you learn very quickly it is not career-enhancing to bring up anomalies that you don't have good answers for.

"There's a euphemism in the military: If you bring me a problem, bring me a solution."

Source: AOL News/Lee Speigel


Where Did All the World’s Giants Go?

Bigfoot, Nessie, Ogopogo, the atmospheric jellyfish — (most of) these cryptids are household names. But did you know that there's a subfield of cryptozoology that deals with massive hominids, sequestered on our planet's hidden places? Let's take a look at some curious cases of Brobdingnagians amongst us.

Living dinosaurs and skunk apes have leapfrogged giants on the cryptid taxonomy, but this wasn't always the case. In the 19th century, facsimiles of giants and petrified humans captured the public imagination at sideshows. The most famous of these fakes was the Cardiff Giant, a 10-foot-long, 3,000 pound block of gypsum that was sculpted to look like a fossilized man and was exhibited in upstate New York in late 1869. The Cardiff Giant was the brainchild of tobacconist George Hull, who was inspired by the Nephilim of the Book of Genesis to create his oversized hoax.

Hull staged an excavation and subsequently profited off his giant...until P.T. Barnum covertly built his own replica of the Cardiff giant and displayed his fake (of Hull's fake) as the real deal. Hull attempted to sue Barnum, but in order to do so, he would have to swear on the veracity of his own giant. Hull instead revealed to press that his giant was made of 100% Balonium. Similar "petrified" specimens were unearthed at the tail end of the 1800s, such as the Solid Muldoon, another petrified man, which too was built by Hull.

As the world's various mythologies can attest, giants had a following way before the age of traveling hucksters. In a fascinating article in Archaeology, Mark Rose recounts how an interest in cryptids went hand-in-hand with nascent American life. After all, this was a continent where Southern farmers dug up Basilosaurus fossils to build their homes:

    The Massachusetts Puritan Cotton Mather believed that mastodon fossils found near Albany, New York, in 1705 were those of giants who had perished in Noah's flood. "The Giants that once groaned under the waters," he wrote, "are now under the Earth, and their Dead Bones are lively Proofs of the Mosaic history." Nearly a century later, when Connecticut farmer Pliny Moody discovered foot-long three-toed tracks in a sandstone ridge on his land, his pastor identified them as from Noah's raven, which had "rested on that ledge and probably slept there before resuming the dangerous journey back to the Ark." The same cleric later deduced that dinosaur bones found to the south were "probably the remains of giant humans."

    Thomas Jefferson had his own interest in fossils, and in 1804 he even set aside a room in the White House for his collection of extinct elephant, giant ground sloth, and bison bones, teeth, and tusks. Earlier, he had convinced Yale College president Ezra Stiles that such remains were of animals rather than giants. Fascinated by an immense claw of a ground sloth, Jefferson wrote to a friend, "I cannot...help believing that this animal, as well as the mammoth, are still existing."

But what about more recent interest in giants? Cryptozoologist (and Cryptomundo blogmaster Loren Coleman) is an expert in the extremely rarified study of "true giants" and details present-day encounters with massive hominids in his book True Giants: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive? According to Coleman's studies, most modern accounts of giants are of hairy creatures that could be descendants of the 10-foot-tall prehistoric ape Gigantopithecus rather than loincloth-clad chaps of the Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, Jolly Green, or Samuel Beckett variety.

Modern accounts and possible traces of true giants have come from Tajikistan , Malaysia (where the creature is known as Orang Dalam or Orang Mawas), and the Solomon Islands.

Barring some four-toed footprints, much of this evidence is anecdotal. As fringe as an undiscovered hominid that eclipses Bigfoot sounds, crazier ape-like beings have been spotted — for example, gangs of what appeared to be giant orangutans were observed during the Vietnam War.

Source: io9


Giant Spider of the Congo
by Terrence Aym

Spiders might exist that have crawled out of nightmares. They're called the "J'ba FoFi" (giant spider, pronounced ch-bah foo fee) in Central Africa.

Many people might define a giant spider as one that's bigger than their hand. Some may think bigger and envision the horrifying Goliath 'bird eating spider' that dwells in the darker corners of the ancient Amazon rain forest. That eight-legged terror spans a whopping 14-inches.

Unfortunately, those people aren't thinking big enough.

The size of the Congolese Giant spider-when its legs are included-is said to be up to five feet across.

According to cryptozoologists (researchers that investigate unknown creatures that have not been recognized by orthodox science), most of the J'ba FoFi dwell in the Congo. Natives tell stories of the giant web-nests the spiders build, similar to a trap-door spider.

Most of the many anecdotal tales describe the spiders digging a shallow tunnel under tree roots and camouflaging it with a large bed of leaves.  Then they create an almost invisible web between their burrow and a nearby tree, booby-trapping the whole thing with a network of trip lines. Some hapless creature—soon to end up on the menu—will trip the line alerting the spider. The victim will be chased into the web. This predatory entrapment is similar to some species of tarantula.

Presumably, the J'ba FoFi eggs are a pale yellow-white and shaped like peanuts. Native claim the hatchlings are bright yellow with a purple abdomen. Their coloration becomes darker and brown as they mature.

Some of the natives indigenous to the regions in the Congo where the J'ba FoFi has been seen assert that the spider was once quite common, but has become very rare.

Other than the testimonies of natives, there is one clear story of the really large ground-dwelling spider collected by naturalist and cryptozoologist, William J. Gibbons, who writes:

"I first became aware of a giant ground-dwelling spider through Miss Margaret Lloyd, formerly of Rhodesia and now living in England. Her parents, Reginald and Margurite Lloyd were exploring the interior of the old Belgian Congo in 1938 when they spotted something crossing the jungle track ahead of them. At first they took the object to be a large jungle cat or a monkey on all fours. When they stopped their vehicle (an old Ford truck) to allow the animal to pass, they were thunderstruck to see that it was a very large brown spider, similar in its appearance to a tarantula, with a leg span of at least four or five feet. Mr. Lloyd trembled so much with excitement that he was unable to retrieve his camera in time to take a snap, and Mrs. Lloyd was so distraught that she wanted to return home (Rhodesia) immediately. This creature is known as the J’ba Fofi; J’ba meaning “great” or “giant” Fofi meaning “spider” (spiders of all kinds are called Fofi)."

Gibbons, has spent many years in Africa hunting for what some think may be a living African dinosaur called Mokele-mbembe. On his third expedition in search of the creature he came upon natives who related their experiences with giant spiders. He shared his experience with  readers upon his return to Canada:

"On this third expedition to Equatorial Africa, I took the opportunity to inquire if the pygmies knew of such a creature [giant spider], and indeed they did! They speak of the Jba Fofi, which is a "giant" or "great spider." They described a spider that is generally brown in color with a purple abdomen. They grow to quite an enormous size with a leg span of at least five feet. The giant arachnids weave together a lair made of leaves similar in shape to a traditional pygmy hut, and spin a circular web (said to be very strong) between two trees with a strand stretched across a game trail."

This is exactly the same description that other researchers have heard. Although the spider seems to have been spotted mostly in the Congo, there are reports of the same—or similar—spiders inhabiting Uganda and the Central African Republic.

"These giant ground-dwelling spiders prey on the diminutive forest antelope, birds, and other small game, and are said to be extremely dangerous, not to mention highly venomous," Gibbons states. "The spiders are said to lay white, peanut-sized eggs in a cluster, and the pygmies give them a wide birth when encountered, but have killed them in the past. The giant spiders were once very common but are now a rare sight."

Many of the natives describe the spiders as once being numerous, but now a vanishing species. Encroachment by civilization in the form of rain forest being converted to farming may have driven the spiders from their natural habitats.

[Although their numbers are dwindling] they are still encountered from time to time. The Baka chief, Timbo, casually mentioned to us that a giant spider had taken up residence in the forest just behind his village in November 2000, when I and Dave Woetzel from New Hampshire had visited him! He did not think that we would have been interested in the creature as our interest was focused on Mokele-mbembe at the time! Valuable evidence had eluded us."

Cryptozoologists—like any other researchers—sometimes only get the information they specifically ask for!

If these giants do indeed exist, their physiology is puzzling. As some entomologists have rightly pointed out, spiders of that size would have to overcome the limitations of their exoskeletons. In addition to that hurdle, many of the more primitive arachnids have a primitive book-lung respiratory system. Modern spiders, however, often have a trachea and book-lungs. That combination allows for a smaller heart, more efficient blood flow and greater speed and stamina. If the Congolese giant spiders exist, they would most likely have both trachea and book-lungs.

"On questioning our group of six Baka guides," Gibbons narrative continues, "they have all seen these spiders at one time or another and state that they are quite capable of killing a human being. According to the Baka (and the Bantu hunters who have encountered them) the giant spiders were once surprisingly common and would often construct their lairs very close to human villages. They have become quite rare now thanks mainly to the deforestation of Central Africa, but my guess would be that they are still to be found in numbers in the vast and still untouched forests of the former [Belgian Congo or Zaire] where the Lloyds encountered one in 1938."

Gibbons knew the Lloyd's personally and adds that Mr. Lloyd tried to get a photo of the spider while Mrs. Lloyd was so stricken with fear all she wanted to do was return to their home in Rhodesia.

Other stories of giant spiders abound. Some of the stories are little more than spotty tales told in the villages of unnamed missionaries whose porters were killed by giant spiders.

An English missionary named Arthur Simes related an incident that occurred in Uganda during the 1890s. While trekking near the shore of Lake Nyasa, his porters became entangled in a monstrous web. Several giant spiders swiftly descended upon them, injecting the men with poisonous venom. Later, all the men's extremities swelled, they grew feverish, delirious and then died.

Simes claimed he drove the giant spiders off with his pistol.

Are there other historical or contemporary Giant Spider sightings other than Africa? Loren Coleman's website, Cryptomundo, has an interesting story from
correspondent Todd Partain whose father, Richard Partain, had an odd experience in 1948.

"One cool night in 1948, in Leesville, Louisiana, 48-year-old William Slaydon walked his wife, Pearl, and his three grandsons to church. Among them was the youngest, Richard Partain, a child of six at the time. They walked north along Highway 171, and as the road began to dip, Grandpa Slaydon suddenly stopped his grandchildren with a gesture and had them step back quietly and freeze.

"The grandchildren, aged six to thirteen, knew instinctively to obey this gesture without question. There was a rustling from the ditch, and an unbelievable creature emerged from the darkness.

"Richard Partain said that it was a huge spider, the size of a washtub. It was hairy and black. As they watched, the giant arachnid crossed the asphalt from East to West, and disappeared into the brush on the opposite side of the highway.

“We asked Grandpa what it was, and he said simply that it was a very large spider. Afterwards, all nighttime walks by the family to the church were cancelled. The incident was never discussed again with the grandchildren.

“Through my whole life, whenever I watched a TV program or read an article about spiders, I would wait for someone to identify it, but no one ever has,” said Richard. “I always had the impression that Grandpa was familiar with them, that had seen one before, or at least knew about them."

Whether the Congo spider is real, or a myth remains to be seen. And hopefully, whomever the researcher is hunting for it will see the spider before it sees him.

Source: Helium


Teen Says She Sees Ghosts, Wants to Help Police as Psychic

Makenzie J. Gollinger, from Russell, New York, believes she has psychic powers. Last summer the 15-year-old started working with a psychic teacher from Cooperstown to develop her talents.

She wants to help others, including law enforcers as they work to solve crimes.

"If they can't figure it out, I want to be the one who helps them," Miss Gollinger said during an interview at her County Route 24 home.

She's also interested in letting others like her know that they're not alone so they don't endure the isolation she sometimes feels.

"I don't want them to go through the 'alone thing,' like I did," Miss Gollinger said. "I want people to know they have someone they can talk to."

The teen first remembers seeing ghosts around age 6, but mostly kept it to herself because the friends she told didn't believe her.

She didn't even tell her parents, Rex C. and Barbara J. Gollinger, about everything she was seeing and experiencing until last spring when the sightings became more frequent and vivid.

"I used to call myself a freak all the time," Miss Gollinger said. "I didn't think my parents would believe me."

Mrs. Gollinger recalled that as a child, her daughter was especially clingy to her parents and refused to spend the night at anyone else's home, including close relatives.

But last school year, the teen became especially withdrawn while attending eighth grade at Edwards-Knox Central School. She also had trouble sleeping and started doing poorly in her classes.

"All I knew is that she was acting different," Mrs. Gollinger said. "She seemed to be slowing down and keeping to herself."

Miss Gollinger said she finally decided to confide in her parents because her ghost sightings had become so disruptive to her daily life.

She told them about not only seeing, but also communicating with ghosts who usually appear to her as living people rather than as transparent spirits.

"I was looking at her in amazement because I never knew what was going on," Mrs. Gollinger recalled.

Mr. Gollinger said he's on the fence regarding his belief in psychic powers and whether his daughter has them.

"I'm not going to call my daughter a liar," Mr. Gollinger said. "I'm dead center. As she continues to meet with her teacher I'm learning information."

However, he said his daughter has presented information that supports her credibility, such as describing past events where she was not present.

Those include knowing how family members died and what they were wearing when they were buried even though she wasn't there.

Giving another example, he said Miss Gollinger recently located a missing dog for its owner. She correctly told them that the dog had injured its paw.

Miss Gollinger said she does not have the power to predict the future.

"I wish I could," she responded.

John E. Coughlin, a psychic and spiritual counselor from Cooperstown, met with Miss Gollinger last summer and said he's certain she has special abilities to interact with spirits.

"There's a series of tests and questions I put her through. She most definitely is a psychic medium," Mr. Coughlin said. "I use a lot of different tools and techniques."

About 80 percent of the people he tests do not have psychic powers, he said.

To help parents understand children who have psychic, intuitive or paranormal abilities, Mr. Coughlin, who calls himself "Shaman John," has created a website.

Mrs. Gollinger said her daughter met with officials from one area law enforcement agency Monday and may be asked to assist with investigations.

"We'll just have to wait and see where it goes from here," Mrs. Gollinger said, noting that she would like other families to contact her if they have children with similar talents.

Miss Gollinger is now home-schooled by her parents and on Fridays attends Little River Community School, Canton.

Source: Watertown Daily Times


Catching Mermaids on Man

Different peoples build their identity around different facts: the Italians around their food, the French around La France, the Poles (at least in times gone by) around their Catholicism. The Isle of Man, between Britain and Ireland, meanwhile, built its identity, at least in early-modern times, around a belief in the wonderful (phantom dogs, water bulls and, as Beachcombing will soon demonstrate, merfolk). The rest of Europe got all enlightened, revolutionary and ‘with-it’: taking the long slippery slide that leads to social democracy, universal but mediocre healthcare, a do-gooding parasitical political class and obscene tax levels.  But the Manx pinned their identity, instead on pixies and related beliefs that the English were already giving up in the twelfth century. Hence ‘magical Man’, an island famous today for low tax rates, motorcycle races and fairies.

Anyway, to the source. This text appears in a rare book on Man written by an English resident in the island toward the beginning of the eighteenth century. The book was written as a kind of tour guide, but fails miserably as the author keeps getting distracted by the ‘magical’ beliefs of the locals that he is sceptical about but that he cannot resist reporting. Interestingly, he almost admits to being a reluctant convert to the fairy faith having seen ‘fairy circles’ and fairy footprints in the snow.

The event here dates to the 1650s about eighty years before the book was published. It is just within living memory then, but deep within the period when ‘Manks man’, as our author insists on calling the locals, would have been able to people the past with bold eye-witness events. Beachcombing is going to risk ridicule by suggesting that the following sentence contains the first ever explicit reference to mysterious beasts needing peace and obscurity – a favourite of later nineteenth-century marvel literature and twentieth-century cryptozoology. Certainly the account has a strangely rational entrée.

In the time, said they, that Oliver Cromwell usurped the protectorship of England [1649-1658 at the broadest], few or no ships resorted to this island [of Man], and that uninterruption and solitude of the sea, gave the mermen and mermaids (who are enemies to any company but those of their own species) frequent opportunities of visiting the shore, where, in moonlight nights, they have been seen to sit, combing their heads, and playing with each other; but as soon as they perceived anybody coming near them, they jumped into the water, and were out of sight immediately.

But human curiosity naturally got the better of the good Manx folk. 

Some people who lived near the coast, having observed their behaviour, spread large nets, made of small but very strong cords, upon the ground, and watched at a convenient distance for their approach. The night they had laid this snare, but one happened to come, who was no sooner set down, than those who held the strings of the net, drew them with a sudden jerk and enclosed their prize beyond all possibility of escaping.  On opening their net, and examining their captive, the largeness of her breasts, and the beauty of her complexion, it was found to be a female; nothing, continued my author [i.e. informant?], could be more lovely, more exactly formed, in all parts above the waist, resembling a complete young woman, but below that, all fish, with fins, and a huge spreading tail. She was carried to a house, and used very tenderly, nothing but liberty being denied. But though they set before her the best provision the place afforded, she could not be prevailed on to eat or drink, neither could they get a word from her, though they knew these creatures were not without the gift of speech, having heard them talk to each other, when sitting regaling themselves on the seaside.

Beachcombing presumes the Merfolk spoke Manx, a language that died out in the 1970s.

They kept her in this manner three days, but perceiving she began to look very ill notwithstanding, and fearing, some calamity would befall the island if they should keep her till she died, they agreed to let her return to the element she liked best and the third night set open their door; which, as soon as she beheld she raised herself from the place where she was then lying, and glided with incredible swiftness, on her tail, to the seaside. They followed at a distance, and saw her plunge into the water, where she was met by a great number of her own species, one of whom asked what she had observed among the people on earth; nothing very wonderful answered she, but that they are so very ignorant, as to throw away the water they boil their eggs in. This question, and her reply, they told me, was distinctly heard by those who stood on the shore to watch what passed.

What is perhaps most interesting is the importance of belief in the creatures for the eighteenth-century Manx: As I had not yet attained a thorough knowledge of the superstition of these people, nor the passionate fondness for everything that might be termed, the wonderful, I was excessively surprised at this account, given with so serious an air, and so much, and solemnly averred for truth. Indeed, the locals were not happy at our author’s scepticism: I perceived they were not a little disgusted at my want of Faith…

Beachcombing hates baroque capitals and has ‘normalised’ the English in this passage. However, he left that final word in its virgin F-form.

Mermaid stories have never done anyone any harm and Beachcombing hopes to come soon to Barnum’s monstrosity and Carmichael’s Hebridean mermaids.

Source: Beachcombing's Bizarre history Blog

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