8/25/14  #785
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Once again secret information has made its way over the hidden channels that clandestinely flow throughout the deepest, darkest recesses of the planet.  Information, that at times, have brought down whole governments and sent men to their torturous deaths.  Information that has finally found its way once again to your email box in the form of Conspiracy Journal!  Your number one source of all the news fit to be kept hidden.

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such Karma-cleansing stories as

Sea Plankton Found Living on the Outside of Space Station -
Autistic Savants May Have Enhanced Telepathic Abilities -
Earthquakes, Tsunamis, UFOs, and Sky Beasts-
AND: A Village Of Curses?

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

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Coming At You From Conspiracy Journal

Out Of The Darkness: UFO Revelations And The Arrival Of The Mysterious Planet X



Doomsayers have long predicted the end of humankind and the demise of our planet itself, either over an extended period or possibly in the twinkling of an eye. Such predictions go back centuries and – of course – none of these End Times prophecies have come true. It’s gotten to the point where such foreshadowings are being disdainfully ignored, and rightly so. Literally hundreds of books were written about the end-all date of December 21, 2012, and the arrival of the mysterious Planet X – a date that came and went uneventfully and without a ripple in the cosmic fiber. Earth is still here and many an embarrassed author has had to eat crow.

But are we out of the woods? Is Planet X or some other unknown body rushing out of the darkness, capable of blindsiding us without any advance warning? If so, what is the nature of such an unprovoked “attack” and when is it likely to occur?


Here are literally dozens of predictions regarding the future destiny of Earth …The possible mass landing of spaceships from other worlds and other dimensions. The possibility of an evacuation in the “nick of time.” Situated in various countries around the world are highly sensitive earthlings who are able to “tune in” to the wavelengths of these alien beings and actually act as sort of a “radio receiver” in picking up messages that are being “beamed” from beyond our atmosphere. The predictions of such “channelers” are uncannily similar.

If trials and tribulations lay just ahead, how can they be minimized? Is it possible that at least some of us may avoid such disastrous consequence as continents sink beneath the oceans and volcanic eruptions pollute the air? Though there may be a form of universal judgment day coming, our cosmic counselors have provided us with methods to negotiate the situation so that a minimum of us are impacted.


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Sea Plankton Found Living on the Outside of Space Station
By Miriam Kramer

A Russian official claims that samples collected by cosmonauts show evidence of sea plankton on the outside of the International Space Station, news agencies are reporting.

Cosmonauts on the orbiting outpost have allegedly discovered trace amounts of sea plankton and other microscopic organisms living on the outside of the station, exposed to the vacuum of space, according to a news story quoting space station official Vladimir Solovyov.

However, NASA has not confirmed the reports. "As far as we're concerned, we haven't heard any official reports from our Roscosmos colleagues that they've found sea plankton," NASA spokesman Dan Huot said. Roscosmos is Russia's Federal Space Agency.

The unconfirmed claims -- reported by ITAR-TASS -- were reportedly the result of a long-term study done using specialized equipment by Russians on the station, according to the news agency.

Although the cosmonauts did sample the outside of the space station and a window on one of the modules this week, they were not necessarily looking for traces of microbes, according to NASA.

"I'm not sure where all the sea-plankton talk is coming from," Huot told Space.com. "The Russians did take samples from one of the windows on the Russian segment, and what they're actually looking for is residues that can build up on the visually sensitive elements, like windows, as well as just the hull of the ship itself that will build up whenever they do thruster firings for things like re-boosts. That's what they were taking samples for. I don't know where all the sea plankton talk is coming from."

It's possible that the plankton, if confirmed, could be a contaminant launched into space with the space station module, said NASA scientist Lynn Rothschild.

Previous studies have found that microorganisms can survive in outer space.

For example, tardigrades -- a microscopic invertebrate found all over the world -- can dehydrate and fall into a hibernation that allows them to survive in space, Rothschild said. Tardigrades (also called "water bears") are part of a group classified as "extremophiles" — organisms that can survive in even the harshest environments.

"Note that there is a long history of U.S. and European missions proving that microbes could survive in low Earth orbit for extended periods of time," Rothschild told Space.com via email.

Researchers have also discovered microbes in Earth's upper atmosphere. In 2013, scientists reported that they found a large number of many kinds of microorganisms in the atmosphere 5 to 10 miles (8 to 16 kilometers) above the planet's surface, according to Space.com sister site Live Science.

Bacterial life has even been found 24.8 miles (40 km) up into the atmosphere, according to a 2013 interview with Tina Santl Temkiv, an environmental chemist at Aarhus University in Denmark, by Space.com's sister site Live Science.
NASA Testing Odd-Looking 'Earth Shoe' on Space Station

NASA officials keep an eye on bacteria growing inside spacecraft. Biofilms -- colonies of bacteria -- grow on the interior of the International Space Station, and scientists are working to understand how the microgravity environment affects their growth. Astronauts grew bacteria in fake urine during a flight of NASA's space shuttle Atlantis and found that it grows strangely when compared to biofilms of the same species cultivated on Earth.

"The unique appearance and structure of the P. aeruginosa biofilms formed in microgravity suggests that nature is capable of adapting to nonterrestrial environments in ways that deserve further studies, including studies exploring long-term growth and adaptation to a low-gravity environment," Cynthia Collins, who led the study, said in a 2013 NASA statement. "Before we start sending astronauts to Mars or embarking on other long-term spaceflight missions, we need to be as certain as possible that we have eliminated or significantly reduced the risk that biofilms pose to the human crew and their equipment."

However, one scientist thinks the plankton may not have originated from Earth. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, speculates that the plankton may have drifted onto the ISS from elsewhere in space.

 Wickramasinghe says that algae-like organisms, or diatoms, have previously been found on meteorites which have fallen to Earth.

"Diatoms have been found on meteorites in Sri Lanka, but there has been no proof where they actually came from," he said.

"This is the first time that we have evidence that points towards complex living organisms falling from the skies to Earth.

"The space station is orbiting the earth in a total vacuum, there is no air, so it is a total defiance of the laws of physics to say these organisms were blown into space from Earth.

"The only explanation is that they have come from elsewhere in space, and this supports long-held theories that plankton, and therefore all life on Earth including humans, originated from organisms in space.

"Everything that we have on the Earth is derived from space, including humans."

Professor Wickramasinghe is a leading proponent of panspermia, the hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe and is spread by asteroids and comets, in addition to simply drifting through the cosmos.

Panspermia proposes that life forms that can survive the effects of space, such as extremophiles, become trapped in debris that is ejected into space after collisions between asteroids and planets that harbour life.

These life-forms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks.

If met with ideal conditions on a new planet's surfaces, the bacteria become active and the process of evolution begins, it is believed.

Source: Space.com


Autistic Savants May Have Enhanced Telepathic Abilities
By Greg Taylor

The amazing abilities of autistic savants – prodigious feats of memory and calculation, as well as musical and artistic talents, despite the presence of mental disabilities remains one of the most fascinating topics in brain science. But these abilities may only be the tip of the iceberg, with new research suggesting that autistic savants may also have an enhanced capacity for extrasensory perception.

In 2013 neuropsychiatrist Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell was sent three homemade videos of a severely autistic nine-year-old girl which claimed to show her demonstrating a telepathic ability. Intrigued, Powell organised to conduct research sessions with two separate therapists who had reported telepathic experiences with the girl.

Though the ideal scientific set-up would be to keep the 'sender' and 'receiver' isolated from each other, this case had the complication of the sensitive nature of the girl's condition. As such, Powell kept the therapist in the same room, noting that "even subtle changes to the environment are very distracting and disturbing for a child with severe autism". Instead, a divider was put between the therapists and the child. Then randomized numbers, sentences, fake words, and visual images were presented to the therapists. The girl was then asked to “read the therapist’s mind.”

    The therapists were asked to write their own verbal descriptions of the images for comparison to the girl’s answers. Random numbers were generated for mathematical equations.

    The girl was asked to give all the numbers involved in the equations and duplicate the answers generated by the author with a calculator…The child typed her answers after choosing them from a stencil. To assess for any possible visual and/or auditory cueing, five high definition point-of-view (POV) cameras and three microphones were strategically placed in the experimental space to capture coverage of the entire room, the therapist and child, and their separate workspaces.

Powell presented her preliminary findings at the 57th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, held last weekend. The results were jaw-dropping, with 'hits' such as 100% accuracy on two random numbers, one eight digits and the other nine; 60 to 100% accuracy on three of the five-letter nonsense words; 100% accuracy on six out of twelve equations with 15 to 19 digits each; and between 81 to 100% accuracy on sentences of between 18 and 35 letters. The video surveillance showed no evidence of cueing or fraud.

Powell's conclusion: "The data is highly suggestive of an alternative, latent and/or default communication mechanism that can be accessed by people born with severely impaired language abilities.

This new research comes on the back of news reports last year of a nine-year-old autistic girl in Sharjah who appears to have the ability to read her mother's mind. Though the idea that autistic savants might have paranormal abilities goes back further than that. Pioneering researcher into Savant Syndrome, Darold Treffert, included a section on the possibility of extrasensory perception in savants in his 1989 book Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome:

    Dr. Bernard Rimland describes several instances of extrasensory perception in his autistic savants. In his sample of approximately 5400 autistic children, 561 cases, or approximately 10 percent, were reported to have special abilities. Four of the 561 cases were based on reports from parents who claimed that their child had consistently exhibited signs of extrasensory perception. In one case, the parent reported that "teachers have also noticed that George probably has ESP. He seems to be very psychic. We would decide to pick up George from school suddenly, if we were in the area (he usually rode the bus). He would tell the teacher we were coming, and he would come to open the door when we arrived. So he has many special abilities, but cannot write his name or write a sentence".

    Two other reports made by parents describe children with, in one case, "an extraordinary ability to hear conversations out of range of hearing, and to pick up thoughts not spoken" and, in another case, "verified ESP…first observed around age 4". The child in the latter case "accurately related an accidental occurrence known only to her father. His watch crystal fell out in the bathroom and was immediately replaced. Michelle accurately related the entire incident back to her father a short time thereafter. Several dozens of similar 'clairvoyant' instances have occurred since this first incident. Statistical probability of coincidental knowledge nil."

    The parents of Ellen, a blind musical savant…report three instances of unusual perception on her part. One perhaps could be explained by heightened auditory discrimination: in that instance the driver of the special bus that picks her up each day to take her to her classes gave the usual very brief horn beep when picking her up one morning. Instantly Ellen said, "New bus". On checking, it was determined that indeed a different – and new – bus was waiting. The difference in the sounds of the horns was imperceptible to her parents. The other instances are more difficult to explain. One week before Christmas she announced what would be in her gift packages, although she really had no way of knowing and had not been given any clues as to what those gifts might be. Another instance had to do with a telephone call. Ellen's sister, for a variety of reasons, always calls her parents' home during the day and, only under special circumstances, does she call in the evening. At supper time one evening Ellen told her parents that her sister would be calling. Her mother assured her, for the above reasons, that there would be no such call. Shortly thereafter the telephone rang and Ellen answered it, knowing it would be her sister, who it was. The sister has been called out of town unexpectedly and wanted her parents to know that. Ellen somehow knew that the call was coming.

    …Some have explained the savant in terms of reincarnation. Barbara Boudreaux recalls that one day some friends who believe that to be the case asked Ellen to listen to a Mozart piece she had never heard before. Near the end they stopped the piece and asked Ellen to play it for them. She obligingly did and, according to the friends at least, continued to play the piece beyond the point at which they had stopped – "as if" she had heard the whole number – and played it just as Mozart had written it.

Are these abilities, and the new research by Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, explainable without recourse to paranormal abilities? Savants certainly have magical-like abilities that could easily lead to unnecessary leaps of logic – the 'new bus' example given above is a case in point where an enhanced ability could be being mistaken for something paranormal. Would it be so far-fetched to think that the girl in this new research is picking up cues that seem impossible to us? Also, given her severe disability, is there any sort of interaction needed with others to give her answers?

Alternatively, many have suggested that the brain disabilities and injuries suffered by both autistic savants and acquired savants are the likely cause of their savant abilities; shutting down one section of the mind seem to open pathways to these latent abilities which seem almost superhuman to the rest of us (some researchers, such as Dr. Allan Snyder, think we may be able to unlock these abilities via magnetic stimulation). Could this unlocking of ability also allow access to hidden functions of the brain related to extra-sensory perception? Only time, and further research, will offer a definitive answer.

Source: The Daily Grail


Earthquakes, Tsunamis, UFOs, and Sky Beasts
By Brent Swancer

One of the more bizarre, little discussed, and “fringier” areas of cryptozoology involves the pursuit of various creatures said to inhabit not the remote forests or jungles of the world, but rather the skies above our head. We are not talking about flying dinosaurs, flying humanoids, Thunderbirds, or other winged weirdies. The creatures I am referring to are the strange creatures that drift about and prowl the skies for their entire lives, the phenomenon known as Atmospheric Beasts. Although these creatures have been covered here brilliantly at Mysterious Universe before, notably by Micah Hanks in this article and Rob Morphy in this one, it has long been an area that fascinates me and so I thought I would share one of my own ideas concerning the connections between these alleged creatures, UFO sightings, and earthquakes.

First, a refresher on what these creatures are. Atmospheric beasts, or atmospheric life-forms, as they are often called, are said to be organisms that live their entire lives floating high in the atmosphere, undetected by humans. These creatures are most often described as having bodies that are semi-solid, or almost insubstantial, with some reports even claiming that they are able to adjust their density from almost immaterial and invisible to more solid, depending on as yet unknown factors. Numerous theories have been posited as to how such seemingly fantastical organisms could manage to stay adrift in the air, such as air bladders or very low body densities.

The appearance of these atmospheric beasts varies wildly. Accounts have variously described them as amorphous and cloud-like behemoths, finned squid-like creatures, floating jellyfish, translucent, vaporous blobs, flitting rods, amoeba-like organisms, gelatinous oddities, and even dragons. The sizes of atmospheric beasts likewise run the gamut from tiny and bird-like, to gargantuan monsters hundreds of feet long. Although these enigmatic creatures are said to typically lurk too high in the atmosphere or to be too insubstantial to see with the naked eye, there are instances when one might become observable for some reason. Indeed, there has been a substantial amount of sightings reports over the years from all over the world describing unusual flying monsters that do not fit into the typical mold of thunderbirds or other flying cryptids. These atmospheric life forms have even allegedly been photographed, and there have been reports of the gelatinous remains of dead ones on occasion.

Over the years, the alleged existence of such atmospheric organisms has led to speculation that they may be connected somehow to the worldwide UFO phenomenon. It has been postulated that rather than having some artificial basis such as alien craft or experimental aircraft, large sky creatures could account for at least some reported UFO sightings. Even the lights reported in UFO sightings have been explained on occasion as the result of some sort of bioluminescence.

The idea of air-going organisms lying at the root of some UFO reports is odd and certainly controversial, but it is not new. The famed cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson himself was fascinated by the idea of giant animals swimming through the air above us, and wrote a good deal about them. Among Sanderson’s various hypotheses and musings concerning atmospheric beasts was the notion that many UFO reports may be in fact attributable to these sky dwelling creatures. UFO author Trevor James Constable also noted in his 1975 book The Cosmic Pulse of Life, that the UFO phenomena may well be caused by the presence of some kind of goliath beasts inhabiting the skies.

If these atmospheric beasts do roam the skies of the world, and they are high up enough to have an entire ecosystem unknown and undetected by us, then it leaves one to question what could possibly be the reason why they are sometimes spotted by humans in the form of UFOs and other airborne anomalies. Some of the beasts have been said to descend for the purpose of feeding on earthbound creatures, but I have always been wary of this theory, as I wonder why a creature adapted to a food chain based in the upper atmosphere would have a need for terrestrial animals to subsist on. Would they even have the physiology required to digest such prey? Would they be able to pick up such animals and whisk them away up into the clouds? Remember we are talking about light, amorphous, airy creatures that presumably spend the entirety of their lives drifting along the air currents. These are most likely organisms of the very high atmosphere. I have always had the notion that such a life-form drifting so low away from its normal habitat so high in the sky would be akin to some creature from the deep, dark sea being dragged from its abyssal lair to the surface, and thus would likely be either dead, injured, or disoriented. So what causes these atmospheric creatures to come down to earth so to speak?

The UFO author Trevor James, in addition to outlining his ideas on the connection between the air beasts and the UFO phenomenon, also added the fascinating hypothesis that 20th century radar might disturb such creatures, causing them to become more solid and visible to the naked eye, or to drop down to lower altitudes where they would be more readily sighted.

This bit of speculation leads to the interesting notion that these creatures, if they do indeed exist, may perhaps use some sort of navigation system to maintain their bearings and find their way. This in and of itself is not so farfetched. We know that many animals, especially those that regularly migrate, use various biological systems to navigate and home in on their destinations. We also know that these systems can be disrupted by either natural or artificial means. Artificial lighting is well known to cause disorientation in a variety of migrating animals such as sea turtles and birds, sonar can have effects on whales, and radar has been shown to somehow throw off the navigational abilities of certain birds as well, perhaps because it disrupts their innate magnetic compass. Since known animals can certainly have their instinctual navigational abilities disrupted, then it is certainly plausible that the proposed atmospheric organisms could suffer similar pitfalls.

If atmospheric beasts do indeed use such biological systems to navigate and maintain their orientation and bearings, then this offers a compelling clue to one potential reason for these creatures to drop lower in the atmosphere and also a potential connection with some UFOs under certain conditions. A curious trend that seems to be fairly consistent is the increase in reported UFO activity just before or after major earthquakes. I had never really given this much thought before, but I actually currently live in Japan and I was present during the 2011 earthquake here. One thing I noticed in various Japanese Fortean articles, UFO publications, and indeed sometimes even in major newspapers was the undeniable rise in the number of sightings of UFOs and strange phenomena in the skies just prior to, during, and after the earthquake. This piqued my interest, and after further investigation, I found that spikes in UFO activity were indeed consistently reported before and during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of Japan, the Sumatran earthquake and tsunami of 2004, the Haitian earthquake of 2010, and the Philippine earthquake of 2013. This seems to imply some possible connection between the seismic activity and the UFOs that could, at least in the case of earthquakes, possibly have a cryptozoological basis in the form of the hypothetical atmospheric organisms.

When an large earthquake occurs, there is more going on than just the shaking of the ground or the creation of tsunamis. During earthquakes, an enormous amount of surface motion is generated, which is released as powerful waves into the atmosphere. Known as seismotravelling ionospheric disturbances, these waves can penetrate all the way up into the highest parts of the atmosphere, known as the ionosphere. All earthquakes produce these disturbances to some degree, but in the case of very major earthquakes these can be quite profound. The March 11, 2011 earthquake In Japan in particular produced one of the most massive such atmospheric disturbances ever recorded. It created waves of large amounts of electrically charged particles travelling 720 to 800 kph (450 to 500 mph) that reached up to around 350km (220 miles) above the Earth. Japanese research showed that the March 11 disturbance was three times more powerful than the next largest such disturbance, that of the 2004 Sumatran earthquake.

One effect of these disturbances is their ability to disrupt radio and other signals, which is in fact one of the ways scientists use to measure them. If atmospheric beasts do exist high above us, and if in fact they do use some sort of navigation system that can be disrupted by things such as radar, then what might such a large, earthquake-induced atmospheric disturbance do to them? Is it not at least feasible that these powerful waves could be disorienting some kind of atmospheric lifeforms and dislodging them from their usual unseen habitat high above us so that they are visible to the human eye and subsequently reported as UFOs? It seems that it is at least as plausible a possibility as other explanations such as alien spacecraft, at least in the case of UFO sightings reported before, during, and just after major seismic events.

Of course this is all just an exercise in speculation. Are atmospheric beasts even real? Who knows? There is no solid evidence that such organisms even exist at all. If they are real, these creatures would not exist in a vacuum. There would need to be a whole ecosystem in place high up in the sky, perhaps based on some type of air plankton, which incidentally considering the recent bizarre discovery of sea plankton surviving on the outside of the International Space Station technically does not seem as far fetched as it perhaps once was. Maybe a whole food chain is in place in the upper atmosphere based on some sort of plankton evolved to live up there. Nevertheless, it is certainly a rather far out notion to think there could be a whole new biome of undiscovered organisms existing undetected high above us, but then again it seems worth considering that we never thought it was possible for life, let alone whole ecosystems, to exist in extreme environments such as deep sea thermal vent communities either.

Whether these sky beats are real or not, and as unlikely as it may be, I find it interesting to look at these phenomena and think of such alternative explanations for UFO sightings occurring around major seismic events such as earthquakes.

Source: Mysterious Universe


Historic Sightings of Flying Snakes

Do “flying snakes” exist? Roy Mackal and other cryptozoologists have investigated flying snake reports in Africa. Did you know there are files on airborne serpentine reptiles in North America? Here are some reports for your consideration. You will rapidly discover that there are varying levels of credibility in these articles. ~ Loren Coleman

The earliest known recorded sighting can be found in the journal writings of Hieronymus Benzo, an Italian naturalist who traversed the New World from 1541 to 1556. In his text Istoria de Mondo Nuovo Libr. III, Benzo included the following entry on an expedition into what is now Florida:

"I saw a certain kind of Serpent which was furnished with wings, and which was killed near a wood by some of our men. Its wings were so shaped that by moving them it could raise itself from the ground and fly along, but only at a very short distance from the earth."

Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio, 9/16/1875
Leavenworth, Texas

In August of 1875, an unnamed woman dwelling in the southern side of Leavenworth, Texas made local headlines with her insistence that a smallish winged snake was undertaking excursions over her neighborhood. So astonishing was her testimony that a local, aged psychic was stirred to boldly foretell (to the local newspaper) “in a short time the air would be full of flying serpents”. Perhaps, if the next 35 years might be interpreted as “a short time”, she was partially right.

In September of that same year, two young men surnamed Remington and Jenkins, while hunting in the woods near Leavenworth, were astonished to see this oft-gossiped about creature soaring straight toward them at an altitude of about four feet. Jenkins quickly removed his cap and, with an accurate sweep, netted the little beastie. It turned out to be quite harmless; it was approximately one foot in length, spotted and bore wings approximately the size of their hands. After dispensing of it, the two intelligent lads brought the now lifeless body home and preserved it in a jar of alcohol. Tragically, this essential physical specimen appears to have been lost to time, most likely in much the same manner as myriads of copies of Action Comics #1 have been innocently tossed by mothers with other attic junk, without realization of what they possessed.

Galveston Daily News
Galveston, Texas.

May 23, 1899


Has a Skull Like an Adder and a Bat-Like Expression.

New York Journal.

A flying snake five feet long has built its nest in one of the tall trees at Waterford, N.J., and when it is not setting on its eggs to hatch out a lot more flying snakes it is roving about intimidating the natives.

No amount of hunting in mere natural history books will reward the searcher with a glimpse of a picture of a flying snake or any information about one. The creature does not exist in any scientific work. It is found only in Waterford, where a party of indignant citizens are making a desperate effort to locate it before it eats some of the farmers.

Robert McDougall, who saw the flying snake, is perhaps the most prominent citizen of Waterford - a fact that the intelligent reader has already guessed, for persons who see sea serpents, flying snakes, wild men, or horned gazoozas are invariably described by their neighbors as prominent in order that the story may not be doubted and the town thereby indirectly reflected upon.

This gentleman was taking a short trip through the woods, cogitating as he walked as to the turnip crop, when suddenly the flying snake darted from the low branch of a [illegible] pine tree and flapped its wings with hoarse cries until it vanished from view. Its bearing was plainly vindictive.

“It had the look of a bat in its face,” says McDougall, “but it was a flying snake sure enough; one of the venomous kind, I should say. Its skull resembled that of a puff adder, but it had no hair, and it had a tapering tail and eyes that flashed fire, but never before did I see eyes on a monster like that,” and Mr. McDougall shuddered at his narrow escape.

On the following morning the Waterford vigilantes armed themselves and repaired to the lair of the flying snake. They found its footprints, not in the air, where it might be expected that a snake on the fly would leave them, but on the ground. They were web-like prints, something like those of a swan. The local indignation increased when it was thereby proved that the monster is amphibian.

Hiram Beechwood, who lives at a place called Elm, says he saw the flying snake at daybreak crossing a road near a swamp. As soon as it noticed it was observed[,] it exchanged looks of deadly hate with him and then, uttering an angry bleat like an exasperated sheep, unwound a pair of bat-like wings and slowly flew into the swamp, where it is feared it has a nestful of eggs.

According to the ornithologists of the place, flying snakes are an established fact. They stick pretty closely to the thick undergrowth unless driven out by forest fires or lack of food. They build in tall trees, Mr. McDougall says, and when in a good temper utter a note something like that of a robin who has just found a worm. When annoyed or frightened, however, they emit an angry scream that is very terrifying.

Some of the residents hold that the snake is a vegetarian and won’t eat Jerseymen. Others wisely say that this may be so, but still it might bite them, and they are going after it to put it out of its misery.


Logansport Pharos
Logansport, Indiana
March 25, 1885

A flying snake is on exhibition at Virginia City, Nevada. The reptile is four feet long and has two wings attached to its body, about four inches back of the head.


Greenville Evening Record
Greenville, Pennsylvania.
June 16, 1900

Venango county papers note the appearance of a flying snake and also a leathered snake. The latter was captured by Arthur Savage, of Canal township, and is said to have a fine coat of feathers and a head like a chicken. It is about three feet in length. It eats nothing but grain and drinks an abundance of water. Mr. Savage intends to take it to some zoological garden.

Alton Evening Telegraph
Alton, Illinois.
August 9, 1905

The moonshine whiskey business appears to be flourishing in Missouri. At least flying snakes are reported in several places in the Ozark Mountains region.

Washington Post; Washington DC, 10/29/1911
St. Charles, Missouri

Another specimen was observed over St. Charles, Missouri, not far from the Mississippi River in 1911. Mrs. John Bishop and her children were startled from their work and play by an odd sound evocative of a monoplane. This buzzing though was not from an engine, but rather from the highly rapid fluttering of a sizeable pair of wings attached to a three-foot-long spotted snake passing over their residence. The awe that overtook the unsuspecting family quickly transformed into terror however, as the airborne snake turned and approached the terrified group of witnesses. The mother hastily herded the children into the home where they watched in safety as the creature performed various aeronautic feats for almost twenty minutes before it disappeared over the horizon in the direction of Alton, Illinois.

The Washington Post also noted on June 5, 1911 that the “passengers and crew of the White Star liner Celtic brought with them to New York today a revival of the sea serpent tales of other years. They reported having passed early yesterday morning a formidable looking creature that was going at a high speed in pursuit of a school of young whales. The monster, they say, had wings, and rose frequently 10 feet or more from the water. Whales and pursuer faded from sight within a few minutes.”


Bonham, Texas, June, 1873

In June of 1873, a farmer in Bonham, Texas, looked up from his work and was astonished at what he saw. There appeared to be an enormous flying snake, banded with brilliant yellow stripes, writhing and twisting in the sky above him. Other people in the Bonham vicinity also witnessed this strange apparition, which was said to be at least as long as a telegraph pole. According to a report in the local newspaper, Enterprise, the bewildered eyewitnesses watched the creature coil itself up, and thrust forward its enormous head as if striking at something.

Sky Dragons - Amphipteres

These winged serpents were spotted in the skies of Great Britain until the mid 1600s. Described most commonly as a large snake with small wings behind the head, they could grow to lengths around nine to ten feet. Their heads were dragon-like, with multiple tongues and sharp fangs. Villagers reported having been able to scare them away by throwing rocks.

Similar creatures were reported in India. These sky dragons, or winged serpents, were nocturnal, and equipped with a singular form of defense. Their urine was like acid, and could melt the skin of anyone walking below.

Winged serpents also plagued the ancient Middle East. Arabia and Egypt were overrun with these snakes, reportedly small in size yet devestating to crops and livestock. Luckily, ibises ate these sky snakes. Even Moses was reported to use ibis birds to help his attack on Ethiopia who had invaded Egypt.

An intriguing variation on the mythology and anecdotal history of North American winged snakes is the contemporary investigation of Northern Arizona University anthropology student Nick Sucik into Navajo and Hopi legends that tell of snakes that can take brief flight through convoluted spiral contortions and lunges. He published a well-researched paper in 2004 on these mystery animals that nicely bridged the fields of theoretical herpetological physiology and cryptic anthropological folklore.

Sucik’s flying snakes of Arizona were hypothesized to be wingless—by definition of bat or bird—but capable of limited aeronautics through extended flaps that stretched over a significant portion of their bodies. He discredited the few reports he found (which did not include any of these presented here) that testified to bat-like or scaled wings, writing them of as justifiable misidentifications made under startling circumstances.

Thanks to Jerome Clark and Scott Maruna for archival input.

Sources: Cryptomundo/Biofort

Heroes, Holiness & Mystical Phenomena

A few years ago, NBC had an interesting television series called Heroes. For those who didn't see it, the show centered around a group of people who discover they have special abilities beyond the ordinary, including superhuman powers like telepathy, time travel, flight, invisibility, the ability to walk through walls, to heal, and to paint the future, among others. These “superheroes,” one by one, come to realize that they each have a particular role to play in preventing a catastrophe and “saving the world.” It is science fiction, to be sure. But this concept is not without precedence in the real world throughout history. The Catholic Church has had its own “heroes” – like the Cure d’Ars, Padre Pio, Joseph of Cupertino and Mother Teresa of Calcutta--who were, at least through parts of their lives, blessed with “supernatural powers.” The Church calls them “mystical phenomena,” and those saints who have wielded these inexplicable powers understood their role in advancing the kingdom of God.

Though the modern world is fascinated by the idea of men and women possessing unique superhuman powers, as evidenced by the success of the first season of Heroes and movies like Spiderman, the modern world has little room to accommodate the idea of mystical phenomena, especially in connection with religious concepts like evil and holiness, blessings and curses. Even in a time when belief in UFOs, Elvis sightings, and animated gnomes is on the increase, most people remain highly skeptical of any claims of mystical phenomena in the lives of the saints. They believe these claims are in the realm of myth, even though numerous examples of mystical phenomenon have been studied and examined by modern scientific methods.

It is instructive to note that the Catholic Church has always approached claims of mystical phenomena with a healthy dose of skepticism. By design, Church officials throughout history have not accepted at face value any phenomenon which purports to be from God. The Church carefully weighs all the circumstances, evidence and personalities of those connected with the phenomenon to determine whether or not there is any possibility of either a natural explanation or a psychological explanation such as hysteria, schizophrenia, or some other form of insanity. The Church also attempts to determine whether or not there is the possibility of fraud or demonic activity, both of which are not uncommon.

If, after all, the facts and evidence of a particular mystical phenomenon lend themselves to God’s supernatural intervention, then the Church will accept a particular phenomenon as having no other explanation than the supernatural. In many cases, especially with phenomena that are specifically connected with manifestations of holiness, the Church waits until after the person dies to determine that the phenomena associated with them were truly manifestations of their heroic virtue and holiness. Then and only then will the Church confirm that a particular phenomenon, even when witnessed by hundreds of people, was truly from God.

Here are just a few examples of the mystical phenomena exhibited by the saints throughout the ages:


The suspension of the human body in the air without aid of outside physical forces is known as levitation. There are many accounts of the saints being lifted up during prayer or during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This has been witnessed by hundreds of people at a time. One of the most famous cases of a saint levitating is that of St. Joseph of Cupertino (d. 1663), an Italian Franciscan Friar who seemed to fly all over the place. He would rise not rise just a few inches but would actually be suspended in the air 18 to 35 feet and remain suspended in this ecstatic manner for fifteen minutes to as long as six hours at a time. Because of his many flights of ecstatic levitations, St. Joseph is the patron of airplane passengers.

Eucharistic fasts

There are a number of documented saints who have stopped eating any food whatsoever and lived on the Blessed Sacrament alone --not for days or weeks or even months, but for years and decades. Many of those given the gift of stigmata (bearing the wounds of Christ) also exhibit the phenomenon of Eucharistic fasting. The bed-ridden Theresa Neumann in our own day was a good example. She abstained from all food and liquid, except for one small Eucharistic host a day, after receiving a miraculous healing from paralysis while praying to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She lived thirty-nine years, until she died in 1962, without any earthly sustenance.

Smelling sin

One of the more unusual gifts of mystical phenomena is the ability to smell the stench of sin when coming into contact with someone in the state of mortal sin. It can be a very terrible thing which in some cases has caused not only uncontrollable vomiting by the saint but even passing out because the stench is so overwhelming to him. St. Philip Neri was known for this ability and its side-effects. In his Life of Hilarton , St. Jerome says that St. Hilarion had the gift of knowing what sins or vices anyone was inclined to by simply smelling either the person or his garments.

The odor of sanctity

It has been reported in many cases, especially of those who have been given the stigmata, that an overwhelmingly beautiful and “heavenly” perfume seems to exude from the bodies of some saints, both living and dead. Often described like roses or delicate flowers, it seems to permeate everything around them. This happened quite frequently with St. Theresa of Avila. Her body threw off this scent even after her death in 1582. When her body was exhumed during the canonization process the odor of perfume coming from her incorrupt body was so strong that it permeated the room and everything in it for three days.


All will agree that “being in two places at once” is physically impossible. That’s what makes bilocation another mystical phenomena that has been granted to certain saints. This is one of the many gifts attributed to Padre Pio, and is corroborated by witnesses all over the world. Among the most remarkable incidents was Padre Pio’s appearance in the air over the city San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. As American bombers were preparing unload their munitions on the Nazi-occupied city, Padre Pio appeared before their aircraft, and attempts to drop the bombs failed.

There are many more different authentic mystical phenomena that reflect, in this world, properties of the resurrected body in the world to come such as the faculty of distinguishing between holy and profane objects or between priests and laymen, the reading of hearts, the gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, glossolalia, and even the ability to walk on water, to name but a few. The saints blessed with these supernatural abilities were all heroes in another sense, too. Not only did they willingly participate with the will of God, they also exhibited heroic virtue-- in one way or another. In some cases, observers believe that their heroic acts of virtue led to the mystical phenomenon and not vice versa.

Perhaps the most hopeful bit of all this is that, even though most of us will not be able to bilocate, levitate, or (Heaven forbid) smell the stench of sin, we all have the opportunity to take hold of virtue and practice that virtue in a heroic way. We can, in a matter of speaking, play our part in advancing the Kingdom of God and, help “save the world.”

Michael S. Rose is author of several books including Benedict XVI: The Man Who Was Ratzinger and Goodbye Goodmen .

This article is reprinted with written permission of 4marks Magazine and is part of the 4marks.com network which offers a variety of online services to Catholics, including our online Daily Catechism program, Catholic Trivia, Temperament Test and single Catholic service. To learn more about any of our services or how 4marks is helping Catholics connect online in order to deepen their faith offline visit www.4marks.com.

Source: 4marks Magazine

A Village Of Curses?

In the far upper corner of northwestern Connecticut, not far from the historic town of Cornwall in the shadow of three mountains, lies a place where only the bravest of hearts tread.

Once a colonial village called Dudleytown, it is said to be the site of mysterious deaths of residents in the 1700s and 1800s, unexplained madness in the 20th century and tales of strange noises and wraiths in the past 50 years. Through word of mouth and the reach of the Internet, Dudleytown has become something akin to Connecticut's "Blair Witch" forest.

"The story has all the makings of a really great horror story: historical figures, mysterious happenings, ghosts, a curse," wrote author Gary P. Dudley in his 2001 book "The Legend of Dudleytown."

Still, these days, about the only thing any supernatural investigator or curious teenager will encounter is a burly state trooper and road barriers, meant to prevent people from entering the private property. The residents of the Dark Entry Forest - near the Dudleytown site - are tired of paranormal investigators, writers, hikers and people interested in the supernatural trespassing on their property.

After the popular movie "The Blair Witch Project" opened in 1999, more people started hosting campfires and loud drinking parties up in Dudleytown, which is now little more than rocks and a few old foundations.

Teenagers would try to find the site, then get lost deep in the woods. And the local police kept getting call after call to either rescue people or bust up the parties.

As a result, the residents of Dark Entry closed all the paths leading to Dudleytown six years ago. Anyone who attempts to find it without permission of the association faces arrest or a hefty fine.

"It's unfortunate," said resident David Colbert. "I liked it when the woods were open. I wish there didn't seem to be an association with looking for ghosts and drinking beer and making garbage."

While it's harder to get to Dudleytown, it's easier than ever to learn about it.

The folklore of Dudleytown is featured in several books and on dozens of websites with pictures of strange lights and blurs. There are references to a cursed family of Dudleys who settled the area in the early 1700s.

Besides an allegedly cursed founding family, Dudleytown is linked to stories about Native Americans invading the village and killing an entire family; lightning fatally striking the wife of Revolutionary War Gen. Herman Swift on her doorstep, which caused him to go mad; various epidemics; and finally, in 1872, the wife of New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley committing suicide there. By 1880, all but one man, John Brophy, had abandoned the place, and he even was said to occasionally be seen walking out of the woods with torn clothes, muttering things about demons.

"Basically, these authors put a bunch of random happenings together and came up with a story," said Dudley, who is not related to the Dudleytown settlers. "There are no reports of anything mysterious in the town records, no indication of anything out of the ordinary. People lived off the timber for charcoal, and when the Bessemer process of steelmaking came along, they just kind of left.

"I was there in 1998, and the most mysterious thing that happened to me was that I got more mosquito bites in 15 minutes than two hours in Texas."

Today, Dudleytown is mostly deserted, except for the curiosity-seekers and tourists, who come looking for thrills. The Dark Forest Entry Association still owns most of the land the village once stood on.

There are a group of homes on Bald Mountain Road that are very secluded from the main roads and they belong to the closest residents. These locals maintain that nothing supernatural takes place in this region and perhaps they are right. It seems unlikely that the "curse" on Dudleytown ever really existed but on the other hand, there is something strange about such a small area with so many disappearances, unusual deaths, suicides and cases of insanity. The stories of a "curse" had to have gotten started for some reason and perhaps this was why.

As far as we know, the ghostly tales began to surface in the 1940’s. It was at this time that visitors to the ruins of the village began to speak of strange incidents and wispy apparitions in the woods. Even today, those who have visited the place boast of paranormal photographs, overwhelming feelings of terror, mysterious lights, sights and sounds and even of being touched, pushed and scratched by unseen hands.

Some researchers refer to the area as a "negative power spot", or a place where entities enter this world from the other side. They say this may explain the strange events in Dudleytown’s history, like the eerie reports, the strange creatures and perhaps even the outbreaks of insanity and madness. The place is often thought of as "tainted" in some way, as if the ground has somehow spoiled here, or perhaps was sour all along.

Lack of actual proof of hauntings or paranormal activity hasn't dented interest.

At one point, the faith-based entertainment studio Good News Holdings, whose founder, David Kirkpatrick, once headed Paramount Pictures, joined with a local production company to make its first horror movie about Dudleytown. But the studio recently parted ways with Massachusetts-based Red Barn Productions over "spiritual differences," according to the Religion News Service.

Despite all the interest, many Cornwall area residents roll their eyes at the notion of a local haunted forest.

"Sure, bad things probably happened. I think a woman committed suicide, and a man fell off a ladder and died because he was drunk, but those kinds of things can happen anywhere," said Nick Jacobs, a longtime resident of Cornwall who throws a big Halloween costume party with a bonfire and ghost story re-enactments every year. "Was Dudleytown cursed? No. It's just one of those places that just became abandoned. It's dark, the soil is bad, and it's way the hell on top of a mountain. Sure, people would leave."

So, while the presence of state police and the pathway barriers may have deterred visitors, fascination with Dudleytown shows no sign of waning.

In 1999, shortly before the gates and warning signs went up, a group of paranormal investigators with an organization called Seeker went to Dudleytown to snap pictures. Upon leaving, their car was hit by a truck.

To this day, the website asks: "Coincidence or curse? We'll let you decide!"

Source: courant.com
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