5/21/17  #907
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Don't open the door! Don't go into the basement! Don't look under the bed! DON'T OPEN THE CLOSET! Is it ghosts? Is it ghouls? Is it little hairy monsters with big teeth and claws? Is it Donald Trump here to take away your health care insurance?  NO - It's another spine-tingling issue of your favorite weekly newsletter of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else spooky and scary - CONSPIRACY JOURNAL.

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

 New Discovery on Earth Might Prove Life Existed on Mars -  
Attack of the Michelin Men -
School Finds Itself Covered In Dead Fish -
AND: 23 Fascinating Facts About the Number Twenty-Three

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~

The Secret Exploits of Adm. Richard Byrd



Several years ago a mysterious manuscript said to be Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s Private Log or Diary emerged. In it Byrd wrote about a vast ice-free “paradise” beyond the Poles: “We are crossing over the small mountain range and still proceeding northward as best as can be ascertained. Beyond the mountain range is what appears to be a valley with a small river or stream running through the center portion. There should be no green valley below! Something is definitely wrong and abnormal here! We should be over ice and snow! To the portside are great forests growing on the mountain slopes. Our navigation instruments are still spinning, the gyroscope is oscillating back and forth!”

During his career as an explorer, up until his death in March 1957, Byrd was considered a national hero. Besides exploring both Poles, it is alleged that the veteran Navy commander had come upon an entrance way that led into a Hollow Earth inhabited by a race of giants.

Rumor also has it that Byrd, during his 1947 expedition, was confronted by a “lost” battalion of Nazis whose settlement was being guarded by a fleet of back-engineered “Flying Saucers.” And while Byrd’s scientific team was supposed to stay for six months in this frozen region, his expedition was called off shortly after his arrival.

What is generally not known is that on one of Byrd’s sojourns to Antarctica, he sought to stave off mutiny from among his crew by enlisting some of the younger members into a very secretive “Loyal Legion,” which enabled him to clamp down on any leaks about his missions and discoveries.

And while the content of Byrd’s “secret diary” is open to debate, researcher and author Tim Cridland searches deeply into the many shadowy unknowns surrounding Byrd and the Nazis as well as a previously undisclosed wrinkle: a closely guarded connection between JFK’s assassination and the iron grip of those determined to keep the secrets surrounding UFOs and the arrival of ultra-terrestrials locked away from public scrutiny forever. This conspiracy involved members of a sinister, secret group of wealthy and “well-connected” individuals that included Lyndon Johnson, John Connelly and at least one member of Byrd’s family among its ranks.

This book takes a wholly original approach to a great many areas of interest revolving around the concept that our Earth is “hollow” and that a vast cavern system, constructed eons ago, exists connecting various subterranean cities with their hidden gateways back up to the surface world. Some researchers believe that the Inner Earth houses a potential “Garden of Eden-like” utopia, while others espouse the idea that much of the planet’s caverns and hollows are overrun by monstrous inhabitants wreaking havoc on the surface while serving to entice evil machinations from above ground conspirators who are loyal only to their self-serving dream of world conquest and domination.

The “Secret Exploits Of Admiral Richard E. Byrd” is a valuable inquiry made by a variety of independent researchers into a subject that has long been one of “instant ridicule” without being given its day in court. Here the reader will get to visit the various ancient cities of the subterranean world as well as learn about the “denizens of the deep” and their future design on unsuspecting surface dwellers who know little – or absolutely nothing – of their existence.

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New Discovery on Earth Might Prove Life Existed on Mars
By Margi Murphy

Life on Earth kicked off hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought, scientists have claimed.

In a new find, the earliest known living creature popped up about 3.5 billion years ago in a hot spring in Australia.

Well-preserved bubbles and layers of rock formed by microbes signal that life started 580 million years earlier than previous research has indicated.

The clues were found in the Dresser Formation of the North Pole Dome, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. The findings were published May 9 in Nature Communications.

The discovery hints that Charles Darwin may well have been correct in his theory that life on Earth in fact began inside a “warm little pond” and not in the sea, as many modern scientists have hypothesized.

“This may have implications for an origin of life in freshwater hot springs on land, rather than the more widely discussed idea that life developed in the ocean and adapted to land later,” said Tara Djokic, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the University of New South Wales.

And it could help scientists in the hunt for alien life on Mars.

The red planet is also believed to have had hot springs 3.5 billion years ago.

Now scientists could focus their attention on these spots to discover whether extraterrestrial organisms ever existed on the Red Planet.

“Of the top three potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover, Columbia Hills is indicated as a hot spring environment,” Djokic added.

“If life can be preserved in hot springs so far back in Earth’s history, then there is a good chance it could be preserved in Martian hot springs too.”

There has been suggestion that life on Mars was forced underground after devastating solar storms destroyed its atmosphere.

“Our exciting findings don’t just extend back the record of life living in hot springs by 3 billion years, they indicate that life was inhabiting the land much earlier than previously thought, by up to about 580 million years,” Djokic added.

Previously, the oldest known geyserite had been identified from rocks about 400 million years old.

Source: NY Post


Attack of the Michelin Men
By Scott Corrales

Some twenty years ago I found myself writing an article for Tim Beckley’s late, lamented UFO UNIVERSE about the curious case of the Michelin Men – bizarre, space-suited ufonauts who were reported in the 1970s in some far-flung locations: Spain, Argentina and even the mainland United States. Large and seemingly encased in ringed outfits that made onlookers identify them at once with Bibendum, the mascot for French tire manufacturer Michelin, these entities waddled their way into a number of UFO cases that remain little known to this day. They even merited an entry in Ronald Story’s The UFO Encyclopedia in the early 2000s.

To give readers a better idea, I’m taking the liberty of cribbing some of the original article for this one by way of setting the scene:

On Sunday, March 14, 1976, the last thing on the minds of Vicente Corell and his wife Carmen was an encounter with beings from another world. Their son had just been drafted in Spain's compulsory military service and tearful goodbyes had been exchanged at the Draftee Induction Center (CIR-7) located in the town of Marines. After spending the day in the local, the Corells began the long trip home to the town of Almenara, driving along small roads of Spain's Castellon region.

At around 10:00 p.m., the couple found itself facing a strange phenomenon in the night skies -- a brilliant white oval that floated lazily to the left of their own car. Believing at first that it might be the headlights of a car on a nearby hill, the Corells steered their Renault 4L toward their ultimate destination. No sooner had the vehicle gone a few hundred feet did they become aware of the fact that all was not well.

The alarmed couple thought that they were driving into a "luminous tornado" of sorts as a very curious object appeared to rise out of the ground. Bathing the object with his car's high beams, Mr. Corell was startled to see that it was a person.

"I suppose that it had two legs," he would tell distinguished Spanish investigator Juan José Benítez, who investigated the case. "because it reminded me of a human profile. However, since they [the legs] were so close together, it looked more like a column than a human being. The thing was tall, good-looking [sic] and wore a close fitting, one-piece outfit..."

The outlandish entity stood on the ground in what Vicente Corell described as a military "ten-hut" position --arms stiffly at its side and ramrod straight, looking at the oncoming vehicle.

The couple's initial fascination changed to fear as the Renault's lights suddenly went out, leaving them in pitch blackness. The smell of burning wires soon filled the passenger compartment and Corell was forced to pull over. While all this happened, the entity vanished into the darkness. Vicente and Carmen Corell, their car's electrical system ruined, were left to wonder what had happened.
According to researcher Benítez, Mrs. Corell proved to have a much better recall of the situation than her husband, adding the interesting detail that the entity's outfit was made of "narrow, slightly inflated bands" from its neck down to its waist. She went as far as to describe the entity as similar to Bibendum, the world-famous Michelin Man, "only less so."

A distinguished friend and colleague, Bruno Cardeñosa, had the following to add on the case in his recent book El Misterio OVNI: Un Alto Secreto Al Descubierto: "Ufologist Manuel Audije revisited the case. His conclusions, which I list below, seem very interesting to me and show that the "thing" (the "Michelin Man"), aside from having a notorious physical existence, issued some sort of energy charge that caused Mr. Corell's car to short-circuit. The fact that the figure grew in size as the car approached indicated that it was acquiring an electrostatic charge until it reached a saturation point, ionizing the air until it produced light. Composed by negative ions as it was, the body never touched the ground. One can suppose that upon coming up to the figure, the vehicle could have brushed against, or come into contact with, the container's electrostatic charge, which would have discharged itself against the vehicle with two specific outcomes: first, the humanoid would have lost its luminosity, as its potential would have been reduced down to a value insufficient to produce ionization; second, the car would become negatively charged, causing its lighting system to fail."

Cardeñosa adds that Julio Martí, the mechanic who repaired the Renault 4-L, remembered the case and the repairs he performed as late as 1987.

While such a simile may inspire some to smile and others to shake their heads, it was not the first time that such a creature would had been seen on the Spanish peninsula.

In the summer of 1960, Miguel Timermans, a schoolteacher from Prado del Rey (Cadiz) in southern Spain, decided to go on a weekend run on his Lambretta motorcycle to the city of Jerez. It was a clear, beautiful morning and visibility was unlimited. As he drove uphill at some point between Prado del Rey and the town of Arcos, a colossal figure appeared out of nowhere along the roadside. Timermans described it as well over two meters (6.5 ft.) and encased in a "swollen" red one-piece suit. Shocked, the teacher brought his motorcycle to a halt right in the middle of the highway as an overpowering sense of fear washed over him: the giant entity was slowly walking toward him along the edge of the highway.

Recalling the event, Timermans remarked that the creature's pressure suit or outfit was composed of "concentric rings" which also reminded him of the Michelin Man. The improbable figure lurched forward robotically and measuring its steps.

With the high-strangeness quotient overflowing at this point, Timermans was doubly startled to see another creature walking behind the giant! The second entity was barely over a meter tall and had what appeared to be a glossy black "boot" covering one of the legs of its red outfit. It, too, walked awkwardly as it brought up the rear.

The enigmatic figures crossed Timerman's path diagonally and vanished from sight after an encounter that lasted no more than 30 seconds. Kick-starting the Lambretta, the teacher headed for the place where the creatures had last been seen and was unable to find a trace of their presence. The astonishing case was reported in Stendek magazine.

But these strange "Michelin Men" apparently did not limit their roadside walks to the Iberian Peninsula: characters in inflated doughnut-suits also made visits to the United States (Goodland, Kansas, 1976) and Argentina (1972). The latter incident, better known due to the fact that its protagonist, Ventura Maceiras, a septuagenarian Argentinean night watchman, grew a new set of teeth after his encounter and found his intelligence "boosted" by a tremendous rate.

It turned out that other incidents had been recorded, but due to linguistic barriers, had remained locked away from U.S. based saucer research publications.

According to researcher J. Cresson, a man referred to only as Monsieur Droguet was returning home from the movies one night in May 1955, in the French city of Dinan. He was startled by a beam of blue-green light coming from a strange object floating above the ground, and if that wasn’t strange enough, there were two creatures standing beside the object, clad in metallic coveralls “similar to those worn by the Michelin Man”. Their heads were covered by large helmets and both figures were gloved, engaged in what appeared to be an effort to collect soil samples. One of the entities paused to look into the craft through a “porthole”, causing the terrified human to believe that more similarly clad occupants were inside. Droguet reported feeling a symptom familiar to other witnesses of close encounters of the third kind – he wanted to flee the scene desperately, but was riveted in place by an unknown force, conscious that the entities were aware of his presence. Perhaps, he thought, they may switch from collecting soil samples to harvesting a human or two.

His fears were allayed somewhat when the “Michelin Men” returned to their craft, gingerly walking up a ladder. The human was intrigued by the halting movement of these putative space visitors, reminding him of how deep-sea divers conduct themselves at the bottom of the ocean, their “shoes” making a metallic ring as they walked on the ground. The craft lit up and rose slowly into the air, spinning at high speed. Only then was Monsieur Droguet able to move, as though freed from an invisible force. He ran back to his dwelling, overcome by fear. The man remained silent about the event for fifteen years, having been asked to do so by the authorities who learned of the case. The case appeared in the June 1970 issue of Lumieres dans la Nuit, the prestigious French UFO publication.

The “Michelin Men” would reappear years later in another distant location: the island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa. A farmer looking for fodder for his animals in an acacia forest clearing in 1968 had an amazing encounter with an oval object with a transparent windshield “like the windshield of a Peugeot 404”. Within the confines of the shiny object, the farmer reportedly saw two small figures “wearing outfits like the ones in the Michelin advertisements.” Realizing they were being spied upon, the figures decided to make a retreat: the farmer found himself engulfed in a white flash of light, accompanied by a gust of heated air. The oval shaped “craft” had vanished in place – not taken off into the skies back to a distant star, but simply vanished. The farmer –a man of impeccable reputation – did not hesitate to tell his story to the local constabulary. Officers of the law visited the site, finding traces of radiation in the soil and more alarmingly, on the farmer’s clothing.

Lumieres Dans la Nuit had another intriguing case that had transpired on Madagascar, although not involving the oddly suited characters. The December 1976 issue included a story told by a member of the French Foreign Legion whose unit was engaged in a reconnaissance operation in the island’s wilderness. On a sunny, cloudless day, the witness plus twenty-three other Legionnaires beheld a glowing object, described as having “the color of a new coin shining in the sunlight” descending from the sky in a falling leaf motion – a classic behavior of exhibited by unidentified flying objects in the early years. It made a rapid descent, hitting the ground suddenly and sending out a shockwave. The soldiers were paralyzed, much like Droguet in 1955 and the nameless farmer in the late 1960s. “All of us saw the machine land and depart, but none of us perceived the passage of time.”

The Legionnaire sharing his story with the French UFO publication went on to add: “We were freed from the paralysis upon the objects departure, and we had been in the same place throughout the event. When we checked the time, however, we realized that nearly three hours had elapsed without becoming aware of it.” This missing time, so common to the abductee era of the 1990s, had serious consequences for the military detachment, which had failed to radio back to its base despite repeated requests. The Legionnaire stressed that the object was smooth, bore no markings, and was oval in shape

Gordon Creighton of Flying Saucer Review reported a further visit by the “Michelin Men” in 1975, this time on Reunión Island, adjacent to Madagascar. The event took place sometime in February of that year, when a man found a hat-shaped machine making a buzzing sound on the property surrounding his hut. Much like Monsieur Droguet twenty years earlier, the anonymous citizen was frozen in place, unable to make a break for safety.

“A little man emerged from the machine,” he said. “He wore a strange outfit, like the one in the Michelin advertisement. He moved nimbly down the ladder, but as he touched the ground, his movements became awkward, causing him to walk with its feet close together.”

To the witness’s consternation, two more similarly outfitted creatures descended from the machine, engaging in the oft-repeated soil collection routine and then re-entering their craft, which took off with a loud, whistling sound. The witness fell to the ground, released from the unnatural paralysis. He rose and made a run for his parents’ cottage. Investigators would subsequently find strange marks on the ground forming a triangle.

Brazil - a UFO hotspot if there ever was one - has its own stories to tell about these outlandish humanoids.

In 1962, the community of Itabirito entered the annals of ufology on the August 30 that year. A group of friends had gone to a local movie theater and left the last show short of midnight. They gathered for a spot of friendly conversation on a street corner and their conversation was interrupted by a sharp whistling sound. All three looked up to see an object floating in the night sky some 100 feet in the air over a eucalyptus grove some two hundred feet distant.

According to Luiz Gonzaga, one of the three friends, a diminutive creature was walking toward them, bearing a strong resemblance to "the figure used by the Michelin tire factory". The onlookers agreed that the diminutive figure seemed obese, large-headed and with short arms, which it swung rhythmically as it walked. Its legs were similarly short and bulky. The disconcerting entity was clad in a uniform made of a material resembling leather.

What happened next was as uncanny as the sighting itself. Two of the three young men ran off, screaming in fright, leaving Luiz Gonzaga alone on the corner, unable to move as if riveted in place for an entire minute. The squat ufonaut had disappeared and the object became gradually brighter until its glow seemed to encompass the entire area. The putative UFO's light diminished and Gonzaga was able to move again. He would later find himself plagued with migraine headaches for an entire month. The paralysis in this case was similar to what was experienced by Monsieur Droguet in France seven years earlier.

Source: Inexplicata
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Monsters of Texas – Lakes, Rivers and the Ocean
By Nick Redfern

As someone who lives just outside Dallas, Texas and also as someone who writes extensively on the subject of Cryptozoology, I am occasionally asked about the issue of lake-monsters in the Lone Star State. Do such creatures exist in Texas? Are there reports of Nessie-like animals in the state’s lakes? How many reports are there? Let’s take a look. We’ll begin with a startling story from May 13, 1872. The location: the waters off the coast of the Texas city of Galveston. According to the written words of a Captain Hassel, of a Norwegian ship, the St. Olaf…

“…Two days before arrival at Galveston, and about 4:30 P.M. on May 13, weather calm, smooth sea, lat.26 52?, long. 91 20?, I saw a shoal of sharks passing the ship. Five or six came under the vessel’s stern, but before we could get out a line they went off with the rest. About two minutes after, one of the men sang out that he saw something on the weather bow, like a cask on its end. Presently another one called out that he saw something rising out of the water like a tall man. On a nearer approach we saw it was an immense serpent, with its head out of the water, about 200 ft. from the vessel. He lay still on the surface of the water, lifting his head up, and moving the body in a serpentine manner.”

The captain continued: “Could not see all of it; but what we could see, from the after part of the head, was about 70 ft. long and of the same thickness all the way, excepting about the head and neck, which were smaller, and the former flat, like the head of a serpent. It had four fins on its back, and the body of a yellow greenish color, with brown spots all over the upper part and underneath white. The whole crew were looking at it for fully ten minutes before it moved away. It was about six feet in diameter. One of the mates has drawn a slight sketch of the serpent, which will give some notion of its appearance.”

Moving on, there’s the legend of the monster of Lake Granbury, Texas. Its name: “One-Eye.” The lake itself is not at all far away from where I live and, since 2005, I have visited it on several occasions. The creature is described as having dark-colored skin, a long neck, a very small head, and a humped back. Ronan Coghlan, an Irish investigator of all manner of Fortean anomalies, says: “Whether it has attained a one-eyed state by accident or whether it is naturally one-eyed, I cannot say.”

The lake itself is less than half a century old, which obviously makes many wonder how on Earth it can be the home to a monster – or even more than one. On this issue, it’s worth noting that the lake acts as a dam for the Brazos River. Notably, that very same river has many old tales attached to it of massive fish dwelling in its waters. For example, a number of people have told me of sightings of large animals swimming in the Brazos River – animals that they perceived as monstrous. However, the descriptions make me strongly suspect that what the witnesses actually saw were huge Alligator Gar. Texas Parks and Wildlife notes: “Although alligator gar may reach three feet in length in three years, their growth rate slows with age, and the fish may take 20 to 30 years to reach a length of six feet.”

It would not surprise me at all if some truly massive examples of Alligator Gar were the cause of a few lake/river monsters in Texas. In fact, I’m pretty much positive that’s the case. But, there have been some weirder cases from Lake Granbury. As one example, on a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1999, a very large creature was seen partially and briefly beached on the shore of the lake. The boyfriend and girlfriend in question were sure that the beast – close to twenty feet in length – was a huge eel. Although an eel of such an immense size sounds very unlikely, reports of giant eels do proliferate.

Up until 2008, I lived very close to the shores of White Rock Lake, Dallas. While living there, I heard a couple of tales of monster-sized creatures in the lake. One came to me from the late Rob Riggs – whose 2001 book, In the Big Thicket, is a study of Bigfoot in Texas’ Big Thicket. Years ago, Rob told me of, and introduced me to, a friend of his who swore he knew that a baby alligator was let loose in the lake, many years ago. An urban legend? Probably, yes. But, it’s still one for the files. I have also heard of tales of huge catfish in White Rock Lake, which would not surprise me at all.

So, yes, Texas does have its very own monsters of the deep. Some may be oversized examples of known creatures. Others are likely the result of friend-of-a-friend-type tales. But, a few might very well be genuine unknowns.

Source: Mysterious Universe


School Finds Itself Covered In Dead Fish

Something fishy happened this week at Stanford Avenue Elementary School in Oroville.

A typical Tuesday took a turn for the weird just before noon when the campus was suddenly covered in dead fish.

Campus Supervisor Liz Barber-Gabriel had no idea recess would include fish that weren’t in the cafeteria. She apparently was the first person to see the fish covering the playground and other areas around the school building.

However, it appears neither she nor anyone else actually saw the fish fall from the sky. Wherever they came from, they were also on the roof, as a custodian sent bravely to investigate found out.

School officials aren’t sure if it was some kind of prank or if it really rained fish.

“My first concern was who was on the campus that we don’t know about,” said Principal Shannon Capshew. “But the campus supes didn’t see any adult, we were covering the whole time.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the fish is a kind of carp and is not found in the nearby Feather River.

Oroville is in Butte County, California, and borders the Feather River and Lake Oroville recreation areas, so the next logical explanation is that the fish were brought to this school from their school in one of those bodies of water by strong winds, storms with waterspouts or fish-eating birds that dropped their prey.

A representative from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife examined the small fish and determined that they were carp, which don’t live in the Feather River or Lake Oroville. Even if they did, a local TV meteorologist pointed out that there were no storms or any other unusual weather that morning.

The strangest part of the story, other than the fact that the fish only rained on the school grounds,  is that the witnesses – trustworthy teachers and school officials – all said the fish just appeared out of nowhere.

Source: Sacramento CBS


Weird Stuff From the Sky
By Tim R. Swartz

CHICKEN Little may not have had his facts quite straight when he assumed that the sky was falling when an acorn hit him on the head.  However, to give Chicken Little a little credit, throughout our weird history there have been all sorts of unusual things falling from the sky.  

As strange as it may seem, it has not been all that unusual for living things such as fish or frogs to be seen tumbling down during a rainstorm.  Meteorologists normally attribute such sky falls as the end result of a tornado sucking animals up into the clouds.  What they can't answer is why the tornados are so choosy as to gather up only one species of water critter, and why mud, sand and other debris is suspiciously absent during these incidents.

Assuming that little creatures such as fish and frogs can fall from the sky because of tornados, this does not explain the appearance of other, even weirder stuff that clearly does not belong in the sky.  It seems that, at one time or another, practically everything at one time or another has been spotted falling from the heavens.

The July 24, 1851 edition of The San Francisco Herald, troops on the drill ground at the Benicia army station near San Francisco were showered with blood and pieces of meat, apparently beef. Specimens "from the size of a pigeon's egg up to that of an orange" were given to the post surgeon and he described some of the slices as being slightly spoiled, as if they had been left out in the sun too long.

The San Francisco Evening Bulletin reported that on August 1, 1869, flesh, blood and short, fine hairs fell from the sky over a three minute period and covered over two acres of Mr. J. Hudson's farm near Los Nietos California. The day was clear and windless, and flesh fell as fine particles as well as in strips from one to six inches long. It was also reported that flesh and blood had fallen in Santa Clara County some two months earlier.

One of the best researched cases of weird falling flesh occurred on March 3, 1876 in Bath County, Kentucky.  According to Troy Taylor in his article Mysterious Falls from the Sky, flakes of meat fell from a clear sky over an area 100 yards long and 50 yards wide near the home of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Crouch, who lived two or three miles from the Olympian Springs in the southern portion of the county.  

Mrs. Crouch was out in the yard at the time, engaged in making soap, when meat which looked like beef began to fall around her. The sky was perfectly clear at the time, and she said it fell like large snowflakes, the pieces as a general thing not being much larger, but some were as large as three to four inches. Particles of meat were found scattered over the ground and stuck to fences. The meat when it first fell appeared to be similar in appearance to beef and perfectly fresh.

Within a 10 minute period, a "horse wagon full" of meat fell over the area. Chickens and hogs devoured the substance with relish and "two gentlemen" who tasted it determined that it was either venison or mutton. Several large samples were gathered for study by a group of faculty members at Transylvania University. Other samples, collected by Alexander Tenney Parker (a freed slave living as the head of a household in Lexington), were shipped around the country. The scholars who received these samples shared their findings in several publications.

Mr. Leopold Brandeis, whose article appeared on the strange fall in a July issue of The Sanitarian, theorized that the alleged "meat" was nothing more than "nostic" - "a low form of vegetable substance."  What was left unexplained was how it managed to fall from the sky.

A letter from Dr. Allan McLane Hamilton was posted to the Medical Record, saying that along with Dr. J.W.S. Arnold, Dr. Hamilton examined the material from the Kentucky meat shower under a microscope. The material was identified as being lung tissue from a human infant or a horse. According to the letter, "the structure of the organ in these two cases" was apparently "very similar."

Not all things inexplicably falling from the clouds has to be as gruesome as the previous stories.  On the nights of September 2 and 11, 1857, a shower of candy fell over some sections of Lake County Calif.   According to History of Napa and Lake Counties, Calif. (Lyman L. Palmer), "It is said that on both these nights there fell a shower of candy or sugar. The crystals were from 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch in length and the size of a goose quill. Syrup was made of it by some of the lady residents of the section."

Local authorities were left baffled on Sept. 1, 1969, when a seemingly routine rainstorm got pretty weird and began depositing golf balls in the gutters, lawns and streets of Punta Gorda, Florida.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that "dozens and dozens and dozens" of golf balls fell from the sky, though no explanation was ever given. Located on Florida's western Gulf coast, Punta Gorda regularly experiences severe weather, which often causes waterspouts. The region is also home to many golf courses, so a logical explanation might be that a passing storm sipped up a ball-filled pond, then dropped its catch on the town.
Once again though, no explanation is given why a passing storm would only pick up golf balls leaving other pond debris behind.

There are just some things that you don't want to experience falling from the sky.  Snakes come to mind…a lot of people would be somewhat uncomfortable if spiders started raining down on them…but I think that practically everyone would agree that they would not want to be anywhere near a place where alligators would come plummeting out of nowhere.

On December 26, 1877, The New York Times reported the following: "Dr. J.L. Smith of Silverton Township, South Carolina, while opening up a new turpentine farm, noticed something fall to the ground and commence to crawl toward the tent where he was sitting. On examining the object he found it to be an alligator. In the course of a few moments a second one made its appearance. This so excited the curiosity of the doctor that he looked around to see if he could discover any more, and found six others within a space of two hundred yards. The animals were all quite lively and about twelve inches in length. The place whereon they fell is situated on high sandy ground about six miles north of the Savannah River."

For more weird and bizarre stuff, read Tim R. Swartz's "America's Strange and Supernatural History."


Scientist Gets a Hand With Inventing a Legacy

Elmer R. Gates was the most brilliant scientist you've never heard of. He taught dogs to see color. He studied the way emotions affect human breath. He had 43 patents to his name. He spent each waking moment intensely studying his own consciousness, going so deep inside himself that he was certain he had changed the very structure of his brain.

And he did it all in Chevy Chase in what at the time -- 1896 to 1908 -- was said to be the largest private laboratory in the United States. Yet today, even the folks at the Chevy Chase Historical Society haven't heard of this idiosyncratic genius.
Since 1904, Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C., Inc. has provided opportunities for less fortunate children to attend summer camp. Many of the children come from the city's foster care caseload. None of them could afford a week at camp without this support.

Idiosyncratic genius or crackpot?

That's the problem. Some of Gates's theories were so outlandish at the time -- exercising the brain as if it were a muscle? -- that he was embraced, if he was embraced at all, by the fringiest of knowledge-seekers.

Lee Humphries of Minneapolis wants to change that. Last year Lee, 65, launched http://www.elmergates.com, a Web site devoted to all things Elmer.

Gates seems to have been more concerned with how something was invented than what was invented. He was convinced that people could put themselves in the right frame of mind to be creative, possibly by adjusting their physical surroundings. And so he paid special attention to the conditions when he was most creative.

Said Lee: "He kept voluminous records on his own physiology, taking urine samples several times a day and blood samples. He would take his temperature. He was doing this to find out what his physiological state was when he was most productive."

Sometimes Gates would do his thinking in a special chamber in which he could regulate the temperature, humidity and electrostatic charge of the air. All to discover how external forces affected his thinking.

Except he didn't call it his "thinking," preferring the expression "mentative process" or "psychurgy."

Although he lectured at the Smithsonian and his lab played host to esteemed visitors, it was a mention in the book "Think and Grow Rich," by power-of-positive-thinking huckster Napoleon Hill that kept Gates's name alive.

That's where Lee, then a curious high-school student, first encountered him.

"I'm interested in creativity," Lee said. "I felt in my own meager way I had replicated some of [Gates's] results, essentially using the same introspective procedures for problem solving that he used."

Lee tracked down Gates's heirs and gained access to original papers, which he put up on his Web site. Gates "thought that ultimately he would synthesize all of this stuff and he would write his great work," Lee said.

Except he never did. He was in the fine tradition as such iconoclastic -- and doomed -- American inventors as Philo T. Farnsworth. Gates didn't publish, and he spread himself awfully thin. His dozens of inventions include ore separators, an electric iron and an early chemical fire extinguisher.
Since 1904, Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C., Inc. has provided opportunities for less fortunate children to attend summer camp. Many of the children come from the city's foster care caseload. None of them could afford a week at camp without this support.

He trained dogs to walk down a darkened hallway where tiles of certain colors were electrified, in the process becoming perhaps the first researcher to use negative reinforcement.

He had people in various emotional states breathe into a glass tube, collected the condensate, treated it with various agents and examined the precipitate. Newspapers at the time announced that Gates had declared that the color of sin was pink, one of many misinterpretations of his work, Lee said. In fact, Gates had discovered that a person's emotional state could affect his or her body's chemistry, something we take for granted now.

My favorite Gates invention is from 1903: Patent No. 741,903, "Educational Toy or Game Apparatus." It was a box whose lid had different shapes cut into it -- circles, triangles, squares -- and an assortment of similarly shaped blocks to go into it.

Elmer R. Gates invented the square peg for the square hole, the round peg for the round hole.

None of his inventions made him rich, though. He was too busy plowing money back into his lab, which he eventually lost. The pages of his diary from the spring of 1911 show an increasingly desperate man. Money had dried up, and Gates's journal alternates between desperation and inspiration. "My idea for artificial wrapping for sausages and bologna has leaked out," he laments. "I saw these goods for sale in the market recently!"

Then later: "10,000,000 dollars can be made on a non-magnetizable watch."

He decided to try to invent one. If he had, maybe you'd have heard of him.

Source: The Washington Post


23 Fascinating Facts About the Number Twenty-Three

To most, it's just what comes between 22 and 24. Yet to surprisingly many - including the makers of a new film - it means much more.

1 23 is one of the most commonly cited prime numbers - a number that can only be divided by itself and one. Twenty three is the lowest prime that consists of consecutive digits. Primes have been described as the "atoms" of mathematics - the building blocks of the world of numbers. An American businessman has put up a US$1m (£500,000) prize for the first mathematician to find a pattern in primes - a problem known as the Riemann hypothesis.

2 The number has been the subject of not one but two films: the 1998 German movie, 23, and The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey, released (naturally) today. Each has a main character obsessed with the number.

3 John Forbes Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who was the subject of the film, A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, was obsessed with 23. It featured prominently in his battle with mental illness. His breakdown began when he claimed that a photograph of Pope John XXIII on the cover of Life magazine was in fact him, the proof being that 23 was his favourite number. Nash published 23 scientific articles.

4 More freaky numerical coincidences: Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859 - 1+8+5+9 = 23. Two divided by three makes 0.666 recurring (allegedly - actually it makes 0.6666666667). The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15am - 8+15= 23.

5 23rdians are a group of people who subscribe to the mystical power of 23 and see it in multiple combinations throughout daily life.

6 The Ancient Chinese believed numbers conveyed sexuality - evens for feminine and odds for masculine. They considered prime numbers to be the most masculine, conferring special status on 23 which is made up of two consecutive prime numbers and the only even prime number - two.

7 In the disaster movie, Airport, the bomber has seat 23. The number of crosses on Calvary at the end of the Monty Python film, The Life of Brian, is 23. In Die Hard With A Vengeance, a train derails in subway station 23. The lead characters in the Coen brothers' film The Big Lebowski always used Lane 23 at the bowling alley. In the television series Lost, one of the combination of six numbers that haunt the characters and they have to input to a computer to avoid an unknown fate is 23.

8 The terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001 have been held up as one of the most portentous examples of the disturbing power of 23. The figures in the date (9+11+2+0+0+1) add up to 23. The independent US commission which investigated the attacks found the date had been chosen randomly by the hijackers and had originally been planned for later in the year. Alternative explanations for the date included the taking over of Palestine by Britain in 1922 and the fact that 911 is the US emergency code.

9 Few hold 23 in more esteem than the followers of Discordianism, a self-declared religion based on the premise that discord and chaos are the building blocks of life. For Discordianists, 23 is the Holy Number and a tribute to the goddess Eris, who surveys a world of chaos. The mantra invoked by Discordianists for the Holy Number is "Invert The Pyramid". If you invert the sentence one letter at a time - eg "dinvert the pyramid", "id invert the pyram" etc - it takes 22 chants, finished by the line "The Pyramid Inverts" to make 23. The last line is called "the final energy releaser". Discordianism is described by some followers as "a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke".

10 Sport stars have developed a particular affinity (and aversion) to 23. Michael Jordan, the American basketball player, wore the number throughout his career and inspired many copy cat fans of wardrobe vigintitriplicity. Best known is former England captain David Beckham, who swapped his number seven Manchester United jersey for number 23 when he joined Real Madrid. Beckham, who said it was in deference to Jordan, is expected to continue wearing 23 when he joins LA Galaxy this summer. But the number is not always a harbinger of sporting good fortune. Manchester City have not assigned the squad number 23 to any player since 2003 after the last incumbent, Marc Vivien Foe, collapsed and died while playing for the Cameroon on 26 June 2003. Marcus Trescothick, the England cricket players, wears number 23 and was Australian bowler Shane Warne's 600th test wicket. Warne also wears 23.

11 The Bible does not let 23 pass without conferring upon it some significance, at least to students of the Book. Although the Old Testament is unspecific, it is widely held that Adam and Eve had 23 daughters. The 23rd verse of the first chapter of Genesis brings the act of creation to a close while the 23rd chapter of the book of Genesis deals entirely with death, namely that of Abraham's wife, Sarah. The most famous and most quoted of the Psalms is number 23: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters."

12 Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes to the start of human life. The nuclei of cells in human bodies have 46 chromosomes made out of 23 pairs. Egg and sperm cells in humans have 23 chromosomes which fuse and divide to create an embryo.

13 The most detailed account of the assassination of Julius Caesar, written by Nicolaus of Damascus, claims numerous enemies stabbed the Roman emperor 23 times. The wounds ranged from superficial to mortal.

14 William Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon on 23 April 1564. He died 52 years later on his birthday, 23 April 1616. Kurt Cobain, the god of grunge, was born in 1967 and died in 1994 - 1+9+6+7= 23, 1+9+9+4 = 23.

15 In the science fantasy saga, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca sneak into detention block AA23 to rescue Princess Leia. The rescue attempt is botched and Leia escapes only by dodging Stormtroopers' laserfire. A police robot called 23 is included in Star Wars director George Lucas' first film, THX 1138.

16 The Knights Templar, the order of soldier monks who eventually fell foul of the Vatican and have been the subject of conspiracy theories about the Holy Grail, had 23 Grand Masters.

17 The first morse code transmission - "What hath God wrought?" - was from the Bible passage Numbers 23:23. In telegraphers code 23 means "break the line".

18 The Birthday Paradox states that a group of 23 randomly-selected people is the smallest number where there will be a probability higher than 50 per cent that two people will share the same birthday.

19 The author William Burroughs was obsessed with 23. While living in Tangiers, he met a Captain Clark who ran a ferry between Spain and Morocco. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route for 23 years without incident. Later that day, the ferry sank, killing the captain. While Burroughs was thinking about the incident, a radio bulletin announced the crash of a Flight 23 on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark. The events prompted an obsession which saw Burroughs record every occurrence of the number 23 for the rest of his life.

20 The disbanded pop act KLF are one of several musical sources of 23-related lore. The two men behind KLF - Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty - were once known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, which has 23 letters and comes from the novels of Robert Anton Wilson, another 23 obsessive. A police car used for the video of the KLF's number one, "Doctorin' The Tardis", had 23 painted on the roof, their final performance lasted 23 minutes and they incinerated £1m on a remote Scottish island on 23 August 1994. Psychic TV, another cult act, released 23 live albums on the 23rd day of 23 consecutive months.

21 "W" is the 23rd letter of the Latin alphabet. It has two points down and three points up. White supremacists use 23 to represent "W" as a mark of racial superiority.

22 "23 skidoo" is an American catchphrase from the early 20th century meaning to make a sharp exit. It was used as the title of a poem by the occultist Aleister Crowley, another 23 aficionado. But some believe its origins lie in Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, where the old woman counting the daily victims of the guillotine calls "23" as the hero is beheaded in the last chapter.

23 The average human physical biorhythm is 23 days.

Source: The Independent

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