8/19/18  #968
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Welcome again to your number one source of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal, and everything else weird and strange. Is your local newspaper afraid to print the truth? Does the 24 hour cable news leave you bloated with nonsense?  Are website blogs filled with extremist, political baloney? Then Conspiracy Journal is the number one weekly newsletter of the weird and strange for you!

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such dependable tales as:

 Radioactive Sheep May Prove Illegal Nuclear Blast -  
- They've Seen 'Things' -
Paranormal Creatures That Need Permission -
AND: Weird 911 Call Spooks Pueblo Police

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



Secret Government Findings Claim There Is A Valid "Alien Threat"

Here is irrefutable proof that UFOs could be perilous to your health, your well-being and even your life – and in an extreme case scenario could doom all of humanity.


In a series of rather astonishing disclosures, the New York Times revealed in a provocative front page article that the military had spent upwards of $22 million dollars in recent years on the study of UFOs and the creation of an “advanced aerospace threat identification program.” Sightings have persisted long after the official closure of Project Blue Book – something UFO researchers have long suspected but could not prove.

Part of this multi-million dollar “Black Project” bundle was spent on an exhaustive study of the physiological and psychological effects of UFOs on witnesses. And while this hush-hush scrutiny of observers has to date never been released, an independent study indicates there is a PATTERN OF HORROR – that UFOs are no laughing matter and represent a TERRIFYING THREAT TO US ALL!

Because of the frightening nature of its fully documented findings, this may well be the most startling book you will ever read about the dangerous side of UFOs!

This incredible book contains case histories of UFO atrocities, from strange disappearances to bizarre deaths. 

There are hundreds of ALARMING CASES that are detailed in this book – and it is evident there is NO PLACE TO HIDE!

This Book is Now Available for the
Bargain Price of Only

So don't delay, order your copy of UFO Hostilities And The Evil Alien Agenda: Lethal Encounters With Ultra-Terrestrials Exposed before this offer expires!

 $18.00 plus $5.00 for shipping -  A GREAT PRICE!

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Radioactive Sheep May Prove Illegal Nuclear Blast

Radioactive isotopes found in Australian sheep have added credence to the theory that Israel conducted an illegal nuclear test over the Indian Ocean 39 years ago.

The findings, published in a new study for Science and Global Security, shed intriguing new light on the mysterious Vela Incident, as it is known, of September 22, 1979.

At 12.53am GMT on the date, the US satellite Vela 6911 detected the 'double flash' characteristic of a nuclear explosion in the southern Indian Ocean, near the Prince Edward Islands about halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

Advisors to then-President Jimmy Carter rushed to brief him on the incident, and security officials immediately speculated that the event was an Israeli nuclear test conducted in cooperation with apartheid South Africa, Carter wrote in his memoirs.

However, an official US government panel convened to study the matter delivered an equivocal finding that downplayed the likelihood of a nuclear explosion.

Israel, whose presumed nuclear arsenal is considered an open secret by many, has steadfastly refuse to confirm or deny whether it has a nuclear program.

Now, the new study by Christopher Wright of the Australian Defence Force Academy and retired Swedish Defence Research Agency nuclear physicist Lars-Erik De Geer, offers new clues.

The researchers reveal the discovery of iodine-131 in the thyroids of some Australian sheep in October and November of 1979. The thyroids were sent to the US for analysis at the time, but the results were never made public.

The researchers write that the isotope levels 'would be consistent with them having grazed in the path of a potential radioactive fallout plume from a 22 September low-yield nuclear test in the Southern Indian Ocean.'

The findings include analysis of weather patterns that suggest the fallout plume from a nuclear explosion would have looped over parts of Australia.

As well, the study analyzes declassified descriptions of an underwater sound wave detected by US listening posts that correlated with the double flash near the Prince Edward Islands, which are uninhabited except for a South African government research station.

The new study 'removes virtually all doubt that the 'flash' was a nuclear explosion,' Leonard Weiss wrote for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

'This strengthens previous analyses concluding that Israel likely carried out a nuclear test in violation of US law and the Limited Test Ban Treaty,' the nuclear nonproliferation expert wrote.

'Israel was the only country that had the technical ability and policy motivation to carry out such a clandestine test, which, according to some sources, was the last of several and was detected by the Vela satellite because of a sudden change in cloud cover,' Weiss wrote.

Israel for its part maintains a strategic silence on the question of a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Asked if Israel was responsible for the Vela Incident, Israel's Ambassador to New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, told the New Zealand Herald: 'Simply a ridiculous assumption that does not hold water.'

The Limited Test Ban Treaty went into force in 1963 and bans nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water, rendering legal only those nuclear tests performed underground.

Israel signed the treaty in 1963 and ratified it in 1964.

Source: MSN


They’ve ‘Seen Things’
By Rozette Rago

A group in Los Angeles has attracted U.F.O. enthusiasts from all over the world. They’ve formed together around the common question: What are these things in the sky, exactly, and how can they know more about them?

Robert Bingham has “seen things.” When he was 39, he looked skyward and noticed a worm-shaped ship about 20 feet tall zipping through the clouds.

Unusual things kept popping up around him — or above him, rather. He saw a saucer and some flying objects shaped like beans next. He snapped a picture.

For over ten years, he kept his sightings to himself. That changed in 2010, when his neighbor came over to do some plumbing work. Mr. Bingham showed him his photos. The neighbor asked if he could invite his brother, who was very interested in unidentified flying objects, or U.F.O.s.

In awe of what they saw, they asked if they could invite more people to speak with Mr. Bingham — 40 more, actually. More than eight years ago, that was the first meeting of what is now known as “Summon Events with Robert Bingham,” at a park in Los Angeles across the street from where Mr. Bingham worked as a security guard.

Mr. Bingham, 62, an unassuming man who describes himself as shy, has become the nexus of a community of U.F.O. hunters in Los Angeles, fervent believers who come together to share their stories and persuade skeptics that extraterrestrial communications aren’t just a conceit for television shows.

Since then, he has attracted U.F.O. enthusiasts from all over the world, drawn together by the same questions: What are these things in the sky, exactly, and how can we learn more about them?

While there is just not enough documentation or scientific evidence to begin to explain or even confirm these sightings, that doesn’t stop the dozens of people that once a year descend on the same park to watch and assist Mr. Bingham as he tries to summon the “objects,” as they call them, and also to hang out with other enthusiasts who have turned into friends.

“It’s a great community because you can talk about anything and you’re not worried about being called crazy,” said Hans Boysen, 53, who has participated in the last seven summoning sessions with Bingham since 2011.

Other groups, like the U.F.O. and Paranormal Research Society, don’t organize sighting sessions, but rather focus on discussions, often with speakers who talk about their research and experiences. A nonprofit group called the Mutual U.F.O. Network, or Mufon, founded in 1969, has over 4,000 members worldwide and convenes a yearly symposium. This year, a former Pentagon intelligence officer, Luis Elizondo, will give the keynote address.

Last year, The New York Times conducted interviews and obtained records pertaining to the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The program — parts of which remain classified — investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials. According to the article, officials insisted that the effort had ended after five years, in 2012. The article also stated that Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at M.I.T., cautioned that not knowing the origin of an object does not mean that it is from another planet or galaxy. “When people claim to observe truly unusual phenomena, sometimes it’s worth investigating seriously,” she said. But, she added, “what people sometimes don’t get about science is that we often have phenomena that remain unexplained.”

As much as scientists deal with probabilities, they rely on data and the reality is, no matter how many videos people upload on YouTube, they’re simply not enough to draw any definitive conclusions from.

But that doesn’t stop this community from searching.  Many in the community that forms around Mr. Bingham believe that the multimillion-dollar alien research efforts of the former Blink-182 guitarist and singer Tom DeLonge are just the beginning to finding out some answers. Mr. DeLonge made headlines after To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science, a research group he founded — Mr. Elizondo is its director of global security and special programs — released declassified footage from the Department of Defense and continues his efforts.

Angel Llewellyn, 49, drove to the event from San Jose, Calif., for a second year as a form of pilgrimage. She said she started seeing things right after attending to Mr. Bingham’s event for the first time.

“It’s like he charges you,” she said. “He teaches you how to call them and what to think and they just, boom, boom, boom. It’s like fishing. You never know what you’re going to get.”

That’s not to say that everyone in the group is on the same page. There’s a variety of ideologies — some beliefs are grounded in religion, while some prefer a more scientific foundation — and different levels of intensity. Rafael Cebrian, 29, a two-time attendee, brought a curious friend who was visiting from Spain. He said it was about being open and being in the right state of mind. He went to Mr. Bingham’s event last year on a friend’s recommendation. He said he didn’t think he was a skeptic anymore, but he also insisted he didn’t know anything for sure.

Mr. Bingham may have brought them all together, but now factions abound.

One such group is the L.A. U.F.O. Channel, a monthly Meetup group founded by Mr. Perez and Hans Boysen, 53.

“I know they’re never going to believe a video that they think was created in somebody’s basement,” Mr. Perez said. “I see the events as a bigger way to change people’s minds.”

Mr. Boysen was once a skeptic himself and tried to contact Mr. Bingham in 2011. “Like most people, I suspect, I thought he was a nut case or lunatic,” he said. But as a skeptic, he was “willing to keep an open mind and look at what he had to offer.” He instead found Mr. Perez, who helped him discover his passion for the unknown flying objects in the sky, something he has always been interested in since he was a child.

Yasmin Joyner, 35, an artist, says she has a more straightforward approach to sightings and doesn’t like to engage in conspiracy theories. “Unidentified flying objects: That’s what a U.F.O. is, right?” she said. “I’m not saying it’s an alien. I’m not saying it’s from another planet. I’m not saying it’s even a being. I don’t know!”

“I try to go with what I can say I know,” she continued. “I’m not going to look at something and try to equate that it might be an animal or something biological. I don’t know that and I will never claim to know that.” She recently formed another group, Indigo Army, that she hopes will attract a younger and more diverse crowd. Because it’s still a small group, its members have been able to organize sightings at one another’s houses and nearby parks.

For Ms. Joyner, going public with her belief of U.F.O.s and extraterrestrial communications wasn’t a decision she took lightly. She understands that there are consequences to being outspoken about beliefs that many people may deem weird or crazy.

“I think my family was a bit worried that I had snapped or something, but once they saw my footage and what I was seeing, they understood,” she said. Her mother is fully supportive and claims to have seen unknown objects flying in the sky near her home in Los Angeles multiple times.

Mallory Jackson, 26, who attends Meetup hangouts led by Mr. Bingham and the Indigo Army, says she finds it difficult to maintain relationships outside the U.F.O. community with people who might not be as understanding of her interests. She discovered Mr. Bingham’s event through a friend she met at a metaphysical center that does reiki healing, with whom she later confided in about her sightings. She said she became friends with several members “right away” before later meeting Jim Martin, 38, another longtime attendee of Mr. Bingham’s events. Mr. Martin is now her boyfriend.

“When we do our events, you’ll see all ages, all ethnicities, all genders,” Ms. Jackson said. “It’s beautiful, and we’re all just trying to figure it out as we go. We don’t know what they are, but we make all make our assumptions and best guesses.”

Around noon on a punishingly hot day in April, Mr. Bingham gathered everyone around him for the first so-called group summoning of the day. “Let’s make this world a better place,” he said. “Enjoy this day because it’s going to be incredible.” As he concluded his opening remarks, he turned around and led the group to hope for something good to show up.

So, how exactly does the group try to summon U. F. O.s? Everyone has a different method, but most agree that it’s similar to meditating. Some say that they feel physical sensations when they do it. The most important thing, Ms. Joyner said, is to focus. At the event in April, some participants closed their eyes and stood silently. Some stared intently into the sky. A few newcomers simply looked around, appearing confused.

As soon as someone in the group spots something, they yell at Mr. Boysen, who has a telescope connected to a camera and a screen that shows what he’s seeing. Once he spots it, he holds out his arm to ask for someone to guide him back to his chair without losing sight of the object. He adjusts his telescope in search of it, while the guide looks at the screen to tell him if he’s got it or not. Everything is recorded as video footage that he will later stabilize using Adobe After Effects, a video-editing software. “Nothing more,” Charles Cassey, 50, Mr. Boysen’s frequent guide, insists. “All he does is stabilize the footage so it’s not so shaky.” Mr. Cassey puts his hand on the focus knob and adjusts it as soon as Mr. Boysen centers on the object.

Effectively capturing objects in the sky from dozens of miles away requires a significant financial investment. Ms. Joyner uses a camera with a lens that can magnify objects up to 40 times, which could capture things in the sky as if they were only 20 feet away, but in broad daylight, it can still get a little tricky. Mr. Martin works his way around such issues by combining a super-zoom lens with infrared, which helps him spot things in the sky easier. He is frequently praised by people in the community for his consistently high-quality footage, and his YouTube page is full of well-edited clips from various sightings, as well as other U.F.O.-related videos.

The group’s members encounter their fair share of people who don’t believe them online. It’s not unusual to see U.F.O. believers try to debunk each other’s videos by dissecting them frame by frame. “Some people’s opinions are so hardened that I just let them think what they want and focus on research that I think is valid,” Mr. Martin said. “Through the videos that I post, I try and set an example of what I think is good evidence to kind of rise against some of the misidentification.” This forms a core part of the new mission of the Indigo Army: to look harder at the evidence and be more selective about what the group claims to be a U.F.O.

Ms. Joyner agrees, and thinks they can only get better by scrutinizing everything closely, including their own work. “There are videos that I have that I questioned a year later and I don’t have any issues doing that,” she said. “If we have a problem with being wrong, there’s never going to be any truth.”

“Oh, that video? Might’ve been just birds. And I’m O.K. with that. But this video? This video isn’t birds.”

Source: NY Times


Weaponized Information Targets YOU!
By Richard Forno

The Russian attacks on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the country’s continuing election-related hacking have happened across all three dimensions of cyberspace – physical, informational and cognitive. The first two are well-known: For years, hackers have exploited hardware and software flaws to gain unauthorized access to computers and networks – and stolen information they’ve found. The third dimension, however, is a newer target – and a more concerning one.

This three-dimensional view of cyberspace comes from my late mentor, Professor Dan Kuehl of the National Defense University, who expressed concern about traditional hacking activities and what they meant for national security. But he also foresaw the potential – now clear to the public at large – that those tools could be used to target people’s perceptions and thought processes, too. That’s what the Russians allegedly did, according to federal indictments issued in February and July, laying out evidence that Russian civilians and military personnel used online tools to influence Americans’ political views – and, potentially, their votes. They may be setting up to do it again for the 2018 midterm elections.

Some observers suggest that using internet tools for espionage and as fuel for disinformation campaigns is a new form of “hybrid warfare.” Their idea is that the lines are blurring between the traditional kinetic warfare of bombs, missiles and guns, and the unconventional, stealthy warfare long practiced against foreigners’ “hearts and minds” by intelligence and special forces capabilities.

However, I believe this isn’t a new form of war at all: Rather, it is the same old strategies taking advantage of the latest available technologies. Just as online marketing companies use sponsored content and search engine manipulation to distribute biased information to the public, governments are using internet-based tools to pursue their agendas. In other words, they’re hacking a different kind of system through social engineering on a grand scale.

Old goals, new techniques

More than 2,400 years ago, the Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu made it an axiom of war that it’s best to “subdue the enemy without fighting.” Using information – or disinformation, or propaganda – as a weapon can be one way to destabilize a population and disable the target country. In 1984 a former KGB agent who defected to the West discussed this as a long-term process and more or less predicted what’s happening in the U.S. now.

The Russians created false social media accounts to simulate political activists – such as @TEN_GOP, which purported to be associated with the Tennessee Republican Party. Just that one account attracted more than 100,000 followers. The goal was to distribute propaganda, such as captioned photos, posters or short animated graphics, purposely designed to enrage and engage these accounts’ followers. Those people would then pass the information along through their own personal social networks.

Starting from seeds planted by Russian fakers, including some who claimed to be U.S. citizens, those ideas grew and flourished through amplification by real people. Unfortunately, whether originating from Russia or elsewhere, fake information and conspiracy theories can form the basis for discussion at major partisan media outlets.

As ideas with niche online beginnings moved into the traditional mass media landscape, they serve to keep controversies alive by sustaining divisive arguments on both sides. For instance, one Russian troll factory had its online personas host rallies both for and against each of the major candidates in the 2016 presidential election. Though the rallies never took place, the online buzz about them helped inflame divisions in society.

The trolls also set up Twitter accounts purportedly representing local news organizations – including defunct ones – to take advantage of Americans’ greater trust of local news sources than national ones. These accounts operated for several years – one for the Chicago Daily News, closed since 1978, was created in May 2014 and collected 20,000 followers – passing along legitimate local news stories, likely seeking to win followers’ trust ahead of future disinformation campaigns. Shut down before they could fulfill that end, these accounts cleverly aimed to exploit the fact that many Americans’ political views cloud their ability to separate fact from opinion in the news.

These sorts of activities are functions of traditional espionage: Foment discord and then sit back while the target population becomes distracted arguing among themselves.

Analyzing, let alone countering, this type of provocative behavior can be difficult. Russia isn’t alone, either: The U.S. tries to influence foreign audiences and global opinions, including through Voice of America online and radio services and intelligence services’ activities. And it’s not just governments that get involved. Companies, advocacy groups and others also can conduct disinformation campaigns.

Unfortunately, laws and regulations are ineffective remedies. Further, social media companies have been fairly slow to respond to this phenomenon. Twitter reportedly suspended more than 70 million fake accounts earlier this summer. That included nearly 50 social media accounts like the fake Chicago Daily News one.

Facebook, too, says it is working to reduce the spread of “fake news” on its platform. Yet both companies make their money from users’ activity on their sites – so they are conflicted, trying to stifle misleading content while also boosting users’ involvement.

The best protection against threats to the cognitive dimension of cyberspace depends on users’ own actions and knowledge. Objectively educated, rational citizens should serve as the foundation of a strong democratic society. But that defense fails if people don’t have the skills – or worse, don’t use them – to think critically about what they’re seeing and examine claims of fact before accepting them as true.

American voters expect ongoing Russian interference in U.S. elections. In fact, it appears to have already begun. To help combat that influence, the U.S. Justice Department plans to alert the public when its investigations discover foreign espionage, hacking and disinformation relating to the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. And the National Security Agency has created a task force to counter Russian hacking of election systems and major political parties’ computer networks.

These efforts are a good start, but the real solution will begin when people start realizing they’re being subjected to this sort of cognitive attack and that it’s not all just a hoax.

Source: The Conversation

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Paranormal Creatures That Need Permission
By Nick Redfern

February 8, 2016 was a very strange one for me. Or, to be absolutely correct, it was a strange night. I went to bed around midnight, and, at roughly 2:00 a.m., I was semi-woken up by the sounds of what began as unintelligible, disembodied mumbling. They appeared to be coming from something lurking in the shadows of the darkened hallway that links my bedroom to my living-room. I then heard something speak to me in a deep, gravelly, and hoarse whisper that was not at all unintelligible: “I can help you. Just say ‘yes,’” it said.

The skeptics would almost certainly say that what I experienced was a bout of so-called sleep-paralysis – a condition which can result in an inability to move, and a sense of intense and impending danger in the bedroom. I don’t doubt that’s what it was. But, where I differ from the skeptics is that, unlike them, I believe sleep-paralysis has an external, rather than an internal origin. We’re talking about dream invaders of just about the vilest kind possible.

Even in my partially-asleep state I knew there was nothing but dangerous deception and manipulation at work. I said out loud “No,” and focused on putting a barrier between me and it. Whatever it actually was. I got a distinct and disturbing feeling that had I said “Yes,” I would have given the unearthly thing permission to invade my space and wreak god knows what kinds of havoc and mayhem. I also got the feeling that the thing was massively pissed by my negative response. It should be noted that tales of supernatural entities that require an invite into a person’s home  – or, as in my case, permission to provide “help” – are not limited to the likes of cheesy vampire movies. There are multiple, dangerous things that require permission to enter our homes.

A Woman in Black put in an appearance at Point Pleasant, West Virginia when Mothman mayhem was at its height. She claimed to have been the secretary of acclaimed author on all-things paranormal, John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies. Just like her male counterparts, she turned up on doorsteps late at night, waiting to be invited in, before grilling mystified and scared souls about their UFO and Mothman encounters. Then vanishing into the night after carefully instilling feelings of distinct fear in the interviewees. Only when numerous people got back to Keel did he realize the sheer, incredible, scale of the dark ruse that was afoot. Keel had to break the unsettling news to each and every one of the frightened souls who contacted him: “I have no secretary.”

Then, there is the story of Martin, who lives just outside of Tecumseh, Oklahoma. Martin’s encounter with a pair of Black Eyed Children occurred in March 2011. I was able to interview him personally just a few weeks after his experience. Martin was home alone when he had just about the worst encounter was possible. On opening the front-door, late at night and after a loud knock jolted him, he  got the shock of his life. Martin was confronted by a boy and a girl – both around eleven or twelve years of age and with large, black, eerie-looking eyes. The girl was dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved black top, while the boy had the almost-ubiquitous black hoodie. Both looked sickly and scrawny and is if they needed a hearty meal in them.

The girl said, several times: “We need to eat. May we come in?” Martin said that he recalls her words accurately, and he felt that the girl’s use of the term “may we?” (instead of “can we?”) sounded like “how people talked way back.” There is one missing portion from Martin’s story: he cannot recall how the pair got into his house. He recalls inviting them in – “it felt like I said it in a dream” – but, the next thing he remembers is seeing the pair standing in front of him, while he was sat on his living-room couch. The girl said just one word: “Eat.” At that point, Martin suddenly felt deathly ill, almost as if he had been drugged. He has vague memories of the pair exiting his home, after which he collapsed on his bed. Martin did not wake-up until well into the following afternoon.

In a follow-up article I will address the matter of why, exactly, these things might require an invite and our permission to interact. Until then, be very careful when opening the front-door, late at night…

Source: Mysterious Universe


A Huge Amazon Monster Is Only a Myth. Or Is It?

RIO BRANCO, Brazil — Perhaps it is nothing more than a legend, as skeptics say. Or maybe it is real, as those who claim to have seen it avow. But the mere mention of the mapinguary, the giant slothlike monster of the Amazon, is enough to send shivers down the spines of almost all who dwell in the world’s largest rain forest.

Amazon tribes relate tales of confronting the mapinguary. A statue depicting the fearsome creature has been erected in remote Rio Branco, Brazil. Tales of mapinguary encounters are common in Rio Branco.

The folklore here is full of tales of encounters with the creature, and nearly every Indian tribe in the Amazon, including those that have had no contact with one another, have a word for the mapinguary (pronounced ma-ping-wahr-EE). The name is usually translated as “the roaring animal” or “the fetid beast.”

So widespread and so consistent are such accounts that in recent years a few scientists have organized expeditions to try to find the creature. They have not succeeded, but at least one says he can explain the beast and its origins.

“It is quite clear to me that the legend of the mapinguary is based on human contact with the last of the ground sloths,” thousands of years ago, said David Oren, a former director of research at the Goeldi Institute in Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon River. “We know that extinct species can survive as legends for hundreds of years. But whether such an animal still exists or not is another question, one we can’t answer yet.”

Dr. Oren said he had talked to “a couple of hundred people” who had said they had seen the mapinguary in the most remote parts of the Amazon and a handful who had said they had had direct contact.

In some areas, the creature is said to have two eyes, while in other accounts it has only one, like the Cyclops of Greek mythology. Some tell of a gaping, stinking mouth in the monster’s belly through which it consumes humans unfortunate enough to cross its path.

But all accounts agree that the creature is tall, seven feet or more when it stands on two legs, that it emits a strong, extremely disagreeable odor, and that it has thick, matted fur, which covers a carapace that makes it all but impervious to bullets and arrows.

“The only way you can kill a mapinguary is by shooting at its head,” said Domingos Parintintin, a tribal leader in Amazonas State. “But that is hard to do because it has the power to make you dizzy and turn day into night. So the best thing to do if you see one is climb a tree and hide.”

Geovaldo Karitiana, 27, a member of the Karitiana tribe, claims to have seen one about three years ago, as he was hunting in the jungle near an area that his tribe calls “the cave of the mapinguary.”

“It was coming toward the village and was making a big noise,” he said in a recent interview on the tribe’s reservation in the western Amazon. “It stopped when it got near me, and that’s when the bad smell made me dizzy and tired. I fainted, and when I came to, the mapinguary was gone.”

Mr. Karitiana’s father, Lucas, confirmed his son’s account. He said that when his son took him back to the site of the encounter, he saw a cleared pathway where the creature had departed, “as if a boulder had rolled through and knocked down all the trees and vines.”

Though the descriptions of the mapinguary may resemble the sasquatch of North America or the yeti of Himalayan lore, the comparisons stop there. Unlike its counterparts in the Northern Hemisphere, the creature is said not to flee human contact, but to aggressively hunt down the hunter, turning the tables on those who do not respect the jungle’s unwritten rules and limits.

“Often, the mapinguary gets revenge on people who transgress, who go where they shouldn’t go or harvest more animals or plants than they can consume, or set cruel traps,” said Márcio Souza, a prominent Brazilian novelist and playwright who lives in Manaus, in the central Amazon, and often draws on Amazon history and folklore in his works.

Amazon folklore, in fact, is full of fanciful creatures that are used to explain unwelcome or embarrassing phenomena. The boto, for example, is a type of dolphin that is said to be able to transform itself into human form, wearing a white hat to cover its air spout, and seducing and impregnating impressionable young virgins.

When a hunter or woodsman gets lost in the jungle, he often blames the curupira, a mischievous red-haired elf who has feet that face backward and takes delight in making trails that lead travelers astray. And when an experienced navigator inexplicably disappears or drowns in calm waters, he is usually said to have fallen victim to the iara, a cross between a siren and a mermaid.

Scientists link the current mapinguary legends to the Megatherium, one of the largest mammals ever. It vanished thousands of years ago.

“If you’re a rubber tapper and you’re returning to camp empty-handed, you’d better have a pretty good explanation for your boss,” said Marcos Vinícius Neves, director of the government’s department of historical and cultural patrimony in Acre State, where a statue of a mapinguary has been erected at a public plaza here in the capital. “The mapinguary is the best excuse you could possible imagine.”

Mr. Souza, the writer, counts himself among those who believe the mapinguary is a myth. The deforestation of the Amazon has accelerated so rapidly over the last generation, he argues, that if the creature really existed, “there would have been some sort of close encounter of the third kind by now.”

Partly for that reason, most zoologists scoff at the notion that it could be real.

The giant ground sloth, Megatherium, was once one of the largest mammals to walk the earth, bigger than a modern elephant. Fossil evidence is abundant and widespread, found as far south as Chile and as far north as Florida. But the trail stops cold thousands of years ago.

“When you travel in the Amazon, you are constantly hearing about this animal, especially when you are in contact with indigenous peoples,” said Peter Toledo, an expert on sloths at the Goeldi Institute. “But convincing scientific proof, in the form of even vestiges of bones, blood or excrement, is always lacking.”

Glenn Shepard Jr., an American ethnobiologist and anthropologist based in Manaus, said he was among the skeptics until 1997, when he was doing research about local wildlife among the Machiguenga people of the far western Amazon, in Peru. Tribal members all mentioned a fearsome slothlike creature that inhabited a hilly, forested area in their territory.

Dr. Shepard said “the clincher that really blew me away” came when a member of the tribe remarked matter of factly that he had also seen a mapinguary at the natural history museum in Lima. Dr. Shepard checked; the museum has a diorama with a model of the giant prehistoric ground sloth.

“At the very least, what we have here is an ancient remembrance of a giant sloth, like those found in Chile recently, that humans have come into contact with,” he said. “Let me put it this way: Just because we know that mermaids and sirens are myths doesn’t mean that manatees don’t exist.”

Even so, the mystery of the mapinguary is likely to continue, as is the search.

“There’s still an awful lot of room out there for a large sloth to be roaming around,” Dr. Shepard said.

Source: NY Times


Sydney’s Mysterious Miracle House

What was once an ordinary 3-bedroom home in the suburbs of western Sydney has now gained a reputation as a “miracle house”. Ash and oil leak from its walls in such a way that is reportedly “beyond science”. The homeowners, George and Lina Tannous, believe that the allegedly unexplainable phenomena are a sign from God and that they have also granted the house miraculous healing properties.

According to the pair, their house has the amazing ability to help other couples become pregnant, even in cases where they have received medical confirmation that pregnancy would be impossible. There is even one instance of the house reportedly curing a woman’s cancer.

The mysterious oil first appeared in 2008, after George and Lina’s 17-year-old son, Mike, was killed in a car accident. They believe that the oil is a manifestation of their son’s spirit, and claim that over the years it has written his birth date on the walls using the oil, as well as a variety of Christian religious symbols.

“My son’s spirit is in this house. He loved God and Jesus. He has come to this house and the oil is his spirit,” the Tannous said. “’He was always religious. He carried Rosary beads and he had a cross tattooed on his back. He wanted to help people in life and this is his way of doing that in death.”

Although extensive testing of the oil has been done over the years, no explanation of its origin has ever been given. All that has been discovered is that it seems to contain water, gold and a safe level of uranium.

One of the first “miracles” attributed to the house was a woman who became pregnant with her third child after praying there, despite her doctors insisting that pregnancy was highly unlikely.

Over a decade after the oil first appeared, people from all around the world are still coming to visit the house. Ít even has its own Facebook page, where many users are sharing remarkable stories about their visits to the house, such as: “’My friend came to the house five years ago for my son who was sick with Neuroblastoma – cancer at age 2.5 years. He is now 8.5 years and has survived from this horrible disease.”

Despite the homeowners’ claims that there are no rational explanations for what is happening, the house has its fair share of detractors. Tim Mendham, executive officer and editor of Australian Skeptics, said: “If I can be so cynical, the early photos show the oil at shoulder height, which was the right height for someone throwing it on the wall. Only now is it higher and on the roof,” he said.  

People’s skepticism is not without precedent. Many such “miracles” have been disproven in the past. For example, in Sicily, a “weeping Madonna” statue allegedly shed tears with seemingly no rational explanation, and it was even recognized by the Catholic church as a legitimate miracle. However, it was later revealed to be a fake when a chemistry researcher was able to provide a rational explanation for the phenomenon.

However, Sydney’s Miracle House has been around for a decade, and so far no one has been able to explain why its walls keep oozing the mysterious oil. People from all over the world visit it every day, and some rub the oil on their skin, pryaing that it will miraculously heal their health problems.

“We collect the oil on cotton wool and allow people to rub it on their skin. It has helped cure people and has answered their prayers,” Lina Tannous said. “We don’t charge, there are no donations. We have open times from 11am five days a week.”

The fact that the Tannous don’t use their miracle house for profit or attention, even refusing to give interviews over the years, has only strengthened Christians’ belief that this is a true miracle, so they keep coming to it.

Source: Oddity Central


Weird 911 Call Spooks Pueblo Police
by Jon Pompi

Dead silence on the line, with Pueblo, Colorado police officers following up on the unexplained call by responding to its source.

A local funeral home.

Dark and shuttered, without a soul around.

At least not in sight.

On the night shift, police have to be prepared for anything.

Including a possible phantom in the dead of the night.

Recently, the department's communication center received, at 3:30 a.m., a 911 hang-up call that originated from a local funeral home.

Per protocol, a dispatcher called the number back. The call was picked up but the dispatcher's attempts to initiate a conversation were met only with silence.

"We're not sure what happened," said Capt. Tom Rummel, who first broke this bizarre occurrence via Twitter. "Sometimes line trouble will cause what we call an 'abandoned 911.'

"But the weird thing about this one was the fact that when dispatch called the number back, it was picked up. No verbal response, though."

As a dispatcher called an after-hours contact number associated with the funeral home and left a message, officers were dispatched to the funeral home but discovered nothing amiss.

At least not visibly.

"Apparently, everything was OK, because as far as I know, nobody was dispatched back there after daylight," Rummel added.

"Probably just line trouble, right? Let's go with that."

But then there's this.

In folklore, the witching hour is a time of night associated with supernatural events. Unearthly creatures are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful.

In the Western Christian tradition, this witching hour is between 3 and 4 a.m.

Source: The Pueblo Chieftain

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