Ghost Hunter Claims to Have Talked to Vlad the Impaler at Bran Castle

A favorite question of interviewers is, “If you could talk to anyone in history, who would you chose?” It’s a safe bet that the choice of Vlad Tepes doesn’t come up too often – who wants to chat with someone whose nickname is ‘the Impaler’ and who many believe was the inspiration for the name if not the legend of Dracula. A ghost hunter from Tampa defied the odds on September 25th, 2021, when she claimed to speak to Vlad Tepes/Vlad the Impaler/Dracula himself as part of the international fifth annual World’s Largest Ghost Hunt. Did she ask his favorite color or which actor portrays him best?

Vlad the Impaler

During the “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt” on the official National Ghost Hunting Day, over 100 paranormal investigation teams were at haunted locations around the world participating in paranormal investigations to celebrate “the novice, curious and expert execution of ghost hunting methods” and to promote historic preservation, unity of its investigative contributors, para-psychology research, and public education about these haunted historic sites. Live streams were broadcast from eight well-known haunted sites, including Leap Castle in Ireland, the Ohio Reformatory in Ohio, the Conjuring House in Rhode Island and Bran’s Castle in the Transylvania area of Romania. That last location is where paranormal investigator Peggy Maguire was stationed to hunt for the ghosts alleged to haunt it – including Vlad the Impaler. Historians debate whether Vlad Tepes ever lived there, was imprisoned or even visited there.

Like many of the paranormal investigators participating in The World’s Largest Ghost Hunt 2021, Peggy Maguire has plenty of experience. After having a scary encounter in her teens, Maguire spent 40 years investigating ghosts in a wide variety of locations. She specializes in EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and she showed up at Bran Castle with a spirit box for EVP and dowsing rods for silent ghosts. According to her interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Maquire and her three other teammates heard voices coming from the spirit box in a foreign language assumed to be Romanian as they walked around Bran Castle, which dates back to 1212. While most historians doubt Vlad Tepes ever lived there, the believers think he was imprisoned there by the Hungarians around 1462. Sure enough, that’s where Maguire felt a connection to Dracula.

“Holding a dowsing rod in each hand, Maguire asked a series of yes-or-no questions. Spread the dousing rods outward for yes and move them inward for no, she told the ghosts. Is Tepes there, she asked. Tepes’ spirit allegedly answered yes. Maguire asked Tepes to spin the rods if he was once imprisoned there. The rods spun fast. She asked Tepes to answer yes or no to whether he used the castle as a military outpost. The rods moved inward.”

A type of dousing rod (Wikipedia)

When the Tampa Bay Times asked Maguire if she was indeed communication with Vlad Tepes, she answered, “I think it’s a good possibility. Yes.” Does that mean she was? Hardly. Does this confirm Vlad Tepes was imprisoned in Bran Castle? No – most historians think he was held in a fortress in Budapest. If it wasn’t Vlad, who moved the dousing rods? Another ghost? Why would it lie to Maguire? The video of Maguire’s experience at Bran Castle is available for a fee so you can decide for yourself.

Whether you believe Peggy Maguire communicated with the spirit of Vlad the Impaler or not, the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt and National Ghost Hunting Day are interesting events that illustrate the scope of ghost hunting around the world. If the coronavirus allows it, they will be held again next year on the last Saturday of September. Bran Castle will undoubtedly be on the list again. Maybe someone else can get him to talk a little more. Would replacing the dousing rods with impaling rods help?

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The Bizarre Case of the Blue Phantom of Louisville

Among all of the mysterious and very weird paranormal encounters out there, often there are some that seem to defy any pay classification. These are the cases that remain lodged well within the outer fringes of the strange, defying all logic and attempts at answers or east categorization. One such case comes to us from the rural U.S., and involves a mysterious, seemingly bullet-proof entity with blue skin and a blue face.

In the winter of 1921, a strange visitor came to Louisville, Kentucky. People began seeing a mysterious tall figure in a black overcoat and wide-brimmed hat lurking about in the vicinity of Eighth and Oak Streets, as well as the nearby streets of Kentucky, Oak, and Breckinridge. At first the figure was mostly hidden in shadows, looking very menacing, but mostly innocuous, but he would get bolder as the days went on, and as people began getting a better look at the hulking figure, they were shocked to notice that the man’s face was completely blue. It would also become more obvious that this blue man was also in possession of seemingly paranormal abilities. It was said that he could vanish into thin air, leap great distances, and that he was unable to be harmed by normal weapons. One of the first witnesses of the strange figure was a Mr. Fogel, who claimed that the mysterious blue man was lurking around his house every night between the hours of 7 and 9 p.m. and peering into his windows. He would describe the figure as, “a terrible thing to behold, and the inside of the mouth is all blue,” and say that it had a “blue and terrible face.” He would say of one strange incident when it pressed its face to the glass of his bedroom and emitted a bluish light:

I was lying awake. All at once three shafts of light came through the shutters. They were the color of the flame you see in the stove. They stayed several minutes and disappeared.

Mr. Fogel claimed that the intruder would get even bolder, banging on the walls and rattling the front door, as well as incessantly ringing the doorbell. He got so tired of these nightly intrusions that he gathered some friends to come over and try to confront the Blue Man, but every time they did, he allegedly vanished into the shadows. On one occasion, they actually shot at the Blue Man, but the bullets seemed to pass right through him. Fogel’s son would claim that he had fired a pistol at the stranger at pointblank range and it had had no effect, leading them to believe that he was either wearing some sort of body armor or was not of this world. It was also very strong, one time kicking Fogel’s dog a good distance, of which he would say, “If it’s a ghost, it’s a strong one, for it kicked the dog up against our house so hard that he almost came through the wall.”

Fogel would even call the police, who sent fifteen officers to the residence but they found nothing. Fogel was not the only one being terrorized by the Blue Man. As this was going on, other residents in the area also reported seeing the man lurking in their yards or peering through their windows. On some occasions, he would steal things from homes. One resident by the name of Reese Carrell told of how the Blue Man would steal his laundry, and claim that one night he had sat waiting for the stranger with a shotgun. When the Blue Man appeared, he says that he had fired and scored a direct hit, but the intruder simply shrugged it off and leapt clear over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. He ran to look over the fence and take another shot, but the Blue Man then allegedly just vanished into thin air. The shots had damaged the fence and a coal shed, but there was no sign of blood, despite the fact that Carrell claimed he had scored direct hits. Carrell would say, “I never missed a rabbit or bird in my life, but the shots went right through him.” On another occasion, the Blue Man actually attacked him, and Carrell would say of the bizarre situation:

I’ve only been knocked down once in my life, and it did it. It’s been around here every night for the last two weeks. What it’s after, I don’t know. But one night last week when I came home at about 11 o’clock, I saw somebody standing on our front step. I thought it was my father, and I walked right up to him. ‘Looking for the Blue Man, Pop?’ I asked him, and just then, he hit me in the chest. I was knocked against the fence, and when I got up it was gone.

Another resident by the name of Emma Perkins claimed that the Blue Man would lurk about her yard whispering unintelligibly and peeking into her windows. One night she caught the stranger trying to break into her neighbor’s house, after which both she and her roommate ran out to confront him armed with revolvers. They would both claim to have to have hit the man several times, but he merely ran off unhurt, leaving behind only bullet holes in the fence. There was no blood, and not even any footprints, as if he were just a phantom. The following evening, a neighbor of theirs, a Henry Etzel was also harassed by the Blue Man, who knocked and banged on his front door with increasing force and urgent intensity, but would not be there when he looked outside. When Etzel finally went out into the dark night armed with a revolver to confront him, no one was there and a handwritten note was left behind that read, “I will call again. Don’t be afraid. Your friend, the ‘Blue Man’ till we meet again.”

Word was getting around about these mysterious incidents, and police were often called in, only to find no trace of the Blue Man, not so much as a single footprint. They would occasionally get a glimpse of him, but he seemed to be impossible to apprehend, and on one occasion an officer claimed to have fired seven times at the Blue Man at close range, to no effect. Police launched an investigation, arresting one suspect, a small-time crook by the name of Stewart Graveen, but while he was in custody the Blue Man continued his mysterious work, ringing people’s doorbells, banging on walls, peering in windows, and stealing laundry. One woman by the name of L.I. Dilly even claimed that the blue Man had broken into her house and moved a glass of water near her bed, and that she had fired at him and heard him grunt as the bullets hit before running off into the night. Police responded to numerous such reports but were never able to apprehend the mysterious blue stranger. In February of 1921 some residents of an apartment complex reported that the Blue Man had appeared there wearing woman’s clothing and asking for a glass of water before melting away into the night, and after this the bizarre incidents just suddenly stopped.

What was the Blue Man of Louisville and what did it want? Was this a ghost, a demon, and interdimensional interloper, or something else? Was it perhaps some well equipped hoaxer? Or was this all just a sort of urban legend? There is no way at all to know, and in the end we are left to wonder what this strange intruder was and what it wanted.

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The Bolivia “UFO Crash” of 1978: Time for a New Investigation

My previous article was on the subject of Project Moon Dust, a U.S. Air Force program designed to secretly retrieve technology from crashed and foreign space satellites, rockets and more. Most of those cases were somewhat mundane: fuel-tanks, pieces of engines and so on. There are rumors, though, that Project Moon Dust recovered more than a few crashed UFOs – as in alien spacecraft. I’m skeptical of the claims that Moon Dust recovered any alien ships. There is, however, one story that really stands out. It dates from May 1978. The location: Bolivia. And, I’m about to share it with you. The story is an important one, because I’m quoting from U.S. government files. And those same files are actually very intriguing. So with that said, let’s have a look at the case and what we can learn from it. The first piece of data that surfaced was a U.S. Department of State telegram. Dated May 15, 1978, it was titled “Report of Fallen Space Object.” The Department of State report told a fascinating story: “The Bolivian newspapers carried this morning an article concerning an unidentified object that apparently recently fell from the sky. The paper quotes a “Latin” correspondent’s story from the Argentine city of Salta. The object was discovered near the Bolivian city of Bermejo and was described as egg-shaped, metal and about four meters in diameter. The Bolivian Air Force plans to investigate to determine what the object might be and from where it came. I have expressed our interest and willingness to help. They will advise. Request the department check with appropriate agencies to see if they can shed some light on what this object might be. The general region has had more than its share of reports of UFOs this past week. Requests a reply ASAP.”

(Nick Redfern) Where the secrets are held

Then, on the same day, there were the words of the CIA: “Many people in this part of the country claim they saw an object which resembled a soccer ball falling behind the mountains on the Argentine-Bolivian border, causing an explosion that shook the earth. This took place on May 6. Around that time some people in San Luis and Mendoza provinces reported seeing a flying saucer squadron flying in formation. The news from Salta confirms that the artificial satellite fell on Taire Mountain in Bolivia, where it has already been located by authorities. The same sources said that the area where the artificial satellite fell has been declared an emergency zone by the Bolivian Government.” One day later, May 16, there was a CIA update on the affair titled “Reports Conflict on Details of Fallen Object.” The CIA  said:

“We have received another phone call from our audience requesting confirmation of reports that an unidentified object fell on Bolivian territory near the Argentine border. We can only say that the Argentine and Uruguayan radio stations are reporting on this even more frequently, saying that Bolivian authorities have urgently requested assistance from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration in order to determine the nature of that which crashed on a hill in Bolivian territory. Just a few minutes ago Radio El Espectador of Montevideo announced that there was uncertainty as to the truth of these reports. Argentine sources indicated that they border with Bolivia had been closed but that it might seen be reopened. They also reported that an unidentified object had fallen on Bolivian soil near the Argentine border and that local Bolivian authorities had requested aid from the central government, which, in turn, had sought assistance from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigate the case.”

There was more to come from the U.S. government:  “A La Paz newspaper said today that there is great interest in learning about the nature of the fallen object, adding that local authorities for security reasons had cordoned off 200 km around the spot where the object fell. The object is said to be a mechanical device with a diameter of almost 4 meters which has already been brought to Tarija. There is interest in determining the accuracy of these reports which have spread quickly throughout the continent, particularly in Bolivia and its neighboring countries. Is it a satellite, a meteorite, or a false alarm?” Then, on the 18th of the month, the Department of State reported: “Preliminary information provided has been checked with appropriate government agencies. No direct correlation with known space objects that may have re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere near May 6 can be made; however, we continue to examine any possibilities. Your attention is invited to State Airgram A-6343, July 26, 1973, which provided background information and guidance for dealing with space objects that have been found. In particular any information pertaining to the pre-impact observations, direction of trajectory, number of objects observed, time of impact and a detailed description including any markings would be useful.”

Just about a week later, the Department of State reported: “This office has tried to verify the stories put forth in the local press. The Chief of Staff of the Bolivian Air Force told DATT/AIRA this date that planes from the BAF have flown over the area where the object was supposed to have landed and in their search they drew a blank. Additionally, DATT/AIRA talked this date with the Commander of the Bolivian Army and informed DATT that the Army’s search party directed to go into the area to find the object had found nothing. The Army has concluded that there may or [may] not be an object, but to date nothing has been found.” The mystery was over, aside from one thing: all of the available  material was handed over to Project Moon Dust. What happened from there we don’t know. Maybe, one day, someone will launch a new investigation of this admittedly intriguing case of 1978.

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Woolly Mammoths May Have Gone Extinct Because it Was Too Wet

It has been long debated as to what caused woolly mammoths to go extinct, from blaming humans, to extremely cold temperature drops. And now, a new study has claimed that climate change – specifically, the ground being too wet – may have been the actual cause of the woolly mammoths going extinct.

Geneticists analyzed ancient environmental DNA that was collected from the arctic over a 20-year period. These samples included animal and plant remains from soil samples where bones of woolly mammoths had previously been found. They were able to sequence DNA from 1,500 plants found in the Arctic.

Mural of woolly mammoths by Charles R. Knight in 1916. (Via Wikipedia)

Based on their analysis, the researchers claimed that when the icebergs melted, the ground became too wet which destroyed the vegetation that woolly mammoths depended on for their food source; therefore, leading to their demise. This was a ten-year research project that was led by Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen.

Professor Willerslev described their findings in further detail, “We have finally been able to prove was that it was not just the climate changing that was the problem, but the speed of it that was the final nail in the coffin—they were not able to adapt quickly enough when the landscape dramatically transformed and their food became scarce.” “As the climate warmed up, trees and wetland plants took over and replaced the mammoth’s grassland habitats…” Woolly mammoths fed on grass, plants, small shrubs, and flowers.

Dr. Yucheng Wang, who is a Research Associate at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, weighed in by noting, “The most recent Ice Age—called the Pleistocene—ended 12,000 years ago when the glaciers began to melt and the roaming range of the herds of mammoths decreased. It was thought that mammoths began to go extinct then but we also found they actually survived beyond the Ice Age all in different regions of the Arctic and into the Holocene—the time that we are currently living in—far longer than scientists realized.” “When the climate got wetter and the ice began to melt it led to the formation of lakes, rivers, and marshes. The ecosystem changed and the biomass of the vegetation reduced and would not have been able to sustain the herds of mammoths. We have shown that climate change, specifically precipitation, directly drives the change in the vegetation—humans had no impact on them at all based on our models.”

Their study was published in Nature.

Whatever the reason was for their extinction, they may be on their way back as a new de-extinction company called Colossal stated that they are hoping to resurrect the woolly mammoth within the next six years.

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Be George Jetson — Affordable Flying Car ‘Jetson ONE’ Hits the Market

For people of a certain age who watched “The Jetsons” cartoon series and just knew they would one day travel in a flying car in their lifetime, their lifetime dream has been a disappointment … until possibly now. A Swedish company named … get ready … Jetson announced the availability of the Jetson ONE electric flying car at a price those people who are now of a certain retirement age can still afford. Is there room for Jane, Elroy, Judy and Astro?

“Hi, welcome to Jetson!

 

Jetson is a Swedish company with a mission to change the way we travel. We aim to make the skies available for everyone with our safe personal electric aerial vehicle.

 

Our prototype “proof of concept” was finished in the spring of 2018, and until now we have been very busy working on a consumer friendly version.

 

That project resulted in Jetson ONE, a commercially available personal electric aerial vehicle that you can own and fly.”

That sounds better than this

The Jetson website introduces Jetson ONE and all of it’s features, but the first place to go is to their YouTube page for a video of one in action, then to the Instagram page for a collage of photographs. After marveling at the fact that this is a working electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that’s available now, just three years after Jetson demonstrated a ‘proof of concept’ prototype, viewers see the Jetson ONE hitting 63 mph at a maximum altitude of 1,500 meters (4,921 feet). The thrill of operating a flying car right now for the unbelievably low price of only $92,000 and flying it without the need for a pilot’s license nor a driver’s license takes the edge off of some of the Jetson ONE’s limitations.

Tech Specs
Jetson weight — 86KG / 190LBS
Maximum pilot weight — 95KG / 210LBS

Let’s start with the size. This is not a family flying car – the Jetson ONE is a one-seater and the occupant can’t weigh more than 210 pounds. This is not a flying car you can fly home from the dealership – the Jetson ONE is delivered partially assembled and the owner has to finish the assembly. When completed, it looks more like a large octocopter than George Jetson’s spacecar, which was based on the 1954 Ford Concept car FX-Atmos, and is classified as a single-personal recreational aircraft which eliminates the need for a pilot’s license, but necessitates the need for knowledge and safety. Also, the battery limit is 20 minutes so you won’t be taking this to the moon, let alone to the neighborhood grocery store.

Race car-inspired Spaceframe safety cell design
Can fly safely with the loss of one motor
Hands free hover and emergency functions
Triple redundant flight computer
Ballistic parachute with rapid deployment time
Lidar sensors driven terrain tracking and obstacle avoidance
Star

You have a long way to go, Earthlings

Fortunately, the Jetson ONE is designed for safety and ease of use – the cockpit has a control board with a throttle lever on the left, a three-axis flight stick on the right, and pair of foot pedals, with a small display showing all necessary flight information. At $92,000, it’s less expensive than many electric cars and most small planes or helicopters. And if you don’t believe there’s a lot of George Jetson wannabes, the entire 2022 supply of Jetson ONEs is sold out and the company is taking orders for 2023. (Watch the video again here.)

Is the Jetson ONE the flying car people of a certain age dreamed of? Not really, but it’s moving the needle ever closer to it.

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The Bizarre Sea Vanishing of the Jockey Albert Snider

Born in 1921 in Calgary, Canada, Albert Snider was a big name in Canadian thoroughbred horse racing, going on to be famous in the southern United States in the latter part of 1938. He rode at major tracks in the U.S., including New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland Kentucky and Illinois, and won such eminent races as the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes and the Stars and Stripes Handicap, among many others. Riding for Calumet Farm, Snider would become a huge star in the world of professional horse racing, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, which comprise racing’s holy grail, the Triple Crown, winning nine of his races aboard the legendary horse Citation. There were great things in his future and he was becoming a major star, but dark clouds were ahead, and he would end up becoming more known for being a strange unsolved mystery rather than any racing success.

Albert Snider

On March 5, 1948, Snider took some time off to go out for a planned week-long fishing along with trainer Tobe Trotter and a Canadian businessman, Don Frazier. They headed out from Miami, Florida aboard a 65-foot yacht named the Evelyn K to catch some redfish near Sandy Key, in the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico. The mood was festive as they set out, as the 28-year-old Snider had just won the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park by an impressive six lengths aboard Calumet Farm’s Citation, the weather was fine, and they were all in good spirits. That afternoon, they parked the yacht at Sandy Key to go fishing in a 15-foot wooden skiff, taking with them reserve fuel, a jug of water, life-jackets, 75″ of rope, extra spark-plugs, a bailing pail, oars, and an anchor, planning to return within the hour. At this point the weather was still calm and clear. Other people who had been aboard the yacht saw the men head out, but as dusk approached, they were lost to sight in the dimming light.

There would have been no reason to suspect anything would go wrong at the time, as the sea was flat and calm, and they were in very shallow water. Even when a sudden storm rolled in and the sea became wild and lightning flickered above it was thought that they would be alright, but the skiff would never return, seemingly to vanish without a trace. When the storm passed after about an hour and the area was searched there was no sign of the skiff or the three men, not one piece of wreckage or single trace. A massive search was launched by the Coast Guard and the Navy, involving a fleet of ships, thirty aircraft, and scouring 1,000 square miles, but no sign of the ship or missing men could be found. It was as if they had just evaporated into thin air.

A week after the disappearance, the missing skiff was found by pure chance at Rabbit Key, about 10 miles south of Everglades City. The boat was in an eerie state, to be sure, with no equipment or gear aboard, no oars, life preservers or cushions, none of the stuff they had brought with them, just a wooden husk with about an inch of water in the hull. The boat was undamaged, perfectly seaworthy, but there was no sign of Snider or his friends. It was though at the time that the men must have simply been washed overboard during the sudden storm, but why would all of the equipment have gone missing too? No one had a clue, and then things would get even more mysterious. It would turn out that the Trotter family would begin getting a series of rather bizarre phone calls from Cuba, of which Trotter’s son, Tommy Trotter, would say:

We received calls from the island speaking of the accident. There was some talk a Cuban fishing boat may have picked them up, but the voice on the other end would disappear. Then, a couple of days after that happened, we got a good number of mystery calls coming in.

This was seen as menacing enough that Snider’s 6-year-old daughter, Nancy, was actually taken out of school on the suspicion that she might be a target for nefarious parties, although luckily nothing ever came of it. Still, there was much speculation that foul play had been involved. It was found that Snider had been approached on several occasions to throw races, but had always refused to do so, meaning he might have made himself some deadly enemies in the process. Another idea was that Snider, who was known to flash about large quantities of cash, may have been targeted by thieves, but there was no evidence for any of this. In the meantime, there were sporadic sightings reported of the missing men, of which Nancy Snider would later say, “I remember people calling us going on months and months after he disappeared. Someone once said they saw my dad on a banana boat.”

Adding even further to the mystery was a strange, barnacle encrusted bottle that would wash up on shore at Hallandale, Florida four months after the vanishing. Within the crusty bottle was found a cryptic note with a scrawled message that simply read, “Help. One dead. No joke,” signed by an “Al S.” It is unknown what connection this has to the missing men, but it is certainly eerie. In the end, no sign of Snider or his companions had ever been found, no meaning behind the calls from Cuba ever discovered, and the case has become a baffling unsolved mystery. Tommy Trotter has said of it:

I always thought the whole thing was strange. They had safety life preservers, but no clues whatsoever. In that area, the water is very shallow in some spots, and runs deeper in others. If they were hit by a storm, it would have turned the water over pretty good. But if there was a storm ready to hit, my father would be the first one to say, ‘Let’s get going.’ And there were three men in there. I never could understand why something wasn’t thrown out.

The case would officially be deemed just an accident at sea, but has remained unsolved. No one knows what happened to these men, nor why their missing skiff should be found completely emptied out and undamaged. What happened to these men and what were the meaning of those mysterious phone calls and the message in the bottle? Why was the boat found in pristine condition only with no one aboard? Was this just an accident at sea, or is there something else more to it? We will probably never know for sure.

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Project Moon Dust: The Top Secret Team That Retrieved Crashed UFOs? Or Russian Rockets?

For decades there have been numerous alleged cases of crashed UFOs. Of course, the most well-known is the Roswell, New Mexico affair of 1947. There’s the Aztec, New Mexico, case of March 1948. The Spitsbergen crash of 1952, and many more. But, the important thing is this: did these events actually involve real crashed craft from other worlds? Or, did those crashes actually involve top secret vehicles of foreign nations? That question brings us to a certain program of the U.S. Air Force. Over the years, ufologists have given a great deal of attention to a certain U.S. military program called Project Moon Dust (also referred to as Moondust). Its origins date back to the 1950s. The reason why so much attention has been placed upon Project Moon Dust is because, some ufologists say, of its potential connection to the issue of alleged crashed and recovered UFOs held by elements of the U.S. military – crash-retrievals, or C/R’s, as they are generally known. Was Moon Dust the main operation when it came to secretly locating, and also recovering, crashed, alien ships and their crews? Or, was all of this aimed at grabbing wrecked Russian technology that fell out of the skies?

(Nick Redfern) Declassified Moon Dust Files I got from the U.S. National Archives in 1991

Back in 1979, the late UFO researcher Robert Todd obtained a 1961 Air Force Intelligence document (declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act) which offered intriguing data on the Moon Dust program – and on certain related operations, too. Dated November 3, 1961, the document states in part: “In addition to their staff duty assignments, intelligence team personnel have peacetime duty functions in support of such Air Force projects as Moondust, Bluefly, and UFO, and other AFCIN directed quick reaction projects which require intelligence team operational capabilities…”

The document continues: “Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO): Headquarters USAF has established a program for investigation of reliably reported unidentified flying objects within the United States. AFR 200-2 delineates 1127th collection responsibilities…Blue Fly: Operation Blue Fly has been established to facilitate expeditious delivery to FTD of Moon Dust or other items of great technical intelligence interest. AFCIN SOP for Blue Fly operations, February 1960, provides for 1127th participation. Moon Dust: As a specialized aspect of its over-all material exploitation program, Headquarters USAF has established Project Moon Dust to locate, recover and deliver descended foreign space vehicles. ICGL #4, 25 April 1961, delineates collection responsibilities.”

(Nick Redfern) Check out all that old microfiche!

That Moon Dust undertook some intriguing operations is not in any doubt. Hundreds of Moon Dust files are now in the public domain – all thanks to the provisions of the FOIA. The records tell of the recoveries – by U.S. intelligence – of Soviet technology, parts of Chinese aircraft, and portions of burned-up satellites. But what about UFOs? The November 3, 1961 document refers to both UFOs and Project Moon Dust. The Air Force’s very own words make the connection. But, when the Air Force referenced UFOs, what, exactly, were they talking and thinking about? That is, perhaps, the most important aspect of this intriguing story.

For many people within Ufology, the term “UFO” firmly equates to “alien spacecraft.” But, does it really? No, it does not. A UFO is an unknown object flying in the sky – and that is all it is, until it’s identified. I found many such examples in the Moon Dust files where the word “UFO” was used, but where the data was clearly focused on Russian satellites, rocket-boosters and so on. In some cases, members of the public perceived the Earth-bound, falling remains of those satellites and rocket-boosters as UFOs, when they were seen hurtling through the Earth’s atmosphere. Studying those reports from members of the public, who thought they had seen UFOs, actually helped U.S. military intelligence to find and recover crashed and wrecked Russian technology.  Sometimes they were successful. On other occasions, they drew a blank. Maybe Project Moon Dust operatives did recover alien spacecraft on one or more occasions. But, there is no evidence of that so far. There is, however, a great deal of data that shows Moon Dust personnel were using the word “UFO” for something akin to “probable decaying Soviet satellite” and not “aliens from another world.”

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“Dumpling on Legs” Mouse Presumed Extinct for 17 Years Has Been Rediscovered in Tasmania

A mouse that’s been described as being a “dumpling on legs” was presumed extinct for over a decade until recently being rediscovered on Tasmania’s Flinders Island. The last evidence found of the New Holland Mouse’s existence (its scientific name is Pseudomys novaehollandiae) was discovered more than 12 years ago at the Waterhouse Conservation Area and has been presumed extinct for 17 years. In fact, the last time it was trapped was back in 2004 close to Wukalina/Mount William.

Billie Lazenby, who is a wildlife biologist with the threatened species and conservation branch of the Department of Primary Industry Parks Water and Environment (DPIPWE), explained some of the techniques they use in rediscovering species, “One is that we deploy what we call little hair tubes, so they’re little pieces of PVC pipe that have some nice yummy, smelly bait in the end, and they have a bit of double-sided tape.” “So when the small mammals walk in there they leave some hair samples behind, and we can send those hair samples off to a lab, and they can be analyzed and they can identify which species they belong to.”

(Not the New Holland Mouse)

She went on to say that it was remote cameras that allowed them to spot the presumably extinct species when it walked in front of them in order to smell a stick that had peanut butter on it. It then sat on top of a bait canister that contained sunflower seeds, peanut butter, rolled oats, and lucerne chaff.

Since the discovery, hair tubes and more remote cameras have been placed in the area in which the footage of the mouse was taken in order to observe their population.

Lazenby described the New Holland Mouse, “Our average house mouse is smelly and tends to invade our houses and raid our food cupboards and even is quite an issue living in the agricultural landscape.” “The New Holland mouse is nothing like that; it has very specific habitat requirements, it tends to be found in pristine areas far removed from human habitation.” “If there was a cuteness factor for mice, the New Holland mouse would get 10 out of 10 stars. It’s like a little dumpling on legs, it doesn’t have much of a neck, it’s really fluffy it has great big eyes and a long tail.”

(Not the New Holland Mouse)

Roger Jaensch, who is the Tasmanian Minister for the Environment, said that additional surveys will help them in their national recovery plan for the mouse. “Last year, the Tasmanian Government received Commonwealth funding to undertake a conservation assessment of the New Holland Mouse,” he stated, adding, “The study on Flinders Island is part of a broader survey across northeastern Tasmania for the New Holland Mouse, which so far has covered eight regions and included setting up more than 259 cameras at different locations.”

Pictures of the New Holland Mouse can be seen here.

The post “Dumpling on Legs” Mouse Presumed Extinct for 17 Years Has Been Rediscovered in Tasmania first appeared on Mysterious Universe.

Strange Psychic Powers and the Mysterious Case of the “Brooklyn Enigma” Molly Fancher

The human body and mind at times seem to be the last true unexplored frontiers. Even after centuries of medical studies we are still not entirely certain of how the brain works, and the human body continually presents us with surprises and deep mysteries and medical marvels. There have been cases throughout the ages that have served to confuse and baffle experts, leaving us to ponder on how little we actually know about our minds and bodies, and one such case comes to us from New York, in the United States, where a bedridden woman would demonstrate psychic and physical gifts that remain unexplained.

Born on August 16, 1848, Mary Jane “Mollie” Fancher seemed like a perfectly normal young woman, living a mostly mundane life in Brooklyn, New York City. Although she had had a somewhat troubled childhood, with her mother dying when she was just 7 years old and her father absent from her life for the most part, she nevertheless was considered a bright, well-liked, and level-headed woman, attended a reputable school and, by all reports was an excellent, model student. Although mostly healthy, in 1864 she developed some gastrointestinal issues that her doctors diagnosed as “nervous indigestion,” and they prescribed her a regiment of horseback riding to calm her nerves. It is unclear as to what connection this was to have to the strangeness that was about to engulf her life, but it is from here that things would get weird. Here we get into the bizarre case of a woman who would prove to be an undecipherable psychic and medical mystery that has never been solved.

One day as she was out riding, on May 19, 1864, she was thrown from her horse and incurred some broken bones and a head injury. Luckily, she would make a full recovery, although she would continue to suffer from fainting spells and violent headaches, but her bad luck with horses would continue. On June 8th, 1865, Fancher’s skirt got caught on a horse-drawn trolley she was trying to get off of, and she was dragged behind it for some distance. She would miraculously survive, but not without some serious injuries including dizziness, vision problems, and head and spinal damage. The accident had also left her bedridden, and she would start to claim that she had a strong connection to the spirit world, often having visions and going into trances for long periods, sometimes for days, weeks, or even months on end. She also had bouts of paralysis and blindness that the doctors could not explain, and it was then that she would manifest some peculiar anomalies. On February 3rd, 1866, Fancher allegedly bolted upright from her bed, let out an ear-piercing shriek, and then fell into a strange, trance-like coma that would last for a full 9 years, but which during which she would display all sorts of oddness. Herbert Asbury would write of this in his book All Around The Town:

Throughout the nine years her eyes remained closed, and for six years her body was cold and rigid, there was no evidence of respiration, her physicians could detect only a slight pulse, and she never spoke. Occasionally she was fed by force, but for some months at a time she was given no nourishment except a little water. During the last three years of the long trance, Miss Fancher’s body relaxed to some extent, she spoke once in a while, and she was able to move her left arm with considerable freedom. In that time, she wrote 6,500 letters, a score of poems and lyric prayers and made a satin waist and pleated lining for her coffin, among other feats, including crocheting and making wax flowers.

When she finally awoke and was lucid, she found that she could remember little about her life, a form of amnesia, and that she now had potent psychic abilities, described by her caretakers as “supernatural powers, clairvoyant gifts, and uncanny exploits.” She claimed that she had lost her vision in her eyes, but could see psychically through her forehead. She was also apparently able to predict future events with uncanny accuracy, including the death of her own brother, travel astrally out of her physical form, and the ability to “read” what was written on pieces of paper ensconced within envelopes simply by placing her hand on them, read minds, and various other displays of psychic power. She also knew when people were about to arrive, when storms were coming, and she generally freaked her doctors and caretakers out. Adding to all of this was that she now seemed to have various different personalities living within her, called Idol, Sunbeam, Ruby, Pearl, and Rosebud, each one like a separate entity with her own memories and personality.

Just as odd as all of this was her claims that she no longer needed to eat anything for sustenance. Indeed, she would purportedly go many months without eating, by some accounts years without eating a bite, and by now she was starting to become a hot story in the press. Droves of doctors, psychiatrists, and curiosity seekers would come to see the bedridden woman with psychic powers who did not have to eat, and she was now being called “The Brooklyn Enigma.” Even the famous showman P.T. Barnum allegedly begged her to join his show, and she was quite the celebrity at the time. Many skeptics who moved in to debunk her claims would go away baffled, such as a respected astronomer named Henry Parkhurst, who performed a series of experiments on her and came away convinced that she was the real deal. Throughout all of this she was bedridden, largely blind, and had trouble even moving her limbs. When asked why she thought this was all happening she would say:

There must be some hidden purpose in keeping me alive and that maybe it is just to show thousands of suffering men and women that the human soul is greater than the body and can triumph over any illness or pain the body may have to endure.

Francher would be bedridden for 50 years, never once leaving her room and baffling all who saw her with her abilities and lack of needing any nourishment, until her death on February 11, 1916. What was going on with this woman? There has never been any evidence that she was a fraud, and we are left to wonder. Was she just a delusional, bedbound invalid who managed to fool everyone? Was this some sort of hoax? No one was ever able to prove as much, despite all of the attention she was getting, and it remains unsolved. Whatever was going on with her, it is all a very strange case that melds together strange psychic powers and a medical mystery that has never been solved.

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When UFOs and Top Secret Experiments Cross the Same Paths

One of the most important revelations in the Rendlesham Forest “UFO landing” of December 1980 concerns the locations of where the monumental events happened. I’m actually not talking about Rendlesham Forest. Rather, I’m talking about the surrounding locales and their mysterious histories. And why do I consider it my duty to bring your attention to those same surroundings? I’ll tell you: it’s vital to note that for decades the entire area around those famous woods acted as a powerful magnet for classified government programs, sensitive military operations, and top secret projects. They were all of a highly important – but down to earth and domestic – nature. On January 28, 1935, the Tizard Committee, established under the directorship of Sir Henry Tizard, convened its first meeting. It ultimately led to the top secret development of a workable radar system of the type that was employed in the Second World War. In an article titled “The Tizard Mission and the Development of the Atomic Bomb,” David Zimmerman says:

“In August 1940 Sir Henry Tizard led a group of British scientists and technical experts to North America. Over the next four months, the members of the Tizard or British Technical Mission undertook one of the greatest transfers of technical and scientific information in history. In over 150 meetings with American military, technical, and scientific experts the mission provided almost all of Great Britain’s military technical secrets to the United States. The United States reciprocated in kind.” Much of that highly classified research was conducted at Bawdsey Manor on the Deben Estuary. It’s just north of the town of Felixstowe, and a mere stone’s throw from what were, for so many years, the military bases of Royal Air Force Bentwaters and Royal Air Force Woodbridge.

The alternative cover to my book on the Rendlesham Forest affair of 1980

To understand the wider scope of this part of the story, we must address one of the strangest – and one of the most enduring – stories from the Second World War. Arguably, it has become a legend; a most grim and grisly one, too. It concerns a small village in Suffolk called Shingle Street. It is located in between the aforementioned Bawdsey and Orford. As the Guardian newspaper says: “Shingle Street itself has been the subject of fevered speculation ever since it was evacuated in 1940. Conspiracies include rumors of a German landing and a shoreline littered with burning bodies, schemes to protect the coastline with an impenetrable barrage of flames and the testing of experimental chemical bombs. Four dead German airmen were certainly washed up on the beach, and weapons testing did result in the Lifeboat Inn being blown up. As for the rest, the conspiracy theories rumble on.”

The BBC, too, has addressed the matter of what did, or what didn’t, happen at Shingle Street all those decades ago: “A World War II mystery over a ‘failed Nazi invasion’ at a remote beach in Suffolk may have been manufactured by Britain’s head of propaganda, a BBC documentary suggests. The BBC East Inside Out team investigated the events of 1940 at Shingle Street. The program suggested that Sefton Delmer, a former Daily Express journalist who – during the Second World War – organized Britain’s ‘black’ propaganda unit, could have spread rumors of a failed Nazi invasion to boost morale. The rumors may have even been used to cover up the loss of lives on a British naval destroyer. Since 1940 there have been continuing rumors of a sea on fire and a failed invasion attempt at Shingle Street, near Woodbridge, Suffolk [italics mine]. Mike Paintin said that his father, a soldier during World War II, told how he was called out to pick up dead bodies from Shingle Street. ‘My father and the rest of his colleagues were called out to pull bodies from the sea,’ he said. ‘‘The common link was that they were all in German uniforms and were all badly burned.’”

(Nick Redfern)

Then, just a few years later – specifically in 1943 – much of Rendlesham Forest was cleared to allow for the construction of the highly strategic RAF Woodbridge. The forest suffered even more devastation on October 15-16, 1987. That was when a huge amount of damage was caused to the woods: they, and significant other parts of the U.K., were hit by the almost unfathomable power of a massive, destructive cyclone. I was working and living in Harlow, Essex, England at the time, as a van-driver, and got to see the terrible destruction up close. It took years for the forest to recover. We’ll now take a look at a place called Orford Ness and what went happened there in the 1950s. The U.K.’s National Trust state: “The 1950s saw the construction of specialized facilities to exploit new post-war technologies such as nuclear power. AWRE [Atomic Weapons Research Establishment] Orford Ness was one of only a few sites in the U.K., and indeed the world, where purpose-built facilities were created for testing the components of nuclear weapons. At the height of the Cold War AWRE and the Royal Aircraft Establishment used Orford Ness for developmental work on the atomic bomb.”

Moving onto the 1960s, there is the following from the Trust: “In 1968 work started on the top secret Anglo-American System 441A ‘over-the-horizon’ (OTH) backscatter radar project, finally code-named ‘Cobra Mist.’ The Anglo-American project, whose main contractor was the Radio Corporation of America, was set up to carry out several ‘missions.’ including detection and tracking of aircraft, detection of missile and satellite vehicle launchings, fulfilling intelligence requirements and providing a research and development test-bed…” All of this makes me think: if so many secret experiments were undertaken near Rendlesham Forest, then why shouldn’t the famous “UFO landing” of 1980 have been a classified project, too?

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