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Volume 4
Number 21
September 16, 1999

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"An unidentified creature which terrorized the people and poultry of the northern Jordanian town of Mafraq was captured Sunday night," July 25, 1999.

"'Townsfolk first sighted the small, cat-like animal a month ago (June 1999) but then it started appearing on a nightly basis, devouring dozens of hens and pigeons,' said an official from the Mafraq governorate."

"The small-headed creature with disproportionately large eyes, teeth and tail was hunted down after townsfolk lodged complaints that the animal was prowling Mafraq's residential quarters by night."

"The official speculated that the animal could have been drawn to Mafraq, which lies on the edge of the (Hauran) desert 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Amman," the capital of Jordan, "bythis year's drought. The animal, nicknamed Al-Massara, has been handed to local vets (veterinarians--J.T.) to determine its species, but it was not known if it was the only such creature at large in the town." (See the National Post of Toronto for July 27, 1999, "Police end unidentified creature's reign of terror." See also UFO Newsclipping Service for August 1999. Many thanks to Lou Farish for this news story.)

(Editor's Comment: After I received this report, I did a little background research and came up with three interesting facts, which may or may not have anything to do with Al-Massara.

(1) The airport just north of al-Mafraq is the headquarters of a jet interceptor wing of the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The wing flies French-built Mirage 2000 fighters.

(2) Al-Mafraq contains the headquarters of the 2nd Mechanized Division of the Jordan Arab Army, which consists of two mechanized infantry brigades and a tank brigade.

(3) About 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of al-Mafraq, across the Wadi az-Zatari, lie the ruins of Umm al-Jimal, a mysterious pre- Canaanite city with buildings made of black basalt. The ruined city was first found by the Romans in 175 A.D. The inhabitants fled after a catastrophic earthquake in 747 A.D., and it became a ghost town after that.

More importantly, where is Al-Massara? Probably in Camp Condon...in the same Quonset hut with the Varginha Seven.)


On Friday, August 27, 1999, Israeli ufologist David Ronen spotted a large triangular UFO cruising over Tel Aviv.

Rushing to the telephone, Ronen called fellow ufologist Gil Bar, 16, and told him, "The craft is heading for Rishon Letzion. Get your camera!"

Grabbing his videocamera, Bar hurried to the rooftop of his home, just in time to see the craft passing overhead. Instantly he began shooting and got two minutes of video before the camera's battery failed.

According to Barry Chamish, the triangular UFO was "identical to the one seen by Adrian Zvir over Rishon Letzion in October 1998." (Many thanks to Barry Chamish for letting UFO Roundup quote from his report.)


On Monday, August 30, 1999, at 10 p.m., Andrew M., his wife, and two fellow tourists from UK "were returning to our villa near Carvoeiro in the Portuguese Algarve" region "when all four adult occupants saw a red/gold light in the sky. I guess at around 15,000 to 20,000 feet, travelling from the west toward the southern coast of Spain." (Across the Golfo de Cadiz in the general direction of Palos de la Frontera--J.T.)

"Its movements were erratic," Andrew reported, "First of all slow, then extremely fast, certainly not in the smooth manner of a jet. It was hard to tell the shape, but the light was a very regular glow, and I would guess that in daylight it would be disc-shaped."

"Several other cars seemed to stop and stare. But instead of stopping, we rushed back to the villa for the videocamera, by which time it was so far away I am certain it would not have shown up on film."

The following day, Tuesday, August 31, 1999, Andrew and his wife "saw a military-type plane fly past very low but in the opposite direction," i.e. from east to west.

Carvoeiro is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Lisboa, Portugal's national capital. (Muito obrigado a John Hayes por eso caso.)


At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 1999, telephones at the Armagh Planetarium and police stations in Northern Ireland, as residents reported UFOs and strange phenomena over nearby Lough (Lake) Neagh.

According to Miles Johnston, the flap continued for five straight days, ending on Monday, August 22, 1999 at 4 a.m. Each UFO overflight began at 11 p.m. each night and ended at 4 o'clock the following morning.

"Sightings included large rings of light, with inner rings, over a several-hundred-square- mile area," plus "groups of flying discs flying in formation."

Witnesses also reported seeing "a U.S. Air Force AWACS plane accompanied by two red triangular aircraft," Johnston added, "They flew over Northern Ireland at only 4,000 feet."

Strangest of all were the reports of "rays of black light" streaming down from the night sky and "some illuminations identical to the Aurora Borealis but due south" of Lough Neagh.

Armagh is 42 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Belfast. (Many thanks to Miles Johnston for this report.)

(Editor's Comment: Black rays streaming down from space!? Even for mystical Ireland, that's weird!)


On Sunday, September 5, 1999, at 8:54 p.m., five people "observed a strange bright light in the eastern sky" while at a privately-owned pond 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Brighton, Iowa (population 684.)

According to the witnesses, the UFO "moved both horizontally and vertically with no apparent pattern. The light also appeared and disappeared sporadically...The light that was observed was a very bright white light."

The witnesses observed the UFO for 20 minutes at first. During this time, it "disappeared eight times in 20 minutes before disappearing completely...It moved only a matter of 20 to 25 degrees from the horizon and about 10 to 15 degrees to the south-southeast before it suddenly disappeared."

A few minutes later, the UFO returned, "and the light was observed for 15 minutes before it vanished again."

Brighton is on Iowa Highway 1 approximately 167 miles (267 kilometers) southeast of Des Moines. (Many thanks to John E.L. Tenney for this report.)


On Tuesday, September 7, 1999, at 10:15 p.m., a white 37-year-old businessman was driving home through a newly-built neighborhood just north of Gallatin, Tennessee (population 18,794) when he spotted "a silver-colored object" in the sky.

"I was driving to my new home in a new subdivision, when I spotted an object flying slowly about a quarter-mile (0.4 kilometers) away," he reported, "I looked at it again and noticed that it was not casting a reflection. I was a bright metallic silver object, unlike any aircraft that I have ever seen. The object was moving very slowly, almost hovering over a wooded area" on the north side of Gallatin.

"I turned off my car and got out to see if I could hear anything and make sure it wasn't a reflection in the window of my car. It was there, plain to see. It was cylindrical in shape and moving ever so slowly. The object had absolutely no sound. Within ten seconds, the object just disappeared from my sight."

Gallatin is on Tennessee Highways 174 and 25 about 24 miles (38 kilometers) northeast of Nashville, the state capital. (Many thanks to Kenneth Young of Cincinnati UFO Research for this report.)


On Thursday, September 9, 1999, at 5:40 a.m., a man heading for work "saw a strange bright light in the sky" over Santa Ana, California (population 293,742), a suburb of Los Angeles.

"He didn't know if it was a satellite or what," John B. reported, "He called me over to look. At first I didn't see it. But then I did. It was brighter than any star. It was big, too."

John said they were near the intersection of Fairview and Segerstrom in Santa Ana when they saw the UFO.

Santa Ana is south of the Garden Grove Freeway, about 28 miles (44 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles City Hall. (Many thanks to John B. for this report.)


"Bright lights described by some as very colorful and by others as very large had southwest Florida's earliest risers scratching their heads around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday," September 7, 1999, "and wondering whether aliens were landing."

"Betty Scofield was having her morning coffee on her front porch in Cape Coral (population 74,991) as bright lights hovered in the sky. Scofield said she believed the lights were two planes coming in for a landing at Southwest Florida International Airport but said she was a little worried because both lights were low on the horizon."

"It wasn't until Scofield arrived at work in the communications department of the Lee County Sheriff's Office that the reality--or lack of it--set in." The planes, if that's what they were, were not making any noise. 'I went, uh-oh,' Scofield said, 'I never thought about UFOs before.'"

"People all down the Gulf (of Mexico) coast of Florida, and as far inland as Orlando, were thinking about UFOs, too, said George Diller, a spokesman for Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral."

"The chance that aliens were involved? 'None,' Diller said. Instead, he said the lights were caused by space junk, from a spent stage of a Russian rocket coming down over the Gulf of Mexico. The rocket was used to launch a communications satellite."

"Diller said the light show was so bright because the objects were illuminated by the sun's light from the other side of the world."

"Spectacular, but also frightening, said Cathy Ingrim, who saw the lights from the pier at Fort Myers Beach. The Fort Myers resident and another woman were fishing from the pier at Fort Myers Beach when sometime between 4:30 and 5 a.m. colored bright lights and smoke appeared very low on the horizon."

"'We were just dumbfounded the whole time,' Ingrim said. 'It was almost like a huge mass of shooting stars, balls of fire. It was like green, red and yellow. There was light smoke.'"

Fort Myers (population 45,206) is on Florida Highway 41 about 152 miles (243 kilometers) west of Miami. (See the Fort Myers, Fla. News Press for September 7, 1999, story by Eileen Kelley. Many thanks to Linda Jacobson for forwarding this newspaper article.)


On Thursday, September 2, 1999, farmer Lyle Ami was combining his field near Conquest, Saskatchewan, Canada (population 85) when he encountered two crop circles.

According to Paul Anderson of Circles Phenomenon Research-Canada, one crop circle was 36 feet (10.9 meters) in diameter, while the other was 30 feet (9.09 meters) in diameter. "Both have an identical 'cross' feature attached," Paul reported, "Both were pointing to the southeast."

The formation was found four miles (6 kilometers) south of Conquest. In 1998, Conquest was the site of another highly- publicized crop circle incident. The 1998 circles also had a cross attached and were aligned to the southeast.

Conquest is just north of Provincial Highway 7, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Saskatoon.

In eastern Canada, a farmer named Bernard Handrahan reported finding two small crop circles on his land on Prince Edward Island.

The circles were found in mid-August, and Handrahan described them as "perfectly circular with extended centres." The circles measured 18 feet (5.4 meters) and 12 feet (3.6 meters) in diameter.

The circles were found in a blueberry field at Christopher Cross, near Tignish, P.E.I., which is located on the island's North Cape about 78 miles (125 kilometers) northwest of Charlottetown. (See the Charlottetown, P.E.I. Guardian for August 28, 1999. Many thanks to Paul Anderson of CPR-Canada for this report.)


"Russia has accepted an offer to place its military officers at a joint monitoring center in Colorado to observe U.S. missile warning data during the 2000 transition. Defense Secretary William Cohen is to sign the agreement Monday," September 13, 1999, "in Moscow."

"The Pentagon said Friday that Cohen also will discuss arms control with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Igor Sergeyev. The visit is designed to put U.S.-Russian military relations back on track after Moscow severed most contacts last spring in protest of the U.S.-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia."

"Last fall, U.S. and Russian military experts had begun discussing the idea of a joint station for monitoring U.S. missile warning data, but progress was halted when the war with Yugoslavia started in March."

"A senior Pentagon official said Friday," September 10, 1999, "that Moscow indicated in August that it would accept the offer. The facility will be called the Y2K Center for Strategic Stability and will be based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado."

"The center is to begin operating 24 hours a day with Russian and U.S. monitoring teams in December. It will be terminated in January. The Russians will have 10 to 20 officers there."

"The center's purpose is to provide reassurance to the Russians on potemtial accidental missile launches--either by the United States or other countries--resulting from Y2K computer glitches. U.S. officals have said they don't anticipate Y2K problems with either U.S. or Russian missile systems. It also would provide reassurance in case a computer glitch affected Russia's radar system."

"No one thinks 'we're teetering on the edge of a potential false launch,' the U.S. official said. However, if there were a problem, both sides feel it would be useful to have officers in direct contact with each other." (See the Minneapolis, Minn. Star-Tribune for September 11, 1999, page A4, "Russians to join U.S. officers at missile center for Y2K transition.")

from the UFO Files...


Ninety-eight years ago, on September 16, 1901, the steamer Hudson lost her steering engine and foundered in Lake Superior off upper Michigan's Keweenaw peninsula. All 24 members of the crew drowned when this 320-foot steamship, with its distinctive two black smokestacks aft, plunged to the bottom.

Trouble is, the Hudson won't stay in her watery grave.

On September 16, 1948, a tugboat fisherman we'll call "Gary Olsen" was dropping his gill nets in Lake Superior northwest of Eagle Harbor, Michigan, near the top of the Keweenaw, when he encountered a strange, thick fog.

"Without warning it wasn't fog any more but the tall sides of a vessel directly off the bow. Throwing the wheel hard over, the captain barely swung the tug clear of the stranger.. The other vessel wasn't moving but drifting dead with the swell."

Olsen and his mate were amazed to see a ship "about 300 feet long and she had the smallest pilothouse he had ever seen on a freighter. The twin stacks were unusual, too. One of them was also knocked over, and the other looked none too steady...The steamer's decks, like her sides, were covered with a slimy brown coating. Great rust bubbles were everywhere."

When the silent ship refused to answer his hails, Gary rowed over there in his gig and climbed onto the foredeck..

"Climbing the companionway, he paused for a second at the closed pilothouse door. Opening the door, he found two men, or what once were men, staring straight at him. One, the farthest away, held the wheel fast in his bony hands. The other, evidently the captain, judging from his short peaked cap, stood closest to him. To the tug man, both looked like death warmed over. Thin and gaunt in stature, their ragged clothes hung loose over emaciated limbs. Their faces were white and chalky with leathery skin drawn tight against their skulls. The eyes were the worst of all. They were lifeless, black as coal and without a single spark of animation."

Gary asked what was going on. Why were they adrift in a busy shipping lane "in this fog thicker than my mother's bean soup?"

"Speaking slowly and with a voice resonating deep and cold, the steamer's captain replied, 'We are beyond help--have been for many a year. And indeed we are a wreck. Don't you know what ship this is?'"

"Backing away slightly, the tug man said, 'Your name was covered by rust. I couldn't make it out as I circled you.'"

"In the same tired voice, the master replied, 'Why, this is the Hudson, lost September 16, 1901, in this very spot. Twenty-four men went to the bottom with her. It's cursed we are, damned by the devil himself. Every year we must come up, only to be dragged down again. Haven't you heard all the tales--of ghost ships and spirit sailors and haunted spots on the lakes? Well, it's true. We are the proof. If you know what's good for you, you will get off this damned ship now, this very instant. Our time is almost done.'"

"The tug man never looked back. He bolted out the door and ran as fast as his legs would carry him-- flying down the companionway to the weather deck and on to the place where he first climbed aboard."

Rowing like a madman, Gary reached the tugboat, scrambled aboard and fired up the Kahlenberg engine. The mate asked, "Now what was that all about?"

"You wouldn't believe me, and I ain't going to tell you," Gary replied, "Steady her up north- northeast. I've got a feeling this ain't a healthy place to be."

"What about our nets?"

"To hell with them!" Gary snapped, "Get her out of here--now!"

No sooner had the Olsen tugboat got under way than the weather changed. "Within minutes the lake was churned into a savage gale. Waves assaulted the tug from every side in a confused melee of water. The glass in the portside pilothouse window blew out when a vicious wave smashed into it. Another wave struck the forward door, ripping out the center lock and flooding into the well. Hammer and nails closed the hole and saved the tug from a watery grave. Desperately the tug struggled on, rolling and plunging in the steep seas until she finally slid between the rock piers at Eagle Harbor."

"It had been a very near thing, and it was a story that wouldn't be told for a very long time."

When Olsen finally told his story to author Frederick Stonehouse, it cemented the Hudson's reputation as one of the most notorious ghost ships of Lake Superior. (See the book Haunted Lakes by Frederick Stonehouse, Lake Superior Port Cities Inc., Duluth, Minn. 1997, pages 85 to 89.)

Well, that's it for this week. Join us next time for more UFO news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.

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