SPAIN BOMBARDED BY GIANT CHUNKS OF ICE
For the past ten days, Spain has been bombarded by giant chunks of ice. And the situation has scientists baffled.
On Tuesday, January 18, 2000, a large block of ice fell in the small city of Albalat de la Ribera in Valencia province.
On Monday, January 17, 2000, a block of ice fell in the middle of the seaport city of Cadiz, located 400 kilometers (240 miles) southwest of Madrid, the national capital.
"The block of ice fell on La Palma street, in the popular La Vina neighborhood (of Cadiz) around 3:30 p.m., according to a brief communique issued by the Policia Nacional. The object, being 3,750 cubic centimeters in volume, was collected by the police prior to its transfer to the local precinct headquarters to determine its weight."
To date, a dozen large ice chunks have fallen in Spain, three in Valencia alone. Two have fallen in Andalucia (southern Spain--J.T.), including one large chunk in the town of Tocina in Sevilla province.
In Cadiz, the police were summoned by Jose Manuel D., a pedestrian "who was walking down the street and witnessed the icefall."
"The chunks of ice of unknown origin--the three latest yesterday (Monday) in Valencia--have led the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Superior Council of Scientific Investigations--J.T.) to create an interdisciplinary task force whose goal should be conducting a comprative analysis of the samples to determine if they have the same origin."
"Meteorologists from Spain's Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia" in Sevilla, Murcia and Valenncia "have agreed that the meteorological conditions were not propitious for the formation of such ice masses."
The Instituto thinks "the ice may have fallen from spacecraft or aircraft or may be the remains of cometary nuclei."
"Jesus Martinez Frias, a CSIC geologist who traveled to Valencia to collect a fragment of the object that fell in that community, was able to take the most recent of them," i.e. the one that fell in Albalat de la Ribera.
Martinez Frias "will study the piece of ice at the Instituto del Frio de Madrid. He admits his astonishment. 'I'm the most startled one when it comes to this kind of phenomena. It's to early to engage in a priori evaluations but everything points to a cometary origin for these fragments.'"
One fragment was milky white, was estimated to have frozen at minus 220 degrees Centigrade and showed traces of quartz embedded within.
But not everybody buys the outer-space theory. "Javier Armentia, director of the Pamplona Planetarium, finds it hard to believe that they could be remnants from a comet's tail, also known as 'dirty snowballs.'"
"'I'm convinced that parts of this phenomenon are little more than pranks. In other words, following the falls of one or two ice fragments, there was a wave effect, similar to what happens with UFOs,' he opines that it 'will be necessary to wait for the ice analyses to be completed' " to discover if they are "'only made of tap water.'" (See the newspaper El Mundo of Madrid for January 19, 1999, "A scientific commission researches the mysterious ice shower." Many thanks to Scott Corrales, author of Chupacabras and Other Mysteries for the newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: Twelve ice falls in just over a week!? If you hear any rumbling in Albany, New York, don't worry--it's not an earthquake. It's just Charles Fort popping up in his pine box, ready to take notes!)
UFOs SIGHTED IN ITALY AND IN NEARBY SARDINIA
On Tuesday, December 21, 1999, at 5:10 p.m., a bright UFO appeared over Ischia province in Italy. The object first appeared over Forio in the north- northwest sky, just above trees and buildings. The UFO then flew over Casamicciola and then moved between Mondragone and Castelvolturno. At one point, the UFO hovered over a number of Italian military bases north of Lago (Lake) Patria, including the Italian air force academy, the Accademia Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AAMI)..
Later that evening, another or possibly the same luminous UFO appeared over Mount Barano.
A third sighting took place shortly thereafter, with the UFO between the mountain and Porto d'Ischia. Finally, it flew out over the sea just south of Porto d'Ischia.
On Tuesday, January 4, 2000, at 4:32 a.m., a young man working at the industrial park in Porto Torres, adjacent to the city of Sassari on the island of Sardinia, "observed to the northwest an intense luminous molten point of light that resembled the tail light of an airplane. For two minutes, the object flared up and then diminished to its previous intensity." (Grazie a Alfredo Lissoni, Giuseppe Colamine e Antonio Cuccu di Centro Ufologico Nazionale d'Italia per questi rapporti.)
THREE UFOs SPOTTED NEAR MOUNT WARRIGAL, AUSTRALIA
On Thursday, January 13, 2000, at 10:55 p.m., the eyewitness, Jason, and his uncle were "returning from a fishing trip when they noticed three pinkish-red objects travelling in vertical formation with the lowest object slightly behind the other two."
At first the UFOs "were apparently stationary, with the lowest object showing intermittent random pulsing. The distance between the objects was approximately four fingers at arm's length, and they held formation for the first 10 minutes" of the 20-minute encounter.
"During the next 10 minutes, the upper two objects faded, and the lowest lighted object started to 'skip' upwards and then return to its original position. This was done four times at approximately every 2.5 minutes."
"The speed of this object--as estimated by Jason who holds a private pilot's license--was approximately 200 feet per second. The bottom light was approximately 30 degrees above the horizon. It was lost (from sight) when it moved behind a large cloud base." (Many thanks to Diane Harrison and Doug Moffett of Australian UFO Research Network for this report.)
UFO FLAP ENGULFS NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
UFOs appeared over New Zealand's North Island twice in recent weeks--the first time on Boxing Day and again on January 10, 2000.
The first incident occurred on Boxing Day night, December 26, 1999, at 9:18 p.m. in Raglan, N.I., a small city 105 kilometers (63 miles) southwest of Auckland. "A green flare was seen on the west coast. The flare died before it hit the sea."
At 9:25 p.m., "a red flare alerted the Raglan Sea Rescue, which searched the area but failed to find anything."
At 9:29 p.m., in Port Waikato, N.I., located 75 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Auckland, there was "a report of a low green flare" in the northwest over the Pacific Ocean.
At 9:36 p.m., in Warkworth, N.I., a small town 70 kilometers (42 miles) north of Auckland, "a resident reported multi-coloured lights in the sky heading in the direction of Pakiri Beach." The lights were last seen passing over the Dome (Mountain) Range.
At 10 p.m., residents in Army Bay, N.I. reported "orange sparkling coloured flares to the north side of the Whangaparoa Peninsula. The flare was reported to have ascended into the sky before it came down."
At 11:30 p.m., residents of Tinopai, N.I. saw "'huge lights' over the hills due north" of town.
On Monday, January 10, 2000, Mrs. J. went outside her home in Tauranga, Welcome Bay, N.I. "at 10 p.m. to look at the clear sky. Just after she had gone outside, she was aware of a flourescent green light that was travelling from the east and to a spot fairly nearly in front of her, when it stopped. It was high up. The green object was larger than the stars which she beheld. The total time was approximately 1/2 hour (30 minutes). As it was a clear calm night, she was sure there was no wind." (See the newspaper the Times-News of Auckland, N.I., New Zealand for December 27, 1999. Many thanks to Murray Bott of MUFON New Zealand and to the Tauranga UFO Investigation Group for these reports.)
VIETNAMESE PRINCESS SAYS SHE REPRESENTS "THE HIDDEN MASTERS"
While sightings of the Virgin Mary have the Roman Catholics of Vietnam in an uproar (see UFO Roundup, volume 5, number 2), a mysterious "princess" is creating a stir in the Buddhist community.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Communist government in Hanoi has cracked down on the Long Hai Di Lac (Vietnamese for Chinese Dragon Buddha Sect--J.T.) "Authorities in Hanoi have fined members of the group for gathering in public places after declaring their unregistered religion illegal. Action was taken after three members starved themselves to death, allegedly to save themselves from damnation when the world ends next year."
Long Hai Di Lac, which has about 200 members, got its start in the 1990s. Mysterious pamphlets were posted on the Giac Lam pagoda in Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh (better known to millions of Americans as Saigon--J.T.), the oldest Buddhist temple in Vietnam, first built in 1744. Then similar writings appeared on the Tam Quan gate at Ngoc Long pagoda in Hanoi.
They heralded the coming of Cong Chua Yeu Thuat, a twenty-something princess who had been appointed the representative of Cao Tang, one of the "Hidden Masters of Tong Yao." (Since it's not on the map, I guess it must be the Vietnamese Shambhala--J.T.)
As princesses go, Yeu Thuat is reputed to be a thoroughly modern one. Some say she was an apsara (celestial dancer) in Cambodia. Others claim she lives in the Tan Binh section of Saigon and teaches martial arts. She is said to be very pretty, with long hair down to her waist which she wears in a ponytail and has appeared in Western blouses and slacks as well as the traditional Vietnamese ao dai..
For now, though, the Buddhist sect and its "secret princess" have gone underground, just like the Falun Gong in China. (See the South China Morning Post for November 2, 1999. Many thanks to Binh and Trinh, too.)
(Editor's Comment: Now there's a career path for the modern woman. From apsara dancer to mistress of the martial arts to emissary of the Hidden Masters. Feminism has come to Shambhala. I wonder what old Count Saint- Germain has to say about that.)
AQU TRACKS MYSTERIOUS CREATURE IN QUEBEC
The Association Quebecoise de Ufologie (AQU) is investigating the discovery of the footprints of an animal unknown to science that were found near Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada in 1997.
According to AQU president Gilles Millot, on November 14, 1997, Real Descoteaux and two other witnesses "decided to help a friend who wanted to clear a snowmobile track in the forest. After a few minutes of walking, the three witnesses saw a strange animal print in the snow. It was totally unknown to any of them. It looked like three fingers (digits--J.T.) with claws and was eight or nine inches long."
Continuing on alone, Descoteaux walked into a clearing beside a frozen swamp. "As he reached the clearing, he suddenly felt a great heat coming from the ground. The heat then stopped as soon as he stepped past the clearing, leaving only the cold air of November to fill the void."
Later a second witness joined Descoteaux in the clearing. "And then he felt the same sensation of heat coming from the ground at the exact same spot. When the third witness arrived at 5 p.m., he too described a sensation of heat in the clearing."
"Three days later, they returned, but the snow had melted and the footprint had disappeared." Descoteaux and the second witness decided to inspect the area, anyway. "After walking 100 feet down a small stream, he was amazed to find five or six footprints identical to the one they had discovered in the snow. a few days earlier."
Descoteaux took many color photographs of the footprints and showed them to Quebec provincial wildlife specialists. Millot added, "These specialists could not identify the footprints and were extremely curious about them."
In August 1999, Descoteaux contacted Millot and invited the AQU to investigate the case.
On November 15, 1999, two years after the original discovery, AQU team members and Yvon LeClerc, an authority on fossil footprints, visited the site. LeClerc also closely studied the photographs taken in 1997 "but he, too, couldn't identify the footprints." (Merci beaucoup aux Gilles Millot y AQU pour ces nouvelles.)
CHANDRA DISCOVERS VAST OXYGEN CLOUD IN SPACE
The Chandra X-Ray Telescope was launched in July 1999 to study ancient astral events. During its time aloft, the $1.5 billion orbiting observatory has made some surprising discoveries.
These discoveries were discussed on Friday, January 14, 2000 at the annual meting of the American Astronomical Society in Atlanta.
"The ring-shaped remnants of one such supernova--labeled EO102-72--were studied on two occasions last fall by NASA's powerful new Chandra X-Ray Observatory."
"When it blew up, the giant star, 15 to 25 times more massive than our sun, was 200,000 light-years from Earth in the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the galaxies closest to our own Milky Way." (One light-year equals six trillion miles--J.T.)
"The brilliant light from the starburst reached Earth about 1,000 years ago, and could have been visible to the naked eyes of people in Australia or South America."
Chandra "carries an instrument called a high- energy spectrometer that spreads out X-rays, much as a prism breaks up a beam of light into a rainbow of different wave-lengths. it recognizes each element, such as carbon, oxygen or iron by its unique wavelength."
"The Chandra images show that about half the gas expelled by the exploding star was oxygen--an unexpectedly high amount. Elements such as iron and magnesium also were manufactured but in lesser amounts."
"The oxygen from this supernova alone would weigh as much as 10 of our suns, nd would be enough to supply 1,000 solar systems like our own, (astronomer Claude) Canizares said. The gas formed inside the star where nuclear fusion of primordial hydrogen gradually built up heavier elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and iron."
"'Understanding supernovae helps us to learn about the processes that formed chemical elements like those which are found on Earth and are necessary for life,' said Kathryn Flanagan, another MIT astronomer."
"'We have just seen a star rip its belly open and show us what's inside,' Canizares told reporters. After the oxygen was 'baked in the oven,' he added, it was 'made available to those of us who like to take a breath.'"
"The manufacture of oxygen and other elements in stars continues to this day. An enormous supernova exploded in 1987, and more are expected every 25 to 100 years. The last in our own galaxy was in 1602." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for January 15, 2000, "Oxygen detected near supernova," page 5A.)
1948: LAST FLIGHT OF THE STAR TIGER
Fifty-two years ago, on Thursday, January 29, 1948, the Star Tiger, a luxury airliner belonging to British South American Airways rolled down the runway, taking off on her transatlantic flight to Havana, Cuba..
The Star Tiger was designated an "Avro, Tudor IV, Post War, pressurized cabin Luxury Airliner," with four propellor engines. The Tudor was a composite design, using the wings and engines of the Avro Lancaster bomber, flown by the RAF in World War II,..and a bulkier, roomier fuselage than the wartime bomber's.
"The Tudor IV had five emergency exits, carried three large dinghies, one fitted with a radio transmitter,, and life belts were stowed under the passenger seats and in the crew's compartment."
There were 25 passengers and six crew aboard the Star Tiger. At the controls was veteran BSAA pilot Capt. David Colby.
The first stage of the flight took the Star Tiger from London to Santa Maria in the Azores. From there, she headed southwest across the Atlantic. Next stop-- Hamilton, Bermuda.
But as Star Tiger headed across the ocean, she encountered "a 100-kilometer- per-hour wind" (60 miles per hour) from the Americas. The Tudor's airspeed slowed to a crawl.
Precisely at 1 a.m. on Friday, January 30, 1948, Capt. Colby picked up his microphone and sent a radio message to Bermuda. "Still approximately 440 miles northeast of Bermuda and bucking strong headwinds."
"Roger, Star Tiger. Keep us informed."
Everyone at the Hamilton tower watched the clock. Star Tiger had enough fuel in her tanks to last until 3:15 a.m. If she hadn't reached Bermuda by then, Capt. Colby would have to ditch the airliner in the ocean.
"When the Tudor IV was reported overdue, Hamilton tower tried to establish radio contact without success. Air-sea rescue headquarters was alerted."
Star Tiger "was sufficiently pressurized and hermetically sealed that, if undamaged, there would be time to allow everyone aboard to get set free in the rubber life rafts she carried."
"The temperature of the water in the search area was about 65 degrees, meaning that there was a good chance for those managing to get aboard a raft. Each life raft was equipped with a survival kit which included a "Gibson Girl," a small hand-cranked radio designed to be held between the knees. It operated on the 500 kilocycles band and was generally limited to a radius of 50 to a few hundred miles."
Running the search was Colonel Thomas D. Ferguson, commander of the U.S. Air Force base on Bermuda.
"Two USAF (B-17) Flying Fortresses from Bermuda's Kindley Field and another from MacDill Field, Florida were the first search craft underway." They were soon joined by two B-25 bombers and a C-47 transport plane from Mitchell Field, Long Island, N.Y.; three U.S. Coast Guard PBY-2 amphibian planes; and 14 planes from the Air Transport Command.
The U.S. Coast Guard also sent three cutters into the area--USS Mendota, USS Cherokee and USS Androscoggin. It was the biggest air-sea rescue operation of the 1940s.
And it turned up nothing. Neither the Star Tiger nor a debris field was found floating on the ocean's surface. The airliner had vanished.
Hours passed, and the weather worsened. Search pilots "reported that the weather was stormy, with waves up to 40 feet high."
Then came a strange message from a steamship in the area, the S.S. Troubadour. At the height of the storm, the crew had seen a strange light in the sky. "Sighted low-flying plane with lights blinking at 2:10 a.m., between Bermuda and the Delaware Bay entrance."
Officials decided that it must have been one of the six PanAmerican airliners flying that night. Even though the light was heading in the wrong direction--to the northwest.
Things got even stranger. "Hope for survivors was revived as amateur and professional radio operators from Halifax to Miami reported picking up several radio messages in code that spelled out the name 'Tiger.' Others reported hearing 'Star Tiger' spelled out. The code messages were picked up on an international channel for voice communication in an emergency; however, voice was not used."
U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force officers "reported that the signals were of an improvised code, in which someone laboriously tapped out one dot for A, two dots for B, and so on."
(Editor's Comment: It sounds like the code the Fox sisters used to communicate with the spirit world back in 1844.)
"The signals were heard late Tuesday night, February 3 (1948), and were not picked up during the day." This was four days after the Star Tiger's fuel tanks had run dry.
Sophisticated radio direction-finders were put unto play in the hopes of tracking the mysterious transmission. But it was not repeated. That radio channel went silent.
The wreckage of the Star Tiger was never found.
On September 28, 1948, the UK's Ministry of Civil Aviation issued its final report on the disappearance. In conclusion, it stated, "In the complete absence of any reliable evidence as to either the nature or the cause of the disaster to the Star Tiger, the court has not been able to do more than suggest possibilities, none of which reaches the level of even probability. What happened in this case will never be known."
There is one curious postscript to the story of the Star Tiger. Among the passengers aboard was Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham of the Royal Air Force. In World War II, he "commanded the 2nd Tactical Air Force of the Allies and was considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the use of tactical air power." As head of General Eisenhower's air operations in early 1945, Sir Arthur compiled all of the reports on the "foo fighters" (UFOs) seen by Allied forces in Europe. When the air marshal disappeared aboard the Star Tiger, the information about UFOs he carried around in his head vanished with him. (See the book Limbo of the Lost by John William Spencer, Bantam Books, New York, N.Y., 1973, pages 22 to 30.).
Join us next week for more UFO and paranormal news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home-- UFO Roundup." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2000 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.