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Volume 7
Number 13
March 26, 2002

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"The Northern Territory's Wycliffe Well roadhouse has been famous for its UFO sightings in the sky, but it seems there has now been a ground encounter."

"Lou Farcus has been a resident of Wycliffe Well, N.T.," north of Alice Springs, the state capital, "for at least 17 years and says workers on the Alice Springs to Darwin railway at a site west of the roadhouse have also seen unusual lights in the sky."

"Mr. Farcus says several weeks ago an Aboriginal woman had a close encounter."

"'Her knowledge of the area gave her the instinct that it didn't have anything to do with the (Australian) army or the railway,'" Farcus said, "'So she turned round to go back and have a look at it and saw this triangular sort of object in the paddock. And all of a sudden, she saw these silvery, character-looking people who started coming towards the vehicle, so she quickly turned around and took off." (See the Australian Broadcasting Corp. website for March 24, 2002, "Report of close encounter with 'silvery people' in N.T." Many thanks to Loren Coleman and Louise A. Lowry for forwarding this report.)


On December 27, 2001, a woman living in the Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) spotted two UFOs over Belconnen, which is reputed to be the site of a large NATO underground base.

A. Babbidge reported, "I was having an afternoon nap in the lounge room when I was woken to the sound of an aeroplane circling round near where I live. The plane sounded as if it were an air force (Royal Australian Air Force, RAAF) or army plane such as a Hercules. By the time I got outside, the plane had moved out of sight but I could still hear it."

"I searched the sky for a bit when suddenly I saw, almost above me, a white-silver-grey round object with what looked like small wings or a Saturn shape. It was cruising along much higher than the planes that regularly fly across here. It was steady at all times and made no sound."

"Twenty seconds later, another object--exactly the same--appeared. The two objects continued in the same direction (east) the same distance apart till I could not see them any more. It looked like they turned very slightly, and it looked like they had two silver headlights."

"It took the objects about 50 to 60 seconds" to go west-to-east from horizon to horizon, she added, "And they never changed their position, although initially the second object moved up behind the first object very fast."

Ms. Babbidge described the UFOs as "a round Saturn shape with small wing-like protrusions in the middle on each side. They were definitely not in the shape of a plane. It was a clear blue sky and one of the gustiest, windiest days in the (Belconnen) area." (Email Form Report)

(Editor's Note: For more on the reputed secret base beneath Belconnen, see UFO Roundup, volume 4, number 3 for January 18, 1999, "Belconnen--A secret NATO base in Australia?" page 5.)

Correction from A. Babbidge 23rd September 2003:

A correction needs to be made to this report as the editor wrote that it took 50- 60 seconds for the objects to fly from horizon to horizon.

This would have meant that they were flying very fast. they weren't and I actually saw them first, above my house at the right hand side. and though there were very gusty strong winds, they were just cruising overhead until they disappeared over the tall trees to the left of my house. There was also an Airforce plane circling very close. this is what brought me outside in the first place.


Articles in the newspapers of Canada's British Columbia province have encouraged other people to come forward with their reports of UFO sightings. Once again, the town of Terrace, B.C. has emerged as the center of the UFO flap.

On Tuesday, February 5, 2002, a man in Terrace, B.C. "witnessed a very bright shiny 'dot' moving up and down very fast right above the mountain."

The witness was driving south near the Terrace-Kitimat regional airport when he spotted the mysterious light. "It would move from one side, quickly heading (west) towards Prince Rupert, B.C., then shoot back into the same position where it came from. It would completely disappear and then reappear again some distance away from where it had vanished. A couple of his relatives also saw it, as well."

On Tuesday, February 26, 2002, a woman and her friend were traveling by car the 56 kilometers (35 miles) between Hazleton, B.C. and Kitimat, B.C. "and saw a really bright flash of white light which came from behind them. They did not stop off to the side of the highway to look around to where the flash of light had come from. She said there were no other vehicles on the road. She said the event lasted only a second or two but lighted up the whole area. It happened between 12:15 a.m. and 12:30 a.m."

On Monday, March 4, 2002, a woman and her husband "had a pretty weird sighting in the area of Jack Pine, B.C., which is just a 20-minute (drive) outside of Terrace. She also felt that this was very strange" because of what happened when her in-laws came over the following evening.

Every time he comes for a visit, she explained to ufologist Brian Vike, her father-in-law likes to stop at Tim Horton's roadside cafe in Jack Pine for a cup of coffee.

"When the father-in-law arrived at the witnesses' home, he told them that he was 'talking to a fellow at Tim Horton's' who had 'seen a UFO' the night before. (That is, on March 4, 2002, the same night as the couple's own sighting--J.T.) The woman had not yet told her father-in-law about their own sighting."

The witness "went on to explain that both she and her husband just looked at each other" when they saw their UFO over Jack Pine, "as they knew what they were watching did not have a rational explanation. The sighting lasted 20 minutes, and it was a very bright white light with a halo around it. She told me that the light moved quite a bit from side to side but always seemed to come back to a certain point and stay stationary before continuing to repeat itself. After approximately 20 minutes, it disappeared. The light was high up in the sky. She actually did not see it leave but said the light just went out" and "at arm's length, the light would have been the size of a pea or a bit smaller."

On Saturday, March 9, 2002, a teenaged witness "was laying in bed with my (venetian) blinds open, when this huge ball of light came shooting past my window. When I saw this, I ran downstairs to tell my parents what I had seen. They thought it was a shooting star."

Four days later, however, on Wednesday, March 13, 2002, "my mom was reading the newspaper and called me in to read about the UFO sightings."

On Tuesday, March 19, 2002, at 7:35 a.m., a Terrace man "was on my way to work in Kitimat," a town 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Prince Rupert, B.C. "when I watched 'something' coming out of the city (Kitimat) with flames behind it."

The witness "described his location as being near the Kitimat River Bridge, heading towards Kitimat and driving down the one straight stretch of road which leads away from the river. He saw the object more or less directly over Kitimat. He saw something streaking down with yellow, blue and red flames behind it, trailing smoke." (Many thanks to Brian Vike for these reports.)

(Editor's Comment: Hey, truckers, next time you're making a run to Alaska through northern British Columbia, be sure to stop at Tim Horton's in Jack Pine, B.C. Have some good hot black coffee and maybe meet some aliens.)


On Thursday, February 14, 2002, at 10:36 p.m., four teens were in the park in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK when they had a strange encounter with a domed, saucer-shaped UFO.

Eyewitness Paul T., 17, was with his friends, Guy J., 17; Andrew C., 17 and a 17-year-old girl who prefers to remain anonymous. Paul reported, "I was in the park, walking the dogs with my friends. The light shone down in front of us into a lake. We thought it was a helicopter looking for something. We waited to see what it was and then saw its shape and size. We became excited and scared, so (we) hid in a bush. But the dogs barked loudly at the object. It was saucer-shaped and was swaying over the lake as if looking for something, or had dropped something. It suddenly went back the way it came (to the northeast) and the lights went off."

Paul added that the skies over Stroud "were partly cloudy, with clouds at 1,000 feet (300 meters)." The object was "70 degrees above the horizon, flying at 500 feet (150 meters), saucer-shaped, reflective blue with a dome. Exterior lights were white, yellow and orange. (Our) Cell phone failed, went dead. Dogs were very excited."

Stroud is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Bristol. (Many thanks to Chris S. Davis of the Alien Observer for this report.)


On Saturday, March 16, 2002, at 6:25 a.m., Mexican ufologist Pedro Hernandez "videotaped a large luminous UFO performing airborne maneuvers over Metepec," a small city near Toluca, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Mexico City.

"Hernandez confirmed that the UFO, 'which was of extraordinary luminosity,' appeared at a very high altitude over the city and put out a very brilliant light beam intermittently. The strange object traveled from the west to the east and was captured on video for a period of three minutes, before it became lost in the haze on the horizon." (See NotiOVNI for March 24, 2002. Muchas gracias a Daniel Munoz para esas noticias.)

(Editor's Comment: Remember the "comets of Aquarius" that appeared suddenly last week? Well, your editor wondered if the comets' startling appearance on the eve of the Aquarian conjunction would lead to an upsurge in Fortean events. And they did! Just wait till you see the weird smorgasbord of Forteana that accompanied those comets. Read on.)


"Scientists are stumped by a strange black mass of water in Florida Bay, clearly seen in a newly-released image taken by NASA's SeaWiFS satellite."

"The photo was made (Monday) February 4 (2002) at the height of the event. Scientists are not sure if the mass, which has since broken up into patches, is a bloom of algae, a breakout of bacteria or perhaps the result of some other event."

"One scientist speculated that perhaps some underwater fountain is spewing black water, according to Thursday's Naples, Fla. Daily News."

"The black stuff was first spotted in January (2002) by pilots looking for fish, according to the newspaper. The broken patches are now spread along 126 miles (201 kilometers) of the Florida Keys and west of mainland Florida. Though no dead fish were found, fisherman have reported an abysmal season in the area and unusual behavior in the fish they did find, the Daily News reported."

"The Bradenton, Fla. Herald reported on Wednesday that fishing was poor in the area and that it was barren of marine life."

"'Have we encountered this before? No, not that I know of,' Karen Steidinger, a Florida marine biologist told the Herald. 'Something like this, I haven't heard of before.'"

Naples (population 20,976) is located at the western terminus of Route 75, also known as the Everglades Parkway, approximately 94 miles (152 kilometers) west of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Bradenton (population 49,504) is further north on Florida's Gulf of Mexico shore, located on Highway 758 approximately 95 miles (153 kilometers) north of Naples.

(See the Naples, Fla. Daily News for March 21, 2002 and the Bradenton, Fla. Herald for March 20, 2002. Many thanks to Greg Miller for this report.)

(Editor's Comment: This sounds like a case for that curly-haired fellow who owns the houseboat at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar marina, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I even have the perfect title--The Dreadful Ebony Tide. The real tragedy, of course, is, that wonderful author, John Dann MacDonald (1915-1986) is no longer around to write ithe book.)


"In Guwahati, Bigfoot is back. So claim tribal villagers in the northeastern India state of Meghalaya."

Guwahati is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Calcutta. India's state of Meghalaya is just north of its jungle-covered border with Bangladesh.

"When Mr. Nebilson Sangma revealed last month (February 2002) that he had stumbled across a scary, furry creature on a hunting trip in the jungles of the West Garo Hills, many thought he was spinning a tale."

"But they changed their minds when Mr. Dipu Marak captured on video the nesting place of the creature a few days later."

"The video footage apparently revealed telltale signs of the existence of Mande Burung--the mythical monster in these parts of India, akin to Bigfoot or the Yeti of the Himalayas, last spotted in 1992."

"Wildlife experts and biologists had then discovered footprints measuring 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length within the same area--the foothills of a peak in the Nobrek National Park."

"According to Mr. Sangma, the creature walked erect like a human, had built a house-like nesting place and would emerge from it frequently to feast on a banana grove."

"'After overcoming the initial shock, my brother and I observed the gigantic hairy creature for three consecutive days from afar,' he said."

"A trader by profession, Mr. Sangma informed (Indian) forest and wildlife officials about his discovery."

"'It's difficult to say for sure,' said the divisional forest officer for the West Garo Hills, Mr. W.G. Momin."

"According to forest officials, the creature could in all possibility be a bear that had come down from the Himalayan forests to the north of Meghalaya (state). The area is also a known elephant habitat."

"But Mr. Sangma contended: 'Having read books and watched television, I can differentiate between animals.'"

"Meanwhile, officials and villagers have been hunting for the creature in the forest, but Mande Burung seems to have disappeared as furtively as it appeared."

(See the Straits Times of Singapore for March 22, 2002. Many thanks to Louise A. Lowry for forwarding this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: And so, Mande Burung of India joins the world's growing family of giant hairy man-beasts, such as Bigfoot, the Yowie of Australia, the Yeti of the Himalayas and the Mapinguary of Brazil. And we're not finished with comet-induced Forteana yet. Keep reading.)


"For many decades, the Andean peoples waited for a sign that would announce the arrival of a new age, the conclusion of a (world) cycle, the arrival of Pachakuti."

"The Aymaras (an indigenous people of Bolivia--J.T.) are confident that the arrival of the Monolith (an idol of their god Pachakuti carved from a single block of andesite--J.T.) to the place where it was discovered (Tiahuanaco) 70 years ago will bring prosperity for the entire region. Yesterday (Saturday, March 16, 2002) the communities located between El Alto and Tiahuanaco celebrated in a way they are seldom accustomed to: all of them believe that the suffering of the indigenous peoples of the world is coming to an end."

"'We thank you, Monolith, for reconciling us with the universe,' said the Chancellor of the Universidad Publica de El Alto, Javier Tito, shortly before the Bennet stele departed the mostly Aymara community."

The millenia-old Monolith was discovered in the ruins of Tiahuanaco by American archaeologist Wendell C. Bennett back in 1933. Dr. Bennett loaded the idol on a flatbed truck and transported it to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. For 70 years, it's been on display at a plaza in the capital.

"As though to mark his (Tito's) words, a bolt of lightning lit the horizon and rains poured over the Altiplano (Bolivia's high-altitude plateau--J.T.)."

"The Monolith's final procession (from La Paz to Tiahuanaco) was lit by repeated bolts of lightning."

"The caravan which escorted the massive (stone) carving was formed by over 100 vehicles--official vehicles, public transit buses, specially-contracted buses and privately-owned cars, which accompanied the stone giant on its last journey."

"Departing the urban environs of El Alto, the stele headed east on the road to Desaguadero."

"Its first reception was organized by residents of Laja, a community in which the original city of La Paz was founded in 1548. To the rhythym of tarkas and drums, the locals gave the statue a warm welcome."

"Curiously, as the Monolith went past, the skies grew dark and driving rain fell on the buildings, while scant kilometers ahead, the sun shined brightly, and the earth dried once more in the caravan's wake."

"Farmers interpreted the phenomenon as a good omen, heralding better days for the Aymaras. And thus returned the stele, amid sun and rain."

"Residents of all the nearby towns greeted the returning colossus. They expected that the sculpture's return would bring a better now and hereafter for the Aymaras."

"'Now our suffering will cease, because the Monolith will no longer punish us. The Aymaras will rule again now that Pachakuti has arrived,' said the hopeful elders of nearby communities as they prepared their offerings for the caravan's passing."

"Still another ceremony took place in Villaque, only a few kilometers before reaching Tiahuanaco. Given the lateness of the hour, it was already 5 p.m.--people were immersed in the festivities and danced unceasingly. The arrival of the ages-old sculpture had unleashed euphoria."

"But no reception was as grand as the one organized at Tiahuanaco. All the elements were there, from a uniformed band whose members remained in military formation despite the rain, to bright and colorful dancers, to even the songs of the Kachas (spirit wisdom singers--J.T.) conveyed by the public address system provided by a beer company."

"The archaeological treasure had returned to the place where it was sculpted. However, the work necessary to compact the soil where it would stand once more was still taking place. While compacters flattened the terrace, a water pump dislodged the water that had ponded in the area. Final placement of the statue is set for today (Sunday, March 17, 2002), although subject to weather conditions."

"The stele's 69-year absence came to a close. A new time of hope begins for all Aymaras. The most optimistic among them say it is the Jacha Uru (Aymara for New Age--J.T.), the day in which the Indians shall be freed from bondage to begin the new age." (See La Prensa de Bolivia of La Paz for March 17, 2002, "Monolith successfully returns to Tiahuanaco." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, autor de los libros Chupacabras and Other Mysteries y Forbidden Mexico, y tambien Gloria Coluchi para eso articulo de diario.)

(Editor's Comment: I visited La Paz in May 1978 and saw Pachakuti standing rather forlornly in that plaza. I thought at the time that he really belonged back at the Kalasasaya, the Temple of the Eternals, in Tiahuanaco. It's nice to know that he finally made it home again. And how strange to note that the Jacha Uru, the New Age of the Aymaras, coincided with last week's arrival of the Aquarian comets.)


"An international archaeology team Monday (March 18, 2002) announced the discovery of a lost city of the Inca Empire that may have served as a refuge from Spanish conquerors."

"Surrounded by 18,000-foot high mountains and relatively close to the famed site of Machu Picchu, the site spreads over 1,500 acres on a steep peak known as Cerro Victoria, in southeastern Peru."

"Ruins of some 100 houses, storerooms, funeral sites and other structures have been uncovered at the city called Corihauraychina (pronounced Kor-ee-wah-rah-chee-nah--J.T.)"

"The ancient ruins are spread over the steep peak, where the Incas fled after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The complex includes a truncated pyramid located high atop a hill, a ceremonial platform and an irrigation canal which extends for 8 kilometers (5 miles)."

"These are some of the most extensive ruins found since 1965, when American explorer Gene Savoy discovered Vilcabamba, considered the jungle refuge of the Inca Empire."

"Famed for their wealth, the Incas ruled the mountains of southern Peru until 1535, when the conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, overthrew their empire."

"'We're hoping the sites will fill in some of the gaps in Inca history,' says expedition leader Peter Frost, an Inca scholar. Together with archaeologist Alfredo Valencia Zegarra of Peru's Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad, Frost announced the find at a news conference in Lima," Peru's capital.

"'Very few, if any, Spanish conquistadors reached the southern area of Vilcabamba,' said Frost in an interview, referring to the region surrounding Vilcabamba (which the Incas themselves called Antisuyu--J.T.)

"Corihuayrachina offers scientists evidence that the Inca Empire spread across the eastern side of the Andes earlier than previously thought, sometime after 1200 A.D. It also may have served as a refuge for the Incas after they rebelled against the Spanish from 1536 to 1572, Frost says."

"At 10,000 to 13,000 feet (3,000 to 3,900 meters) in altitude, the city still represents a tough climb."

"Some 22 miles (35 kilometers) southwest of Machu Picchu, the best-known Inca city, Frost says. Two years ago, he led a mountain-trekking expedition through these mountains, catching sight of Corihuayrachina on a distant ridge. A year later, with support from the National Geographic Society, his team reached the site after a four-day climb."

"Inca scholars greeted news of the discovery with interest."

"'We don't find big sites very often, especially not ones from this early' in the Inca civilization, says archaeologist Michael Moseley of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Mountain tops served as a water source during droughts, so Andean people venerated such sites, he says. The expedition plans to return to the site and excavate a cistern above the city." (See USA Today for March 19, 2002, "A likely last refuge for the Incas," page 8D. Also El Comercio of Lima, Peru for March 17, 2002.)

(Editor's Comment: This discovery clears up a historical mystery in the life of Garcilaso de la Vega, the man who wrote The Royal Commentaries of the Incas. Garcilaso was born in Cuzco on April 12, 1539, the son of Captain Sebastian de la Vega and an Inca princess, Nusta Chimpu Ocllo. Nusta converted to the Roman Catholic faith and took the name Isabel. Her brother, Huallpa Tupac Yupanqui, did likewise and changed his name to Francisco. It was Uncle Francisco who told young Garcilaso about the history of the Incas and who introduced the boy to his father's older brother, Cusi Huallpa. In 1553, Cusi Huallpa arranged for the teenaged Garcilaso to meet Sairi Tupac, the fugitive Inca emperor who had come surreptitiously to Cuzco. Historians have long puzzled over the question Where did Sairi Tupac come from? The answer is now obvious--the secret mountaintop city of Corihuayrachina. It's also obvious that Cusi Huallpa, that canny 90-year-old sorcerer, did not share all of the secrets of Antisuyu with young Garcilaso. He held back a lot of information, such as the location of the really old pyramids and las socabones, the mysterious prehistoric tunnels that honeycomb the Andes.)


Reports of bizarre phenomena have been coming out of Ha Tay province in Vietnam. And many of them have taken place in recent months around Huong Tich mountain, revered by local Buddhists.

"The Vietnamese are at present restoring the cracked laquer on the body of Vu Khac Minh, a 17th Century Buddhist monk on show at his pagoda" about 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Hanoi, the national capital.

"'Radiological examinations show that all of (the dead monk's) bones and organs are still in the same place as at the moment of death, which makes its preservation for three centuries all the more mysterious,' said Professor Nguyen Lan Cuong of the Hanoi Institute of Archaeology."

"Thich Thanh Nhung, the head monk at the pagoda, believes Vu's incorruption 'illustrates the ability of the body to acquire a new level of grace through Buddhist teachings.'"

"As Vu neared his death in 1639, he told his followers to leave him alone for 100 days so that he could meditate. When they eventually went into his pagoda, so the story goes, they found his perfectly preserved corpse still in the lotus position. Believing that he had reached (attained) nirvana, they preserved the body with red lacquer."

Just 20 kilometers (12 miles) down the road from Vu's pagoda is Vietnam's most mystical spot--Huong Tich (Vietnamese for heavenly blessing) mountain. On its jungle-clad slopes are several famous pagodas.

Foremost among these is the Thay (Vietnamese for Masters) pagoda. It was built by the Buddhist arbat (monk) Tu Dao Hanh in the Twelfth Century. This pagoda contains the lacquered remains of 18 Buddhist monks who have attained nirvana, plus the mummy of Ly Nhan Tong, a Vietnamese king said to be a later reincarnation of Tu Dao Hanh.

According to Binh and Trinh, there have been reports of people smelling the scent of fresh roses at Thay pagoda during the winter months.

(Editor's Note: This phenomenon is not only reserved for Buddhist saints like Tu Dao Hanh or Master Pu Chao, who died on Taiwan in 1983. It's been reported in the Roman Catholic Church, with reports from Lourdes about St. Bernadette Soubirous and from Fatima, Portugal about future saint Jacinta Marto. And it happened in Hinduism, also, to Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda.)

"Anomalous lights" have been seen at the other pagodas of Huong Tich, including Thien Chu (Vietnamese for Heavenly Gateway) and Huong Tich Chu (Vietnamese for Gateway of the Sweet Fragrances.)

Huong Tich was also visited earlier this year (2002) by self-styled "celestial princess" and itinerant mystic Cong Chua Yeu Thuat. The lady reportedly visited Giai Oan Chu pagoda dressed in the traditional white ao dai, spent several days in meditation and distributed some money to the poor.

Yeu Thuat appeared in late 1998, proclaiming herself the "emissary" from "the Hidden Masters of Tong Yao." According to Binh and Trinh, Tong Yao is a subterranean kingdom, a kind of Vietnamese Shambhala. It's either directly beneath Huong Tich or it's somewhere else in Ha Tay province with a tunnel leading there from Huong Tich--Vietnamese folklore isn't too clear on that point. (See Fortean Times for May 2002, "Our dead man in Nirvana," page 23. Also many thanks to Binh and Trinh for the information about Huong Tich. For more on Yeu Thuat, see UFO Roundup, volume 5, number 3, for January 20, 2000, "Vietnamese princess says she represents 'the Hidden Masters,' page 4.)


"Near the ruins of Pompeii, archaeologists said they have found a far older settlement, unearthing the remains of buildings, canals and tools from more than 2,500 years ago."

"Italian scientists and the Culture Ministry announced details of excavations at the ancient riverside port of Poggiomarino."

"Like ancient Pompeii, a (Roman) city destroyed in 79 A.D. by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius," the ruins of Poggiomarino were "abandoned due to natural disaster, a flood in the Sixth Century B.C."

"The 17-acre settlement" at Poggiomarino "dates to 1,500 B.C., and up to 1,000 people lived there, officials say. Work on the site is expected to last another year." (See USA Today for March 22, 2002, "Archaeologists find ancient settlement near Pompeii," page 9A.)

From the UFO Files...


On an April morning in 1944, "Mrs. Pauline Rebel was teaching her eight pupils in the Wild Plum School," a venerable one-room wooden schoolhouse in Richardton, North Dakota (population 400). "Classroom decorum was suddenly shattered by a series of events that State Fire Marshal Charles Schwartz said later was 'simply beyond belief.'"

"Lignite coal in a scuttle near the stove began to stir restlessly. Seconds later, lumps of coal started popping out of the bucket like Mexican jumping beans, striking the walls and bounding back. Pupil Jack Steiner was struck on the head and bruised. The bucket tipped over, and the lumps of lignite ignited."

"Then...'all hell broke loose,' as Teacher Rebel tried to quiet the screaming children. Window blinds on all nine windows started smoldering. A dictionary, touched by no human hand, began to move across the top of a stand. A bookcase burst into flame."

"'It looked as if it had been set on fire with a blowtorch,' an official said later."

"Mrs. Rebel telephoned for help. School officials came on the run. They arrived to find the disturbance subsiding but testified that the lumps of coal were still reacting to a mysterious force. Pieces trembled in their hands. The children were sent home and the school temporarily closed."

"Chemists in the state colleges analyzed the coal. They could find nothing unusual. Other samples of coal, the bucket and the dictionary were sent to the FBI in Washington," D.C. "They could find nothing unusual. The teacher and her pupils underwent lie-detector tests. According to this device, all were telling the truth."

"In reporting this case, Time magazine for once did not follow the usual pattern of heavy-handed so-called humor. The reason Time handled the story 'straight' was that the North Dakota report coincided 'with the publication of a scientific work suggesting that it was remotely possible that Teacher Rebel and her pupils had seen what they said they had seen."

The book was Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom, a whimsical account of the behavior of atoms. The author was Professor George Gamow of George Washington University, a noted physicist. Behind the notion that such spontaneous phenomena are possible is a theory of the late physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, and is known among scientists as "Maxwell's Demon."

In the book, Dr. Gamow argued that "a group of molecules might accidentally arrange themselves in an orderly movement that would upset (a) normal condition."

Today scientists would chuckle at Dr. Gamow's "Model T" nuclear physics, but in 1944 it was considered a possible answer to the mystery in Richardton, N.D.

The event was never truly explained. But it sounds more like a traditional "fire poltergeist" than any kind of quantum physics. (See the book Mysterious Fires and Lights by Vincent H. Gaddis, Dell Publishing Co., New York, N.Y., 1967, pages 176 and 177. Also Time magazine for April 24, 1944.)

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

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2002 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.


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