PHANTOM PANTHER WRECKS A WOMAN'S CAR IN INDIANA
"A wildcat bit and flattened the tires of a Fairland (Indiana) woman's car, clawed electrical wiring and chewed away part of a bumper."
"'It is unbelievable how much damage there was,' Edna Ragland said of her Buick, 'One estimate is $1,700, but it could be more when it is all done.'"
"It was shock and awe about noon Tuesday (May 6, 2003) when the 72-year-old Ragland discovered something had attacked her car. She called the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and Deputy Travis Maloney responded."
"Bite and claw marks were found all over the car, along with pawprints. Blood also was found on the front of the car."
"'It had some strong bottom teeth,' Maloney said of the creature that attacked the car. 'You could see where he hooked his top teeth into the top tread of the tire and moved his bottom teeth into the sidewall, flattening the tire.'"
"The cat also punctured the other front tire and clamped down around the fender above the tire, Maloney said."
"Teeth marks were found where a chunk of the front bumper was taken."
"'He also bent the windshield wipers in half,' Maloney said."
"Officer Jerry Jackson of the (Indiana) Department of Natural Resources inspected the car and agreed the animal prints on the car belonged to a cat."
"Ragland's domestic cat was mauled and killed two days earlier, leaving a litter of kittens."
"'What we think is the big cat was running around. Maybe he heard the kittens or something and may have chased some other animal that ran under the car and climbed into the engine block,' Maloney said."
"'It was definitely trying to get under the hood.'"
"Large cats have not traveled in Indiana since about 1900 and are not indigenous to the state."
"The last known large cat sighting in the Indianapolis area was near New Whiteland (population 3,958) in June 1996. Several witnesses and a police officer saw the animal and estimated its weight at 100 pounds."
"New Whiteland police chief Bill Withers theorized that someone kept the big cat as a pet, and then it was turned loose or escaped."
"Jackson was astounded by the attack on Ragland's car."
"'I've never seen anything like this in twenty years,' Jackson said."
Fairland, Ind. (population 1,276) is just west of Interstate Highway I-74, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Indianapolis. (See the Indianapolis Star for May 8, 2003, "Ferocious wildcat chews up Buick." Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for forwarding this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: This will make a great episode for the TV show Smallville. I can see the title now: "Alien Cat from Krypton.")
CROP CIRCLES APPEAR ON A FARM IN QUEENSLAND
Thirty crop circles appeared on a sorghum farm in Australia's state of Queensland last week. And the farm's human residents may have heard the circles' actual creation.
"The overnight appearance of dozens of bizarre crop circles in a field of sorghum has spooked a Sunshine Coast hinterland farmer and his workers."
"The phenomenon, which was accompanied by loud 'zapping noises,' a flash of green light, lost power and barking dogs has the Gowen family of Glass House Mountains flumoxed."
"Fifth-generation landowner Kel Gowen said he was woken about midnight Wednesday (May 14, 2003) by two loud 'zaps.'"
"His farm hand, Noel Brady, whose cottage overlooks the four hectares (acres) of sorghum, said he was also woken by the first zapping sound, which was followed by the loss of (electrical) power and bright green flashes."
"Mr. Gowen said it was only during a routine check of his property early yesterday morning (Thursday, May 15, 2003) that he noticed the thirty flattened circles in the sorghum."
"Mr. Gowen said his family had never taken notice of stories of crop circles or UFOs." (See the Australian newspaper The Courier-Mail of Queensland for May 16, 2003, "Crop circles puzzle farmer." Many thanks to Darren Clarke and Robert Fischer for forwarding this newspaper story.)
ROUNDUP READERS SAY ANTARCTIC RUINS STORY IS JUST "FICTION"
The news release from the Atlantis Mapping Project is "just fiction," according to dozens of UFO Roundup readers who wrote in after last week's issue appeared.
The AMP news release alleged that prehistoric ruins had been found two miles (3,200 meters) under the ice cap in Antarctica and that one of their film crews had been missing since November 2002.
Leny G. reported, "The story is a hoax or just a setup for an opening movie. If you look at the links a bit more carefully on the website, you would see posters of movie stars like Nicole Kidman and Clint Eastwood."
Dru Sefton, who works for Newhouse News Service in Washington, D.C. sent a copy of the website's mission statement, which says, "As the world's exclusive link to the secret U.S. dig in Antarctica, and 'Earth's coolest entertainment,' @lantisTV is one of the most exotic combinations of fantasy and reality in entertainment today. Every week tens of thousands of Internet subscribers anxiously await news updates on a fictional archaeological dig in Antarctica. World-class archaeologists are even submitting their resumes to @lantisTV in hopes of joining the expedition."
Gerry Lovell called the news release "an old hoax item that is now circulating on the WWW (World Wide Web) once more."
On Thursday, May 8, 2003, Gerry wrote, "Why hasn't someone done their homework and figured out that @lantisTV and its 'Atlantis Mapping Project' is simply nothing more than entertainment?"
"In 2001, the outfit published an e-book entitled Washingtonople: The Secret History of America's Capital stating that such American monuments as the U.S. Capitol building, Lincoln Memorial and the proposed World War II Veterans Memorial, while erected during different centuries, are built according to its chief architect, Frenchman and Freemason, Pierre-Charles L'Enfant's mysterious master plan. Furthermore, it concludes that the terrestrial landmarks of the National Mall" in Washington, D.C. "will 'lock' with their celestial counterparts at a date predetermined by the (USA's) Founding Fathers. The e-book's archaeology is credited to a Dr. Conrad Yeats, a fictional archaeologist from a novel and a recurring guest on @lantisTV's 'Atlantis Mapping Project' website."
"Washingtonople was the original name of America's
capital city, bestowed on it in 1790 by L'Enfant."
(Editor's Comment: So it appears there are elements of
truth in @lantisTV's fiction.
Michael Christman also researched the websites and came up with "this statement, 'All depictions of news events are fictional and intended for entertainment only, despite claims to the contrary by subscribers, government agencies, archaeologists and other interested parties."
UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor has a theory about what happened. "For us, the story actually originated in France," he said, "A French UFO buff was cruising the Net and came across the AMP site. He must have thought the news release was genuine and emailed it--without the 'entertainment' disclaimer--to our correspondent Bob Fischer. In turn, Bob emailed it to me as part of his weekly digest of European paranormal news. I was struck by the eerie similarities to H.P. Lovecraft's 1931 novel, At the Mountains of Madness, and wrote it up as the 'ruins of Kadath found?' story."
"No wonder there were similarities," Trainor added, "AMP must have gotten the prehistoric ruins idea from Lovecraft."
UFO Roundup readers can check out the websites
GREEN GNOME STARTLES PEOPLE IN ECUADOR
"Police in a town in Ecuador are investigating reports of a little green man seen walking down the street."
"A number of Quininde residents called police after seeing what they described as a 'gnome' in" the town's Plaza Mayor.
"Marco Preciado told (the newspaper) Diario Extra: 'It was less than one meter (3 feet, 3 inches) tall, and I saw it three times. I tried to follow him, but he disappeared."
"Cecilia Cedeno, who owns a liquor shop, said, 'He appeared in front of the shop to a group of people. He gave a loud laugh and ran away.'"
A spokesman for Ecuador's Policia Nacional said, "People are scared and fascinated by the story. We are investigating, and we believe it is someone trying to make fun of the whole town" of Quininde. (See the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio for May 14, 2003, "Police are investigating gnome reports in Ecuador." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales para eso informe.)
ORANGE UFO SIGHTED IN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTAINS
On Saturday, May 10, 2003, at 9:45 p.m., Veronica A. took her pet dog outside at her home in Blaxland, a small town in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, and saw a strange light approaching.
"I took my dog outside at about 9:45 p.m.," Veronica reported, "I immediately noticed a strange burnt orange/copper roundish object in the sky in the far distance. It looked like a star only a fair bit larger."
"I called to my brother, who came to the upstairs window. I asked him what it could be, and he said he didn't know. He called his wife, and she came downstairs with me, and he stayed upstairs. (I wish I had grabbed the videocamera--V.A.) At first I thought it was stationary, but then it started to move slowly towards the ground."
"I estimate that it was lower than the height (altitude in the USA--J.T.) of a plane and about 10 to 20 kilometers (6 to 12 miles) from where I was standing. It was over the bush. (forest or woods in the USA--J.T.)"
"After two to three minutes, I could no longer see it because of my neighbour's roof. I considered moving towards the bush, which is only a street away, to see where it went, but the sceptic in me made me not bother."
"We all discussed it later, and even my brother agreed it couldn't have been a satellite/comet because it lingered in one spot for too long. There was no trail. Just the roundish light. If you put four or five stars together, that would be the size." (Email Form Report)
GOLDEN UFO SPOTTED BY WITNESSES OVER IOWA
On Friday, May 9, 2003, around 10 p.m., Stephanie Hubricht was drivng "between Algona (population 5,741) and Humboldt (population 4,452) in Iowa. Clear skies not a lot of stars. The UFO approached from the southwest."
"We were just coming out of Britt, Iowa (population 2,052)" on Highway 18 "heading west, when I saw a bright goldish-orangeish light in the southwest," Stephanie reported, "About two minutes later, I saw it again. A couple minutes after this, I saw two lights. Then, a couple more times, I just saw the one light. But it always seemed to be in the same direction as we were driving. I would look directly to the southwest each time I saw it."
"I have never seen a light like this, and I am curious about it. I always thought that if I ever saw a UFO, I would be scared, but I wasn't. I want to know if anyone else saw something like this the same night, same time. Big round orange light. It would appear, then disappear." (Email Form Report)
IT'S OKAY TO SHOOT WOLVERINE
Concerning your editor's commentary on the movie X-2: The X-Men United (see UFO Roundup, volume 8, Number 18, page 10), reader Glenn O. Boyde writes, "To give you an explanation of why the officer fired at Wolverine in X-2, I work in law enforcement, and if a suspect refuses to disarm, especially someone with a knife, if you shoot the suspect, it is a justifiable use of force."
"Wolverine could not drop his weapons (his claws) and actually raised his hands, so the officer shot him."
"The problem that I have with the movie is that, unlike Daredevil and Spider-Man, X-2 did not follow any true comic story. In the comic, Wolverine could have sheathed his claws and would not have been shot. He was not a product of the U.S. government but a super-agent of the Canadian government who defected or went AWOL."
"The whole Stryker thing was stupid and over- exaggerated. Thanks for the time."
(Editor's Comment: Glenn, can you imagine the political fallout if Stryker's military attack on Prof. Xavier's school had happened in real life? A late night at the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is hard at work at his desk. The telephone rings, and he picks up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Donald..." Instantly he recognizes the voice of Condoleeza Rice. "I've got Hillary on the other line. Would you mind explaining what that idiot Stryker is doing to Westchester County, New York!?")
From the UFO Files...
250: WONDERS WORKED IN ITALY
History teaches that the Roman Empire ceased to be a world power when the Vandals sacked the city in 410 A.D. But, in actuality, the Evil Empire was pretty much on the ropes 160 years earlier, in 250 A.D., losing wars with "barbarians" (ancestors of the French and Germans--J.T.) one after the other.
This period of the late Empire could properly be called "The Emperor of the Month Club," as the Praetorian Guard and the "first families" of Rome put one strongman after another on the Imperial throne, hoping to salvage their sinking ship of state.
Which is pretty much how the Roman general Decius came to power around 250 A.D. Admired by his contemporaries as a reasonably honest and forthright man, the new bald-headed emperor did crack down on those he perceived to be the Empire's enemies, most notably the Christians, who had become a sizable religious sect throughout the Empire.
Decius also figured out a way to make money from persecution. Christians willing to abjure their faith could go to a judge or a notary public, pay a fee and obtain a written certificate of loyalty to the Empire and the Olympian gods. Thousands did choose this "escape hatch," and there was a thriving black market in these Imperial documents, as well.
But those who stuck with Jesus Christ were rounded up by Decius' secret police and locked up in dungeons to face the rack, the "iron chair" and other implements of Roman torture.
Such a one was Venantius, a boy apprenticed to a leather worker in Camerino, Italy. Born in Camerino in 235 A.D., Venantius was orphaned at the age of ten and lived with relatiives until he became an apprentice a couple of years later. He was arrested two weeks after Decius' decree against Christianity was posted.
Brought before the local Roman magistrate, Venantius called Jesus Christ "my personal savior," and "it was found impossible to shake his constancy with threats or promises, he was condemned to be scourged."
Returned to the prison, located in the lowermost floor of the arx (Roman citadel--J.T.), 15-year-old Venantius had his manacled hands chained to the whipping post. Then the jailer ripped away his tunic, baring the boy's back, and reached for the cat o' nine tails.
The first stroke laid open the skin. Venantius clenched his teeth against the pain. Squeezing his eyes shut, he uttered a silent prayer that God would grant him the strength to endure the torture.
Again and again the iron-studded leather straps found their mark. The jailer let out a jolly chuckle. "I'll bet that stings a bit more than your master's switch."
As the jailer raised his arm once more, he felt cold steely fingers close around his wrist. A baritone voice said, "That will do."
Turning, the jailer saw a strange man standing there. The intruder was clad like a warrior in silver and gold armor of a curious design, neither Greco-Roman nor Celtic nor Gothic. A sheathed sword dangled from his hip. But he wore no casque or crested helmet, revealing a shock of curly, brownish-blond hair.
The jailer's gaze zipped past the intruder to the iron-grille door. It was locked. He tried to pull free of the stranger's grasp but could not.
"How did you get in here!?" the jailer bellowed.
The intruder squeezed harder. A stabbing cold enveloped the jailer's hand. The skin turned pink, then red, then white. The whip fell from his nerveless fingers. The jailer fell to his knees, shrieking, as delicate wrist bones began to shatter.
Glancing over his shoulder, Venantius watched in wide-eyed amazement. His prayers had been answered. It was an angel of God, just like in the Bible.
"Find another line of work, my friend," the angel advised.
And then he vanished.
The jailer's bellows quickly brought Roman soldiers to the dungeon. They listened to him babble about the strange visitor--a warrior--maybe one of the heroes of the Trojan War--Hector, Achilles, somebody! And, it not for his broken wrist, they would have thought the jailer quite mad.
But the jailer's weird story spread like wildfire through Camerino. Once again, Venantius was brought before the magistrate.
"So you're a sorcerer as well as a Galilean- worshipper," the judge said. "Tell me the secrets of your witchery. How did you conjure up Achilles?"
"I am no sorcerer," Venantius replied, "I serve Jesus Christ, the one you call 'the Galilean.' He sent an angel to succor me. Jesus is my lord...and yours, too."
"Don't waste my time with your impiety." The judge struck the bench with his baton. "The penalty for sorcery is death. Take him out and execute him, lest he cast a spell on our city."
With the magistrate's secretary supervising, the Roman soldiers built a pyre of birch wood in Camerino's main plaza. After all, everybody knew that witches were helpless against birch wood. As an additional precaution, they fastened chains around Venantius' ankles, tossed the rope over a stout limb, and then dangled him upside-down over the fire "that he might be suffocated by smoke." Also, while choking on the acrid smoke, Venantius would be unable to cast a spell.
Wheezing and coughing, his eyes streaming from the stinging smoke, Venantius twisted slowly at the end of the rope. As the blood rushed to his head, he silently voiced another prayer. Thy will, O Lord, not mine!
Then, to the amazement of the magistrate's secretary, the mysterious armored figure appeared beside Venantius. He kicked apart the flaming pile of wood, trampled out a few of the burning brands, and then swept his hand over the rest, instantly extinguishing the blaze. He drew his sword. Its blade was an eerie radiance, not exactly light and not exactly fire, and cut through the boy's iron ankle chains as if they were cobwebs. Still coughing, Venantius hit the dirt with a thud.
The angel then vanished.
Flanked by Roman soldiers, the magistrate's secretary came running across the plaza. He stooped and picked up a blackened piece of wood. He gasped. The brand was covered with a thin sheen of ice.
The secretary was converted on the spot, "proclaimed his faith in Christ, was baptized with his whole family, and shortly after won the martyr's crown himself."
"Venantius was then carried before the (provincial) governor, who, unable to make him renounce his faith, cast him into prison" in April 250 "with an apostate who vainly strove to tempt him." When this attempt failed, Venantius was brought before the governor again.
"I've read something of these Hebrew scrolls," the governor said, "Tell me, boy, are you familiar with the tale of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego?"
Venantius nodded. "I am."
The governor chuckled. "You'll find our ovens more sturdy than those of Persia (now Iran--J.T.). This time the fable will have a different ending." To the guards, he said, "Have his jaws broken and then burn him."
This time, no angel intervened when the jailer took a hammer and struck Venantius on both sides of the face, shattering his teeth and jaws. Bleeding from the mouth, Venantius was chained hand and foot, carried to a large copper wine vat and tossed inside. Nearly overcome with pain, he could hear the Roman soldiers stacking firewood around the outside of the vat.
Again Venantius prayed. And just as the copper floor began to blister his flesh, a circle of light appeared on the vat's wall. Through it stepped the curly-haired angel, this time with a white cloak hitched to his armor. At a touch, the manacles fell from the boy's hands and feet. The entity spread the white clock protectively around Venantius, instantly cooling him off.
"Take my hand and come with me," the angel said.
Nodding, Venantius gripped the proffered hand. Together they stepped right through the copper wall of the wine vat.
As the pair emerged from the vat, the assembled crowd emitted cries of amazement and horror. The centurion in charge of the execution clutched his cuirass and "fell headlong from his seat and expired," apparently of a heart attack.
Addressing the crowd, the angel said, "Tell your governor that the tale has the same ending. For the Lord is the same--yesterday, today and forever."
Some in the crowd began shouting, "This god of Venantius' is the true God. Let us destroy our idols."
"This circumstance being told to the governor, he ordered Venantius to be thrown to the lions; but these brutes, forgetting their natural ferocity, crouched at the feet of the Saint," who stroked and affectionately ruffled their fur. It was as if Venantius had bathed in catnip.
Each strange incident added to the reputation of Camerino's "unkillable sorcerer." People flocked to the dungeon to see "the wonder-worker." Venantius took the opportunity to preach to them. Even in the teeth of Decius's persecution, he was winning dozens of converts to Christianity.
"Then, by order of the tyrant (Decius), the young martyr was dragged through brambles and thorns, but again God manifested the glory of his servant." There was no more need for the angel. Resigned to his ultimate fate, Venantius was now able to perform miracles on his own.
May 10 was a hot day and "the soldiers suffering from thirst" complained loudly about their duty. Cut and slashed by the brambles, still smarting from his other injuries, Venantius took pity on them.
"You know, Moses in the desert struck a rock, and water came forth," he said.
"That is absolute crap," a grizzled legionnaire replied, "I served in Egypt! No man could live in the Sinai. No one! Those fables about Moses are all lies!"
With a grim smile, Venantius knelt on a flat rock. "Behold the power of the Lord."
His forefinger made the sign of the cross, and "immediately a jet of clear, cool water spurted up from the spot." The soldiers rushed forward to slake their thirst. "This miracle converted many of those who beheld it."
Yet it also alarmed the governor, who feared that Decius would blame him for the wholesale conversion of so many legionnaires to a proscribed sect. The threat of Venantius had to be ended, he felt, once and for all.
It took about a week for the Empire's informers to come up with a list of the recent converts. At dawn on May 18, 250 A.D., the governor struck. The soldiers who had converted were disarmed and rousted out of their barracks. Loyal troops went from house to house to collect the civilians. They were all confined to one corner of the plaza, surrounded by javelin-toting legionnaires.
Brought from the arx in chains, Venantius was the last to join them.
"Venantius and his converts were beheaded together." It was the first mass execution in Italy since the civil wars of the First Century B.C.
Today a Baroque church stands above the massacre site--the Church of San Venanto--and the bodies of the martyrs are interred in its catacombs.
As for the mysterious angel...he appeared a generation later, in 271 A.D., to a young woman of Rome named Restituta. (See UFO Roundup, volume 7, number 22 for May 28, 2002, "271: Restituta's guardian angel," page 6.)
Such were the strange incidents and manifestations that marked the last days of the Roman Empire. (See the book Lives of the Saints, Benziger Brothers, Milwaukee, Wis. 1887, pages 230 and 231.)
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 in seven days.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2003 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.