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Volume 8
Number 22
June 18, 2003

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"Paleontologists in Africa have unearthed the skulls of three of the first humans--two adults and a child who were undergoing the final transition from a pre-human form to the faces we see in the mirror today."

"Discovery of the 160,000-year-old skulls--the oldest known fossils of modern humans--proves conclusively, expedition leaders say, that humans originated in Africa and did not evolve from Neanderthals, a separate species that vanished from Europe about 30,000 years ago."

"The skulls found in the Middle Awash region," located just east of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, "retain only minor features of earlier, more ape-like ancestors--primarily a deeper face and a longer brain case--says Tim White, co-director of the Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California-Berkeley. He prepared and pieced together fossil skull fragments with Berhane Asfaw of the Rift Valley Research Service in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia."

"Sharp, flake-type stone tools were found near the skulls, along with the remains of a butchered hippopotamus, says Yonas Beyene of the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage. He says the tools represent a technological advance over the bulky hand tools that were used for more than one million years."

"Unusual markings on the skulls indicate that the first human practiced a form of ancestor worship that involved handling skulls of the dead. Similar practices, including cannibalism, were found in the early 20th Century among tribes in (Papua) New Guinea."

"The surfaces of the child's skull were worn smooth from handling. The opening at the base of the skulls may have been widened either to remove the brains for an ancestral meal or to make room for a pole on which to display the skull, or both. One of the adult skulls has parallel cut marks around the perimeter."

"White says not a single human bone from the rest of the bodies was found anywhere near the site. This suggests the skulls were not part of a burial."

"The Middle Awash region has become the most productive site in the world for the discovery of human and pre-human fossils. The new skulls add to a line of fossils dating back nearly 6 million years."

"'The skulls link all modern people with a whole series of earlier fossils from Africa. Now we have a very good chain of evidence" on human origins, White says."

"The discovery is reported in today's Nature. The fossils were dated by Paul Renne, Berkeley Geochronology Center; Bill Hart, Miami University of Ohio; and Giday Wolde Gabriel of Los Alamos National Laboratory." (See USA Today for June 11, 2003, "Skulls of oldest known humans found in Africa," page 1A.)

(Editor's Comment: Welcome to Dem Bones Week at UFO Roundup. Some equally interesting fossils were dug up last week in Australia. So read on...)


"A new horned kangaroo, giant marsupial lions, birds and a wolf-sized Tasmanian tiger are just some of the latest cache of fossils unearthed in caves on the Nullarbor Plain" of Western Australia.

"The superbly-preserved specimens were collected by a Western Australia Museum team of paleontologists and cavers (spelunkers in the USA--J.T.) who were washed out of the area by rains a week ago."

"The exploration leader, Dr. John Long, who visited the site last year, said the trip had yielded animals new to science."

"'This time the focus was on finding some of the rarer things, such as complete skulls of these strange kangaroos.'"

"'Last time we found mostly juvenile specimens. Now we have bigger ones, and probably three more (now extinct) species of kangaroos.'"

"Two more specimens of Thylacoleo, Australia's biggest mammalian predator, were unearthed, adding to the eight skeletons identified last year."

"The lion-like predator, which could stand nearly one metre (3 feet, 3 inches tall) and weighed about 250 kilograms, had a pair of retractable thumb-like claws to disembowel or drag prey up trees. But a reconstitution of one of its feet has revealed for the first time that all of the lion's digits were retractable, not just the thumbs."

(Editor's Note: Although it's called a "lion," Thylacoleo is not a member of the cat family. It's a marsupial, a distant relative of the opossum and the kangaroo.)

"More skeletal material from the world's biggest kangaroo, Procoptodon goliah, was found with the remains of bandicoots and birds."

"No human remains were found on either trip to the caves, which were at least 200,000--possibly 500,000-- years old."

"Dr. Long said the prize of the Nullarbor fossil specimens included a horned kangaroo: 'It is an adult specimen with a very peculiar bulbous nose.'" (See the Sydney Morning Herald for May 26, 2003, "Marsupial giants emerge from prehistoric caves." Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this newspaper article.)


"Richard Gere may want to watch his back for a while because he may soon fall victim to the 'Curse of The Mothman Prophecies.'"

"That's the word from Mothman researcher Loren Coleman, who says a recent plane crash in Los Angeles is only the latest event caused by 'the Mothman Curse.'"

"One of the crash's victims, Jessica Kaplan, worked on the 2002 film," which starred Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Debra Messing, Will Patton, Lucinda Jenney and Alan Bates, "and Coleman claims that there have been other bizarre accidents as well."

"If the curse is real, then Gere could suffer a terrible accident--and so could Coleman, who consulted on the film."

"But Coleman isn't worried and freely discusses the curse in his new book, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (Paraview Press, 2003)."

"The plane crash which killed Jessica Kaplan happened as the DVD:SE (Special Edition) of The Mothman Prophecies was being released in the USA and Canada."

Coleman said, "People have pondered dates, disasters and deaths linked to Mothman from 1966 to the present. It has become fashionable in recent years to create lists of those who have died by association to the JFK hit, Bill Clinton and even The Poltergeist movie. Therefore, here is 'The Mothman Death List.'"

The visitations of the weird entity called Mothman began in November 1966 and continued for a few months. Dozens of people in Point Pleasant, West Virginia saw the winged creature at several locations in or near the Ohio River community. Then, approximately 13 months after Mothman's first appearance, on December 15, 1967, at 5:04 p.m., the Silver Bridge collapsed during rush hour.

"Forty-six lives were lost, and 44 bodies were recovered."

The two who weren't recovered were Kathy Byus and Maxine Turner, both of Point Pleasant, W.V.

"The first sighting of Mothman (acknowledged by the media--L.C.) occurred on November 15, 1966, when the Scarberrys and Mallettes saw" the creature.

Exactly 13 months later, the Silver Bridge collapsed, an event predicted in February 1967 by an unearthly entity calling itself "Indrid Cold."

"Twenty-six months later (2 X 13 equals 26--L.C.) reporter Mary Hyre died on February 15, 1970 at the age of 54."

"In one of the strange twists of fate that seem to follow those who investigate Mothman, author Jim Keith at 50, died mysteriously, on September 7, 1999, during routine knee surgery after falling off the stage at the Burning Man pagan arts festival in Nevada. Jim Keith was responsible for first speculating on a CIA/Men In Black (MIB) connection to the initial Mothman events in Point Pleasant, W.V."

(Editor's Comment: Jim was the author of many "conspiracy classics," including Black Helicopters: Strike Force for the New World Order, Black Helicopters 2: The Endgame Scenario, Casebook on the Men In Black, OKBomb, Saucers of the Illuminati and Biowarfare in America. In his last email to your editor in late July 1999, he mentioned that he was outlining a new book, Black Helicopters 3: The Bush Dynasty. But I have since heard that he was hard at work on a book about the strange death of Princess Diana at the time of his death.)

"In a further bizarre link, the publisher of most of Jim Keith's books and of John A. Keel's 1991 reprint of The Mothman Prophecies, Ron Bonds of IllumiNet Press, died at the age of 48 on April 8, 2001, under strange circumstances, while being transported to the hospital for food poisoning" at El Azteca, a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia.

"In June 2002, the body of Jim Keith's former wife was found on an interstate highway in Reno, Nevada; though the cause of death has not been determined, the (Nevada) police suspect murder."

(Editor's Note: When Jim's ex-wife and teenaged daughter arrived at the hospital on September 8, 1999, they were told that he had "died on the operating table." I really did a double-take when I heard that one. Since when do they operate on a sprained tendon?)

"As The Mothman Prophecies movie opened across America on January 25, 2002, the original witnesses, the Mallettes, were attending a funeral. Steve, who was one of the first five witnesses, had lost his brother Charles, 43, to a brain tumor."

(Editor's Note: In a macabre coincidence, this was how actress Debra Messing, who played Mary Klein, "died" in the movie.)

"During the last week of January 2002, during the same initial movie-release time period, there were five fatalities near Point Pleasant, in two crashes involving four automobiles, and three other fatal wrecks in the next five days. For rural Mason County, the eight road deaths in (only) six days was the worst (surge of fatal auto crashes) in 40 years."

"On February 15, 2002, soon after the town was coming alive with all the Mothman promotions and attention, one of Point Pleasant's 1966 Mothman eyewitnesses, Tom Ury, lost his 52-year-old brother, Gary, suddenly."

"Ted Tannebaum, executive producer of The Mothman Prophecies, as well as other films like The Gift and Autumn in New York, died suddenly in Chicago on March 7, 2002."

"Julia Harrison, 29, an associate and very good friend of the members of the Portland, Oregon-based band, King Black Acid, died suddenly of complications of an operation that was not supposed to be life-threatening on November 17, 2002. King Black Acid did most of the songs for Disc 1 of the soundtrack CD for The Mothman Prophecies."

"Jessica Kaplan, a crewmember on The Mothman Prophecies, died in the well-publicized nose-dive plane crash into the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles on (Friday) June 6, 2003. The pilot was identified by the Los Angeles Times as Jeffrey T. Siegel, the owner of a Santa Monica (California) construction firm. Siegel's family said that Siegel and his niece, Jessica Kaplan, 24, were flying to the family's second home in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kaplan's family described her as a screenwriter who had written for New Line Cinema. Jessica Kaplan is officially credited as one of the production crew for The Mothman Prophecies."

"Kaplan is also known as the genius teen who sold a script to Hollywood for $150,000 when she was 17." (See Wireless Flash for June 12, 2003. Also Fortean Times No. 172 for August 2003, "Caught in the tentacles of the Octopus," page 57. Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this news story.)

(Editor's Note: For more on Point Pleasant, W.V., don't miss the feature story in this issue of UFO Roundup.)


"They are the talk of Clay County (Arkansas), crop circles in a local field of wheat. But don't go calling up Agents Mulder and Scully on the phone and turn this into an X-file just yet."

"The first-ever crop circle formation was recorded in London, England in 1647. The most recent--Knobel, Arkansas."

"'We just flew over it and spotted it and it kind of surprised us,' said Bruce Catt, who was flying over Clay County farmland over the weekend. 'We circled it a few times and thought we need to get some photos of it.'"

"Those who engage in the study of crop circles are known as cerealogists, unlike Catt."

"'By no means, I'm a farmer by occupation,' Catt said, 'I also do some flying, just to look at the farm.'"

"There are some think there are aliens that are trying to communicate with us by use of ancient Sumerian symbols."

"'There's 10 circles, the first being the biggest,' Catt said, 'It's around 38 (feet, or 11.6 meters), the next one's 28 (feet, or 8.6 meters), and around 18 and 8 (feet, or respectively 5.6 and 2.6 meters), and they just kind of taper off.'"

"There's a segment of the population that believes that the circles are messages from the alien spacecraft."

"'I don't know what sign it could be or anything,' Catt said, 'But there's really no hidden meaning to me.'"

"Since the weekend, people are coming in droves to Todd Young's wheat field in Clay County, just to see the phenomenon."

"'Yesterday, at one time there were four different planes circling the field,' Young said, 'Continuous airplanes all day, and people on foot, as well.'"

"Scientists and researchers have their own theories around the world: how, why and by whom."

"However, Catt has a much simpler reason why it occurred in Clay County."

"'I think somebody with too much time on their hands went out and walked the wheat down,'" Catt said.

Knobel, Ark. is on Highway 34 approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Jonesboro and about 75 miles (125 kilometers) northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

(See the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for June 5, 2003. Many thanks to Robert Fischer for this news story.)


A multicolored object seen in the night skies over northern Victoria state in Australia has both astronomers and ufologists interested.

"Timber cutter Ross Hadenfeldt said he was working on a property in Euston, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Mildura, Vic., on (Wednesday) June 4 (2003) when he saw what he thought was a meteorite at 7:25 p.m."

"'It was green, red, orange and yellow, and its edges were bright white flashes,' Mr. Hadenfeldt said.

"He said it was about 200 meters (660 feet) long, with the tail fishtailing and corkscrewing."

"The object would have landed between Mildura and Mount Dispersion."

"Mr. Hadenfeldt said he had seen four similar bright- light sightings in the past two years, but none as significant as this."

"Sunraysia Stargazers secretary Kerry Needs said a meteorite could draw people to the area hoping to find fragments and pinpoint exactly where it hit."

"Astronomical Society of Victoria president Perry Vlahos said it was unlikely it was a meteorite."

"'Corkscrewing is not something meteorites usually do,' Mr. Vlahos said, 'If this was corkscrewing, it is more likely it was something terminated or a satellite burning up on reentry." (See the Melbourne Herald-Sun for June 15, 2003, "Space object crashes." Many thanks for Gerry Lovell of Far Shores for forwarding this newspaper article.)


Paul von Strohe, UFO Roundup correspondent in Germany, writes, "On Tuesday, June 10, 2003, I was watching German TV in the afternoon, when they showed a documentary about Frau Ilse Schmitz, a UFO contactee who lives in Bottrup here in Germany."

"Frau Schmitz had heard that people could converse with dead relatives by using a radio transmitter, so she built one in order to contact her dead husband. But instead she made contact with a UFO crew."

"The crew told her they would be flying past her house" in Bottrup, just west of Essen, "and she actually saw the thing fly past. Since then, she has been in regular contact with these crews and has seen the UFO a couple of times."

"Frau Schmitz has audiotaped these conversations and now has over 150 full tapes. She will soon be writing a book about her experiences."

"The television documentary played some of the taped conversations, and the alien crew spoke accent-free Hochdeutsch (perfect German--J.T.)" (Danke schoen a Paul von Strohe im Hamburg.)


On Thursday, May 15, 2003, at 9 p.m., amateur astronomer Dennis B. was about to observe the lunar eclipse from his home in Baraboo, Wisconsin (population 10,711) when something unusual happened.

"I went out to watch the lunar eclipse May 15, 2003 in my backyard. With me was a pair of 16 X 50 binoculars, my 35mm camera and a video camera with a zoom lens. A polarized filter was placed over the videocam (lens) because of the glare of the moon."

"I placed the videocam on a tripod and aimed it at the moon. The Earth's shadow was just beginning to cover the bottom of the moon. Leaving the video camera, I watched the eclipse with my binoculars and took some photos with my camera. I saw a number of bright lights moving about the moon, which I tried to photograph. (The camera did pick up some of these lights--D.B.) The time was 9:15 p.m."

"At the same time, my video camera was filming a number of bright reddish-white points of light moving from right to left and left to right across the top of the moon. There were also points of light moving at the bottom of the moon, some seemed to be chasing each other, passing over other ones."

"During the same time, between 9:15 and 10 p.m., a number of the lights, which looked like very bright stars, moved toward the moon, slowed down, changed direction and went down below the moon, changing direction again. Meanwhile, other bright objects went from the left side of the moon, across the glare of the moon's surface, and came out on the right side. Some went from the right to the left."

"All of these objects--some were bright and some were dim--seemed suddenly to appear from the blackness of space, were bright near the moon, then faded away into the darkness again. The sky at the time was very clear. I counted about 35 objects, although some of them may have turned around to pass the moon again. This all happened between 9:15 and 10 p.m."

"Then I didn't see any more and concentrated on filming the lunar eclipse until it was total. I did not realize my video camera recorded these objects until I viewed the tape on my TV screen later that night. My wife was with me at the time. What these objects were, I don't know. I have been interested in astronomy for years, have a telescope, yet I never saw anything like this before."

Baraboo, Wis. is on Highway 136 approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Madison, the state capital. (Many thanks to John and Jenny Hoppe of UFO Wisconsin for this report.)


On Tuesday, June 10, 2003, NASA "launched the first of two rovers that will ramble across the rocky red soil of Mars and drill for evidence that the planet once had enough water to support life."

"The seven-month journey of the rover, named Spirit, was delayed two days in a row by thunderstorms" in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"Officials also had to contend with a last-minute communication glitch with the ground tracking stations."

"NASA launch director Omar Baez said the two-day postponement cut into preparations for the June 25 launch of the second rover, named Opportunity, and could delay the liftoff."

"Previous missions have shown Mars had water in the past, but scientists want to find out how long the water was there and whether there were sufficient quantities to support life."

"The rovers are to reach Mars in January (2004) and land on opposite sides of the planet."

The proposed landing sites "were chosen for their likelihood of holding evidence of water. Studying the minerals in the rocks can tell scientists how the rocks were formed, whether they were ever submerged in water, and whether hot water even ran over them."

"Moving about on six wheels, the rovers will act as robotic geologists. Each is equipped with a panoramic camera, a camera for close-up views of rocks, and a drill to cut into rocks."

"The rovers, which cost a combined $800 million, are expected to travel up to 132 feet (39 meters) each Martian day, which is 24 hours and 39.5 minutes long."

"The exploration of Mars by the rovers should last three months but could run longer. The two vehicles eventually will shut down as dust builds up on their solar panels and they will be left on the planet."

"Only 12 of 30 previous attempts by the United States, the Soviet Union and other countries have reached Mars."

"Three of nine attempts have succeeded in landing on the planet." (See the Chicago Tribune for June 11, 2003, "Mars rover heads on water quest," page 5, and USA Today for June 11, 2003, "NASA launches first of 2 rovers to probe red planet's watery past," page 3A.)

From the UFO Files...


Point Pleasant, West Virginia (population 4,637) is best known to Forteans as the home of the strange dark- colored winged entity called Mothman. But the town was the site of unusual happenings long before Mothman made his appearance in November 1966.

The town is located on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. Long before the first white man, Captain Pierre-Joseph Celeron, Chevalier de Bienville, a French explorer, beached his canoe there in 1749, the sand beaches were a sacred place to the Ontouagannha indigenous people (also known as the Shawnee Indians--J.T.)

In 1774, Virginia's royal governor--John Murray, Lord Dunmore--raised a militia army under Brigadier Andrew Lewis and sent it up the Kanawha to quell the Native American uprising along the Ohio. A "group of drunken whites (had) murdered the family of Chief Tahgahjute, friend of the white man, better known by his English name of Logan." The indigenous people had retaliated by attacking isolated cabins and settlements throughout what is now West Virginia.

After traveling down the Ohio from Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Lewis landed at the mouth of the Kanawha and built Fort Blair (no relation to the current prime minister of UK--J.T.). Instead of ameliorating the situation, the fort's presence made things worse.

To the Ontouagannha, this was Tu-Endie-Wei (their word for peninsula --J.T.), a sacred powwow site, believed to figure prominently in the myths of the goddess Awenhai. Day after day, Chief Cornstalk received visitors, distraught powaws (once called medicine men, now called spiritual advisors--J.T.) and tribal elders, all with the same lament. Their dreams were haunted by Awenhai and other deities in the Ontouagannha pantheon, or by the ghosts of their beloved ancestors, urging them to end the desecration by driving away the Yenghie-ono.

Finally, just before dawn on October 10, 1774, "Cornstalk and his painted warriors crossed the Ohio and approached Lewis's sleeping army; two men hunting deer saw them, and one escaped to arouse the camp. In the fierce battle that followed, Lewis's army decisively defeated Cornstalk's forces..."

At this late date, it is not known if Mothman ever appeared to or was conjured up by the Ontouagannha powaws.

Tu-Endie-Wei received its English name of "Point Pleasant" from none other than George Washington, who camped there in 1770 and was enchanted by the "low hills in the background and wide smooth waters in front." Although the settlement was known by other names during those early years--Fort Blair, Fort Randolph and Goldsmith's Village--"Point Pleasant" was the name chosen when the town formally incorporated in 1833.

In 1851, the first of Point Pleasant's oddball celebrity residents was born in nearby Buffalo, W.V., 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of town. He was William Hope Harvey, the leader of the Free Silverites, a currency reform group of the late Nineteenth Century..

Harvey wrote several books on the subject, including Coin's Financial School (1894), A Tale of Two Nations (1895), Coin on Money, Trusts and Imperialism (1899) and The Clot on the Brain of the Body Politic. "Convinced that civilization was doomed, he began construction of a 130-foot (39-meter) 'pyramid of America,' a towering monument of steel and concrete, in the vaults of which were to be sealed Harvey's reasons for its downfall for the enlightenment of future historians. The depression of the early 1930s halted work on the pyramid...At his death in 1936, only the 10-foot (3-meter) thick granite and limestone base of his pyramid had been completed."

Curiously, Harvey died in 1936, the same year the Silver Bridge, which linked Point Pleasant, W.V. and Gallipolis, Ohio, was built.

(Editor's Comment: And here's one for you, Loren. Notice how the number 13 fit into the dimensions of Harvey's planned pyramid. Whether you use English or Metric, the number 13 is still there. In feet, 130 can be rendered as 10 times 13.
In meters, 39 can be rendered as 3 times 13.)

Five miles (8 kilometers) north of the pyramid site, going towards Point Pleasant, is Lawndale, a private estate that was the home of Dr. T.C. Atkeson. Born in 1852, Dr. Atkeson was a prominent landowner, educator and the father of West Virginia novelist and lecturer Mary Meek Atkeson. Dr. Atkeson also owned an extensive collection of books on the occultist Jacob Boehm.

Like "Coin" Harvey, Dr. Atkeson also died in 1936, the same year the Silver Bridge was built.

Finally, in 1931, while Harvey was still working on

his pyramid, Point Pleasant was the site of a UFO encounter. Here are the reports as they appeared in the New York Times for October 11 and 12, 1931:

"Point Pleasant, W.VA.--A searching party organized by Point Pleasant police tonight started towards hills back of Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va., behind which a blimp was reported to have fallen in flames."

"Robert P. Henke, his wife, and Dr. and Mrs. Claude Carter of Gallipolis (Ohio), said they saw the blimp cross the Ohio River and that it fell while Henke was watching it through field glasses."

"Henke says the blimp was between 100 and 150 feet (30 to 45 meters) long and flying at an altitude of about 300 feet (90 meters) when it burst. A moment before it fell, he saw something white which may have been a parachute floating downward."

"Dr. Charles E. Holzer of Gallipolis, Ohio, who owns the airport there, at dawn will send airplanes to search for the dirigible."

"Point Pleasant, W. Virginia--Search for a blimp reported to have crashed and burned in the hills south of this city was abandoned tonight after a fruitless all-day search afoot and in the air."

"Some persons who said they witnessed the accident described the blimp as plunging to the ground in flames, men leaping in parachutes from it as it fell."

"No reports on a missing blimp were received from any source, however."

Thirty-five years after this incident, in November 1966, along came Mothman. (See the New York Times for October 11, 1931, page 26, and for October 12, 1931, "Blimp Wreck Search Vain," page 25. Also The Fortean Society Magazine for January 1942, "David G. Markham Reports," pages 10 and 11. See also the book West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State, Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y., 1941, pages 420 to 425.)

Well, 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 Web sites 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.


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