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Volume 8
Number 31
August 20, 2003

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"The largest power failure in U.S. history struck much of the (USA's) Northeast and parts of Canada on Thursday," August 14, 2003, "cutting electricity to an estimated 50 million residents and sending calm but sweaty people into the streets of New York City and other major cities."

"The cascading blackout shut power plants from New York (state) to Michigan in a matter of minutes, stranding subway commuters for hours, jolting elevators to a stop and temporarily freezing traffic."

"As darkness fell" the first day, "the cause of the massive outage remained unclear. Theories ranged from a lightning strike at a power plant near Niagara Falls to the overloading of the electrical grid that supplies large portions of the Northeast."

"In cities from New York to Detroit and north into Canada, tens of thousands of people found themselves trapped in subway systems and elevators. Streets were filled with workers who fled sweltering temperatures in buildings. Airports canceled hundreds of flights. Train platforms were jammed with commuters whose trains were frozen on the tracks. Avenues devoid of traffic lights were a gridlock of cars and pedestrians."

Seven states of the USA reported power loss, including New York state, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Vermont and Connecticut. In Canada, the outage killed electricity in the province of Ontario, completely blacking out Toronto, Canada's biggest city, and Ottawa, the national capital.

More than 100 power plants shut down.

In Cleveland, Ohio, the outage knocked out all four of the city's main water pumping stations. As of Sunday, August 17, 2003, Cleveland residents were still boiling their water before drinking it.

"In some areas, the power failures were scattered. The lights remained on in Albany and Buffalo, N.Y. but not in nearby suburbs."

"The blackout closed the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which sees 27,000 vehicles per day."

"In New Jersey, Governor James McGreevey mobilized 700 National Guardsmen for help."

"The cause of the blackout, which continued for a second day in many parts of the region, remained elusive."

"'We never anticipated we could have a cascading outage of this magnitude and speed,' said Michael Gent, chief of the North American Electric Reliability Council."

"Gent said at a news conference that the answer was somewhere on what is called the 'Lake Erie Loop'--a giant but troublesome transmission loop that encircles Lake Erie from New York to Detroit, into Canada and back to New York."

"About the time power was disrupted at 4:11 p.m., technicians noticed a stunning development on the northern leg of the loop; 300 megawatts of electricity moving east abruptly reversed course, and within seconds 500 megawatts of electricity was suddenly moving west."

The cause of this nine-second "event" is unknown.

"Electricity flows on the easiest path. The change in direction was probably caused by a sudden reduction in power somewhere on the line at the western end of the loop, investigators said."

"'This was a big swing back and forth,' said Gent, adding that throughout the grid system, power levels began to fluctuate. That caused generators and other systems to trip across the region to protect equipment."

"More than 100 power plants, including 22 nuclear reactors in the United States and Canada, shut down, most of them automatically to protect themselves against power surges, officials said."

"The whole process 'essentially took nine seconds,' Gent said, 'It happened very quickly.'"

"But what triggered the shift of electricity flow and where?"

"'Speculation is running rampant,' Gent said, 'I really don't want to speculate.'"

"The last major blackout in the United States occurred August 10, 1996, when 7.5 million people in nine Western states lost power for up to 16 hours."

A similar mass blackout affected the northeastern USA on November 9, 1965. Electrical power failed at 5:16 p.m. and was not restored for five hours. Affected by the 1965 blackout were New York state, parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, most of the six states of New England, and Ontario.

"The (1965) event itself started at the Ontario-New York (state) border, near Niagara Falls. A single tranmission line from the Niagara generating station tripped. Within 2.5 seconds, five other transmission lines overloaded and tripped, isolating 1,800 megawatts of generation at Niagara Falls." Four seconds later, the entire grid system crashed.

"On the evening of November 9 (1965), hundreds of UFO sightings were reported throughout the (USA's) Northeast. In New York state, luminous objects were seen hovering over three very significant locations: a Niagara Falls power plant, a Syracuse, N.Y. relay station, and the heart of New York City."

However, as of Monday, UFO Roundup had received no reports of UFOs in the Lake Erie region during the August 14 blackout. (See USA Today for August 15, 2003, "Outage spawns rush-hour chaos from Detroit to NYC," page 1; the Chicago Tribune for August 15, 2003, "50 million lose power," page 1; the Minneapolis, Minn. Star-Tribune for August 16, 2003, "(Out of the) Lake Erie transmission loop?" page A19; and the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for August 16, 2003, "Lack of centralization plagues electric system," page 3A. See also the Boston, Mass. Record- American for November 10, 1965. Many thanks to Loren Coleman for the detailed background on the "Great Blackout of 1965.")

(Editor's Comment: While UFOs were seemingly absent, mystery helicopters may have played a role in a New England blackout that took place 24 hours before the big electrical failure. See the companion story later on in this issue.)


A major UFO flap has been going on for the past month in Turkey.

On Saturday, July 19, 2003, at 11:30 p.m., the witnesses "were watching from a lake in Trakya, in the south of Thrace," Ahmet Yazici reported, "All of a sudden, we saw a strange light coming from the east. As we were wondering what the hovering light could be, it exploded, scattering very bright flashes, and began to fall. We heard no sound."

"About a half hour later," Ahmet added, "a light appearing at the same spot stayed for a while and then disappeared."

On Wednesday, July 23, 2003, teacher Basak Ankara reported, "I saw a reddish-orange object big enough to cover the basement floor of an apartment building that for sure was not round or oval." The UFO was seen in Turkey's seaport city of Izmir.

"It looked like a strawberry shape with things hanging downwards that were flashing and quite quickly and suddenly became large," Basak added, "It shot up again and faded. I saw smoke as the lights turned off. I went there the next day, but there was nothing there. I told my friends about the sighting, but nobody believes me."

On Wednesday, August 6, 2003, at 10:30 p.m., a woman was working on her computer at her home on Alaram Street, between Cinnah and Givenlik Boulevards in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, "my doorbell rang as if someone was sitting on it. My 15-year-old daughter, Lila, was yelling at the top of her voice, telling me to rush to the window."

"I was at the window and opened it and said, 'What?' She said, 'Look this way to the sky. It's a UFO!' I turned to look, but it was out of sight. I asked, 'What did it look like?'"

"At this time, all of the children started yelling with excitement, telling me the same thing in different ways. I asked my daughter to clearly explain what she saw. She explained, 'A round object reflecting four different colors--yellow, red, blue and green--but it was first seen as an approaching bright white light.'"

"They were sitting down, hanging around and telling stories, when one of the kids said, 'What is that!?' and pointed up. It then stopped, changed to multi-colors and started turning or revolving around itself, and then took off towards Atakule at the speed of a jet. All the children confirmed this. They were all hysterical."

"I went back inside to continue my work and called Haktan (i.e. Turkish ufologist Haktan Akdogan--J.T.) to tell him about the sighting. About ten minues later, my doorbell rang again, and I rushed to the window, and my daughter and the kids stated, 'It's gone. You missed it again.' They saw a UFO, white in color, heading from the northwest to the east."

"After more minutes, my doorbell rang again. I rushed to the window, and my daughter Lila said, 'This time I saw what looked like a star but it appeared from nowhere and headed north towards Ulus, moving slowly.' All the children were telling me precisely what they had seen."

Finally, the witness "went to join the children at the end of the street, sitting down at a position they had picked for better viewing. They said another UFO went by, and this one was constantly flashing lights as it was traveling, but the lights went out all of a sudden, and the UFO disappeared while they were observing it."

On Tuesday, August 12, 2003, "workers at the oil pipeline near Refahiye in Erzincan observed illuminated objects with curiosity."

"Illuminated lights, said to be UFOs, have been seen in the skies of Erzincan for a few days. These interesting objects were last seen by the workers at the Refahiye-Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan pipeline worksite. The people of the district, after hearing the news, started watching the skies at night to see the UFOs."

"Halil Canavar, a district official, stated that he had a 15-minute recording of the illuminated object on videotape, which he has kept for further study. The object thought to be a UFO was seen the night before (Monday, August 11, 2003) in the skies of Erzincan's city center. The object, which hovered for two hours, later shifted to the south and disappeared."

"Erican Karaman, the mayor of Erzincan, observed the object together with the public and stated, 'It does not look like a star. The inside was red; the top and bottom parts were green. Some parts were a metallic color. We think it is a UFO. The experts should definitely analyze it." (See the Turkish newspaper Yarin for August 13, 2003, "UFOs are running wild in Erzincan." Many thanks to Haktan Akdogan of Sirius Space Sciences Research for these reports.)


On Monday, August 11, 2003, at 10:15 a.m., many witnesses saw "a silver spherical UFO flying over the city of Piracicaba in Sao Paulo state" in southern Brazil.

"The object was in the form of a futebol (soccer ball in the USA--J.T.), and it was colored an opaque white, very bright, like silver. The object alternately moved slowly and then remained stationary in the sky from time to time. Then it gained altitude very quickly and flew away to the north. Approximate time of the sighting was three to four minutes."

Piracicaba is located 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of Sao Paulo, which is the largest city in South America. (Obrigado a Eustaquio Anddrea Patounas por eso caso.)


"People have been warned not to approach a big cat which has been spotted on the north coast of Northern Ireland."

"The search began on Friday," August 8, 2003, "after several sightings in the Portrush, Portballintrae and Bushmills area" of County Antrim, N.I.

"There have been numerous sightings of the animal, suspected to be a young puma (cougar or mountain lion in the USA--J.T.), but the rough terrain has made it difficult to capture."

"In the meantime, food placed at various locations as bait has shown signs the animal has been there."

"Animal welfare workers believe the cat may have escaped from a private collection."

"The hunt for the north coast's missing big cat has moved to Portrush after fresh paw prints were discovered by a landowner in a field outside the resort."

"The tracks, measuring approximately 6 inches (15 centimeters) across, have been investigated by USPCA officials, who believe they belong to a puma, which has been spotted prowling in the north Antrim countryside."

"PSNI Scenes of Crimes officers visited the field near Ballyhome, outside Portrush, where moulds were taken of the prints for identification purposes."

"Another family from Leeke Road, near the Whiterocks, say they saw the animal while out for a walk Sunday," August 10, 2003.

"A 10-year-old girl was walking with her mother and sister when the large cat, which they described as being the size of an Alsatian dog and brown/black in colour, leapt from a fence and paused in the road in front of them before running off."

"Despite efforts by police and USPCA officers, who have been laying bait for the beast in the hopes of capturing it, there have been no further positive sightings."

"A big cat has also been seen near Carrickfergus. However, it is understood that this is not the same animal as the puma sighted in Portrush."

"USPCA officer Stephen Philpot revealed that approximately four other exotic big cats are currently on the loose in Northern Ireland after escaping from their owners."

"Meanwhile, Coleraine PSNI Inspector Milne Rowntree wished to reassure the public that there was no threat to their safety."

"'No one should approach this animal. They are secretive creatures and do not like being seen. We think it is hiding and will only come out at night. At this time of year, it will survive on rabbits and wildlife it finds in the fields, and no one should be alarmed,' he said."

"'We still don't know who the cat belongs to, but we are once again appealing for them to contact us.'" (See the Belfast Telegraph for August 12, 2003, "Puma hunt moves to Portrush." Many thanks to UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, Robert Fischer, for forwarding this newspaper article.)


"Frightened peasants from a town in northeastern Nicaragua reported the sudden deaths of a number of sheep, apparently attacked by a strange animal known as the Chupacabra."

"According to residents of Tolapa," near Malpaisillo in the department of Leon, "100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of" Managua, the national capital, "this is 'the return of the Chupacabra'--a strange creature first reported in 1995 in Mexico and Puerto Rico, and which was also reported in Nicaragua three years ago."

"'We found 12 dead female sheep (under the same circumstances--S.C.) as there was about three years ago. They had two holes in the neck,' farmer Alicia Icabalceta told" the Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

"Albertina Brenes, a resident of Tolapa--the site where the first Nicaraguan Chupacabra was spotted--claimed to have lost five sheep attacked by the mysterious animal."

"'One of my nephews heard lots of noise, and the sheep were restless. When we woke up in the morning, we found five dead sheep,' said her son, Teodoro Rojas."

"Farmers who claim having seen the Chupacabra describe it as a mix of dog and kangaroo, with hind legs longer than front legs and 'very shiny eyes,' according to El Nuevo Diario."

"Tolapa was in the national and international media in August 2000, when people began describing a strange animal that sucked the blood of helpless animals, leaving them dead."

"The mysterious animal known as Chupacabra was allegedly shot by Jorge Luis Talavera and was found two days later on his San Lorenzo farm." However, a team of scientists at the University of Leon said the animal was only a stray dog. Talavera claimed that the CIA had pulled a switch, substituting a dead dog for the strange creature he had shot.

"Another resident, Sra. Oilar Ocon, said the Chupacabra attacked her sheep in the El Barro region of the municipality of Malpaisillo." (See El Nuevo Dia for August 15, 2003, "The return of the Chupacabra." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Gloria Coluchi para esto articulo de diario. For more on the Talavera case, see UFO Roundup, volume 5, number 36 for September 7, 2000, "Chupacabra killed by a rancher in Nicaragua," page 1.)


"Three weeks before students return for classes, the University of New Hampshire is posting warnings about a man who has been removing or cutting off the clothes of sleeping women."

Dubbed "Jack the Snipper" by New Hampshire cable TV stations, the suspect is described as "a white guy in his early 20s."

"The notices will be posted on campus and in downtown apartments, businesses, restaurants and bars" in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (population 20,784), UNH officials said. "It recommends residents lock their doors, keep porch lights on all night, and travel in groups and in well-lit places, and asks people to call police if they see suspicious behavior."

"'We're trying to get them in as many places as we can to make them visible to returning students,' said Mark Rubenstein," UNH student services vice president.

"He said the university has received a number of calls from concerned students and parents wanting to know about the crimes."

"'This is simply another effort to try to help people become aware of what is going on around here,' Rubenstein said."

"Police are looking for a man they describe as white, tall and skinny in seven cases in which current or former students had their clothes removed while they slept. There have been no forcible break-ins."

"The incidents started June 24 (2003). The most recent occurred Wednesday (August 6, 2003) when two women at an off-campus apartment had their clothing cut or removed early in the morning."

(Editor's Note: June 24, a.k.a. St. John's Day, has special significance in both Masonic and occult circles. Example: Kenneth Arnold kicked off the modern UFO era when he sighted 10 silver discs flying near Mount Rainier in Washington state on June 24, 1947.)

"A task force, including state, county and local police agencies, was formed last week to expand the investigation. For students on campus, safety suggestions include using the university's student chaperone system, which provides student guides to anyone concerned about walking alone at night. Students are also encouraged to use the 80 blue-light emergency phones that are located throughout the (UNH) campus."

"'People have seemed to believe they're in utter safety,' Rubenstein said, 'And the reality is that there's no place that is absolutely safe. We're trying to remind people that these things can happen anywhere, that it is not necessarily someone else's problem." (See the Portsmouth, N.H. Herald-News for August 12, 2003. Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for forwarding this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Note: Charles Fort was the first researcher to keep tabs on these "Captain Pervert" types. See The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover Publications Inc., New York, N.Y., 1974, pages 871 to 875.)


On Tuesday, August 12, 2003, "another formation (was) reported today in southern Ontario" province, Canada, "near Wallacetown, which is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of London, Ont. Shown on local television news, the formation is a two-circle dumbbell, the largest circle said to be approximately 50 meters (165 feet) in diameter."

Two days later, on Thursday, August 14, 2003, a crop circle was found near Revenue, Saskatchewan. It was described as "a complex pictogram approximately 102 meters (336 feet) long. Smaller stalk nodes and twisted stems below the seed heads reported, similar to the recent formation at Wallacetown, Ont. and at Moosomin, Sask. in 2000, an anomaly seen in only a few formations worldwide over the years." (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of Canadian Crop Circle Research Network for these reports.)


"For more than two years, the assembly of bones that could serve as a key to India's lost dinosaur world took up quarters in the basement of a University of Chicago laboratory."

"Rajasaurus narmadensis--stocky, powerful and bearing an unusual head crest--weighed an estimated 4 tons and measured 30 to 35 feet (9 to 11 meters) in length. The predator belongs to the Abelisauridae family dating from the end of the Cretaceous Period" 65 million years ago "just prior to the dinosaurs' extinction."

"'This is very important to us, because although many bones are known from Cretaceous rocks in India, few are known to correspond to one animal," the University of Michigan's Jeffrey A. Wilson said last week in an email interview from India. 'The discovery of Rajasaurus is one of the few examples of an associated specimen that can give us a good idea of what the animal looked like--its proportions, etc.'"

"'The story of Rajasaurus is one that mixes India's ancient northward journey, the rise of the Himalayas, extinction and evolution.'"

(Editor's Note: During the dinosaur age, India was part of a large southern hemisphere continent called Gondwanaland. This prehistoric continent also included South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. Later India broke off and, like Australia, became an island continent. In more recent geologic time, India crashed into Asia and became the subcontinent.)

"Found near the Narmada River in western India, the bones of the 67-million-year-old dinosaur traveled back to the subcontinent this week in the care of Paul Sereno, a University of Chicago paleontologist and president of the Chicago-based science education program Project Exploration."

"Sereno is scheduled to join Wilson on Wednesday," August 13, 2003, "in Bombay (Mumbai in India--J.T.) to return the bones and present a full-scale model of the dinosaur skull during a press conference."

"'These are diplomatic treasures, and it was really a diplomatic feat' to take them out of India, Sereno said before his departure. 'We brought them here because we knew they needed more preparation.'"

"'It's sort of like taking a mummy out of Egypt.'"

"The significance of the bones wasn't revealed until Sereno and Wilson stumbled upon them in Jaipur during an otherwise disappointing expedition to western and central India in 2001. At the Geological Survey of India Museum, the two Midwestern (USA) scientists looked over a collection of bones excavated in the 1980s."

"Suddenly they realized a hodge-podge of bones belonged to the same dinosaur. And, best of all, pieces from more than 60 percent of the animal's skull remained, including the bone that encased its walnut-sized brain."

"Sereno returned to Chicago with sections of Rajasaurus' jaw, hip bone, brain case and vertebrae from the neck, back and tail."

"Rajasaurus belongs to a group of dinosaurs that inhabited only the southern continent (Gondwanaland-- J.T.), which remains largely an uncharted territory for paleontologists."

"'We have long lived in an age where dinosaur discoveries were dominated by North America and Asia,' said Sereno. 'We know Tyrannosaurus Rex. It's world famous. What was in India? Tyrannosaurus was not in India. They don't have Triceratops; they don't have duckbills. It's India's lost dinosaur world.'"

A new paleontology team, which includes Peter Makovicky, curator of dinosaurs at Chicago's Field Museum, will be "traveling to India next spring (March 2004) to develop field work focused on the Triassic Period, which took place approximately 245 to 208 million years ago." (See the Chicago Tribune for August 13, 2003, "India's Rajasaurus has story very, very long in the telling," Section 1, page 8.)


Mysterious low-flying helicopters were seen by many eyewitnesses over Swansea, Massachusetts last week. Just three days later, a mysterious blackout knocked out power to 6,000 residents of the nearby city of Attleboro.

"Two Massachusetts Electric transformers' failures led to power failures in the area Wednesday," August 13, 2003. "About 6,000 Massachusetts Electric customers in Attleboro, Rehoboth and Seekonk lost their power Wednesday afternoon after a transformer failure at the Reed Street substation about 1 p.m., a spokesman for the electric company said."

"Most of the customers affected were in the city" of Attleboro, she said.

"Two businesses were evacuated briefly Wednesday night after their air-conditioners' motors overheated due to a transformer malfunction on Pleasant Street" in Attleboro (population 42,068).

Two days earlier, on Monday, August 11, 2003, a woman living on Sharp's Lot Road in Swansea, Mass., a town on Route 6 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Attleboro, reported that she "heard a very loud helicopter noise. I went out in the backyard and saw the helicopter hovering right at treetop level, facing my house. It looked military. It hovered there for a few minutes and then flew away quickly to the south."

She said the helicopter was "an unusual color...greenish-silver."

Another witness, who lives in South Dighton, Mass., 15 miles (25 kilometers) southeast of Attleboro, reported seeing "a whole flight of helicopters flying just above the trees" on their farm. "They were a silver color."

In Hortonville, Mass., just west of South Dighton and Swansea, half a dozen people phoned UFO Roundup correspondent Mary Lou Jones-Drown to report their sightings of silver helicopters.

Last month (July 2003) there were numerous sightings of black helicopters over Rehoboth and Seekonk, Mass., two towns adjacent to Attleboro that were also affected by Wednesday's power outage.

Like the big blackout the following day, the power failure in Attleboro went unexplained. (See the Attleboro, Mass. Sun-Chronicle for August 14, 2003, "6,000 power customers out." Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for this report.)

From the UFO Files...


Many people have seen the long-necked plesiosaur-like creature that inhabits Bear Lake, which straddles the state line between the USA's western states of Idaho and Utah. But few have ever seen it from the point of view of Ronald W. Hansen of Garden City, Utah.

According to the Lava, Idaho News, "Little four-year- old Ronald (Hansen) of Garden City, Utah, grandson of H.C. Hansen of Lava, went for a ride on Bear Lake all by himself Thursday, July 14th (1937), on a 12-foot (3.6- meter) plank."

"He was wading along the shore of the lake in front of his house and stepped on the board. A strong wind came and blew him and the board far out into the lake. The waves assisted him, and soon he was a mile and one-half (2.4 kilometers) out where the water is 90 feet deep."

"His parents and neighbors stood on the shore, unable to help him while a man went a mile to town for a motor boat. All they could see was a speck out in the lake which indicated the brave little boy was hanging on."

"Once in a while the waves would wash completely over him, hiding him from view. When the boat finally arrived, the rescue party got underway. They found little Ronald clinging to his board, badly frightened but otherwise unharmed."

And why was Ronald so frightened?

In a July 12, 1974 interview with local author Bonnie Thompson, Ronald's mother, Ruth Hansen, revealed "the rest of the story."

Mrs. Hansen said, "Frank Satterthwaite took the (inner) tube out of his car tire and tried to swim out. Virginia Whittington went to town and got Lavoy, whose boat was in his shop, but found it was out of gas. They went to the gas station and from there, towed the boat to the beach."

"Virginia opened a gate she swears she can't open to this day."

"As Lavoy got near Ronald, he sprang off the plank, probably trying to reach the boat. Lavoy grabbed him by the heel just as he was going under."

"Afterwards, in order to discourage him from repeating his adventure, we told him about the Bear Lake Monster, but he said, 'Oh, yes! I saw him, and I hit him with a little stick!'"

Just before his parents came down to the beach, Ronald was sitting on what he called "my boat," horseback style, when the lake began bubbling a few feet in front of him. Out of the water came a saurian head, followed by a long glistening neck.
Curious and puzzled, the creature stared down at the four-year-old boy.

Yelling at it to go away, Ronald pinched off a piece of the plank and hurled it at the monster. It fell far short of its target. With a series of soft splashes, the head and neck submerged, leaving Ronald to continue drifting on the lake.

Minutes later, he was spotted by his parents, Frank Satterthwaite and Virginia Whittington. (See the book Flickering Memories: Folklore in the Bear Lake Valley, volume 2 by Bonnie Thompson, Printers Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1977, pages 86 and 87. Also the Lava, Idaho News for July 22, 1937, page 1.)

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.


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