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Volume 9
Number 16
April 21st, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"Reports of a UFO in rural Rochester, Indiana (population 6,414) last week are intriguing enough that an investigation could be launched by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)."

"Roger Sudgen, MUFON assistant director for the northern part of Indiana, said Monday," April 12, 2004, "he'll be calling several residents who saw a disk-shaped object in the sky last Thursday night," April 8, 2004, "around 10 p.m."

"Bev Carpenter, who lives on County Road 450 North, in rural Rochester, said she and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Shannay Carpenter of Valparaiso, Ind. (population 27,428), had just pulled into the driveway of her home that night when her experience began."

"'I'm a line-dance instructor,' Carpenter began, 'and I'd just picked up my granddaughter, we'd gone out to supper, and I'd taught the class, so we were pulling into the driveway around 10 p.m., the usual time. Shannay said, 'Grandma, what's that!?'"

"'I'd been getting my stuff out, so I turned around and said, 'Oh, my God! That's a UFO!'"

"The unidentified flying object, Carpenter said, was ahead of them on the northwest side of her home."

"'There were lights sort of aiming downward,' Carpenter said, further saying that the lights were not aimed towards the ground, nor straight out from whatever was holding them in the air."

"'You could just barely see the outline of the craft,' she said, 'There was no color, no sound, and it hovered just above the tops of the trees.'"

"Carpenter said the lights--three in a row, side by side, and another three in a row, side by side, separated by nothing Carpenter could see--stayed bright for about 20 seconds before they went out. A few seconds later, they came on again."

"'Then the craft started slowly, and I mean slowly, moving in a northeast direction,' she said. The house was then blocking both their views, and they ran across the north side of the house to see where the object went when it moved northeastward."

"'It was gone. We couldn't see anything, or the lights were out. We couldn't tell,' Carpenter said, adding that the lights never came back on."

"She said the entire event took place in less than a minute, but when the pair could no longer see what was up there, 'we bee-lined it into the house, locked the doors and called the sheriff.'"

"Sgt. Ed Beaird of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to Carpenter's house, where a written report was completed. A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said on Monday that several calls were received by (police) dispatchers Thursday night but no number was available. Beaird was not available for comment on Monday, but the spokesman said the Carpenter residence was the only location to which an officer was dispatched concerning the UFO."

"Carpenter, a 22-year worker at Hart, Schaffner and Marx, and union steward before the plant closed, said she'd never experienced anything even remotely close to a UFO sighting before, but she knew enough from seeing various television shows that she should contact the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle."

"She spoke with Peter Davenport, director of NUFORC, who took down her information, but when she tried to email that information to him, her computer showed the message: Difficulties--try at a later time."

"Carpenter said the lights dimmed four times during this period, as well. She waited until Friday morning," April 9, 2004, "to send the information."

"'Until we have a butterfly net and can actually snag one of these, they'll remain UFOs,' Davenport said in a phone interview Monday."

"Carpenter also called Rochester's WROI radio station to report the sighting. Baron Imhoof, news director at the station, said he received up to ten calls when Carpenter went on the air live Friday morning to share her experience. Others, too, had seen the strange lights in the sky."

"Gene Winters and his wife, who live halfway between Mexico and Denver in (nearby) Miami County, Ind., had no idea that neighbors to the north were experiencing when he saw a large craft hover over the pond behind his house around 10 p.m. Thursday night. He knew it was that time, he said, because a television show had just ended, and it was time to take the dog outside."

"That task was delayed as the Winters couple saw, first from the patio door on the right side of the living room in their house 'what looked like two rows of lights, like two planes flying together,' Winters said his wife described it."

"Then they saw the object out of the patio door on the left side of the room, indicating it was closer and lower to the horizon, he said."

"'We were both looking out, and there were six to eight lights in a row on this very, very large object,' Winters said, 'Living north of Grissom Air Force Base, I thought it was one of their big jets...but there were two things wrong with that picture. It was very low in the sky, and it wasn't moving. And it was hovering over the top of our pond.'"

"Winters said the lights didn't light up any other objects in his viewing area, and they appeared to be about 35 to 50 feet (10.7 to 15 meters) in the air above the pond's surface."

"Winters called Carpenter after reading her story in a local newspaper."

"Carpenter said she's been receiving calls from residents in Winnemac and Kewanna," respectively 18 and 10 miles (30 and 16 kilometers) west of Rochester, "after Thursday's baffling sighting in the sky. She's prepared a map for investigators, she said."

"Mutual UFO Network's Sudgen said he will complete interviews with Carpenter, Winters and others before a decision is made to physically make a trip to the area."

Rochester is on Highway 14 approximately 57 miles (91 kilometers) west of Fort Wayne, Indiana. (See the South Bend, Ind. Tribune for April 13, 2004, "UFO sighting may prompt investigation." Many thanks to Jim Hickman for this newspaper article. And be sure to visit Jim's Web site at http://www.thehickman report.com.)


On Saturday, April 10, 2004, at 2:45 a.m., Timothy Anderson reported, "As we were driving home, we topped a small hill" in Hixson, Tennessee, "and there were at least seven objects glowing orange in the western sky. They were in a formation like five on a dice, with two flying in front. (See below--J.T.)

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"They appeared to be stars at first, and then I noticed them moving to the west, and they all began to come into view. They glowed orange and made no noise."

"Based upon the rate they moved out of my sight, I would say that they were 2,000 to 3,000 feet (660 to 990 meters) in altitude. It was a curious sight. I lived next to a U.S. Air Force base in north Georgia for two years and have seen many night flyovers with afterburners. This was definitely not that." (Many thanks to Brian Vike for this report.)


On Monday, March 22, 2004, at 10 p.m., Gloria Curtis was a passenger in a car traveling east on Interstate Highway I-70 near Independence, Missouri (population 113,288) when she noticed something odd "over a wooded residential area north of the highway."

"It happened so fast I was the only witness in the automobile to see it," Gloria reported, "We were driving east on Highway I-70 in Missouri when I saw the streak of light coming down. And when it stopped or crashed to the ground, it looked like it exploded into neon green and a bright pink color. Through the trees the streak of light was falling fast, very fast. At first it was a streak of light like a falling star, which I thought that's what it was. Then, when it got lower, it exploded into neon and a bright pink-colored mushroom as we passed the location." (Email Form Report)


On Sunday, April 11, 2004, at 8:30 p.m., eyewitness W.A. reported, "Six lights appeared" over Wickford, Essex, UK "coming up over the horizon from the west, in a chain formation, and headed east but not at a great speed. They appeared to stop over the top of us."

"And then, one at a time, each went upwards until they looked like stars, and formed a circle. You would have thought they were helicopters hovering; they were bright orange, ball-shaped. Very slow speed. I would say they were flying at a height (altitude) of 30,000 feet (9,000 meters)." (Email Form Report)


On Saturday, April 17, 2004, at 2 a.m., eyewitness Nicholas M. was standing on his deck in Tyndall Park, Manitoba, Canada, just north of Winnipeg, when he spotted something unusual in the southeastern sky.

"I was standing on my deck, looking at the stars as I usually do when there are no clouds. I live a few miles from the Winnipeg airport," he reported, "Anyway, there was no wind, and I was looking at Venus, which was to the west, when all of a sudden, there were three dim lights hovering over my neighbor's house, then over the park, and slowly started getting smaller and smaller. Then they were gone--just like that."

"The lights were about three to four feet apart. But they looked like they were all attached, like on the same thing or on the bottom of an object or whatever. I couldn't see around the lights because it was like trying to look past a flashlight (torch in UK and Australia-- J.T.) Anyway, it took off faster than my eyes could focus. I couldn't believe it."

"Ten minutes later, I was waiting for the lights to come back. I could see them again but faintly and beyond the airplanes in the sky. The lights departed to the northwest. I've never seen anything like it." (Email Form Report)


"Residents of northern Iran have reported 'a string of unidentified flying objects' moving at low altitude and emitting different colours, the (Iranian) state news agency IRNA reported today," Thursday, April 15, 2004.

"Saina Haghkish, a resident of the northeastern city of Tabriz, was quoted as saying she 'saw one object flashing red, green and blue and moving slowly from west to east yesterday,'" Wednesday, April 14, 2004.

"Identical sightings were also reported on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday over the northeastern town of Ghonbad-Kavous, situated on the southeastern edge of the Caspian Sea."

"However, astronomy professor Ajab Shirizadeh told IRNA that while the presence over the Islamic republic of extra-planetary craft could not be ruled out, the sighting could also be attributed to spy or communication satellites."

"UFOs were also seen in Mahmudabad and Babol Sar, on the southern shore of the Caspian," reported Ayesha al- Khatabi, UFO Roundup's Middle East correspondent. "According to Kufa Yildaz, my source in Iran, these sightings, combined with the daylight UFO seen last year (2003) in Chalus, has stirred souq (market) gossip about an alien underwater base on the floor of the Caspian Sea." (See the Arabic newspaper Al-Ahram for April 15, 2004, "UFOs sighted over Iran." Many thanks to Ayesha al- Khatabi for this newspaper report.)


"A series of mysterious spontaneous fires some blame on demons has flared up again in a small Sicilian village."

"The 39 residents of Canneto di Caronia were evacuated from the coastal town in January (2004) after regional authorities declared an emergency. The fires have broken out in the residents' furniture and electrical devices, everything from refrigerators and televisions to washing machines and cell phones."

"Electricity to the village had been cut off but, after a brief respite last month (March 2004), the almost daily fires are back."

"Scientists, researchers and 'ghostbusters' have searched far and wide for clues, but Mayor Pedro Spinnato says, 'We're working in the dark. We don't have a single lead so far.'"

"Spinnato added, 'Every time some new scientist comes to town, they arrive thinking the whole thing has been invented or that they're going to solve the mystery in two minutes. They've all been wrong.'"

"Residents decided with the local (Roman Catholic) priest, Father Antonio Cipriani, to allow the scientists to examine the fires, but a Catholic exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, told the Italian newspaper Il Messagero, 'I've seen things like this before. Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods. Let's not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers.'"

"In cases of demonic behavior, the Vatican expert said, 'It is normal for domestic appliances to be involved and for demons to make their presence known in electricity.'"

Massimo Polidoro, "the head of the Committee for Control of the Paranormal has ruled out demons or poltergeists for the time being."

"'The fact that the phenomenon occurs only when there are people present makes it hard to believe that it is a natural, or even supernatural, phenomenon,' Polidoro said, 'But we don't exclude further investigation if things aren't eventually explained.'"

"Mayor Spinnato is sounding desperate for an answer. 'Someone wrote to me saying the solution was to sacrifice a black goat and collect its blood,' he said, 'At some point, that's going to start looking like a good idea.'"

In its June 2004 issue, the magazine Fortean Times pointed out an interesting fact about the village of Canneto di Caronia.

"One curious fact is that Canneto di Caronia is quite close to Cefalu, where the notorious black magician Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) had his Temple of Thelema in the 1930s. The derelict building is still there," leading to speculation that some black magickal spell of Crowley's may have activated 56 years after his death. (See the Italian newspaper Il Messagero for April 13, 2004, also Fortean Times No. 183 for June 2004, "The Burning Question," page 8. Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown for forwarding the newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: The blood of a black goat, eh? It's nice to see research undertaken on such sound scientific principles. Well, look at the bright side. At least now we have the plot for Scooby Doo 3: A Hot Time in Coolsville.)


Bizarre hit-and-run auto accidents...mysterious fires in western Pennsylvania...a strange murder-suicide in Louisiana...it was another bumper week for the Fayette Factor.

The Fayette Factor is the strangest phenomenon yet in Forteana. It's the unusually high incidence of strange and bizarre incidents that take place in towns and cities- -and even on streets--named after Marie-Joseph de Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, one of the USA's Founding Fathers and a prominent Freemason.

In North Carolina, "police said a man in a white T- shirt and boxer shorts mowed down five pedestrians with two stolen vehicles in separate hit-and-run incidents Wednesday," April 14, 2004, "leaving a dying man pinned under a vehicle and another victim critically injured."

"Police said the driver was arrested in central North Carolina after crashing a stolen truck."

"Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, 25, was charged with murder and taken to a state mental hospital."

"Authorities said they had no information about a motive in the assaults, including one attack in which a driver beat a pedestrian after failing to run over him a second time."

"The first victim was hit a few minutes after the theft of a van belonging to the city of Fayetteville, N.C., authorities said."

"Over about two hours, the attacker appeared to deliberately run down pedestrians from Fayetteville, in Cumberland County, north to the Raleigh area, according to Fayetteville police and the state highway patrol."

"The van was found in Cumberland County with Lionel Bearl Bass, 56, pinned beneath it. Bass, of Linden, N.C., was pronounced dead at a hospital."

"Bass' son, Scott, said the assailant stole his father's pickup truck."

"Another hit-and-run victim, Gary Lee Weller, 55, was in critical condition at University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill. Police said a motorist found him lying in a Fayetteville road."

"Robert Fortier, hit in Cumberland County, and an unidentified victim in Harnett County suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said. The Harnett County victim was hit by the stolen truck, and the others were hit by the van, police said."

In Michigan, "there has been a major development in the deadly hit-and-run case that claimed the life" of a prominent Detroit judge. "Two people are in custody, and now the judge's wife says she wants to meet them face to face."

"A day before the judge's funeral, there were two people in custody believed to be responsible for the deadly hit-and-run accident. Judge John Perry was killed Monday night," April 12, 2004, "when a speeding car hit him as he crossed Lafayette Street near his home."

Commenting on the spurt of hit-and-run incidents, Fortean researcher Loren Coleman asked, "Is the Fayette Factor now getting down to street level?"

Mysterious fires continued to dominate the news in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh. The county has had the most bizarre events during the current flap.

(Editor's Note: For more on Fayette County's weird past, see UFO Roundup, volume 9, number 15 for April 14, 2004, "1784: Strange secrets of Fayette County, Pa." page 14.)

According to The Pittsburgh Channel, "Some apartments above Burns' Drug Store were set on fire February 20 (2004), one of seven arsons to plague the northern Fayette County city since October (2003)."

Another strange incident involved members of the Fayette County Fire Department.

"The Fayette County firefighters will be in court today to hear their sentences for a scheme to burn down the firehouse so they could use the insurance money to build a new social hall."

"Authorities said the Isabella firefighters, William Robison, Jerry Booker II, Thomas Baker and Steven Dugan concocted the plan in 2002."

"The first three pleaded guilty to their alleged role in the scheme while Dugan, a third-generation (fire) chief went to trial and was convicted of mail fraud for lying about his knowledge of the fires to insurance investigators."

"The two fires destroyed the three-story, century-old building and a 1937 International Pumper, the department's first fire truck."

An equally baffling fire broke out last week in Fayetteville, Missouri.

"A man and his son died Sunday," April 11, 2004, "in an early morning fire in Fayetteville, Mo. after they had been out for a joint birthday party celebration."

"St. Clair County coroner Rick Stone identified the dead as Dennis 'Mel' Pfeiffer, 51, of Fayetteville, Mo., and Brandon MacDonald, 25, of Freeburg, Mo., who was visiting his father."

"Pfeiffer's birthday was Saturday," April 10, "and his son's birthday was Sunday," April 11, 2004, "said Leo Burris, a neighbor and friend of Pfeiffer's. Burris said he saw the men Saturday night at a tavern. He said they went home about 9:30 p.m."

"Another neighbor, Darold Lanham, reported a fire at Pfeiffer's house on South Water Street shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday. Lanham said he was awakened by the sound of ammunition exploding and saw the house was on fire."

"Fayetteville volunteer firefighters arrived within five minutes but found one side of the house engulfed in flames. The fire was quickly brought under control, but firefighter Charles Nikolauzyk said the two men were probably dead before help arrived."

"Investigators from the coroner's and the state fire marshal's offices 'were pretty sure smoke was what killed them,' Nikolauzyk said. Pfeiffer's body was found in the bathroom, and his son's body was in the living room."

"The greatest damage was around the kitchen, and Burris theorized that Pfeiffer decided to cook something after he returned home."

"'He was probably listening to his bluegrass and country music,' Burris said, 'I can't imagine that happening to him.'"

"Firefighters from Freeburg, Mo. and St. Libory, Mo. assisted the Fayetteville firefighters."

In Louisiana, "a man wanted for allegedly killing two people was found dead, an apparent suicide, inside a Baptist church early Friday," April 9, 2004, "police said."

"Joseph Davis Jr., 21, apparently shot himself soon after entering the church on Thursday night," April 8, 2004, "police said."

"Police had heard gunshots inside the church, surrounded the building and tried to telephone him before entering and finding Davis's body early Friday."

(Editor's Comment: Gunshots!? Usually, a suicide victim only has to squeeze the trigger once. What was Davis shooting at?)

"Davis committed suicide with the .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun that he had (allegedly) used in the killings, Lafayette, La. police spokesman Mark Francis said. Davis had been sought by police for several hours after Alicia Isaac, 20, and Ronald Fils, 22, were shot inside an apartment. Isaac died at the scene, and Fils later died at a local hospital."

Finally, in Fayetteville, N.C., "the family of a Fort Bragg soldier who disappeared more than 10 years ago say police told them that his remains had been found in the backyard of a Fayetteville home."

"Sgt. Terry Lee Webb, who was 43, vanished in July 1991. Though he was separated from his second wife, Melvia, the mother of two of his seven children, he seemed happy when he phoned his two oldest daughters July 12, 1991. He said he was looking forward to visiting them in Pittsburgh and to a family reunion in Virginia, and he talked about his plans to retire in nine months after nearly 20 years in the Army."

"'He was in very good spirits. He was ready to retire,' said his daughter, Terryrey Webb-Brandon."

"It was their last conversation. A police report says the manager of his apartment complex saw him the next day," July 13, 1991. Webb's "abandoned car was found about a week later. But no one had seen Webb since."

"Now police, led by a federal prison inmate who claimed to know what happened to Webb, have found remains behind a Fayetteville house."

"Melvia Webb says she's been told that they are her husband's."

"'It's just like death all over again for us,' she said last week, 'It doesn't ease the pain. It still hurts.'"

"In the fall of 2002, police talked with a federal prisoner who claimed to have information about a killing in 1991, according to an affidavit for a search warrant. Richard Brewington was convicted on firearms charges in April 2002 and sentenced to 15 years in prison."

"Brewington told police that a friend landed on his doorstep early one morning in July 1991 and said he had killed a man whom he called 'T.' He sent the friend away, but the man came back the next day and asked for help moving T's body. Brewington sent him away again."

"Two days later, the man came back and described how he killed T with a shotgun, used a car and rope to drag the heavy body to his parents' backyard, then buried it there with mothballs, according to the affidavit. Brewington told police that his friend was driving T's car on at least one visit."

"Police combed through old crime reports until they found two which matched the story: the break-in at Webb's apartment and the discovery of his car. They determined that T and Webb were the same person, the affidavit said." (See the Los Angeles Times for April 15, 2004, "One dead, four injured in hit-and-run spree;" the WXYZ Detroit news broadcast for April 15, 2004, "New developments in deadly hit-and-run;" the Pittsburgh Channel for April 13, 2004, "Mysterious fires," and for April 15, 2004, "Fayette County firefighters to be sentenced in arson scheme;" the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for April 11, 2004, "Fire kills father and son in Fayetteville;" the Winston-Salem, N.C. Journal for April 11, 2004, "Remains of missing soldier found, family says;" and the Leesville, La. Daily Leader for April 11, 2004, "Man wanted in double killing kills self in Lafayette." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for these news stories.)


Astronomers are puzzled over the strange disappearance of Sedna's moon.

Sedna, the planetoid 1,000 miles in diameter discovered several weeks ago, was first photographed with a small moon orbiting its icy sphere. Sedna is located about 8 billion miles (12 billion kilometers) from Earth.

"A missing-moon mystery emerged Wednesday," April 14, 2004, "from Hubble Space Telescope images of Sedna, the recently-discovered mini-planet beyond Pluto."

"Sedna, less than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) wide was discovered last month by astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology. He reported that Sedna orbits about 8.4 billion miles from the sun, making it the most distant planet-like body in the solar system."

"Brown's team had reported Sedna spins once every 40 days and suggested it possessed a companion moon locked to its rotation by tidal forces."

"However, Hubble images of Sedna show no moon, suggesting that any satellite may orbit too close to be seen--or that it may have been stripped away by another planet."

"'We still strongly believe there is, or was, a satellite of Sedna,' Brown says. He hopes to resume scrutinizing Sedna in six months, when it comes back into view." (See USA Today for April 15, 2004, "Sedna's moon absent in Hubble images," page 8D.)

(Editor's Comment: It may be that the "moonlet" seen by Brown's team two months ago was actually a very large alien spacecraft that called briefly at Sedna to take on a load of ice for their long voyage through space.)


"A power failure at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday," April 12, 2004, "caused flight-monitoring equipment to briefly fail and created tense moments for air traffic controllers who used portable radios to communicate with planes."

"About 100 arriving flights were delayed at" the USA's "fourth-busiest airport while controllers followed emergency plans to get them to the ground safely, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials and the union representing controllers."

"'That was a big deal,' said Bob Marks, regional vice-president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. 'It was like someone walked in and pulled the power cord at the tower. Everything was dead.'"

"The FAA said it did not know why emergency generators didn't immediately restore power after the blackout. A telephone system that links controllers at the airport tower to other air traffic facilities remained down for more than three hours."

"A power outage in the area around the airport at 9:38 a.m. Pacific Time triggered the problems. The airport returned to normal about two hours later, and airport officials reported few disruptions."

"Marks said essential equipment such as radar screens stayed off as long as 60 to 90 seconds. 'My guys up there said it felt like an eternity,' Marks said. Controllers grabbed battery-powered portable radios to talk to pilots, he said."

"A small number of planes nearing the airport when the power went out had to abort their landings and climb away from the airport, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. They were handled by controllers at an air traffic facility in San Diego that guides planes into and out of Southern California airports."

"Radar screens at the San Diego location also briefly went blank, but controllers there remained in contact with pilots, Marks said."

"Most of the equipment returned to normal quickly, but the devices that allow controllers to communicate rapidly with their counterparts at other facilities did not work after the power came back on. Technicians restored communications at 12:45 p.m." Pacific Time.

"A morning fog that lowered visibility and slowed traffic lifted as controllers struggled to restore the airport to normal. That allowed controllers to increase arrivals and minimize delays from the outage."

"Controllers put some flights into holding patterns, and others were delayed before departing. The delays lasted about an hour." (See USA Today for April 13, 2004, "Power outage causes delays at L.A. airport," page 3A.)


"Chinese scientists have announced plans to investigate a mysterious site in western China's Qingdai province which many have speculated might be the handiwork of extraterrestrial visitors."

"An expedition of nine prominent scientists visited the site in February (2004) to investigate the extraterrestrial claims. Known by locals as 'the ET relics,' a pyramid-like structure on Mount Baigong 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Delingha has provoked worldwide attention."

"Triangular openings on the front of the pyramid lead into three caves. Two are collapsed, but inside the largest are pipes of unknown origin. A half-pipe about 40 centimeters (15 inches) in diameter tilts from the top to the inner end while another of the same diameter goes into the earth."

"Above the cave, a dozen pipes of various diameters run into the mountain. Scattered about the area is a profusion of rusty scraps and pipes of various diameter, as well as strangely-shaped stones. Some pipes run into the (nearby) lake."

"Qin Jianwen, head of the publicity department of Delingha's municipal government, says the scraps were taken to a local smelter for analysis."

"The report revealed that they are made up of 30 percent ferric oxide with a large amount of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide. Eight percent of the content could not be identified."

"'The large content of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide is a result of long interaction between iron and sandstone, which means the pipes must be very old,' claims Liu Shaolin, the engineer who did the chemical analysis." (See the magazine Atlantis Rising No. 45 for May/June 2004, "Experts to study China 'ET Relics,'" page 13. The original newspaper story appeared in People's Daily.)

(Editor's Comment: I don't think the plumbing was installed by aliens. I think it's left over from the long-lost Uighur Empire of 175,000 B.C., which Colonel James Churchward (1851-1936) wrote about in his book, The Children of Mu.)


"The Passion of the Christ rose again over the Easter weekend (April 9 to 11, 2004), becoming the first film in more than seven years to reclaim the top at theaters one month after dropping from No. 1."

"Churches rented theaters nationwide, powering the Mel Gibson film to an estimated $17.1 million, up 61 percent over the previous weekend, according to box office trackers Nielsen EDI. That drives Passion's overall haul" to $355 million.

"Many churches planned to lead congregations to the theaters after Easter services, which could make Hollywood's normally slow Sunday the strongest day of the weekend for Passion."

"'It's the perfect way to follow up the Easter sermons,' says Erin Haggerty, 44, who planned to take her husband and three children to the film after Mass at St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco. 'We saw it when it came out, but I think the movie is going to have even more power hearing a sermon about it first and then seeing it brought to life.'"

"That sentiment could help make Passion a classic Easter film. Studios have churned out several durable Christmas movies, 'but this is one that churches are going to want to show every year,' said Robert Bucksbaum of the industry tracking firm ReelSource."

"Passion had dropped from the top spot the weekend of March 19 (2004). The last film to reclaim No. 1 after three weeks was Jerry Maguire in January 1997." The Passion premiered in the USA on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004.

"Passion's performance drowned out the debuts of five other films including The Alamo, which took in $9.2 million, and The Whole Ten Yards ($6.7 million)." (See USA Today for April 12, 2004, "'Passion' retakes top of the box office," page 1D.)


"A Christian revival is underway in Hong Kong this weekend," April 9 to 11, 2004, "with at least 20,000 people gathering to reflect on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus--not in the churches but in cinemas."

"The timely arrival of Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, coinciding with the four-day holiday weekend, has created an opportunity for Christian pastors to nudge their flocks into a few hours' extra-curricular religious fervor."

"Acording to the local Christian Times, churches have backed 50 showings of the film since it arrived in Hong Kong theatres on April 1. The two major theatre chains have agreed to allow 15 to 30 minutes ahead of each screening for the pastors to deliver a message or to pray with their congregations. Theatres strictly banned children under 18 from viewing the film, however, due to its excessively violent content."

"'In Hong Kong, it's never happened in history that so many churches crowded to the cinema,' said Rev. Daniel Ng, whose Kong Fok Evangelical Church backed two showings of the film. Each member of his congregation was asked to bring one non-believer, easily filling the 800 seats. After viewing the film, church members and guests were invited to the church for reflection and discussion."

"'For Christians, their faith was strengthened, and they can reflect more deeply on the suffering of Jesus,' said Ng, 'For non-Christians, their hearts were touched. For some, it can initiate a quest for the meaning of why Jesus had to suffer and die in this way.'"

"There are an estimated half-million Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, in this city of 6.8 million residents. While the number of Buddhists and Taoists is much higher, Christian holidays are given prominence in the calendar, a legacy left behind by the British colonialists."

"Both Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, for example, and many schools schedule spring break at this time. Buddha's birthday is also observed, as are traditional Chinese festivals, giving Hong Kong an unusually high number of public holidays."

"Predictably, Christians find the film more inspiring than non-believers, but almost all viewers at a Friday evening screening emerged from the theatre in a somber mood."

"'It was so touching, especially the one who acted as Mary (German actress Maria Morgenstern--J.T.),' said 44- year-old Alice, a Catholic. 'The eye contact when Mary saw her son suffering was really touching.' Her eyes filled with tears as she spoke."

"'It's just a story,' said Annie, 40, who was educated in Protestant schools but never converted. Neither woman wanted to give her last name. 'I've heard the story of Jesus many times. But the movie was quite good.'"

"'I find generally that Hong Kongers are less cynical about Christianity than in the West, certainly in mainland China. I think I can talk more openly and directly,' said Rev. Bob Jones, the Canadian pastor of the Evangelical Community Church. His church holds 2,400 seats and is starting a weekly discussion group and a Bible study group centered on the film."

"Rev. Jones does not expect the film to create instant converts. 'Art is by definition a limited endeavour,' he said, 'But it will be fun to explore some of the dimensions of faith from both these readings and those who would see themselves as 'found' by Christ."

"Some Christians vowed to stay away from the film, after the pastor of an independent local church circulated negative reviews he copied from the Internet to local churches. Apparently influenced by his campaign, 31 percent of respondents to a Christian Times survey said they would 'never watch a movie that changed a Biblical story and spread heresy.' In the same survey, 25 percent said they would definitely go to see the film." (See the Christian Times of Hong Kong for April 11, 2004, "'Passion' strikes a chord in Hong Kong." Many thanks to Chen Jilin for this newspaper article.)

From the UFO Files...


The first six months of 1942 marked the high tide of Axis victories in World War II. In Russia, Leningrad (now back to its original name of St. Petersburg--J.T.) was under siege; fierce fighting was taking place around Voronezh; and, in the south, Hitler's Wehrmacht was closing in on the Volga River and Stalingrad (now called Vologograd--J.T.).

During the previous winter, Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili, better known as Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, had ordered whole factories dismantled and shipped by rail east of the Ural Mountains. The Soviet arms industry was literally reborn in Siberia, and the city of Novosibirsk, on the Ob River, overnight became a major manufacturing center.

Russian women manufactured the tanks, planes, artillery and bombs while their men were fighting the German drive east. Among the thousands of relocated munitions workers was Nelya Ivanova, 15, who lived with her mother in Krivoshzekovo, a suburb just west of Novosibirsk.

Nelya was a member of the Komsomol (Russian acronym for Communist Youth League--J.T.) and, together with her classmates, worked long hours at the munitions factory. They alternated between high-school classes and work on the assembly line. One hour of classroom instruction, followed by two hours of factory work.

One day, while cleaning up in the factory washroom, Nelya and her friends were approached by Tatiana Alexandrovna, who was extremely excited about something.

"Have you heard!?" Tatiana said in a loud whisper, looking around to see if any commissars were within earshot.

"Heard what?" Natalya Sergeiyevna replied.

"About the aerdrome." Tatiana pretended to be scrubbing her hands beneath the streaming faucet. "They've fenced it off with concertina barbed wire. All of the soldiers are gone, replaced with OGPU guards. And the guards all have PPSh tommyguns. They're not letting anybody in. Not even Party members."

Nelya didn't think the girl was putting them on. Tatiana was always going over there on one excuse or another. Everybody knew she was interested in a soldier from Niznekamsk who "looked just like Clark Gable."

"What do you think they're doing over there?" Nelya asked.

"Working on secret weapons," Tatiana replied, "Maybe it's a Flying Fortress like the one we heard about on the radio. A steel fortress filled with helium that our aircraft can tow over Berlin."

"It's probably one of those funny-looking airplanes with the propellor in the tail," Natalya said.

"Or a rocket-plane like the fascists have," another girl observed.

(Editor's Note: She means the Messerschmitt 163 Komet.)

"Shhhhhh! Here comes the commissar."

Nelya began vigorously washing her hands as the sour- faced Party cadre walked in. But she couldn't stop wondering about the closed-off aerdrome. She resolved to have a look for herself.

Nelya's opportunity came a couple of weeks later, when she was drafted for an overtime shift. Leaving the factory at 10:30 p.m., she decided to take advantage of the darkness and check out the aerdrome.

"Siezed by curiosity, Nelya succeeded in penetrating the guarded facility. What she saw amazed her. Instead of ordinary airplanes, she noticed beautiful, large, disk- shaped objects sitting on the ground, spreading a bluish light around them."

Nelya gaped in amazement. Five years before Roswell, she was seeing close up a flotilla of flying saucers.

"Suddenly, a strange 'man' approached her. His height was no more than 1.2 or 1.3 meters (3 feet, 8 inches to 4 feet tall--J.T.) The entity had a big head, huge black eyes. His skin was grayish and wrinkled 'like the old men have.' He was dressed in black, tight-fitting coveralls."

"Nelya was a brave girl. She was neither bewildered nor frightened." Having recently read Swift's Gulliver's Travels in her high school literature class, she asked, "Are you a Lilliputian?"

"'No,' he answered, 'I am not Lilliputian. We are all the same.'"

"How old are you?" Nelya asked.

"A lot! On Earth, I am very aged."

"And where are you from?"

"It is too early for you to know that. You are very young, and you would not understand."

All at once, "the girl caught the unexpected thought that he was from another planet. She couldn't explain how she had gotten this idea."

"And when she asked him, he answered, 'Tell me...Nelya Ivanova...how did you guess that I am not from this world?'"

"Nelya did not answer, so the 'Grey' dwarf continued, 'You bear in mind that your country will win this war. We will then share our technologies with your government. And as for you, bear in mind that your brain is highly developed. If you want, you can fly with us.'"

"'No,' Nelya said, shaking her head. 'I have my mother...my brothers.'"

"'We will take your brothers. I know that all five of them are at the front.'"

"At the end, the alien gave Nelya some crystals and said that these would help to stimulate and improve her memory. Wherever she went, he explained, the aliens would be able to find her with the aid of those crystals."

When the war ended in May 1945, Nelya and her mother were permitted to return to their old home in Rostov-na- Donu. They heard nothing from any of Nelya's five brothers. So in 1946, her mother wrote to the Soviet Ministry of Defense and received a disturbing reply.

All five of Nelya's brothers were listed as Missing in Action (MIA). The young men had vanished sometime during the battle of Kursk in July 1943, a year after Nelya's close encounter.

"After the war, Nelya Ivanova joined the KGB and kept silent about her unusual experience for many decades. Today Nelya, age 77, lives and works in Aksay, a town in the Rostov region." (See the Russian magazine Taynayna Doktrina No. 13 for July 2003, "Did aliens help USSR during the Great Patriotic War?" page 16. Many thanks to Anton Anfalov and Igor V. Kolomiets for this magazine article.)

Well, that's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth--and occasionally, Mars--brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2004 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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