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Volume 9
Number 35
September 1, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"Air Force Two, the military plane carrying Vice President Dick Cheney, was forced to make an evasive maneuver to avoid another aircraft in the skies above Bridgeport, Connecticut (population 139,529) earlier this month, federal officials said yesterday," Thursday, August 26, 2004.

"As Cheney headed to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. on (Saturday) August 7 (2004), a collision-avoidance system in the cockpit of the Gulfstream jet designated as Air Force Two sounded an alarm and convinced the pilot to climb to avoid another plane, officials said."

"The two planes came within 0.44 miles horizontally and 700 feet (210 meters) vertically, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which immediately pulled the radar and voice tapes for the New York TRACON in Westbury and has since issued a report to the (U.S.) Air Force."

"The FAA said the incident is not technically classified as a non-military collision or a mistake on the part of the controller or pilot. But pilots say that's extremely unusual for the collision-avoidance system--a computerized device mandated on all commercial passenger planes--to sound the alarm to command an evasive maneuver."

"'It's a white-knuckle event,' said one veteran airline pilot who said he had never seen the warning system call for an evasive maneuver. It's likely that Cheney and the other passengers would have felt the G- forces of the sudden climb, and there have been cases of flight attendants being injured when aircraft are forced to make evasive maneuvers."

"Cheney's press office declined to comment."

"Air traffic controllers at the New York TRACON in Westbury pointed out that the controller in charge of Air Force Two was a superior who had been called in on overtime, and said the incident shows that FAA has left the facility understaffed. The TRACON, whose controllers guide aircraft to and from New York (City) area airports, is authorized for 270 fully-trained controllers but has only 207. That number is expected to dwindle as controllers retire in the next few years when the FAA steps up the pace of hiring."

"The supervisors called in to work as radar operators are required to work aircraft only eight hours a month to keep current, said Dean Iacopelli, the local chapter president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association."

"'They only dabble in it,' he said, 'There is a real staffing crisis here.'"

"But the FAA reported staffing wasn't an issue. 'We use overtime to meet staffing needs, particularly in the summer so controllers can take vacation,' said Arlene Salac, an FAA spokeswoman in New York, adding that the FAA has launched a study of staffing needs of air traffic control centers around the country and plans to issue a report to Congress in December (2004)."

"The supervisor who was controlling the traffic did not make a mistake, Salac said. Because the two aircraft were not in a tightly-controlled section of airspace, no separation standards applied; instead pilots and controllers are instructed to watch out for each other."

"The aircraft that Cheney's plane was trying to avoid was an unidentified plane that was not talking to the air traffic control center." (My emphasis--J.T.)

(Editor's Comment: Hold it right there! An unidentified aircraft, refusing to respond to ATC calls, gets within 700 feet of the vice president's plane and then gets clean away. Whatever happened to the U.S. Air Force jet interceptors that routinely escort Air Force One and Two on such flights!? To say nothing of the dozens of Department of Homeland Security helicopters on patrol in the New York City area!? Nobody responded to this emergency!? What's really going on here?)

"'The Air Force Two pilot and the controller had the traffic in sight at all times,' Salac said."

"The (Gulfstream) plane carrying Cheney and some family members to a fund-raiser in Harrison, N.Y. was headed west towards the airport and descending from 11,000 to 6,000 feet (3,300 to 1,800 meters) as the second aircraft was heading east at about 7,300 feet (2,200 meters). Iacopelli said a controller sitting next to the supervisor, who was in charge of Air Force Two, first pointed out the other airplane when Air Force Two reached 8,500 feet (2,550 meters), yelling, 'Traffic for Air Force Two!'"

"The FAA says that when Air Force Two reached 7,400 feet (2,230 meters), the superior cautioned the pilot aboard Air Force Two about the other plane, and the pilot responded that he was aware of it."

"But, at 11:19 a.m., the collision-avoidance system in the cockpit of Air Force Two sounded an alarm and commanded the pilot to make an evasive maneuver and climb to avoid the other plane. The computerized system sounds the alarm only when it recognizes the other aircraft is close enough to be a danger. The pilot of Air Force Two gradually climbed to 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) to avoid the other airplane."

"The FAA doesn't generally investigate such instances, but because the plane was carrying the vice president, the agency put together a report to send to the Air Force."

(Editor's Comment: Uh-huh. And they couldn't use the other "airplane's" transponder number to identify the aircraft and its pilot, and forward this information to the Secret Service and FBI?)

"Controllers specifically pay attention to Air Force One and Air Force Two, which are designated on their radar screens as planes carrying the president and the vice president." (See the newspaper Newsday of Long Island, N.Y. for August 27, 2004, "Cheney's plane had a close call over Conn. skies." Many thanks to Nancy Ruhl for this newspaper article.)


On Saturday, August 21, 2004, at 10:30 p.m., eyewitness T.J. was in Tinley Park, Illinois (population 48, 401), a suburb southwest of Chicago, when he sighted something unusual in the sky.

"We noticed possibly all three of the UFOs on August 21st," he reported, "They were flying from southwest to northeast, bearing flashing red lights. I recorded the event on a digital camcorder. This event lasted for about 15 minutes; then they vanished. Another came into view five minutes later, moving in from the same direction, then becoming stationary, before vanishing once again." (Email Form Report)


On Monday, August 23, 2004, at 2:45 a.m., in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, the male eyewitness reported, "On the Dublin side of the town, I was walking to my hotel when I looked up and could see a 'ring of lights' above me. I stopped, and they stopped. And when I moved again, the lights moved with me and started to get brighter, moving clockwise."

"It stayed above me for seven or eight minutes. And, as I turned towards the hotel where I was staying, they all just went out. The UFOs appeared in the south and were moving north. A ring of lights, moving clockwise. Height? I don't know. Speed was whatever I was walking." (Email Form Report)

(Editor's Comment: Last week was a peak week for UFOs on the Emerald Isle. Check out the next report.)


On Tuesday, August 24, 2004, eyewitness Milton Clarke reported, "I was out for a walk" in the Fardross Forest near Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, when he saw a UFO approach from the northeast.

"I was out for a walk, and I was watching as the object appeared," Milton reported, "It appeared to be a large space ship of some kind. It was blue, diamond in shape, with a reddish light glowing around the edge of the craft. It was spinning around as it hovered for ten minutes, with what looked like red search lights moving around on the ground. I hid in the trees and watched it fly away at a very high speed. It hovered about 10 meters (33 feet) above the ground. It came in slow and took off like a jet." (Email Form Report)


On Saturday, August 14, 2004, at 10 p.m., eyewitness Janet Currass reported, four adults were driving on motorway A30 between Donhead and Fovant, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK when "we all witnessed the same sighting."

"The UFOs came from the south, then flew parallel to the A30. Two flourescent green discs appeared in the sky at a height of about 50 meters (165 feet) and a distance of about 500 meters (1,650 feet) to the south. They appeared to have a glowing halo and were darting and diving very quickly along a course parallel to the road on which we were driving at a speed of 40 miles per hour."

"Within a minute, they were joined by two more objects, identical in nature, all of which were behaving in a similar manner. They were in view for around six minutes or so, darting around but keeping pace and eventually accelerated away and peeled off to the south and over a ridge." (Email Form Report)


On Thursday, August 19, 2004, eyewitness S.I. and a friend were outdoors in Neukirchen, a town in the Neider Osterreich region of Austria when they spied something unusual in the evening sky.

"A friend of mine and I looked at the brilliant, beautiful night sky, and then we spotted something very strange in the northeast. It was low above the horizon, and it looked like a couple of stars at first glance. And for one second, I could see hundreds of strange, artificial-looking lights on the object, and these lights seemed to have a distinct pattern. This 'star cluster' stayed there (hovering) for 30 minutes at minimum."

"I do have to say that in the last few days, there has been persistent chemtrail activity. I spotted black/silver spheres lurking in the chemtrails in the high-resolution digital camera photos I took."

"One would think that there is something going on here, and the activity seems to occur more and more. Because the UFO enigma is not 'a Hollywood joke' in people's minds in this country." (Email Form Report)


On Friday, August 27, and again on Saturday, August 28, 2004, eyewitness Anthony Milas spotted an unusual UFO over Waiheke Island, 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Auckland, New Zealand.

"I videotaped it this time (Saturday, August 28, 2004) and had a good look at it through binoculars at the same time," Anthony reported, "The sighting lasted 10 minutes in total, but I didn't record all of it. And I didn't digitise all I needed--it's quite boring footage, just a line which gets further away and turns into a dot eventually."

"As the (cylindrical) object changes course, it seems to stretch in size. It looks a little like the warp effect in Star Trek."

"Now, what the video doesn't reveal (as I was at maximum zoom--A.M.) is the darker shape which I believe is the actual object. What we see in the videotape is the kind of fiery aura around it, like flames trailing off of it. I was looking through binoculars at the same time, and I could clearly see the darker cigar-shape that was surrounded by flame."

"Obviously, for it appeared on two consecutive nights at the same time, and indeed made an obvious course change, it's not a natural phenomenon. If it were not for the (cigar) shape, which I could see through the binoculars, I would think it was a plane with contrails very far away that happens to be moving at the same rate as the sun to continually light up the contrails from my vantage point. But this seems rather convoluted for an explanation and doesn't account for the cigar shape."

"The size of the cigar shape through the binoculars (about half the length of the glowing part--A.M.) would suggest it's far too big to be a plane." (Many thanks to John Hayes for this news story.)

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Important Update:

Seems like Anthony was seeing aeroplanes.

Brian Vike (HBCC UFO Research) received the following message from Anthony just after I sent the bulletin out yesterday:

Well some bad news... I've since observed the object every night following and on two ocassions seen a second one following. After careful study through binoculars I've concluded these are actually just planes with contrails that stay illuminated due to travelling toward the setting sun - I suspect the dark "object" I saw in the middle was actually just the space between the two contrails from each jet. There is probably an evening flight to Australia (or sometimes two) and thats what I'm seeing travelling north-west. I did see one kind of "pulse" breifly one night but I thought that could be accounted for by turbulence hitting the plane.

If you have an FTP site somewhere that can handle a 32MB file I'm happy to upload the first timelapse file there anyway - but really I think these are just aeroplanes! :-) It would make sense with them appearing at exactly the same time and same trajectory each night as well. Thanks for the interest and sorry to waste your time!


Two crop circle formations were found in Matsqui, British Columbia, Canada early in August, according to Canadian cerealogist Paul Anderson.

"Two more formations were found, one with a circle and two attached crescents and the other resembling an Egyptian ankh symbol. Seen by a local resident" in Matsqui "while skydiving, during the takeoff of the plane in early August (2004)."

The find was "not too far from last year's (2003) two crop circles at Abbotsford, B.C. An investigation is in progress by Canadian Crop Circle Research Network--British Columbia."

In Poland, "a crop pictogram made from three elements in wheat was found in Kaczewo village, near Radziejow in Kujawsko-Pomorska province. The biggest crop circle was 7.4 meters (24 feet) in diameter."

"'The agroformation appears to be authentic,' said Polish cerealogist Stan Barski, who photographed the crop circles last week." (Many thanks to cerealogists Paul Anderson and Robert K. Lesniakiewicz for these news stories.)


The crazy crocs--out-of-place alligators that mysteriously appear in areas that are not their normal habitat--had a field day last week.

According to Fortean author/researcher Loren Coleman, the first crazy croc sighting was reported in New Hampshire.

Then, on Saturday, August 21, 2004, in Lee's Summit, Missouri (population 70,700), a suburb of Kansas City, "some people who live on Lee's Summit Lake found something unexpected in the water over the weekend--an alligator."

"Animal control officers showed a 3-foot-long alligator they pulled from a lake in the Kansas City suburb this weekend."

On Wednesday, August 25, 2004, "An alligator was found in a pond off Westbrook Road in Essex, Connecticut (population 2,573). The alligator had been spotted a few days earlier and was reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection."

Essex, Conn. is at the intersection of Highway 9 and Route 153, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of New London. (See the Kansas City Star for August 25, 2004, "3-foot-alligator found in Lee's Summit lake," and Essex Now for August 26, 2004, "Alligator found in pond." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for these news items.)


"A nine-year-old Minnesota girl found a 5-legged frog with 23 toes near Stewartville, Minn. (population 5,411), according to a police report."

"Three of the frog's legs appear to be normal, but the fourth has another leg as an attachment, with three feet attached to it."

"Cori Praska and a friend found the deformed frog in the southeastern part of the state."

"This find is disturbing to the experts at the Quarry Hill Nature Center."

"'It does concern me, and mutations like this shouldn't happen that often,' Greg Munson of the Quarry Hill Nature Center."

"Munson said 27 other frogs found by Praska were normal."

"Experts say the animals are particularly sensitive to pollutants which can be absorbed through their skin. Because of this, deformed frogs are considered a sign of environmental problems."

Yet, some occultists consider these freakish manifestations a sign from Tsathoggua (pronounced zuh- THOG-you-uh--J.T.), a frog-like deity whose cult is alleged to have flourished on the lost continent of Atlantis and during the post-Cataclysmic period of the previous world-age, the Tetra Yuga.

Stewartville is on Highway 63, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Rochester, Minn." (Many thanks to Michael Strainic for this news story.)

(Editor's Comment: Terry Duckworth, if you conjured up Tsathoggua with that nitwit chant of yours and sent him to Minnesota...!)


It looks as if the "Curse of The Mothman Prophecies" has struck again. Last week the wife of the 2002 film's director, Mark Pellington, died following a brief illness.

A statistically-significant number of people associated with the making of the paranormal film, which starred Richard Gere, Debra Messing and Laura Linney, have died under a variety of circumstances since its release two years ago.

"Mark Pellington has exited the director's chair for WB's upcoming Harrison Ford starrer The Wrong Element."

Pellington, "who came aboard the pic in early July (2004), bowed out due to the death of his wife last week after a brief illness."

"WB has yet to find a replacement for Pellington, though the studio is actively pursuing a substitute to keep the pic's intended early fall shoot date."

"'I am unfortunately stepping down from the job of directing the film The Wrong Element, due to the recent tragic loss of my beloved wife Jennifer,' Pellington said Monday," August 23, 2004, "in a statement to Variety. 'It is a difficult time, and having suffered the loss of my life partner and mother to my child, I would not be able to commit the time and energy and focus at this point needed to truly successfully helm the film.'"

"Pellington directed Arlington Road and The Mothman Prophecies. He is not attached to any other projects." (See the newspaper Variety for August 24, 2004, "Ford finds himself directionless." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this newspaper article.)


"European astronomers may have discovered the first rocky planet--one like Earth but 14 times heavier-- orbiting a nearby star."

"Astronomers have since 1995 detected about 120 planets, all until now thought to be gas giants (like Jupiter and Saturn--J.T.), orbiting nearby sun-like stars."

"European Southern Observatory astronomers reported Wednesday," August 25, 2004, "that the new planet circles the star Mu Arae about 50 light-years away (or about 295 trillion miles, for one light-year equals 5.9 trillion miles--J.T.)."

"The planet weighs almost as much as the planet Uranus" in our solar system "but circles much closer to its star, completing one orbit every nine-and-a-half days and enduring surface temperatures of 1,160 degrees."

"It was detected by measuring gravitational wobbles that planets trigger in stars. Many astrophysicists believe that life as we know it is more likely to have sprung up on a rocky planet than a gas planet."

The newly-discovered planet in the Mu Arae system is a virtual twin of the fictional planet Krypton, the homeworld of the movie and comic book hero Superman.

Indeed, in his book Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel, author Scott Beatty wrote, "Orbiting a red dwarf star some fifty light-years distant from Earth, the planet Krypton was once very much like our world. In fact. Krypton's inhabitants were indistinguishable from humans, though far more advanced." (see page 10 of Beatty's book--J.T.)

In 1938, two teenagers from Cleveland, Ohio--Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster--concocted the idea of Krypton. Astronomers of the time ridiculed the notion, claiming that the idea of a rocky planet much larger than Earth was "preposterous."

Theory confirmed. Go collect your Nobel Prize, fellas. (See USA Today for August 26, 2004, "Earth-like planet detected at nearby star.")

(Editor's Comment: If "Krypton" has been discovered, can you-know-who be far behind? Awwwww, you guessed!)


"Superman might be faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, but he was no match for St. Paul (Minnesota) police officers."

"John Fillah of St. Cloud, Minn. (population 59,107), who has spent about five years dressing up as Superman at the Minnesota State Fair, was in full costume across from the fairgrounds' entrance on Friday," August 27, 2004, "when he clashed with police."

"'He seemed to be a pretty mild-mannered guy, but when his feathers got ruffled, he turned into Superman,' said Mark Erickson, who saw the event."

"Fillah, 38, dresses up as the comic book superhero and offers fair-goers the opportunity to have a Polaroid taken with him for five dollars."

"On Thursday," August 26, 2004, St. Paul "police officers approached Fillah about an A-frame sign on the sidewalk advertising his services, said Officer Paul Schnell. Fillah has a peddler's permit, which allows him to walk around or go door to door but not to set up a stand in one place, Schnell said. The sign 'put him in a stationary position,' Schnell said."

"On Friday afternoon, officers went to talk to Fillah again about the sign and told him he needed to move."

"'He became extremely argumentative with the officers and began to use vulgar language,' said Schnell, noting that many young children were nearby. 'He was wrned to stop and settle down.'"

"Fillah 'never invoked any Superman powers with officers,' Schnell said."

"Fillah--who said in 2002 he was 6-foot-3 (1.9 meters tall) and weighed 275 pounds, compared himself to the officers, Schnell said."

"'He was comparing his size and stature and said he was being targeted because his size was superior to that of the officers,' Schnell said."

"When Fillah didn't calm down, Schnell said, officers arrested him and booked him into the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of disorderly conduct."

"There was no home phone listing for Fillah and he could not be reached for comment Saturday."

(Editor's Comment: He was probably staying at the Fortress of Solitude in Lafayette, Minnesota--population 529.)

"Fillah has been arrested numerous times for fifth- degree assault, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and other charges, according to state records. In a 2002 interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he said: 'I wish I were real, because I think the world needs a Superman, someone to fight all the evil and save the world.'"

"He also said in 2002 that he was motivated to portray Superman because 'I have experienced personal injustices. I know injustices firsthand.'"

"Earlier that year, Fillah was banned from his regular corner in St. Cloud, and managers at two malls sought restraining orders against him."

"The complaints alleged that he harassed employees and customers. Fillah denied the accusations then." (See the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for August 29, 2004, "It's a bird, it's a plane...no, it's a civil disturbance," page 3C.)

(Editor's Comment: Well, Supes, when you show up in court with your lawyer, Mr. Mxyzptlk, remember to chant the Courtney Love Mantra...Not guilty, Your Honor.)


"A tiny telescope has detected the silhouette of a massive planet orbiting a nearby star, astronomers say."

"The Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) telescope network reports a four-inch (10-centimeter) scope turned up a Jupiter-sized planet, called TrES-1, orbiting a star 500 light-years away (or 2.6 quadrillion miles; remember, one light-year equals about 5.9 trillion miles--J.T.)."

"Developed by researchers at Caltech, the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Lowell Observatory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, TrES uses off-the-shelf camera equipment to measure the dip in starlight detectable when a planet passes in front of its star, the 'transit' method."

"TrES-1 orbits close to its star, circling once every three days. Astronomers have detected more than 120 planets in the past decade, but only a handful of 'transit' planets like TrES-1." (See USA Today for August 25, 2004, "Distant planet found orbiting its star," page 12B.)


"Some areas of Wisconsin like to promote their colorful fall foliage--just not this early."

"Experts aren't sure why some trees around the state are already showing their autumn colors about a month earlier than normal."

"'We've had discussions about that,' said William Hoch, a University of Wisconsin-Madison horticulturist. 'We're not 100 percent sure why it's happening.'"

"Only certain species are changing colors, Hoch said. And the usual factors that cause early color changes-- drought conditions, nutrition deficiencies and disease-- don't seem to apply this year."

"'This is one of the least stressful summers we've had in recent years,' Hoch said."

"Forester Steve Grant also doesn't know why the leaves are turning color now. Still, he noted that this year hasn't been free of conditions harmful to trees."

"Heavy rainfall fell across much of the state (Wisconsin) in a short amount of time this spring. That was followed by little rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures."

"'To go from extremes like that can impact the trees,' said Grant, of the (Wisconsin) Department of Natural Resources."

"The early color change, though, won't hurt the trees, Hoch said."

"It's interesting to note the early leaf-color change in Wisconsin," said UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor, "Because we've been seeing the exact same thing here in northern Minnesota. Here in Duluth, the mountain ash berries began turning orange-red as early as August 12. I saw my first maple tree with red leaves last Tuesday, on August 24. Since then, I've seen numerous trees, particularly in the Tischer Creek area and the Lester River canyon, with colored leaves. And not just the maples--elms and poplars, too."

"Also, ever since Saturday, August 14, 2004, flocks of Canada geese have been landing daily at Bayfront Park. The waterfowl have already started their annual southward migration to Louisiana. Now I'm wondering if we're in for an early winter here in North America. We might see snow on the ground in the Lake Superior region sometime in October."

"If any other UFO Roundup readers in the northern hemisphere have noticed similar signs of climate change, we'd like to hear from you. Send your emails to ." (See the Ashland, Wis. Daily Press for August 27, 2004, "August tree color stumps scientists," page 4.)


"A Cambodian baby born with a 10-centimeter (4-inch) tail has become the breadwinner for a poor family as hundreds of people flock to see her and make offerings, police say."

"Yet unnamed, she was born with a spine considerably longer than normal, creating a protruding tailbone, said Ngil Sophal, the police chief of Svay Chrum district" located "120 kilometers (72 miles) southeast of Phnom Penh," the capital of Cambodia.

"'But she is healthy,' he said, 'The unusual baby was born to a poor family. Now a lot of locals are going to see her.'"

"Some were offering up to 2,000 riel (about 35 cents USA--J.T.) for a peek at the girl."

"'Her physique is starting to earn a lot of money for the family,' Sophal said, 'Many locals are lighting incense sticks to pray to her for good luck.'"

"The local newspaper Koh Santepheap quoted the infant's mother, Sok Mau, as saying that when she was pregnant, she dreamed of an old man who brought 'a baby monkey' to her and told her she would have good luck when the baby grew up."

"Cambodians are highly superstitious, particularly in the countryside where people continue to meld animist practices with Buddhism." (See the New Straits Times for August 22, 2004, "People flock to baby with 'tail.'" Many thanks to Nguyen Ai Binh for this newspaper article.)


"The weak tornado that hit" Wrentham, Massachusetts (population 2,250) "over the weekend is something that usually occurs in the Midwest, but it brought out the best in New Englanders with neighbors helping neighbors clean up from the damage."

"'It's what New Englanders do,' said Richard Dion, a local selectman (member of the town council--J.T.), who was one of several who picked up chainsaws Saturday," August 21, 2004, "and cut up fallen trees in neighbors' yards or blocking streets."

"'You just get out there and help your neighbor, and then you clean up,' said Dion, who lives in Hayden Woods."

"Dion and neighbors Dave Teixeira, Jim Kearney and John Keane helped cut up trees that fell in Steve and Ginny Orzell's yard at 45 Hayden Woods."

"An estimated 20 to 30 homes were damaged in Saturday's tornado that cut a swath from Jenk's Road in West Wrentham to Phillips Street near the state school, according to Fire Chief Robert Morrill."

"The National Weather Service declared Sunday," August 22, 2004, "that the previous day's storm was a weak tornado that traveled on the ground for about six miles (10 kilometers), starting in West Wrentham and slicing through the southeast section of Franklin (population 29,560)."

"The tornado's path was described by the Weather Service as 'long and narrow but very discreet,' ranging from 40 feet (12 meters) to 40 yards (37 meters) and traveling about 45 miles per hour with winds. It was the second recorded tornado in town in 51 years, as twisters in (August) 1953 did extensive damage across the region."

Carolyn Rzepecki, your editor's sister, had a report of her own: "Now, last Saturday, the (August) 21st, weather was strange. We started to get these thick cumulus clouds late morning. By 3 p.m., I thought I'd better get over to" Attleboro, Mass. "to get the mail, check on the house, etc. While I was in the house, I noticed it was very, very dark outside. Just like as if it was 7:30 p.m. or something. Well, in the direction toward North Attleboro, the sky was dark purple. Really weird looking. Then Channel 10 broke into the program and said a twister touched down in Wrentham," 10 miles (16 kilometers) to the north.

"That made me nervous, so I left there about 10 past five and headed towards Pawtucket (Rhode Island). We have had some strange weather this past month. We had nickel- sized hail a few weeks ago."

"Tornadoes are as rare as palm trees in New England," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor commented. "And it's even rarer to have one this close to the ocean. Wrentham is only 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Atlantic." (See the Attleboro, Mass. Sun-Chronicle for August 23, 2004, "Tornado confirmed." Many thanks to Mary Lou Jones-Drown and Carolyn Rzepecki for this news story.)

From the UFO Files...


As I write this, American troops and armor are closing in on the Old City section of Najaf, located 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, in their battle against the Shiite Muslim militia of the renegade imam Moqtaba al-Sadr.

By some strange twist of fate, Americans now find themselves fighting for control of the most occult real estate in Iraq. For the holy city of Najaf is located right in the middle of Iraq's pyramid belt.

Eight kilometers (5 miles) north of Najaf is the village of Birs Nimrud, built on the site of the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Borsippa. Just outside the village is a colossal pyramid, known in Iraq as a ziqqurat. The village was named "Nimrud" after Nimrod, the Babylonian king who built the Tower of Babel. (See Genesis 10: 8-12--J.T.) Arabic tradition claims that the ziqqurat is all that remains of the original Tower of Babel.

"In 1852 Oppert carried out excavations, and in 1902 Koldeway unearthed, on the north side of the ziqqurat, the remains of the E-Zida, the Temple of Nabu, (Sumerian) god of the scribes, whose emblem was a stylet or bird, and who was held in great veneration among the Babylonians and the Assyrians."

"His cult was linked with that of Marduk (or Merodach, chief god of Babylon--J.T.), and the god of Borsippa even visited in person (during) the festivals of the new year." Ancient astronaut buffs, please take note.

"The E-Zida was a temple as big as that of Marduk. It was constructed from unbaked bricks and was built to the same design. It occupies a rectangle 302 feet (90 meters) by 331 feet (100 meters); its four corners correspond to the points of the compass, and it contains on the northeast side, that of the main entrance, a great rectangular courtyard 92 feet (27 meters) by 134 feet (40 meters) leading on the southwest (side) to the sanctuary, which is preceded by two pronaoses."

"The ziqqurat, about 150 feet (45 meters) high, stood some 50 yards (45 meters) to the southwest of the temple; it measured around the base 148 feet (45 meters) by 200 feet (60 meters). Its present appearance is that of a steep hill crowned by a great section of wall containing a tower built of baked bricks."

But there is one curious anomaly about the E-Zida ziqqurat. "On the southwest of the platform are great dark blocks of partially vitrified bricks, the result of some violent conflagration."

The damage suggests that the ziqqurat was hit by either some alien weapon or a weapon of the Drona Parva before the dawn of recorded history. Vitrification of brick requires temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius.

(Editor's Note: The Drona Parva is a book of the ancient Indian Mahabharata, which describes energy weapons of fantastic power. They make the hydrogen bomb look like an M-80 Fourth of July firecracker.)

Fourteen kilometers (9 miles) south of Najaf is Naifar. Today a sleepy village in a plain crisscrossed by canals, it was once the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Nippur. Nobody knows just how old Nippur really is. It's mentioned in the Sumerian King List as one of the cities that existed in Sumer before "the Great Flood of Ut-napishtim." (Better known as the Deluge of Noah's Ark to readers of the Bible--J.T.)

"The ancient city of Nippur was an important religious capital from the end of the Fourth Millenium B.C. It possessed a famous sanctuary consecrated to the god Enlil, who was considered the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon. The prosperity of Nippur declined with the coming of the first Babylonian dynasty at the beginning of the Second Mi llenium.The cult of its patron deity no longer received the same enthusiasm from the pilgrims, who transferred their devotion to the Babylonian gods of whom Marduk was the chief. For all that, the temple of Enlil was no less supported" by the empire "up to the time of the later Babylonian period (Seventh Century B.C.)...It was probably only in the Tenth Century (A.D.), in the Muslim period, that Nippur was abandoned."

"The western part of the great tell (mound--J.T.) marking the site of the ancient city has been identified as the residential and commercial quarter. The eastern part contains the sacred quarter and is dominated by the remains of the ziqqurat, which amounts of no more than a mass of unbaked bricks dominating the whole area of the ruins. The tower was dedicated to the god Enlil and was (later) covered by a palace built during the Parthian period. The temple of Enlil was situated below and to the east of the ziqqurat and goes back, in its latest state, to the second Babylonian period."

"In the perimeter wall" of the Temple of Enlil, "two foundation deposits left by Ur-Nammu, the first king of the third Ur dynasty, have been discovered; they testify that he built the E-Kur, meaning probably the perimeter of this sacred area."

"To the west of the ziqqurat the American expedition also discovered the remains of a temple of the third Ur dynasty, part of which at any rate was dedicated to Inanna (Sumerian "Queen of Heaven"--J.T.), as several bricks stamped with the name of the goddess by Shulgi, king of Ur, prove."

"Beneath the two towers flanking the entrance two formation deposits were found containing a bronze figurine of Shulgi."

So, from about 4,000 B.C. to 700 B.C., Nippur functioned as THE holy city of Sumeria, later Babylonia, much as Najaf does in today's Iraq. But if it was "the Vatican" of the priests of Enlil, Nippur was also the stomping ground of the Black Circle, an association of sorcerers of whom the most notorious was Gimil-ishbi.

In 1927, before he wrote his Kull of Atlantis stories, Texas author Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) did a number of "past life reminiscence" tales. None saw print during his lifetime, but one, "The House of Arabu," (Arabu was the Sumerian netherworld--J.T.), finally saw publication in 1951.

Here is a description of Nippur from REH's story:

"Pyrras swore under his breath. They were passing the great temple of Enlil, towering up three hundred feet in the changeless blue sky."

"'The towers stand against the sky like part of it,' he swore, raking back a damp lock from his forehead."

"Naram-ninub pointed to the great zikkurat of Enlil, brooding over all like the brutish dream of a mad god."

"'See ye the seven tiers; the lower black, the next of red enamel, the third blue, the fourth orange; the fifth yellow, while the sixth is faced with silver, and the seventh with pure gold which flames in the sunlight? Each stage in the temple symbolizes a deity; the sun, the moon and the five planets Enlil and his tribe have set in the skies for their emblems. But Enlil is greater than all, and Nippur is his favored city.'"

"'Greater than Anu?' muttered Pyrras, remembering a flaming shrine and a dying priest who gasped an awful threat."

"'Which is the greatest leg of a tripod?' parried Naram-ninub."

A series of paranormal attacks convinces Pyrras, the mercenary warrior from northern Europe, that he was indeed cursed by the priest of Anu. So he goes in search of the sorcerer Gimil-ishbi, whom his mistress, Amytis, tells him "dwells in the mound of Enzu, to the west of the city."

(Editor's Note: That would be somewhere around Souk al- Afej, seven kilometers or 4 miles west of the Nippur ruins.)

"Whether the cavern was hollowed by man or by Nature, none ever knew. At least its walls, floor and ceiling were symmetrical and composed of blocks of greenish stone, found nowhere else in that level land."

The sorcerer in the cave proved to be no less formidable.

"Gimil-ishbi was very old. There was no leaven of Semitic blood in his withered veins. His bald head was round as a vulture's skull, and from it his great nose jutted like the beak of a vulture. His eyes were oblique, a rarity even in a pure-blooded Shumirian, and they were bright and black as beads. Whereas Pyrrhas's eyes were all depth, blue deeps and changing clouds and shadows, Gimil-ishbi's eyes were as opaque as jet, and they never changed. His mouth was a gash whose smile was more terrible than its snarl."

"He was clad in a simple black tunic, and his feet, in their cloth sandals, seemed strangely deformed. Pyrrhas felt a curious twitching between his shoulder- blades as he glanced at those feet, and he drew his eyes away, and back to the sinister face."

Feeling in an expansive mood, Gimil-ishbi welcomes the warrior to his abode and lets slip a little of his origin.

"'You are far from the cradle of your race,' said Gimil-ishbi, 'You are the first golden-haired rover to tread the plains of Shumir.'"

"'I have wandered in many lands,' muttered the Argive, 'but may the vultures pluck my bones if I ever saw a race so devil-ridden as this, or a land ruled and harried by so many gods and demons.'"

"His gaze was fixed in fascintation on Gimil-ishbi's hands; they were long and narrow, white and strong, the hands of youth. Their contrast to the priest's appearance of great age otherwise was rather disquieting."

"'To each city its gods and their priests,' answered Gimil-ishbi, 'and all fools. Of what account are gods whom the fortunes of men lift or lower? Behind all gods of men, behind the primal trinity of Ea, Anu and Enlil, lurk the elder gods, unchanged by the wars and ambitions of men. Men deny what they do not see. The priests of Eridu (another Sumerian city--J.T.) which is sacred to Ea and light, are no blinder than them of Nippur, which is consecrated to Enlil, whom they deem the lord of Darkness. But he is only the god of the darkness of which men dream, not the real Darkness that lurks behind all dreams, and veils the real and awful deities. I glimpsed this truth when I was a priest of Enlil, wherefore they cast me forth. Ha! They would stare if they knew how many of their worshippers creep forth to me by night as you have crept."

Eventually Pyrrhas gets the charm he needs to ward off his paranormal enemies. More of REH's story I will not reveal, except to note that wizard and warrior do not exactly part on the best of terms.

At any rate, there was a strong black magickal tradition in that region when Najaf was still an empty desert. (See the books The Middle East, Hachette World Guides, Paris, 1966, pages 746 to 749; Middle East on a Shoestring, 2nd edition, Lonely Planet Publications, Hawthorne, Vic., Australia, 1997, page 309; and The Avon Fantasy Reader, Avon Books, 1969, pages 13, 14, 17, 20, 21 and 22.)

Next Week: Strange Doings in Kufa

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 then!

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