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Volume 9
Number 38
September 22, 2004

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast with 130-mph (mile per hour) winds Thursday," September 16, 2004, "and unleashed most of its fury on the Florida panhandle. Ivan killed at least 20 people, collapsed a bridge and sent tornadoes barreling through several hospitals and hundreds of homes."

When it came ashore, the hurricane covered a 350-mile (560-kilometer) front stretching from Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the west to Madison County, Florida in the east. "But along much of the coast, the storm dubbed 'Ivan the Terrible' did not live up to its nickname. Millions of residents had fled inland while emergency crews braced for widespread devastation."

In Biloxi, Mississippi, 40,000 residents lost electrical power.

Sixty miles (100 kilometers) to the east, in Mobile, Alabama, 200,000 residents lost electrical power.

In Gulf Shores, Alabama (population 5,044), the hurricane's eye struck "at about 3 a.m. Wind gusts reached 130 mph. Mayor David Bodenhamer said streets were flooded, and power lines were down everywhere. Nine alligators and 20 deer escaped from" the local zoo.

Hardest hit by the hurricane was Pensacola, Florida, where "more than 350,000 customers lose power; four area hospitals were damaged; the Pensacola Civic Center was damaged:" and sections of the Escambia Bay bridge collapsed.

In Pensacola, "the sun shone briefly" Thursday "as thousands of residents tried to pick up the pieces of their lives that had been scattered by the wind and water of Hurricane Ivan. As they dug out from debris and negotiated the power lines and tree limbs, the rain fell and the wind blew. The hurricane, now turned tropical storm, was making a leisurely exit."

In its wake, Ivan left Pensacola in ruins. "The rain and wind had broken the city's plumbing and power. Residents were instructed to boil water before drinking or cooking. The city said it could take three weeks to restore power to tens of thousands without it."

"As people emerged from their boarded-up houses, many found their city unrecognizable."

"'I've never seen this many trees and power lines down,' said Ed Walker, 60, "This is by far the worst storm we've ever seen.'"

"Walker, who lives in a beach area town house in Gulf Breeze (population 5,665)," 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Pensacola, had yet to return home. He was trapped on the (Florida) mainland."

(Editor's Note: Gulf Breeze is the most notorious UFO hotspot in Florida.)

"Bridges that connect Pensacola to the barrier islands were washed closed. One had washed out. Another toppled into the water. Others had not been tested for structural integrity by engineers. Major roads were blocked by (fallen) trees, power lines or flooding."

"'All three of our marinas were wiped out,' said Stephanie Mutanuka, 22, who handles slip leasing for Marina Management. 'It's going to cost millions of dollars.'"

In Blountstown, Fla. (population 2,444), 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Tallahassee, the state capital, a tornado spawned by Hurricane Ivan destroyed several homes and killed four people.

In Bay County, southwest of Blountstown, "about a dozen tornadoes were sighted. Two hundred homes were damaged" and "six were killed by Ivan-generated tornadoes."

"Florida, hit by its third violent hurricane in a month, wasn't spared. It caught the full brunt of the storm's swirling northeast edge, often the most damaging quadrant of the hurricane."

"Waves of up to 25 feet (8 meters) destroyed hundreds of homes along the Florida (Gulf of Mexico) coast."

"Ivan blasted much of Pensacola, where it ripped up trees, collapsed buildings and flooded downtown. Arriving on the first night of the Jewish new year, the hurricane blew apart a historic brick building that had been the city's first synagogue."

"Lillie Mae Bogan, 82, fled at 1:30 a.m. after Ivan blew down the walls of her three bedroom home. Bogan had lived there since 1962. She and her grandson, Reuben Lee Lewis, 49, sat out the storm in their Ford Taurus wagon until 7 a.m."

"When the storm arrived, they were sitting on the couch in their living room. It started raining. 'Then the wind started blowing, and there was a whistling sound,' said Lewis, a custodian. 'All of a sudden, it got rough. The wind blew off the screen door. Then the house started shaking, reeling and rocking. I told Mama we had to get out.'"

"They moved to one bedroom. A window blew out. They went to a second bedroom. The wall blew down. They tried the kitchen. The window blew out. That's when they left the house and huddled in the car. 'We got out the back door just in time,' Lewis said, 'Just before the whole house collapsed.'"

Even as Ivan was closing in on the Florida panhandle, "Tropical storm Jeanne slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday," September 15, 2004, "flooding neighborhoods, knocking out power and stranding thousands of tourists. At least two people were killed."

"Heavy rains turned roads into waist-deep rivers. Wind tore branches from trees and left at least 30,000 people" in the island commonwealth "without water. Flights were canceled; businesses shut. Authorities turned off power to prevent plant damage. Nearly 800 people sought refuge in shelters."

"Lashing winds tore the roof from Margarita Rivera's house, flung her from a hammock and smashed her into the side of a neighbor's house, said Mayor Angel Garcia of Yabucoa, the southeastern town where the storm's eye first hit the island. Rivera, 49, died."

On Puerto Rico's north coast, "in Vega Baja, Arturo Roman Crespo, 78, was on a roof, trying to put up storm shutters when he fell to the ground and was killed, police said."

Jeanne "plowed northwest through the middle of the island, exiting Puerto Rico near Vega Baja by 5 p.m."

On Sunday, September 19, 2004, "Tropical Storm Jeanne edged away from the southeastern Bahamas and, to some extent, became lost at sea. Forecasters acknowledged they could not accurate predict its next move."

"The possibilities ranged from the best case--a sharp turn northeast and away from land--to the worst case--an advance on Florida or another state in the Southeast."

"More havoc could be on the way for Florida and the Southeast (USA) where four hurricanes and three tropical storms have struck since (Tuesday) August 3 (2004), killing 46 and causing $11 billion in damage. Jeanne, the latest Atlantic storm of the season, has killed two people in Puerto Rico and could rebuild to hurricane strength as it" hangs around the Bahamas.

"Weather experts said unusually warm waters and a huge high-pressure system hovering over the Atlantic (sometimes called a "Bermuda high"--J.T.) have helped create and steer hurricanes directly at the U.S. coast. The Florida coastline was lashed with wind and surf for hours before Ivan hit land, causing major beach erosion and destroying waterfront homes."

"A buoy in the Gulf of Mexico 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Dauphin Island, Alabama registered waves 50 feet (15 meters) high. Televised reports from Alabama showed Dauphin already flooded."

"The band of high pressure in the Atlantic stretches from Cabo Verde all the way to Florida, which is really unusual," UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor commented. "Strange, too, that the Bermuda high has lasted so long. Rainstorms coming out of Africa grow to tropical storm strength just offshore from Nigeria. But the Bermuda high prevents them from heading north into the mid-Atlantic. Instead, it creates a kind of 'conveyor belt' carrying the storms all the way across and then shooting them up into the Caribbean Sea. Now a new tropical storm has formed west of Cabo Verde--Hurricane Karl."

UFO Roundup received three emails from readers who claimed to have heard HAARP broadcasting from Alaska on Tuesday, September 14, 2004. The signal was heard on frequency 3.390 MHz.

"Personally I don't think HAARP has the power to 'steer' a hurricane," Trainor added, "But the Tuesday burst might have deflected Ivan away from its original projected landfall around Tampa."

"Other than aliens, I can think of only one source able to create and sustain that unusual Bermuda High over the Atlantic--Shambhala, the hidden city of mystics in Afghanistan. Shambhala is reputed to have access to the weather-modification technology of ancient Atlantis."

"There have also been reports of Osama Bin Laden hiding out occasionally in Shambhala. Osama might have persuaded the Shambhalans to use 'weather warfare' against the USA."

"Is it just a coincidence that the 'hurricane blitz' began on August 3, the same date Allied forces stepped up their offensive in Afghanistan?" Trainor asked. "The 6th Marines have been running long-range patrols out of Bagram air base and Camp Ripley, just south of Tarin Kowt. Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines has a firebase in the Hindu Kush mountains. That's practically on Shambhala's doorstep. The Sages are above politics, but maybe some of the residents might be listening to Osama."

Last week there was a heavy firefight in Zabu, northeast of Kandahar, between coalition forces and Al- Qaeda fighters, in which 20 guerrillas were killed.

"I just find it extremely interesting that Hurricane Ivan's worst fury descended upon the old Jewish synagogue in Pensacola, Fla., as if Osama planned it that way," Trainor added, "Hopefully, Shambhala won't uncork the big stuff. Otherwise, Condi Rice will have to wake up Dubya at 4 a.m. some morning and explain that Lake Michigan now extends all the way to Lafayette, Indiana." (See USA Today for September 15, 2004, "Gulf Coast residents get out of way," page 1A; USA Today for September 16, 2004, "Ivan screams toward shore," page 1A, "New Orleans waits for worst," page 3A and "Jeanne hits Puerto Rico with heavy wind, rain," page 3A; USA Today for September 17, 2004, "Ivan carries its wrath inland after shredding coastal areas," page 1A and "'By far, the worst storm we've ever seen,'" page 3A; Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for September 16, 2004, "Hurricane pounds coastline," page 3A; Parade for September 12, 2004, "A Message for Corporal Ramirez," pages 4 to 8; and the Duluth, Minn. News-Tribune for September 19, 2004, "Jeanne's next move is hard to predict, forecasters say," page 4A.)


On Sunday, September 12, 2004, Laura Simmons and her friend "were chatting on the back porch" at her home on Fulton Street in San Francisco, she reported, "when I noticed movement in the sky. It was a silent, abstract blob almost like the underside view of a manta ray shape, moving quickly, quietly across the sky. I have no idea how high it was so I cannot judge the size."

She described the UFO as "very large, almost gossamer, sprinkled with lights but almost like dusted with a luminous powder. I can only describe it as if it were draped in 'star camoflauge' or something. It had a swimming-amoeba-like effect. Sounds silly but it's true."

"We both drew pictures of our view before we ever started talking to each other about it, so as not to influence (each other)," and the sketches "are quite similar. We were facing north, and it streaked from the northwest to the northeast, then disappeared out of view. It is a clear night tonight and very windy, but around the thing it seemed kind of cloudy." (Email Form Report)

The following day, Monday, September 13, 2004, in Los Angeles, a UFO "appeared from the southeast at 9:05 p.m.," M.P. Forman reported, "Witnessed a large, fuzzy, orange fireball east of LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) lasting four or five seconds. Fireball was approximately 10 to 15 miles (16 to 25 kilometers) away, southeast of my location, and at less than 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), stationary in the sky and 70 percent of the size of the full moon."

"As the fireball dissipated, the color of the shape became crimson and redder with some 'fire chunks' visible. Afterwards, I could see what appeared to be a pinpoint, a pulsating, glowing 'ember' remaining that eventually disappeared a couple of seconds later. Whole event lasted 10 to 15 seconds. Couldn't find any news on it today." (Email Form Report)


On Sunday, September 12, 2004, at 11:42 p.m., Lindsay Brown and her companions "were driving south on Eighth Street" in Airdrie, Alberta province, Canada (population 15,946) "when we noticed a flying object with lights on the craft and two beams of light projecting a long distance from the craft. We continued watching as the craft approached a small cloud in the sky, and, once the craft had reached the cloud, the lights became distant very, very quickly. The craft had vanished and was nowhere in sight."

"Once the craft had disappeared, the cloud itself diffused into the sky. It was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen in my life. The colour of the object was unknown. There were several bright white lights along the frame of the craft. The two beams of light protruding from the craft were facing completely opposite directions, one facing northeast and the other facing southeast."

"The craft was lower than an aircraft would usually be spotted flying and appeared to be much larger. The initial speed did not appear to be fast at all until the craft approached the cloud. By the time the craft reached the cloud, it was travelling at a high speed."

Airdrie is on Provincial Highway 2 approximately 18 miles (30 kilometers) north of Calgary. (Email Form Report)


On Friday, September 17, 2004, at 3:39 a.m., eyewitness A.S. was asleep at her home in the Beaumont Trailer Park on Heyden Street in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario province, Canada, at the eastern end of Lake Superior, when something strange jolted her awake.

"I was awakened by a weird sensation," A.S. reported, "I heard a very low humming and felt a weird sensation all over my body, so I went to go get my brother and could not find him. Then I saw the lights flooding through the windows, and, when I looked outside, they were almost blinding. But I was able to see my brother outside, looking up to the sky, so I ran to go and get him."

"At first, I thought it was one of them police helicopters searching for someone. But once I got a good look at it, I know it wasn't. It was much bigger, and it was shaped like a large submarine but with tons of lights everywhere. The bottom of it looked like a star field, and it had beams of light shining down the middle of it, in a straight line from one end to the other. I couldn't tell which end was the front or back."

"As this was happening, there was no wind, nor any kind of sound whatsoever, just the low humming, even though I didn't know what it was. I felt very much at peace and mesmerised by its beauty."

"The beams of light in the middle of it were moving in a very slow circular fashion along the ground as if it were searching for someone. All of a sudden, my brother and I heard sirens in the distance, and the lights went away. Then we heard what sounded like a really loud thunderclap, and the craft started to go higher and higher in the sky until we couldn't see it any more." (Email Form Report)

On Saturday, September 18, 2004, at 7:25 p.m., UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor was working aboard a tour train in northern Minnesota when he spotted an unusual- looking contrail in the sky to the northwest at an elevation of about 35 degrees above the horizon.

"We had completed the train's run-around maneuver at Palmer's Siding, approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) northeast of Duluth, Minnesota, and we were on our way back to Union Depot," Trainor said, "We were traveling at 30 miles per hour, and I would estimate that we were a mile or two east of French River, Minn. when I spotted the contrail. It was a clear blue sky, no clouds, so the white plume was quite noticeable. I also saw that it was a very short and wide contrail, no more than four object- sized lengths from the object itself."

"I observed it with the naked eye for 20 seconds, but it was too distant for me to make out any details. So I grabbed the pair of Sport 4 X 30 binoculars we keep aboard the train--to spot ships out on Lake Superior--and focused in on the object. It was no jet. What I saw was a silvery white disc with a fiery red tint around the leading rim. I don't know if it was reentry heat or the glow of the setting sun responsible for the red tint. The rear of the disc was totally obscured in white contrail mists. They were streaming off the disc, fanning out into a wide plume, much wider than a normal jet aircraft's contrail."

"The object was very high. I would estimate its altitude at 60,000 feet (18,000 meters). It was west of the train and traveling due north. The object was much, much larger than a conventional jetliner. I would estimate that the object was at least five times as large as a Boeing 747 jumbo jet."

"Our train passed a stand of fir trees, which obscured my view for five or six seconds. When I looked again through the binoculars, the sky was completely clear. The object and its contrail were gone. There is no way it could have reached the northern horizon in that brief span of time unless it had suddenly accelerated to a speed of thousands of miles per hour."

"Definitely a daylight disc! That's my fourth UFO," Trainor said, adding that he had previously seen UFOs in August 1963, August 1996 and December 2000.

French River, Minn. (population 40) is on Lake Superior's north shore about 340 miles (544 kilometers) west of Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, Canada.


On Sunday, September 5, 2004, at about 3 a.m., eyewitness G.B. woke up at her home in Rowen, in the Conwy district of North Wales, UK. She reported seeing "three lights, one very intense--not coloured--and two faint lights. The intense light and one faint light were in the same general direction, one much nearer than the other. Even the nearest must have been some distance away because it occasionally disappeared behind a bank of low cloud."

"I woke my husband to see them at 3:05 a.m.," G.B. added, "We watched the disc-shaped lights through binoculars. The faint lights went out soon after 3:05 a.m. The brightest object disappeared at 3:18 a.m. It was not an aircraft or a helicopter." (Email Form Report)


Wilson Estanovic Neto, curator and owner of "the Wilson Estanovic Museum if Natural History in Uberaba," a city in western Minas Gerais state in Brazil, "said that the museum, circus and theater, originally operated by his ancestor, has covered all the countries in the world. In their travels, they (the Estanovic family) has managed to obtain--through donations--artifacts, ruins and stones of all kinds which fall from space, as well as other startling items."

"A strange piece" has drawn the attention of Planeta Terra, a South American Fortean research group. It is "a rather different mummified skull, similar to an alien-- large-headed, earless, with odd-shaped eyes and mouth. All of these characteristics were highlighted by experts" in extraterrestrial subjects.

"Museum administrators claim to know the provenance of the skeleton, which was discovered only recently when they tried to 'de-mummify' the piece, which was probably acquired in Egypt. The specimen is on display at the museum only on Sundays and under guard."

"According to the owner, at least ten attempts to steal the item have been made."

"The skull is about twice the size of an adult human skull and is out of proportion in relation to the rest of the body, which measures approximately 50 centimeters (20 inches). The six-toed foot is also mummified."

Mystery skeleton

Uberaba is 210 kilometers (126 miles) west of Belo Horizonte, the state capital of Minas Gerais and 300 kilometers (180 miles) south of Brasilia, the national capital.

Commenting on this case, UFO Roundup correspondent Brunilda Barros said, "I'm not so sure this mummy is from Egypt. Uberaba is only 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the headwaters of the Rio da Prata. The Kayapo Indians might have acquired this strange mummy from the hidden city of Matalir-Aconcagua in the Planalto (jungles of Mato Grosso do Sul state--J.T.) and then sold it to Senhor Estevanovic's ancestors." (See Planeta Terra for September 15, 2004. Muito obrigado a Scott Corrales e Andreia Xavier por eso caso.)

(Editor's Note: Matalir-Aconcagua is a reputed hidden city in Mato Grosso do Sul, still thriving millenia after the demise of the lost continent of Atlantis. Colonel Percy H. Fawcett, his son Jack and Raleigh Rimmell vanished in the Mato Grosso back in 1925 while searching for it.)


It's the wildest swerve in the crop circle saga yet-- a bizarre formation of "tree circles" was found in early August 2004 in Canada's Northwest Territories.

According to Paul Anderson of Canadian Crop Circle Research Network (CCCRN), "two large circles in poplar trees, first reported as a rumour on (Wednesday) September 8 (2004) were found at Nahanni Butte," near Fort Simpson, N.W.T. "The circles are estimated to be 151 meters (500 feet) and 91 meters (270 feet) in diameter. The trees were apparently flattened radially. No photos yet. Investigation in progress."

A local newspaper, the Deh Cho Drum, confirmed the find.

"It certainly is unique and different from most 'standard' crop formations, whether it is a case of 'unusual meterological damage' (as the newspaper stated-- J.T.) or not."

Fort Simpson, N.W.T. is on the Mackenzie River about 700 miles (1,160 kilometers) northwest of Edmonton, Alberta." (See the Deh Cho Drum for August 6, 2004. Many thanks to Paul Anderson of CCCRN for this news story.)

(Editor's Note: Fort Simpson was the site of a massive UFO flap back in March and April of 1996.)


"There has been yet another suspected sighting of a so-called 'big cat' in a remote area of Wales."

A video shot by an English tourist "shows what appears to be a black, cat-like creature creeping stealthily through undergrowth."

"A Welsh Animals Grant investigator contends that the animal was just a domestic moggy, but big-cat experts are keeping an open mind."

"David Bacon and his family, from Wolverhampton," near London, "were holidaying in Foel, near Welshpool, when he made the discovery."

"'I take a keen interest in wildlife, and I'm always peering through binoculars at things when I'm in Wales,' he said, 'But, on this occasion, I spotted something that looked like a big cat.'"

"'My first instinct was that the creature was a panther because it was so black.'"

"'We were just 600 yards away from it, and there's no way it was just a large domestic moggy. The cat was walking through some bracken and undergrowth.'"

"'My son suggested it was a puma (cougar or mountain lion in the USA--J.T.), but it was too black for a puma.'"

"'My other son ran across to see with high-power binoculars, and he thought it was a big cat, too.'"

"Mr. Bacon added: 'I did manage to get a shot of the cat although it was only ten seconds long.'"

"'We're convinced it was a big cat and definitely not a Tom cat.'" (See BBC News for September 10, 2004, "Family captures big cat on film." Many thanks to UFO Roundup's phantom panther expert, Robert Fischer, for this report.)


"As visitors gazed on the ancient temple of Dendur yesterday (Friday, September 17, 2004), a maintenance worker at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" in New York City "suddenly slipped and fell 60 feet to the sandstone steps of the temple's western side. The worker, Marcin Kielar, was later pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital."

The New York Police Department (NYPD) "described the death at the temple, one of the museum's most visited sites, as an industrial accident and said the finding was preliminary."

"It was the second death of a maintenance worker at the Metropolitan in recent memory. In 2001, a man inspecting air-conditioning equipment fell through an air shaft for reasons that were never determined."

"Mr. Kielar, who fell shortly before 10:23 a.m. yesterday was doing routine maintenance high atop the atrium of the Sackler Wing, where the temple of Dendur is located. From time to time, workers must waterproof the enormous glass enclosure that slopes down from the roof to the edge of the lawn facing Central Park."

"The Sackler Wing was open to visitors yesterday morning, but museum officials closed it after the worker's fall. It was not immediately clear whether the deceased man had been the only maintenance worker there. The police interviewed six people, museum visitors. One woman reported hearing a loud noise."

"Mr. Kielar was standing on an interior glass ceiling, where overhead lights are positioned, police said. There is a 15-foot (4.5-meter) space between the glass ceiling and the roof of the building. Mr. Kielar was caulking gaps in the glass enclosure."

"White towels marked the spot where he fell. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Lenox Hill Hospital at 11:07 a.m."

"Workers who walk on the glass ceiling routinely place a natural counterweight on the glass as they walk to keep the ceiling's large glass squares from tilting up and unbalancing the worker, said (NYPD) Lt. Gene Whyte, a spokesman for the police department."

"It is unknown whether Mr. Kielar forgot the counterweight, pitching him into his fall, or dropped the counterweight, shattering the glass square beneath him. The investigation is continuing, Lt. Whyte said."

"Mr. Kielar, who was born in Poland, lived in Maspeth, Queens (one of the five boroughs of New York City--J.T.) and leaves two young daughters, his family said."

"The earlier death was from the museum's roof. Ricardo Ramos, 23, was a worker from a company that inspects the water inside air-conditioners. On February 15, 2001, he fell down a 100-foot (30-meter) shaft into the narrow courtyard between the wing that houses the Chinese galleries and the wing that houses the temple of Dendur."

"Built on the Nile River to house the goddess Isis, the temple of Dendur dates to 15 B.C. It is the only Egyptian temple in the Western Hemisphere. Since its installation in the Sackler Wing in 1978, it has been a prized spot for corporate parties. During the Republican National Convention" at the end of August 2004, "Daimler- Chrysler held a party there for Sen. Bill Frist, the Senate's Majority Leader."

Fortean researcher Loren Coleman added, "The original site in Egypt allegedly was the where Cleopatra and (Julius) Caesar conceived a child. West of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's temple of Dendur, 300 meters (1,000 feet) away in Central Park" at 81st Street "is the only other authentic ancient Egyptian monument in New York City, the obelisk once in Alexandria and today called Cleopatra's Needle." (See the New York Times for September 18, 2004, "Museum worker dies after all from ceiling." Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this newspaper article.)

(Editor's Comment: Wow! This sounds like a real-life version of Phantom of the Opera. Who--or what--is killing the museum's maintenance workers? This would make a great movie. Supermodels hold a charity benefit fashion show at the Temple of Dendur. Suddenly, all the doors and windows mysteriously snap shut. The lights go dead. And the moldering Egyptian mummy shuffles down the darkened corridors, seeking those who have defiled the sanctum of his goddess Isis. Now, what actress would be dumb enough...oops! I mean, brave enough...to follow the mummy into its basement lair? The name springs instantly to mind. Are you ready for...Paris Hilton vs. The Mummy?)


"As Hurricane Ivan took its deadly swipe at" Pensacola, Florida, "the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was mobilizing a team of 31 doctors, nurses and paramedics in Jacksonville, 350 miles (580 kilometers) away."

"Just hours after Ivan struck on Thursday," September 16, 2004, "the medical team set out in a convoy across the Florida Panhandle, escorted by the state highway patrol. The team set up a fully-equipped emergency room in tents in a hospital parking lot. By Sunday," September 19, 2004, "the medical workers had treated nearly 300 people for emergencies from puncture wounds to kidney failure."

"The team works with military precision, down to the tan fatigues."

"The mobile emergency crew--called a Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) by FEMA--is a godsend to this city, which took the brunt of Ivan's fury. But the team's lifesaving work after the hurricane also demonstrates the 'new' FEMA that has emerged since the 9/11 (September 11, 2001--J.T.) terrorist attacks."

"FEMA's mission after a disaster primarily had been to dole out low-interest loans to small businesses and assistance grants to the uninsured who experienced losses. The agency still performs those tasks, as well as distributing water, ice and food to storm victims. But since FEMA was folded into the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003, the agency's role has expanded to providing a direct response to a disaster--whether in the form of medical care of emergency supplies--as well as aiding in the recovery to rebuild homes and businesses."

"'There has been a lot of change at FEMA,' Director Mike Brown said, after visiting the medical team" in Pensacola on Saturday, September 18, 2004.

"By daylight Thursday, the devastation from Ivan was apparent. Houses were destroyed. Trees lay across roads. Bridges were washed out. Almost every home lost power and running water."

"Baptist Hospital, a 492-bed trauma center here, lost part of its roof. The emergency room was flooded, and the storm wiped out the dialysis unit and one of its intensive care units. The hospital had no electric service or running water and was limping along on power from an emergency generator. The hospital had 155 patients who couldn't be transferred before the hurricane struck."

"The Jacksonville-area FEMA medical team assembled on three hours' notice when Ivan struck. The group rolled out of Jacksonville at noon Thursday and arrived at Baptist Hospital's parking lot at 9 p.m. The convoy had two 20-foot (6-meter) trucks and eight rented vans. The workers immediately began setting up a triage tent, a medical tent, a pharmacy, a command center and a sleep tent."

"The team was equipped to be self-sufficient for 72 hours; they brought two generators and military-style MREs, 'meals ready to eat.' They set up sinks, fed by hoses attached to fire hydrants. They set up emergency toilets in tents. They even brought a grill and charcoal- -just in case they found steaks and time to cook, which they did Sunday night."

"The FEMA medical team could resemble the cast from the old TV hit M.A.S.H."

"'Sometimes I walk through camp humming the theme from M.A.S.H. It just seems to fit,' says Carole Marks, a semiretired social worker and one of three mental health professionals on the team."

"Marks, 62, of Jacksonville, calls herself an idealist from the '60s who volunteered for the FEMA team. She says she wanted to make a difference, and that's why most of the members volunteered."

"The five doctors are mostly emergency-room and trauma specialists. There are a dozen nurses, paramedics and emergency medical technicians. The team also includes logistics officers, security personnel and administrators."

""'I don't know if it's in our nature as doctors or nurses, but we want to help people,' says Joanna Hall, 40, the logistics chief for the mission. She is also a critical care nurse at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville. 'People are so happy to see you. Coming in here, you feel like a hero.'"

"Karen Ketchief, 39, the team commander, wears her FEMA badge on a Care Bears lanyard. But she's hardly a softy."

"Ketchie, who works as the disaster preparedness coordinator Shands Jacksonville Hospital, has built this team from scratch over the past four years. The first deployment came last month, when the team spent 10 days in Punta Gorda, Fla. after Hurricane Charley destroyed much of that town."

"The team began as a volunteer effort under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Now that it operates as part of FEMA and Homeland Security, Ketchie says, the mission is less public-health service and more full-scale disaster response."

"The medical team is modeled after FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue Teams, which look for people who may be trapped by earthquakes, tornadoes and other disasters."

"'We all became brethren under Homeland Security,' she says."

"FEMA's changed status has tightened up the discipline but also opened up the budget, Ketchie says. The only items the camp here lacked were real portable toilets, because they were in short supply across the state after three hurricanes in a month. And the former all-volunteer team is now paid according to federal pay scale when it is deployed."

"'Nobody does it for money,' Ketchie says, 'We all come out here after a hurricane because we're into that kind of thing and we want to help.'"

"The group is one of 55 medical assistance teams across the country. They are part of the National Disaster Medical System, which includes 21 other teams to handle specialties such as veterinary medicine, surgery, mortuaries or chemical-biological-nuclear events. FEMA dispatched 11 teams, including six search-and-rescue groups to Florida and Alabama after Ivan."

"'We're trying to do an all-hazards approach to disasters,' says Brown, FEMA's director. 'You have to be ready for a natural disaster. You have to be ready for a terrorist. You have to be ready for anything.'" (See USA Today for September 20, 2004, "Healing team arrives on heels of hurricane," page 4A.)


UFO Roundup reader Larry Onusko of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, reports, "Just above the Canadian/USA border we are witnessing an early fall, too. Rain is falling and temperatures are down. More like early November. My roses called it quits two months ago. Canada geese have been flying south early. It seems we've lost two months of full autumn."

Nor is the unusual weather limited to North America. Warmer than normal temperatures have been reported in South Africa.

Reader D.C. reports, "Today I was in a shop in Cape Town, S.A., where I live, and overheard someone saying how odd (it is) to be wearing sandals already."

(Editor's Note: South Africa's seasons are the reverse of ours in the northern hemisphere, so right now in Cape Town it's the equivalent of late March or early spring.)

"It's already warm enough, and 'we haven't even had a winter yet,' she said. The weather's been relatively dry and warm, I guess, though I can't say for sure as I have not lived here long enough to understand the climate--one year only. But it may be related to global changes. Or perhaps seasonal or annual variations. It might be worthwhile asking people outside the USA what they think."

(Editor's Comment: Good idea, D.C. Let's open the discussion to Roundup readers worldwide. If you experience any unseasonal or anomalous weather in your home countries, send an email describing the change to )

From the UFO Files...


In 660 A.D., Abdul Majid al-Hazrad turned twenty. He continued in his role as chela to the Master of the Black Circle, the sorcerer Yaqoob Hamzi al-Khafaji, and his forty-year-old mother, Soraya, continued to live in Kufa, in the house of Ali Bin Abu Talib, the reigning Caliph and a nephew of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him--J.T.)

Abdul's impetuous act--conjuring up Gol-goroth at the Oasis of El-Hira--had backfired. Instead of instilling fear in the Kharijites, it had united them against "that thrice-accursed worshipper of devils, Abdul Majid." Overnight he had overshadowed his mentor, Yaqoob Hamzi, as the most fearsome sorcerer in Iraq. Adding to his dark legend were the former acolytes, who had fled the oasis shrieking in terror.

The ex-acolytes repeated tales of what they had seen and heard in Yaqoob Hamzi's service. And what they didn't know, they made up, and then embellished that with every weird tale or ghost story they had ever heard. The Kharijites believed it all, of course, and soon the legends of the Black Circle circulated in every souk and caravanserai and palace on both sides of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

One acolyte stayed loyal, however. This was the boy Yaqub Bin Ishaq as-Sabah, the youngest of the Chosen Seven, who came to live in the cave near Nippur (now Naifar--J.T.) as Abdul's chela.

Meanwhile, the schism in Islam continued. The imam Ali lived in his house in Kufa, with his wives and 33 children, content to let Allah determine whether he or the usurper Moawiya in Damascus should reign as Caliph. He was assisted by Hassan and Hussein, his sons by his first wife, Fatima, who was the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. (Fatima had died in 632 A.D., ten years after al-Hajira, the flight of her father, her husband and their followers from Mecca to what is now the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia--J.T.)

Ali's faction became known as as-Shia (Arabic for The Party; today their descendants are called Shiites--J.T.). They believed that the Prophet himself had chosen Ali as his successor. But others did not and resisted Ali's claim to the caliphate.

Rather than shed blood over the controversy, the imam Ali had agreed to submit the issue to the arbitration of two men, Abu Musa and a local king named Amir Bin el-Ass. They polled all of the sheikhs, to see whom they favored, and then discussed the issue themselves.

Bin el-Ass, who secretly favored Moawiya, sounded out Abu Musa to see where he stood. Abu Musa said he thought both Ali and Moawiya should step down in favor of a new caliph. The amir said he agreed and persuaded Abu Musa to announce his decision first. Abu Musa did so, and then Bin el-Ass promptly contradicted him, declaring that "he also deposed Ali and announced further that he invested Moawiya with the caliphate."

Although personally hurt by the amir's treachery, Ali made no move to contest the decision. Urged by his sons to deal with Moawiya once and for all, Ali demurred, saying, "Allah will judge, not I, his servant."

The 60-year-old imam--now revered by Shiites worldwide as al-Shar-i-Kuda (Arabic for Lion of God-- J.T.)--seemed content to reign in Kufa, surrounded by family and friends.

Nothing Ali did seemed to please the Kharijites-- fanatic Muslims who believed that the current schism was ruining "the pure Islam of the Prophet." The imam further incurred their animosity when Abdul's mother, Soraya, died of a fever in August of 660. Not only did Ali permit the woman a Muslim funeral, he invited the grieving Abdul and stood by him at Soraya's grave.

Abdul was inconsolable, for he was an only child and Soraya had been his one and only relative. "She was a good woman," Ali said, trying to comfort the distraught younger man. "And a good friend to Bint-Hanafiyya (one of Ali's wives--J.T.). Weep not, for you shall see her again. She is seated with my uncle in Allah's Gardens of Bliss."

"If you say so," Abdul replied. As an Adept of the Black Circle, he no longer believed what was written in al-Quran (The Koran--J.T.).

"Do not be a stranger to my house, Abdul Majid," the imam said, "Soraya would not want that. You were one of us once, you know."

Walking away from his mother's grave, Abdul said, "We must each follow our own path, Imam."

"Then may Allah guide yours."

Kharijite discontent continued to grow. There were mutterings in the souk against Ali, against Abu Musa, against "infidels" and Jews. A new secret society formed- -the Brotherhood of Blood. Three men, one of whom was Bin Muljam, a Kharijite without many friends. They mingled their blood in a bowl and then drank from it, vowing that they would kill "all enemies of the true Islam."

In early December, Yaqoob Hamzi summoned Abdul to the cave. "I have a task for you, my chela."

"What task, Guru-ji?"

"I want you to go to El-Warka. When the sun rises on the solstice (December 21, 660 A.D.), you must perform the Ritual of the Black Flame at the top of the ziqqurat (Sumerian pyramid--J.T.). Do not worry. Your powers are equal to the task." And he spared a glance at eight-year- old Yaqub. "Be sure to take the boy with you."

(Editor's Note: El-Warka is the Arabic name for the ruins of the Sumerian city of Uruk, also known as Erech in the Bible. It's 31 kilometers or 18 miles south of Nippur.)

Abdul frowned. The ritual, if begun on the solstice, would last well into the winter. They would be gone for many weeks. He was mindful of the growing hostility of the Kharijites. "What of you? Will you be all right?"

The gaunt sorcerer ignored the questions. "Do you remember what I told you about the Chinese emperor Yao?"

The younger man nodded. "Yao thought he was the best monarch in the world, that he had accomplished much. But then he went to Shambhala and learned the true wisdom."

"Which is?"

"The Cosmic Wheel turns, and the wise man accepts its turning."

"Even so." Yaqoob Hamzi gestured at the corral. "See that the camels are watered and fed. You and the boy leave at first light."

As the first crimson tints of dawn lit up the desert horizon, Abdul slung sacks of food and waterskins onto his camel. Beside him the young Yaqub sat on his camel's hump, eager to begin the adventure. The sorcerer stood before them, his hands hidden in the voluminous sleeves of his black robes.

"I do not like the idea of leaving you here alone," said Abdul, coaxing the camel into kneeling. Then he climbed aboard.

"What man is immune to misfortune?" Yaqoob Hamzi replied.

As Abdul tapped its flank, the camel let out a bellow and stood up. "Until we meet again, Guru-ji."

But Yaqoob Hamzi did not answer.

And so, Abdul and his young chela passed the solstice at El-Warka. Unknown to them, however, events in Kufa were about to send them on their lifelong pilgrimage.

It started on Friday, January 24, 661 A.D. when the muzzein reached the minaret (tower) of Kufa's mosque. His voice reverberated across the city, calling the faithful to prayer. Leading the procession into the mosque's central hall was the white-haired Imam Ali. What were his thoughts as he knelt and bowed towards Mecca? Was he thinking of his birthplace? Was he remembering the embrace of his uncle Mohammed, still enraptured after his encounter with the angel? Did he hear the still, small voice of Allah?

Suddenly, there was a tumult behind him. One of the worshippers--Bin Muljam--jumped to his feet, whipped out a scimitar and rushed towards the imam. He drove the blade into Ali's back--once, twice, three times. As Ali gasped and collapsed on his prayer rug, the enraged Muslims grabbed the assassin and dragged him away. Ali rasped, "Let him live!" and only the intercession of his sons, Hassan and Hussein, saved Bin Muljam from being torn apart by the mob.

The dying imam was borne to his house. Those who examined the assassin's weapon let out a cry. "Poison! The blade is poisoned!"

The assassination of Ali had a traumatic effect on Kufa, not unlike the assassination of President John F. Kennedy back in 1963. Bin Muljam was a "lone assassin," but he was also a member of the Brotherhood of Blood. Poison on the blade suggested a wider conspiracy.

The finger of suspicion pointed at the Kharijites. They retorted that they fought with clean weapons. Poison on the blade? Well, that had to be "that dog Moawiya." Or the Jews. Or the Black Circle. Or any combination of the three.
Rumors ran rife in the Kufa souk.

So it was that during the early morning hours of Tuesday, January 28, 661 A.D., while sleeping atop the ziqqurat of ancient Uruk, Abdul awakened to a small hand shaking his shoulder. Yaqub's anxious face peered down at him.

"What's the matter?" he murmured.

"Abdul, look!" The boy pointed at the northern horizon.

Abdul stood upright. Even at a distance of 32 kilometers (20 miles), he could still make out that massive ziqqurat of Nippur. Nearby was a small red glimmer, like a burning coal. A column of smoke masked the stars. At first he stared in confusion. What could be burning? There was nothing out there in the desert except...

His blood chilled. The cave!

It was nearly dusk before their lathered camels reached the spot. Leaping to the ground, Abdul stared in horror. Goats and donkeys with their throats cut. The tools of the arts broken, trampled and smashed. And of his guru's priceless library of ancient texts, all that remained were the black ashes of the bonfire.

He ran to the cave's entrance. Painted in goat's blood were the taunting words, Assassins! Devil- worshippers!

"Guru-ji!" cried Abdul in desperation, "Guru-ji!"

There was no answer.

Long into the night, Abdul sat and mourned the man who had been as a father to him. At last the boy Yaqub touched the sleeve of his black robe. "We must leave. We're not safe here."

"Leave me, then," he muttered.

"I cannot. You are guru now, Abdul."

And so began the long years of wandering for Abdul Majid al-Hazrad and his foremost disciple. All that was left of the Black Circle, they watered their camels and set off across the desert.

Even as they set out, in Kufa, the dying imam, Ali Bin Abu Talib, summoned his sons to his bedside. "When I am dead, put my body upon my favorite camel. Let the beast wander at random. Where he halts, there shall I be buried. Let Allah choose my gravesite."

In the morning, the family did as the imam requested. The camel wandered in the desert for many days, with Ali's sons following at a distance. At last it came to a stop, and stayed there, on a windswept plain called Al-Najaf. There the imam was laid to rest, and the location of his grave was kept a secret for 190 years, until a new Caliph, Haroun al-Rashid, built the first mosque over the site.

Thus was the holy city of Najaf born.

As for Abdul Majid al-Hazrad, many decades later, he abode for a time in Damascus, when his beard was as long and as white as Abu Daud's, whom he remembered from his childhood. Mindful of his dimming eyesight and quaking hands, he took pen to parchment and sought to preserve the magickal lore of the Black Circle.

"They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken and the Rites howled through at their seasons. The winds gibber with Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Kadath in the cold waste hath known Them, and what man knows Kadath? The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of the Ocean hold stones whereupon Their seal is engraven, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles?"

Thus came to be written Abdul's great work, Kitab al- Azif, the book known to our world as the Necronomicon. (See the books The Middle East, Hachette World Guides, Paris, 1966, pages 740 to 747; Encyclopedia of World Biography, volume 1, Gale Research, Detroit, Michigan, 1998, pages 155 and 156; Middle East on a Shoestring, Lonely Planet Publications, Hawthorne, Vic., Australia, 1997, pages 308 and 309; and The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi, Dell Publishing, New York, N.Y. 1997, pages 132 to 134.)

That's it for this week. Join us in seven days 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 next time.

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