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Are alien abductions real, or are they a product of a dream, sleep paralysis, or just an overactive imagination? Those who claim to have been abducted or "abductees," as they are called today, say that they are being awakened from sleep, and transported to an alien spacecraft. Hard core scientists believe that these abductees never left their bed.

Once the abductees are aboard the alien craft they are subjected to medical tests by strange looking creatures not of this world. These tests vary greatly from one account to another, but generally consist of a general overview of the human body, and sometimes sexual probing. Men may be milked of their sperm; women may have their eggs taken. Tormented afterwards by nightmares or fragmented memories, they often seek professional help.

What the Disbelievers Say...
Disbelievers in the phenomena of alien abduction offer the theory that the alleged abductee is reliving memories of an alien scenario that they either read about, or saw in a movie. Mental and psychological problems produce these beliefs as a way to relieve tension or deal with other personal issues. Memories drawn from regressive hypnosis are false, created by the mind, or evoked by the hypnotist.

Today, alien abductions are rarely reported for several reasons. The intimate, oft times embarrassing procedures performed on the abductees are generally details they would only reveal in private. Public disclosure of an abduction can expose the abductee to public ridicule, loss of friends, and loss of livelihood. Just like reporters of UFO sightings, they are also labeled as a "nut." Many times an abductee will seek professional help in the form of "regressive hypnosis," a procedure to unlock lost memories. Some abductees have a type of tracking device implanted in their body.

New Technology...
Modern science has gotten into the act in the last ten years or so. New technology for analyzing sleep patterns, dreams, and sleep paralysis has shed a negative light on many abduction experiences. Scientists claim that a person's memory can trigger bizarre recreations of scenarios the abductee has seen on television or at the movies. Other psychological or mental problems lend to the person's susceptibility to have these dreams. Many disbelievers claim that regressive hypnosis creates memories, instead of releasing them.

Alien Abduction & UFOs...
The modern abduction era began on a September night in 1961. Barney Hill and his wife Betty were driving home to New Hampshire from a short vacation. They began to see a bright light which seemed to follow them on their way. Soon the object moved close enough that multi-colored lights were observed. They stopped the car, and Barney, with the aid of binoculars, could see occupants in the strange, other-worldly craft.

The next thing the Hills remembered was being in their car again, continuing their journey home. They never saw the strange craft again. They did, however, hear a strange beeping sound. After sleeping until the next afternoon, the only thing the Hills recalled was the sighting of the craft, nothing else. They began to have nightmarish dreams.

Two writers learned of the Hill story, and after taking a meticulous accounting of the journey, it was found that two hours of time was lost to the Hills. Seeking professional help with Dr. Benjamin Simon, their alien abduction story was revealed through regressive hypnosis.

The Disbelievers Stand...
There is scientific proof to substantiate abduction claims in the form of many objects removed from abductees. In theory, these objects were implanted for the aliens to be able to track them. These artifacts are available for research. The bizarre nature of the abduction process, and the stigma placed on the abductees by a skeptical world precludes the reporting of more abduction accounts. Science needs to lend an open ear and mind to this phenomena, and research alien abduction on a case by case basis.

Those who disbelieve accounts of alien abduction list several reasons for their stand. To believe in the possibility of alien abduction would necessitate the belief in extraterrestrial intelligence, and that they are visiting our planet. There is no proof whatsoever that any intelligent beings exist beyond our own world, and even if they did, where is the proof that they have visited our planet?

Even if there were other beings in the vastness of space, the great distances to traverse make it an impossible journey. Even with our present technology, the nearest star that might be inhabitable would take many light years to reach. And the wear and tear on the body, both physically and mentally, make the trek an impossibility.

Even if we subscribe to the multidimensionality theory of existence, and there are other forms of life that we are not aware of, why would these beings be interested in our society, being so much less intelligent than they?

Those who claim to have been abducted may believe in their own stories, but that is all it is, a story. These individuals are in need of psychological help, and their claims of abduction are only a form of delusion, or self healing.

For those who make such claims, we ask, "Where is the proof?" So-called artifacts are nothing more than foreign objects that entered the body without the person knowing it, like a small, embedded pieced of metal stepped on, and forgotten about. Alien abduction belongs in science fiction, not real science.

Case by Case Basis...
Alien abduction claims must be examined on a case by case basis. No blanket theory or solution can apply to all cases. There are a number of abduction accounts made by sane, well respected members of society. Many of these are accomplished while the individual is not in bed, but wide awake, and sometimes in broad daylight. Many abductions occurred after seeing an unknown flying object. What will the debunkers do with these? Write them off as coming from unbalanced people? Are all who report an abduction mentally unstable?

A number of abductees do not require regressive hypnosis to recall their experience. Shortly after an abduction, the individual may be confused by fragmented memories, or tormented by nightmares, but in time they will gain total recall of their abduction. Realizing what has happened to them, they often seek counseling to answer haunting questions of why they were selected for this bizarre extraterrestrial visit.
(© B J Booth)

Also see... Alien Abduction Case Files

SOURCE: UFO Casebook: 12-19-05

Ellie Crystal's Metaphysical and Science Website

As a researcher and hypnotherapist I have worked with people who claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials. I have interviewed UFO researchers, scientists, authors, and people who claim to have secret information.

Physical evidence seems to support many case histories, though some experiences may actually be caused by dreams, mental problems, media indoctrination, or misinterpretation of what the person has seen. All leave an imprint on the psyche of the person, or persons (multiple abductions involved).

Most countries have reports of alien abductions. They occur in large cities as well as the rural areas.

Abductions occur at any time of the day or night.

Many abductions are not reported, because there is no one to tell, or the abductee fears ridicule from others, especially if they feel they have been sexually violated.

People who have been abducted many times keep journals to determine patterns or timetables. They sometimes write books about their experiences.

Abductees have tried many interesting techniques to protect themselves, but to date, I know of no one specific approach that prevents these experiences.

Abductees have reported attempts to video or photograph the events. Some abductees have experimented with infrared film. Most footage is useless.

My opinion of this experience: We are all part of an experiment/ experience/ program of some kind. The Grays have always been part of the program. If you can remote view and you get close to their eyes - you will see that the Greys are machines - computers - the watchers - who take people in and out of the program to some do sort of reprogramming - like the movie Matrix - The Holodeck in Star Trek. It is all
an illusion but this is a nasty part.

Often abductees are told that the experience is for some 'greater good'. Always remember that anyone who does anything to you without your permission - or makes your soul feel uncomfortable - does not have your best interests at heart. Be careful what you believe.

Consult the link below for:

  • Possible Signs That You Have Been Abducted

  • Karla Turner's 10 Facts in Respect to Alien Abductions

  • Description of a Classic Abduction Experience

Famous Abduction Cases:

  • Betty and Barney Hill

  • Travis Walton

  • The Brooklyn Bridge Abduction

SOURCE: http://www.crystalinks.com/abduction.html


"UFO abductions are not a rare phenomenon and have been estimated to have occurred to three-million Americans. There is a remarkably precise correspondence to the reports. Abductees exhibit relatively little psychopathology. The author uses a combination of hypnosis and a breathing technique as treatment in helping the abductees confront and move through the terrifying memories of the experiences. Abduction events and descriptions of aliens are relatively uniform. There is both subtle
and highly robust physical evidence that accompanies some of the abductions. The aftermaths of these events are usually highly traumatic. But in processing these terrors, abductees are often able to find these events a source of transformation, in connecting them beyond themselves." From The UFO Abduction Phenomenon: What Does it Mean for the Transformation of Human Consciousness? -- John E. Mack, M.D.

Budd Hopkins
Budd Hopkins is a world-renowned artist, author, and pioneer UFO abduction researcher. Having investigated well over 700 cases, he now heads the Intruders Foundation, a nonprofit, scientific research and support organization. Taken together, his three books, Missing Time, 1981, Intruders, 1987, and Witnessed, 1996, are widely regarded by researchers and skeptics alike as comprising the most influential series of books yet published on the abduction phenomenon. These works, Hopkins' lectures, and his other presentations have been responsible for bringing a number of other noted researchers-David Jacobs, John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith, and John Mack, among others-into this extraordinary area of specialization.

David Jacobs, Ph.D.
David M. Jacobs, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History at Temple University specializing in twentieth century American history and culture. Dr. Jacobs began researching the controversy over unidentified flying objects in America in the mid 1960's, and has amassed over 35 years of primary research data and analytical hypotheses on the subject. Since 1973 Dr. Jacobs has continued to devote most of his professional and personal energies to researching the UFO phenomenon in general, and the abduction phenomenon in particular. Having conducted over 750 hypnotic regressions with over 125 abductees, Dr. Jacobs is one of the foremost UFO abduction researchers worldwide. As a result of his extensive primary research, he has developed the first scientific typology of the abduction experience.

John Mack, M.D.
John E. Mack, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Center for Psychology & Social Change, explores how extraordinary experiences can affect personal, societal and global transformation. He is the author of many books detailing how one's perceptions shape relationships with one another and with the world, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of T.E. Lawrence, A Prince of Our Disorder, Abduction, and Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters.

UFO Evidence is one of the Internet's largest sources of quality research and information on the UFO phenomenon.

SOURCE: http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/Abduction.htm


PROJECT 1947 is a world-wide effort to document the origins of the modern UFO phenomenon. Research for the project has yielded many early-era UFO reports via the FOIA, newspaper articles and contemporary accounts. Some of the material gathered by PROJECT 1947 is on display here.

Military, Airline and Private Pilot UFO sightings
from 1942 to 1996 Compiled and © 1997 by Dominique Weinstein

By Jan Aldrich

Site Update December 10, 2005
Julian J. A. Hennessey - The U.K. Government and UFOs
For many years Julian Hennessey worked as NICAP's representative in Great Britain where he investigated a large number of cases in the U.K. and Europe. He was chairman of European Investigative Subcommittee #1 of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and through persistent and meticulous efforts was able to create an impressive network of official and semi-official interest in
UFO reports.

Some of this official interest was less than supportive, and many times Hennessey became a thorn in the side of British government officials who continued to insist that there was no real interest in UFO reports other than those with "possible defense implications".

Jan Aldrich presents an overview of Julian's work in this introduction to the previously unpublished essay, The U.K. Government and UFOs, in which Julian outlines some significant historical British UFO events and his own involvement with UFO research in the 60s and 70s.
See: http://www.project1947.com/new.htm

SOURCE: http://www.project1947.com/

By Mark Kinver, Science reporter, BBC News website

[IMAGE: Researchers are confident the tools are 700,000 years old Flint tool found at the Pakefield site (Harry Taylor/NHM) http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41122000/jpg/_41122046

New research shows early humans were living in Britain around 700,000 years ago, substantially earlier than had previously been thought. Using new dating techniques, scientists found that flint tools unearthed in Pakefield, Suffolk, were 200,000 years older than the previous oldest finds.

Humans were known to have lived in southern Europe 780,000 years ago but it was unclear when they moved north. The findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

A team of researchers from the UK, Italy and Canada found a total of 32 flint tools in a fossil-rich seam at Pakefield. They say it represents the earliest unequivocal evidence of human activity in northern Europe.

Human hallmarks
One of the team, Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum's Department of Paleontology, said the discovery of evidence of early human activity in Britain was startling.

"Until recently I certainly would not have believed that there would have been humans this far back," he said. Professor Stringer told reporters at a media briefing in central London that the tools displayed all the hallmarks of human workmanship, and were not the result of natural erosion.

[IMAGE: The tools were used for scraping, cutting and sawing. Flint tools found at the Pakefield site (Harry Taylor/NHM) http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41122000/jpg/_41122052

"One of the worries is that perhaps things like this can be produced by rocks bashing together in a river bed. These are not in this context, so we are confident that these are stone tools."

The scientists said they were happy that the artifacts were 700,000 years old because there was a range of evidence that all converged on the same age. One factor was the discovery, at the same location, of teeth from a species of water vole that existed in this period. Professor Anthony Stuart, from University College London, told reporters this played a key role in dating the site.

"A modern water vole has molar teeth that grow all the time and have no roots. Its ancestor, called Mimomys savini, had rooted teeth which did not grow. Nobody in northern Europe has before found any evidence of humans in association with this older water vole."

[Click here to see how northern Europe looked 700,000 years ago

Until this find, it was thought that humans arrived in northern Europe 500,000 years ago, after archaeologists unearthed a shin bone and two incisor teeth along with a number of flint tools at Boxgrove in southern England.

The earliest evidence of human existence in southern Europe dates back 800,000 years at sites in Spain and Italy. It was thought that humans did not move to the colder north because they were unable to adapt to factors such as longer winters and shorter growing seasons.

[IMAGE: SUFFOLK 700,000 YEARS AGO Artist's impression of Suffolk 700,000 years ago (NHM). It was significantly warmer so people could move north without adaptation. Professor Chris Stringer

However, Professor Stringer said soil samples from the Pakefield site revealed that the climate 700,000 years ago was similar to the present day Mediterranean region.

"We have learned from Pakefield and its fantastic biological evidence that it was significantly warmer so people could move north without adaptation. They also had the same sort of plants and animals to exploit."

The megafauna that would have roamed Europe during this period included rhinoceroses, elephants, sabre-tooth cats and hippopotamuses.

The geography was also very different from the present day. Britain was connected to the continent by a land bridge, which would have allowed early humans to move in and out easily. The land was low with no steep hills. Very large rivers dominated the landscape and could have been used as tracks by migrating humans.

'Stone Age gold'
The Pakefield site was on the floodplains of the River Bytham, which was Britain's largest river before it was destroyed by glaciers some 450,000 years ago.

Commenting in Nature, Wil Roebroeks of the Netherlands' Leiden University, said the team's data was "Stone Age gold" but it did not provide evidence of colonization.

"The Pakefield artifacts probably do not testify to a colonization of the colder temperate environments of northern Europe, but more to a short-lived human expansion of range, in rhythm with climatic oscillations."

Professor Stringer said the discovery opened up a whole new area of research.

"The fact that we know that there were people in Britain at this early date means we can start to look for further evidence of them and perhaps one day be lucky enough to find fossil remains of these people."

[IMAGE: BBC graphic of north-west Europe 700,000 years ago (Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project) http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41125000/gif/_41125362_europe_fossils

SOURCE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4526264.stm


The new science of geomythology is being harnessed by researchers who believe folklore can save lives.

On the banks of Siletz Bay in Lincoln City, Oregon, officials dedicated a memorial last week to one of America's worst calamities: a huge earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Native Americans 300 years ago.

But the memorial's main job is not to commemorate the disaster, which has only just come to light, but to warn local people that similar devastation could strike at any time.

The area sits over massive fault lines whose dangers have been highlighted by a startling new scientific discipline that combines Earth science studies and analysis of ancient legends. This is geomythology, and it is transforming our knowledge of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, says the journal Science.

According to the discipline's proponents, violent geological upheavals may be more frequent than was previously suspected.

Apart from the 'lost' Seattle earthquake, geomythology has recently revealed that a volcano in Fiji, thought to be dormant, is active, a discovery that followed geologists' decision to follow up legends of a mountain appearing overnight.

Geologists have found that Middle Eastern flooding myths, including the story of Noah, could be traced to the sudden inundation of the Black Sea 7,600 years ago. The Oracle at Delphi has been found to lie over a geological fault through which seeped hallucinogenic gases. These could account for the trances and utterances of the oracle's mystics.

'Myths can tell us a great deal about what happened in the past and were important in establishing what happened here 300 years ago,' said Brian Atwater, of the US Geological Survey in Seattle.

Along the Oregon and Washington coast, there are Native American stories about boulders, called a'yahos, which can shake to death anyone who stares at them. In addition, Ruth Ludwin, a seismologist in Seattle, discovered tales of villages being washed away and of whales and thunderbirds locked in fights.

These stories were a key influence on Atwater, who started to study the 680-mile long Cascadia subduction zone fault along the coast. What he found provided a shock. Long stretches had suffered sudden inundation relatively recently.

The study of trees stumps in this drowned landscape indicated there had been a huge earthquake and a tsunami between 1680 and 1720. 'We didn't know whether it was one massive quake or a couple of slightly smaller ones. Nor did we know exactly when the disaster occurred,' added Atwater. Later research on tree rings put the date at between 1699 and 1700.

Then local legends helped again. Japanese colleagues studied their records and traced an orphan tsunami - a giant wave not linked to a local earthquake - that destroyed several villages on 27 January, 1700.

'That told us two things: that our earthquake must have been vast, Richter scale 9, to devastate part of Japan thousands of miles away. It also gave us a precise date for our disaster.'

Scientists now believe huge earthquakes and tsunamis devastate the Seattle area every 200 to 1,000 years. 'We may be due one soon,' added Atwater. However, until this year, the lesson of that tsunami was remembered only as a dim legend. Other such stories have been put to better use, however.

Last year's tsunami was also triggered by a strong earthquake, and around 300,000 people died. The Moken - or sea gypsies - of Thailand, however, have a tradition which warns that when tides recede far and fast, now known as a precursor of a tsunami, then a man-eating wave will soon head their way: so they should run far and fast. Last 26 December, they did - and survived.

Another example of the power of geomythology is from Patrick Nunn, of Fiji in the South Pacific. His studies of volcanoes on the Fijian island of Kadavu indicated they had not been active for tens of thousands of years.

'Then I heard legends of recent eruptions,' he told The Observer. 'I thought them unlikely. When a road was cut there in 2002, I found there had been a volcanic eruption long after it had been occupied by humans. It made me look at myths in a new light.'

Now, Nunn is working for the French government to compile tales that might pinpoint Pacific islands where scientists should look for warnings of earthquakes, volcanoes and catastrophic landslides. These include stories of deities who fish up islands from the water and others in which they are thrown back into the sea.

'If you had asked me 10 years ago if there was value in local myths I would have said "not a lot",' added Nunn. 'Since then I have had a Pauline conversion.'

Source: The Observer
Conspiracy Journal 12/9/05


The tiny hobbit-like humans of Indonesia may have lived in Australia before they became extinct about 11,000 years ago. The startling claim comes from archaeologist Mike Morwood, leader of the team that uncovered remains of the 1m-tall hominid at Liang Bua cave on Indonesia's Flores island in 2003.

They believe the pint-size person - known officially as Homo floresiensis and unofficially as the "Hobbit" - was wiped out by a volcanic eruption that spared their Homo sapiens neighbors.

Speaking at a public lecture in Perth, Professor Morwood from the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, raised the prospect that Hobbits colonized Australia before Aboriginal settlers arrived about 60,000 years go. He suggested that the Hobbits may have been pushed out by the bigger people, in part because their population was too small to compete.

"This is seriously being discussed now by the archaeological community in Australia as a result of our work in Indonesia," Professor Morwood said. He suggested that further field work at sites in Indonesia and northern Australia could provide answers.

But one of Professor Morwood's colleagues on the discovery team was surprised by the notion of Hobbits in Australia. "It's the first I've heard about it," said Bert Roberts, a dating expert with the University of Wollongong. "Call me a wet blanket, but I'm not sure where Mike thinks he's going to excavate."

Professor Roberts said conditions during the north Australian wet season meant that small, ancient remains were unlikely to have survived. He noted that no early human remains have been unearthed in northern Australia and said that even the remains of the giant prehistoric animals, the mega-fauna, were scarce.

"Realistically, there's one cave on the planet with the remains of this species. How about looking some place close to Liang Bua cave," Professor Roberts said. "Australia is a wild conjecture."

There is also the troubling question of how the Hobbits would have traveled south from their Indonesian homeland. To date, there's no hard evidence they could sail or raft. Professor Morwood's surprising suggestion follows a recent report in the journal Nature that the team has been denied exploration permits to excavate at Liang Bua cave, although other sites are approved.

"We're waiting for the dust to settle," said Professor Roberts, referring to a long-running dispute with Indonesia's senior paleoanthropologist, Teuku Jacob of Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

Professor Jacob, who temporarily snatched the Hobbit remains, claimed the creature was a deformed human and wished to work at the cave to prove his point.

SOURCE: The Nation http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17495510-421,00.html
Conspiracy Journal 12/9/05 http://uforeview.tripod.com/conspiracyjournal343.html

From Brad Steiger 12-2-5

In July 2005, a small primate skull was discovered in the desert of Tafilalet near Erfound, Morocco. It was in the sand of a marble quarry where Devonian fossils were already found. Subsequently, the skull could be around 360 million years old. Characteristic features in the only 6.1 cm high and 3.9 cm broad fossil indicate the genus Homo: a globular forehead and hind skull and an inferior position of the occipital hole under the cranium, which is typical for upright body posture. The fossil was called Homo alaouite, in homage to the Alaouite Dynasty.

SOURCE AND IMAGES: http://rense.com/general69/homo.htm

By Paul Rincon
BBC News science reporter
People left traces of their presence in the sediments of a shoreline

Human settlers made it to the Americas 30,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to new evidence. A team of scientists came to this controversial conclusion by dating human footprints preserved by volcanic ash in an abandoned quarry in Mexico. They say the first Americans may have arrived by sea, rather than by foot.

The traditional view is that the continent's early settlers arrived around 11,000 years ago, by crossing a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska.

Details of the latest findings were unveiled at the UK Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition.

Dr Silvia Gonzalez of Liverpool's John Moores University and her colleagues found the footprints in the quarry, some 130km (80 miles) south-east of Mexico City, in 2003. But they have only finished dating them this year.

The footprints were preserved as trace fossils in volcanic ash along what was the shoreline of an ancient volcanic lake. They were soon covered in more ash and lake sediments and, when water levels rose, became as solid as concrete.

Dr Gonzalez was under no illusions that the finding would be controversial: "It's going to be an archaeological bomb," she told the BBC News website, "and we're up for a fight."

The team used several methods to date a variety of material from the site near Puebla, Mexico, in order to be sure they were right about the age.

"We have materials that have been dated below the footprint layer, the footprint layer itself and on top of the footprint layer. Everything is making sense," said Dr Gonzalez.

The researchers used radiocarbon dating on shells and animal bones in the sequences and dated mammoth teeth by a technique called electron spin resonance. The sediments themselves were dated by optically stimulated luminescence.

"Some lake sediments were incorporated into the ash and were baked. They look like small fragments of brick and these were the ones we dated in the footprint layer. They gave us a result of 38,000 years," Dr Gonzalez.

Land crossing
Under the traditional view, humans trekked from Siberia to Alaska across a land bridge that linked these land masses at the end of the last ice age (between about 10,000 and 12,500 years ago).

Central to the theory, called the Clovis First model, are Clovis points - the tools these settlers used to hunt large beasts, or megafauna, such as mammoths and mastodons.

"The existence of 40,000-year-old human footprints in Mexico means that the Clovis First model of human occupation can no longer be accepted as the first evidence of human presence in the Americas," said co-investigator David Huddart, of Liverpool John Moores.

Dr Michael Faught, an expert in early American archaeology, was reserving judgment until evidence was published: "It would be significant if it were demonstrated, but usually those (early) sites don't hold up well," he told the BBC News website. But, he added: "There's more and more evidence that Alaska was not the only place people came into the continent."

Dr Gonzalez is a proponent of the Coastal Migration Theory. This proposes that people arrived on the west coast in boats, hugging the coastline from North to South. But where these settlers came from is still a mystery, she says. Some have proposed that the earliest humans to reach the continent could have come from south-east Asia or even Australia.

Genetic studies of present-day Native American populations support a recent arrival from north-east Asia, which agrees well with an entry through the Beringian land bridge at the end of the last Ice Age.

Dr Gonzalez suggests that the earliest settlers may have become extinct, leaving no genetic legacy today. She thinks these hunters may have been highly mobile, living in small groups, perhaps explaining why they left scant trace of their presence.

Dr Gonzalez and ancient DNA expert Alan Cooper, of the University of Adelaide in Australia, have managed to extract genetic material from three molars belonging to Peñon Woman III, a 13,000-year-old partial skeleton from Mexico. The analysis is still underway.

SOURCE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4650307.stm


By Catherine McAloon
Associated Press 05 July 2005

LONDON (AP) _ British scientists claimed on Tuesday to have unearthed 40,000 year-old human footprints in central Mexico, challenging previous studies that put the arrival of the first humans in the Americas at about 13,500 years ago.

Scientists Silvia Gonzalez, from Liverpool John Moores University, and Matthew Bennett, of Bournemouth University, found the footprints in an abandoned quarry close to the Cerro Toluquilla volcano in the Valsequillo Basin, near Puebla, south of Mexico City in 2003.

Gonzalez said the footprints were preserved as trace fossils in volcanic ash along what was the shoreline of an ancient volcanic lake.

"Climate variations and the eruption of the Cerro Toluquilla volcano caused lake levels to rise and fall, exposing the Xalnene volcanic ash layer,'' Gonzalez said.

She said the footprints, which were preserved when water levels rose, were now hard as concrete and had been uncovered without excavation as quarry workers had already removed two to three meters (6.5 to 9.8 feet) of lake sediment that had been deposited on top of the volcanic ash layer.

The footprints were analyzed and dated by a team of international scientists using laser technology. The findings challenge previously held ideas about the settlement of the Americas.

Scientists have long believed that the first humans came to North America after the last Ice Age ended about 13,500 years ago. According to that theory, they crossed a land bridge from Asia into what is now Alaska and spread quickly across the continent.

The theory is supported by the stone tools they left behind _ all less than 13,500 years old. Their tool technology was named "Clovis'' for the New Mexico town where it was first described.

"The existence of 40,000 year-old human footprints in Mexico means that the "Clovis First'' model of human occupation can no longer be accepted as the first evidence of human presence in the Americas,'' said David Huddart, a professor at Liverpool John Moores University, and a collaborator on the discovery.

Gonzalez said the findings supported a theory that the first colonies may have arrived by water, using the Pacific coast migration route, rather than by foot.

"We think there were several migration waves into the Americas at different times by different human groups,'' she said.

The findings are being exhibited as part of a summer exhibition at London's prestigious scientific academy, the Royal Society.

SOURCE: http://www.livescience.com/history/ap_050705_human_footprints.html


Yet another asteroid is heading our way and could hit us in 31 years—will this one spell our doom, like an earlier one did for the dinosaurs? This one is called Apophis, after the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil and destruction.

Alok Jha writes in The Guardian that the asteroid is now aiming for Earth. It’s being watched by astronomers all over the world, and if it looks like it will hit a body of land, they may try to figure out how to deflect it or break it up in space. Most asteroids that hit the Earth land in the ocean, since oceans cover most of the Earth’s area. NASA says that an impact from Apophis, which could come in 2036, would release more than 100,000 times the energy of the nuclear bomb that was detonated over Hiroshima in World War II. No matter where it does hit, we would all be affected by the nuclear winter that effect from millions of dust particles being released into the atmosphere. This is probably what killed off the dinosaurs.

Astronomers have tracked Apophis ever since it was discovered in June but it has only started worrying them now, because they say the odds of it hitting Earth in 2029 are alarming. We don't have much time to lose. It will take many years to design, test and build the technology we need to deflect the asteroid. Meteor expert Monica Grady says an impact by Apophis could cause "mass extinction…We are overdue for a big one."

SOURCE: http://www.unknowncountry.com/news/?id=5065


Alok Jha The Guardian
December 7, 2005

Scientists call for plans to change asteroid's path
Developing technology could take decades

In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.

A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outer space. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.

NASA has estimated that an impact from Apophis, which has an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, would release more than 100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima. Thousands of square kilometers would be directly affected by the blast but the whole of the Earth would see the effects of the dust released into the atmosphere.

And, scientists insist, there is actually very little time left to decide. At a recent meeting of experts in near-Earth objects (NEOs) in London, scientists said it could take decades to design, test and build the required technology to deflect the asteroid. Monica Grady, an expert in meteorites at the Open University, said: "It's a question of when, not if, a near Earth object collides with Earth. Many of the smaller objects break up when they reach the Earth's atmosphere and have no impact.

However, a NEO larger than 1km [wide] will collide with Earth every few hundred thousand years and a NEO larger than 6km, which could cause mass extinction, will collide with Earth every hundred million years. We are overdue for a big one."

Apophis had been intermittently tracked since its discovery in June last year but, in December, it started causing serious concern. Projecting the orbit of the asteroid into the future, astronomers had calculated that the odds of it hitting the Earth in 2029 were alarming. As more observations came in, the odds got higher.

Having more than 20 years warning of potential impact might seem plenty of time. But, at last week's meeting, Andrea Carusi, president of the Spaceguard Foundation, said that the time for governments to make decisions on what to do was now, to give scientists time to prepare mitigation missions. At the peak of concern, Apophis asteroid was placed at four out of 10 on the Torino scale - a measure of the threat posed by an NEO where 10 is a certain collision which could cause a global catastrophe. This was the highest of any asteroid in recorded history and it had a 1 in 37 chance of hitting the Earth. The threat of a collision in 2029 was eventually ruled out at the end of last year.

Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer from Queen's University Belfast, said: "When it does pass close to us on April 13 2029, the Earth will deflect it and change its orbit. There's a small possibility that if it passes through a particular point in space, the so-called keyhole, ... the Earth's gravity will change things so that when it comes back around again in 2036, it will collide with us." The chance of Apophis passing through the keyhole, a 600-metre patch of space, is 1 in 5,500 based on current information.

There are no shortage of ideas on how to deflect asteroids. The Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency have led the effort in designing a range of satellites and rockets to nudge asteroids on a collision course for Earth into a different orbit.

No technology has been left unconsidered, even potentially dangerous ideas such as nuclear powered spacecraft. "The advantage of nuclear propulsion is a lot of power," said Prof Fitzsimmons. "The negative thing is that ... we haven't done it yet. Whereas with solar electric propulsion, there are several spacecraft now that do use this technology so we're fairly confident it would work."

The favored method is also potentially the easiest - throwing a spacecraft at an asteroid to change its direction. ESA plans to test this idea with its Don Quixote mission, where two satellites will be sent to an asteroid. One of them, Hidalgo, will collide with the asteroid at high speed while the other, Sancho, will measure the change in the object's orbit. Decisions on the actual design of these probes will be made in the coming months, with launch expected some time in the next decade. One idea that seems to have no support from astronomers is the use of explosives.

Prof Fitzsimmons. "If you explode too close to impact, perhaps you'll get hit by several fragments rather than one, so you spread out the area of damage."

In September, scientists at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities began computer simulations to work out the feasibility of changing the directions of asteroids on a collision course for Earth. In spring next year, there will be another opportunity for radar observations of Apophis that will help astronomers work out possible future orbits of the asteroid more accurately.

If, at that stage, they cannot rule out an impact with Earth in 2036, the next chance to make better observations will not be until 2013. NASA has argued that a final decision on what to do about Apophis will have to be made at that stage.

"It may be a decision in 2013 whether or not to go ahead with a full-blown mitigation mission, but we need to start planning it before 2013," said Prof Fitzsimmons. In 2029, astronomers will know for sure if Apophis will pose a threat in 2036. If the worst-case scenarios turn out to be true and the Earth is not prepared, it will be too late. "If we wait until 2029, it would seem unlikely that you'd be able to do anything about 2036," said Mr. Yates.

SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/space/article/0,14493,1660485,00.html

Leonard David, Space.com
3 November 2005, Article Posted: December 30, 2005

BOULDER, Colorado – The potential for a newly discovered asteroid smacking into the Earth in 2036 cannot be discounted. NASA has sketched out a response strategy in the outside possibility that the space rock becomes a true threat. NASA’s action plan was the result of prodding by a group of astronauts, scientists and other technical specialists uneasy about the current lack of action to protect the Earth from the impact of near Earth objects (NEOs).

The object was found last year through the efforts of NASA’s Spaceguard Survey. In 1998 NASA formally initiated the Spaceguard Survey by adopting the objective of finding 90 percent of the near Earth asteroids larger than 3,280 feet (one kilometer) diameter within the next decade - before the end of 2008.

Asteroid 99942 Apophis – first labeled as 2004 MN4 -- is estimated to be roughly 1,000 feet (320 meters) in diameter. Were it to strike Earth, it would not set off global havoc but would generate significant local or regional damage, experts say.

Worrisome to asteroid watchers is the exceptionally close flyby of Earth by Apophis on April 13, 2029. So close in fact, the space rock will be naked-eye visible as it darts by. And what can’t be ruled out at this time is that Apophis may pass through a gravitational “keyhole” – a spot that alters the asteroid’s trajectory as it zips by our planet and might put it on the bee-line lane for banging into Earth seven years later.

Concern over asteroid Apophis and the ability to precisely chart its trajectory -- and take steps if needed to deflect the object -- were fervently voiced by the B612 Foundation, chaired by Russell Schweickart, a former Apollo astronaut.

The group requested that NASA carry out an analysis that included the possibility of placing an active radio transponder on the object. Doing so at a fairly early date would yield the requisite orbital accuracy of the asteroid as it sped through space.

In a June 6 letter to NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin, Schweickart on behalf of the B612 Foundation called for support in “resolving an issue of critical importance” - namely whether a scientific mission should be launched to asteroid Apophis in the near term.

Such a probe, if dispatched, Schweickart stated, would provide knowledge of the asteroid’s orbit in time to initiate a deflection mission in the unlikely event one should be required. The position of the B612 Foundation was that the mission should be staged, pointing out that NASA’s NEO program personnel apparently did not concur with that view. A spacecraft mission to Apophis would augment tracking of the object from the ground, the letter to Griffin explained, and also carry out a number of scientific duties too.

NASA provided a formal response to the B612 Foundation’s June communiqué via an October 12 letter from Mary Cleave, Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate. That NASA reply came with an appended detailed analysis by Steven Chesley of NASA’S NEO Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The study by Chesley dug into Apophis’ orbit, under varying conditions, and contained other items pertaining to the space agency’s findings about the Apophis matter.

“The key conclusion to be taken from this analysis,” Cleave explained in the letter, “is that aggressive (i.e., more expensive) action can reasonably be delayed until after the 2013 observing opportunity. For Apophis, the 16 years available after 2013 are sufficient to recognize and respond to any hazard that still exists after that time.”

Cleave noted in the letter that while Apophis “is an object whose motion we will continue to monitor closely in the coming years, we conclude a space mission to this object based solely on any perceived collision hazard is not warranted at this time.”

Not ruled out by Cleave, however, is the prospect of Discovery-class, low-cost missions sent to Apophis, “based on purely scientific arguments,” she said. “Indeed, the asteroid’s orbit is particularly attractive for spacecraft rendezvous, and the extraordinary close encounter in April 2029 provides a unique opportunity to investigate a number of scientific NEO issues,” Cleave explained in the letter.

While Schweickart said that the NASA response to the B612 Foundation’s concern is a step forward, there are other issues still to be resolved. One matter involves radar tracking of Apophis.

On one hand, radar plays a crucial role in being able to rationally determine the future likelihood of a NEO impact and potentially in planning for a deflection mission when required. Yet the availability of NEO radar tracking, and the budgets to support this work in the future is highly uncertain, even precarious, Schweickart and the B612 Foundation emphasize. Radar hits of Apophis at each opportunity through 2021 are important to keep watch of the object’s whereabouts.

“Tracking these asteroids once you know they exist and pinning down their orbits is really not science,” Schweickart told SPACE.com. “This is public safety. It’s disaster preparedness.”

When Apophis swings by Earth, Schweickart said the asteroid will likely change its orbit. Also, its spin characteristics may be altered. Due to Earth’s gravity tugging on the object, “asteroid quakes” could reshape Apophis, he said.

Moreover, still far from resolution is a “whose in charge” proclamation about troublemaking NEOs, Schweickart said.

“It would be great if we had NASA doing this as a regular process. Unfortunately, the mindset that’s essentially required by their budget is to think about discovery, not to think about the potential need for deflection,” Schweickart added. “Until your mindset is oriented that way, you’re going to miss things.”

Until an agency is identified that is responsible for all of this, Schweickart cautioned, everybody is “begging time and bumming bucks” from some other program. “This whole thing is sort of in a precarious position until somebody gets around to assigning agency responsibility,” he said.

Regarding the skill required to deposit a transponder on Apophis, Schweickart saluted Japan’s Hayabusa asteroid sample-return mission, now in progress. That craft is scheduled to make two landings on its target asteroid – Itokawa -- later this month. The mission is geared to haul back samples of the object to Earth.

Scientists at Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) are working day-by-day issues in readying the probe for contact with the asteroid, including release of a mini-robot onto Itokawa that will move about and survey its rocky surroundings. ISAS is a research arm of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

“It’s an impressive mission,” Schweickart said, sure to yield operational experience and lessons learned on how best to execute duties on asteroid Apophis.

The ruin stemming from asteroid Apophis colliding with Earth would potentially be very great. Indeed, the consequences, Schweickart suggested, would dwarf those seen as a result of the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, hurricanes Katrina and Rita in September of this year, and the Pakistan earthquake last month.

In regards to global preparedness in handling these unusually devastating events of late, “it’s basically out of sight…out of mind,” Schweickart said. “That’s the real challenge for society. The things that you don’t know about are one thing. But the things that you do know about, and don’t do something about…those are the ones that are really tough.”

Fully concurring with NASA’s response is Alan Harris, a senior research scientist and asteroid expert for the Space Science Institute headquartered here. Harris noted, as has been underscored by the B612 Foundation, that if Apophis is indeed on an impact trajectory, then ground-based radar observations will not be able to refine the impact probability to greater than 20 percent. “That is, we would still not know better than one-chance-in-five whether the impact would really occur or not,” he told SPACE.com.

“We really would need a transponder to improve tracking enough to firmly establish that an impact would occur,” Harris said.

What has been overlooked, or at best under-emphasized, Harris added, is a point raised in the NASA response. Ground-only tracking has a 99.8 percent chance of eliminating any chance at all of an impact. Thus, there is only one-chance-in-500 that ground-based tracking will fail to resolve the issue in favor of no impact. “For this reason I think the NASA conclusion is entirely sensible,” he said.

Harris said that there are Apophis observing opportunities every 6-8 years, with each one having about a 90 percent chance of eliminating any possible impact. At each of these “shoulder” times, he said, one can re-evaluate the “wait and see” strategy if the impact possibility does not go away.

“Certainly it seems appropriate to play the ‘wait and see’ game until after the 2013 observing opportunity,” Harris stated. None of this diminishes the opening that Apophis presents for purely scientific investigations, which could incidentally contribute to the NEO hazard issue, he said.

Harris said that he would not recommend a “deep impact” type of scientific mission, “lest we have the misfortune to deflect it into a keyhole, but other than that, Apophis is a very attractive mission target.”

Asteroid Apophis, and the discussions it has sparked are welcomed, observed David Morrison, a space scientist and asteroid specialist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, situated in Silicon Valley, California.

“I am pleased that this dialog is taking place,” Morrison said. “This is the first time that serious possibilities for dealing with a real but low-probability future impact have been discussed in a technically professional way, rather than receiving the ‘Hollywood treatment’ ”. Morrison said that he considers it remarkable that the Spaceguard Survey has reached the level of maturity where such an asteroid could not only be found, but its orbit understood well enough to deal with “keyholes” and other subtleties. “Apophis represents for me a symbol of the coming of age of Spaceguard and of asteroid impact studies in general,” he said.

The possibility of Apophis hitting Earth on April 13, 2036 is real, Morrison said, even if the probabilities now seem to be very small. “These probabilities represent uncertainties in our knowledge of the orbit, not a failure of the science.” But whether the asteroid will strike Earth or not, Morrison concluded, the challenge is to resolve which case is correct. “With more observations over a longer time span, we will be able to tie this down.”

SOURCE: http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/news_detail.cfm?ID=166

Friday, 2 December 2005

PPARC -- Telescope facilities across the world are watching the skies for rocky remnants from outer space on a collision course with planet Earth. Currently one or two of these so called 'Near Earth Objects' [NEOs] are being recorded each day but fortunately for humankind the vast majority are the size of a human fist and pose no threat.

Nevertheless, the presence of large impact craters on Earth provides dramatic evidence of past collisions, some of which have been catastrophic for the planet's species, as was the case with the dinosaurs. This week, experts from across Europe and the US met in London to consider current and future efforts to monitor NEOs in order to better predict those with Earth impacting trajectories, since it is inevitable that a catastrophic collision will happen again in the future.

Professor Monica Grady, a leading expert on meteorites from the Open University explains, "It's simply a question of when, not if, a NEO collides with the Earth. Many of the smaller objects break up when they reach Earth's atmosphere and have no impact. However, a NEO larger than 1 km will collide with Earth every few hundred thousand years and an NEO larger than 6 km, which could cause a mass extinction, will collide with Earth every hundred million years. And we are overdue for a big one!"

NEOs, remnants from the formation of the inner planets, range in size from 10 meter objects to those in excess of 1 km. It is estimated that 100 fist sized meteorites, fragments of NEOs, fall to Earth on a daily basis but larger objects impact with Earth on a much less regular basis.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from Queens University Belfast is a UK astronomer (supported by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council) involved in the study of NEOs, using telescope facilities such as the European Southern Observatory's Very Large telescope in Chile, the Isaac Newton Telescope in La Palma and the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii. He said, "By the end of the decade as new dedicated facilities, such as the Pan-STARR project in Hawaii, come on line there will be a quantum leap in the discovery of NEOs - with rates anticipated to increase to hundreds per day. This will provide us with a greater ability to determine which ones are on a potential Earth colliding trajectory."

Studies of one such asteroid (Apophis), which was discovered in June 2004, have shown that there is a low probability that this object will impact the Earth in 2036. This has raised a whole series of issues about the prospect of deflecting the asteroid before a very close approach in 2029. Government's across the world are looking at the issue and in particular at the technologies and methods required to carry out an asteroid deflection maneuver in space.

The European Space Agency's NEO Mission Advisory Panel (NEOMAP), of which Professor Fitzsimmons is a member, has selected "Don Quixote" as their preferred option for an asteroid deflecting test mission. Don Quixote would comprise two spacecraft - one of them (Hildalgo) would impact the asteroid at a very high relative speed while the second spacecraft (Sancho) would arrive earlier to monitor the effect of the impact to measure the variation of the asteroid's orbital parameters. This attempt to deflect an incoming NEO would act as a precursor mission with the primary objective of modifying the trajectory of a "non-threatening" asteroid.

Richard Tremayne-Smith, from the British National Space Centre, heads up the coordination of UK NEO activity and helps provide an international lead on NEO efforts on the issue. He said, "NEO collisions are the only known natural disaster that can be avoided by applying appropriate technology - and so it is the interest of Governments across the World to take interest in this global issue. Here in the UK we take the matter very seriously and progress is being made in taking forward the recommendations of the UK NEO Task Force Report in an international arena."

The current method of studying NEOs is achieved through a combination of 3 different methods:- the study of meteorites to understand their structure and composition; earth based astronomical observations of asteroids; and space based observations and encounters with asteroids.

Much can be understood about the nature of asteroids from the study of meteorites which are fragments of asteroids that have broken up and fallen to Earth. Professor Grady explains how the ground based study of meteorites is crucial to future plans for dealing with asteroids.

"In order to define successful strategies for deflecting asteroids that might collide with Earth, it is essential to understand the material properties such as the composition, strength and porosity of asteroids. By putting together such information with data from both ground based and space based studies we can begin to build an accurate picture of these diverse phenomena."

UK scientists are involved in a number of other missions which will also be investigating the properties of asteroids and comets. This includes NASA's Stardust mission which collected samples from Comet Wild 2 in January 2004. These samples are set to return to Earth in January 2006 and scientists from the Open University will be involved in their analysis. The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission which is currently on route to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko will pass by two asteroids, Steins and Lutetia, before reaching its target in 2014, gathering data about their properties as it flies past.

SOURCE: http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/319408/near_earth_objects__what_lies_ahead/


Everybody knows about Crop Circles. But nobody agrees on just who or what is making them, and why they exist for brief times in grain fields all over the world. Often showing intricate geometrical and sometimes occult patterns that are so complex and perfectly patterned, the designs are best seen from the air and suggest hours of labor sometimes accomplished within brief time periods while no one is looking.

That they usually occur under cover of darkness makes the mystery even more astounding. If accomplished by human hand, as many would argue, the abilities of such pranksters to create such profound art without the help of lamps and measuring devices, including a surveyor’s sextant, leaves the observers confounded.

There appears to be two primary theories as to the origin of these spectacular artworks that come and go with each growing season. Some say they are an emerging art form; a contemporary graffiti that one writer in National Geographic suggests “will be written about in future art history books as the most remarkable artistic innovation to emerge from the Twentieth Century.”

The second theory is that they are mysterious messages from extraterrestrials, created by unknown technology from alien craft passing overhead in the night sky. One thought is that because of their brief existence, the circles might be markers for time travelers, giving exact dates in which to land.

Whether they existed prior to the first stories about them in southern England in the mid-1970s is not known. The first media records of designs in grain fields showed relatively simple formations appearing overnight in the area already known as home for some of the strangest Neolithic sites in the world including Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill. In every case the crops are flattened and the stalks bent, but not broken.

The phenomenon seemed to gain momentum after the initial stories were told. Now the formations are showing up in fields in Australia, South Africa, The United States, Russia, and China. They are just about anywhere that farmers grow crops and that the field can be altered so that an image is clearly visible from the air.

And each year, the centerpiece of the circle art appears to continue to be in the fields of southern England, where more than 100 formations appear each season.

While simplistic at first, the designs have been growing in complexity until they are getting downright sensational in their appearance. Sometimes it seems sad to realize that their existence can only last but a few days until nature returns to normal or until the crop is harvested.

The UFO theories were set back in 1991 when Doug Bower and Dave Chorley claimed responsibility for the crop circles in England. Bower was found to have a group of people known as the Circlemakers, who designed their mischief before stealing off in the night to create yet a new and more intricate design.

Supporters of the human manufacturing theory suggest that many groups like that of Bower and Chorley must exist all over the world, all doing their covert work in the dead of night.

On the other side of the coin, the study of the circles by dedicated UFO-believers, has become a science in itself. The students have evolved into a thriving cottage industry of sightings, measurements, speculations and publications. The serious enthusiasts call themselves cereologists, taking the name of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.

The first deformations appeared as simple, nearly perfect circles of grain flattened in a spiral pattern. But as the years have passed, the patterns now consist of circles in groups, circles inside rings or circles with spurs and other appendages. Retired astronomer Gerald S. Hawkins has noted something interesting about the designs that could only be appreciated by dedicated mathematicians. He notes that a number of ingenious and previously unknown geometric theorems are showing up in what he calls “artwork in the crops.”

Using data from published ground surveys and aerial photographs, Hawkins measured the dimensions and calculated the ratios of the diameters and other key features in 18 different patterns that included more than one circle or ring. In 11 of the patterns, Hawkins found ratios of small whole numbers that precisely matched the ratios defining the diatonic scale. These ratios produce the eight notes of an octave in the musical scale corresponding to the white keys on a piano.

The discovery prompted Hawkins to look for and find geometric relationships among the circles, rings and lines of other distinctive patterns.

His first theorem was found in a triplet of crop circles found in 1988. He noticed he could draw three straight lines, or tangents, that touched all three circles. By drawing in the equilateral triangle formed by the circles’ centers and adding a large circle centered on this triangle, he proved the theorem that reads: “The radio of the diameter of the triangle’s circumscribed circle to the diameter of the circles at each corner is 4:3.”

Since that discovery, Hawkins claims three more geometric theorems, all involving diatonic ratios arising from the radios of areas of circles among crop-circle patterns.

Amazingly, Hawkins could find none of the theorems in the works of Euclid, the famed Greek geometer who established the basic techniques and rules for Euclidean geometry. He also failed to find the crop-circle theorems in any of the mathematics textbooks and references that he consulted.

Thus Hawkins appears to have proved that either the artists are amazingly skilled in creative geometry or that the circles he examined were the creations of beings from out of this world. In conclusion, all that this writer can say about crop circles it that they remain a true enigma of our time.

Visit the author's web site at: http://perdurabo10.tripod.com 
or e-mail him at:  
© James Donahue

SOURCE: FarShores.org; The James Donahue Column; Posted Nov 30.05
UFO CASEBOOK http://www.ufocasebook.com/121205.html

December 19, 2005

While only five known crop circle reports were received by CCCRN this past summer / fall, another "ice circle" was found on December 9, near Sudbury, Ontario, in snow-covered creek ice. Approximately 12-18 meters (40-60 feet) diameter, with a 2.5-5 centimeter (1-2 inch) deep 'V'-shaped groove in the ice defining the circle's perimeter. There is another possible groove a few inches inside of the outer groove.

Larger photos here:

The circle is in a bend of the creek, so it is possible this is a type of ice ring that has formed from a swirling eddy, as is believed to be the cause of most such formations (with more diffuse edges), yet the sharp, incised edge is more difficult to explain, and is similar to the ice circle at Delta, Ontario in 2000 in this regard.

A strong, unpleasant smell had also been reported a few weeks previously in the area.

Thanks to David Chevrier, Brian Vike, Nancy Talbott, Jeff Wilson and Andreas Muller for their assistance and input. The location is fairly remote and as of yet, CCCRN Ontario hasn't been able to go to the site yet, but other efforts are still being made.

SOURCE: Canadian Crop Circle Research Network http://www.cccrn.ca

Lifting the Lid on Operation Blackbird

A West crop circle expert has lifted the lid on a previously long-forgotten chapter in the bizarre history of the West's 1990 crop circle mystery. Colin Andrews revealed to a coast-to-coast audience in America the goings-on under the cover of a summer night 15 years ago.

Mr. Andrews, who left his West home for the U.S. a decade ago, said that far from being an embarrassing flop, the three-week vigil on the hilltops of Wiltshire was an astounding and secret success.

Listeners on US radio heard claims yesterday that the British Army watched and filmed a UFO making a ground-breaking crop circle near Silbury Hill while the world's media was camped 20 miles away. Back in 1990, it was the high point of the crop circle hysteria gripping the world.

Dozens of volunteers, a host of foreign TV cameras, the world's foremost crop circle experts and the British Army launched a round-the-clock vigil from the famous white horse above Bratton, near Westbury, in a bid to spot a crop circle being made.

And within days it appeared Operation Blackbird had been successful - night vision cameras spotted something in a field below, and, sure enough, a new crop circle could be seen as dawn broke. For a few hours, the world reported the crop circle mystery as solved - but operation leader Colin Andrews soon realized he had been hoaxed and the figures on night-vision cameras were not aliens but local mischief-makers.

According to Mr. Andrews, however, across Wiltshire a more mysterious and sinister event was happening, which has remained top secret ever since.

He said: "The public knew but half of what was going on at the time. While the media present at Operation Blackbird were looking at the right hand, they did not see what happened with the left.

"The British Army were looking at a secret site and a very important place nearby."

Strange things did happen at the Operation Blackbird HQ in Bratton - a strange hum, odd bass noises in the dead of night, and people seeing flashes of energy in the night sky.

"While, above Bratton, there was a formation appearing in front of the cameras which was supposed to convince the world of a hoax, the Army filmed a UFO at the secret site, and crop circles appeared next to the hill.

"The crop circle story will not be complete until Operation Blackbird is fully understood and why, and who, is behind the larger plan" added Mr. Andrews.

Why he has chosen now to reveal more information now might have something to do with him winding down his research into the crop circle phenomenon. He recently put his entire collection of photos, videos, books, sketches and reports up for sale on eBay.

SOURCE: Conspiracy Journal #346
Western Daily Press

Also see earlier reference,
Did the infamous ‘Operation Blackbird’ surveillance exercise at Bratton Castle in 1990, supposedly duped by hoaxers, actually video the creation of a real crop formation? Rumor has long said so – now GEOFF STRAY has discovered a claimed eye-witness to the events of that night and reveals new information which suggests that the whole story has not been told...

SOURCE: Swirled News http://www.swirlednews.com/article.asp?artID=60

Wed Dec 21, 1:15 AM ET

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - More than 100 pilot whales stranded on a beach at the top of New Zealand's South Island were refloated by volunteers on Wednesday and conservation officials in boats herded the mammals out to sea.

Hundreds of volunteers, including tourists, refloated the beached whales just before high tide at around 2 p.m. (2000 EST), about 24 hours after they were stranded. A handful of the whales tried to swim back and ground themselves again about three hours later, but rescuers formed a human chain to force them back into open water.

"This was certainly a lot easier than this morning's (rescue) because they hadn't completely grounded, although some of them had to be lifted across the mud," rescuer Craig Potton told Radio New Zealand. "You grab it by the nose, just like elephants in Nepal, you manhandle them and push them. You just push like hell to make it go out, in the final analysis -- you don't muck around," he said.

In previous strandings, whales have broken away from a rescued group and led the others back to the beach.

About 15 of the estimated 115 long-finned pilot whales died on Puponga Beach, about 93 miles northwest of the city of Nelson, before volunteers were able to refloat them.

The whales initially beached themselves over a wide area on Tuesday but grouped together overnight as the sea came in. They were washed with water to keep them cool and prevent their skin from drying out before they were refloated.

New Zealand, which has 41 whale species in its waters, has a high rate of strandings because of its long coastline and sometimes shallow waters, said Anton van Helden, collections manager of marine mammals at the New Zealand museum Te Papa.

In January 2003, 159 pilot whales were stranded on New Zealand's southern Stewart Island. The largest stranding on record was of 1,000 pilot whales in 1918 on the Chatham Islands, 500 miles east of the mainland.

Conservation ranger Simon Walls said it was not known how the latest pod had become stranded, but it had happened in the area before.

"The shallow shelving beach, the spit and the configuration of headlands seems to cause navigation problems for them. These conditions seem to trigger strandings," Walls told the Nelson Mail newspaper.

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051221/sc_nm/environment_newzealand


Dozens of eyewitness accounts and a few intriguing photographs suggest that this flying monster, thought to have died with the dinosaurs, might still exist.

They were the largest creatures to ever attain flight. With wingspans reaching nearly 40 feet, pterosaurs ruled the prehistoric skies for over 100 million years, until they died out with the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

Or did they?
There have been many modern-day sightings of creatures that by eyewitness description sound like pterosaurs. There are also intriguing rock carvings and even photographs that suggest that this species of amazing flying monsters could have survived extinction, could have soared through the skies of the southwestern United States until very recently, and might still exist in small numbers in remote parts of the world.

Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, but a family of large flying reptiles ("pterosaur" means "winged lizard") that includes the pterodactyl and pteranodon. The pterosaur stood on two rather spindly legs and had wings composed of a leathery membrane that stretched from the animal's extremely long fourth finger to its body. Despite their appearance, they were not related to birds (as dinosaurs are theorized to be), and were highly successful flyers that might have dined on fish and insects.

Modern Sightings
Although there seems to be no hard evidence that pterosaurs did not die out millions of years ago - no pterosaurs have ever been captured and no bodies have ever been found - sightings have persisted. Stories of flying reptiles have been recorded for many hundreds of years. Some think that tales of the "mythical" dragons in the lore of many cultures around the would could be attributed to the sighting of pterosaurs. Here are some more modern accounts:

May, 1961, New York State - A businessman flying his private plane over the Hudson River Valley claimed that he was "buzzed" by a large flying creature that he said "looked more like a pterodactyl out of the prehistoric ages."

Early 1960s, California - A couple driving through Trinity National Forest reported seeing the silhouette of a giant "bird" that they estimated to have a wingspan of 14 feet. They later described it as resembling a pterodactyl.

January, 1976, Harlingen, Texas - Jackie Davis (14) and Tracey Lawson (11) reported seeing a "bird" on the ground that stood five feet tall, was dark in color with a bald head and a face like a gorilla's with a sharp, six-inch-long beak. A subsequent investigation by their parents uncovered tracks that had three toes and were eight inches across.

February, 1976, San Antonio, Texas - Three elementary school teachers saw what they described as a pterodactyl swooping low over their cars as they drove. They said its wingspan was between 15 and 20 feet. One of the teachers commented that it glided through the air on huge, bony wings - like a bat's.

September, 1982, Los Fresnos, Texas - An ambulance driver named James Thompson was stopped while driving on Highway 100 by his sighting of a "large birdlike object" flying low over the area. He described it as black or grayish with a rough texture, but no feathers. It had a five to six-foot wingspan, a hump on the back of its head, and almost no neck at all. After consulting some books to identify the creature, he decided it most looked like a pterosaur.

Africa's Kongamato
While other reports of pterosaur-like creatures have come out of Arizona, Mexico and Crete, it is out of central Africa that some of the most interesting anecdotes have come. While traveling though Zambia in 1923, Frank H. Melland collected reports from natives of an aggressive flying reptile they called kongamoto, which means "overwhelmer of boats." The natives, who were occasionally tormented by these creatures, described them as being featherless with smooth skin, having a beak full of teeth and a wingspan of between four and seven feet. When shown illustrations of pterosaurs, Melland reported, "every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked out and identified it as a kongamato."

In 1925, a native man was allegedly attacked by a creature that he identified as a pterosaur. This occurred near a swamp in Rhodesia (now Zambia) where the man suffered a large wound in his chest that he said was caused by the monster's long beak.

In the late 1980s, noted cryptozoologist Roy Mackal led an expedition into Namibia from which he had heard reports of a prehistoric-looking creature with a wingspan of up to 30 feet.

Out of Stone
If pterosaurs really died out with the dinosaurs and their fossil remains were not first discovered until 1784 (in Germany), then a depiction of one could not possibly exist in an ancient rock carving. Yet a pictograph found high on a cliff face near Thompson, Utah seems to show just that. While many experts believe the drawing is of a bird, the beak, head prominence, wings and legs also look very much like those of a pterosaur.

Another fascinating tale of a pterosaur literally coming out of stone dates back to 1856 in France. Workmen were digging through Jurassic-era limestone for a railway tunnel between the St.-Dizier and Nancy lines. When a large bolder of limestone was split open, the workers were astonished to see a large winged creature come stumbling out. They said it fluttered its wings, let out a croaking noise and then dropped dead at their feet. The creature had thick black, leathery skin, a beak full of sharp teeth, long talons for feet, and membrane-like wings that spanned 10 feet, 7 inches, by their measure.

The body of the creature was taken to the nearby town of Gray, according to the story, where it was identified as a pterodactyl by a student of paleontology. As reported in the Illustrated London News of February 9, 1856, the rock in which the creature had apparently been entombed for millions of years, contained a precise mold of its body.

The April 25, 1890 edition of the Tombstone Epitaph ran a story of two Arizona ranchers who claimed to have chased on horseback a flying monster "resembling a huge alligator with an extremely elongated tail and an immense pair of wings." True to the spirit of the West, they shot the creature. Taking measurements, they reported that the monster was 92 feet long with a 160-foot wingspan and a mouth full of sharp teeth. The story is not taken seriously by many researchers today, but it corresponds loosely with a story about a thunderbird that was allegedly shot in the same area in 1886 and dragged into town to be photographed. Several paranormal researchers claim to recall seeing that photo, but don't know where, and the photo has not been seen since. Then in the late 1990s, the photo at top left surfaced on the Internet, any many wondered if it was related to the long-lost photo in any way. As it turns out, however, the photo is a hoax, created by Haxan Productions for their "Freaky Links" television show.

The photo at center left might also be a hoax. It was sent to Art Bell, the late night radio talk show host, by someone named Ernest Todd. Details about the origin or context of the photo were not provided. The photo appears to be taken from a newspaper, but digital manipulations would make such a forgery quite easy.

Finally, the bottom left photo was e-mailed to me by a person calling himself George. It resembles the top photo somewhat and has the added effect of torn edges to give the photo an old, used look. It, too, may very well be a hoax, perhaps also from Hexan. George did not provide any details about the photo, where he found it, or where or when it might have been taken, despite repeated attempts by me to get the information.

Again, it's relatively simple in today's digital world to create quite convincing fake photographs, and such images should be considered with a high degree of skepticism.

But what of all the eyewitness accounts of pterosaurs? Are they merely misidentified birds and bats? Or is it just possible that this ancient species survived into the 20th century, and perhaps still exists? An even more bizarre theory is that these sightings are artifacts of a slip in time - either a look into the distant past, or that some of these flying monsters have passed through some time portal to present day.

Whatever the answer, these pterosaur sightings present a fascinating glimpse into the unexplained.

SOURCE: Paranormal.about.com
Conspiracy Journal #342

Mysterious and enigmatic human skeletons, skulls, mummies and other remains
From 9-ft. giants to tiny mummies, these human remains are puzzling

In 2004, scientists were stunned by the discovery of skeletons of what are thought to be an ancient race of people that stood about 3½ feet tall – about the height of a modern three-year-old. Found on the remote island of Indonesia, these pygmies were named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed “hobbits” because of their small size (their heads were no bigger than a grapefruit). The scientists believe this diminutive race died out about 13,000 years ago, although modern natives reported knowledge of a tiny race of people currently or recently living in isolated areas of the jungle.

These are not the first or only strange skeletons unearthed around the world – including the U.S. Whether you believe humans are the descendents of Adam and Eve, the result of millions of years of evolution or the genetic creations of the Annunaki, there are many puzzling specimens of skeletons, skulls and other human (or human-like) remains that can truly make one wonder about mankind's past.

Here's a bare-bones look at some of the more intriguing cases:

Horny Devils
Within an ancient burial mound near the town of Sayre in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, skeletons measuring approximately 7 feet in length were discovered in the 1800s. But the most remarkable feature of these tall skeletons was not their height, but the strange horn-like protrusions above the brow region on their skulls. It was estimated that they were buried around 1200 AD. According to some sources, the skeletons were sent to the American Investigating Museum in Philadelphia, and vanished.

More below:

All the Better to Eat You With, My Dear
In 1888, seven skeletons, which had been placed in a sitting position, were uncovered from a burial mound near Clearwater, Minnesota. The highly unusual skulls of these beings had double rows of teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. It was also noted that the foreheads were low and sloping, compared to "normal" human skulls, and had distinctly prominent brows.

Copper Man
The December 17, 1891 issue of the respected journal Nature reported the discovery of a giant man buried 14 feet within the center of one of Ohio’s mysterious burial mounds. The enormous man’s arms, jaw, arms, chest and stomach were all clad in copper. Wooden antlers, also covered with copper, rested on either side of his head. His mouth was filled with large pearls, and a pearl-studded necklace of bear teeth hung around his neck. Who this man was, or to which race of people he belonged, is unknown.

The Mica Giant
In 1879, a burial mound in Brewersville, Indiana yielded another giant skeleton, according to the November, 1975 edition of The Indianapolis News. This one reached 9 feet 8 inches tall! It wore a necklace of mica stone, and a crude human effigy of clay was found standing at his feet. The giant skeleton was examined by scientists from Indiana and New York, and it remained in the possession of Mr. Robinson, who owned the land on which the mound stood. Unfortunately, the curious bones were washed away in a flood in 1937.

Researcher Robert Connolly photographed this strange elongated skull in 1995. It was found in South America and is estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. Apart from its obvious abnormalities, it also exhibits characteristics of both Neanderthal and human skulls