Friday, August 31, 2007

Smack Addict Elephant Goes Bezerk During Cold Turkey

Good Christ. Can you even begin to imagine what sort of horrors a heroin-addicted elephant could unleash when it's forced to go through cold turkey withdrawals?

Incredible :
A once drug-addled elephant fed heroin-laced bananas by illegal traders will soon return to the wild after being weaned off his addiction through methadone and round-the-clock care.

"Big Brother", a bull elephant that once "lived peacefully" with his herd near the China-Myanmar border in Yunnan province, was caught by traders in 2005, the China Daily said on Thursday.

"To control it so that it could lead the herd to where they wanted, the traders kept feeding it bananas laced with drugs," the paper said.

...Big Brother had developed a raging heroin addiction and posed a danger to people if denied its fix, the paper said, citing police.

A drooling and twitching Big Brother had to be transported to a special park in the neighbouring island province of Hainan for treatment, after cold turkey proved so tortuous at a local centre that "even its iron chain could not contain it", the paper said.

It took a year to slowly wean the elephant off its favourite drug. That process apparently involved lots of bathing, massage and methadone. The elephant is now being returned to the wild. Wiser for a less than wonderful encounter with humanity.

Good thing they sorted out this junkie when they did, before he started trying to climb through windows to steal DVD players.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Planet Friendly Hard Time

Norway has opened the world's first prison based around 'rehabilitating' inmates to live an ecologically friendly life, behind bars and also when they're set free.

Hopefully the new eco-friendly lifestyle will mean reformed killers will also stop killing humans, along with the planet :

The Bastoey Island low security prison uses solar panels for energy, produces most of its own food, recycles everything it can and tries to reduce its carbon footprint.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the most important idea behind the "ecologically driven prison" is to develop a sense of responsibility in inmates and prepare them for life outside its non-existent walls.

The prison gained international media attention a few years ago for its living conditions, resembling a summer camp with activities like tennis, horse riding, and even swimming in the summer, when the North Sea waters warm up.

Assistant prison manager Per Eirik Lund said running costs were lower at Bastoey than at more traditional prisons.

Lund said Bastoey tapped grants from environmental bodies to help it produce high-quality food. "Most of the food is used in the kitchen here, but we also sell to other prisons or elsewhere," he said.

Surrounded by beaches and green fields, the prison grounds extend into a nature reserve and are popular with the inmates.

"We are given full freedom within a limited area," Erik, an inmate and hobby carpenter who helped install solar panels, told Reuters. The solar panels cut the prison's electricity needs by up to 70 percent, he said.

Bastoey prison says on its website that its philosophy comes from an old Indian saying: "We don't own nature. We borrow and manage it in our lives, thinking about our descendants."

Whatever works.

100 years, 170,000 cigarettes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Mutant Mouse Factory

The Jackson Laboratory, in Maine, USA, has been breeding mice for genetic research for almost 75 years.

Mutant mice. Mice with tweaked genes, or severely inbred, so they have the tendency to develop cancer, or diabetes, or hypertension, Alzheimers, osteoporosis. The list is long, and sometimes horrifying. Today, this weird but fascinating story explains, the lab offers researchers some 3000 strains of 'altered' mice.

The history of humankind's discovery of its own building blocks, its DNA, would have been impossible without these mice. But the future of this kind of research, the future of these sometimes miracle mice, holds the key to the evolution of humanity, where the humans, not nature, are responsible for the dramatic changes in the historical span of our own species.

And it also means the development of a 'new' and supposedly 'better' mouse. In fact, an entire new species of the fabulous little rodent :

In most cases, these traits (and hundreds more) arose through chance mutations in single animals. They caught the eye of a scientist, who in turn "captured" the trait by mating the animal with its siblings, and then those offspring with one another. After 25 generations, such animals are all identical and -- if things go as planned -- all carry the gene or genes responsible for the trait of interest.

The usefulness of these animals is hard to overstate. They help biologists understand basic physiology. They help identify genetic defects that lead to disease. The benefits or risks of experimental drugs are often easier to detect when tried on animals that are the same.

Mice became workhorses of medical research in the decades after World War I. They were cheap and easy to raise, prolific, reached maturity quickly and were all around more practical than larger animals such as dogs.

At the time, the mouse's genetic malleability was well known and the source of popular entertainment.

Clubs of "mouse fanciers" in the early years of the 20th century bred animals to have exotic coat colors and strange behaviors. (A type of "waltzing mice" from that period turned out to have an inner ear defect.) This briefly fueled even a fashion fad. Full-length mouse coats, made of 400 skins, sold for about $350 in the 1930s.

Through much of the 20th century, scientists collected mice from around the world (including places as remote as the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic) for breeding stock. The idea was to ensure genetic diversity in the mix of animals used to create inbred strains.

How successful this effort was -- or was not -- became clear only this summer.

A paper published in July in the journal Nature Genetics analyzed the DNA sequences of 15 strains of mice. Eleven were "classical" inbred strains used in laboratories for years. Four were strains derived from animals caught in the wild more recently, including one from the sewers of Prague.

To the researchers' surprise, the older strains had much less genetic diversity than anyone assumed.

About 92 percent of all those strains' genomes derive from the Mus musculus domesticus subspecies native to Western Europe. There was relatively little contribution from subspecies of Central Asia or Southeast Asia, or from a hybrid of the two found in Japan.

This told mouse geneticists there were many more variations of DNA in the mouse universe that could potentially go into making new strains of the animals.

"Only one-quarter of the total diversity in the 15 strains is present in the classical laboratory strains," said Churchill, a biostatistician at the Jackson Lab.

This diversity takes the form of single-letter variations that individuals or inbred strains have by chance in their DNA chains. The chains, comprising an ordered sequence of four chemical letters (called nucleotides and designated A, T, C and G) otherwise differ very little from one strain to the next.

Most of the single-letter variations are in stretches of the 3-billion-letter chain where there is no decipherable message. (Most of the mouse's genome -- and people's, too -- is this non-coding DNA, whose function is just starting to be discovered). But a few are in message-carrying stretches: the genes. There, a substitution of one letter -- say, an A where a C normally is -- can affect an animal's appearance, behavior or functioning.

Regardless of where they occur, these variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, are extremely important in genetic research.

They function as mile markers on the nearly endless DNA highway, although sprinkled along the road with less regularity. They allow scientists to know where they're working when they create, through selective breeding or genetic engineering, strains of mice with particular characteristics.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Former US Military Major Claims 'Elites' Are Hiding ET Truth

As I've said before regarding the existence of aliens, and the possibility of visitations to our planet, the words of Carl Sagan always apply : "Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence."

But this is very interesting, and makes for a fascinating read :

Command Sergeant Major Robert Dean worked at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters from 1963-1967, and during this time was stationed in the Operations Center with a Cosmic Top Secret clearance.

"He claims to have viewed a secret NATO study that was commissioned to analyze the threat posed by UFOs to NATO operations in Eastern Europe", reports Dr. Michael Salla, who is a scholarly researcher on Extraterrestrial life and Earthbound human political implications, in the article entitled "Extraterrestrials among Us", Exopolitics Journal, Vol 1:4 (October 2006): 284-300.

The classified report was titled: “An Assessment: An Evaluation of a Possible Military threat to Allied Forces in Europe.” It focused on the dangers of UFOs being mistakenly identified as an incoming ballistic missile attack from the Soviet Union. Dean claimed that the NATO study identified four different extraterrestrial civilizations visiting the Earth.

Dr. Salla elaborates that former U.S. Military commander Dean said that "what really worried the NATO top brass was that some of the visitors looked so much like us that they were virtually indistinguishable. Dean says that NATO generals were paranoid over the possibility that some of the extraterrestrial visitors could be walking in the corridors of NATO or the Pentagon, or even the White House itself."

Dr. Michael Salla further reports in an interview documented by Bob Hieronimus, “Transcript of Interview with Bob Dean, March 24, 1996 that Major Dean said:

"There was a human group that looked so much like us that that really drove the admirals and the generals crazy because they determined that these people, and they had seen them repeatedly, they had had contact with them…. These people looked so much like us they could sit next to you on a plane or in a restaurant and you'd never know the difference. And being military and being primarily paranoid, that bothered the generals and the admirals a little bit. That the fact that these intelligent entities could be involved with us, walking up and down the corridors of SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe], walking down the corridors of the Pentagon. My God, it even dawned on a couple of them that these guys could even be in the White House! Of course, as I said, being paranoid in those years it really shook things up a little bit."

"Dean’s testimony is a vital key in unlocking the truth of extraterrestrials living among the human population. His testimony conclusively demonstrates that official military and government agencies are aware of this possibility, and in fact would undoubtedly have been developing strategies for such a contingency", says Dr. Salla.

"While NATO viewed extraterrestrials living among us in the context of a classified Study assessing UFOs as a potential security threat, based on contactee testimonies, it appears that the extraterrestrial visitors are blending in to learn about the human population," elaborates Dr. Salla.

Dean also reported that government insiders feel that we are dealing with hundreds of ET civilizations, some intergalactic, some interdimensional. He noted that over 10 years ago, NASA set up a scientific committee, which came to the conclusion that there are an estimated 10 billion planets with intelligent life.

"Sgt.-Major Dean has assembled 20 astronauts, former intelligence officers, servicemen who participated in crashed UFO retrieval operations, generals, admirals, and even cosmonauts, who are willing to testify to a Congressional Committee about what they know about UFOs, provided that they are released from their National Security oaths. The videotaped depositions of sworn key witnesses have been taken by a prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm, and stored in its safe, awaiting public hearings," documents Dr. Richard J. Boylan in "UFO Reality is Breaking Through".

Former U.S. Military Commander Dean had began working with CSETI's [Committee for the Study of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence], Dr. Steven Greer, in concert with former astronaut Gordon Cooper, other astronauts, another high-ranking military officer, and a General, to plan the release of UFO information to which they are privy.

"Dr. Greer and Sgt. Major Dean are part of a Coalition of Starlight and Stargate Projects, which have been putting together the best evidence of UFO/ET reality. The evidence includes not only military and intelligence officers who participated in UFO crash retrievals and autopsies on ET corpses, but also fighter pilots, generals, astronauts and cosmonauts who have witnessed UFOs close-up, as well as UFO and ET tissue samples," further documents Dr. Boylan.

"The Coalition's plan is to take their Briefing Document and evidence to world leaders, the U.N., scientific academies, and religious leaders for a pre-briefing. Then the Coalition will make a Public Disclosure before mid-1997. Dr. Greer reports that the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, and the United Nations are being enlisted to assist, and no one has said that this cannot come out."

On August 17, 1995, Sgt.-Major Robert Dean had announced the beginning of a citizen campaign to compel Congress to grant Congressional immunity to astronauts and military and intelligence witnesses, who are ready to testify at Congressional UFO Hearings. "Washington Post journalist Ruth Montgomery related how she had received multiple reports about UFO reality from various military officers with whom she had spoken", further documents Dr. Boylan.

Read The Rest Of The Story Here

Friday, August 24, 2007

Russians Shooting It Out With Aliens...Or Not

We enjoy a good UFO-alien yarn, and this is one of the more creative. Particularly like the extensive use of code words and the glossary of terms in the 'official' report to give it the appearance of some kind of credibility.

You don't have to believe it, to have some fun reading it :

A UFO and alien occupants were shot at by Russian special military forces in a confrontation northwest of Ceremchova ICBM site 62 (Saskylach-Kovo)on the 12th January 1985, according to a remarkable report leaked from one of the USG 'Deep Insiders' known as 'Request Anonymous'.

This ground-breaking disclosure - codeworde: 'SEVEN PRINCE - SUMMARY OF INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES / REPORT OF CONTACT - STATION: RA-49 - SOURCE: CAC-049-0031' - was put into the public domain on 21st August 2007, apparently as part of an ongoing multi-billion dollar operation initiating full public (until now exempt from) disclosure of Extraterrestrial contact during the last 50+ years.

Recently, we had the disclosures coming from ex-Area 51 Special Ops staff who were involved in the shooting of an Alien 'guest' at Area 51 - which culminated in the death of one security gate guard. The incident has become known as the 'Gate 3 Incident'.

These seemingly incredible disclosures fit into the pattern of 'nods' and 'whispers' taking place from the elder statesmen of the intelligence community. This group has become known by those researching these disclosures as the 'DIA 6'. It has been suggested that an 'Official' sanctioned disclosure is being heralded by this vanguard of 'old timers' (DIA 6) - who are perhaps being cut some 'slack' from the 'Handlers' in order to allow these ex-soldiers and 'spooks' a Requiem of sorts - an acknowledgement that such Dark Secrets do not go the grave and in recognition of their brave services in a unique period of human history.

From the alleged investigation report :

Soviet military personnel challenged the occupants to stop. Three (3) of the four (4) occupants stopped. The fourth occupant continued to advance towards the fence. One Soviet Military Security official fired several rounds from an AK-47a rifle, hitting the occupant. The occupant fell to the ground.

The three (3) other occupants advanced towards the injured occupant and retrieved the body. The four (4) returned to the craft. Approximately 2 minutes later, an opening appeared on the side of the craft.

A BLUISH-GREEN BEAM OF LIGHT came out of the craft and struck an unoccupied jeep, COMPLETELY VAPORIZING IT. As the author of the report being read by CAC stated, the JEEP JUST DISAPPEARED.

An armored vehicle moved up towards the craft and fired a volley of 12.7mm rounds at the craft. The craft was struck near the undercarriage.

Damn aliens with their jeep-vaporizing light beams.

Read The Claimed Report On The Alien Vs Russians Shootout Here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Breathtaking. A recent view of the Earth and the International Space Station as seen from the space shuttle Endeavour

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

900 Went Into The Ocean, Only 316 Survived

The Worst Shark Attack In History

If you've seen the movie 'Jaws' then you're probably familiar with the story of what happened to the crew of the USS Indianapolis, when it sank beneath the waves of the Pacific in the closing days of World War 2.

But you've probably never heard what happened to all those men, lost in the ocean for four days and five nights, fighting to survive in unimaginable conditions, in such graphic detail as this story provides.

The first sharks were attracted by the noise and activity of the sinking warship. The next wave of sharks were drawn in by the blood, urine and vomit from the men being torn apart.

Is there some kind of terrible irony to be found in the fact that USS Indianapolis had just finished transporting pieces of Little Boy, the atom bomb that would soon be dropped on Hiroshima, killing more than 100,000 civilians, when the flag ship of the US Fifth Fleet was hit by Japanese torpedoes?

The story of what happened in the waters of the Pacific is absolutely horrifying :
There were fins all around, the killer sharks just circling, waiting, assessing their prey in their usual silent, sinister way.

For the men strung out in the oil-streaked water, clinging to the sides of flimsy rafts or floating in sodden life-jackets, the sight was terrifying and the underwater brush of leathery skin against a submerged leg, or the nudge of a snout, was gut-wrenching.

"There were hundreds of them," recalled survivor Woody James. "You'd hear somebody scream, and you'd know the sharks had got him."

Seaman First Class Loel Cox lost one of his friends in a flurry of bloody mayhem just a few feet away: "I was that close, the shark's tail struck me."

"They were upon us every three or four hours," said another survivor, counting himself lucky to be alive.

Bugler First Class Donald Mack would never forget those screams and the realisation "that there was one less man to be rescued".

James and the others - though they didn't know it - were in the middle of what has gone down as the largest recorded encounter ever between men and sharks. Only 316 men came out of the water alive. More than 500 perished.

James was with about 150 other men bobbing about in the swell, lifejackets tied together. Groups of differing sizes - one as big as 300, others just a handful clinging to each other - dotted vast acres of ocean.

Ensign Twible knew the men he was leading had to stick together to have any chance at all. "We had four rafts and I ordered the men swimming to tie themselves to them. But some cut themselves loose and drifted away, and when the sharks first arrived at daybreak on the second day, these were the ones they took first.

"I set up a shark watch. As soon as anyone saw one they were to shout out and then we would all kick and scream, make a commotion and try and chase them off."

As no rescue ships appeared and hopes of survival began to fade, many went mad, overwhelmed by thirst and the sheer helplessness of their predicament. In desperation they drank the salt water around them and died in agony within hours.

There were mass hallucinations. Men shouted out that they could see the Indianapolis beneath the waves, intact and inviting.

It took great strength to remain sane and alive through the freezing nights and the scorching days. "At night, the water was so cold, we prayed for the sun, and in the day the sun so hot we prayed for darkness," said another of the men, Loel Cox.

The doctor, Lewis Haynes, was, as he said himself, by now little more than a coroner, struggling from one unconscious body to another. "I'd just paddle over and look into his eyes and if his pupil was dilated and he didn't blink I'd declare him dead. Then we would take off his life-jacket because we needed every damned one we could get our hands on."

But by now, even the life-jackets were giving up. Their buoyancy limit was 48 hours and that had long since gone. They were waterlogged, and dragged many a wearer beneath the surface.

One survivor recalled being woken by the pain of teeth crunching his hand. He fought back - the men were discovering that if you poked a shark firmly in the eye it would retreat, unused to retaliation.

He dragged his mangled hand back, but then faced a different sort of savagery: his raft-mates saw the blood and tried to push him away, afraid he might provoke another attack.


More than 60 years on, the whole episode remains a serious blot on the record of the U.S. Navy. In popular terms, too, it is also a blot on the reputation of sharks.

But, as shark experts explain, they were only doing what millennia of evolution have honed them to do - to attack and eat voraciously whatever helpless creatures they find in the water.

Survivor Michael Kuryla agreed. "They came around and did their thing. We were in their territory, and that's where a shark belongs, not us.

The whole story is remarkable and worth a full read.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

British Crop Circles Increase In Complexity, And Beauty

Frankly, I no longer care whether it's aliens, time travelers, mini-cyclones, hoaxers or anonymous public artists who are responsible for the crop circles that appear with increasingly regularity in grain fields in the Britain.

It's time to stop arguing about who or what makes crop circles and time to start appreciating the magnificent beauty of their art.

There's a whole heap of crop circle images to be found here. It's up to you whether or not you want to believe the explanations offered.

But I do wonder why, if crop circles are created by hoaxers trying to trick gullible alien visitor believers, why they don't post videos of their creations as they are being made on YouTube. Yes, there are some 'Here's how it's done' videos of crop circle creation on YouTube, but only for the most basic designs.

If you had the talent to pull off the creation of a design like the one above, wouldn't you want to claim credit for it? Even if under a fake name or avatar?

Crop Circle Connector

Friday, August 17, 2007

Weird, Wacky Laws

Pass Me Your Helmet Mr Policeman, I'm Pregnant And I Need To Pee

It's a toss up whether the United States of the United Kingdom has the most bizarre, and centuries old, array of weird and wacky laws still on the books.

Then again, France has some pretty strange laws as well. For instance, did you know that in France it is illegal to name your pet pig 'Napoleon'?

Here's some of our favourites :
In the UK, it's still an act of treason to adhere a stamp bearing the monarch's head to an envelope upside down.

In Ohio, you can't get a fish drunk without breaking the law.

In the City of London, you can't transport corpses or rabid dogs in a cab.

If you're pregnant and you happen to in the UK when the urge to pee becomes overwhelming, and there's not a toilet to be seen, you are legally allowed to relieve yourself anywhere you please. Even, if one happens to be around, inside a policeman's hat.

You can still be decapitated for masturbating in Indonesia. Better make it a good one.

In the United Kingdom, resident males over 14 are required by law to practice their longbow shooting two hours every day.

Unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be arrested, in Florida.

If you're inside the old city walls of York, in the UK, and you don't like the look of a Scotsman, and he happens to be carrying a bow and arrow, feel free to murder him. It's perfectly legal.

Plenty more weird, wacky laws here.
German Scientists : "We Have Broken The Speed Of Light"

Albert Einstein : "Bullshit"

German physicists are claiming they have broken the speed of light :

A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time.

According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, it would require an infinite amount of energy to propel an object at more than 186,000 miles per second.

However, Dr Gunter Nimtz and Dr Alfons Stahlhofen, of the University of Koblenz, say they may have breached a key tenet of that theory.

The pair say they have conducted an experiment in which microwave photons - energetic packets of light - travelled "instantaneously" between a pair of prisms that had been moved up to 3ft apart.

The scientists were investigating a phenomenon called quantum tunnelling, which allows sub-atomic particles to break apparently unbreakable laws.

We eagerly await more news on this historic event, if it hasn't already torn apart our space-time continuum.

Does this supposed shattering of the laws of physics have anything to do with the devastation on world stock markets?

Some elements of quantum physics propose that breaking the speed of light is the first key step in making time travel for humans into a reality.

Theoretically, the moment the ability to travel in time becomes a reality, our time line should receive its first visitors from the future. Or one possible future. The moment time travel becomes a reality supposedly becomes the first moment in time that future time travelers would be able to return back to.

Well, that's one theory.

Whatever. As long as someone invents a way to allow us to arrive home from work before we leave, most of us will be happy.

Maybe John Titor was telling the truth after all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Eight Million Year Old Forest

A remarkably well preserved forest, some eight million years old, has been discovered in an open cut mining pit in Hungary.

As this story explains, the eight million year old forest is incredibly rare, as many of the most ancient trees ever discovered have not become petrified over thousands of millennia, or turned into coal :
"The discovery is exceptional as the trees kept their wooden structure..." Tamas Pusztai, the deputy director and head of the archaeological department at the local Otto Herman museum, who oversaw the excavation, said.

Archaeologists announced the find last week after uncovering the mysterious forest of taxodiums, a kind of swamp cypress, after a few days of digging.

Miners working in a brown coal mine had first uncovered several tree trunks that had been turned into coal, a common occurrence in this kind of environment.

"But further down, we found 16 trees that had remained where they had grown some 8 million years ago and that are very well preserved," Pusztai said.

"The trunks were preserved in their original form and material," said Miklos Kazmer, the director of the paleontology department at the Loran Eotvos Natural Science University in Budapest. During the Miocene period, which began over 10 million years ago, the region was covered by a giant lake with muddy and marshy shores, Lake Pannon, he added.

"The exceptional state of preservation of the trees is due to a sudden sandstorm which covered the forest [with sand] up to a height of six meters," Kazmer said.

"All that was above perished but "the part that was buried under the sand remained beautifully intact," he added.

As a result, strict security measures have been put in place: access to the mine has been limited to journalists and archaeologists, and forbidden to locals from nearby villages, intrigued by images shown on Hungarian television of the "lunar landscape" in their backyard.

Veres said the taxodiums were drying up before his eyes as the trunks "have lost their cellulose, which worked as a glue for the trees' cell membranes."

Since the trunks are made of organic material, it is possible to conduct dendrochronology tests, which study tree rings to determine climatic changes during a tree's life, a visibly enthusiastic Veres said.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

World's Tallest Man - 8 Ft, 5 Inches

Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk stands a neck-cranking 8ft 5inches tall.

At 13, he was one of the smallest students at his school. But during surgery on a brain tumour, his pituary gland was "activated", flooding his body with growth hormones. His hand is one foot in diameter. I'm over six-four, and my hand is about 4 inches in diameter.

The house in the picture above is the house Leonid lives in, with his mother.

Amazing story, and incredible photos of other 'giants'.
Decapitated Snake Bites, Poisons Man

If you'd just cut the head off a snake, you'd think it would be safe to reach down and pick it up. Right?

Wrong :
Danny Anderson and his son saw the 5-foot rattler Monday evening while feeding horses. They pinned it with a pipe and cut off its head with a shovel.

When Anderson reached down to pick it up, he said, the snake head twisted around and bit his index finger. In the 10 minutes it took to reach Prosser Memorial Hospital, the venom spread through his body and his tongue had already started to swell.
Anderson got a shot at the hospital and survived.

According to a biologist from the Washington state Fish and Wildlife Department :
"'s possible the snake had the heat-sensing ability to make one last attack -- or it may have been a reflex."
Some reflex. The snake's head, separated from its body, turned and bit the man.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

American Public Demands FBI "Free Bat Boy!"

The Quiet Death Of The Weekly World News

By Darryl Mason

As a truly dedicated news junkie, the very first newspaper I brought on my first visit to the United States in 2001 wasn't The New York Times or the Washington Post. It was, of course, Weekly World News. And I was dying to see if there was any news of the adventures of the formerly cave-dwelling, FBI-escaping, all American mutant folk hero, Bat Boy.

Weekly World News is now going out of business after almost three decades. Basically, the new owner screwed up the million-strong selling newspaper of, um, note, by hiring comedy writers to pen the stories and creating too-dumb-for-children columnists like a typing horse and a chattering chimp.

Weekly World News was so much fun in the 1980s and 1990s because it mixed actual stories of bizarre human behaviour with complete, brilliantly absurd fabrications. But nearly all of it was written as though it had just come off a serious news wire.

The Weekly World News, in case you've never heard of it, was the newspaper that revealed that Elvis Presley did not die on a toilet in 1977, but actually faked his own death and ended up working behind the counter of a convenience store, quite happily.

The Weekly World News also produced such gut-busting headlines as these :








The Washington Post gives the Weekly World News its due tribute as it quietly shuts off the presses for the final time in a massive feature story :
The Weekly World News was not one of those sleazy tabloids that cover tawdry celebrity scandals. It was a sleazy tabloid that covered events that seemed to occur in a parallel universe, a fevered dream world where pop culture mixed with urban legends, conspiracy theories and hallucinations. Maybe WWN played fast and loose with the facts, but somehow it captured the spirit of the age...

I can't remember the last time I read a story in the Washington Post that made me laugh out loud and get a little teary in the same dozen paragraphs, but this WWN early obituary did :

(WWN writer Bob) Lind witnessed the birth of Bat Boy, who became the tabloid's most beloved character and the subject of an off-Broadway musical.

It happened in 1992, when Dick Kulpa, WWN's graphics genius, was playing around with Photoshop, trying to turn a picture of a baby into a picture of an alien baby. He gave the kid pointy Spocklike ears, big wide eyes and fangs. Ivone looked at it and said, "Bat Boy!" and Eddie Clontz turned to his brother Derek and said, "Do it!"Derek concocted the story of a creature, half bat and half boy, captured in a cave in West Virginia. "BAT CHILD FOUND IN CAVE!" was the headline on the first story.

But there were more, many more as the little tyke escaped and was recaptured again and again, constantly fleeing from the FBI and a brutal bounty hunter named Jim "Deadeye" Slubbard, who vowed to stuff him and hang him over his fireplace.

"Eddie fell in love with Bat Boy," Lind says. "He was one of the most in-depth characters we dealt with. He could be mean, he could be spiteful, but he could also be kind. And every once in while, he would be captured by the FBI and held in an undisclosed location near Lexington, Kentucky.

One day -- Lind swears this is true -- Eddie Clontz got a call from an irate FBI agent complaining that the bureau's switchboard was swamped with calls demanding that they free Bat Boy.

"Eddie said, 'I'll never do it again,' " Lind says, "then he hung up the phone and went on to the next Bat Boy story."


As the stories got more creative, circulation soared, reaching nearly a million copies a week by the end of the '80s. Staffers debated how many of the readers actually believed the stories and how many were hipsters reading it for laughs.

"It is my belief that in the '80s and into the '90s, most people believed most of the material most of the time," says Derek Clontz.

Eddie Clontz kept telling writers: You've got to give people a reason to believe. To do that, Berger says, they would write their weirdest stories in a very straight, just-the-facts-ma'am style. And they'd quote experts explaining how this strange event could occur. Sometimes the experts actually existed.

"I remember a story about a guy who went on a diet, and he got so hungry that he chased a dwarf down the street with a hatchet because he mistook the dwarf for a chicken," Berger recalls. "I'm pretty sure I wrote that story."

He's also pretty sure it was totally fictitious. But it had to seem true.

"We would explain to people how it was possible that a guy could get so hungry that he'd mistake a dwarf for a chicken," Berger says. "We'd interview a psychiatrist about it and quote him. And if we couldn't find one, we'd 'find' one."

WWN writers quoted sources identified as "a baffled scientist" so often they started joking about a institution called the Academy of Baffled Scientists.


(writer Bob) Lind was constantly amazed at the letters that came in from readers. "You can't believe what people will believe -- and what they won't," he says.

Back in the '90s, for example, WWN published "HILLARY CLINTON ADOPTS ALIEN BABY" and illustrated it with a Photoshop picture of a smiling Hillary cradling a hideous but cute alien baby.

"We got a letter," recalls Lind, "and it said: 'Do you think we're so stupid that we believe that's Hillary holding that alien baby? Hillary's too cold to adopt an alien baby. You put her face on somebody else's picture.' "

Lind pauses to let that sink in. "So you realize that this person accepted the idea of an alien baby being found, and that somebody was holding it," he says, "but she couldn't believe it was Hillary."

Maybe in the end, reality just go too weird for the Weekly World News to compete with it :
Americans elected a president who'd once co-starred in a movie with a chimpanzee. Rich women hired "surrogate mothers" to bear their children. The Soviet Union suddenly dropped dead. Scientists invented a magic pill that gave men erections. California cultists committed suicide, believing that the Hale-Bopp comet would carry them to heaven. Lurid details of a president's sex life were released in an official government document. Religious fanatics hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California. Scientists studying DNA revealed that humans were 98.6 percent genetically identical to chimpanzees.

And here, in recognition of the occasional sheer brilliance of the Weekly World News is a WWN classic story that, I must admit, almost had me going when I first read it. Embarrassingly, I actually did some online searching to find out more about details about the remarkable story of Andrew Carlssin, the time traveling stock market speculator.

But I wasn't the only one who soaked up the bullshit as possible truth. The story appeared in straight newspapers across the world and actually set real news reporters off on amusing but utterly pointless searches for further details.

In my defence, I read the following story on the Yahoo News Page and missed the tiny byline that it was from the Weekly World News. As a fan, I should have known it immediately. The follow up story, a day or two later, did little to bust the fantasy bubble.

I got suckered, twice, and I loved every second of it.


NEW YORK -- Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256.

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

"We don't believe this guy's story -- he's either a lunatic or a pathological liar," says an SEC insider.

"But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks' time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can't be pure luck.

"The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He's going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources."

The past year of nose-diving stock prices has left most investors crying in their beer. So when Carlssin made a flurry of 126 high-risk trades and came out the winner every time, it raised the eyebrows of Wall Street watchdogs.

"If a company's stock rose due to a merger or technological breakthrough that was supposed to be secret, Mr. Carlssin somehow knew about it in advance," says the SEC source close to the hush-hush, ongoing investigation.

When investigators hauled Carlssin in for questioning, they got more than they bargained for: A mind-boggling four-hour confession.

Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.

"It was just too tempting to resist," Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. "I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn't look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment."

In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge "historical facts" such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.

All he wants is to be allowed to return to the future in his "time craft."

However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could "fall into the wrong hands."

Officials are quite confident the "time-traveler's" claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, "No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002."

When the Weekly World News did follow up this excellent story, they reported that a "mysterious benefactor" had posted $1 million bail for Carlssin, who then disappeared.

Perhaps the Time Traveler Cleans Up Up Stock Market story took so many people in because they wanted it to be true. Time travel has to be invented eventually, right? So why wouldn't someone come back, if they could, and do exactly what Carlssin did?

From memory, because I can't find it online now, someone actually pointed out on a Securities And Exchange Commission-related board that what Carlssin did was not actually insider trading, and was not illegal.

Andrew Carlssin sparked some serious debate online, Google links page here and ended up with his own Wikipedia page.

Finally, one more WWN front page of the days when Bat Boy roamed free. Newspapers will never get any better than this :


Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here


Monday, August 06, 2007

Sputnik In 500 Year Old Painting?

Of course, it's not Sputnik (we think), but it sure looks like it. The orb is supposed to the Earth. But wasn't it still radical, and dangerous to claim the world was round back in the 1500s? Particularly in Italy?

More here on this weird old painting from the 16th century that, as Boing Boing points out, looks more like the cover of SF novel than it does a religious painting.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

China Bans 'Living Buddhas' From Reincarnating Without Official Permission

Fantastic. Probably the most absurd, bizarre and hilarious story we've come across in the past few weeks. Of course it's all about China screwing Tibet and trying to destroy Tibetan religious beliefs.

As Chairman Mao is once supposed to have said, "Religion is poison."

Most of the story is in the above headlines. London Times story intro follows, then go here to read the full thing :

Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.

“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.

The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.

Of course, it would be impossible to stop someone from reincarnating, if that was even a reality to begin with. But the Chinese laws are aimed at stopping a new 'living Buddha' from being identified, named and branded.

This is how you kill off a mystical system dating back more than 800 years. With intense bureaucracy.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Flying Saucer Of Your Own

"The Ultimate Off Road Vehicle"

For about $100,000, you can soon own your own flying saucer. The makers claim it can scoot along, above most terrain, suspended on a cushion of air, at ten feet and travelling at a decent click of 50mph.

From Sky News :

US company Moller International has begun to manufacture parts for its Jetsons-like personal flying pod, the M200G Volantor.

The M200G is the size of a small car and is designed to take off and land vertically.

Company founder Dr Paul Moller calls the craft "the ultimate off-road vehicle" as it is able to travel over any surface.

"It's not a hovercraft, although its operation is just as easy," said the aeronautical engineering boffin.

"You can speed over rocks, swampland, fences, or log-infested waterways with ease because you're not limited by the surface."

The flying saucer is designed to fly at an altitude of up to three metres, where it benefits from extra lift created by a cushion of air - known as ground effect.

This allows the M200G to glide over terrain at 50mph, powered by eight of the company's Rotapower rotary engines.

But what about off-world capabilities?

What's the use of having your own flying saucer if you can't get into space, dammit.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Has The Legendary Chupacabra Finally Been Caught?

Is this a mangy old fox, or is it the legendary Chupacabra?

For a rancher in South Texas, there is little doubt. Phylis Canion claims the creature, or its relatives, have been snatching animals around her ranch for years.

The chupacabra infamously drains the blood of the animals it catches, and this exactly what Canion claims the above creature has been doing, to cats and to chickens.

Lots of chickens :

Canion says two dozen chickens were sucked dry.

The meat, she says, was left on the bone.

Neighbors speculate the blue-colored animal that was doing all that damage was a chupacabra.

The name is translated from Spanish and means goat-sucker because the creature sucks the blood of livestock.

Canion says not one, but three chupacabras were spotted outside the town in recent days.

All of them, she says, were blue-skinned, had no hair and had strange teeth.

Although Canion and her neighbors feel she captured a chupacabra, others like State Mammalogist John Young says she captured a grey fox. “When mange goes untreated it causes this type of reaction. they start to itch, lose all their hair, blue grey coloration. and the animal usually dies from it.”

But it wasn’t mange, but a car that killed the creature that Canion captured. “There have been so many stories for so long. The chupacabra is a mythical thing and maybe it is, but this is something…a cross between something. What? I don’t know, I’d love to find out.”

The local TV station has taken samples of the bizarre animal corpse Canion has kept in her freezer. They are promising results soon.

More Weird Deep Sea Creatures

Presenting : The 'Dumbo' Octopus

Miles down in the waters off Nova Scotia, scientists recently discovered some very strange creatures, including the above : the 'Dumbo' octopus.

In an area described as being like "the Grand Canyon" underwater, where no human diver could survive, the researchers found a previously unknown species with an octopus-like body and fins that resembled floppy 'Dumbo' ears. Hence the nickname.

The tales of what else they found via their robot, two and a half miles deep, are absolutely fascinating.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


A lamb born was born on a New Zealand last week, with seven legs.

Remarkably, it can use five of its legs to follow its mother, and its normal twin, around the farm.

A lamb born with more than four legs, an abnormality known as 'polydactyl' occurs only once in every few million births.

This incredible lamb does not have a complete bowel, and it is also an hermaphrodite.

It is likely to be put down.

Not surprisingly, the owners of the farm were stunned when they first saw it.