30 November 2005

Curiouser curious encounters, a selection (Part II)

Source: PASSPORT TO MAGONIA UFO SIGHTINGS DATABASE, compiled by Jacques Vallee. Commentary added.

We’ve come a long way, and we could use a little water:

Apr. 22, 1897. Josserand, Texas. Frank Nichols, who lived 3 km east of Josserand and was one of its most respected citizens, was awakened by a machine noise. Looking outside, he saw a heavy, lighted object land in his wheat field. He walked toward it, was stopped by two men who asked permission to draw water from his well. He then had a discussion with a half-dozen men, the crew of the strange machine. He was told how it worked but could not follow the explanation.

May. 06, 1897. Hot Springs, Arkansas. Two policemen, Sumpter and McLenore, were riding northwest of Hot Springs when they saw a bright light in the sky. About 7 km farther they saw the light again coming down to the ground. One km farther the horses refused to walk. Two men were seen carrying lights. The lawmen took their rifles, called the strangers, and were told that they crossed the country with a flying craft. The silhouette of the machine, about 2O m long, could be seen in the clearing. There was a woman with an umbrella nearby. It was raining, and the younger of the men was filling a large container with water. The elder man had a beard and suggested that the policemen fly with them "to a place where it does not rain." The same witness went back through the same spot 40 min later and found nothing.

Aug., 1914. Georgian Bay, Canada. William J. Kiehl and seven other persons saw a spherical craft on the surface of the water. On its deck were two small men wearing green-purple clothes. They seemed to be busy with a hose, plunging it into the water. On the opposite side were three men dressed in light brown, wearing square masks down to their shoulders. Seeing the witnesses, they reentered the craft except for one dwarf, wearing shoes with a curved, pointed tip, who remained outside while the craft rose 3 m above the water and shot upward, leaving a short trail.

Jul. 02, 1950. Steep Rock Lake, Canada. In a story strangely similar to that of Mr. Kiehl (Aug., 1914)...a man and his wife saw a double saucer with portholes and a rotating antenna come to rest on the surface of the lake. Ten figures, 1.20 m tall, dressed in shiny clothing, emerged and walked on deck like robots "changing direction without turning their bodies." Their faces could not be seen. One of them wore a red cap, had darker arms and legs and "seemed to be their chief." They immersed a hose in the lake, then took off. Fishermen later reported a green moss forming on the lake.

Jul. 24, 1952 Vico, Italy. A man who was fishing in the Serchio River saw a disk hovering for 10 min. From it hung a hose that plunged into the water. The object was 20 m in diameter, with five propellers in the rear and a dome with something like blades on top. An orange glow could be seen through slits along the deck. A man wearing a diving helmet looked at the witness through a window, and he received a kind of electric shock as a "green ray" hit him. He looked up with difficulty, in time to see the object fly away toward the east.
[What happened next resembles a classic ‘Men in Black’ encounter, the elements of which did not become popularized until 1953.] Six days later a stranger with a foreign accent contacted the witness and intimidated him.

May. 20, 1953. Brush Creek, California. Two miners, John Q. Black, 48, and John Van Allen, reported that an object, silvery, 2.5 m in diameter, 2 m thick, with a tripod landing gear, landed on a sand bar 50 m away from them. An occupant described as a broad shouldered dwarf wearing clothing that covered the head and the trunk was also seen. His arms and legs were covered with tweedlike cloth fastened at the wrists and ankle. He filled a shiny pail with water and handed it to someone inside the craft. He then appeared to notice Black and jumped into the craft, which made a hissing sound and departed.

Spring, 1960. Syracuse, New York. An electronics engineer was fishing when he heard a shrill, whirring sound and saw a round object, with a rotating light on top, land on the shore. The sound gradually stopped, an opening became visible, and two dwarfs with oversized heads came out with a hose and pumped water from the river. Later they appeared to play like children. Their bodies glowed with lights of changing colors.

We’ve come a long way, and we could use a little water and some vegetables:

Nov. 04, 1954. Pontal, Brazil. Jose Alves was fishing in the Pardo River when he suddenly saw a craft approach with a wobbling motion and landing near him. Shaped like two washbowls placed together, it was about 4.5 m in diameter. Too terrified to move, the witness saw three little men, dressed in white, wearing tight-fitting skull caps, with dark skin, come out of the craft, gather vegetables and water and fly away.

And some grapes:

Sep. 28, 1954. Bouzais, France. At "Le Grand Tertre" Mr. Mercier observed that someone had stolen grapes from his vineyard. He decided to stay late and catch the "robbers." He was amazed when he saw a luminous mass fall from the sky about 50 m away, and found himself "paralyzed" as three figures emerged from the light and moved about. He lost consciousness. When he came to his senses, everything had vanished.

If it isn’t any trouble some flowers would be nice as well:

Nov. 01, 1954. Poggio d'Ambra, Italy. A 40-year-old lady going to a cemetery suddenly observed an object, shaped like two cones with a common base, resting on a grassy space. Two small seats were visible inside the lower cone. From behind the object appared two dwarfs, 1 m tall, wearing gray coveralls and reddish helmets. Speaking words she could not understand, and with smiles that showed fine white teeth, they took a pot of flowers from the witness and flew away.

And some rabbits:

Nov. 14, 1954. Isola, Italy. Amerigo Lorenzini, a farmer, saw a bright, cigar-shaped craft land near him and took cover. Out of it came three dwarfs dressed in metallic diving suits. They centered their attention on rabbits in a cage while speaking among themselves in an unknown language. Thinking they were going to steal the animals, the farmer aimed a rifle at the intruders, but it failed to fire and the witness suddenly felt so weak that he had to drop the gun. The dwarfs took the rabbits, and their craft departed, leaving a bright trail.

If you don't mind, we’ll just take this chicken back to our homeworld. And this tobacco plant. Thanks again.

Dec. 11, 1954. Linha Bela Vista, Brazil. Near the site of Case 349, Pedro Morais saw two human beings dressed in "yellow bags" take a tobacco plant and a chicken, then go away. Their craft "had a bottom like an enormous polished brass kettle," hovered with an oscillatin motion, and made a noise like a sewing machine. Its upper part resembled a jeep hood.

We'll pay for some of your precious water in intergalactic currency:

Apr. 18, 1961. Eagle River, Wisconsin. J. Simonton heard a whining sound and saw an object, 10 m in diameter, 4 m high, with exhaust pipes around the periphery, land near his house. A door was opened and a man appeared. About 1.50 m tall, he wore a black, turtle-neck pullover with a white band at the belt, and black trousers with a vertical white band along the side. Two figures were visible inside the object. Simonton filled a jug with water, returned it to the man, who gave him three ordinary pancakes, and the craft took off.

Dressed for success:

Nov. 06, 1957. Everittstown, New Jersey. John Trasco saw a brilliant, egg-shaped object hovering in front of a barn and was confronted with a being 1 m tall with a putty-colored face and frog-like eyes. He thought the dwarf said in broken English: "We are peaceful people; we only want your dog." The little man, who was dressed in a green suit with shiny buttons, a green tam-o-shanter-like cap, and gloves with a shiny object at the tip of each finger, fled when the witness denied his request.

28 November 2005


Live in Switzerland.

Inventions stolen from the pastoralist Karamojong people of Uganda include a better mousetrap, a fashionable sandal made from recycled tires, and a distinctive haircut.

Minor design flaw discovered in Seattle monorail.

The Greek satirist Lucian (c. A.D. 120-180) describes visiting the moon: "Moonmen have artificial penises, generally of ivory but, in the case of the poor, of wood...The diet is the same for everyone: frog."

My so-called friends. Where are they now? I guess a love that bends isn’t worth much anyhow.

20 November 2005

Curiouser curious encounters, a selection (Part I)

Source: PASSPORT TO MAGONIA UFO SIGHTINGS DATABASE, compiled by Jacques Vallee. Commentary added.

A haystack?

Dec. 07, 1872. Banbury, Great Britain:

At King's Sutton an object resembling a haystack flew on an irregular course. Sometimes high, sometimes very low it was accompanied by fire and dense smoke. It produced the same effect as a tornado, felling trees and walls. It suddenly vanished

The physical description and behavior of the being described in the following encounter are eerily similar to accounts of my Norwegian grandfather:

Apr. 17, 1897. Williamston, Michigan:

At least a dozen farmers saw an object maneuver in the sky for an hour before it landed. A strange man near 3m tall, almost naked and suffering from the heat, was the pilot of the craft. "His talk, while musical, seemed to be a repetition of bellowings." One farmer went near him and received a blow that broke his hip.

Possibly the first account linking UFO’s and cattle mutilation.

Apr. 19, 1897. Leroy, Kansas.

Alexander Hamilton was awakened by a noise among the cattle and went out with his son and his tenant. They saw an elongated cigar-shaped object, about 100 m long with a transparent cabin underneath showing narrow reddish band, hovering 10 m above ground. They approached within 50 m of it. It was illuminated and equipped with a searchlight. Inside it were "six of the strangest beings" the witness had seen, also described as "hideous." They spoke a language no witness could understand. A cow was dragged away by the object with the help of a strong red cable; it was found butchered in a field the next day.

A politically incorrect encounter.

Apr. 25, 1897. McKinney Bayou, Arkansas:

Judge Lawrence A. Byrne of Texarkana, Arkansas, was surveying a tract of land when he saw a peculiar object anchored on the ground. "It was manned by three men who spoke a foreign language, but judging from their looks one would take them to be Japs."

An elegant frog-man.

Fall, 1938 (or following year). Juminda, Estonian coast:

Two persons saw a strange "frog-man" 1 m tall with a round head, no neck, and a hump in front of the body.The mouth was a large, straight slit, the eyes were like smaller slits. The skin was brown-green, compared to pegamoid, hands normal. The creature walked in a peculiar "but elegant" fashion, the head waving up and down while the legs moved "carefully." When pursued, the creature accelerated very fast, with feet "fluttering." About 100 m away it vanished completely'.

Towely-skinned mummies from space.

Feb., 1949. Pucusana, Peru:

C. A. V. an oil company employee, 30, was driving to Lima when he saw a shiny disk at ground level. He walked toward it for 10 min. Three figures came out as he was 20m away. They looked like mummies, had joined legs and one large foot. They "slid" along the ground. They were covered with a strange "towely" skin, asked the witness where they were, had a lengthy discussion with him, and took him for a trip in their craft.

Return of the flying haystack.

Sep. 07, 1954. Harponville, France:

Between Harponville and Contay, two bricklayers, Emile Renard, 27, and Yves Degillerboz, 23 saw an object floating in mid-air over a field: "It looked like an unfinished haystack, with a plate turned upside down on top of it." When they approached, it took off. Diameter 10 m, height 3m. A kind of door was noticed. The observation lasted over 3 min. The object released smoke when it departed.

Beings in bags.

Sep. 26, 1954. Chabeuil, France: Mrs. Leboeuf was suddenly confronted with a creature resembling "a child in a plastic bag, with eyes larger than human eyes." This creature entered a flat, circular machine, which took off toward the northeast with a soft whistling. Traces. Witnesses in state of shock.

Oct. 02, 1954. Croix d'Epine, France:

A mechanic, Ernest Delattre, 19, was riding home on his motor scooter when an egg-shaped object, brilliantly illuminated, landed on the left side of the road 15 m away. He saw short, dark shapes "like potato bags" moving about the object. He sped up, saw the object, the size of a small bus, taking off while its color changed from orange to blue and then to grayish-blue. The witness fainted while telling his story. Two persons in neighboring villages independently reported observing the object.

Someone should have asked little Bertiaux just how much like.

Oct. 04, 1954. Villers-le-Tilleul, France.

Ten-year-old Bertiaux saw an object "like a tent" and an unknown man near it.

15 November 2005

Arrival: Friedrichshafen

I am in Friedrichshafen, Germany, or, to be precise, above Friedrichshafen and Lake Bodensee, floating in one of the Zeppelin company’s fantastic new airships (seats 12, maximum speed 77 mph). I relax in my seat as the airship climbs to an altitude of about a mile. The puffs of smoke from my cigarette are miniatures of the puffy clouds outside my window. The time when smoking is outlawed everywhere (what I call ‘The New Dark Age’) is nearly upon us, but I imagine myself in a Zeppelin, hovering over cities in defiance of their punitive and barbaric smoking bans, forcing the stupid, non-smoking ground wretches to see a giant flying phallus every time they look up. The stewardess brings me a drink. She’s a Teutonic vixen. I contemplate challenging her to a wrestling match, but that can wait until after we land or after I’ve had a few more drinks, whichever comes first. When I last flew on an airplane my stewardess was a homosexualist man. What a contrast. A delightful feature of the Zeppelin airship is that its windows open. This allows fresh air in; even better it allows throwing objects out. Every few minutes I drop a tropical fish, sure to baffle anyone it falls on. The Germans have named this sport, which has a lengthy history, Affebombardierung, after a particularly hilarious incident from 1956 in California.

Our pilot announces landing is in 40 minutes (when asked, the Zeppelin airship can stay aloft for 24 hours). The great Hugo Eckener once said, "In a Zeppelin you do not just fly but travel in every sense of the word in most wonderful way you could possibly imagine." Why must the modern world always prefer the efficient to the wonderful? Where are men the likes of Hugo Eckener? I ponder these sad mysteries as I drop an iguana out the window, and am unable to come up with any answers.

14 November 2005

There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow

Not satisfied with menacing us by the threat of avian flu, birds now seem to be interfering with our Guinness World Record attempts. Is it me, or is Nature becoming increasingly hostile?

Speaking of bird divination, Laudator Temporis Acti discusses augury and auspex.

UPDATE: More on birds - Tom Bethell dissects the avian bird flu hysteria.

12 November 2005

Bananus humongous praedicta

The Angraecum sesquipedale Thouars orchid, native to Madagascar, is notable for having a "nectar tube of 10-12 inches in length with only the distal end filled with nectar". After studying this orchid, Charles Darwin realized there must also exist an insect equipped to fertilize it, and in 1862 Darwin wrote:
"It is, however, surprising that any insect should be able to reach the nectar : our English sphinxes have probosces as long as their bodies ; but in Madagascar there must be moths with probosces capable of extension to a length of between ten and eleven inches !" (On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects)
The moth predicted by Darwin was finally discovered 41 years later. Named Xanthopan morgani praedicta, it has a proboscis which unfurls to a length of around 10 inches.

In a similar manner, after I read about a newly discovered giant ape Gigantopithecus blackii, who was 10 feet tall and weighed up to 1,200 pounds (and co-existed alongside humans!), I realized in a flash of insight that during the era of this ape-giant there must have also existed (and perhaps still does?) a kind of humongous banana, perhaps measuring as much as yard in length, for the monster to snack upon when he got hungry. I’m optimistic that sometime during the next 41 or so years someone will uncover a fossil of one of these enormous yellow fruits, as it would make perfect sense.

Giant Ape (Gigantopithecus blackii)

Signs of life in Denmark

A Mutual Suspicion Grows in Denmark, Jeffrey Fleishman, November 12, 2005, LA Times:
"I believe integrating a large number of Muslims can't be done. It's an illusion. They don't have the desire to blend in with other people. We've been a Christian country for 1,000 years and we are the oldest monarchy in the world. I want to get married and have a lot of kids who can walk around in a society not influenced by Muslims."
- Martin Henriksen, 25-year-old legislator for the Danish People's Party.

11 November 2005

Red Headed League Revisited

An unconfirmed report claims Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is dead. There has been speculation that the Iraqi al-Douri (the King of Clubs, for those keeping score) could be connected to the Al-Queda terrorist and fellow flame-top Mustafa Setmariam Nasar.

07 November 2005

After I kicked him awake he asked for another

Have you contracted the deadly bird flu yet? If not, it’s only a matter of time - at least according to the experts it is.1

I’m not one to go down without a fight, so last night I set up an anti-avian defensive perimeter in my yard.2 My hope is that after an infected bird lands and proceeds his way across the lawn to my front door in order to barge into my home and infect me, the winged nincompoop will be tempted en route to sample the toxic liquid from one of the bowls and die. This morning on the grass I found two dead cats and a comatose hobo. Obviously I need to use some stronger stuff.

1I’m told that these aren’t the same experts who prophesized the ‘Y2K bug’ apocalypse, but I’m not sure I believe it.

2About a dozen medium to large bowls of poison.

06 November 2005

Because they’ve had no luck finding her in Scotland


Underwater camera photograph some claim is image of 'Nessie'.


You probably heard Somali pirates attacked a luxury cruise ship over the weekend (you probably don’t recall that in October Somali pirates captured two UN food ships). As the Sunday Times reports:
“There is growing concern that neither governments nor the shipping industry are doing enough to protect crews and cargoes and that ships are vulnerable to terrorists as well as pirates.”
Unfortunately, as the above article notes, nothing much is being done to counter the pirates. Therefore I hereby urge Congress to exercise its power to "grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water" (United States Constitution (Act 1 sec. 8)), in order that interested private individuals may legally seek and destroy pirate vessels that threaten ships in the Indan Ocean. The shipping industry could offer rewards to sucessful privateers. Not only would this be an efficient solution to the piracy problem, it would also be all kinds of fun. Which is probably why it will never happen.

03 November 2005

via Google Print: An Entirely Novel System

Practical Ventriloquism, 1904 by Robert Ganthony.

An excellent guide to the art of throwing one’s voice that is delightfully free from the political correctness that permeates more modern works on ventriloquism.