Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for October, 2007

Insect spies (from another world)?

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“I’d never seen anything like it in my life,” the Washington lawyer said. “They were large for dragonflies. I thought, ‘Is that mechanical, or is that alive?’ “. That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security. – Dragonfly or Insect Spy? Scientists at Work on Robobugs.

A very bizarre article to read in the Washington Post, given that it’s almost the exact plot of an X-Files episode. Only without deaths and alien cockroaches. But still, X-Files.

[via TDG]

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Peru meteorite: a 10 ton chondrite?

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Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log has a very informative item on the meteorite crater in Peru, “Sparks fly over meteorite“, dealing with the adventures of Michael Farmer, the “meteorite guy“.

Farmer apparently went to Peru days after the event and managed to buy samples of the meteorite from the locals. But things soon went tense, and he had to flee the country in a “a slight international incident”. Peruvians are not happy at all.

Meanwhile, Farmer revealed some details of analysis done on the samples he got, which allegedly confirm it was indeed a meteor.

“It’s probably the largest chondrite meteorite to have fallen,” Farmer said. He said the mass could be as much as 10 tons – which would be like a moving van falling from orbit. “It will be talked about for many years in the meteorite world,” Farmer predicted.

That would explain the strangeness of the crater, and would be a lesson for the initial outright dismissals of the crater as a meteor impact given its appearance.

And it doesn’t stop there. One more interesting item, though also pending further confirmation is a picture shared by Farmer of what’s supposed to be the smoke trail from the meteor:

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Farmer claims he is not the only one who managed to get samples and take them out of Peru. And as analysis are already being done worldwide, the crater in Peru is still, as it seems, untouched, which may ruin much of what may be there.

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The El Khaimah "Djinn"

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“This is a true story in Ras el Khaimah, United Arab Emerites. This picture has been released as a police report evidence in the UAE. The story is that a young man went in the caves in Ras el Khaimah to take pictures in caves known to be deserted, with a friend. He had been warned not to go. The person who had been with him called the police saying he had seen his friend’s flash go off and then his friend screamed. He called his friend but never got an answer and got scared that he’d fallen so went to the police. A few hours later they found the man in the cave dead and the single picture found in his camera is this one.”

The image circulated first in the middle of the 1990s in England, with a slightly different story. “John”, 33 years old, was said to have visited Saudi Arabia, and there he heard friends speak about a picture taken at the caves of the area. The alleged photographer didn’t die: he just thought he had seen something and shot the picture, noticing the strange creature in detail only after the picture was developed. The locals referred to the creature as a “Djinn”, a type of demon.

When he returned to England, “John” tried to sell the copy that he got. But with the publication of the image in the Bornemouth Advertiser, the “djinn” was soon identified as a sculpture. And not even an Arab sculpture, but part of the attractions of a theme park in the Cheddar caves, in Somerset, UK! Yes, the same caves from where the fungus that gives name to the popular cheese came.

The British magazine ForteanTimes had already clarified the picture in 1995:

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The note on FT included another picture of the sculpture (without a crease) and a statement from Bob Smart, director of Cheddar Showcaves & Gorge. The illustration is part of the attraction “Crystal Quest” that attracted millions of visitors since its opening in 1991. The ‘djinn’, actually a goblin, is at a grotto with Lord of the Rings-like sculptures created by Rowland Pavey.

The explanation is simple and clear, however one can find in the internet what is supposed to be the email of an employee at Cheddar Showcaves & Gorge denying that the terrifying creature is one of its attractions. Things may be slightly confusing, but fortunately a Turkish newspaper visited the attraction recently and got many photos of the sculpture, including these:

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Is it curious to note, as the Turkish newspaper highlights, that in the original sculpture the creature is holding a knife in its right hand. In retrospect, one can notice this even in the original creased image of the ‘djinn.’

The goblin of Cheddar, in a new digital version, also circulated some time ago as being a chupacabras captured accidentally while some friends were celebrating:

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It is just the same ‘djinn’, inserted digitally.

That the image has circulated so much, and in so many ways, is probably due to the talent of Pavey, the sculptor. It is an impressive illustration, to find it in a deserted and dark cave could kill somebody sensitive. A heart attack, who knows.

– – –

Hat tip to Jorge Petretski and Andréia Tschiedel

– The Turkish newspaper page with the more recent images of Pavey’s goblin was Efsane cin’ enselendi, but it seems to have been removed since.

UPDATE 01/2009: Oh, the wonders of Internet, where you can now find this picture:

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Or this one, another from Cheddar Showcaves & Gorge:

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Alas, you can also find that apparently the impressive sculptures were repainted and now look ridiculous:

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Rest in piece, El Khaimah Djinn.

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The Chupacabras of Florianopolis

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A nice story from fellow Brazilian Gustavo Latorre, published on the Vigilia website.
Translated with their kind permission.

Could there be a better place than the so called “Island of the Witches” — Ilha das Bruxas — for the appearance of a Chupacabras? April of 2007, end of summer. Open sky and a breeze blowing, excellent day to wash clothes and clean the house. At least it was my mother’s choice. She and her faithful helper in cleaning, the maid that lives next door, seemed to work at full speed. And the subject of the strange corpse thrown in a wasteland of the neighborhood began to animate the talk. 

I ended up hearing the story: a big animal “that was not a dog” was supposedly abandoned dead nearby, thrown in a wasteland. It was what the people of the neighbourhood were talking about for some days. 

Unwinding the story, I went to the source immediately after my mother: the maid. The idea was to find out who had told to her, and so on, until I found the first witness – original source of the report. To my surprise – and convenience – she had seen the alleged corpse herself. With patience, she told that two streets from where we were, in a big empty area, nearly full of pasture and surrounded by a brick wall of about half meter in height, there was a body covered by a sack. The teeth were human, but the body was hairy. 

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The Apollo Moon Hoax: photographic proof

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Click on the image to check the original on… an official NASA website! Be quick before the Men in Black erase this smoking gun proof of the greatest hoax of all-time.

But wait! Couldn’t the image above be actually a hoax? See how the shadows are not parallel! I think NASA actually created this for the conspiracy theorists to believe in, so they could later expose the hoax and discredit them. A hoaxed hoax evidence.

Or maybe that’s just a training exercise indeed. Be sure to check the high-quality versions of it on the NASA archive.

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