Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for November, 2007

From Jackalopes to the Tree Man

homemplanta32hjkDede, an Indonesian fisherman now 35, baffled medical experts when warty “roots” began growing out of his arms and feet after he cut his knee in a teenage accident. The welts spread across his body unchecked and soon he was left unable to carry out everyday household tasks.

Sacked from his job and deserted by his wife, Dede has been raising his two children – now in their late teens – in poverty, resigned to the fact that local doctors had no cure for his condition. To make ends meet he even joined a local “freak show”, parading in front of a paying audience alongside victims of other peculiar diseases. Although supported by his extended family, he was often a target of abuse and ridicule in his rural fishing village.

But now an American dermatology expert who flew out to Dede’s home village south of the capital Jakarta claims to have identified his condition, and proposed a treatment that could transform his life.

After testing samples of the lesions and Dede’s blood, Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland concluded that his affliction is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a fairly common infection that usually causes small warts to develop on sufferers.

Dede’s problem is that he has a rare genetic fault that impedes his immune system, meaning his body is unable to contain the warts.

The virus was therefore able to “hijack the cellular machinery of his skin cells”, ordering them to produce massive amounts of the substance that caused the tree-like growths known as “cutaneous horns” on his hands and feet.”

Read the rest — and see the photos — on the Telegraph:
Tree man ‘who grew roots’ may be cured
Warning: slightly strong images, it’s not a nice condition.

The very same condition afflicted a Romanian man that was featured a few months ago on the Internet. And a similar form of the condition also seems to be behind cases of people that grow “horns, like a recent Chinese granny.

In rabbits, it may also be related to the Jackalope.

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"Ningen": a bizarre Japanese cryptid

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Behold the “Ningen“. Meaning literally “Human“, it’s allegedly a very large unknown animal sighted by Japanese fishers, which bares an uncanny resemblance to us. Not only a face, but other reports include even arms and hands.

Continue reading for more pictures and even videos. All artistic illustrations, but being Japanese, they are extremely nice, and as imagined sea monsters, they sure are terrifying.

Read more

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Thai ghosts

Funny commercial from Thailand, with many local folkloric ghosts. And a transvestite.
[via Neatorama]

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The South Atlantic Anomaly

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The map above does not represent the most common destination for fleeing Hollywood villains. It’s in fact the South Atlantic Anomaly, a region where the Earth’s inner van Allen radiation belt makes its closest approach to the planet’s surface. The result is that, for a given altitude, the radiation intensity is higher over this region than elsewhere. Brazilians are blessed indeed.

anomaliasulaltura42hj The Anomaly in the radiation belt results from the fact that the planet’s magnetic field is not perfectly aligned with its geographic center and poles. Which means the magnetic field is slightly stronger in the North, and moves around the geographic poles, leaving the area around Brazil and the South Atlantic closer to the radiation belts.

Fortunately, the effects of it over humans on the surface of the planet are not significant. Unfortunately, it’s very relevant to orbiting satellites — the Hubble Space telescope does not take observations while passing through the South Atlantic Anomaly, for instance. Satellite failures are much more common in this stronger radiation zone.

It also affects satellites with humans inside, like the International Space Station. Light Flashes, thought to be produced by radiation directly stimulating the retina of astronauts, are reportedly more common when they are flying through the zone.

As the Anomaly is due to the Earth’s magnetic field, and since it’s always moving — including several complete reversals — it probably danced around the planet for the past billion years. It’s curious indeed that such a “special area” would even exist. And right now, it’s Brazilian.

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Angels: photographic proof

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Click above to see more undeniable physical evidence that angels do exist. The description in Portuguese reads:

“See the incredible photos taken on the night of October 10 by two different people with two different cameras …  The images speak for themselves. The next day, always at sunset, new photos were taken by Regina, as fantastic as the ones taken the day before.”

Amazing, huh? Perhaps not, and you’ll have realized these are just insects no more than a couple of feet away from the camera, slightly unfocused and reflecting the flash. Digital cameras have a greater depth of field, meaning they can capture small things very near the lens.

The effect is similar to the one seen in this image, and identical to this one, with a moth.

[hat tip to ufologist Claudeir Covo for suggesting the link]

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