It didn’t sell on eBay the first time because people saw it for what it was. Now it is for sale again. And the seller really wants to get rid of it, they say, but hasn’t lowered the price of $350. Alas.
You too can have bad luck if you buy this purse. And not from any curse on the purse, but by the reduction of your bank account for purchasing it!
Freaky things happen with this purse….Must Sell!!! Please!!!!!!!!!!!!
As told to me by my mother, this purse was given to my great grandmother by Lizzie Borden.
My great grandmother immigrated from Italy via New York. Her journey to Boston/Maine led her to Fall River/New Bedford area, where she worked for Lizzie Borden doing laundry and sewing for a few weeks. Upon her departure Lizzie Borden gave my great grandmother this purse which has been handed down from generations.
Inside this purse were 2 coins : a silver dollar dated 1890 and a one cent penny dated 1853.
The purse is in immaculate condition as well as the coins. Black sequence with (I believe )is a silver base.
The problem with this beautiful purse is that when it is taken out of storage, strange things happen to the people and those around them that have handled it. We have had strange sensations of being watched, touched, strange sounds, shadowy figures as well as weird feelings, especially when alone. Circumstances seem to occur- that things even break.
We just no longer want this in our house. The purse itself is of real antique value, but the paranormal activities makes this purse more interesting in value.
In 1990, Tippi Degré – daughter of Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert, a couple who chose to relinquish their lives in France for the freedom of nature in Southern Africa – was born in the newly independent Namibia. Her parents worked as freelance wildlife photographers and film makers. At 10 months the toddler was exploring the Namibian bush and desert.
For 10 years, Tippi wandered the bush bare footed, making friends with all sorts of animals: leopards, caracals, mongooses, baboons and snakes.
Her playground was the hills and the harsh desert tribe lands of southern Africa; as the family wandered the bush land, Tippi picked up all kinds of friends – like Abu, a five ton (28-year-old) elephant she calls “her brother”.
She would ride to a water hole on top of Abu and splash with the elephants of the herd, cuddle giant bullfrogs, lion cubs or meerkats; and became a grasshopper hunting specialist with the chameleons she was so fond of.
Tippi also befriended the Himba tribes people and the Bushmen of the Kalahari, who taught her how to survive on roots and berries and hence gave her practical experience of real life in the bush.
Life as a bush baby came to an end after her last year of "freedom" in Madagascar when Tippi moved to the French capital with her mother six years ago. But both in fact and in her heart, she remained an African.
Notice bright orb to the left of the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
September 18th 2007 - A cloud of gas and volcanic rocks sliding down Costa Rica's north-central Arenal Volcano caught the attention of residents and scientists yesterday morning.
This “pyroclastic flow” occurred at 10:12 a.m. west of the volcano's main crater and was observed from a lookout point inside the Arenal Volcano National Park, according to a statement from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) based at National University (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José.
A pyroclastic flow is an eruption of high-temperature gases, rocks and ash that makes its way down a volcano in the form of a cloud, explained OVSICORI volcanologist Rodolfo Van Der Laat. This phenomenon is not out of the ordinary for Arenal, especially during this time of year.
Yesterday's activity did not pose any threat to those living near the volcano, though it did catch residents' and tourists' attention, Van Der Laat said.
For many Torontonians, Thanksgiving weekend means one last trip north to board up the cottage. But while kayaks, life jackets and other summer accoutrements are laid to rest, some things in Muskoka aren't. They are ghosts, legions of them, if you believe Terry Boyle, a "haunted" historian who leads tours and who has written several books on the hidden weirdness of cottage country. "I believe that ghosts are entities from another time who have crossed over into ours. And so it doesn't mean, when we see a ghost, that we are seeing a dead person. It's a living being, and its residence is elsewhere." Mr. Boyle's latest, Haunted Ontario Revisited, describes in eerie detail the presence of apparitions in the bedrooms and hallways of well-known Muskoka establishments, and features photographs in which ghosts are seen as phantasmagorical orbs of light. Recently, we caught up with him in mid-spook and asked him to tell us where to find the best ghosts in Muskoka.
THE BALA BAY INN
History: Built in 1910. Muskoka's first brick hotel originally occupied 10 hectares and included riding trails for its posh guests. Three swastikas (symbolizing well-being) that had been engraved into the exterior were cemented over in 1939, followed by a name change from the Swastika to the Sutton Hotel.
Significant event?: Founder Ephraim B. Sutton died on the site in 1917.
- An apparition of a little girl, said to be Mr. Sutton's daughter, haunts the original staircase and is allegedly seen in photographs taken by guests.
- In Room 319, where Mr. Sutton died, the television goes on and off and housekeepers return to find their work undone.
- In the main-floor Ghost Lounge, named for the gusts of cold air that touch patrons on the shoulder, dishes laid out for banquets break when no one is in the room, lights flicker on and off, and an ashtray has been seen flying off the back of the refrigerator.
THE SEVERN RIVER INN
History: Built in 1861. Originally a general store that also served as Muskoka's first post office, it was the centre of social activity. It burned down in 1906, and was rebuilt as a store, hotel and family residence in 1907 by the original owner's son, James H. Jackson. After his death in 1942, the inn became a boarding house.
Significant event?: In 1972, the designated heritage site sold for the first time outside the Jackson family. Hauntings began soon after.
- Children's laughter can be heard when no children are present.
- A woman in period dress, perhaps the original owner's mother, Ida, who had died in an upstairs room, is sometimes seen walking across the roof.
- Steps can be heard on the back stairs and upstairs when no people are present and lights inexplicably go on and off in upstairs rooms.
- Furniture is moved when no one is around, and cutlery drawers open and close by themselves.
- A former housekeeper felt a tap on the shoulder while no one was present.
- In 2006, members of Toronto's Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society recorded the presence of light orbs in rooms.
THE INN AT THE FALLS
History: Built in 1870. Originally a private residence, it changed hands several times until the 1930s, when it became a hotel called Holiday House. The current owners bought it in 1988 and renamed it Inn at the Falls.
Significant event?: In the 1930s
a Mrs. Kirk fell down the stairs to her death, killing her unborn child.
Jackie Niven, who owned the hotel at one time, died there from cancer.
- In Room 105, the former bedroom of Judge William Cosby Mahaffy (second owner of the property), the television and shower turn on and off and missing keys turn up under the bedcovers.
- Room 105 was also Ms. Niven's bedroom, and a woman is sometimes seen looking from the window (her image has been captured in photos).
- A woman and man can be heard pacing outside the door of Room 105, speaking anxiously about an unborn child. Guests often ask about the woman they heard crying during the night.
- An older man, in black tails, is seen walking through the main floor hallway and into the bathroom, where he disappears.
- A ghost known as Sarah appears on the main floor and on the lower level near the Fox and Hounds Pub (her image has also been captured in photos).
THE GRAVENHURST OPERA HOUSE
History: Built in 1901. The 152-seat opera house was home to Good Companions, Canada's first summer theatre company, in 1934. Numerous theatrical notables, such as Barbara Hamilton and director Ted Follows, worked here. In 1993, the Ministry of Labour closed the theatre because of structural damage. It reopened in 1995 after a $3-million facelift.
Significant event?: A member of the 1900 construction team fell to
his death from the bell tower, reportedly after being spurned by an actress.
- Since 1900, witnesses have experienced sudden door openings, unexplained footsteps, lights turning on and off, and cold breezes rushing down the stairs into dressing rooms. Actors say they won't dress alone
in the opera house.
- An apparition known as Ben is said to occupy the premises. In January, 2000, Ben wrote a message on the office computer late at night when no
one was in the building and all the power had been turned off, then printed the message - "What's happening to me?" - for office staff to see.
My interest in cryptozoology began the day I witnessed a creature that was beyond my belief or, what I thought, boundries of reality. The incident was reported to a BFRO investigator several years ago in hope that they may be able to get further information from local authorities. Unfortunately, this investigator was unable to help.
The date of the encounter was May 9, 1981 about 10:00 am and I was flyfishing for redeye and smallmouth bass on the south branch of the Patapsco River approximately 1 mile downstream from Rt.32 near Sykesville, Maryland. The weather was sunny and slightly breezy and the air temperature was in the low 60’s. This section of river flattens out into riffles then empties into a larger pool, an area I had fished several times previously.
I was on the south bank near the riffles when I noticed a stray mixed breed dog sniffing around the weeds and thickets on the north bank. The dog was about 50 yards from me and was weaving in and out of the brush. I wasn’t worried about the dog bothering me, so I just put it out of my mind and concentrated on fishing.
After a few minutes or so, I heard the dog barking and growling. I figured that he stirred up a deer, but when I looked at the direction of the ruckus I noticed a dark hairy creature bobbing up and down in the thickets. I stopped fishing and moved closer to the riffles to get a better look and noticed that the dog stopped barking. Suddenly, I heard a loud yelp from the dog and the creature stood up. The best I could tell is that this “thing” was about 7-8 ft. tall and had dark matted hair. I could only see the body from the chest up because the rest of the body was obscured by the weeds and thickets. I stood completely still and could hear a series of “tick” sounds while observing this creature walk slowly through the thickets towards the woods. I started to follow it and in the meantime I noticed a strong musky scent that reminded me of fox urine.
I had waders on so I could only move so fast in an attempt to get a better look at this creature. It simply moved too fast for me. I decided to go back to my car, drive into Sykesville and make an immediate report to the authorities. On my way back to the vehicle, I noticed the dog and it had noticeable blood around the neck and hind area but seemed to be able to get around. I figured I better stay away for the dog regardless.
I drove to the nearest telephone which was located outside a bar. The local police told me to go back to the area and they would meet me there. So I got back into the car (I seriously thought about going into the bar for a minute first, but better judgement made me change my mind) and started to drive back to the river. I was amazed that a Maryland State Police cruiser was already there. The State Police officer told to get back in my car and leave immediately because they didn’t know how dangerous the situation was. I tried to explain to him that I made the initial report, but he refused to let me talk and again told me to leave. I went back to the area about 1 hour later and the place was crawling with people and many state and other official vehicles. One man standing near the road did tell me that someone found some hair samples but refused to say anything else.
For many years, I tried to gather information from local authorities in regards to this incident, but I have always been told that “no information is available” or “we have no report of an incident”. Since that time, I have decided that I would do my own investigations and find information on my own.
Follow up...I received this comment to this incident:
This sure brings up some old memories. I always expected that sooner or later it would get out. I'm glad someone else saw it and kicked over the can. I'll add beans.
I was one of the responders on that call. Right after we'd closed down the road a government response team arrived. Those guys weren't fooling around. Their big dogs and bigger guns made that evident. It wasn't long before we were locked out: ordered into our cruisers and away from the area. The "into our cruisers" part was the weirdest. We were outmanned, outgunned and outranked by the feds who had taken over. Soon after that, within an hour at most, several choppers were overhead... as in three. It was a manhunt on a larger scale than we could have mustered so quickly, and that is saying a lot.
I've never really been positive what happened. None of our guys had actually seen "it," though I imagine "it" was caught or killed. They said there were hair samples and footprint photos and casts taken. We were debriefed and basically instructed not to speak of this matter. With that I'll close and say no more except that it did happen as described on here.
Jeromy Staggs statement: I was filming the lunar eclipse on Aug. 28, 2007 around 5:45 am. When an object floated in from right to left. I first gave a copy to a professor at Morehead State University, they told me they could tell me what it wasn't but not what it was. They told me it wasn't a satellite or the International Space Station. Next my local newspaper put an article on the front page with a picture (Flemingsburg Gazette). After that channel 36 WTVQ Lexington did a news story showing me and clips from the video, which you can still view at wtvq.com. I have been talking with people from different websites, still trying to get in contact with the right people.
Officials may never know if the flaming object shooting through the sky Wednesday afternoon was in fact a meteor.
"We can't confirm at all what it is," said Todd Heitkamp, warning and coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. "There's suspicion that it was a meteorite, but we have no confirmation whatsoever."
Heitkamp said no one was monitoring meteorite activity over Sioux City at the time the ball of fire was spotted.
Around 2 p.m. Wednesday the Woodbury County Communications Center received reports of something falling from the sky. Communications center director Glenn Sedivy said callers talked about a "fire ball," but they were not able to give a good description of its location. The calls were forwarded to emergency responders.
Sioux City Police Lt. Marti Reilly said he heard sightings of something coming out of the sky east of Merrill. Officers weren't dispatched because police could not confirm the flaming object landed in Sioux City, he said.
Authorities at the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office said a caller south of Hinton told dispatchers they thought they saw something fall from the sky by Hinton. A motorist traveling on Highway 75 also reported seeing a flaming object in the sky a mile west and a mile north of Merrill.
Gary Junge, emergency management coordinator for Plymouth County, said he heard of reports of meteor sightings from Sergeant Bluff to Sioux County.
Heitkamp said meteor sightings are not uncommon.
"We have meteorites that hit the atmosphere all the time," he said. "This one here, if it was a meteorite, just happened to be large enough to reach further into the atmosphere than what most of them do before burning up."
Meteoroids are tiny particles about the size of a grain of sand. They are usually residue from comets. If a meteoroid encounters the Earth's upper atmosphere, it vaporizes in an event called a meteor. If the object survives and hits the ground, it is referred to as a meteorite.
Witness statement: "I am a middle-aged citizen of Luxembourg who prefers to stay anonymous. In 2002 during winter, I was on my daily walk to film forest life. But before I could reach the forest I noticed some prints on the snow covered ground. Then I saw a hundred meters away a dark and very huge figure. I tried to get it on film. The creature disappeared in the forest after a few minutes. I just made some stills of my filming material. I really have no idea what it is and I have never seen anything like this before."
There have been a lot of questions raised about this video but the witness has been willing to answer those questions put to them. The one thing that impresses me about this video is that the witness seems to be moving fairly rapidly towards the subject but gaining very little on it. As well, there is no hesitation by the subject like you would expect if someone were wearing a heavy fake suit.
Other witnesses have come forward reporting sightings of unidentified objects in the skies over Sidney, says Ufologist Brian Vike. Vike studies ufology, the study of unidentified flying object reports, sightings, alleged physical evidence, and other related phenomena.
Director of HBCC UFO Research in Houston, BC, Vike had another handful of witnesses describe a “bubble of fire” at the same time as other sightings Sept. 9.
“We saw what appeared to be a bubble of fire from a deck at the back of the house, slowly climbing into the sky and veering to the left and eventually disappearing as it traveled east. We saw two, one at 9:17 p.m., and a second at 9:22 p.m. They took identical paths.”
The report indicated three witnesses watched the pair of round orange objects. Another report indicated four others saw a pair of similar objects the same night.
“I was on the sundeck with a neighbour looking up to the sky (north) when I saw a ball that looked like it was flaming. It was heading southeast. My neighbour and I then called our wives to come out and see this object in the sky. There wasn’t any noise. The object then turned and headed east and disappeared. The sighting lasted two to three minutes. A few minutes later, another object that looked the same as the first appeared heading in almost the same direction. It then turned to head east and disappeared. This lasted another two to three minutes.”
Some similar sightings in various parts of the world, including Canada, have been shown to be Thai lanterns. Traditional Thai hot air lanterns are made from thin tissue paper and bamboo. A burning paper wick provides the hot air the lifts the lantern into the night sky.
But Vike is careful not to write off all sightings that are orange orbs.
“Not all orange light sightings are Thai lanterns, I am sure others are not suggesting this, but one sure doesn’t want to group the sightings in Sidney with the orange lights from the UK,” Vike said. “Possibly, it certainly could have been Thai lanterns, but we do not know for fact. So without knowing for sure, I personally would not lump the Thai lanterns in with the other sightings from the U.K. (2007) or Quebec’s Thai lantern sighting of 2006 with the sightings in Sidney, BC. The reason is simple; we just do not know for certain.”
It seems recent sightings also sparked a memory of a sighting from November 1998 that was reported to HBCC.
“While walking my dog, I spotted out of the corner of my eye what I thought was an aircraft in trouble, however there was no noise.
“I went down to the water and could see no aircraft in the water. Looking around, about 100 feet in the sky was a flying saucer. I said at the time on seeing this, ‘it was about time you showed up as I have been looking for you for over 30 years.’ In a flash it was gone. [It was] about 25 feet in circumference. It had what appeared to have three windows in the upper portion of the craft and along the lower section … a group of white lights which began to rotate along the leading edge and eventually formed one solid ring. As I watched this I knew it was getting ready to get the dickens out of there. I looked around for anyone else, but as luck would have it, not a person [was] in sight. I did not report this sighting, as I later checked with a group of people who I am sure thought I was missing a few bricks from a load.”
Strange noises that kept haunting a five-story house in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at midnight had scared away at least four homeowners in the past decade before two brothers recently located the "ghosts" in the cesspit.
Out of the stinking sewage, the Chen brothers netted a pair of catfishes, known to the locals as "pond angle fishes", each weighing five to six kilograms, and eight smaller ones about half a kilo each.
The discovery has put an end to a decade-long ghost story in Cenxi, a small city known for its granite, and turned the two brothers from paupers to millionaires.
The "ghost" house, wanted by no one before the Chen brothers bought it for 50,000 yuan (6,410 U.S. dollars) in February, is nowvalued at one million yuan. But the brothers said they would not sell it.
When the brothers, both migrant workers from the countryside of Guangxi, bought the house, it had been devalued from 250,000 yuan in 1996 because its previous owners had been scared away by the strange splashes that seemed to echo from every floor right after midnight.
One of them was so scared that he fell ill for many days, the local South China Morning Post reported.
The Chen brothers spent many nights listening to the splashes, which stopped the moment they started to pace the floor.
They finally located the noise in the sewage conduit of the first floor bathroom, which linked to the cesspit at the back of the building. The mystery was unraveled when they removed the lid of the cesspit and saw the dark catfishes.
The brothers then talked to the previous house owners to investigate where the fishes had come. One of them, Chen Dongcheng, remembered buying a dozen of the fish back in 1995. "When I brought them to the kitchen, I found there were only 10 left."
The two that went missing must have found their way down the flush toilet and into the cesspit, he said.
The house became "haunted" after that, forcing Chen Dongcheng to move out and sell the house at a very low price.
Experts say catfishes, a species of siluroid, can survive even in seriously contaminated water because its gill and skin both perform the respiratory function.
Left vacant for more than 30 years and believed to be "haunted," a former hospital in the Beacon Hill area of Kansas City was transformed by locally based Hoffman Cortes Restoration into the Residences of West Paseo, a 46-unit affordable senior apartments.
Construction began in 1914 on the Christian Church Hospital and was completed in 1916. The building was operated as a hospital until 1973 when the building was closed. Since then, neighbors reported ghost sightings at the vacant, dilapidated building, according to Charles Scammell, president of Hoffman Cortes Restoration, a subsidiary of Hoffman Cortes. "I've heard stories that people were seeing things in the middle of the night," he tells MHN.
Even Scammell experienced an unexplained occurrence. During the winter of 2005, Scammell went to the seven-story building by himself to investigate the scope of the interior work needed. He parked his car inside the garage and locked the entrance door. While touring the fifth floor, he heard his car's alarm. When he returned to the garage, he noticed that the lock had not been removed; yet an imprint of a fist had been made on the windshield of his car.
But following a massive rehabilitation effort, the new residents of the Residences of West Paseo have not reported any paranormal experiences, Scammell says. "Since it opened in May of 2006, we have heard nothing but positive comments from the new residents." As for the ghostly apparitions, Scammell believes, "maybe they moved to another part of town or they didn't exist."
Developed by Kansas City-based Cohen-Esry Development, the building had become 100 percent occupied in less than 100 days. Significant for its adaptation of Classical Revival architecture for an institutional building, the former hospital had been threatened by demolition after more than 30 years of abandonment, neglect and vandalism. "I can assure you that it was one of those buildings that when you walk inside, it made your hair stand up," he says.
The project included the complete restoration of all exterior masonry and terra–cotta features. The 1930s casement security windows were removed and replaced with reproductions of the original fenestration and exterior doors. Hoffman Cortes Restoration led this endeavor, while Gastinger Walker Harding Architects was the architect of record. "The ornamental terra-cotta was in shambles," Scammell says. "It had to be rebuilt and reconstructed. It was quite an undertaking."
All the original interior terrazzo floors have been restored. The second-floor entrance lobby and waiting rooms have been re-established with new marble walls and extensive plaster restoration. The skylights used to illuminate the original operating theatres have been reconstructed, as were the two exterior sixth-floor roof gardens.
Financing sources for the $11.5-million project included federal and state historic tax credits, federal and state rental housing tax credits, and industrial revenue bond financing. As part of the Beacon Hill redevelopment district, the building also received Missouri 353 property tax abatement.
The Residences of West Paseo has received a 2007 Preservation Award in June from the Historic Kansas City Foundation, dedicated to preserving the city’s historic architecture and cultural landscapes.
Mysterious bright yellow lights were seen plummeting towards a couple's house at "an abnormal speed", writes Simon Wesson.
The Bernasconis, who live in Homestead Road, Hatfield, were "scared to death" when they saw two gleaming lights which they believed were "about to crash just behind their house".
Rachel, 33, told the WHT that she had "never been so scared in her life".
"I'm 39 weeks pregnant and I thought I was going to go into labour, I was that scared.
She added: "My husband, Mark, saw two lights hovering above the houses opposite.
"At first he presumed it was an aircraft, because it looked like two wing tip lights; but after a while it was still there, so he opened the window to check it wasn't a reflection and it was at this point that he shouted for me to come over.
"I jumped out of bed and watched it hover from the open window, then suddenly the lights started to get closer and closer, within seconds we ran down the stairs and out of the door; at this point we were running for our lives!
"We got outside and it just disappeared, no noise or sight of the object, it was a complete mystery."
Rachel said that she had never believed in UFOs but this had really made her "wonder what is out there".
"The lights were too far apart to be a helicopter and they were too low and going too fast to be an airplane," she said.
"If it was a plane, we would have heard some kind of engine noise, but there was absolutely nothing.
"I just cannot explain it. I'm a bit of sceptic about these things, but those lights were irregularly bright!"
Two centuries after rats first landed on a remote Aleutian island from a shipwreck, wildlife managers in Alaska are plotting how to evict the non-native rodent from the island that bears their name.
Rat Island, like many other treeless, volcanic islands in the 1,000-mile (1,609-km) long Aleutian chain, is infested with rats that have proved devastating to wild birds that build nests in the earth or in rocky cliffs.
"They pretty much made the island worthless for a lot of wildlife," said Art Sowls, a biologist with the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, which sprawls across the Aleutians and other Alaska islands.
Rodents have reigned at Rat Island at the western end of the Aleutians since the 1780 shipwreck of a Japanese sailing ship, wreaking havoc on millions of seabirds with no natural defenses against land predators.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Maritime refuge, is drawing up plans to wipe out Rat Island's rats. A formal proposal is expected in about a month, according to Sowls.
The agency is trying to find an effective way to wipe out rat populations without harming other wildlife. Rat Island is a good starting point, according to biologists, for a removal program because it is small without much other wildlife.
Rats are a problem shared by remote islands all around the world. Biologists said successful rat removal programs have taken place in more than 250 islands including Campbell Island south of New Zealand and Langara Island in British Columbia.
"A lot of people go, 'Oh they're just rats, what's the big deal?'," said Ron Clarke, assistant wildlife conservation director at the Department of Fish and Game.
Once informed about the environmental destruction wrought by rats, citizens are generally determined to avoid them. Rats are blamed for causing about half the extinctions of various species worldwide since the 1600s and are persistent nuisances once established, said Clarke.
"They're very good swimmers. They'll eat anything. They're just very good at surviving," Clarke said.
SWEEPING RAT MANDATES
Alaska state officials have issued sweeping new regulations that slap rat-prevention mandates on Alaska ports and harbors that have served as entry points for invading rodents. The removal plan and new state regulations are extensions of previous anti-rat policies in Alaska.
Since the early 1990s, wildlife refuge managers have maintained a "rat-spill" program -- in which emergency responders prevent the spread of rats from shipwrecks -- similar to oil-spill contingency plans maintained by state and federal agencies.
"It's entirely possible that in a shipwreck situation, the environmental damage created by the introduction of rats into the environment would be even worse than that of a major oil spill," Sowls said.
He cited the situation on the Aleutian island of Kiska, which still holds a colony of millions of auklets, a small seabird, but where introduced rats are decimating that natural population.
Researchers commonly find vast stretches on Kiska with no live birds, only rotting bodies stuffed into burrows.
"A lot of the birds you find, the only parts the rats eat are the eyeballs and the brains," Sowls said. "It looks like, unless something is done in the next 20 to 40 years, that the rats will probably eliminate that colony."
Authorities are investigating the mysterious abuse of horses in Rockland County.
A woman says someone is cutting her horses, literally carving their hides with a sharp instrument. The woman lives in the village of Pomona.
There have been a number of attacks on these horses, both direct and indirect. The owner has collected many items that have been thrown near the horses, designed to have the horses run over them and injure themselves. But far more disturbing are the knife attacks.
"It's like finding your child, that someone has absolutely taken a knife to and maliciously cut them up," horse owner Joni Challenor said.
She calls them her babies. Four Arabian horses, owned by Challenor. They are strong, graceful animals that have somehow been injured.
Challenor claims someone has been mutilating the horses. A year ago, she found one with a large gash to its face.
Then, over the last few weeks, she says there have been at least a half dozen incidents. In one, it appears as if initials were carved into the animal's flesh.
"I think it's one of the most malicious ways to get back at somebody or to encourage them to have to abandon their beautiful and beloved horse farm," she said.
State police are investigating and Challenor says she paid for private security for awhile. Then, she installed video cameras that she says were soon vandalized.
A representative from the New York Horse Council has reviewed the injuries and determined the horses are well cared for and could not have injured themselves in their stalls.
Just this morning, Challenor found a new wound on Shadow, a gray Spottet Arabian that had the initials carved into him.
Challenor says she suspects someone may be trying to pressure her to sell her farm. She owns nearly three acres of valuable property in Pomona, which is a rapidly expanding village in Rockland County.
"I'm definitely someone who is firmly planted here," she said. "I grew up with horses, my job is based in the city, it's just a scoot to the city. I definitely look like someone who isn't going anywhere anytime soon."
Challenor has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
When Sputnik took off 50 years ago, the world gazed at the heavens in awe and apprehension, watching what seemed like the unveiling of a sustained Soviet effort to conquer space and score a stunning Cold War triumph.
But 50 years later, it emerges that the momentous launch was far from being part of a well-planned strategy to demonstrate communist superiority over the West. Instead, the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the space age.
And that winking light that crowds around the globe gathered to watch in the night sky? Not Sputnik at all, as it turns out, but just the second stage of its booster rocket, according to Boris Chertok, one of the founders of the Soviet space program.
In a series of interviews in recent days with The Associated Press, Chertok and other veterans told the little-known story of how Sputnik was launched, and what an unlikely achievement it turned out to be.
Chertok couldn't whisper a word about the project through much of his lifetime. His name, and that of Sergei Korolyov, the chief scientist, were a state secret. Today, at age 95 and talking to a small group of reporters in Moscow, Chertok can finally give full voice to his pride at the pivotal role he played in the history of space exploration.
"Each of these first rockets was like a beloved woman for us," he said. "We were in love with every rocket, we desperately wanted it to blast off successfully. We would give our hearts and souls to see it flying."
This very rational exuberance, and Korolyov's determination, were the key to Sputnik's success.
So was happenstance.
As described by the former scientists, the world's first orbiter was born out of a very different Soviet program: the frantic development of a rocket capable of striking the United States with a hydrogen bomb.
Because there was no telling how heavy the warhead would be, its R-7 ballistic missile was built with thrust to spare - "much more powerful than anything the Americans had," Georgy Grechko, a rocket engineer and cosmonaut, told AP.
The towering R-7's high thrust and payload capacity, unmatched at the time, just happened to make it the perfect vehicle to launch an object into orbit - something never done before.
Without the looming nuclear threat, Russian scientists say, Sputnik would probably have gotten off the ground much later.
"The key reason behind the emergence of Sputnik was the Cold War atmosphere and our race against the Americans," Chertok said. "The military missile was the main thing we were thinking of at the moment."
When the warhead project hit a snag, Korolyov, the father of the Soviet space program, seized the opportunity.
Korolyov, both visionary scientist and iron-willed manager, pressed the Kremlin to let him launch a satellite. The U.S. was already planning such a move in 1958, he pointed out, as part of the International Geophysical Year.
But while the government gave approval in January 1956, the military brass wanted to keep the missile for the bomb program, Grechko, 76, said in an interview. "They treated the satellite as a toy, a silly fantasy of Korolyov."
The U.S. had its own satellite program, Grechko said. "The Americans proudly called their project 'Vanguard,' but found themselves behind us."
The Soviet Union already had a full-fledged scientific satellite in development, but it would take too long to complete, Korolyov knew. So he ordered his team to quickly sketch a primitive orbiter. It was called PS-1, for "Prosteishiy Sputnik" - the Simplest Satellite.
Grechko, who calculated the trajectory for the first satellite's launch, said he and other young engineers tried to persuade Korolyov to pack Sputnik with some scientific instruments. Korolyov refused, saying there was no time.
"If Korolyov had listened to us and started putting more equipment on board, the Americans could have opened the space era," Grechko said.
The satellite, weighing just 184 pounds, was built in less than three months. Soviet designers built a pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy with two radio transmitters and four antennas. An earlier satellite project envisaged a cone shape, but Korolyov preferred the sphere.
"The Earth is a sphere, and its first satellite also must have a spherical shape," Chertok, a longtime deputy of Korolyov, recalled him saying.
Sputnik's surface was polished to perfection to better deflect the sun's rays and avoid overheating.
The launch was first scheduled for Oct. 6. But Korolyov suspected that the U.S. might be planning a launch a day earlier. The KGB was asked to check, and reported turning up nothing.
Korolyov was taking no chances. He immediately canceled some last-minute tests and moved up the launch by two days, to Oct. 4, 1957.
"Better than anyone else Korolyov understood how important it was to open the space era," Grechko said. "The Earth had just one moon for a billion years and suddenly it would have another, artificial moon!"
Soon after blastoff from the arid steppes of the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, the satellite sent out what would be the world's most famous beep. But the engineers on the ground didn't immediately grasp its importance.
"At that moment we couldn't fully understand what we had done," Chertok recalled. "We felt ecstatic about it only later, when the entire world ran amok. Only four or five days later did we realize that it was a turning point in the history of civilization."
Immediately after the launch, Korolyov called Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to report the success. Khrushchev's son, Sergei, who was alongside his father at the moment, recalled that they listened to the satellite's beep-beep and went to bed.
Sergei Khrushchev said that at first they saw the Sputnik's launch as simply one in a series of Soviet technological achievements, like a new passenger jet or the first atomic power plant.
"All of us - Korolyov's men, people in the government, Khrushchev and myself - saw that as just yet another accomplishment showing that the Soviet economy and science were on the right track," the younger Khrushchev, now a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, said in a telephone interview.
The first official Soviet report of Sputnik's launch was brief and buried deep in Pravda, the Communist Party daily. Only two days later did it offer a banner headline, quoting the avalanche of foreign praise.
Pravda also published a description of Sputnik's orbit to help people watch it pass. The article failed to mention that the light seen moving across the sky was the spent booster rocket's second stage, which was in roughly same orbit, Chertok said.
The tiny orbiter was invisible to the naked eye.
Excited by the global furor, Khrushchev ordered Korolyov immediately to launch a new satellite, this time, to mark the Nov. 7 anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
"We didn't believe that you would outpace the Americans with your satellite, but you did it. Now you should launch something new by Nov. 7," Korolyov quoted Khrushchev telling him, according to Grechko.
Working round-the-clock, Korolyov and his team built another spacecraft in less than a month. On Nov. 3, they launched Sputnik 2, which weighed 1,118 pounds. It carried the world's first living payload, a mongrel dog named Laika, in its tiny pressurized cabin.
The dog died of the heat after a week, drawing protests from animal-lovers. But the flight proved that a living being could survive in space, paving the way for human flight.
The first Sputnik beeped for three weeks and spent about three months in orbit before burning up in the atmosphere. It circled Earth more than 1,400 times, at just under 100 minutes an orbit.
For Korolyov there was bitterness as well as triumph. He was never mentioned in any contemporary accounts of the launch, and his key role was known to only a few officials and space designers.
Leonid Sedov, a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences with no connection to space program, was erroneously touted in the West as the Father of Sputnik. Korolyov, meanwhile, was only allowed to publish his non-sensitive research under the pseudonym "Professor K. Sergeyev."
Khrushchev rejected the Nobel committee's offer to nominate Korolyov for a prize, insisting that it was the achievement of "the entire Soviet people."
Sergei Khrushchev said his father thought singling out Korolyov would anger other rocket designers and hamper the missile and space programs.
"These people were like actors; they would all have been madly jealous at Korolyov," he said. "I think my father's decision was psychologically correct. But, of course, Sergei Korolyov felt deeply hurt."
Korolyov's daughter, Natalia, recalled in a book that the veil of secrecy vexed her father. "We are like miners - we work underground," she recalls him saying. "No one sees or hears us."
The Soviet Union and the rest of the world learned Korolyov's name only after his death in 1966. Today his Moslades so long denied them.
"The rivalry in space, even though it had military reasons, has pushed the mankind forward," said Valery Korzun, a cosmonaut who serves as a deputy chief of the Star City cosmonaut training center. "Our achievements today are rooted in that competition."
In the end, it was the Americans who won the race to the moon, nearly 22 years later. Khrushchev wasn't interested in getting there, his son says, and the effort made under his successor, Leonid Brezhnev, was underfunded and badly hampered by rifts between Korolyov and other designers.
"We wouldn't have been the first on the moon anyway," Grechko said. "We lost the race because our electronics industry was inferior."
Today, even as Sputnik recedes into the history books, its memory still exercises a powerful grip. In August, when a Russian flag was planted on the sea bed at the North Pole, the Kremlin compared it to Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon - an indication, perhaps, of how much Russians still treasure that first victory in space.
Twenty-one uncontacted Indians have been spotted from the air during a flight over one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian rainforest. Their territory is currently being targeted by illegal loggers.
The Indians were spotted on the shores of the Las Piedras river in Peru’s south-eastern Amazon. They left their shelters on the beach to watch the plane, chartered by Peru’s Environment Agency, fly overhead. During the plane’s second pass, one of the Indian women, carrying arrows and accompanied by a small boy, gestured aggressively, whilst the rest of the group sought refuge in the undergrowth.
‘This is the most recent recorded sighting of them,’ stated Peru’s national Indian organisation, AIDESEP. ‘The uncontacted tribes exist. If we don’t act now, tomorrow could be too late.’
In total, there are an estimated 15 uncontacted tribes in Peru and all of them are under severe threat, mainly from logging and oil exploration. Because of their isolation, they do not have immunity to outsiders’ diseases and any form of contact can be fatal for them.
The sighting comes after the chairman of Perupetro, Peru’s state oil company, stated that it was ‘absurd to say there are uncontacted peoples when no one has seen them’, while another Perupetro spokesperson compared the tribes to the Loch Ness monster.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘What further proof is needed of the uncontacted tribes’ existence? There they are for all the world to see – Peru’s most vulnerable citizens whose government now needs to do its duty by them. It is time for their rights to their land to be recognised and respected, for oil and gas exploration to be banned from their territories, and for all loggers and other outsiders to be removed.’
One night four decades ago, Laurie Wickens followed a familiar winding coastal road that leads to Shag Harbour in Shelburne County and landed in the middle of one of the world’s best-known UFO cases.
He was just a couple of weeks shy of his 18th birthday back then, a young man from nearby Bear Point who had quit school the year before to fish, sometimes helping his father and, other times, taking to the waters in his uncle’s boat.
Now, 57, with that career mostly behind him, he recalls the drive with friends on a cold and clear autumn night as if it happened yesterday.
"What was happening, it’s still vivid in my mind," he said recently, as Shag Harbour prepared to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its very own close encounter.
On Oct. 4, 1967, Mr. Wickens and his friends thought the flashing row of orange-yellow lights in the sky must be a plane, even though they’d never seen anything quite like it before.
"One light would come on, then two, then three, then four, then they’d all go out for a second, then they’d repeat," he said.
"It seemed to be going along with us for, I don’t know, three or four minutes, while we were driving up to Middle Shag Harbour. . . . As we started to make the corner, the lights, instead of flying level, they started flying maybe a 45-degee angle down towards the water. We (were) at the bottom of the hill, and we only lost sight of it for a few seconds and when we made the top of the hill, the light was in the water."
Mr. Wickens rushed to the nearest payphone a couple of kilometres down the road.
He’d just seen a plane crash into the water, he told the skeptical officer on the other end of the line at the Barrington Passage RCMP detachment.
"And the first thing the cop said was, ‘What have you been drinking?’ "
By all accounts, his was the first call to police that night — but not the last.
"The people who saw it coming down all thought an aircraft was crashing and that’s what they reported," said Don Ledger, co-author of Dark Object: The World’s Only Government-Documented UFO Crash, a book.
Something happened in Roswell, New Mexico, 60 years ago this summer.
In June or early July 1947, a farmer found strange debris while working on a ranch about 70 miles north of Roswell. He put some of it in a box and drove to the local sheriff. Neither man knew what to make of it, so the sheriff called Roswell Army Air Field, which sent two men to investigate.
On July 9, 1947, the Roswell Daily Record, a newspaper, printed a story with the alarming headline: "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region."
Other than those facts, there appear to be few things people agree on regarding what has become known as "the Roswell incident."
Six decades later, competing UFO enthusiasts promote their own theories, skeptics dismiss the spaceship claims as outrageous, and the military, which originally claimed all the fuss was over a weather balloon, now sticks to its story that it was an experimental spy craft.
Escondido resident Milton Sprouse, 85, said he knows what happened in Roswell ---- not because he favors one theory over another, but because he was there.
As for the outrageous stories of mysterious metal, alien corpses and a military coverup?
It's all true, he said.
From atom bombs to flying saucers
Before arriving at Roswell Army Air Field in 1945 as a corporal and engine mechanic, Sprouse already had participated in an undisputable historic event.
As a member of the 393rd Bomb Squadron assigned to the 509th Composite Group, Sprouse worked on the ground crew of Big Stink, one of the B-29 bombers stationed on the Pacific island of Tinian, where the two atomic bomb missions on Japan were launched to end World War II.
After the war, the 509th Composite Group was reassigned to Roswell, where they were renamed the 509th Bomb Wing. Sprouse continued to lead the ground crew of Big Stink, which had been renamed Dave's Dream after the pilot.
"There was nothing there but tumbleweeds blowing for miles," he said about arriving at Roswell in November 1945.
Sprouse first learned that something odd was going on at Roswell after returning from a three-day trip to Florida aboard Dave's Dream.
"I was there the day they announced a UFO had crashed," he said. "The next day, it was published in the Roswell Daily Record, and that night, all the generals said the story was untrue."
Farmer William "Mac" Brazel had found debris on the J.B. Foster Ranch, where he was a foreman, sometime in June or early July. Brazel took some of the material, which reportedly included sticks, rubber strips, metallic foil and sturdy paper, to Sheriff George Wilcox, who called the air base.
Intelligence Officer Jesse Marcel was sent to the sheriff's station. Marcel reported what he saw to Air Force commanding officer Col. William Blanchard, who told him to go with Brazel to the ranch and examine the crash site.
After spending the night at the ranch, Marcel and another officer loaded their vehicles with debris, some of which reportedly was marked with mysterious symbols, and drove back to the base. Blanchard then ordered a press release stating that the base had captured a flying saucer.
The original story ran in the local paper July 8. That same day, the debris was loaded onto a B-29 and sent with Marcel to an Air Force base in Texas. Marcel was photographed with what was said to be the debris, and the military issued a statement saying that it was in fact a weather balloon.
Search for the truth
Meanwhile, Sprouse said, all copies of the Roswell newspaper were collected by officers, and hundreds of men from the 509th were taken to the crash site and told to walk shoulder-to-shoulder through the field, looking for debris pieces.
Sprouse himself did not go because he was told he was needed for Dave's Dream, but five men from his ground crew went to the ranch.
"They said it was out of this world," Sprouse said about what the crew reported finding. Among the objects it reported seeing was a metallic foil that, when crumpled, unfolded without a crease.
But what was the debris? Was it really something from another world, or just the product of overactive imaginations fueled by the monotony of a desolate 1950s desert town?
One thing that is agreed upon now: It was not from a weather balloon.
In 1995, after years of questions about the incident, the U.S. Air Force admitted the weather-balloon story was fabricated to cover up a top-secret project called Project Mogul designed to detect atomic activity over the Soviet Union with high-altitude balloons.
Some of the launches in the project contained more than two dozen neoprene balloons strung across more than 600 feet.
Charles Moore, a Project Mogul scientist interviewed in the Air Force report, has spoken in public about the project and described striking similarities to what was found at the ranch outside of Roswell and the Project Mogul material, which used sticks, metallic paper and strangely marked tape.
The strange markings that had seemed like cosmic hieroglyphics may have had a much more mundane explanation: Moore said the project used tape made at a toy factory.
The balloons were launched in June and July 1947 from Alamogordo Army Air Field in New Mexico. One flight was launched June 4 and tracked to Arabela, N.M., about 17 miles from the Foster ranch, before its batteries ran down and contact was lost.
But if the debris did come from a Project Mogul craft, how could a string of balloons create the types of gouges on the ground some witnesses have reported?
Then again, maybe there were no gouges; skeptics of the UFO theory have noted that some witnesses changed their stories about what they saw on the crash site.
The Project Mogul explanation also does not address why some people reported seeing alien bodies at the site. Those were explained in another report in 1997 that concluded the bodies actually were anthropomorphic dummies used to test high-altitude parachutes.
UFO believers found the explanation a little too convenient. There also was a timing problem, as the parachute tests were not conducted until the 1950s. The timing discrepancy has been explained as the result of people who over the years confused the two incidents and compressed memories of them into one event.
Sprouse, however, said he recalls people speaking about "alien bodies" immediately after the debris discovery.
"They took the bodies to a hangar, and there were two guards at each door with machine guns," he said.
Sprouse said one witness, a barracksmate, was an emergency-room medic who reported seeing what he called "humanoid" bodies in the hospital.
"They went to the ER room and two doctors and two nurses were called in, and they dissected two of those humanoid bodies," he said. "Then the doctors and nurses were transferred.
"My friend said he saw the bodies, and I believed him," Sprouse said. "He said, 'We don't think the humanoid ate food.' I don't know why he said that. The digestive system wasn't designed for food or something."
Like the other doctors and nurses, Sprouse said, his friend suddenly was transferred, and he never heard from him again. Others on the base, however, kept the story alive.
"I heard it so many times, it had to be true," he said.
Sprouse said he knew Marcel, but he never spoke to him after the incident.
"From that day on, I could never get close to him," he said.
The story lives on
After the story about the UFO crash was retracted, the rest of the world largely forgot about Roswell and accepted that what had been discovered was just a misidentified weather balloon.
The men stationed at the base, however, did not easily forget.
"They were still talking about it when I left, and I left in '56," Sprouse said.
In 1978, Marcel was interviewed by a researcher and appeared in a documentary, "UFOs Are Real," the following year. The National Enquirer interviewed Marcel in 1980 for an article in which he said the woodlike debris could not be burned and the thin metal could not be bent. "The Roswell Incident" was released in 1980 as the first of a string of books on the subject.
As interest grew in the Roswell UFO incident, so did the number of detractors. Some have questioned Marcel's credibility, saying he got caught up in UFO hysteria and was known to exaggerate his own military past.
Jesse Marcel, Jr. published his own book this year, "The Roswell Legacy," defending his father, who died in 1986.
Sprouse has not kept up with all the books and documentaries on Roswell and did not go to Roswell in July for the 60th anniversary of the discovery.
He does, however, attend annual reunions with the 509th, which attracts 25 to 30 veterans.
"The Roswell incident comes up every year, but there's nothing really new," he said.
Sprouse also speaks about his experience at Tinian to about five high schools a year, and he often is invited to speak to other groups. He usually ends his talk with his memories of Roswell, often to the surprise of his audience.
At a talk in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this year, Sprouse said a man came up to him afterwards and said, "I don't believe a damn thing you said."
"I told him, 'You can believe what you want, but I know it's true,'" Sprouse said.