Monday, August 21, 2017

Scott expedition cake found near South Pole 'almost' edible


A 100-year-old fruit cake has been found in the oldest building in Antarctica and those who discovered it think it looks fresh.

The cake is believed to date to Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition between 1910 and 1913.

Although the tin containing the cake was rusted and falling apart, the cake inside "looked and smelt (almost) edible" according to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Lizzie Meek, the programme manager for artefacts at the Trust, said: "With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise.

"It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice."

Top 10 Disturbing Stories From The Spanish Inquisition

Photo credit: Bartolome Esteban Murillo
Via by Tristan Shaw

Although the number of people killed by the Spanish Inquisition has been exaggerated into the hundreds of thousands or even millions over the years, the executions actually totaled around 3,000–5,000 people. But there’s no doubt that it was a brutal institution.

From 1478 until 1834, the Inquisition killed thousands of people in Spain and its colonies and arrested countless more. Its purpose was to root out heresy, and as we will see, it wasn’t afraid to go after children and even entire families.

10. Ines Esteban

In 1499, an unusual prophet popped up in the little Spanish town of Herrera del Duque. The soothsayer’s name was Ines Esteban, a girl of about 10 or 11 who claimed that the Messiah would come to the Earth next year. The Messiah would rescue the conversos, Jews who converted to Christianity, and take them to the Promised Land.

Ines’s prophecies gave the oppressed converso community hope. She became a popular figure, followed by children and adults alike. Her followers began to practice Jewish customs again, like resting on the Sabbath and obeying Mosaic law. They eagerly awaited the Messiah’s arrival, which was scheduled for March 8, 1500.

Naturally, the Inquisition was less than pleased to hear about all this.[1] A month after the Messiah failed to show up, Ines was arrested by the Inquisition and held in the city of Toledo between May and July 1500. Although Ines Esteban was still a child, the Inquisition had no mercy. The poor girl ended up being burned at the stake.

9. Diego Rodriguez Lucero

Between 1499 and 1506, Cordoba was under the thumb of Diego Rodriguez Lucero, an inquisitor nicknamed “the bringer of darkness.”[2] In one illustrative incident, Lucero sent a man named Julian Trigueros to the stake so he could take his wife. Another one of Lucero’s mistresses was taken by burning the woman’s parents and husband.

Whether they were conversos or Christians, peasants or noblemen, nobody was safe from Lucero’s cruelty. He routinely used torture and threats to get confessions and never thought twice about sending somebody to burn. In June 1506 alone, Lucero handed out 100 death sentences.

Eventually, everybody in Cordoba got so sick of Lucero that a marquis sent his army to attack and liberate Lucero’s prison. Lucero escaped, but the damage he caused was so scandalous that the Grand Inquisitor had him arrested in 1508. He was soon released, however, and died in Seville that same year.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Strange Disappearances on the Highway of Death

I-80 in Nevada
Via by Brent Swancer

Meandering straight across the continental United states, from San Francisco, California, to Teaneck, New Jersey is the vast Interstate 80, also called simply I-80. Constructed between the years of 1956 to 1986, and sprawled out over 2,902 miles of historic travel routes, I-80 is one of the most ambitious highway projects ever attempted in the country. It is also perhaps one of the most vital, an artery through the country along which countless travelers and truckers surge day in and day out. One portion of this major road cuts through the northern part of the state of Nevada, and this expanse cuts through some of the most unforgiving and lifeless wasteland in the United States, with long stretches populated by little more than desert scrub and tumbleweeds. Here one can travel hundreds of miles without seeing any sign of human life, and at night it turns into a black expanse of oblivion, which has all earned this particular stretch of highway the nickname “The Big Lonely.” It is here along this swath of barren badlands that an untold number of hapless travelers have made their last journeys, vanishing off the face of the earth in one of the bleakest places in the country.

On September 21, 1978, 73-year old Nan Dixon left her home in Grass Valley, California to embark on a 3-hour drive to Seven Troughs, Nevada to visit her brother and his family. In 1961, Nan had invested $6,000 in her brother’s gold mining operation, but had gotten cold feet and wanted out, so she was making the journey out there across I-80 to get her money back. She would never arrive at her destination and no one would ever see her again. The only clue as to her whereabouts was a credit card bill for $4.18 in gasoline, which had been purchased at a Texaco gas station in Lovelock, Nevada, but a thorough search of the rather remote area turned up no sign of the missing woman.

Volunteer detectives reveal possible breakthrough in DB Cooper case

An undated sketch of DB Cooper based on recollections of the passengers and crew
of the Northwest Airlines jet he hijacked. Picture: AP
Via by Lauren McMah

A fresh piece of evidence could lift the lid on the mysterious case of missing skyjacker DB Cooper — the issue too baffling even for America’s top investigators.

Last year the Federal Bureau of Investigations abandoned its 45 year probe into what happened to the unknown businessman, who hijacked a Northwest Airlines passenger jet in 1971 and jumped out of it, in what would become one of the world’s most fascinating aviation mysteries.

Armchair detectives have refused to give up the search for answers, and earlier this year a team of researchers revealed their analysis of a tie left behind on the hijacked plane suggesting DB Cooper may have been a Boeing employee.

And now, another group of volunteer investigators say they’ve found a parachute strap that could blow the case back open — and point to the location of the riches Cooper was holding when he jumped.

The World’s First Mutant Ants Have Arrived

Via by Paul Seaburn

Ants are the most socialized and organized members of the insect world and quite possibly hold the title among all living things … especially when compared to current humans. There are also a LOT of them, they have armies, some of them can fly and fire ants – in addition to having a nasty venomous bite – can lock their legs together and create living boats. These are not creatures to mess with, right?

Too late. Two independent teams of researchers have used the favorite new toy of scientists – CRISPR – and genetically altered ants. According to Claude Desplan, a New York University biologist and an author of one of the studies published in the journal Cell, these ants are “the first mutant in any social insect.” What could possibly go wrong?

“Ants are amazing because with the same genome you can be a queen, or a worker, or another class of worker, or a soldier.”

Desplan’s research group worked with Harpegnathos saltator, a species of jumping ant found in India. These ants are all fertile and can potentially become the queen by winning a giant ant battle for dominance. A second study — led by Daniel Kronauer, head of the Laboratory of Social Evolution and Behavior at Rockefeller University, and graduate student Waring Trible, used the more dangerous-sounding clonal raider ants (Ooceraea biroi) which reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis. Both of these reproductions methods along the ants to easily pass their mutations to the next generation. Oh boy.

Top 10 Cases That Baffled Scotland Yard

Via by Gary Pullman

Despite occasional setbacks, Scotland Yard is recognized as one of the world’s premiere crime-solving organizations. Although it’s the name of the London Metropolitan Police headquarters, “Scotland Yard” has become synonymous with the force itself. The Metropolitan Police serve the entire Greater London area, sometimes even conducting joint investigations overseas in cooperation with foreign police organizations.

While Scotland Yard has successfully solved thousands of cases since it was established in 1829, it has failed occasionally to bring suspected killers and other criminals to justice. The most notorious killer who got away is Jack the Ripper, but these 10 cases baffled Scotland Yard as well.
10. The Case Of The Stolen Gold

Following a massive theft of gold bullion and diamonds in November 1983, Scotland Yard admitted that it was baffled. Police hadn’t been able to identify “a single solid clue,” one officer said.

Authorities feared that the 6,800 bars of gold, worth $40 million at the time, might have been melted to destroy their identifying marks and then taken out of the country. The sale of the stolen diamonds, worth $175,000, posed no problem for the thieves because the gems lacked such marks.

The gold was being stored in the Brink’s-Mat Ltd. warehouse in Hounslow, adjacent to Heathrow, when six robbers stole it despite an array of alarms, searchlights, closed-circuit television cameras, and heavy automatic doors. Police suspected that the thieves used information supplied by someone planted in the Brink’s staff or by a Brink’s employee.[1]

Six security guards on duty during the robbery saw three of the robbers. But they were unable to provide detailed descriptions of the suspects, who wore hoods, and nothing was known of the vehicles used by the gang.

Although insurance companies offered $3 million for information concerning the stolen items, no one came forth with any tips. The investigation was impeded by the nation’s newspaper strike, which prevented authorities from appealing to the public for assistance.
9. The Case Of The Severed Finger
Unable to identify a man who lost a finger in 2010, Scotland Yard appealed to the public for information.

A dog discovered the digit in an abandoned shop in Woburn Walk on December 4. No other remains were found in the vicinity. Initially, police thought the finger might have been blown from the victim’s body as a result of the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings at Aldgate. Fifty-two people were killed in the London attacks that day.

The shop in which the missing finger was found is near the location where suicide bomber Hasib Hussain detonated his bomb on a double-decker bus. Analysis of the DNA of Hussain’s victims and survivors proved that the finger did not belong to any of them or to any missing persons.

When asking for the public’s help, Scotland Yard’s Detective Constable Tom Boon admitted the case was “quite the mystery.”[2]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ginormous, 70-Ton Titanosaur Is the Largest Dinosaur on Record

Via by Laura Geggel

About 100 million years ago, when Earth was uncommonly warm and flowering plants had diversified into an array of bountiful blooms, the largest land-living animal on record — a massive, long-necked titanosaur — stomped around, searching for plants it could eat to fuel its enormous body, a new study finds.

The newly identified titanosaur was so immense — 69 tons (62 metric tons), which is equivalent to the weight of nearly one dozen Asian elephants — that it has claimed the title as the largest dinosaur on record, surpassing the previous record holder, another titanosaur known as Argentinosaurus hiunculensis. Although it's exciting to discover the world's largest land-dwelling beast, the researchers said they're even more thrilled about the vast number of fossilized bones they uncovered, belonging to at least six of the giants. By comparing these newfound bones with those of other titanosaurs, the researchers were able to construct a comprehensive titanosaur family tree, they said.

This family tree shows that some of Patagonia's giant titanosaurs — including Argentinosaurus, Puertasaurus, Notocolossus and the newly identified dinosaur — are part of the same evolutionary group, known as a clade.

This clade indicates that "extreme gigantism evolved once in the history of sauropods" rather than multiple times, said study lead researcher José Luis Carballido, a researcher with the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET) who works at the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio in Trelew, a city in the Chubut province of Argentina.

The Strange Cargo Cults of the South Pacific

Via by Brent Swancer

Humankind has spawned a vast number of religions, faiths, sects, and cults, which have all strived in some form or other to come to an understanding of out most universal questions of why we are here and what our purpose is. Such disparate belief systems have brought forth all manner of practices and codexes that run the range of the slightly odd to the downright weird, and one very strange phenomenon is that of a number pf peoples sprinkled throughout the remote islands of the South Pacific ocean, who have fostered a whole religion that revolves around their fleeting tastes of the technological advances the outside world had to offer.

During the hellish fighting of World War II, the South Pacific found itself to be a vast, bloody battleground for two powerful and tenacious enemies, the Americans and the Japanese. All over the region troops from both sides poured into the many remote, isolated islands here, along with their advanced weapons, supplies, and various trappings of the modern world. For the comparatively primitive indigenous peoples of these quaint islands, this was their first contact with Western civilization, their first exposure to such alien goods, and their first experience to see such wondrous and frightening machines of war. While things such as canned food, bottled drinks, manufactured clothing, candy, washing machines, radios, medicine, tents, cigarettes, and other common supplies were normal parts of everyday life for the troops, to these natives these were amazing, almost magical things the likes of which they had never seen or even imagined before.

When relations were good, many such goods were shared with the natives by these soldiers, and others were retrieved from misplaced airdrops or salvaged from the trash, and these new, otherworldly items drastically changed the way of life for a good number of these islanders. These modern items, or “cargo,” were seen as a new source of luxury, a symbol of the vast wealth and power of these mysterious outsiders, and many of these peoples saw these things as divine gifts provided through the foreign troops. They began to worship the deities they believed to be responsible for bringing them these wonders, and in many cases these movements formed what would go on to come to be called “cargo cults.”

Ghosts exist…what now?


This week I came across the Sir Noface documentary currently touring America. Led by Chad Calek, a well-known paranormal investigator and filmmaker, the documentary claims to provide definitive proof of ghosts – in the form of a full apparition appearing on camera. As always I remain sceptical of this claim, particularly following the commercialised manner in which it appears to be being presented to the public – sell out tours including a range of ticket packages, a documentary film which I am sure will come with a price tag, merchandise etc. Surely, one would assume, if you had dedicated your life to paranormal research and you truly believe you have finally found proof of ghosts you would share far and wide? Open up the footage to further analysis? Invite other researchers and scientists along to discuss the merit and implications of such a find? Furthermore, the recent claim by Most Haunted to have captured a ghost on camera – which looks suspiciously like a poor attempt at a video overlay of Stuart accompanied by some pretty terrible acting – has left a sour taste for such claims. I do, however, like to remain open-minded and I can’t help but feel curious both about the footage itself, and why it is being revealed the way that it is…

It did get me thinking though – what if it was real? What if after all these years someone finally did have unequivocal evidence that ghosts exist? In the world of paranormal research we are often pre-occupied with the question – “do ghosts exist?”. However, we rarely stop to think what would happen if they do, and I think it is worth some thought.

So let’s pretend for a moment that proof is finally presented that ghosts, that is spirits of the dead, are real. What might it mean for…

Garment workers faint after alarm over ghost

A file photo shows factory workers who had fainted on the job. KT/Ban Sokrith
Via by Khy Sovuthy

More than 30 garment workers fainted in a factory at Canadia Industrial Park on Monday due to mass hysteria after news spread of one staff member being possessed by a ghost spirit.

Bun Van, chief of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union in Canadia Industrial Park, said about 35 workers at the New Orient Garment Company fainted and were sent to a private clinic for treatment.

“There was news spreading amongst the workers that one of them was possessed by a ghost spirit and was yelling for chicken to eat,” said Mr Van. “This information scared the other workers and they started to faint one by one.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

South Carolina Police Issue Bigfoot Warning After Sighting

Tree where Bigfoot was seen standing (John E. Bruner/ Bigfoot 911)
Via by Paul Seaburn

Yes, it’s true. Police in Greenville, South Carolina, issued an official public safety warning after a Bigfoot sighting was reported the night of on August 4th in McDowell County, North Carolina, about 90 miles across the border between the states. The story was quickly picked up by the media in both states and nationally. Is the warning real? Is the Bigfoot?

NBC affiliate WYFF in McDowell County reported that the Bigfoot investigation group Bigfoot 911 had a team of seven people out in the woods the night of 8/4 and at around 11 pm the light from their glow sticks showed “a large bipedal animal covered in hair” At that point, group spokesperson John Bruner says he sprang into action.

“The angle of the moon was shining straight down on the road and something big stepped into view … I turned my headlamp on and I saw a large bi-pedal animal covered in hair. It took one step into the woods, (then) I took off running toward where it went into the woods.”

Bruner was close enough to see its face (“I was able to see details of the creature … like the face, and the hair was matted and stringy. The eyes were farther apart than human eyes.”) but had no chance of catching the creature because it was tall enough to apparently break off a tree branch 9 feet above the ground.

“It’s face was solid black, (with) no hair on it. The hair looked shaggy all over (its body.) It turned and took five steps and was at the bottom of the hill, probably 30 yards. I could see the gluteus maximus flexing with each step.”

Top 10 Murder Victims Who Solved Their Own Murders

Via by Lyra Radford

The criminal justice system can be a bit tricky. Even if investigators think they know who committed a crime, they still have to be able to link a suspect to the scene without a shadow of a doubt. This is great for those wrongfully accused, but it’s downright infuriating when it helps the guilty get away with murder.

Between stalled police investigations, poorly collected evidence, and subpar autopsy performances, the incompetence of the living can be enough to make the dead roll over in their graves. Or perhaps rise right up to solve their murder cases themselves.

10. The Ghost Of Fred Fisher Had To Point Out Where His Body Was

In 1826, Australian farmer Frederick Fisher vanished. His shady neighbor, George Worrall, waved a big red flag when he suddenly remembered that his pal Fred had signed his entire farm over to George before mysteriously skipping town. Four months passed before the ghost of Fred Fisher had had enough of the whole charade and decided to take matters into his own spectral hands.[1]

Fred’s ghost appeared to a man named John Farley and pointed toward a nearby creek before vanishing. Obviously, this freaked out Farley, but he made sure that the area was searched later. Fred’s bloody and battered body was found in a shallow grave right where his ghost had pointed. Good ol’ George eventually confessed to the murder and was hanged.

9. Zona Heaster Shue Came To Her Mother In Visions

It was winter 1897 when Elva “Zona” Heaster Shue of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, died of what her autopsy claimed was “everlasting faint.” Her mother, Mary Jane Heaster, wasn’t buying it and not just because of the cockamamy excuse for a coroner’s report.

Zona’s ghost had to return from the great beyond to tell her mother what’s what. Over the course of four days, Zona’s ghost made it clear to her mother that her death wasn’t an accident . . . or whatever “everlasting faint” means.

The culprit responsible for her death was her drifter of a husband, Edward Stribbling Trout Shue. Zona’s ghost did a reenactment of The Exorcist and spun her head all the way around to imply that he had snapped her neck.

After a proper autopsy was finally performed, medical professionals miraculously discovered that her neck had, in fact, been broken. Edward was found guilty of Zona’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. However, he only served three years before dying of some unknown illness.[2]