Thursday, April 27, 2006

Yorkshire Poltergeist Haunts Bar, Flushes Toilets!

Ghost that came out of the closet

(Emma Dunlop/Yorkshire Today)

A TERRIFIED landlord is calling in a priest to exorcise his Yorkshire pub after he confronted a ghostly apparition causing mayhem to his premises.
Roger Froggatt, of the Low Valley Arms, was left severely shocked after seeing the ghostly figure of a woman dressed all in white when he went to what he thought was a break-in at his Barnsley pub around at 1.30am yesterday.
But it was when he went to check the toilets that he got the shock of his life.
In front of him stood the grotesquely disfigured apparition of an elderly woman dressed all in ghostly white.
When she turned to look at him he saw half her face was missing, from her cheekbone down to her jaw.
He and his wife Kathryn were so terrified they called the police who also witnessed spooky goings-on.
Three plasma television screens had switched themselves on.
A heat-seeking alarm had also been activated and the manually-operated toilets were flushing themselves – which police last night confirmed they too had seen – yet there was nobody in the pub or any sign of a break-in.
Regulars say the ghost may be that of a former barmaid who died some years ago at the Station Road pub in Darfield.
The frightened couple are now planning to call in a priest to carry out an exorcism to rid the pub of the evil spirit.
Mr Froggatt, 49, was so shaken that the police offered to call him an ambulance but he refused medical treatment. He said: "I have never seen anything like it in my life. I had made the pub secure, switched off all the power to the television screens then went upstairs with my wife to bed in our flat on the premises.
"I was woken when the alarm went off and went downstairs to see if I could hear anything but heard nothing and reset it and went back to bed.
"There are heat-seeking sensors all over the pub and if anyone had been inside the bar area the alarm would have gone off again within three seconds.
"I went back to sleep then the alarm went off about one-and-a-half hours later. I heard nothing again and reset the alarm but this time decided to investigate further and went into the pub armed with a lump of wood in case there were burglars.
"I will never forget what I saw. All three plasma television screens were switched on. My wife went to switch them off and I checked the toilets.
"When I went into the ladies I couldn't believe what I saw. There was a figure of what I believe was a woman with no face and silvery grey hair, dressed in a white gown.
"I stood there for about four or five seconds then fled in terror. I ran out of there, I was that shaken. I couldn't speak. I couldn't even speak to the police when they arrived soon afterwards after my wife called them.
"She took two officers into the toilets and they saw them just flushing by themselves, all the time. They are not automatic and you have to pull the handle down. There was nobody there.
"I can't remember much about it after that. I was shaking. I have never seen anything like it before and don't want to again. It was the ugliest thing I have ever seen."
Mr Froggatt insisted he was a man who was not easily frightened and one who had run pubs for some time.
"This has just done my head in," he said.
"We've had gas taps turning themselves on in the cellar and barrels mysteriously moving about but have just dismissed it as figments of our imagination. But believe me, last night was real."
Mr Froggatt and his wife Kathryn, 55, have run the pub, formerly called the Watt Tyler, for just a year.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Officers attended and made a search of the property. On entering the toilet area the pedestal toilets in the cubicles began to flush themselves. We are still investigating."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Killer Chimps On The Loose In Sierra Leone!

Police in Sierra Leone are on the hunt for a group of chimpanzees, who escaped from their wildlife sanctuary after a fatal attack on construction workers.

Armed reinforcements are combing the area after a Sierra Leonean died and four people were seriously injured.

Security personnel said the five men were attacked on Sunday after entering the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Angry chimps killed and mutilated the driver. Three North Americans are in a hospital in the capital, Freetown.

Another Sierra Leonean was also badly injured - and reportedly needed to have his hand amputated.

A worker at Tacugama told the BBC that some 24 chimpanzees had escaped, while six had already returned.

The violent attack was instigated by Bruno, the first chimpanzee taken in by the sanctuary and its alpha-male, along with two other primates, police said.

Villagers warned

Armed police arrived after the attack and fired shots which caused panic among local people.

Tourism Minister Okere Adams visited the scene just outside Freetown and said police were searching the area to find the chimps and bring them back to the sanctuary.

"We are combing the area and beyond to bring the chimpanzees back but would not harm them," a police officer told AFP news agency.

The authorities have warned residents of the mountain villages around the sanctuary not to approach any chimpanzees they come across.

The sanctuary was set up a decade ago to give shelter to orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees.

Across West Africa, chimpanzees are under threat from hunting, logging and human encroachment.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Malaysian Officials Deny Baby Bigfoot Capture!


Malaysian wildlife officials denied capturing a baby "Bigfoot," amid fevered speculation over the existence of the mythical creature in the nation's southern jungles.

The Berita Harian newspaper reported that a young Bigfoot was caught by a group of men thought to be from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) near the southern town of Kota Tinggi two weeks ago.

The paper quoted local residents as saying they had spoken to men who described shooting the creature with tranquiliser darts. The locals then peeked into the back of the their truck to see a large, hairy creature.

But the department's director-general Datuk Musa Nordin denied the report.

"During the period reported, Perhilitan did not mount any operation in the area," Musa said in a statement carried by the official Bernama news agency.

Freddie Long, the Tourism and Environment Committee chairman in southern Johor state, said that if a Bigfoot had been captured, it should have been given to local authorities for research.

Bigfoot fever erupted last December when some workers claimed to have spotted three of the beasts, two adults and a youngster, on the edge of a Johor forest reserve.

The tale was given wide coverage in the national press which also carried stories of other sightings, some dating back decades, and printed photographs of supposed footprints -- vague impressions in the jungle floor.

Local authorities treated the claims seriously, with plans for an official expedition to track down the mysterious beasts, and setting up a telephone hotline to report sightings.

Suggestions that the story has been cooked up to lure tourists to Johor have been denied.

Stories of mythical ape-like creatures have been reported in wilderness areas all over the world. They are known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch in the United States and Canada, and yetis in the Himalayas.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bubonic Plague Strikes In Los Angeles!


LOS ANGELES -- A woman is in stable condition with bubonic plague, the first confirmed human case in Los Angeles County since 1984, health officials said Tuesday.

The woman, who was not identified, was admitted to a hospital April 13 with a fever, swollen lymph nodes and other symptoms. A blood test confirmed the bacterial disease, and she was given antibiotics, officials said.

Bubonic plague is not contagious, but if left untreated it can morph into pneumonic plague, which is. Bubonic plague is usually transmitted to humans from the bites of fleas infected by rodents.

Health officials said they suspect the woman was exposed by fleas in her home and that there was no cause for alarm. An estimated 10 to 20 Americans contract plague each year, mostly in rural communities.

Bubonic plague is believed to have been the "Black Death" that killed 25 million people in Europe between 1346 and 1351.

Yummy Mummy Feeds Young Its Skin!

(BBC News)

An international group of scientists has described an animal that provides nutrition for its young by letting them peel off and eat its skin.

The worm-like amphibian develops a nutritious outer layer of skin, and looks "relaxed" while its young rips it off with their teeth.

The researchers say this kind of parenting has never been seen before in land-living animals.

The discovery is reported in a paper in the journal Nature.

The Boulengerula taitanus is found in the Taita Hills of south-eastern Kenya. It lives underground and can grow up to 30cm (12in) in length. Adults have two rows of pointed teeth and feed on termites and insects.

The species was first identified in 1935, but its remarkable parenting methods have up until now remained undescribed.

An international scientific team carried out an expedition to Kenya to study the creature. The group collected some of the amphibians and set up videos to record their behaviour.

"The young are hatching out of eggs but they are not very well developed," explained Dr Alexander Kupfer, an author on the paper and a zoologist from the Natural History Museum, UK.

"They have very milky teeth and with these they rip off the mother's skin; but the mother seems very relaxed - not moving at all."

The skin of female B. taitanus becomes thicker and more nutrient-rich when she bears offspring and the young have specialised teeth for tearing and removing it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Emerging Volcano's Moat Of Death Traps Sea Creatures!

Emerging Ocean Volcano Has ‘Moat of Death’


An undersea volcano in the Pacific is growing from its summit and could breach the ocean surface within a few decades, a new study reveals.

In the meantime, it is creating a thriving environment for some sea creatures but a death trap for others.

Researchers used submersible vehicles and other technology to explore Vailulu'u Seamount, an active volcano lying off the coast of the Samoan archipelago. They found that the volcano had sprouted a new 1,000-foot cone at its summit since it was last explored 5 year ago.

Toothpaste and pillows

Dubbed Nafanua, the cone is made from large pillow lava, a type of rock that forms when hot magma spewed by underwater volcanoes or cracks in the Earth comes into contact with water and congeals into large blobs, or "pillows."

"Imagine a replica volcano on your tabletop and somebody squirting toothpaste out from underneath," said study team member Hubert Staudigel from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

"If you keep squirting toothpaste from this one place, the squirts will overlie one another. Depending on their viscosity, the squirts will have a very flat slope or just stay in place and pile on top of each other," Staudigel told LiveScience.

Moat of death

Nafanua, which is still about 2,300 feet below sea level, is creating new niches for undersea creatures as it creeps slowly towards the ocean surface. Near its summit, eels swarm around warm hydrothermal vents and feed on shrimp carried their way by volcanic currents.

The inside of the Nafanua, however, is deadly. The same currents that provide the eels with food also deposit sea creatures into a cavity of turbid and toxic waters, creating what the researchers call a "moat of death." The bodies of fish, squid and crustaceans rot within this moat and bright red bristle worms feed on the bacteria that slough off their carcasses.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Missing Link Missing No More!

(National Geographic News)

When the famous skeleton of an early human ancestor known as Lucy was discovered in Africa in the 1970s, scientists asked: Where did she come from? Now, fossils found in the same region are providing solid answers, researchers have announced.

Lucy is a 3.5-foot-tall (1.1-meter-tall) adult skeleton that belongs to an early human ancestor, or hominid, known as Australopithecus afarensis.

The species lived between 3 million and 3.6 million years ago and is widely considered an ancestor of modern humans.

The new fossils are from the most primitive species of Australopithecus, known as Australopithecus anamensis. The remains date to about 4.1 million years ago, according to Tim White, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

White co-directed the team that discovered the new fossils in Ethiopia in a region of the Afar desert known as the Middle Awash.

The team says the newly discovered fossils are a no-longer-missing link between early and later forms of Australopithecus and to a more primitive hominid known as Ardipithecus.

"What the new discovery does is very nicely fill this gap between the earliest of the Lucy species at 3.6 million years and the older [human ancestor] Ardipithecus ramidus, which is dated at 4.4 million years," White said.

The new fossil find consists mainly of jawbone fragments, upper and lower teeth, and a thigh bone.

The fossils are described in today's issue of the journal Nature

Giant Squid Overrun Northern California!

Scientists are baffled, fisherman are frustrated, no one knows the ultimate impact on our ecosystem. Now, who wants calamari?

(Metro News)

MILLIONS of immigrants from Latin America began streaming north to the California coast years ago. No one knows why they came here. No one knows the impact they will have on the state's economy and the environment. Scientists are on the case, but answers elude them. After all, these aliens do not speak our language and they currently reside miles from shore, more than 100 fathoms down, occasionally rising to the surface when overcome by a feeding frenzy.

Clearly, the giant Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) is not your ordinary migrant. It's a cephalopod that grows to over 100 pounds, eats voraciously and may possess an intelligence quotient comparable to that of many mammals. Originally named for the Humboldt Current that flows northward along the coast of Chile, the creature's presence in California has baffled local biologists, ecologists and fishermen.

Dr. William Gilly, a professor at Stanford University, has studied the Humboldt squid for about five years, but it was almost three decades ago that he first heard about the animals. In the 1980s he traveled up and down the Baja California peninsula seeking out the squid in the Sea of Cortez, but to no avail. Finally, in 1994, he made contact near Santa Rosalia. He discovered on the beach a bustling squid-processing plant, based on a strong localized fishery which had existed for years. He observed fishermen in the middle of the night beaching their small skiffs and weighing in thousands of kilos of the hefty squid.

"There's also a big fishery off Peru and Chile," says Gilly, "and we've identified them as far as 60 degrees north. They're incredibly temperature tolerant and oxygen tolerant, so why they're only expanding their range now, I don't know. They've been fishing for them off South America since the 1960s, but where they started before that and where they spread from is unclear."

He also cannot explain why the giant squid have not migrated across the Pacific, and Gilly wonders at the fact that Dosidicus gigas has not poked its tentacles around Cape Horn and scooted into the Atlantic Ocean. Other squid, notes Gilly, exist longitudinally across the globe, but the Humboldt squid—and only the Humboldt squid—ranges north to south in a narrow swath of water which features water temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mutant Rat-Maggots Panic Cape Town!

CAPE TOWN: Rat-tailed maggots, every bit as ugly as they sound, have been popping out of basins, toilets and taps across Cape Town, sparking a citywide panic that health officials tried to calm.
(Stuff NZ News)

Ivan Toms, director of health for the South African tourist mecca, said the risk the water supply was infested was slim.

"The water is chlorinated and filtered and comes from dams in the mountains where it is extremely unlikely that this maggot would be found," he said in a statement.

The body of the aquatic brownish larva can grow up to 2.5cm long, with a rat-like tail that can be twice that length and in fact serves as a breathing tube.

It later metamorphosises into the brightly coloured drone fly, which looks like a honey bee and feeds on pollen.

The maggots are usually found in stagnant water and the drone fly – possibly on the increase in the city – may have laid its eggs inside hand-basin pipes, Toms said.

If swallowed, the cylindrical, crush-resistant grub-like body was unlikely to cause major health problems, he said.

"Since the rat tailed maggot is quite large and clearly visible to the naked eye, it is highly unlikely that it would be ingested in the first place," he added.