In the Scandinavian tradition, the nisse is a household entity that looks after hearth and home, a kind of guardian entity—but with an attitude. Nisse can be extremely volatile if provoked, and they are often mischievous little pranksters. Naughty children sometimes have their hair pulled and their toys hidden by the nisse, who is always watching with disapproving eyes any sign of misbehavior or disobedience. And a cat that becomes too curious will likely have its tail yanked good and proper by the annoyed nisse. Nisse or Tomte were believed to take care of a farmer's home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. The Swedish name tomte is derived from a place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. The Finnish name is tonttu. Nisse is the common name in Norwegian, Danish and the Scanian dialect in southernmost Sweden.

The nisse often sleeps in the barn to keep watch over the animals. If a hired hand should be slow in feeding the cattle or other livestock, the nisse will be certain to give them their grain—and to mete out punishment to the sluggish hired man who was tardy in his duties. The nisse might trip him as he walks up the stairs to his bedroom or spill his hot soup on his lap at the evening meal. If treated with respect, the nisse remains an effective guardian over hearth and outbuildings. He does demand payment for the performance of his duties, and the wise householder will be certain to leave hot porridge on the step at night and to make it known that the nisse is free to take whatever grain from the bin that he might require for his own needs.

The tomte/nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly man (size varies from a few inches to about half the height of an adult man), often with a full beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to be a shapeshifter able to take a shape far larger than an adult man, and other tales where the tomte/nisse is believed to have a single, cyclopean eye. In modern Denmark, nisses are often seen as beardless, wearing grey and red woolens with a red cap. Since nisses are thought to be skilled in illusions and sometimes able to make himself invisible, one was unlikely to get more than brief glimpses of him no matter what he looked like. Norwegian folklore states that he has four fingers, and is hairy all over, sometimes with pointed ears. His eyes glow in the dark.

In 1962, the new owners of a herring-processing plant in Iceland decided to enlarge their work area. According to Icelandic tradition, no landowner must fail to reserve a small plot of his or her property for the hidden folk, and a number of the rural residents earnestly pointed out to the new proprieters that any extension of the plant would encroach upon the plot of ground that the original owners had set aside for the little people who lived under the ground. The businessmen laughed. For one thing, they didn’t harbor those old folk superstitions. For another, they had employed a top-notch, highly qualified construction crew who possessed modern, unbreakable drill bits and plenty of explosives. But the bits of the “unbreakable” drills began to shatter one after another.

An old farmer came forward to repeat the warning that the crew was trespassing on land that belonged to the hidden folk. At first the workmen laughed at the old man and marveled that such primitive superstitions could still exist in modern Iceland. But the drill bits kept breaking.

Finally, the manager of the plant, although professing disbelief in such superstitions, agreed to the old farmer’s recommendation that he consult a local seer to establish contact with the hidden folk and attempt to make peace with them. After going into a brief trance-state, the seer returned to waking consciousness to inform the manager that there was one particularly powerful member of the hidden folk who had selected this plot as his dwelling place. He was not an unreasonable being, however. If the processing plant really needed the plot for its expansion, he would agree to find another place to live. The hidden one asked only for five days without any drilling, so that he could make his arrangements to move.

The manager felt a bit strange bargaining with a being that was invisible—and as far as he had previously been concerned, imaginary. But he looked over at the pile of broken drill bits and told the seer that the hidden one had a deal. Work on the site would be shut down for five days to give him a chance to move.

After five days had passed and the workmen resumed drilling, the work proceeded smoothly and efficiently until the addition to the plant was completed. There were no more shattered bits on the unbreakable drill.

Sources :
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol. 3 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;

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19:37 | 1 komentar

St. Prest Fossils

In April of 1863, Jules Desnoyers, of the French National Museum, came to St. Prest, in northwestern France, to gather fossils. From the sandy gravels, he recovered part of a rhinoceros tibia. He noticed on the bone a series of narrow grooves. He also observed small circular marks that could well have been made by a pointed implement. To Desnoyers, some of the grooves appeared to have been produced by a sharp knife or blade of flint. If Desnoyers concluded correctly that the marks on many of the bones had been made by flint implements, then it would appear that human beings had been present in France during Pliocene era. It is believed that at the end of the Pliocene, about 2 million years ago, the modern human species had not yet come into being.

Jules Pierre François Stanislaus Desnoyers (October 8, 1800 – 1887) was a French geologist and archaeologist. Desnoyers was born at Nogent-le-Rotrou, in the department of Eure-et-Loir. Becoming interested in geology at an early age, he was one of the founders of the Geological Society of France in 1830.

In 1863, Desnoyers examined his collections of St. Prest fossils at the museums of Chartres and the School of Mines in Paris and saw they bore the same types of marks. He then reported his findings to the French Academy of Sciences. Some modern scientists have said that the St. Prest site belongs to the Late Pliocene. The presence at that time in Europe of beings using stone tools in a sophisticated manner would seem almost impossible. Only in Africa should one find primitive human ancestors, and these were limited to Australopithecus and Homo habilis, the latter considered the first toolmaker. According to reports by other scientists, the St. Prest site might be more recent than the Pliocene—perhaps as little as 1.2-1.6 million years old. But the incised bones would still be anomalous. Even in the nineteenth century, Desnoyers's discoveries of incised bones at St. Prest provoked controversy. Opponents argued that the marks were made by the tools of the workmen who excavated them. But Desnoyers showed that the cut marks were covered with mineral deposits just like the other surfaces of the fossil bones.

The prominent British geologist Sir Charles Lyell suggested the marks were made by rodents' teeth, but French prehistorian Gabriel de Mortillet said the marks could not have been made by animals. He instead suggested that they were made by sharp stones moved by geological pressure across the bones. Louis Bourgeois, a clergyman who had also earned a reputation as a distinguished paleontologist, carefully searched the strata at St. Prest for such evidence. By his patient research he eventually found a number of flints that he believed were genuine tools and made them the subject of a report to the Academy of Sciences in January, 1867.

The famous French anthropologist Armand de Quatrefages said the tools included scrapers, borers, and lance points. Even this did not satisfy de Mortillet, who said the flints discovered by Bourgeois at St. Prest had been chipped by geological pressure. In 1910, the famous American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn made these interesting remarks in connection with the presence of stone tools at St. Prest: "the earliest traces of man in beds of this age were the incised bones discovered by Desnoyers at St. Prest near Chartres in 1863. Doubt as to the artificial character of these incisions has been removed by the recent explorations of Laville and Rutot, which resulted in the discovery of eolithic flints, fully confirming the discoveries of the Abbé Bourgeois in these deposits in 1867."

Michael Cremo said, “So as far as the discoveries at St. Prest are concerned, it should now be apparent that we are dealing with paleontological problems that cannot be quickly or easily resolved. Certainly, there is not sufficient reason to categorically reject these bones as evidence for a human presence in the Pliocene.”

Sources :
Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael Cremo;

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Sinking of the Titanic Premonition

One of the most famous cases of apparent premonition involves the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic. In 1898 an author named Morgan Robertson wrote a novel about an ocean liner named Titan that, on its maiden voyage one April night, strikes an iceberg while steaming at twenty-five knots in the northern Atlantic Ocean, then sinks with three thousand passengers aboard—even though people had thought it was unsinkable. Fourteen years later, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank at 2:20 the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. Morgan Andrew Robertson (September 30, 1861–March 24, 1915) was a well-known American author of short stories and novels, and the possible inventor of the periscope. Nowadays he is best known for the short novel Futility, first published in 1898.

This story features an enormous British passenger liner called the Titan, which, deemed to be unsinkable, carries insufficient lifeboats. On a voyage in the month of April, the Titan hits an iceberg and sinks in the North Atlantic with the loss of almost everyone on board. On April 14, 1912, the supposedly unsinkable ocean liner Titanic, on its maiden voyage, struck an iceberg while steaming at twentythree knots in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and on the morning of April 15 it sank, resulting in the deaths of over fifteen hundred people.

Other parallels between the events depicted in the novel and the actual event exist. For example, Robertson described the Titan as being 800 feet (244m) in length, with a tonnage of 75,000, three propellers, and twenty-four lifeboats; the Titanic was 882.5 feet (269m) in length, with a tonnage of 66,000, three propellers, and twenty lifeboats. Both ships were said to be the largest and most luxurious of their kind.

The similarities between the fictional sinking of the Titan and the real-life sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 attract attention even today although there are significant differences: for example, the fictional Titan capsized and sank almost immediately (rendering the number of lifeboats moot), and the Titan was on its third return trip from New York, not her maiden voyage to New York.

Skeptics say that such similarities were coincidental, but given their number and specificity, believers in extrasensory perception say that Robertson’s ideas for the novel had to have come from subconscious glimpses of the future.

Sources :
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;

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Halifax Sea Serpent

Sea serpents, or sea monsters, have for a very long time been all the rage among otherwise sober seafarers. Belief in these fearful creatures of the deep reaches back far beyond recorded history. Sightings of sea serpents have been reported for hundreds of years, and continue to be claimed today. Cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne identified more than 1,200 purported sea serpent sightings. Some cryptozoologists have suggested that the sea serpents are relict plesiosaurs, mosasaurs or other Mesozoic marine reptiles. Several sightings of sea serpent reported on Halifax. The curious thing about sea serpents and other monsters of that ilk is that a number of them have been attested to by some otherwise trustworthy people. On the afternoon of July 15th 1825, a large sea serpent was seen by a young gentleman who happened to be riding past the wharf at Mr. Goreham’s tan-pit in the harbour of Halifax, accompanied by some ladies.

The serpent raised its head about three feet out of water; its body was the size of a large log, and appeared to be at least sixty feet long, and it forced itself along by a wiggling sort of motion. It remained above water about five minutes, at a distance of about sixty yards. The editor of Nova Scotian went to the spot, and learned these and other particulars, which were confirmed by the young gentleman, the ladies, Mr. Goreham, his family and servants. It is also confirmed, with additional particulars by Mr. William Barry, of Halifax, who was going into the harbour the same evening in a whaling-boat, and, with the men in the boat, observed it for some time.

Another sighting occurred on May 15, 1833, a boat set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for a popular fishing spot; aboard were Captain W. Sullivan, Lieutenant A. Maclachlan, Ensign G. P. Malcolm, and Lieutenant B. O’Neal Lyster, all of the British army, together with Henry Ince and Jack Dowling, the latter an old salt from the Royal Navy. Not much fishing seemed to be done because the officers were firing their rifles at some grampuses (a harmless and quite innocent blunt-headed creature that somewhat resembles a dolphin). At some time during this diversion Dowling, the former navy man, called out “Oh, sirs, look at that! I’ve sailed in all parts of the world and seen some rum sights, but this is the queerest thing I ever see!”, about 150 yards away, was a sea serpent, or at least the very large head of one of these apparently increasingly common creatures, rising about six feet above the surface and with a neck “as thick as the trunk of a moderate-sized tree,” colored brown and white in an irregular fashion. Captain Sullivan, in his report of this encounter, opined that “There could be no mistake, no delusion, and we were all perfectly satisfied that we had been favored with a view of the true and veritable sea serpent.”

Sources :
Seafaring Lore and Legend by Peter D. Jeans;
A Romance of The Sea Serpent by John Bartlett;

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Boston Strangler

Ten years before the term serial killer entered popular usage, Boston was terrorized by an elusive predator who raped and strangled women in their homes, slaying 11 between June 1962 and July 1964. In every case the victims had been raped—sometimes with a foreign object—and their bodies laid out nude, as if on display for a pornographic snapshot. Death was always caused by strangulation, though the killer sometimes also used a knife. The ligature— a stocking, pillow case, whatever—was invariably left around the victim’s neck, tied with an exaggerated, ornamental bow.Though the crimes were attributed to Albert DeSalvo, investigators of the case have since suggested the murders (sometimes known as the silk stocking murders) were not committed by one person.

Anna Slessers, 55 years old, had been the first to die, strangled with the cord of her bathrobe on June 14, 1962.

A nylon stocking was used to kill 68-yearold Nina Nichols on June 30, and 65-year-old Helen Blake was found the same day, with a stocking and bra knotted around her neck.

On August 19 1962, 75- year-old Ida Irga was manually strangled in her home, “decorated” with a knotted pillowcase.

Sixtyseven- year-old Jane Sullivan had been dead a week when she was found on August 20, 1962, strangled with her own stockings, slumped over the edge of the bathtub with her face submerged.

The killer seemed to break his pattern on December 5, 1962, when he murdered Sophie Clark, a 20-year-old African American.

Another shift was seen with 23-year-old Patricia Bissette, strangled on her bed and covered to her chin with a blanket, in place of the usual graphic display.

With 23-year-old Beverly Samans, killed on May 6, 1963, the slayer used a knife for the first time, stabbing his victim 22 times before looping the traditional stocking around her neck.

Evelyn Corbin, 58, seemed to restore the original pattern on September 8, 1963, strangled and violated in an “unnatural” assault, but the killer went back to young victims on November 23, strangling 23-year-old Joann Graff and leaving bite marks on her breast.

The final victim, 19-year-old Mary Sullivan, was found on January 4, 1964, strangled with a scarf.

Ten months later, 33-year-old Albert Henry DeSalvo was detained for questioning in an unrelated case, suspected in a two-year series of rapes committed by a prowler called the Green Man, after the green work clothes he wore while assaulting victims in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

In custody, DeSalvo confessed to those rapes and hundreds more, dating back to his molestation of a nine-year-old girl in 1955, while DeSalvo was a soldier stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The marathon confession landed DeSalvo in Bridgewater State Hospital, committed for psychiatric evaluation, and there he met George Nasser, a convicted murderer facing trial for his second known slaying since 1948. Their private conversations were interspersed with visits from police, climaxed by DeSalvo’s full confession to the Boston Strangler homicides. In his statement, DeSalvo added two “new” victims, never previously linked by the authorities. One, 85-year-old Mary Mullen, was found dead at her home on June 28, 1962, her passing attributed to simple heart failure. DeSalvo claimed that Mullen had collapsed from shock when he invaded her apartment, whereupon he left her body on the couch without continuing his usual assault. Mary Brown, age 69, was stabbed and beaten to death at her home on March 9, 1963, again without a showing of the famous “strangler’s knot.”

It seemed like an open-and-shut case, but numerous problems remained. The strangler’s sole surviving victim, assaulted in February 1963, could not pick DeSalvo out of a lineup. Neither could witnesses who glimpsed a suspect near the Graff and Sullivan murder scenes. Several detectives had focused their aim on another suspect, fingered by “psychic” Peter Hurkos, but their man had voluntarily committed himself to an asylum soon after the last murder. Finally, if DeSalvo was driven by a mother fixation, as psychiatrists claimed, why had he chosen young women (including one African American) as five of his last seven victims?

The police were impressed at the accuracy of DeSalvo's descriptions of the crime scenes. Though there were some inconsistencies, DeSalvo was able to cite details which had not been made public. However, there was no physical evidence to substantiate his confession. As such, he stood trial for earlier, unrelated crimes of robbery and sexual offenses in which he was known as The Green Man and The Measuring Man respectively.

His attorney F. Lee Bailey brought up the confession to the stranglings as part of his client's history at the trial in order to assist in gaining a 'not guilty by reason of insanity' verdict to the sexual offenses but it was ruled as inadmissible by the judge. DeSalvo was sentenced to life in prison in 1967. In February of that year, he escaped with two fellow inmates from Bridgewater State Hospital, triggering a full scale manhunt. A note was found on his bunk addressed to the superintendent. In it DeSalvo stated that he had escaped to focus attention on the conditions in the hospital and his own situation. The next day he gave himself up. Following the escape he was transferred to the maximum security Walpole State Prison where he was found stabbed to death in the infirmary on November 1973. The killer or killers were never identified.

Other theories postulate the existence of two Boston Stranglers, one each for the young and the elderly victims. Journalist Hank Messick added a new twist in the early 1970s, quoting Mafia hit man Vincent Barbosa (now deceased) to the effect that DeSalvo had been paid, presumably by organized crime, to “take a fall” for the actual, unidentified Boston Strangler.

More than a quarter century after DeSalvo’s murder in prison, forensic scientists revisited the Boston Strangler case in an effort to determine whether or not DeSalvo committed the murders to which he confessed. His body was exhumed in October 2001, for extraction of DNA material unknown to pathologists at the time of the original murders. The material was slated for comparison with evidence collected in the case of 19-year-old Mary Sullivan, the strangler’s last victim, found dead on January 4, 1964.

By December 2001, neither DeSalvo’s family nor Mary Sullivan’s believed DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler. That opinion was apparently supported on December 6 by reports that Prof. James Starrs’s “All-Star Forensic Science Team” —a professor of law and forensic science at George Washington University —had discovered foreign DNA from two individuals on Sullivan’s body and clothing, neither of the samples linked to DeSalvo. As Prof. Starrs told the press, “It’s indicative, strongly indicative, of the fact that Albert DeSalvo was not the rape-murderer of Mary Sullivan. If I was a juror, I would acquit him with no questions asked.” Sullivan’s nephew, Casey Sherman, had an even more emphatic statement for the press. “If he didn’t kill Mary Sullivan, yet he confessed to it in glaring detail, he didn’t kill any of these women.”

Retired Massachusetts prosecutor Julian Soshnick disagreed, retorting, “It doesn’t prove anything except that they found another person’s DNA on a part of Miss Sullivan’s body.” Seeming to ignore that neither donor was DeSalvo, Soshnick stood firm: “I believe that Albert was the Boston Strangler.”

Casey Sherman, a nephew of victim Mary Sullivan, announced his plan to crack the case in August 2002. After three years of research, Sherman told reporters that he had completed a book on the case (still unpublished at press time for this volume). “I will reveal who the killer is, without a doubt,” Sherman told the Boston Globe. “This is based on new evidence. We have physical evidence that puts him at the scene of the crime. Hopefully we will put pressure on [state attorney general] Tom Reilly to prosecute this individual.” Sherman declined to name his suspect in advance of the book’s still-undeclared release date, and the Boston Strangler’s case remains hauntingly unsolved.

Sources :
The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes by Michael Newton;

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06:58 | 1 komentar

Schirmer Abduction

In Ashland, Nebraska, on December 3, 1967, at 2:30 A.M. police Sergeant Herbert Schirmer noticed red lights on the highway. When he went to investigate he saw a metallic disk hovering six to eight feet above the road. With a high-pitched whine and blue flame coming from underneath, the UFO rose and zoomed off, leaving an openmouthed Schirmer to stand and stare.He was surprised to find that a half hour had elapsed—it seemed like only 10 minutes.He began to feel sick and noticed a red welt under his ear. His case was one of those investigated in the Condon Report. He flew to Boulder, Colorado and a psychologist hypnotized him, and he remembered that aliens had emerged from the craft. He was examined under hypnosis by psychologist Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle of the University of Wyoming on February 13, 1968.

Under hypnosis he reported that he had seen a blurred white object that came out of what he had at first mistaken for a truck because of blinking red lights. The white object communicated mentally with him, preventing him from drawing his gun. They were about five feet tall, had long, thin heads, slitlike eyes that never blinked, flat noses, and no lips. They were seeking power from a nearby power plant. Schirmer was given a tour of the ship and was told that the beings were from a nearby galaxy and had bases on Venus as well as on earth, off the coasts of Florida and Argentina.

The beings were friendly and wanted to help humans, they said, but were waiting until earthlings were more accustomed to the idea of extraterrestrials before they came out in the open. Schirmer was told by the leader to say nothing about what he had seen and that he would be contacted again twice. When they left, Schirmer remembered nothing.

An interesting detail in this case is Schirmer’s report of winged serpents depicted on the space suits.At least three other close encounters describe the same or similar emblem. It is especially strange because a winged serpent is a familiar image in earthly mythology.

The commission's conclusion was "Evaluation of psychological assessment tests, the lack of any evidence, and interviews with the patrolman, left project staff with no confidence that the trooper’s reported UFO experience was physically real." Sprinkle thought Schirmer believed what he was saying and was not consciously inventing the story.

Sources :
UFOs and Popular Culture : “An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth” by James R. Lewis;

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06:23 | 2 komentar

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