Sunday, December 29, 2013

Australian UFO video captured near Melbourne

A man in Cranbourne, Australia captured video of four bright objects slowly moving about the sky on the evening of December 2, 2013. The president of a local observatory says the lights were most likely a combination of aircraft, such as helicopters with search lights, a bright planet such a Venus, Rigel or Sirius, weather balloons, or ceremonial lanterns.
UFOs over Cranbourne. (Credit: ShamelessAusMusic/YouTube)The video was posted on a YouTube account by the name of ShamlessAusMusic. He wrote in the description: “UFO sighting on December 2nd 2013. In the sky over Cranbourne, Vic, Australia. We pulled over at about 9pm to film these four lights floating around the sky. All four were pretty close to the ground and eventually disappeared. They didn’t do a lot, but were amazing to watch!”
The video shows four lights at first slowly moving in the same direction at different speeds. Then one fades out, and two seem to remain still while another that was previously still moves off in a different direction. The video ends before they all fade out.
The local newspaper, the Herald Sun, asked the president of the nearby Mt. Burnett Observatory, Perry Vlahos, what he thought of the video. He told them, “It’s really very difficult to say from looking at this footage, without seeing first-hand.” However he assured them, “One thing I can guarantee is they were not little green men from Mars.”
Vlahos suggested the lights could be “…lanterns, it could be satellites, the international space station, aircraft, the police helicopter, a plane.”
However, since there are four lights, it rules out Venus. The lights were also below the clouds, which would also rule out satellites or the international space station.
Vlahos pointed out, “Something like the police helicopters have strong search lights, which resemble that from a distance.”
However, Vlahos’ best guess was that they were ceremonial lanterns. He says, “They would float up for a period of time, then disappear once the candle goes out.”
Often called Chinese Lanterns, Vlahos explained “Sometimes people put a candle inside a paper lantern and the heat, because its very light, carries them up into the sky. It’s an Asian ceremonial exercise.”
The lights in the video do move similar to Chinese Lanterns, although typically those lanterns move in the same direction, and these move in different directions. The lanterns move with the air currents, which can be erratic.
Is this a genuine Australian mystery or simple more holiday Chinese Lanterns? Let us know what you think below.  by Alejabdro Rojas

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spiriting out the spooks of Dunedin - Otago Daily Times

Whether ghosts are fact or fable, you will have to decide. Reporter John Lewis rips the sheets off some of Dunedin's best ghost stories to reveal the history behind the haunts.
Have you ever walked into a room where the lights don't work, felt an icy chill skate up your spine and sensed disembodied voices floating on the air?
Sounds like the typical uni student flat.
But Hair Raiser Ghost Tours guide Andrew Smith says chances are, if you're not in a student flat, you're experiencing paranormal activity - something he has spent the past couple of decades studying in and around some of Dunedin's most notorious buildings.
Dunedin is a fairly young city by global standards, but it seems 165 years is plenty of time to cultivate a large selection of spooky ghost stories from some of its more unfortunate moments in history.
A hairdresser by trade, Mr Smith started Hair Raiser Ghost Tours in 1999 as an aside to his Moray Pl hairdressing business - not because he had an interest in ghostly apparitions, but because he was fascinated by ''local history with a darker side''.
The 41-year-old has spent many hours researching the history of prominent Dunedin buildings, purely out of personal interest, and found the people he spoke to with connections to a building would often tell him about something they had seen that scared the living cynic out of them.
''I started doing ghost tours because Dunedin's ghost stories were so good.''
Every week, he takes tours (after dark, of course) to forgotten and hidden places around the city.
''Buildings take on a different atmosphere after dark,'' he says.
''The places we go are not usually the places people would walk on their own.''
Mr Smith says that he attempts to let those on his ghost tours make their own assumptions about the ghoulish tales.
He injects a dose of reality by saying it could have been the spirit of a long-dead resident, or more logically it was just a breeze slamming the door shut and throwing the vase of flowers across the room.
That's why he is quick to add some sort of rationale behind his own ghost sighting.
''I think I've seen something up at the Northern Cemetery.
''I was doing a ghost tour when we saw a figure come towards us. One of the tourists said, 'Hey, that's my aunt', and we all bolted when he continued, 'She's dead just now'.
''We didn't stick around to find out if it was just some guy walking his dog in the cemetery.
''The tour had to be abandoned.''
Mr Smith says the most common claim people make about paranormal experiences is that they have smelt a beautiful scent, ''like Granny's perfume''.
Other people claim to feel paralysed or held down, or cold chills.
''Surprisingly, a lot of people say they see ghosts during the day - but is it just a case of mistaken identity of someone they've seen walking up the street in a group of people?''
Mr Smith says the top five spooky spots on his tours are Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, the Cumberland College hall of residence, Larnarch Castle, the Fortune Theatre and the Stafford Gables backpackers' hostel.
Seacliff is believed to be haunted by former patients of what was the grandest mental institution and largest building in New Zealand.
In 1942, a fire swept through Ward 5 and killed 37 female patients.
''There's a strange vibe there, whether by day or night. It's been the perfect setting for zombie films in more recent times.
''And it's closed to the general public which only adds to the mystery.''
Cumberland College is the home of a recent sighting of a ghost known as the Grey Lady, which terrified residents at the hall of residence in 2012.
Staff had to call in the University of Otago chaplain to calm the students, many of whom slept with their lights on and shared rooms with other students in the aftermath of the sighting.
The ghost is linked to the nearby Queen Mary maternity hospital, where a nurse took a woman's baby for being an unfit mother.
The woman haunted the nurse who stayed at Cumberland College when it was the nurses' home.
''No-one is exactly sure why she decided to make her presence felt last year, after years of being supposedly banished from the hall of residence,'' Mr Smith says.
''A national media frenzy followed after the college denied that there was in fact `a situation'.''
Larnach Castle - every castle needs a ghost and as New Zealand only has one, there is plenty to choose from here.
Mr Smith says it's a favourite location for ghost hunters and television crews because it has a tragic family history with all the ingredients for ''the perfect ghost storm''.
Then there is the Fortune Theatre.
Not long after the theatre moved into the old church, tales spread of sinister voices being heard offstage, well-secured lights falling from the lighting grid, a phantom audience member mingling with the crowd, and even an actor reporting they shared the stage with an uninvited guest.
It's believed to be haunted by angry parishioners from the former church.
Probably one of the spookiest spots in Dunedin is Stafford Gables. Mr Smith says it's a backpackers with a real twist.
The former hospital is believed to be the home of a few wayward spirits because a number of patients died there in suspicious circumstances.
''The television room in this establishment is located in the former morgue, which says it all, really.''
It's fair to say, ghosts get a fairly bad rap from those they come into contact with.
But Mr Smith says they're not all territorial, temperamental has-beens who get their kicks out of traumatising people.
There are some apparitions which appear to have a sense of humour.
When a ghost started harassing staff at a pharmacy in the north end of Dunedin, they knew instantly that it was their former boss who had died the previous year.
How did they know?
Because their boss had a habit of pinching the bottoms of female staff while passing, and it hadn't stopped even after his death!
''They would be serving someone at the counter, and all of a sudden, hello someone's pinching their butt.''
A well-known department store in Dunedin also experienced ghostly activity of the comical kind, after the premises were upgraded in 2005.
Elevators and escalators started operating on their own, triggering alarms in the store during the night.
In the women's wear section, staff claimed that the racks of clothing would start swaying for no apparent reason.
Despite priests being brought in to ''cleanse'' the building, the activity is reputed to continue to this day.
Many may not know it, but Dunedin's Municipal Chambers building occupies the site of the city's first hospital (1851-66), and is said to be haunted by a friendly spirit.
Like the ghost of Cumberland College, she is also described as the Grey Lady - a nurse who cared for the sick and the dying in the old hospital, and she is quite often accompanied by a beautiful perfume smell.
But the area today is haunted by a new, more prominent, spirit - a restless poltergeist that bangs and crashes its way through the corridors of this historic building.
''It's known by many as 'the Vandervis'.''
If you're eating your cereal while reading this, it may be best not to read any further. Some of the things you're about to read could be deemed a serious choking hazard.
When it comes to bizarre ghost stories, Dunedin (and in fact, New Zealand) is completely out-classed.
The Japanese have some doozies.
The story of the Shirime centres around a samurai warrior walking down a road towards Kyoto after dark, when he is confronted by a naked man looking somewhat menacing.
Before the samurai can draw his sword, the naked man turns around, bends over and reveals a large glittering eyeball peering out of his buttocks. (Don't say I didn't warn you . . .)
This tale was so liked by the Japanese haiku poet and artist Yosa Buson that he included the creature in many of his Edo period yokai paintings.
Equally disturbing is the Toyol from Southeast Asia.
Depending on the storyteller, the Toyol is a foetus, or more commonly, a newborn baby which has been possessed by a person practicing pesugihan tuyul black magic.
A person who owns a toyol uses it mainly to steal things from other people, or to do mischief.
And according to superstition, if money or jewellery keeps disappearing mysteriously from your house, a toyol might be responsible.
To ward off a toyol, many in Southeast Asia keep their valuables near needles or mirrors - how that helps, who knows?
If you have naughty children who refuse to behave, you can send them to the naughty corner, or you can tell them the story of the Hantu Tetek from Malaysia.
The spook is said to be a hideously obese old hag, with colossal breasts on her back.
She is essentially the Malaysian equivalent of the bogeyman, and her story is designed to keep children from straying too far away or stay out too late.
If they do, the Hantu Tetek will smother them to death with her monumentally big breasts.
Enough said. On second thoughts, probably best not to permanently scar your children with this means of parental control.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, one thing is for certain - stories of the dead have their place in life.
They deal with past and present issues and even have social and moral messages.
If they didn't have value, people wouldn't keep telling them.

Seven signs your house is 'haunted'
• Unexplained noises (footsteps, knocks, banging, rapping, scratching)
• Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing
• Lights, TVs, radios and other electrically powered items turning on and off
• Items disappearing and reappearing
• Unexplained shadows
• Strange animal behaviour
• Feelings of being watched 

For more tales of Dunedin's ghostly history, Mr Smith has a book due out in 2014 titled Dunedin is a Ghost Town - Confessions of New Zealand's Pioneer Ghost Guide.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Giant moa wasn't so robust - NZ Herald

A moa skull discovered in the Waitomo area. Photo / Christine Cornege
A moa skull discovered in the Waitomo area. Photo / Christine Cornege

The South Island giant moa wasn't quite as hefty as we had thought.
A new study has found its bones were more slender than first believed, which has resulted in a recalculation of the birds' size.
Instead of studying just the birds' leg bones to determine its weight, the study scanned the entire skeleton, which revealed slimmer bones that meant its weight could be more accurately estimated.
The study was led by Manchester biomechanics student Charlotte Brassey, in collaboration with palaeobiologist Professor Richard Holdaway of Canterbury University's School of Biological Sciences.
Professor Holdaway said earlier estimates of the birds' weight had the moa weighing up to 300kg. This study points towards a weight of about 200kg.
The legs of the moa, or the dinornis robustus (literally meaning robust strange bird), were similar to its distant relatives such as the ostrich, emu and rhea, Professor Holdaway said.
Ms Brassey said they already knew moa had disproportionately wide leg bones, yet previous estimates of their body mass had been based on only those bones, which probably resulted in overestimates.
After scanning the whole skeleton the new estimates were considerably lower.
The largest moa still weighed in at a hefty 200kg, or 30 family-sized Christmas turkeys, and if revellers wanted to roast one for Christmas dinner, they would have to start cooking it tomorrow, Ms Brassey said.

Unidentified flying objects caught on tape over Aiseau-Presles, Belgium 20-Dec-2013

This huge bright object was seen and recorded in the sky above Aiseau-Presles located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. Recorded on Friday, 20th December 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The 1868 "UFO vision" of Frederick William Birmingham at Parramatta Australia - a 2 part video

Did a UFO buzz New South Wales, Australia, in 1868? was a local surveyor invited to board this incredible flying machine by its strange pilot, Or was it a dream?

Here is the 2002 recreation of the 1868 "UFO vision" of Frederick William Birmingham in Parramatta which was part of 2 an internet TV programme, the UFO Show on Banana TV.
For background:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top ghostly images of 2013

A ghostly figure was found on a Florida property listing

This year there have been a lot of spirit photos that were shared on the internet. One question is always wondered when photos like these are presented. Are the photos real or fake?

Another Strange Satellite Image - Loch Ness Monster

Remember this image below from Google Maps a few years back? It made the newspapers but it was clear on examination that it was nothing more than a boat with attendant bow waves.

It was seen making its way up the loch north of Invermoriston as the wider map shows below. The scale of 200m gives an idea how big it is.

Then there was the filament like images spotted on Loch Ness images and covered here. However, another stranger object has turned up, not in Google Maps, but Apple Maps recently. This image is shown below and something can be seen to the left making its way presumably south down the loch. The zoom in is shown below.

Now as it turns out, this object does not appear on Google maps and I show the equivalent picture below with attendant scale. Using the scale gives a rough size of 40 metres for the entire object, which is about twice the size as our more famous Google Boat image above.

Like the Google Boat image, I doubt the object is all one object. There is wake action going on in both pictures to the extent that the Google Boat is half wake and half boat (10m each) or the standard size of a Caley Cruiser boat.

The other object is a bit more difficult to parse, but the object is perhaps 20 metres long which makes me wonder if it is the bigger Jacobite cruiser boats that head south from the locks near Inverness? If somebody could find one of those larger boats on satellite imagery, that would be helpful. An overlay of the two objects show some similarities and dissimilarities.

The first question is why is the image so much fainter? If you look at the original Apple Maps image, you can see the smaller boats moored near Aldourie Castle (below centre of image). Like our Google Boat, they are quite quite white in colour. So why is this object not showing a similar albedo? Could this be because it is just below the water's surface or perhaps it is a darker colour? 
However, to produce the presumed bow wave we see, it must be showing something at the surface. And what is that crescent type "wave" ahead of the main part of the object?

Anyway, comments are invited in an attempt to identify what is going on here.