Friday, November 30, 2012 Bury Me Not In Benin

From Reuters:
More than 100 graves robbed in Benin for voodoo rituals

By Samuel Elijah
COTONOU | Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:01am EST

(Reuters) - Tomb raiders have dug up more than 100 graves at a cemetery in Benin since Saturday for what authorities suspect is a black-market trade in human organs and skulls for voodoo ritual fetishes.

The incident is the most serious case of grave-robbing in the West African state, the world capital of voodoo where most of the country's 9 million residents practice a benign form of the official religion.

Authorities in Dangbo, a village 10 km (6 miles) from the capital Porto-Novo, began an investigation after a mason working at the cemetery said he spotted several masked men digging up the graves, from which organs and skulls were removed.

"The desecration of graves is about money in this region," said Joseph Afaton, director of the cemetery. "It is for sacrifices, or for bewitching."

Body parts of humans and rare animals are prized by some people in central Africa for their supposed supernatural powers, and are used in occult ceremonies. Traffickers often obtain human remains from grave robbers, but a recent spate of killings has also been linked to the gruesome trade.

Authorities in Cameroon in September arrested five people suspected of trafficking human body parts after they were discovered at a checkpoint carrying a severed human head.
They were only suspected of trafficking human body parts, as obviously there are many legitimate reasons they would be carrying a human head.

Beware the Serbian Tourist Attraction!

It's everywhere else on the internet, so it might as wellbe here, too.  From the Daily Fail:

Serbian council warns residents vampire is on the loose after his 'house' collapses

04:30 EST, 27 November 2012

Sales of garlic are booming in western Serbia today after the local council issued a public health warning that a vampire was on the loose.

The official announcement came after an old ruined mill said to once have been the home of the country's most famous vampire collapsed.

Sava Savanovic was believed to have lived in the shack on the Rogacica river in Zarozje village in the municipality of Bajina Basta.

It is said he drank the blood of anybody that came to mill their grain.

The watermill was bought by the local Jagodic family and they were too scared to use it as a mill – but discovered it was a goldmine when they started advertising for tourists to come and visit it – always during the day.

The family were worried about carrying out building work on the mill because they were scared they might disturb the vampire or unleash his wrath.

And now the property has collapsed through lack of repair.

But for locals it has sparked rumours that the vampire is now free once again.

Local mayor Miodrag Vujetic admitted: 'People are worried, everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people. We are all frightened.'

He added that it was all very well for people who didn't live in the area to laugh at their fears but he said nobody in the region was in any doubt that vampires do exist.

He confirmed that the local council had advised all villagers to put garlic on their doors and windows to protect them from the vampire as it was well known they can't stand the smell.

He added: 'We have also reminded them to put a Holy cross in every room in the house.'

Villagers who cashed in catering to tourists fascinated by the legend of Savanovic say they now wish they had left the place well alone.
So the mill was a "goldmine" for the owners, but they didn't spend any money on upkeep for the place? Milking profits without spending a dime on infrastructure; these folks might have a future in corporate management.

It's interesting that the vampire seems to be less of a physical entity and more of a malignant spirit, which is in line with some original folk tales about these creatures.  Savanovic was tied to the mill like a ghost in a haunted house, and only achieved freedom when the mill was destroyed.  While the article is no stellar example of reporting, no mention is made of attempts to locate the vampire's grave and end the threat forever. 

Of course, that would also end the stream of tourists coming to see ol' Sava, and I can't help wondering if the tales of his roaming is an attempt by the rest of the village to get in on the gravy train.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 Beware the Robots from Tibet!

From Yahoo! News:
Mystery Sighting Spooks Soldiers

Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

By Sandeep Unnithan | India Today – Mon 5 Nov, 2012

An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 and October 15 this year.  In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), they described sighting "Unidentified Luminous Objects" at day and by night.  The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing.

These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones or even low-earth orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.  Drone sightings are verified and logged separately.  The Army has reported 99 sightings of Chinese drones between January and August this year: 62 sightings were reported in the western sector, the Ladakh region, and 37 in the eastern sector in Arunachal Pradesh.  Three of these drones intruded into territory claimed by India along the 365-km-long border with China in Ladakh, manned by ITBP.


The radar could not detect the object that was being tracked visually, indicating it was non-metallic.  The spectrum analyser could not detect any signals being emitted from them.  The Army also flew a reconnaissance drone in the direction of the floating object, but it proved a futile exercise.  The drone reached its maximum altitude but lost sight of the floating object.

In late September this year, a team of astronomers from the Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle, 150 km south of the lake, studied the airborne phenomena for three days.  The team spotted the flying objects, Army officials say, but could not conclusively establish what they were.  They did, however, say that the objects were "non celestial" and ruled out meteors and planets.


Yet, none of the experts from the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)-in charge of technical intelligence-and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has been able to identify the objects. This has caused embarrassment rather than fear in the establishment. "Something is clearly wrong, if our combined scientific resources can't explain the phenomena," says a senior Army official in Delhi. Intelligence officials say these objects could be a crude psychological operation by China, or sophisticated probes attempting to ascertain India's defences in Ladakh.


Scientists say the mysterious objects are not necessarily from outer space. "There is no evidence of 'ufos' being of extra-terrestrial origin," says reputed Pune-based astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar. "The implication of them being alien objects is fancy, not fact," he says.

There is still no explanation, however, for what is believed to be the clearest 'UFO' sighting yet, in the Lahaul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh less than 100 km south of Ladakh in 2004. A five-member group of geologists and glaciologists led by Dr Anil Kulkarni of the isro's Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad were on a research trip through the barren Samudra Tapu Valley. They filmed a four-foot tall 'robot-like' figure, that 'walked' along the valley, 50 m away from them. The humanoid object then rapidly became airborne and disappeared. The encounter lasted 40 minutes. It was seen by 14 persons including the six scientists. Kulkarni then interviewed each expedition member separately to verify what the team had seen. Copies of his detailed report were circulated to the PMO, ISRO, the Army and several intelligence agencies. Kulkarni established his team hadn't seen natural phenomenon. The matter, however, was buried soon after.

Sunil Dhar, who was part of the 2004 expedition, terms the sighting of the unidentified object an unforgettable experience. Locals, he says, have reported sighting mysterious objects for many years. "These are unsolved mysteries that need more intensive study," he says. Left unexplained, the Ladakh sightings risk slipping into the crack between fact and science fiction.

Full story at the link.

Sounds like China has developed their own battle-bots in response to DARPA's headless murder machines.  I worry that when the two forces meet it will not result in a Transformers-style clash of mechanized might but instead a star-crossed union between two tribes of robots that have only their undying hatred for humanity in common.  They will end up making sweet, sweet love right there on the battlefield, conceiving SkyNet in a hideous thrashing of metallic limbs atop a pile of human skulls.  And Obama will somehow get the blame.

Best Wishes for Rich "Svengoolie" Koz

Chicago media columnist Robert Feder reports that Rich Koz has been hospitalized following a heart attack Saturday night.  Koz has posted a message to his social media sites that he is taking some time off following a busy Halloween season.  And Sven was very busy this year, making personal appearances all over Chicagoland and being super-nice to an endless stream of fans that included Your Host.

It was an immense pleasure to meet someone who was an important part of both my childhood and my incredibly misspent adulthood.  Rich and his family have my most heartfelt wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

Sven receiving his new coffin at Nightmare on Chicago Street.   I was so totally there!

Thursday, November 1, 2012 Highlander vs. the Chainsaw!

And the chainsaw won.  From the Brisbane Times:
Chainsaw and samurai sword used in neighbours' clash over loud music

May 2, 2012
Nick Ralston

A neighbourhood dispute over loud music and erratic driving has escalated into a bloody brawl in which a chainsaw partially severed a man's arm.

Doctors are attempting to reattach the arm of Mark Jorgensen, 29, after the altercation in in Fenton Close, Minto, last night.

Another man, Troy Thornton, 26, lost a finger in the dispute. His sister, Nicole Thornton, claimed he was attacked with a samurai sword.

Mr Thornton, a father of two, lives in Queensland but was in Sydney to attend the funeral of his sister's partner, Peter Reinhardt, who drowned when his boat overturned on the Nepean River in March.

As Ms Thornton kept a waterside vigil with her newborn baby, the couple's Londonderry home was robbed. Thieves took jewellery, cash and a gun.

The Thorntons' mother, Wendy Halls, said it had been a traumatic few months for the family.

The problems began just after 5.30pm yesterday when the Jorgensen household complained about Ms Halls playing loud music.

The Thorntons claim that someone from the Jorgensen household then drove in a dangerous and threatening manner towards them.

Police were called and the two families were told to return to their homes.

But tensions escalated again just before 9.20pm, resulting in the chainsaw being produced.

Ms Thornton claimed members of the Jorgensen household tried to invade their family's home.

"Basically we ended up all in a brawl," she said. "The guys from next door. By then there was 20 of them with bats, swords and poles.

"It was me, my mum and my sister taking on guys, so my brother has gone and got the chainsaw."

Ms Thornton said her brother was attacked with the sword before he got involved in a wrestle with the chainsaw. She denied he went after anyone with it.

I actually have a bit of a backlog of sword attack reports, with a couple as recent as this week.  But sadly, instead of knucklehead brawls or inept burglary attempts, most of these stories involve innocent people actually getting killed by deranged losers.  And that's not funny.

However, I am going to post this one, just because it's so bizarre.  From the New York Times:
Pastor of Fort Worth-Area Church Killed With Electric Guitar

Published: October 29, 2012 at 6:05 PM ET

FOREST HILL, Texas (AP) — A pastor in suburban Fort Worth was killed Monday by an attacker who rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor and beat him with an electric guitar, police said.
 Forest Hill police did not say why the unidentified suspect attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., the founding pastor of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church.

The suspect, who police subdued by using a Taser, died a short time after being taken into custody.

Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into a church wall before noon Monday, apparently on purpose. The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, Dennis said. The church secretary hid and called 911, Dennis said.

Police arrived to find the suspect assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar that they believe was already inside the church, Dennis said. An officer used a Taser on the suspect, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.

By then, Kirk had died, Dennis said. A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was injured and taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown.

Dennis said the suspect was found unresponsive shortly after being detained and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Kirk fought back during the attack, Dennis said, but it's unclear if that played any role in the suspect's death. An autopsy was being performed on the suspect to determine the cause of death.

Dennis said he didn't know if the suspect knew Kirk, attended the church or why he might have attacked the minister.

Hours after the incident, hundreds of people remained outside the church, where crime-scene tape was wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car. Some hugged each other and cried, while others recalled Kirk as a dedicated minister who also had a bubbly personality and knew the names of the 800 church members.

"He really was concerned about our souls," Montoya McNeil, a member for eight years, said as she wiped away tears. "You looked forward to being here. ... I'm not asking God why, because I know where he (Kirk) is, but we won't get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore."

According to former Forest Hill Mayor James Gosey, Kirk started the church years ago in a strip mall before building the red-brick church.

Kirk was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of a local high school football team, Fort Worth school district spokesman Clint Bond said.

"Our hearts are heavy right now," said Reginald Wilson, an associate minister at the church.

I kicked Evil Fozzie out before he could start with the El Kabong jokes.

The Day After

It's time to relax! Hope everyone had a great Halloween!