Monday, August 31, 2009

UFO FYI: 1964, the Solway Firth "Spaceman"

I have always loved this photo and the gloriously insane story behind it. I often wonder where that little girl is now. She'd be about my age, maybe a couple years older... It would be interesting to see if she still has that spaceman growing out of her head.

Solway Firth Cumbria, Dumf. Sulewad 1218. ‘Estuary of the pillar ford’. OScand. súl + vath + fjǫrthr. The ‘pillar’ is the Lochmaben Stone marking the ford. Alternatively the first element may be OScand. súla ‘solan goose’.

The Solway Firth (see for map ) is a body of water that borders the most north westerly county of England (Cumbria) and the most south westerly county of Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway). It stretches from St.Bees Head just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria to the Mull of Galloway on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. To the west of the Firth is the Irish Sea.

On 24th May 1964, Jim Templeton, a fireman from Carlisle in the North of England, took his young daughter out to the marches overlooking the Solway Firth to take some photographs. Nothing untoward happened, although both he and his wife noticed an unusual aura in the atmosphere.

There was a kind of electric charge in the air, though no storm came. Even nearby cows seemed upset by it.

Some days later Mr Templeton got his photographs processed by the chemist, who said that it was a pity that the man who had walked past had spoilt the best shot of Elizabeth holding a bunch of flowers. Jim was puzzled. There had been nobody else on the marshes nearby at the time.

But sure enough, on the picture in question there was a figure in a silvery white space suit projecting at an odd angle into the air behind the girl's back, as if an unwanted snooper had wrecked the shot.

The case was reported to the police and taken up by Kodak, the film manufacturers, who offered free film for life to anyone who could solve the mystery when their experts failed.

It was not, as the police at first guessed, a simple double exposure with one negative accidentally printed on top of another during processing. It was, as Chief Superintendent Oldcorn quickly concluded, just "one of those things... a freak picture."

A few weeks later Jim Templeton received two mysterious visitors. He had never heard of MIBs: the subject was almost unknown in Britain then. But the two men who came to his house in a large Jaguar car wore dark suits and otherwise looked normal. The weird thing about them was their behavior.

They only referred to one another by numbers and asked the most unusual questions as they drove Jim out to the marshes. They wanted to know in minute detail about the weather on the day of the photograph, the activities of local bird life and odd asides like that.

Then they tried to make him admit that he had just photographed an ordinary man walking past. Jim responded politely, but nevertheless rejected their idea, at which they became irrationally angry and hustled themselves into the car, driving off and leaving him. The fire officer had to hike five miles across country to get home.


by Landon Howell

Owner & Editor -

(UFOs At Close Sight) On May 23, 1964, Jim Templeton, a former fireman from Carlisle in the North of England and a keen photographer, took his wife and 5 years old young daughter out to on Burgh Marsh overlooking the Solway Firth estuary eight miles west of Carlisle in Cumbria, UK, to take some photographs. They parked and walked out over the grassy expanse.

"...all the animals on that particular day were away on the other end of the marsh, all huddled together, as though they'd been frightened..."
Jim Templeton

There were sheep and cows grazing on the far side of the marsh, which Jim related later as being fairly unusual as normally the cattle would be scattered across the area, and a couple of old ladies knitting in a car parked at the roadside 300 to 400 yards away. The weather was warm and sunny, and everything seemed normal. At a good spot they decided to take a photograph of his daughter in her new dress sitting with a bunch of hand-picked flowers. The snap taken, they moved off and took many more pictures of the walk.

Some days later Mr Templeton got his photographs processed by the chemist, who said that it was a pity that the man who had walked past had spoilt the best shot of Elizabeth holding a bunch of flowers. Jim was puzzled. There had been nobody else on the marshes nearby at the time. But sure enough, on the picture in question there was something odd: overlooking her left shoulder, at a canted angle, was what appeared to be a man in a spacesuit. This figure was either extremely tall and capable of leaning off balance quite comfortably or was floating in the air. The figure did not reappear in any of the other photographs. Neither Jim nor his wife nor his daughter had seen anyone near them at the time of the photograph, let alone a tall man in a spacesuit.

The case was reported to the police and taken up by Kodak, the film manufacturers, who offered free film for life to anyone who could solve the mystery when their experts failed. Kodak had investigated Jim Templeton's film and tested it for all known photographic faults and tampering. They believed the image to be genuine, so they decided to offer a reward to anyone who could explain the mysterious photograph. It has not been claimed. It was not, as the police at first guessed, a simple double exposure with one negative accidentally printed on top of another during processing. It was, as Chief Superintendent Oldcorn quickly concluded, just "one of those things... a freak picture."

The press heard of the intriguing photograph and published it. Reflecting on the bizarre incident, Jim told reporters he saw no UFOs at the time and in fact isn't really interested in them, although he is aware that UFO activity in the Burgh Marsh area has apparently increased over the years.

He added:

"Many of the fishermen near the marsh have seen UFOs and many interesting things have happened in this area from time to time. Some of the scientist types say the UFOs are interested in the Chapel Cross Atomic Power Station, which you can see on the horizon to the right of my picture."

Indeed The Chapel Cross Atomic Power station lies just over the Scottish border around 15 miles North-West of Carlisle.

Enter Men in Black:

As for the next events, the accounts vary a lot:

Version 1:

"A few weeks later Jim Templeton received two mysterious visitors. He had never heard of MIBs: the subject was almost unknown in Britain then. But the two men who came to his house in a large Jaguar car wore dark suits and otherwise looked normal. The weird thing about them was their behaviour. They only referred to one another by numbers and asked the most unusual questions as they drove Jim out to the marshes. They wanted to know in minute detail about the weather on the day of the photograph, the activities of local bird life and odd asides like that. Then they tried to make him admit that he had just photographed an ordinary man walking past. Jim responded politely, but nevertheless rejected their idea, at which they became irrationally angry and hustled themselves into the car, driving off and leaving him. The fire officer had to hike five miles across country to get home."

Version 2:

"Not long after his photograph appeared in the newspapers two strange men in bowler hats came to visit Jim at the fire station where he worked. When he asked where they were from, the men refused to say, replying that they were from Her Majesty's government and would not show identification. They asked Jim to show them where the photograph had been taken. He took time off work and the men drove him in their Jaguar back to Burgh Marsh, where Jim led them directly to the spot. One of the men asked, "This is where you saw the man then?" Jim replied, "No, excuse me, I didn't see anybody." The men abruptly thanked Jim and left in their car, leaving him stranded on the marsh."

Version 3:

"Soon after the pictures were developed, two men paid Jim a visit and drove him in their "dark Jaguar car" to the marsh. The two men showed him ID cards and claimed to be Government investigators. They asked some unusual questions about the behaviour of local animals at the time and wanted exact information about the type of weather conditions on the day. Apparently they became annoyed when Jim dismissed their suggestion that the figure was just an ordinary man in the fields. They drove off leaving Jim alone and with a five mile walk back to his house."

"A second film that Jim sent to Kodak for processing, some months later, was returned with some of the negatives mysteriously missing. Jim firmly believes that they were confiscated by Government agents because of something secret on the film."

Woomera, Australia:

Apart from the "Men in Black" episodes version above, the rest of the events seems fairly accurate, although quite in the "Twilight Zone" tone:

Not long afterwards the editor of the Cumberland News newspaper contacted Jim and asked if he could borrow the negative to send a copy out to Australia. Apparently the photograph had appeared in the press there and staff working at the Woomera test range area in Southern Australia had seen it. Jim was told that the day after he took his photograph, a Blue Streak space rocket was due to be launched from Woomera in Australia. The countdown was postponed when two automatic survey camera had independently spotted two large figures in the firing area during the countdown phase. They were very similar in appearance to Jim's mysterious visitor. At the time of the launch, the photograph had not reached Australia and the staff had no knowledge of the bizarre image.

A Blue Streak on the pad at Woomera. The engineer dressed in white (lower left) gives a good indication of scale.
Picture courtesy of Mark Wade.

The Woomera missile test range was run by Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan from 1959-1963 and he came forward with his own story. Prior to the test firing of an earlier "Blue Streak" rocket, observers stationed 100 miles down range called to tell Tom that there was a "light" heading his way at incredible speed, towards restricted air space. Tom and several scientists watched as the light circled the facility, then shot away and vanished. He remarked that he "could not conceive of any plane or missile that was able to perform the maneuvers seen by my team". He said UFOs were frequently seen in the area and that in 1964 they had aborted the launch of another test when a "white being" was seen on the automatic security cameras.

The incident seems to be vaguely mentioned in the "Flight trial of F1 - 5th June, 1961," report by Officer in Scientific Charge H.G.R. Robinson:

During the period immediately prior to 25th May outstanding problems concerning range safety and instrumental coverage were resolved with the Range Authorities.

The report also lists a long series of various technical incidents with the several subsequent Blue Streak missiles test launches. Obviously no Blue Streak was launched on May 23, 1964 or before the first launch on June 5, 1964.

A part of the Blue Streak rocket launched on June 5, 1964 from Woomera, Australia, found 50 km SE of Woomera in 1980 is on display at Giles Weather Station. Another piece was located in 2006 but its exact location has been kept secret by the finders. The titanium structure of a German third stage was, for some time, sited on the edge of a gravel pit in Gloucestershire.

The Giles Weather Station was established in 1956 by the Weapons Research Establishment (now known as the Defence Science and Technology Organisation), a division of the Department of Defence. The first weather observations were transmitted from the station by radio on 2 August 1956. The purpose of the station was to provide weather data for the UK atomic weapons tests at Emu Plains and Maralinga. It was also used to support the rocket testing program based at Woomera, being conveniently positioned at the edge of and about halfway down the testing range. Giles Weather Station was transferred from the Department of Defence to the Bureau of Meteorology in 1972.

Jim Templeton then also discovered that Blue Streak rockets were being manufactured in the UK at Spadeadam, a location several miles away from Burgh Marsh on the Carlisle to Newcastle road.

There is a letter in the Public Records Office in Kew, London uncovered by ufologist Jenny Randles which is dated 1964 December 29th referring to the Cumberland Spaceman by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). In it are references by the Department of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) of an investigation into the matter. Another letter there dated 1964 June 15th is from a reporter enquiring about the aborted launch and the film in question which shows an extraordinary object hovering nearby that is 'impossible to miss'. A response to this letter from the MOD informs the reporter that he should contact them if he wishes to view the film.

Mysteriously, in the series of film canisters holding the Blue Streak missile launches, one is missing. The missing canister is the film of the launches for the week beginning Sunday, May 23, 1964.

UFOs have been seen in the Burgh Marsh and Carlisle area over the years and it is believed by some investigators and witnesses that the focus of their attention lies in the Chapel Cross Atomic Power Station some 15 miles north-west of Carlisle.

Some reports of this matter detail that a subsequent roll of film developed for Jim Templeton had some negatives missing, which he suspects were taken by the government. These reports are unconfirmed.

No explanation:

Nobody came up with a credible explanation for the photograph since then. Nobody understands how the supposed being on the photograph was invisible to Jim and his family. That the two places on the planet where these figures have been seen are the two locations pivotal to the Blue Streak missile programme remains puzzling. The visiting "Men in Black" are still not identified.

Even today, more than three decades later, the picture still defies any rational explanation.

Blue Streak launches in Woomera

Blue Streak launches in Woomera

A Brief History of Blue Streak

Blue Streak can be dated back to 1953, when German rocket scientists who had been working in Russia since the end of the war returned home. The influential Defence Research and Policy Committee (DRPC) studied the debriefings and concluded that UK should start work on a ballistic missile programme and also an anti-ballistic missile programme. De Havilland Propellers began design and construction in 1957

During the negotiations with the French and with other European nations that led up to the formation of ELDO (European Launcher Development Organisation) , it was not always clear whether the Australians would make Woomera available at a reasonable cost. During a difficult part of the negotiations, the Minister of Aviation, Peter Thorneycroft, asked the Controller of Guided Weapons and Electronics [CGWL], Sir Steuart Mitchell, whether Spadeadam would make a suitable lauch site. [Spadeadam is in Cumbria, in the NorthWest of England, close to the Scottish border, and midway between Carlisle and Newcastle. It was set up to develop the Blue Streak engines and test out completed vehicles.] The Controller replied, on 27th October 1961, "Spadeadam would certainly be feasible, and in nearly every way technically would be better than everywhere else."

Based out in the open, Blue Streak would be hopelessly vulnerable to pre-emptive strike. From this flowed the idea of "underground launchers". Little was known about how such a huge missile could be fired from a hole in the ground, leading to a large research project at the Rocket Propulsion establishment at Westcott. From this, a design was drawn up for what would today be called a missile silo.

In the end, however, negotiations over Woomera were successful.

For more Blue Streak info, visit:

The "Cottingley Fairies" are a series of photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins living in Cottingley, near Bradford in England, depicting the two in various activities with supposed fairies. In 1917, when the first two photos were taken, Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 10. In 1981 the two women admitted to faking all but one of the photographs, but insisted that they really had seen fairies.

UFO FYI: 1959, Private Gerry Irwin


The story of Private Gerry Irwin reads like something from Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone:

Witness if you will, Private First Class Gerry Irwin. Private Irwin has been on leave in Nampa, Idaho and is on his way back to his barracks at Fort Bliss, Texas. The city that he just left is Cedar City, Utah, but in just a few moments he will reach a place six miles down Route 14, a place that's six miles into.... The Twilight Zone...

Gerry Irwin was a Nike missile technician at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. On February 28, 1959, he was driving back from Nampa, Idaho, where he had been on leave. At Cedar City, Utah, he turned southeast on Route 14. About six miles from the turnoff, he spotted a glowing object that seemed to come to earth in a field just off the road. Thinking he had seen an airplane crash, or at least a forced landing, he stopped to see if he could give assistance. He wrote a note and placed it on the steering wheel of his car:

Have gone to investigate possible plane crash. Please call law enforcement officers.

Then, he wrote STOP in large letters on the side of his car.

About thirty minutes later, a fish and game inspector stopped. He took the note to the Cedar City Sheriff's Office, and Sheriff Otto Pfief gathered a party of volunteers and returned to the site. When they searched, they found no trace of a plane crash, but they found Private Gerry Irwin unconscious in the field. Ninety minutes had passed since he had first seen the glowing object. Irwin was taken to the hospital in Cedar City, where a Dr. Broadbent could find nothing physically wrong with him. Irwin was merely asleep, and could not be awakened! Dr. Broadbent could find no explanation for this, so his diagnosis was "hysteria", meaning that his condition could not be attributed to any organic disease.

When Private Irwin eventually awoke, he felt perfectly well, but he was mystified by the glowing object he had seen. He was also confused by the fact that his jacket was missing. The sheriff's search party stated that he was not wearing it when they found him.

Irwin was flown back to Fort Bliss and placed under observation at William Beaumont Army Hospital for several days, after which he was released as fit to return to duty.

The episode was not over yet, though. Some days later, Irwin fainted on base, and a few days after that he fainted while in the city of El Paso. He was taken to Southwest General Hospital where he was found once again to be asleep and unwakeable. About twenty four hours later, he awoke asking, "Were there any survivors?" He behaved as if he had lost all memory of the period between seeing the object on February 28th in Utah, and waking up on March 16th in El Paso. Once again, he was taken to William Beaumont Army Hospital, where he was placed under observation by psychiatrists. After one month, extensive testing could find nothing wrong with him, so he was released on April 17.

The next day, Irwin was seized by a powerful impulse that made him take a bus from El Paso to Cedar City, arriving on April 19. He then walked back to the field in which the Sheriff's party had found him. He found his jacket on a bush. There was a pencil stuck in one of its buttonholes with a piece of paper wound tightly around it. Irwin burned the paper and then seemed to come out of some kind of trance. He could not recall the path back to the road or why he had come there. He made his way back to Cedar City and turned himself in to Sheriff Otto Pfief, who told him about the first incident.

Once again Irwin returned to Fort Bliss and was given psychological examinations. On July 10, he again entered William Beaumont Army Hospital. He was discharged again, but on August 1 he failed to report for duty, and one month later he was listed as a deserter.

From Weird 9

The Gerry Irwin story is full of unanswered questions. It was never investigated properly. Irwin had been on leave in Nampa, Idaho. Had he suffered some traumatic event while on leave that might have triggered a dissociative reaction? Did his family live in Nampa, Idaho? Wherever they lived, have they ever been located and contacted? It's been almost thirty-nine years. Has anyone tried to track down Irwin? The Army doesn't usually let "deserters" just walk away. Did they ever locate him?

The basic story of Gerry Irwin comes from Jim & Coral Lorenzen of the Aerial Phenomona Research Organization (APRO), who contacted Irwin after he returned to Fort Bliss the last time.

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One of the strangest, most baffling cases in UFO folklore is the story of one Private First Class Gerry Irwin. On March 2, 1959, he awoke in Cedar City Hospital, and was completely unaware of how he got there. Irwin had been unconscious for twenty-three hours, and during that time was mumbling something about a "jacket on the bush." As he regained consciousness, the first thing he said was "Were there any survivors?" The strange tale of Gerry Irwin came to my attention from the notes of James Lorenzen, who is the esteemed director of the APRO group. The facts will leave one puzzled, and if there was any type of investigation by the Armed Forces, those details remain hidden to this day.

Irwin's story began on February 28, 1959, as he was driving from Nampa, Idaho back to Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, where he was a Nike missile technician. Returning from a leave of absence, he reached Cedar City, Utah, and turned southeast on Route 14 when he saw an unusual sight. The landscape was brilliantly lit as he observed a glowing object, which crossed the sky from right to left in front of him. Startled, he left his car to get a better view, and watched the strange craft continue until it was blocked from his sight by a ridge. His first thoughts were that a large airplane was making a forced landing. Wanting to render aid if possible, Irwin quickly wrote a note, left it on his car, and headed in the direction of the supposed crash. The note said, "HAVE GONE TO INVESTIGATE POSSIBLE PLANE CRASH. PLEASE CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS." He attached the note to his steering wheel, and using shoe polish, wrote STOP on the side of his car.

About 30 minutes later, a Fish and Game Inspector stopped at the sight of Irwin's note. He immediately took the note to the Cedar City Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Otto Pfief quickly organized a search party, and headed for the sight. Approximately an hour later, Irwin was found unconscious in the area, with no sign of a plane crash. Upon arriving at the hospital, he was examined by Dr. Broadbent, who found that although Irwin's temperature and respiration were normal, he could not be awakened. Broadbent's initial diagnosis was "hysteria." When the frightened Irwin did come to, he felt fine, but was still puzzled by the strange object he had seen. He also was at a loss as to where his jacket was, it not being on him when found by searchers.

Irwin was flown back to Ft. Bliss, and put under observation at William Beaumont Hospital for four days. He returned to duty afterward, though his security clearance was withdrawn. A couple of days later, while walking at the base, he fainted. He recovered almost immediately, however. On March 15, he fainted again on an El Paso street, and was taken to Southwest General Hospital. His condition at this time was very similar to his state at Cedar City. Irwin awoke at 2:00 A.M. on Monday, and asked, "Were there any survivors?" He thought that it was February 28 again, and was shocked to be told it was some two weeks later. He was again taken to William Beaumont Hospital, and placed under observation in the psychiatric ward. After a month's stay, he was released, and deemed "normal" by Captain Valentine.

The very next day, seemingly without provocation, the Private left the fort without leave, caught a bus in El Paso, and arrived in Cedar City on Sunday afternoon, April 19. Returning to the scene of his strange encounter, he headed straight to an area where he found his missing jacket. There was a pencil in a buttonhole with a piece of paper tightly wrapped around it. He took the paper and burned it, and seemingly came out of his trance. Irwin had trouble finding his way back to his car, and turned himself in to Sheriff Pfief, who refreshed his memory of his first incident. Jim and Coral Lorenzen, hearing of the strange case, contacted Irwin after he returned to Fort Bliss. He underwent another psychiatric examination, with the same results as the first. His case was reviewed by the Inspector General, who ordered a more complete examination. On July 10, Irwin again entered Beaumont Hospital. After being released, he did not report for duty on August 1. A month later, he was listed as AWOL. He has never been seen again.

B J Booth


MARS -- Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It is also referred to as the "Red Planet" because of its reddish appearance, due to iron oxide prevalent on its surface. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. It is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon. Furthermore, in June 2008 three articles published in Nature presented evidence of an enormous impact crater in Mars's northern hemisphere, 10,600 km long by 8,500 km wide, or roughly four times larger than the largest impact crater yet discovered, the South Pole-Aitken basin. In addition to its geographical features, Mars’ rotational period and seasonal cycles are likewise similar to those of Earth.

Mars has two tiny natural moons, Phobos and Deimos (right), which orbit very close to the planet and are thought to be captured asteroids. Both satellites were discovered in 1877 by Asaph Hall, and are named after the characters Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread) who, in Greek mythology, accompanied their father Ares, god of war, into battle. Ares was known as Mars to the Romans. From the surface of Mars, the motions of Phobos and Deimos appear very different from that of our own moon. Phobos rises in the west, sets in the east, and rises again in just 11 hours. Deimos, being only just outside synchronous orbit—where the orbital period would match the planet's period of rotation — rises as expected in the east but very slowly. Despite the 30 hour orbit of Deimos, it takes 2.7 days to set in the west as it slowly falls behind the rotation of Mars, then just as long again to rise.[78] Because Phobos' orbit is below synchronous altitude, the tidal forces from the planet Mars are gradually lowering its orbit. In about 50 million years it will either crash into Mars’ surface or break up into a ring structure around the planet.It is not well understood how or when Mars came to capture its two moons. Both have circular orbits, very near the equator, which is very unusual in itself for captured objects. Phobos's unstable orbit would seem to point towards a relatively recent capture. There is no known mechanism for an airless Mars to capture a lone asteroid, so it is likely that a third body was involved — however, asteroids as large as Phobos and Deimos are rare, and binaries rarer still, outside the asteroid belt.

Dozens of spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been sent to Mars by the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan to study the planet's surface, climate, and geology. The current price of transporting material from the surface of Earth to the surface of Mars is approximately 309000 USD/kg. [89] Roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars have failed in one manner or another before completing or even beginning their missions. While this high failure rate can be ascribed to technical problems, enough have either failed or lost communications for causes unknown for some to search for other explanations. Examples include an Earth-Mars "Bermuda Triangle", a Mars Curse, or even the long-standing NASA in-joke, the "Great Galactic Ghoul" that feeds on Martian spacecraft.

The first successful fly-by mission to Mars was NASA's Mariner 4, launched in 1964. On November 14, 1971 Mariner 9 became the first space probe to orbit another planet when it entered into orbit around Mars. The first successful objects to land on the surface were two Soviet probes, Mars 2 and Mars 3 from the Mars probe program, launched in 1971, but both lost contact within seconds of landing. Then came the 1975 NASA launches of the Viking program, which consisted of two orbiters, each having a lander; both landers successfully touched down in 1976. Viking 1 remained operational for six years, Viking 2 for three. The Viking landers relayed the first color pictures of Mars and also mapped the surface of Mars so well that the images are still sometimes used to this day. The Soviet probes Phobos 1 and 2 were sent to Mars in 1988 to study Mars and its two moons. Phobos 1 lost contact on the way to Mars. Phobos 2, while successfully photographing Mars and Phobos, failed just before it was set to release two landers on Phobos's surface.


The Most Perplexing Anomalies of MarsLink

Mars is a world of mysteries. And on February 14, 2001, a new mystery surfaced on the Red Planet - almost quite literally.

Valley of the Boulders

On that date, an international group of nine 10- 15-year-old boys and girls, known as the Red Rover Goes to Mars Team, were invited by NASA to direct the camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). The MGS probe has been orbiting Mars since March, 1998 and has sent back many spectacular images of the planet's surface in stunning detail. But when these kids took the controls of the camera, they picked up an image of an anomaly that has scientists puzzled. It's the latest in a long list of pictures from Mars that keeps scientists, amateur astronomers and explorers of the unknown scratching their heads. The picture, seen below, shows a scattering of large, dark boulders in the middle of a relatively flat, light-colored plain. The puzzle is: Where did they come from? There are no mountains or large hills that the boulders could have broken off from. And their color is in sharp contrast to anything in the surrounding area. "It's puzzling," said Michael Carr of the US Geological Survey. "I looked at a few pictures around [the area] and couldn't find anything to explain it. Very puzzling! These are huge boulders. There are no indications of any outcrops that could shed such boulders."

How huge are they? It is estimated that they are between 50 and 80 feet in diameter! Those are big rocks! "Wow! These have me totally stumped," commented Ron Greeley of Arizona State University. "Not only is the dark color of the boulders a surprise, but they appear totally out of context in the surrounding terrain. There is nothing in the rest of the image to suggest a source for such large boulders, nor their arrangement on the surface."

One proposed theory is that the boulders are the remains of a meteor that shattered on impact. Yet there is no impact crater; the meteor would have had to have been moving quite slowly to make no crater and keep its fragments in such a close grouping. The meteor theory is highly unlikely. Planetary scientists have yet to come up with a plausible, satisfactory explanation for the boulders.

The Pyramids

The Cydonia region of Mars seems to be chock full of weird anomalous structures. Southwest of the infamous "face" is a group of features that have been called "pyramids." With their relatively smooth, triangular sides, they bear a striking resemblance from the air to the pyramids at Giza, Egypt.One of the most closely studied is the so-called D&M pyramid. According to researcher Mark Carlotto, "the three illuminated faces of the D&M appear to be relatively flat with well defined edges in between. Buttress like structures at the base of several edges are also evident. In the MGS image the edge between the northeast and northwest faces resembles a spine running from the apex of the D&M down to the ground. At the base of the spine lies a circular depression, possibly an opening. A dark feature seems to emanate northward from this depression or opening, which then leads into a sinuous channel off to the right." Carlotto also has examined "the City Pyramid," a five-sided structure whose spines "resemble the five pointed Egyptian symbol for a star." In the most high-resolution photos of these structures taken by MGS, the pyramids look somewhat less pyramid-like, but their geometric shapes are still intriguing.


(Wikipedia) Cydonia is a region of Mars. The name originally referred to an albedo feature (distinctively coloured area) that was visible from earthbound telescopes. Today, the name covers three named regions on Mars: "Cydonia Mensae", an area of flat-topped mesa-like features, "Cydonia Colles", a region of small hills or knobs, and "Cydonia Labyrinthus", a complex of intersecting valleys.[1][2] As with other regions on Mars, the name Cydonia was drawn from classical antiquity, in this case from Kydonia, a historic citystate on the island of Crete.

A group of Cydonian hills has attracted notoriety because one of them looks like a face under certain lighting conditions, while others resemble pyramids; the phenomena have attracted both scientific and popular interest.

Cydonia was first imaged in detail by the Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters. Eighteen images of the Cydonia region were taken by the Vikings, of which seven have resolutions better than 250 m/pixel (820 ft/pixel). The other eleven images have resolutions worse than 550 m/pixel (1800 ft/pixel) and are virtually useless for studying surface features. Of the seven good images, the lighting and time at which two pairs of images were taken are so close as to reduce the number to five distinct images.

In one of the images taken by Viking 1 on July 25, 1976, one of the Cydonian mesas, situated at 40.75° north latitude and 9.46° west longitude,[10] had the appearance of a humanoid "Face on Mars". When the image was originally acquired, Viking chief scientist Gerry Soffen dismissed the "face" in image 35A72[11] as a "[trick] of light and shadow".However, a second image, 70A13, also shows the "Face" and was acquired 35 Viking orbits later at a different "sun-angle" than the 35A72 image. This latter discovery was made independently by two computer engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar,[14] who discovered the two misfiled images, Viking frames 35A72 and 70A13, while searching through NASA archives.

More than 20 years after the Viking 1 images were taken, a succession of spacecraft visited Mars and collected new data from the Cydonia region. These spacecraft have included NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (1997-2006) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006-),and the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe (2003-).

In contrast to the relatively low resolution of the Viking images of Cydonia, these new platforms afford much improved resolution. For instance, the Mars Express images are at a resolution of 14 m/pixel (46 ft/pixel) or better. By combining data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express probe and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board NASA's Mars Global Surveyor it has been possible to create a 3D representation of the "Face on Mars":

Today, the "Face" is generally accepted to be an optical illusion, an example of pareidolia. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that "a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination"

The ‘Face’ therefore emerges as an optical illusion (exactly as its discoverers in 1976 had claimed), known technically as pareidolia. This is the phenomenon that allows believers to see an image of Mother Theresa in a cinnamon bun or the Arabic name of Allah in a sliced aubergine. The basis of the illusion is the human brain’s tendency to make understandable and detailed patterns from vague stimuli; the same ability allows us to recognise melodies from short or distorted fragments and to see numbers in patterns of dots used for tests of colour blindness. Faces are one of the first patterns the infant human learns to recognise, so it is unsurprising that a face-like mesa on Mars should be 'read'; by so many as an actual representation of a human (or closely humanoid) face.

--Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

The Phobos II Incident, January 1989

FROM: UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight

On July 12, 1988 the USSR launched Phobos II, an unmanned satellite to Mars. It arrived in January 1989 and entered an orbit around Mars as the first phase towards its real destination, a small Martian moon called Phobos.

The mission was flawless until the craft aligned itself with the moon. On March 28, 1989 an elliptical object was detected moving towards the satellite seconds before it failed. All indications were that the elliptical object had attacked the satellite which was now dead and left spinning out of control.
On March 28, 1989 Tass, the official Soviet news agency stated:

"Phobos II failed to communicate with Earth as scheduled after completing an operation yesterday around the Martian moon Phobos. Scientists at mission control have been unable to establish stable radio contact." But the next day a top official of the Soviet Space Agency (Glavkosmos) said: "Phobos II is 99% lost for good." It is important to note that he stated the entire satellite was gone and not just contact with it.

On March 31, 1989 Headlines dispatched by the Moscow correspondents of the European News Agency (EFE) stated: "Phobos 2 Captured Strange Photos of Mars Before Losing Contact With It's Base." Vremya revealed yesterday that the space probe Phobos II, which was orbiting above Mars when Soviet scientists lost contact with it on Monday, had photographed an UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT on the Martian surface seconds before losing contact."

Scientists described the UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT as a thin ellipse 20 KILOMETERS LONG! It was further stated that the photos could not be an illusion because it was captured by 2 different color cameras as well as cameras taking infrared shots.One controller at the Kaliningrad control center concluded that the probe was now spinning out of control. It would seem that something struck or shot the Phobos II Probe. In the October 19, 1989 issue of Nature Magazine, Soviet scientists concluded that the craft could be spinning because it was impacted. It has long been rumored that Mars and its moon Phobos are alien colonies. The surface of Mars is covered with strange shapes/buildings that do not appear to be natural such as the pyramids, square buildings, runways, etc.

source & references: Tass News Agency

Life on Mars?
FROM: UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight

It took 25 years to the scientific community to recognize it. It was explained on my site 2 years ago. There is life on Mars, now.

For those who have correctly read the content of the Mars section of this site, this is nothing new.

For those who are not familiar with the context explained in my site, here is the explanation, again, in a simplified manner:

In 1976, the Viking probe landed on Mars, carrying a set of experiments devised to detect if there is or if there isn't life on Mars. The main experiment (the LR experiment) detected life. Another experiment wrongly detected that there cannot be life on Mars because it detected no organic matter on Mars - a scientific joke in itself.

Since 1976, Dr. Gilbert Levin who devised the LR experiment has tried to convince the rest of the scientific community that his experiment detected life, and that the experiment that could not detect organic matter on Mars simply was a faulty experiment, which, reproduced on Earth, could not even detect organic matter on Earth.

Dr. Gilbert Levin also addressed correctly all the other "reasons" that were put forth to claim that there is no life on Mars.

I have become aware of Dr. Gilbert Levin's claims through a TV interview 3 years ago, and later by reading his papers and studies from the web site of his company, and reported about it over in my web site, which generated a flow of email correspondence of people of all kinds of background, who had read it, and were in general impressed with my presentation, and sometimes also dubious, without being really able to tell in what aspect my presentation could be wrong.

Today, several newswires have titled "Scientists Say Mars Viking Mission Found Life."

Several scientists have found compelling evidence that Viking Mars landers did indeed discover life on Mars in 1976. They agree that a re-examination of findings relayed to Earth by the probes some 25 years ago show the tell-tale signs of microbes lurking within the Martian soil.

The researchers will unveil their views Sunday, July 29, at a session on astrobiology, held during the SPIE's 46th annual International Society for Optical Engineering meeting in San Diego, California.

Today, my feeling is a feeling of great joy. These last two years, I have acquired the certainty that there is indeed life on Mars, today, not just in the past, but I have noted that this certainty was generally not shared by the scientific community as a whole, and absolutely not share by the general public, as a result of media ignorance. I have always felt that it is of no importance, because it will only be a matter of one or two years to become common knowledge that there is life on Mars.

What I want to tell my visitors now is: read again my pages on Mars. They need no update today. They tell the story. They tell the story correctly since the beginning.

And read the rest of the information I publish in the site. Because, with a little more time ...


In the late 1800's astronomers were focusing their telescopes and attention to Mars. What the astronomers of the late 1800's were discovering was canals on Mars, first called canali by Rev. Secchi in 1858 and Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877. Many of these astronomers verified the canals and also noted seasonal changes on the surface that corresponded with the melting of the polar ice.

It seems at the end of 1800's early 1900's astronomers were recording canals, seasonal surface changes, theorized to be changes in possible plant growth and water dispersion. "In 1888...Perrotin described having observed dramatic changes in a feature, named "Libya" by Schiaparelli, and assumed to be a continental land mass. "Clearly visible two years ago, it no longer exists today," and "By 1892, Perrotin5 had switched his attention to watching for "bright projections" on Mars, reporting three in the summer of that year". By 1909 no signs of the canals existed according to Antoniadi.

In 1894 Percival Lowell noted a tawny colored cloud of dust that extended over 300 miles and Percival Lowell from his research estimated the temperature on the surface of Mars to be an average of 48°F noted from the MOLA Science, NASA. Percival Lowell's temperature was later verified by the Russian Mars 3 lander.

In 1954 National Geographic sponsored a Mars observation project at Lamount-Hussey Obervator, Bloemfontein, South Africa on Naval Hill an altitude of 4888 feet. From this National Geographic sponsored expedition 20,000 pictures were taken of Mars. The pictures themselves stand as their own interpretation. The National Geographic article resulting from this project was called "New Light on the Changing Face of Mars, A Huge Green Area Almost the Size of Texas Appears in Photographs Made by National Geographic Society-Lowell Observatory Mars Expedition to South Africa", September 1955.

The picture in the National Geographic article reveals the areas mentioned as blue-green seasonal change. September 1954, two years before the 1956 planet wide dust storm.
Various observers over those earlier years with differences in equipment, varying observation periods but still these anomalies on Mars were verified by other researchers.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

UFO FYI: Creature Files- The Jersey Devil


(Wikipedia) The Jersey Devil, sometimes called the Leeds Devil, is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations. The Jersey Devil has worked its way into the pop culture of the area, even lending its name to New Jersey's team in the National Hockey League.

There are many possible origins of the Jersey Devil legend. The earliest legends date back to Native American folklore. The Lenni Lenape tribes called the area around Pine Barrens "Popuessing", meaning "place of the dragon". Swedish explorers later named it "Drake Kill", "drake" being a Swedish word for dragon, and "kill" meaning channel or arm of the sea (river, stream, etc.).

The most accepted origin of the story as far as New Jerseyians are concerned started with Mother Leeds and is as follows:

"It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after giving birth to her 12th child, stated that if she had another, it would be the devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a horse's head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the devil for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890."

"Mother Leeds" has been identified by some as Deborah Leeds. This identification may have gained credence from the fact that Deborah Leeds' husband, Japhet Leeds, named twelve children in the will he wrote in 1736, which is compatible with the legend of the Jersey Devil being the thirteenth child born by Mother Leeds. Deborah and Japhet Leeds also lived in the Leeds Point section of what is now Atlantic County, New Jersey, which is the area commonly said to be the location of the Jersey Devil story.

Some skeptics believe the Jersey Devil to be nothing more than a creative manifestation of the English settlers. The aptly named Pine Barrens were shunned by most early settlers as a desolate, threatening place. Being relatively isolated, the barrens were a natural refuge for those wanting to remain hidden, including religious dissenters, loyalists, fugitives and military deserters in colonial times. Such individuals formed solitary groups and were pejoratively called "pineys", some of whom became notorious bandits known as "pine robbers". Pineys were further demonized after two early twentieth century eugenics studies depicted them as congenital idiots and criminals. It is easy to imagine early tales of terrible monsters arising from a combination of sightings of genuine animals such as bears, the activities of pineys, and fear of the barrens.

Reportedly in 1778, Commodore Stephen Decatur visited the Hanover Iron Works in the Barrens to test cannonballs at a firing range, where he allegedly witnessed a strange, pale white creature winging overhead. Using cannon fire, Decatur purportedly punctured the wing membrane of the creature, which continued flying – apparently unfazed – to the amazement of onlookers. Dating on this encounter is incorrect, as Decatur was not born until 1779.

Additional legend puts this encounter at 1819 and at the behest of President James Monroe. Work on Decatur's Hounse in DC from 2007 -2008 has led to speculation that his Jersey Devil sighting was more than mere chance. Decatur was definitely in New Jersey testing the quality of of cannonballs produced by Batsto and Hanover. Included in his entourage was Dr. James Killian, famed abnormalist and cryptid hunter from the 19th century. Legends throughout New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania have these two men in scientific pursuit of the animal.

Joseph Bonaparte (eldest brother of Emperor Napoleon) is said to have witnessed the Jersey Devil while hunting on his Bordentown, New Jersey estate around 1820.

In 1840, the devil was blamed for several livestock killings. Similar attacks were reported in 1841, accompanied by strange tracks and unearthly screams. The devil made an 1859 appearance in Haddonfield. Bridgeton witnessed a flurry of sightings during the winter of 1873. About 1887, the Jersey Devil was sighted near a house, and terrified one of the children, who called the Devil "it"; the Devil was also sighted in the woods soon after that, and just as in Stephen Decatur's encounter, the Devil was shot in the right wing, but still kept flying.

Since 1909, the Jersey Devil has continued to be sighted by people all over New Jersey. The number of sightings that have been reported to the authorities has dwindled over the years. This could be attributed to the fact that people don't want to be branded as crazy. Even though the number of reported sightings has dropped, there's still a considerable amount of sightings in the post 1909 era.

(Above) gif animation by MARTIN KLASCH

They think it was a Hoax..What do You Think ???

from the
Elk Township (on-line) Local Area Mythology Page:

In the early 19th century, Commodore Stephen Decatur, a naval hero, was testing cannon balls on the firing range when he saw a strange creature flying across the sky. He fired and hit the creature but it kept right on flying across the field. Joseph Bonaparte, former king of Spain and brother of Napoleon, saw the Jersey Devil in Bordentown, NJ, between 1816 and 1839 while he was hunting. In 1840-41 many sheep and chickens were killed by a creature with a piercing scream and strange tracks. In 1859-94, the Jersey Devil was seen and numerous times and reportedly carried off anything that moved in Haddonfield, Bridgeton, Smithville, Long Branch, Brigantine, and Leeds Point. W.F. Mayer of New York noticed while visiting the Pine Barrens, most of the locals would not venture out after dark. The devil was sighted by George Saarosy, A prominent business man, at the NJ/NY border. This was the last reported sighting before the turn of the century.

In 1903, Charles Skinner, author of American Myths and Legends, claimed that the legend of the devil had run it's course and that in the new century, residents of New Jersey would hear no more of the devil. New Jersey rested easy with that thought for 6 years, until the week of January 16-23. 1909. During this week, the devil would leave his tracks all over South Jersey and Philadelphia. He was seen by over 100 people. This was his largest appearance ever. It all started early Sunday morning, January 16, 1909. Thack Cozzens of Woodbury, NJ, saw a flying creature with glowing eyes flying down the street. Over in Bristol, P.A. , John Mcowen heard and saw the strange creature on the banks of the canal. Patrol James Sackville fired at the creature as it flew away screaming. E.W. Minister, Postmaster of Bristol , P.A, also saw a bird-like creature with a horses head that had a piercing scream. When daylight came, the residents of Bristol found hoof prints in the snow. Two local trappers said they had never seen tracks like those before.

On Monday, the Lowdens of Burlington, NJ, found hoof prints in their yard and around their trash, which was half eaten. Almost every yard in Burlington had these strange hoof prints in them. The prints went up trees, went from roof to roof, disappeared in the middle of the road, and stopped in the middle of open fields. The same tracks were also found in Columbus, Hedding, Kinhora and Rancocas. A hunt was organized to follow the tracks but the dogs wouldn't follow the trail.

On the 19th the Jersey Devil made his longest appearance of the week. At 2:30 am, Mr & Mrs. Nelson Evans of Gloucester were awakened by a strange noise. They watched the devil from their window for 10 minutes. Mr. Evans described the creature they saw.

It was about three feet and half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves.It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with palso on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, 'Shoo', and it turned around barked at me, and flew away. Tuesday afternoon 2 professional hunters tracked the devil for 20 miles in Gloucester. The trail jumped 5 foot fences and went under 8 inch spaces. The hoof prints were found in more parts of South Jersey. A group of observers in Camden, NJ, saw the devil. It barked at them and then took off into the air. The next day, a Burlington police officer and the Reverend John Pursell of Pemberton saw the Jersey Devil. Rev. Pursell said, "Never saw anything like it before".

Posses in Haddonfield found tracks that ended abruptly. In Collingswood, NJ, a posse watched the devil fly off toward Moorestown. Near Moorestown, John Smith of Maple Shade saw the devil at the Mount Carmel Cemetery. George Snyder saw the devil right after Mr. Smith and their descriptions were identical. In Riverside, NJ, hoof prints were found on roof tops and also around a dead puppy.

On Thursday, the Jersey Devil was seen by the Black Hawk Social Club. He was also seen by a trolley full of people in Clementon as it circled above them. The witnesses descriptions matched others from the days before. In Trenton, Councilman E.P. Weeden heard the flapping of wings and then found hoof prints outside his door. The prints were also found at the arsenal in Trenton. As the day wore on the Trolleys in Trenton and New Brunswick had armed drivers to ward off attacks. The people in Pitman filled churches. Chickens had been missing all week throughout the Delaware Valley, but when the farmers checked their yards that day, they found their chickens dead, with no marks on them. The West Collingswood Fire Department fired their hose at the devil. The devil retreated at first, but then charged and flew away at the last second.

Later that night, Mrs. Sorbinski of Camden heard a commotion in her yard. She opened the door to see the Jersey Devil standing there with her dog in it's grip. She hit the devil with a broom until it let go of her dog and flew away. She started screaming until her neighbors came over. Two police officers arrived at her house where over 100 people had gathered. The crowd heard a scream coming from Kaigan Hill. The mob ran toward the creature on the hill. The Policed shot at it and the devil flew off into the night. The streets of Camden were empty after this.

On Friday, Camden police officer Louis Strehr saw the Jersey Devil saw the devil drinking from a horses trough. The school in Mt Ephraim was closed because no students came in. Mills and factories in Gloucester and Hainesport had to close because none of the employees came to work. Many New Jersey residents wouldn't leave their houses, even in daylight. Officer Merchant of Blackwood drew a sketch of the creature he saw. His sketch coincided with the descriptions from earlier in the week. Jacob Henderson saw the devil in Salem and described it as having "wings and a tail"4. The devil was only seen once more in 1909 in February.

In 1909, a track walker on the electric railroad saw the devil fly into the wires above the tracks. There was a violent explosion which melted the track 20 feet in both directions. No body was found and the devil was seen later in perfect health. In 1957, the Department of Conservation found a strange corpse in a burned out area of the pines. It was a partial skeleton, feathers, and hind legs of an unidentifiable creature. The devil was thought to be dead, but reappeared when the people of New Jersey thought that this time his death was real. Each time he is reported dead, he returns. Sometimes this year. The Jersey Devil will be 260 years old. It seems the devil is immortal, which a supernatural being would be. Another thing that supports this theory is the incredible distances the devil could fly in a short period of time. No animal could travel as fast as the devil did in 1909 when he was sighted in South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York through out the week.

In 1927, a cab driver on his way to Salem got a flat tire. He stopped to fix the tire. As he was doing this, creature that stood upright and was covered with hair, landed on the roof of his cab. The creature shook his car violently. He fled the scene, leaving the tire and jack behind. Phillip Smith, who was known as a sober and honest man, saw the devil walking down the street in 1953. The characteristic screams of the Jersey Devil were heard in the woods near Woodstown, NJ, in 1936.

This sighting was at Fort Dix either right before or just after World War II, a soldier was on guard duty. He and another sentry saw something white jumping from the top of one vehicle to another. They looked at each other and said "Do you see what I see". It was seen by numerous people that nite and slashed tents and so on. We hear it was reported to officals of Fort Dix. Around a week later they came back to camp from leave and saw the whole camp was lined up. The officers had their pistols drawn and enlisted men had pitch forks and racks in their hands. They walked into the woods in a line because the whole camp had sighted it this time. One person says it was dark out there and that he chased a white thing into the woods with the rest of the soldiers.

Around 1961, 2 couples were parked in a car in the Pine Barrens. They heard a loud screeching noise outside. Suddenly the roof of the car was smashed in. They fled the scene, but returned later. Again they heard the loud screech. They saw a creature flying along the trees, taking out huge chinks of bark as it went along. There have been other sightings since 1909, such as the Invasion of Gibbsboro in 1951. The people there saw the devil over a 2 day period. In 1966, a farm was raided and 31 ducks, 3 geese, 4 cats, and 2 dogs were killed. One of the dogs was a large german Shepherd which had it's throat ripped out. In 1981, a young couple spotted the devil at Atsion Lake in Atlantic County.

In 1987, in Vineland an aggressive german Shepherd was found torn apart and the body explosion upon. the body was located 25 feet from the chain which had been hooked to him. Around the body were strange tracks that no one could identify. The sightings and prints are the most substantial evidence that exists. Many of the theories on the Jersey Devil are based upon that evidence. Some theories can be proven invalid, while others seem to provide support for the Jersey Devil's existence.

The Jersey Devil of the Pine Barrens
by Anthony Perticaro

"It is a haunted place where the blood red waters of the Mullica River rise in the bog of a New Jersey town.... The cedars that line the river banks stain the waters their deep color. Stunted pitch pines stand motionless, their shallow roots anchored precariously in gleaming white stands. Silence reigns." So writes Helena Mann-Malnitchenko in her autobiographic memoir, "A Haunted Place," an eloquent sketch of the Pine Barrens.

The Pine Barrens are a dark, beautiful area of land which seem to belong in a fictitious fairy tale of Eastern European origin. They are, however, quite real and comprise two thousand square miles of Southeastern New Jersey. Originally inhabited solely by the Lenni Lenape Indians, white settlers would not set foot there until Henry Hudson, under the funding of the Dutch government, first explored the region in 1609. Initially, the area did not look very promising as it was extremely dry and so infertile, it could not support farming.

The region later became a hot bed of industry when bog iron was discovered. The iron mined out of the Pine Barrens would supply a large percentage of the ammunitions used during the American Revolution. Its prominence as an industrial mecca would be short lived. Higher grades of iron discovered in the west would shut down the Pine Barren's main source of industry.

The area's great oaks, cedars and, of course, pine trees became the natural resources relied upon, this time for the wood industry. These trees supported the wood cutting, glass making, and paper milling professions. This new economic foray did not prove profitable for very long. When the wood industry collapsed, the Pineys, the derogatory nickname for the Pine Barren's residents, were thrown into poverty.

Man's interference not withstanding, the area maintained its wildlife population quite well. Many animals call the Pine Barrens their home: foxes, deer, bear, various birds and, possibly, the Jersey Devil.

A recent episode of The X-Files borrowed the legendary creature for a story idea. The show had its facts mixed up. In the episode, the Jersey Devil is misrepresented by a primal, savage woman whose origin is owed more to the phenomena of Wild Children (children who are raised by animals in the wild and adopt traits found only in animals) than a creature of Northeastern American folklore. To confuse matters further, this Wild Child bears no resemblance to any of the facts found in documented cases of wild children. Then, she is linked directly to Bigfoot who has nothing to do with either of the two! Let's let the truth about the Jersey Devil be told.

The Jersey Devil of lore does not look like anything humanoid. It is a creature with the head of a horse, large wings and claws, and has a roughly four-foot-long serpentine body. When a person sees the Devil, he or she sees an omen of disaster to come. According to early legends, its appearances have come before shipwrecks and the outbreak of war.

Interestingly, the Jersey Devil is not the only legend which originates from the Pine Barrens. The area is home to two others. The first is the White Stag, a ghostly apparition which appears to help people at the moment of disaster. In Melnitchenko's article, she mentions the Stag was once supposed to have detoured an out-of-control stagecoach from crashing into a river.

The other legend is of James Still, "The Black Doctor." Still was a black man whose goal in life was to become a doctor. In the 19th century, the color of his skin made this an impossibility. Still retreated into the Barrens to study medicine from text books and learn herbal remedies from local Indians. Still then helped people in need who had ventured into the Barrens. Before his death, Still became a hero to those around him.

But of all the legends in the area, the Jersey Devil is the most famous and prominent. The origin of the creature dates back to the 18th century. The story goes as follows: when Mrs. Leeds, an indigent woman living in secluded poverty with her twelve starving children, found out she was to have another child exclaimed: "I don't want any more children! Let it be a devil." When the child was born, it was horribly deformed. It crawled from the womb and up the chimney and out into the woods. It is rumored to have fed on small children and livestock while haunting the area for years to come. Hence, the creatures other name is the Leeds Devil.

This is the most well known and "accepted" origin tale of the entity. Other variations of its birth state the child was deformed when Mrs. Leeds angered a clergyman. In other stories, she angered a gypsy. Other versions stated she practiced sorcery and the child was cursed by God. (Note: all these versions are akin to the werewolf lore of Eastern Europe.) One version states the child's father was a British soldier and God cursed the child since it was born out of an act of treason.

Whatever its birthright may be, the creature was alleged to have been exorcised from the area in 1740. The exorcism ritual performed could only banish it for one hundred years, allowing it to return in 1840.

Of course, these origin stories are pure myth and folklore. In all probability, these tales did not originate until the 1800s. Some accounts of the creature are fairly absurd, including it has been seen in the company of Mermaid and Captain Kidd's ghost! What was undeniable, however, was that the population of the area held a solid belief in the creature's existence and a deep-rooted fear of it.

Documented sightings would start to appear in the middle 1800s. Sketchy accounts--probably preserved by word of mouth for years before being put to print--of the Devil being sighted by townsfolk have been recorded in 1859, 1873, and 1880. One report states that Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, claimed to have seen the creature while hunting.

Records of sightings of the creature in established newspapers did not appear until the advent of the Twentieth Century. It is safe to speculate that any written records prior to the 1900s were either lost or destroyed over time. One of the earliest sightings recorded by local Philadelphia newspapers was in 1899 and it involved a businessman named George Saarosy who was awoken one night by loud, high-pitched screams in his yard. When he looked out his window, he saw the Jersey Devil fly past his house.

The most incredible flurry activity regarding the Devil did not happen until 1909 when literally thousands of encounters with the beast were reported. Articles printed in the now defunct Philadelphia Record chronicled the Devil's exploits. During the week of January 16th to the 23rd, the Jersey Devil reached a crescendo of popularity while managing to terrorize the entire population of the Delaware Valley. So immense was the attention paid to the creature, it received national news coverage.

On Saturday January 16, in the town of Woodbury, New Jersey, a man named Zack Cozzens reported seeing it on a roadside. This experience was chronicled in James Maloy and Ray Miller's book The Jersey Devil, which proved indispensable in writing this article. In it, Cozzens was quoted as saying: "I first heard a hissing sound. Then, something white flew across the street. I saw two spots of phosphorus--the eyes of the beast.... It was as fast as an auto." Later that same night, a group of people reported spying it in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The reports did not stop there.

A Mr. and Mrs. Nelson spotted the animal cavorting on their shed for ten straight minutes; police officers filed reports of shooting at it; and even a Trenton city councilman (name withheld in the source material) claimed an encounter. He had heard a hissing sound at his doorstep late one night. When he opened the door, he found cloven hoofprints in the snow. These bizarre footprints were turning up all over the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware region. Animal mutilations, occurring at random throughout the area during the week, were blamed on the Jersey Devil.

Although the sightings were front page news in Philadelphia and across the country, they were, of course, being met with total ridicule by the press. One editor went so far as to dismiss the whole thing as figments of the imagination of "complete idiots." The Philadelphia Zoo, as a joke, offered a $10,000 reward for its capture. Then, "the creature" was "captured" by Norman Jefferies and Jacob Hope.

Actually, Jefferies and Hope acquired a Kangaroo, painted stripes on it, and glued claws and wings onto it. They claimed the creature was not a demon spawn, but rather a breed of Australian vampire!

As quickly as it had come, the Jersey Devil disappeared from public view. In February of 1909, Leslie Garrison caught a fleeting glimpse of the creature flying over a clump of trees and out of sight for several years. The next recorded account--a very sketchy one--was not made until 1927 when a cabdriver (name unknown) alleged to have seen it after experiencing a flat tire. Then, the Devil would not be seen for another twenty-five years.

It was not until 1951, that there would be another outburst of Devil sightings. As reported in The Philadelphia Record, a ten-year-old boy sighted a creature "with blood dripping from its face" outside the boy's window. With that, the Jersey Devil was back in vogue once again.

Within days of this initial report, more encounters began to occur. In separate instances, Ronald James, Mrs. Elmer Clegy, and Mrs. William Weiser filed reports of hearing unearthly screams in the woods. When sighted, the creature was described quite differently by various people. It was reputed to have been over seven feet tall in one account while resembling an average sized caveman in another. Of course, many of the sightings described the creature as it appeared in its traditional visage. Reports swamped local police offices. The police were not very amused with the situation.

Upon being called in to investigate several strange tracks found in the snow, the police discovered a stuffed bear paw attached to a stick. Soon after, the police were hanging signs across highways which read "The Jersey Devil is a Hoax." Not to be swayed, many residents took to the wood with weapons in hand with intentions of killing the Devil. Fearing that several armed civilians running around with guns could develop into a dangerous situation, the police arrested several would-be Devil hunters on sight. Civil authorities quickly dismissed any accounts of the Devil as hysteria.

After the 1951 stir, reports would die down. Random animal mutilations and strange cries in the night would continue to be reported infrequently during the next decade. In 1966, Steven Silkotch blamed the death of his entire shed of poultry livestock on the Devil. What makes this story amazing is the fact the shed also contained two large German Shepherds, animals very capable of defending themselves against large attackers. Both Shepherds were torn to shreds. This account, however, would be the last encounter with the Devil acknowledged by police and the press. From then on, both would completely ignore any reports of the creature.

The memory of the Jersey Devil did not fade away. Local inhabitants keep the memory alive. One area of the Barrens is nicknamed Leeds Point and is reputed to be the actual birthplace of the Devil. Dozens of spots across New Jersey are rumored to be its final resting place, it cause of death varying by hundreds of different reasons.

"Oh, people still talk about it," says longtime Pine Barrens resident Joe Springer, "I met an ambulance driver who was riding around one night when he heard all these screams in the woods. This was back in 1974. He tore out of here like a madman and swears it was the Jersey Devil to this day."

Granted there are dozens of predatory animals in that area of the country such as coyote, foxes, bobcats and badgers. All of these animals are known to attack and kill livestock. The only thing more terrifying than hearing the cries these animals make is seeing one up close in the wild. There is a humorous anecdote regarding a case of Jersey Devil mistaken identity.

"My grandmother knew The Jersey Devil," says Philadelphia resident John Margovich. "She knew a guy named George Bishop who was from Bensalem, Pennsylvania. In the fifties, he went a little crazy and moved out to The Pine Barrens to be alone. You know, a Walden type thing. He was all scraggly and such from hanging out in the woods. I mean, really scruffy, with a long beard and such. He would freak people out when they saw him walking in the woods. George used to love hearing about people seeing him and swearing they saw The Jersey Devil."

This is not to dismiss all incidents of the Jersey Devil on the imagination. Something very strange has scared a lot of people in the Pine Barrens over the years. Something has managed to terrorize groups of people at random intervals throughout the years in the Pine Barrens. Tales of the Jersey Devil's exploits are still remembered today and most likely will never be forgotten. In fact, most people in the Pine Barrens area revere the tales. The Jersey Devil is their own legend and locals treat it fondly.


Researched by: Carol Johnson and David Munn, Atlantic County Library

The story of the Jersey Devil is an authentic folk legend. It is as varied as the number of people who claim to have seen or heard him. For over 250 years, tales have circulated about the nocturnal ramblings of a creature emerging from the mists of a lonely desolate marsh. As interest in the supernatural has grown, tales of the Jersey Devil have grown to blend folk belief with South Jersey history.

Since the early industrial days of iron ore, southern New Jersey has seen some remarkable activity. Glass and paper manufacturing have expanded. Military complexes have been developed at Maguire Air Force Base and Fort Dix. Atlantic City and the Jersey shore have become prominent resort communities. This growth and development coupled with the emergence of a well-lit highway system have caused the Devil's appearances to be less frequent. But the legend of the Jersey Devil will not die. He has been exorcised, electrocuted, shot, incinerated, declared officially dead and declared officially foolish.

In 1939, the New Jersey Devil was reportedly named the Official State Demon. Walter Edge, twice governor of the state, was quoted as saying: "When I was a boy. . . I was never threatened with the bogey man. . . we were threatened with the Jersey Devil, morning noon, and night." Periodic sightings and theories will probably continue for generations to come. Or at least until the Jersey Devil emerges from the mists of the Pine Barrens himself to tell us his own story.
To understand the legend of the Jersey Devil, you must first understand his birthplace. It is a remote region extending 1700 square miles across southeastern New Jersey. It is actually a giant aquifer with dense stands of white cedar. Inside, the air is calm, still and cool - the shadows heavy. The cedar stands throughout the swamp stain the streams red with tannin. One area of stunted trees is called the Pygmy Forest. While many consider it a barren wilderness, twenty-seven varieties of orchids grow there. In the early days, travel was difficult for the cedar swamps were great obstacles. Some roads are old Indian trails. Others are old stagecoach roads. Some roads are paved, others are sandy. Roads lead to places named Hog Wallow, Double Trouble, Sooy Place and Mary Ann Furnace. These names date back to colonial times when settlers first came to New Jersey. The birthplace of the Jersey Devil is called the Pine Barrens.

There are many stories, apart from that of Mother Leeds, that purport to reveal the creature's origins. One version tells of a young Leeds Point girl who had fallen in love with a British soldier. The British had come to the region because the iron furnaces at Batsto were supplying the privateers. In 1778, the British engaged the Americans at the Battle of Chestnut Neck. The townsfolk opposed the match, calling her liaison an act of treason. They cursed the girl. According to legend, when she later gave birth to a child – it became known as the Leeds Devil. A variation on the tale tells of a young woman who encounters a passing gypsy begging for food. She was frightened and refused. The gypsy cursed her for her refusal. Years later in 1850, with the curse forgotten, when the girl gave birth to her first child – a male – he became a devil and fled into the woods.

Another famous version: In October of 1830, a resident of Vienna, New Jersey, a Mr. John Vliet was entertaining his children with a mask he had made. A mask of a monstrous face. It became a yearly tradition and was adopted by the local townsmen. Its popularity grew and was repeated late in October as parents and children alike put on scary faces and costumes.

Tales of the Devil's exploits abound. He has taken on a variety of forms. Because of the Devil: crops have failed, cows stopped giving milk and droughts ensued. He blew the tops off trees and boiled streams. He was blamed for the loss of all livestock. Some believed the Devil appeared every seven years. Others said he foreshadowed disaster and foretold of war. Prominent citizens or government officials were among many who had witnessed sightings of the creature. They included businessmen, postal officials, and policemen who had seen or heard the creature and saw his tracks left in the snow. This marks the beginning of the change from local folklore to the Devil's presence in regional culture.

After the 1909 appearances, the scientific community was asked for possible explanations. Reportedly, science professors from Philadelphia and experts from the Smithsonian Institution thought the Devil to be a prehistoric creature from the Jurassic period. Had the creature survived in nearby limestone caves? Was it a pterodactyl or a peleosaurus? New York scientists thought it to be a marsupial carnivore. Was it an extinct fissiped? However, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia could not locate any record of a living of dead species resembling the Jersey Devil.

The Devil's form has been suggested to be the blending of human and devil, as are gothic gargoyles. Devil lore began in the region about 1735 shortly after Ben Franklin's fictitious story in the Pennsylvania Gazette about a Burlington County witchcraft trial. Early folk belief was often at odds with religious or scientific doctrine of the period. The farther north you go in New Jersey, the more benevolent the stories of the Devil become. In fact, the Devil had not been known to harm anyone or break any local ordinances. Servicemen from the Vietnam War era have said the Devil is an anti-war symbol. Comparisons have been made between the Devil, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Abominable Snowman. In 1973, he gained nationwide attention after a feature film was made entitled "The Legend of Boggy Hollow". In 1996, it was reported that Berlin-based Cosmic Comics had created a character "JD" based on the Jersey Devil who protects the environment and searches for truth.

This material collected from Atlantic County On Line