A roundup of mysterious, paranormal and strange news stories from the past week.
Arachnologist Dr. Peter Jäger named a new genus from the wandering spider family “Bowie gen. nov.” in honor of the late pop musician David Bowie on the 75th birthday of the leader of the Spiders from Mars – the 54 new species of spiders bear names such as Bowie ziggystardust, Bowie majortom, and Bowie heroes. Fearing rolled magazines, none of them wanted the name Bowie wham bam thankyou ma’m.
A Polish and Italian archaeological team digging in the Abusir necropolis near Saqqara in Egypt found the remains of a mud-brick building believed to be one of the lost “sun temples” of ancient Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty constructed to honor the Ancient Egyptian god Ra, the god of the sun, order, kings, and the sky. The temple contained beer pots, which may explain how they lost it.
That mysterious ball of string photographed by the Mars Perseverance rover before it disappeared has been identified by NASA engineers as a piece of Dacron netting that was part of the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) hardware – the netting material is commonly used in thermal blankets. Matians don’t care what it’s from – they just want that fancy little helicopter to pick it up with the rest of the NASA trash and place it in the proper receptacle.
Four hundred years too late, Elizabeth Johnson, the last remaining Massachusetts resident legally classified as a witch, was given a reprieve as part of a budget bill signed by Governor Charlie Baker after a three-year campaign by students to exonerate her. The state politicians had to think long and hard about severing their ties with the devil.
Adventurer Forrest Galante captured a rare video of a rare epaulette shark using its fins to drag itself out of the water and walk across rocks on land, claiming this was the first time in history one of the Papuan species of epaulettes has been documented walking. After the epaulette shark was returned to the water, it was probably reminded by fellow epaulettes that the first rule of walking sharks is never get videoed walking.
For the third time since it became operational, astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope announced the discovery of the most distant galaxy – this one is named CEERS-93316 and is just under 13.8 billion light years away, which means it was born just 235 million years after the Big Bang. Carole King wants to know if she needs to update the lyrics to “So Far Away” or wait for another announcement.
Blue Origin successfully launched its sixth commercial trip to suborbital space on a New Shepard rocket, enabling passenger Vanessa O'Brien to become the first woman to complete the Explorer's Extreme Trifecta – visiting the highest point on Earth, the deepest point in the ocean and traveling into space. William Shatner’s extreme trifecta was to travel in space, be Captain Kirk and find his lost wallet.
A farmer in Tennessee claims a farm hand took a photo of what he thinks has stolen all of the farm’s chickens – a Bigfoot the farm’s manager calls El Diablo Yeti who frightened another employee so much that he quit. There is little agreement on whether the photo is real but everyone agrees El Diablo Yeti is a great name for a Santana cover band.
A video making the rounds in Michigan shows what appears to be a black panther captured by a door camera walking across a yard near Richmond in the County Line & 31 area – while some say it’s just a large domestic cat, others are convinced it’s a Chupacabra. This is what happens when you name your professional sports teams after Lions and Tigers.
British TV scientist Brian Cox says NASA’s Perseverance rover is about to discover a real-life Martian, although it won’t be a humanoid but more likely a microbe that once lived in the ancient Jezero Crater’s river delta where Perseverance is currently roving and collecting soil samples. Get ready for a million headlines reading “Perseverance Pays Off.”
Scientists at Tohoku University in Japan are predicting that the sixth mass extinction on Earth will occur by the year 2500 but will not be as catastrophic as the previous five because the average temperature will not rise by 9 degrees C, which is the point of no return. Most politicians are just relieved it won’t happen before the next election.
Satellite images taken by the European Space Agency show that Utah’s Great Salt Lake is now at its lowest level since records began in 1847 – just 4,190 feet above sea level, a level that is almost ten feet lower than it was in 1847 and just one-fourth of the volume of water it had at its highest point in 1987 … with the blame falling squarely on climate change causing snow from the nearby mountains to evaporate into vapor instead of melting and replenishing the lake. Are you ready for The Salt Lake Formerly Known as Great?
An archaeological study on the Mariana Islands in the Pacific determined that cowrie shell artifacts found on the islands of Tinian and Saipan date back to about 1500 BCE and were used as lures for hunting octopuses, making them the oldest known octopus lures in the world. Did these ancient fishermen brag that the octopus that got away was bigger than the boat or even the entire island?
A scary-looking fossilized tuna-like predator fish called Pachycormus discovered at a new Jurassic dig site just outside Stroud, in Gloucestershire, England, looks very much like one of those novelty singing ‘Big Mouth Billy Bass’ plaques many guys have hanging over their home bars. This could be just the discovery to turn the Jurassic Park movies into the leader in Hollywood action figures.
The treasures of the legendary Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders), a two-deck Spanish galleon ship that sank off the Little Bahama Bank in the northern Bahamas on January 4, 1656 – have been found and they include Spanish olive jars, Chinese porcelain, iron rigging, gold and silver coins, three gold chains and bribes for Spanish officials. Most people today don’t consider Spanish olives to be real treasures unless they’re pitted.
UK government scientists created a dextrous robot name Mascot with arms and fingers to fix a super-hot fusion reactor, but it’s new claim to fame is its ability to defeat human players in the tile-removing game of Jenga – Mascot can also cut new tiles and even sweeps up after itself. All it needs is a special middle finger to give to those snobby chess-playing roots.
According to a new study, vocal coordination evolved before humans split from chimpanzees and bonobos six million years ago because modern chimps show vocal exchanges during collective pursuits of prey when they hunt together. We’re in big trouble if they start to huddle before one of them calls out the signals.
Rome's Pantheon was spray painted with graffiti that reads "Aliens Exist" alongside what appears to be two flying saucers, and many people are puzzled why the almost 2,000-year-old building has no functioning security cameras in the area. That’s the same question Caesar asked.
Futurologist Dr. James Bellini predicts that by 2050, washing machines will ultra-sonically blast clothes clean, homes will feature waterless dishwashers, drones will restock refrigerators and farms will be vertical instead of horizontal. Sadly, still no flying cars for Jetsons fans.
Southwick Public Library in Massachusetts has a new service for library card holders – they can check out a ghost hunting kit which includes a digital thermometer, electromagnetic fields detector, walkie talkies, and a voice recorder. You probably should bring a photo as proof if you want to blame a ghost for you bringing the kit back after its due date.