Oct 29, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Zombie Pigeons, Time Travel Photos, Marshmallow Planet, Ogopogo Sighting and More Mysterious News Briefly

A roundup of mysterious, paranormal and strange news stories from the past week.

In a new study to test the effects of desiccation (the removal of moisture), freezing, and simulated cosmic radiation on microorganisms that could be living just beneath the surface of Mars, researchers found that Deinococcus radiodurans, a remarkably durable microbe affectionately known as “Conan the Bacterium,” could survive 1.5 million years 4 inches (10 cm) beneath the surface, and 280 million years at 33 feet (10 meters) beneath the surface. Sounds like Mars colonists are going to need some stronger hand sanitizer.

A newly discovered, "potentially hazardous" asteroid with an estimated diameter of between 1,083 and 2,428 feet (330 and 740 meters) — just under the height of Dubai's 2,716-foot-tall (828 m) Burj Khalifa - will zoom past Earth at around 52,500 mph (84,500 km/h) on Halloween night but should stay about 1.43 million miles (2.3 million km) away. What if it heard about what that DART space probe did to its little cousin Dimorphos?

A mysterious and highly infectious virus -- Pigeon paramyxovirus, also known as PPMV or Newcastle's Disease -- is spreading rapidly among Jersey pigeons in the UK and turning them into slow moving 'zombies' with deformed necks … the fear is that the disease will spread to other birds. The only good thing is that Zombie Pigeons is a great band name.

After watching an aye-aye lemur, a nocturnal primate found only in Madagascar, stick a long, skinny finger far up its nose, Professor Anne-Claire Fabre, curator of mammals at the Museum of Natural History in Bern, conducted a study and found the finger was going into the sinus and from the sinus into the throat and into the mouth. They could probably dig even deeper if they were driving a car.

Archaeologists have detected traces of dairy fats on the walls of pottery vessels from the settlements of the Linearbandkeramik culture in Central Europe – the earliest Neolithic farming groups in Central Europe which date back 7,400 years ago and seem to be the first humans to drink animal milk regularly. Did Linearbandkeramik artists stop while painting cave walls and tell their models to “Say cheese”?

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who argues that ‘Oumuamua could be an interstellar alien spacecraft, also wants us to consider that there are as many as 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 4 quintillion) more interstellar spacecraft flying around in our 9 billion miles wide solar system. As Enrico Fermi might ask paradoxically: “So how come, Avi, out of 4 quintillion, we’ve only seen the zeroes – not the 4?”

Brian Stanley, a 33-year-old American engineer who lost an eye to cancer, transformed his prosthetic eyeball into a fully-functioning flashlight he calls his Titanium Cyborg Eye which he says is perfect for reading in the dark, doesn’t get hot and has a battery life of 20 hours. If he can update to a strobe light, he could be the greatest DJ in history.

Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Chalmers University of Technology used a custom optical chip that can make use of a single infrared light by splitting it into hundreds of different frequencies that are evenly spaced apart and transmitted 1.84 petabits per second worth of data over 4.9 miles of optical fiber – nearly twice the amount of global internet traffic in the same interval. Not surprisingly, it can still be brought down by one Kardashian photo.

Just in time for Halloween, a woman in Tennessee called the police to pick up a clown doll which someone left on her doorstep with a note saying “Neighbor. He is your problem now. I am sorry I can’t do this anymore.” Police say they get hundreds of calls like these, but they’re usually Ken dolls and the note is signed, “Barbie.”

Time travel believers say a black-and-white 1905 photo taken at the Lower Manhattan banana docks shows a hatless man with a mohawk haircut that didn’t exist in 1905 – which to them means he is a time traveler. If you are one of these believers, please Google “Mohawk People.” Then check out the 1928 silent Charlie Chaplin film “The Circus” which some people claim shows a time traveler walking around while holding a cell phone to her ear – if this is you, Google “first hearing aid.” You’re welcome.

A surveillance video from a Dollar General store in Humansville, Missouri, shows what appears to be a ghost walking through an office – an employee claims it is built on the site of an old brick water tower and workers would often hear the cooler doors banging shut. It could be dust, a CGI hoax or the ghost of a tower worker who can’t believe people will pay a dollar for a bottle of water.

The Synthetic Party is a new political group in Denmark that is committed to following the platform thought up by an AI chatbot known as Leader Lars, who supports the idea of a universal basic monthly income and better computers for government offices. Most Danish voters don’t care if Leader Lars is artificial – they’re happy to see a politician with intelligence.

Astronomers at Carnegie Institution for Science's Earth and Planets Laboratory using the TESS space telescope have discovered an exoplanet called TOI-3757b with the density of marshmallow, making it the fluffiest exoplanet found to date orbiting a red dwarf star. The astronomers are so excited about finding one marshmallow planet, they are already looking for s’mores.

Crystal Patterson was using Google Earth to scout out the location of a local garage sale in the town of Mapleton, Maine, when she noticed something strange, so she zoomed in on a silver car and is convinced there is an "alien face" staring out of vehicle's back window. Wait until other extraterrestrial find out garage sales in Mapleton may have cheap spaceship parts.

People living around Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, are arguing over a photo of what some swear is the horned head of the lake’s famous Ogopogo lake monster, while others are convinced it is a sturgeon, a dead deer, or most likely a big bird trolling for fish upside down. This is what happens when kids learn biology online.

Before she died of cancer at the age of 81, a much loved grandmother in Breckenridge, Texas, with a sense of humor and the paranormal arranged for  Ouija boards to be passed out at her funeral so that she could 'stay in touch' with her relatives. Sounds like it could be fun, but who wants to visit grandma’s grave and get message telling you you’re standing on her head?

NASA is planning to test an entirely new approach to Mars landings – a test spacecraft will be intentionally crashed into the Martian surface surrounded by a "crumple zone" of metal that will collapse yet protect just like car fenders and hoods keep passengers safe during a collision. Look for Elon Musk to switch SpaceX’s focus from building Martian colonies to building Martian body shops.

Ireland’s Eoin O'Faodhagain used the VILN Shoreland Lodges Webcam at Loch Ness to capture a photo of something he estimates to be 20 to 30 feet long that he claims is yet another of his online sightings of the Loch Ness monster – a sighting which is not counted by the Official Loch Ness Monster Register because it doesn’t show enough detail. And by “detail” they mean “the tail.”

Boise State professor of geosciences Jeffrey Johnson and other volcano researchers conducted a study on Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, and identified an inaudible infrasound signal from the volcano which changed in the hours leading up to erupting a kilometer-high lava fountain, which means volcanoes emit these trombone-like warnings before they erupt. And it explains why the favorite band of volcanoes is Chicago.

Those mysterious fairy circles in Namibia – round patches in the grass, each a few meters wide, that form a distinctive pattern and are visible for miles – have finally been solved … they’re not from termites but the result of the grasses in the circles acting as ecosystem engineers creating soil-moisture vacuums around their roots that attract water towards them while killing the grasses in the middle. If grass can figure out ecosystem engineering … why can’t humans?

The French champagne brand G.H. Mumm has spent five years developing a futuristic champagne bottle that can be used in space – the bottle has a finger-controlled valve which, when engaged, releases a globule of champagne spheres that astronauts or space tourists can then scoop out of the air using special glasses that resemble tiny egg cups. This sounds like a space cartoon – astronauts out of lasers decide to fire the corks at aliens and then drink the champagne to celebrate their demise.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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