May 27, 2023 I Paul Seaburn

Rat Boy, Popcatepetl Volcano UFO, Conjuring House Camping, Loch Ness Monster's Face and Mysterious News Briefly

The Wayne County Historical Museum in Indiana is looking for the person who dumped a box at its back gate containing what looks like the remains of a strange creature it has named "The Richmond Rat Boy" – the note said in came from the person’s great-grandfather's friend who worked for a circus in the 1910s-30s, but an analysis shows it appears to be made of plaster of Paris and clay over a frame, with glued-on animal claws and animal hair. Rat Boy sounds like another movie role for Paul Rudd.

In the latest in automotive technology, BMW’s new 5-series sedan unveiled this week will allow drivers to change lanes on the highway just by looking to the side without touching the steering wheel – the optional Highway Assistant system has a camera mounted behind the steering wheel and sensors that detect other vehicles approaching at high speed on that side before allowing the eye-operated turn at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. This is not a feature you want on the car you drive to the beach.

The annual Falmouth Worm Charming Championships were held in Cornwall, England, and 260 worms were charmed out of the ground by people playing musical instruments, banging garden tools, dancing or begging the worms to come out – the winning team charmed a record-breaking total of 20 worms within the 30-minute time limit. That fluttering sound you hear is robins slow-clapping their wings.

A mysterious rare form of "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)) was found in a beef cow at a slaughter plant in South Carolina, but the US Department of Agriculture said the cow "never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health in the United States" – this variant only occurred in older cows. How do you determine a cow’s age - look at their udder for an expiration date?

Videos of the Popcatepetl volcano in Mexico showed what looked like a UFO descending into its crater just seconds before a massive eruption – this volcano is a hotspot for UFO activity and many believe it is a portal to an underground alien base. Either that or the webcams monitoring it are portals for moths and other insects.

FluidLab, a new simulation tool from researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), is training robots for complex fluid manipulation tasks like making latte art, though. In many tasks, creating the perfect ice cream swirl, mixing solids into liquids, or paddling through the water to move objects. Look for them soon at the renamed Star Buck Rogers Coffee Shops.

Attention fans of “The Conjuring”… the real Conjuring House in Burrillville, R.I., where the paranormal events depicted by the 2013 horror movie allegedly took place in 1971, is now open for visitors to go ghost camping or “GHamping” – you spend the night in 3-4 person tents and pretend to be paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Nothing says scary fun like hearing your s’mores threaten to kill you with the skewer you’re roasting your marshmallows with.

A recent poll found that the United States is the UFO hotspot of countries, with 92 percent of all reported UFO sightings taking place in the U.S. — that’s 126,094 reported sightings in total since record-keeping began … far ahead of second-place Canada with 5,696 sightings and third-place United Kingdom with 3,146. Was there a big spike after the television writers went on strike?

This week’s time traveler is Mike Williams who claims he’s from 2047 where he just got fired from a firm creating innovative technologies such as a time machine so he used it to travel back to 2022 where he met his younger self – proving it by showing their matching tattoos of a childhood cat on his wrist – they are now working together in 2023 to build a new time machine since 2047 Mike destroyed the one he used so no one would follow him. Forget the matching tattoo – if he’s a typical guy, his 2047 version should still have some of the same clothes he wore in 2022.

A Polish-Armenian team of archaeologists digging in the ruins of a 3,000-year-old building in Armenia found mounds of a mysterious white, powdery substance which told them what this building was used for – no, not a drug house but a bakery and the white powder was remnants of ancient flour used to bake bread the large furnaces. Did any of the archeologists end up with dough up their nose?

For those worried about the world being taken over by ChatGPT, a team of researchers tested the mathematical ability of the generative AI program with challenging graduate-level math questions and ChatGPT failed to answer a significant number of them. We’ll get worried when ChatGPT asks the researchers what it will ever need math for anyway?

The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register has introduced a new policy for those using the live-streaming webcams around the loch to record Nessie "sightings" – when making an official sighting report, “you must have footage of clear facial features of an unknown creature in the footage for it to be considered." Good luck with that – half of us can’t even get clear facial features on selfies.

NASA scientists have borrowed the U.S. Navy’s Kraken, a device that can vigorously spin occupants like laundry churning in a washing machine, in order to simulate the disorientation that astronauts may encounter in space in order to develop strategies to help ease motion sickness during sudden shifts in roll, pitch, and yaw while also experiencing horizontal and vertical lurches. There’s nothing worse for an astronaut than being weightless and nauseous and trying to catch a floating barf bag.

After a meteorite smashed through a family's roof in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, recently, many worried Garden State residents are checking if their insurance covers asteroidal damage – according to experts, people with homeowners' or business property insurance should be covered. If you don’t have insurance, you may want to threaten asteroids with a New Jersey warning painted on your roof saying, “Don’t even think about it.”

Researchers have discovered that a species of tiny, colorful jumping spider called the Siler collingwoodi avoids being eaten in two ways – by camouflaging itself to blend in with plants or by imitating three different kinds of ants. Its natural enemy is the confused and annoyed praying mantis.

Six months after it was first discovered on a ranch in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state, conservationists from the Anteaters and Highways Project (AHP) released new photos of the only known living albino giant anteater on Earth to show that the young giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is doing well and is now fitted with a GPS vest to track his future movements. This will work great until the ants get Google Anteater.

An archaeologist and a biologist have found the first evidence of birds being sacrificed to the goddess Isis in the excavated ruins of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii – the researchers found depictions of rituals involving geese, turtle doves, chickens and ibises. If you’re petitioning a favor from a powerful goddess like Isis by sacrificing a chicken, the best you can hope for is help finding where you left your sandals.

A 1,100 year-old inscription found on a lead breastplate discovered in the ruins of a Bulgarian fortress may be one of the oldest Cyrillic (Slavic) texts ever found – it says the plate should be worn on the chest to protect the wearer from trouble and evil, and dates back to dates to the time of Tsar Simeon I (Simeon the Great) who ruled the Bulgarian Empire between 893 and 927. In those days, trouble and evil apparently did not include lead poisoning.

Archaeologists have found a 4,000-year-old temple in the Miraflores archaeological site located in western Peru – the temple contained a chacana or southern cross, an ancient cross symbol, carved into a frieze that is the oldest complete representation of a chacana that has been found in the Andes, showing that the religious symbol was used for 4,000 years up to the Inca period. The only other religious traditions which last that long involve collection plates.

For the first time, astronomers have picked up the radio signature of a supernova explosion in a galaxy more than 400 million light-years away that was caused by a single dying white dwarf – most supernovas are caused by a binary pair while this signal was from a rare subclass of Type Ia supernovae caused by a single star. Let’s hope the last sound coming from this star wasn’t a voice saying, “I wonder what this button is for.”

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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