May 03, 2024 I Paul Seaburn

Pro Wrestling Ghost, Turkish Flying Humanoid, Spontaneous Mummification, Ogopogo Sighting and More Mysterious News Briefly

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

This week’s ghost story comes from the world of professional wrestling where Hulk Hogan, one of the best-known and most popular wrestlers of all time, claims in a recent interview that he received a voicemail message from fellow pro wrestling star ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper two days after Piper had passed away – Hogan says ‘Rowdy’ wasn’t rowdy in the afterlife and instead told his friend “I'm just loving you, my brother. Just walkin' with Jesus”; Hogan played the message in the interview but offered no other proof it was real.  If you want to watch wrestlers wrestling in the afterlife, you have to subscribe to pray-per-view.

A hiker in Angeles National Forest east of Los Angeles took photos of what he believes to be Bigfoot tracks that are double the size of his size 11.5 shoes, then he claims he spotted "something very large about 50 meters away through some tall vegetation out of my peripheral vision” but he didn’t mention it to his fiancée who he was hiking with because “she would’ve lost it” – he says he didn’t feel afraid but he felt he was being ‘seen’ at about 6:30 pm on their hike out of the forest. If the footprints were pointed towards Los Angeles, they could be a Bigfoot heading to Hollywood in hopes of appearing in a sequel to ‘Sasquatch Sunset’.

The monument to the nine hikers who died mysteriously in the 1959 Dyatlov Pass incident in Yekaterinburg in the former Soviet Union was defaced with a Nazi swastika drawn with a permanent marker and one of the photos of the dead hikers was torn off – of the many possible explanations for their mysterious deaths, an avalanche or a covered-up botched rocket or weapon failure are most often given, but those who prefer conspiracy theories like aliens or a supernatural force may have a new Nazi-related one to consider, although no one has taken responsibility for it yet. Have a little respect for the families and next time just leave a note.

The Ogopogo, a water monster many people believe lives in British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake, may have been recorded this week by a woman photographing a rainbow when she noticed “this thing popped up out of pretty calm water and then it started to move forward in that, kind of arch that you see popping up" – she then saw large waves "started popping up" when the creature sank back into the water, convincing her this was not a bird or a fish. Ogopogo needs to find out who Nessie and Bigfoot use for publicity.

I should be getting more revenue on T-shirt sales.

Most alien big cat stories come from England, but this week’s out-of-place panther video arrives from the Australian town of Ballarat where Angus James was hunting for gold with his metal detector when he saw what appeared to be a large feline which he managed to record running through tall grass for a minute before it disappeared – other big cats have been seen in the Ballarat area of Victoria over the years, so this wasn’t as exciting as seeing a Tasmanian tiger but James is convinced this was no house cat. If it was a big cat that eats those invasive cane toads, he could forget about looking for gold and make a fortune renting it to farmers.

You don’t have to be a dinosaur to fear a killer asteroid hitting the Earth, but the probability has always seemed low until this week when scientists from the Asteroid Institute and the University of Washington released the results of a study that used photos from the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) and the Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery (THOR) algorithm to find 27,500 newly identified solar system bodies (more than were discovered by all of the world’s telescopes last year), including 100 near-Earth asteroids which it says are not currently on a collision path with Earth but could help NASA in its “planetary defense” anti-asteroid programs. If you still feel safe, try catching one bee out of a swarm.

Astronomy professor Dr. Frederick Walter apologizes that his new theory for why aliens have not visited Earth is “sort of morbid, I suppose” but he explains anyway that he suspects intelligent extraterrestrial species may have been annihilated by gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) emitted when a nearby massive star runs out of fuel, collapses under its own weight and spews out a tremendous 'supernova' beam of radiation with a brightness of one quintillion times the brightness of our own sun – with these event happening as frequently as once every 10 million years per galaxy, the chances are high that intelligent aliens have been fried like eggs long before their plans to explore the universe are hatched. What’s really morbid is that we may not survive long enough to be fried by a gamma-ray burst.

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian sci-fi novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’ covers a number of reasons why a ‘civilization’ might destroy books, but he missed a modern one which surprisingly has nothing to do with politics – researchers and librarians have found traces of the toxic chemical arsenic in the covers of more than 200 books from around the world, especially books from the 19th century with green covers made with a dye from mixing copper and arsenic; titles like the 1862-1863 book of the Horticultural Society and two volumes of Edward Hayes's 'The Ballads of Ireland' from 1855 are being quarantined before their arsenic-laden covers give handlers respiratory problems, poor lung function, chronic lung disease, skin lesions and cancer. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the book.

An example of how hard it is to identify UFOs these days comes from Argentina where a man sailing the waters in front of the Llao Llao hotel in Bariloche recorded a bright unknown object seemingly hovering over the water – the man claimed he is very familiar with these waters and the area and swears the conditions were such that this was not a reflection off of a hotel window because “it was seen from various angles and the sun was covered by a cloud” and “the intensity was impressive"; despite that, many viewing the video can’t attribute it to anything but a reflection. Could it be a UFO sending a distress signal?

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) looked at the report by an Air Force fighter pilot who encountered what may have been four objects about 18,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico which appeared on radar to be flying in formation; however, the pilot visually observed only one of the objects and captured two images of it on his plane’s electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor – the AARO investigated the incident and the report concluded with "moderate confidence" that the object was "a commercial lighting balloon" or a similar object, and the AARP had “high confidence” it was not an anomalous object. The way things are going, the pilot probably has low confidence he’ll be assigned any more missions over the Gulf of Mexico.

People in the city of Muş in eastern Turkey are scanning the skies for flying humanoids after a shepherd posted a video of what he claimed was one in a village in the Varto district of Muş traveling slowly over his flock of sheep – he says when he saw the flying humanoid object he “got a little excited” and “was able to follow the object in the air for about a minute”; now he wants the object “to be investigated”. So do his nervous abduction-fearing sheep.

Someone point them to that field with the cows.

The government of the Central Asian country of Tajikistan announced it is cracking down on people involved in fortune-telling, sorcery, witchcraft, distribution of talismans and amulets, and illegal religious instruction by making these crimes punishable by up to six months of compulsory labor – the government tried restrictions like this before but many people still wore talismans for protection against rising energy prices, unemployment and general discontent and exorcisms are said to be on the rise. Talismans are out but bribes to police officers may still be considered lucky.

The Jefferson Hotel in Austin, Texas, has long been considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in the state and a recent video taken by a security camera in the hotel laundry room does little to dispute it – the recording shows the co-owner of the establishment who said he heard "someone walking in the hallway", then the audio picks up what he describes as "a disembodied voice of a child" saying something which commenters think sounds like “hello”; while all of this is happening, a bottle of glue fall over on its own accord while the co-owner gets up to investigate. Security cam footage or an ad to attract fans of the paranormal to the Jefferson Hotel?

Those looking for a path to heaven may want to check out a new discovery in Baltinglass, a town in County Wicklow in eastern Ireland, where archaeologists using lidar (light detection and ranging) found evidence of rare cursus monuments which are long, narrow, earthwork enclosures that some researchers think are markers for ancient chariot racing tracks, but others believe were used in rituals in the Middle Neolithic period (around 3400 BCE to 1400 BCE) “as either processional routes for mourning or a way to move the dead onto heaven” – little is known about this period and the rare cursus monuments will hopefully shed some light on it. Perhaps they’ll find a road paved with good intentions?

T. rex may have been big and terrifying to other dinosaurs but it may not have been smarter than them according to a new study by paleontologists, behavioral scientists and neurologists, published in The Anatomical Record, which looked at behavior rather than cranium size and determined their brains performed more like those of smaller crocodiles and lizards – a far cry from the intelligence of monkeys which previous studies have compared them too. When being chased by a creature the size of a house, does IQ really matter?

Should I be studying paleontology or astronomy?

A museum in the small Andean mountain town of San Bernardo, 62 miles south of Bogota in Colombia, is home to 13 human bodies that were spontaneously and inexplicably mummified immediately after death, with some still having their eyes and most looking like they did when they died – while the superstitious believe this is the result of living a good (or bad) life while others think it’s from eating a healthy diet, anthropologist Daniela Betancourt of the National University of Colombia suspects it’s because the cemetery is on a steep mountain slope directly in the path of hot, dry winds which cause the burial vaults to dehydrate the bodies before the humid air can decompose them. Sounds like this needs more research and a horror movie script.

In other mummy news, a new theory for the long-rumored ‘mummy’s curse’, which many believe is responsible for the mysterious deaths of Egyptian tomb robbers and explorers including those who first entered the tomb of King Tut, comes from a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science which suggest that ancient Egyptian tombs could have been used to store radioactive nuclear waste – this idea is extrapolated from writings like the Pyramid Texts and the Sarcophagus Texts which refer to incidents like the god Osiris being "transformed into light" which could have been caused by the release of nuclear energy; Osiris was also described as a "primal substance" and being "formed of atoms" which could have been obtained from yellow cake uranium oxide, a radioactive material possibly available to the pharaohs and other Egyptian leaders. Sounds like this needs more research and another horror movie script.

Humanoid robots have real challenges mimicking the walking speed of humans, and the same is true for robotic animals, a problem a team of researchers from a number of engineering colleges addressed in a new study, published in Science Robotics, which found that while the component parts of robotic animals are far superior than their animal equivalents, the integration and control of those components into a mechanical cheetah or other fast critter is a huge challenge and animals have head start of millions of years. While Boston Dynamics has done well in giving its robo-dogs slow movements, they’ve done better equipping one with fur that makes it look like a cartoon dog or a sports mascot – but not as fast as either. Even robot humans prefer real dogs over robo-dogs as their best friends.

The dangers of space travel are well known, but it turns out working on rockets and other space travel equipment is even more dangerous if your employer is SpaceX, as a review of safety data reported to U.S. regulators by Elon Musk’s space company found that injury rates at SpaceX facilities continued to exceed an industry average in 2023, with the huge manufacturing-and-launch facility for making huge rockets in Brownsville, Texas, reporting 5.9 injuries per 100 workers, up from 4.8 injuries in 2022 – another Reuters investigation found at least 600 previously unreported worker injuries at SpaceX, with the injuries causing crushed limbs, amputations, serious head injuries and one death. Who would have thought that the ‘final’ frontier is the plant where the spaceships are made?

Meanwhile, the Japanese space company Astroscale is making space safer for those who make it that far by sending a craft to rendezvous with its own 15-year-old piece of space junk (a 36-foot-long discarded rocket part weighing 3 tons) that it photographed as a test for its future business of removing other large chunks of space junk left in space by other companies and nations – it’s a tough job because they are often tumbling like the one belonging to Astroscale and must be stabilized, possibly by firing thrusters against it. No matter how hard we try to ignore it, our garbage follows us everywhere and forever.

The two homes of Joerg Arnu, the creator of the popular Area 51 photo and information website, were raided in 2022 by teams of heavily armed federal agents who said they were from the FBI the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) – Arnu told George Knapp in a recent interview that he still hasn’t been told why his houses and business were raided and his computers and all other equipment confiscated, no charges have been filed and he has not been reimbursed for the $32,000 in damages the agents caused. Maybe the Storm Area 51 people from a few years ago can get the old gang back together again and help him out.

People who see the image of famous people on burnt toast, dirty windows and other ambiguous objects are said to be suffering from pareidolia, and now people who think they hear their names being called in the woods or buildings when no one else is around are said to be victims of "auditory pareidolia" where the vague sounds which might be water, engines, animals or other things are associated by the brain with something familiar like the sound of the person’s name – while pareidolia can be a hallucination caused by schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, auditory pareidolia is non-psychiatric but still not clearly understood. At least with regular pareidolia, you have some toast to eat afterward.

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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