Monday, 19 December 2011

Tales from the Philippines

It was believed by the folk that when a mermaid is captured (and held captive), it results in a big flood. After “Ondoy,” it is said that more people went to the Manila Aquarium than usual to check whether a mermaid was, indeed, in one of the display tanks.

Two friends who regularly go to Dumaguete, and one who lives there, also relate that when the seaside city went underwater from heavy rains four years ago, fishermen up and down the coast marched angrily to the Silliman Marine Science lab armed with oars. They were soon joined by farmers carrying pitchforks, whose farms had been inundated. They demanded the release of the mermaid that the marine biologists had purportedly been keeping in a tank (for study?).

Poor director Alcala of the marine science department had to rush to the scene in his pajamas to open the tank area! Only then would the folk believe that there was no mermaid imprisoned there.

In Dagupan, Pangasinan, a mermaid statue with a fountain used to be in front of the old City Hall until it was torn down during a remodeling.

“Mermaids were part of our childhood and our history,” says Norma Liongoren. “The rivers criss-crossing Dagupan were said to be her tears. The sirena was the bogey we were frightened with to make us obey.”

One of the Hundred Islands of Alaminos was the location of the first “Jezebel” movie (which has had many incarnations). A mermaid statue still exists there.

Legends about mermaids are prevalent all over the Philippines. As in Angono, sightings are still reported—of a mermaid with long hair, perched on a rock, luring sailors and swimmers with her singing, then drowning them. (The dugong, says John I. Teodoro, with its hairy body, looks very much like a fat mermaid.) A science (?) education (?) building under construction had a glass dome, it was rumored, to become the tank for a sirena.

Another interesting urban myth that has been around since the ’80s is that of Robina (Gokongwei)’s snake twin. That this snake likes to eat people who go into a fitting room of the department store. A trapdoor allegedly opens and the girl disappears forever. That the snake watches when the elevator door opens to observe where the feet of the person it desires are going, and follows.

An earlier story has it that the Gokongwei son it was who had a snake twin. The obsidian, the legend goes, likes beautiful young women whom it captures through the same dressing-room trapdoor. This snake apparently travels because the same legend follows it in every branch of the department store.

At one time it is said that the pretty actress, Alice Dixson, had been captured by the snake but released. And that, to quell the rumor, the family had to pay her to leave for Canada and stay there. The lawyer allegedly hired to settle the affair was Solicitor Frank Chavez!


I thought the myth had died down. But just the other day, someone who was supposed to have a meeting with Mr. Lance Gokongwei was advised to “look closely and tell me if his arms, under his long sleeves, have scales”!

The legend that still persists in Ilocos Norte is that Marcos is alive. That he is kept living by embryonic fluid in some secret facility. That his skin is nice and fresh and that he walks among us but does not look at all like the original Marcos. That the “corpse” in Paoay is really just wax. That his gold certificates are still being encashed, etc., etc.

Myths or legends are usually pegged on an event that took place, like the “Ondoy” flood and the flooding of the Dumaguete coastline. The Marcos “corpse” is still viewable in his mausoleum in the north. The belief in a snake twin has been around in the islands at least since the 17th century, as reported in Fray Ignacio Francisco Alzina’s 1668 “History of the Bisayan Islands” (basis of current telenovela “Amaya”).

Chinese are also known to regard snakes as good luck for business, which is allegedly why some Chinese keep snakes in their bodega. (And animals have to be fed don’t they?) Someone posited, though, that the snake myth came up when malls were just being introduced in the Philippines. They were huge, frigid structures then, unfamiliar to the folk. Could it have been a manifestation of that fear? Could it have been a rumor begun by a competing mall? Legends or myths make no distinction between truth and fiction—but how in heavens’ name did Frank Chavez get in there?

Older urban legends are the White Lady of Balete Drive who hitches a ride or boards a taxi but disappears. She comes in many variations and can apparently bilocate. She has been seen in Baguio and other places not named Balete, nor is she always in white.

Then there is the cat in the siopao of a mami joint. This urban legend began way back during the Japanese time when there was a scarcity of meat and lots of cats on the street. The fact that the mami joint and the department store are more popular than ever proves that urban legends are either not believed, or if they are, merely add delicious spice to the merchandise. Cars still go through Balete Drive, which is one of the shadiest streets around. And of course, everyone just loves preternaturals!

Source: Inquirer "Forever 18" column, 18 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

London riots rumour round-up

An analysis of Twitter rumours spread during the London riots in a recent issue of The Guardian included the following beautiful stories:
  • The London Eye was on fire
  • Rioters had released a tiger from London Zoo and it was no on the loose on Primrose Hill
  • Rioters had broken into McDonalds and were cooking their own food

Judex lives!

'Sleeping gas' thieves target super-rich at Italian billionaires' resort

Police in the billionaires' retreat of Porto Cervo on Sardinia's Costa Smeralda believe thieves who made off with €315,000 (£280,000) in cash and jewels used sleeping gas on their victims to ensure they were not disturbed during the break-in.

Similar robberies have been reported this summer in France and Spain.

The burglaries in Porto Cervo, which took place last week, were only disclosed by police on Tuesday. The thieves sneaked into the rented holiday villa of a Milanese pharmaceuticals tycoon and left with a haul worth around €300,000. The businessman's 42-year-old wife, her mother and their daughter were all in the house, along with a servant, but no one heard the burglars, even though they took the windows off their hinges to get in.

At the villa next door, two holidaymakers found a watch and €15,000 in cash missing. They told police they had woken up feeling weak and dazed.

In July, "gassing gangs" were reported to be targeting caravans and camper vans in France. Thieves sprayed sleeping gas in through air vents before breaking in.

Earlier this month, at least six houses on an estate at Rincón de la Victoria on Spain's Costa del Sol were burgled by thieves thought to have used sleeping gas. One of the residents, José Luis Gómez, was quoted as saying the victims had woken "dizzy, with headaches, vomiting and stinging throats".

Porto Cervo was built in the 1960s by Prince Karim Aga Khan and it has long been a playground for the super-rich. Earlier this month,the sign at the entrance to the Costa Smeralda was altered, apparently by an insufficiently prosperous holidaymaker armed with a spray can. The "Smeralda" was deleted and replaced with the word "troppo", so it now reads in Italian: "Costs too much."

Source: The Guardian, 30 August 2011
More on the same story appears in The Telegraph, 4 September 2011

The (long overdue) return of Arsène Lupin

Restaurant couple do cigarette break runner leaving £570 bill unpaid

They seemed like any other well-off young London couple dining out last Wednesday. The man and woman, both smartly dressed, arrived for their booked table for two at the Michelin-starred restaurant L'Autre Pied in Marylebone, before each ordering three courses from the menu, along with a bottle of pink Larmandier champagne at £124 and another of 1997 Bollinger that cost £285.

But after helping them on with their coats to nip outside for a cigarette, the waiting staff soon discovered that they were no ordinary diners. Some minutes later, with a plum tart and millefeuille uneaten at the table, it became clear the couple had no intention of returning – or of paying a bill totalling £572.74.

What may make the case more intriguing is that the name in which the pair booked the table, Lupin, echoes that of the fictional Arsene Lupin – a stylish Gallic gentleman thief whose adversaries, in a series of novels by Maurice LeBlanc, are invariably portrayed as rather worse villains than him. The Metropolitan police confirmed they were investigating.

"In two decades we have never had anything like this," Leonora Popaj, the restaurant's general manager, told the Guardian. The couple had not seemed unusual or suspicious, she said, and the bill was not particularly lavish by the restaurant's standards – the Bollinger is not, for instance, the most expensive champagne on the menu. "They looked like a very genuine, very lovely couple. Their bill was an average spend. Nothing was out of place or unusual."

CCTV footage of the pair, indeed, showed nothing peculiar: both are believed to be in their 30s; the man, described by the restaurant as about 6ft tall, had a light beard and was wearing blue jeans and a jumper; his companion, wearing a black sleeveless dress with a scarf, had long dark hair and is seen in the snatched image flashing an engaging smile at a staff-member.

It was only while viewing the footage, said Popaj, that she noticed the woman wasn't carrying a handbag – not in itself damning, perhaps, but which certainly facilitated their speedy departure.

It is understood that similar incidents involving other top restaurants are being looked at by police, raising the possibility that the pair are serial thieves. But Popaj denied suggestions that L'Autre Pied will now demand that diners wishing to step outside for a cigarette surrender their credit cards. "We are totally against that. That would only punish our very honest clientele."

As for the suggestion that "Lupin" may have been chosen as some kind of joke, Popaj said: "It makes me very angry. What upsets me most is that they have this mentality that this [amount] is nothing for this level of restaurant.

"They are forgetting that they are really attacking the waiters, who don't have an enormous income."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Bad political magic in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Satan, exorcism and magic T-shirts - our favourite rumours from DRC presidential poll

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa is a rumour mill. No more so that during the country’s 2011 presidential elections. The Congolese are sometimes superstitious, at times moralistic and always feverish in their chatter about the latest rumour. This has only been amplified by the country’s polls. Here’s a collection of RFI’s favourite election rumours.
  • The magic pen: Bring your own pen to mark the election ballot paper. The pens handed out by the electoral commission use invisible ink. Once you mark your vote and post it in the ballot box the ink will disappear in 10 minutes, making your choice useless.

  • Mysterious candidate photos: Don’t look at the first candidate’s photo on the presidential ballot paper. It has special powers given to it by Satan. If you look at the photo it will force you to vote for it.

  • Special campaign materials: Don’t accept campaign materials from anyone, including leaflets or T-shirts. If you accept campaign materials it will enable the candidate to possess your body. You will only be exorcised once the elections have finished and the candidate has forced you to vote for them.

  • Deadly money: Don’t accept money from election candidates. If you accept their money you will die.

  • Election premonition: The events of the elections correspond to the Bible’s Book of Revelations. UDPS party leader Etienne Tshisekedi is Satan while the unrest before the election and airport standoff are birth pangs leading to the end of the world.
Source: RFI English, 1 December 2011
NB Reports of disappearing ink in election booth pens also appeared in relation to this week's elections in Russia.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Children's decapitated heads used as dishes for spirits

Headhunting rumour spreads fear among children

LIMBANG: Although there is no evidence of its existence, the public especially school children are haunted by the rumour of alleged headhunters actively seeking for prey during this school holidays.

The rumour is spreading fast among the people here and is a hot topic at coffee shops.

The often-repeated story tells of headhunters targeting children for their heads, to be kept inside bridge pillars under construction to strengthen its structure.

The rumour says the process is conducted by a shaman who performs certain rites to ensure the bridge be structurally strong where the decapitated head serves as a ‘dish’ to compensate the spiritual being said to haunt the bridge.

Acting District Police chief Superintendent Bukhori Saffai has advised the public not to believe the spreading rumour.

“The bridge is made by well-trained and qualified engineers and experts and they do not employ diviners.

“Do not listen to this nonsense about ‘pengait’ (the local term for such hunters) looking for heads to be used to reinforce and strengthen a bridge that is being built,” he said when asked to on the hot topic that has caused much fear among the public here.

Moreover, he said it was possible that the issue was deliberately raised during the school holidays so that the children would not wander out of the house.

“Perhaps there is wisdom behind this story so that the children would not leave the house during the school holidays.

“Instead, parents should be more vigilant so that their children do not get involved in criminal activities and immoral acts,” Bukhori said adding that no report has been received on the issue so far.

Observation made by The Borneo Post revealed that the story began to spread since the construction of the Pandaruan Bridge.

A similar story also haunted the people of Limbang in the early 90s during the construction of the Batu Danau Bridge.

Source: The Borneo Post Online, 22 November 2011

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Grease devils

Six youths dressed in black posing off as ‘grease devils’ are alleged to have entered the Uduwara Tea estate in Badulla and after forcing the female tea pluckers to kneel had performed a devil dance. Estate labourers who were alerted by all the commotion had rushed to the scene had caught the youth who were believed to have been from Halpe and after giving them a sound thrashing had handed them over to the Ella police.Police said a three wheeler used by the youth had been taken into custody. They said some women were injured when fleeing from the grease devils who had also attempted to harm a school girl.The Ella police under the direction of OIC Bandara Ratnayake are investigating the incident.

Source: Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 11 August 2011
Photo from the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 11 August 2011

Reports on the Grease Devil story have been numerous: for examples of other accounts, see the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), Daily News, Reuters and the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).

An excellent overview of this long-running and complex phenomenon also recently appeared in The Fortean Times (no.281, November 2011).

Railroad therapy

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Ignoring the red-and-white danger sign, Sri Mulyati walks slowly to the train tracks outside Indonesia's bustling capital, lies down and stretches her body across the rails.

Like the nearly dozen others lined up along the track, the 50-year-old diabetes patient has all but given up on doctors and can't afford the expensive medicines they prescribe.

In her mind, she has only one option left: electric therapy.

"I'll keep doing this until I'm completely cured," said Mulyati, twitching visibly as an oncoming passenger train sends an extra rush of current racing through her body.

She leaps from tracks as it approaches and then, after the last carriage rattles slowly by, climbs back into position.

Pseudo-medical treatments are wildly popular in many parts of Asia — where rumours about those miraculously cured after touching a magic stone or eating dung from sacred cows can attract hundreds, sometimes thousands.

That may be especially true in Indonesia, where chronic funding shortages and chaotic decentralisation efforts since the 1998 ouster of longtime dictator Suharto have left many disillusioned with the state-sponsored health system, said Marius Widjajarta, chairman of the Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation.

Medical experts say there is no evidence lying on the rails does any good.

But Mulyati insists it provides more relief for her symptoms — high-blood pressure, sleeplessness and high cholesterol — than any doctor has since she was first diagnosed with diabetes 13 years ago.

She turned to train track therapy last year after hearing a rumour about an ethnic Chinese man who was partially paralysed by a stroke going to the tracks to kill himself, but instead finding himself cured.

It's a story that's been told and retold in Indonesia.

Until recently, more than 50 people would show up at the Rawa Buaya tracks every day. But the numbers have dropped since police and the state-run railroad company erected a warning sign and threatened penalties of up to three months in prison or fines of $1,800.

No one has been arrested yet, and none of the participants in train track therapy has died.

But the dedicated dozen a day who still come say they have no plans to stop.

"They told us not to do it anymore, but what else can I do," said Hadi Winoto, a 50-year-old stroke victim who has trouble walking.

"I want to be cured, so I have to come back."

Source: Associated Press, 2 August 2011

Georgian portents

Out of a swelter come apocalyptic visions

TBILISI, Georgia — Word that scorpions had been sighted on her street clinched it, as far as Nana Beniashvili was concerned.

In the asphalt-melting, earth-parching, brain-scrambling heat of midsummer, residents of Tbilisi need something to talk about.

The giant locusts had been bad enough, and the snakes, which are known in Georgian as “that which cannot be mentioned.” She actually hadn’t seen any scorpions herself, but she believed that one of her neighbours had, and in the asphalt-melting, earth-parching, brain-scrambling heat of midsummer, she was not in the mood to be fastidious about evidence.

“This means the apocalypse is coming,” said Ms Beniashvili, 72, who was leaning out of a window. “I cannot tell you exactly when, because I am not very knowledgeable about this. But it is clear that the apocalypse is coming. The world has gone crazy.

“Anyway, I hope we will survive,” she sighed, and went inside to look for lemonade.

There were theories being propagated in Ms Beniashvili’s neighbourhood: that the locusts were mutants caused by the meltdown at Chernobyl; that the snakes had been imported in train cars by some shadowy enemy; that all these natural phenomena were the result of certain explosions that happened 11 years ago on the surface of the sun.

But the most incisive commentary belonged to Tamar Khardziani, an entomologist at the Tbilisi zoo, who has spent much of this unusually hot summer attempting to soothe her excitable countrymen.

“It’s Georgia,” she said. “There has to be something to talk about.”
There is something biblical about Tbilisi under any circumstances.

It proved immune to the poured concrete that homogenised the great cities of the Soviet empire. Here, narrow cobblestone streets cut into the side of a mountain, and wooden balconies hang out over the sidewalks. In the heat, which last week was recorded at 106 degrees, fruit sellers stack watermelons into pyramids and then vanish into the high-ceilinged shadows. Real life begins after dark, when people gather under grape arbors smelling of roses, pour glasses of chilled wine, and talk.

Every summer there is something to talk about. Last year, it was people trying to kill themselves by jumping off bridges into the mud-coloured Mtkvari River. This summer, television news has reported on pestilence, starting with snakes, followed by a swarm of unusually large locusts that were migrating through the city. Guram Tsiklauri, a herpetologist who responds to calls from citizens, is exasperated by the topic, saying that in 30 years he has observed no variation in the prevalence of snakes, and that none of the local species are poisonous anyway.

“I’m just fed up with seeing this on television,” said Mr Tsiklauri, who heads the zoo’s reptile house. If there is one natural anomaly he has recorded, it is the extravagant emotions that serpents arouse in Georgians. Occasionally, he said, he will arrive at an address where there has been a complaint about snakes to discover that the house has been locked and the family is standing in the street, vowing to sell the property.

At a recent call he located a snake under the floorboards, and though he assured the family it was harmless, they were so distraught that he offered to pry up the floor to retrieve it. By the time he left, he said, “we had basically destroyed the whole house.” The family was so grateful, he said, that “they were almost carrying us around on their shoulders.”

Asked to explain this, Mr Tsiklauri looked thoughtful.

“Georgians are very emotional people,” he said. “They want to have this emotion of fear. They like the feeling of threat.” They are also capable of calming down very quickly, he added.

Passion seems built into the foundations of Georgia, one of the first countries to accept Christianity.

A cathedral outside Tbilisi commemorates Sidonia, a first-century Christian convert said to have died from the emotion that surged through her when she held the robe of Christ, gripping the fabric so fiercely that it had to be buried with her. The name of a church on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare can be translated as “a stone was born,” after an unpleasant tale from the sixth century: when a Christian ascetic was accused by a nun of impregnating her, he became so incensed that he wished that, if she was lying, the baby would be born a stone.

By those standards, this summer’s plagues are nothing special. Small, harmless scorpions have always sheltered in the dark corners of Tbilisi’s old wooden houses, along with what Ms Khardziani described as “a lot of other very interesting invertebrates,” occasionally appearing in public and producing a brief panic. (A visit to a neighbourhood where an infestation had been reported found not a single resident who had seen one.)

By mid-August, when the summer heat breaks, all of the creatures will have drawn back from populated areas, where they often go seeking shade or food. But snakes will almost continue to trouble Georgians; in Georgian, the word can also mean Satan. When citizens call Mr Tsiklauri for help, they often try to avoid using the word, telling him only, “I saw that.”

Indeed, inside Ms Beniashvili’s house, a discussion of snakes so unnerved one elderly relative that she felt the need to interrupt.

“Don’t say that word!” the woman called out from the other side of the door. “It means that someone is saying something bad about you.”

Source: The New York Times, 2 August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

Lions and tigers in the streets of London

According to Channel 4 News, Russian TV coverage of the riots in London reported that lions and tigers had escaped from London Zoo and could be heard roaring in the streets.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The devil-worshippers' playground

Rumors of devil worshipping in Lufkin, many of which take place at Ellen Trout Park, have been circulating at school lunch tables since the 1980s

This week we travel into the dark woods across Ellen Trout Lake to a semi-circle of stone benches rumored to be a devil worshiper’s playground.

“I followed this girl dressed in black across the bridge and then hid behind a tree so she wouldn’t see me,” the teen told his circle of friends who leaned in around the lunch table, listening intently to his tale. “From where I was hiding I watched her and three others take a bunch of candles and light them. Then they stood in a circle around the candles and chanted while she took a rat and a dagger out of her backpack.”

“And then, let me guess,” one girl said huffily rolling her eyes. “She sacrificed the rat to the devil. You really expect us to believe that?”

“Well, she did,” he said firmly, trying to shrug off her doubt.

Stories like this one have been passed across East Texas lunch tables since the ’80s, likely stemming from the “height of the Satan worship movement,” according to a “20/20” expose.

Charlotte Henley, Ellen Trout Zoo director of educational services, has lived in Ellen Trout Park, not far from the stone benches, for the last three decades and had no knowledge of the devil worship rumor until she got a phone call from a Lufkin Daily News reporter last week. She didn’t have to do much asking around before finding a source close to home.

“I talked to both of my kids who are now grown and they had heard the same rumors — rumors of people being over there sacrificing animals and tying rags to trees,” Henley said. “My daughter told me that any tree they tied a rag on was supposed to die.”

Henley’s son, who is now in his 20s, told his mom about seeing something suspicious as a kid while riding his bike in the woods, as he often did.

“He said he rode his bike over there and saw some people sitting around the old fireman building,” she said. “When they saw him, he said one of them stood up. He said he didn’t stick around to find out what they were doing.”

The building Henley is referring to was a concrete structure used by the city for the fire department, she said. The stone semi-circle, Henley said, has been there at least 35 years. She said she believes it was put there as a Scout project.

Lufkin Police Det. JB Smith said he has no knowledge of any calls the department has responded to in regard to witchcraft or devil worship at Ellen Trout Park. He pulled a report that dated back to 1997 and found nothing documented in police record.

“I’ve never heard the rumor of witchcraft at the zoo,” Smith said. “But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

Lufkin Daily News, 10 July 2011

Capitalist ritual murder and workers' riots

Sacrifice rumour spurs project ransack

JAMSHEDPUR: A group of villagers ransacked the premises of Abhijeet Group's upcoming integrated steel plant at Seraikela-Kharsawan and assaulted company officials and policemen on Monday following rumours of two children are taken for sacrifice, prompting the law enforcers to lathicharge and fire in the air to disperse the mob.

Police, however, said the suspect might have come to the company with his two children to seek a job.

According to a villager, some people saw 60-year-old Santosh Singh, a resident of Burkundi in Ramgarh, with two children Bulu (3) and Bajrangi (4) near the company gate. Suspecting foul play, a group of local people immediately stopped him at the company gate and inquired his purpose to visit the company with the two children. "When Santosh failed to give a satisfactory reply, the people lost their cool," said the villager.

With rumours of a recent human sacrifice still fresh in people's mind, the villagers not only attacked the suspect but also the security personnel at the company gate and ransacked the company's property. They were so violent that plant head S Ramkrishna and his colleague C S Chandrashekar, too, were beaten up severely. By the time, senior police officers reached the site, much damage was done to the company assets and its officials were assaulted.

Times of India, 18 July 2011
For more reports on this story, click here and here.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Who's the Fool Now?

Martin said to his man
Fie, man, fie
Martin said to his man
Who's the fool now?
Martin said to his man
Fill thou the cup and I the can
Thou hast well drunken, man,
Who's the fool now?

Thou hast well drunken, man,

Who's the fool now?

I saw the man in the moon
I saw the man in the moon
I saw the man in the moon
Clouting of St Peter's shoon

I saw a hare chase a hound
I saw a hare chase a hound
I saw a hare chase a hound
Twenty miles above the ground

I saw a goose ring a hog
I saw a goose ring a hog
I saw a goose ring a hog
And a snail bite a dog

I saw a mouse catch a cat
I saw a mouse catch a cat
I saw a mouse catch a cat
And the cheese to eat a rat

Friday, 10 June 2011

Foreign workers bathe in water tanks after sex

Worries about drinking from a tainted water tank in which an Indonesian maid's body was found may have subsided, but some Woodlands residents have now revealed that they believe foreign workers are using the water stored in rooftop water tanks to bathe themselves.

Some residents claimed that they have seen workers emerging from the rooftop water tank room with bathing towels. Residents also believe that the workers have brought women to the water tank room for sexual trysts, and that the men bathe in the tanks after having sex.

Reported by AsiaOne News, 8 June 2011

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Steytlerville "monster" strikes again

Johannesburg - A "monster" plaguing the sleepy Karoo town of Steytlerville struck again over the Easter weekend, Eastern Cape police said on Monday.

Another two sightings of the "shape-shifting creature" were reported on Sunday evening, said Warrant Officer Zandisile Nelani .

“Two men were walking near a tavern when they saw another man wearing a black jacket. One of the men, identified only as Nozipho, went up to the stranger and asked him, “What is your problem?” said Nelani.

A dog or a cow?

When the stranger did not respond, Nozipho went closer and saw that the man had no head. The man then turned into a dog that was “very angry” and “as big as a cow”, Nelani said.

He said that as Nozipho and his friend ran away, the monster allegedly turned on another group of people in the same road. “They said it turned into a big monkey, and then it was gone,” Nelani said.

He said that since the monster was spotted near the tavern, people were afraid to go there at night.

Last week police were told by residents that the monster changed shape while one looked at it. One man had reported that it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat.

There had also been rumours that the monster could fly. Previously, the monster had only been spotted near the church. It had even been seen peering through the windows during a service, but had vanished by the time the congregation came outside.

Nelani said that the community had dubbed the monster “Bawokozi”, meaning “brother-in-law”.


Sightings of the monster began over a month ago when it was seen by mourners attending two separate funerals, Nelani said.

He said that the community requested a meeting with police because they were frightened of it. Police agreed to work with residents, but asked them to try to take a photograph of it as evidence.

Nelani said that a photograph had since been taken of the monster resting under a tree.

He said that when the photo was taken the monster had been in human form but when the photo was developed an unknown animal was visible in the picture.

“It is a very strange thing happening in Steytlerville, but no one has been hurt by it,” Nelani said.

- SAPA, 25 April 2011
For a previous report on the Karoo monster, click here.

May unleashed

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Karoo town plagued by "monster"

Steytlerville, a small Karoo town, is being plagued by rumours of a shape-shifting monster, Eastern Cape police said on Thursday.

“The community says that the monster changes shape while you are looking at it,” Warrant Officer Zandisile Nelani said.

He said one man had reported it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat. The creature had been sighted on a number of occasions near a church and only appeared at night, Nelani said.

Local residents met with police last week to discuss the strange phenomenon.

Nelani said he had asked people to take a photograph of the alleged monster. Although some locals were frightened of it, it had not harmed any people or livestock. - Sapa

IOL News, 22 April 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Le cambrioleur était nu, une souris dans l'anus

Un homme a été interpellé en Caroline du Sud aux Etats-Unis. Il venait de cambrioler une maison de manière très surprenante.

En effet, en arrivant sur les lieux du cambriolage, un agent a découvert le bandit, Noah Smith (31 ans), qui se trouvait toujours dans la maison. L'homme était entièrement nu et une petit queue dépassait de son anus.

Violent, l'individu s'est mis à gifler l'agent avant de lui mener la vie dure allant même jusqu'à le mordre. Noah Smith a finalement été arrêté et après un examen approfondi, on s'est aperçu que la petite queue visible était en fait le reste d'une souris qu'il s'était placé dans le rectum. Smith était complètement drogué au moment des faits, il a été incarcéré. (CB)

- from, 9 November 2010

Friday, 21 January 2011

Monk nabbed with nun's skeleton at airport

Traveler, 56, said he was transporting a saint's remains to his monastery

A Cypriot monk caught at a Greek airport with the skeletal remains of a nun in his baggage told authorities he was taking the relics of a saint back to his monastery.

The 56-year-old Cypriot was detained at Athens airport after security staff discovered a skull wrapped in cloth and skeletal remains in a sheet inside his baggage.

"They maintained it was a woman who was a saint," a Greek police official who declined to be named told Reuters.

He said the monk told authorities he was transferring her remains to a monastery in Cyprus.

The remains were those of a nun who died four years ago. She was not a saint in the Greek or Cypriot Orthodox Churches, but had once been a nun at a Cypriot convent, police said.

Revering the skeletal remains of saints is common in the Greek Orthodox tradition. A sect within the church may have venerated the nun even though she was not an official saint.

In many churches, venerated relics are put on display for the faithful to touch or kiss and a box for collecting donations from the faithful placed nearby.

"It appears to be the work of charlatans with a financial interest that is what I suspect," Cyprus's Archbishop Chrysostomos told journalists when asked about the monk's tale.

The monk was freed after being charged with theft and desecrating the dead, a misdemeanor in Greece. He was also suspended from his monastic duties for three months for going away without leave, Cypriot police said.

Renee Maltezou, Reuters, MSNBC, 18 January 2011