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TOP 10

Amazing lists of incredible things!

Great White nearly bit in half !!!!

A 'monster' great white shark measuring up to 20 ft long is on the prowl off a popular Queensland beach, according to officials.

Swimmers were warned to stay out of the water off Stradbroke Island after the shark mauled another smaller great white which had been hooked on a baited drum line.

The 10-foot great white was almost bitten in half.

The fictional shark at the centre of the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jaws was estimated to be just five feet longer.

'It certainly opened up my eyes. I mean the shark that was caught is a substantial shark in itself,' says Jeff Krause of Queensland Fisheries.

The great white, the most dangerous creature in the sea, was still alive when hauled onto a boat near Deadman's Beach off north Stradbroke island.

News of the shocking attack on the smaller shark has sent jitters along the Queensland coast from Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane, to the Sunshine Coast further north down to the tourist mecca of Surfers Paradise, south of Brisbane.

'Whatever attacked and took chunks out of this big shark must be massive,' said 19-year-old surfer Ashton Smith. 'I've heard about the big one that's lurking out there somewhere.

'We're all being very, very cautious.'

Mr John Gooding, who operates a charter fishing boat, said sharks were everywhere, although there appeared to be no specific reason for an increase in the number.

'Some days you struggle to get a fish on to the boat before the sharks take them,' he told the Courier Mail newspaper.

Many of the popular beaches in Queensland are protected by nets and what are known as drumlines - a series of baited hooks that hang from buoys placed in a line about 500 yards from beaches.

Since the net and drumline programme was introduced in Queensland there has been only one fatal attack on a protected beach.

The relatively recent attack occurred when 21-year-old student Sarah Whiley was killed off Stradbroke Island three years ago.

The Queensland State Government has been under pressure in recent weeks to scale down the shark net and drumline programme because environmentalists say that whales and other big fish are becoming trapped in the nets.

But Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said the capture of the badly injured 10ft shark - and the indication of a much larger one being in the area - showed the necessity to keep the nets and drumlines in place.

Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said the nets were working but at huge cost to whales, dolphins and turtles.

And Vic Hislop, an internationally-recognised authority on sharks, also believes the nets should be removed and other methods explored to scare away the predators.

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The Ica Stones of Peru

One of the great enigmas of planet Earth revolves around a collection of approximately 15,000 pre-Columbian artifacts, the ancient carved glyph rock library known as the Ica Stones.

They are carved stones supposedly found in a cave in the coastal desert city of Ica, Peru. Ica is a relatively small area, some 300 kilometers from Lima. In the 1960's a farmer claimed to have found piles and piles of rocks deep in various gorges and caves not far from the Nazca Lines. Some were also buried slightly under the ground. The native farmer produced only bags of stones at first, but later, he produced literally thousands of the artifacts. For some time he made a good living selling the stones to tourists. The farmer became something of a celebrity. Word traveled in the archeological world, and experts descended on Ica.

As the story goes ... The Peruvian government took an interest in the stones. They did not Peru to become another Egypt, overrun with diggers and robbers. They had enough of them already. No one knows what was said to the farmer but after arrest and confinement, he suddenly admitted in writing that the stones were hoaxed and that he had carved the stones himself. He was going to bilk the tourists and never realized it would get out of hand.

In 1966, Dr. Javier Cabrera, the town's physician, received a small, carved rock for his birthday from a native. The carving on the rock looked ancient to Dr. Cabrera, but intrigued him because it seemed to depict a primitive fish.

Dr. Cabrera became the prime customer for the stones, and the farmer apparently had an endless supply. Dr. Cabrera questioned the farmer about carving the stones. The farmer was evasive and maintained his story about created them himself for fear of being arrested again and put in jail for the rest of his life.

When Dr. Cabrera had bought a few thousand he wanted to know how many there were in total. The farmer seemed to produce more every week. Cabrera was beginning to believe that he had fallen prey to this farmer, and the man had created them himself. The farmer refused to discuss how he made the stones. Logically Dr. Cabrera figured that the farmer would have had to carve one stone every day for over 40 years to produce the total library! This could not be possible. Dr. Cabrera set out to find answers about his Ica Stones based on the designs on the stones.

The stones come in all sizes. There are small ones that can fit in the palm of you hand. There are rocks as large as a dog. All of the stones have images that have been carved with continuous lines etched into the rock surface. The etching reveals a lighter color than the original dark varnish of age, yet the etched grooves also bear traces of this varnish, indicating that the carving was done in ancient times. They are a form of Andesite, a gray to black volcanic rock, and a very hard mineral that would make etching quite difficult with primitive tools, a local river rock, covered with a patina of natural oxidation. Laboratories in Germany have authenticated the incisions that make up the carvings as extremely ancient. Nearby fossil finds indicate the area to be replete in bone fragments millions of years old.

Unlike clay figurines that have organic material (i.e. straw) in their composition, there are no organic materials in plain old rock that will tell anything of its age. Traditional radiocarbon dating techniques rely upon organic material (that was once alive) to determine age. The surface of these rocks, however, has a varnish that is the result of bacteria and minute organisms which have adhered to them. A good black varnish or patina will take thousands of years to discolor and coat each stone. Etching these rocks would have removed the existing varnish, revealing the bare rock. Since these rocks have developed additional varnish in the grooves, it seems likely that they have were carved a long time ago.

Dr. Cabrera's library is organized by subject matter including physical and social sciences (races of man), (nature) ancient animals, geography (lost continents), and prophecy (the knowledge of global catastrophe.)

Dr. Cabrera concluded that there was no way the farmer had time, skills, nor knowledge of how to create the stones. After purchasing 11,000 stones, Dr. Cabrera became a trusted friend of the farmer. He learned that the man was released from prison once he signed the confession that he was cheating the tourists. He agreed not to pretend the stones came from the hills but that he had indeed carved them himself. It was either that or go to prison for the remainder of his life for selling government possessions (the international antiquity laws).

Dr. Cabrera continued his research with geologists to interpret the maps on several stones showing a weird configuration of the world. Some angles and land masses looked vaguely familiar, but the majority were badly skewered into strange shapes. Geologists have confirmed that based on current computer projections, the shapes indicated on the rocks are indeed accurate for the planet Earth, as it was, about 13,000,000 (million) years ago - pre-stone age.

Peru has always held a spiritual fascination for people seeking higher knowledge. It has an air of mystery about it often linked to visits by Ancient Astronauts. Much of Peru sits on a major grid point meaning the electromagnetic energies are very strong. Peru is also a coastal region - the pull of the sea always a connection for those who study metaphysics as water represents the collective flow of creation. UFO sightings are common among local natives in Peru who say that watching a ship land in the water or on the land is not unusual. Some people claim to communicate with aliens. Machu Picchu is considered by some to have been a landing strip for UFO's.

The Ica Stones will remain an unsolved mystery along with the Nazca Lines on the Plains of Peru which some believe could only have been designed as a blueprint by creational forces. This area has been thought by some to be an ancient spaceport based on the harness of electromagnetic energy for propulsion of space faring vehicles. The entire area was made up of huge iron ore deposits that concentrated magnetic energy, creating an electromagnetic field of extraordinary strength.

Who actually created the Ica Stones? Evidence seems to show they were not created by humans of the time line of their creation, but for now they remain an enigma.

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The Secrets of Coral Castle

Did a Latvian immigrant rediscover the secrets to the building of the pyramids... of levitation... of anti-gravity? His amazing "castle" may hold clues to long-lost powers.

Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida, is one of the most amazing structures ever built. In terms of accomplishment, it's been compared to Stonehenge, ancient Greek temples, and even the great pyramids of Egypt. It is amazing - some even say miraculous - because it was quarried, fashioned, transported, and constructed by one man: Edward Leedskalnin, a 5-ft. tall, 100-lb. Latvian immigrant.

Many men have single-handedly built their own homes, but Leedskalnin's choice of building materials is what makes his undertaking so incredible. He used huge blocks of coral rock, some weighing as much as 30 tons, and somehow was able to move them and set them in place without assistance or the use of modern machinery. And therein lies the mystery. How did he do it?

It's estimated that 1,000 tons of coral rock were used in construction of the walls and towers, and an additional 100 tons of it were carved into furniture and art objects:
  • An obelisk he raised weighs 28 tons.
  • The wall surrounding Coral Castle stands 8 ft. tall and consists of large blocks each weighing several tons.
  • Large stone crescents are perched atop 20-ft.-high walls.
  • A 9-ton swinging gate that moves at the touch of a finger guards the eastern wall.
  • The largest rock on the property weighs an estimated 35 tons.
  • Some stones are twice the weight of the largest blocks in the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Working alone, Leedskalnin labored for 20 years - from 1920 to 1940 - to build the home he originally called "Rock Gate Park" in Florida City. The story goes that he built it after being jilted by his fiancée, who changed her mind about marrying him because he was too old and too poor. After wandering around the U.S. and Canada for several years, Leedskalnin settled in Florida City for health reasons; he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. He began building his coral home in 1920. Then in 1936, when a planned new subdivision of homes threatened his privacy, Leedskalnin moved his entire home 10 miles to Homestead, where he completed it, and where it still stands as a tourist attraction.

How Leedskalnin managed this feat of engineering has remained a mystery all these years because, incredibly, no one saw him do it. A secretive man, Leedskalnin often worked at night by lantern light. And so there are no credible witnesses to how the small, frail man was able to move the huge blocks of rock. Even when he moved the entire structure to Homestead, neighbors saw the coral blocks being transported on a borrowed truck, but no one seems to know how Leedskalnin got them on and off the vehicle.

Lots of weird stories have been told and bizarre theories proposed to explain Coral Castle. And since no witness can dispute any of them, they are all worthy of consideration.

The Theories

  • One story says that some curious neighbors did see how Leedskalnin moved the stones. They say he placed his hands on the stone to be lifted... and sang. Somehow this levitated the great rocks.
  • According to an article in Fate magazine, "some teenagers spying on him one evening claimed they saw him 'float coral blocks through the air like hydrogen balloons,' but no one took them seriously."
  • Frank Joseph, in the Fate magazine article, also writes, "Alternative science investigators suggest that Leedskalnin somehow learned the secret of the 'world grid,' an invisible pattern of energy lines surrounding the Earth which concentrates points of telluric power where they intersect. It was here, at one of these intersections of Earth energy, that he was supposedly able to move his prodigious stone blocks using the unseen power of our planet." Yet that still does no explain how Leedskalnin was able to tap this power, and others cannot.
  • Coral Castle quotes J. Cathie, a captain flying with National Airways Corp. of New Zealand, as saying: "Measurements from the Coral Castle position to the zero-degree and 90-degree longitude lines, when they passed through the equator, also yielded harmonics related to light and gravity. The final check of the distance between Coral Castle and grid pole A in the north, dispelled any doubt about the site being in an ideal position to allow Leedskalnin to erect the huge blocks of coral with relative ease. Measurements from all major points gave the geometric harmonics necessary for the manipulation of anti-gravity." Cathie also believes that this energy grid is also responsible for many UFO sightings.
  • In an article by called "The Coral Castle Mystery" in Atlantis Rising, author Christopher Dunn asserts: "What if there's no such thing as gravity? And the natural forces we already know about are sufficient to explain the noted phenomena we have labeled as gravity? Perhaps Leedskalnin's means of working with the Earth's gravitational pull was nothing more complicated than devising a means by which the alignment of magnetic elements within his coral blocks was adjusted to face the streams of individual magnets he claims are issuing forth from the Earth with a like repelling pole."
  • When he was personally asked how he managed the feat, Leedskalnin replied only that he understood the laws of weight and leverage. He is quoted as saying, "I have discovered the secrets of the pyramids. I have found out how the Egyptians and the ancient builders in Peru, Yucatan, and Asia, with only primitive tools, raised and set in place blocks of stone weighing many tons."
  • According the The Enigma of Coral Castle, "Ed flatly disagreed with modern science, and claimed that the scientists were wrong, 'that nature is simple.' He believed all matter consisted of individual magnets, and it is the movement of these magnets within materials, and through space, that produce measurable phenomena, magnetism, and electricity. These concepts 'involved the relationship of the Earth to celestial alignments.' He claimed to see beads of light which he believed to be the physical presence of nature's magnetism and life force, or what we term today, chi."

Was Leedskalnin being deceptive when he talked about magnetism and electricity, trying to make his accomplishment more mystical and mysterious than it actually was? Had he merely found a very clever way to manipulate the great stones with levers and pulleys? We may never know the answer. Leedskalnin took his secrets with him to his grave in 1951... secrets that await to be rediscovered.

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BUG 007

Spies may soon be bugging conversations using actual insects, thanks to research funded by the US military.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has spent years developing a whole host of cyborg critters, in the hopes of creating the ultimate 'fly on the wall'.
Now a team of researchers led by Hirotaka Sato have created cyborg beetles which are guided wirelessly via a laptop.

Using implants, they worked out how to control a beetle's take-off, flight and landing by stimulating the brain to work the wings.
They controlled turns through stimulating the basilar muscles on one side or the other to make the wings on that side flap harder.
The embedded system uses nerve and muscle stimulators, a microbattery and a microcontroller with transceiver.

They were implanted in the beetles when they were at the pupal stage.
Three types of large beetles from Cameroon were used in the experiments at the University of California in Berkeley. The smallest was 2cm long, while the largest was 20cm.

According to Professor Noel Sharkey, an international expert on artificial intelligence and robotics from Sheffield University, there have been attempts in the past to control insects such as cockroaches, but this is the first time the flight of insects has been controlled remotely.
Professor Sharkey questioned the ultimate military application of remotely controlled beetles as you would also need to implant a GPS transmitter and a camera too.
This would be too heavy for even the largest beetle to carry.

The Berkeley researchers suggested the 'cyborg' beetles - part beetle, part machine - could serve as models for micro air vehicles.

Sato and colleagues also said the beetles could serve as couriers to inaccessible locations. The Berkeley team is also experimenting on dragonflies, flies and moths because of their 'unmatched flight capabilities'.
DARPA's ultimate aim is to create cyborg insects that can fly more than 300ft to their target and then stay put until commanded to buzz off again.

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It's not easy to be real-life Harry Potter

Meet the real-life Harry Potter, the young man who claims his life has been made a misery by the famous wizard.

Harry Potter, 20, is forced to endure taunts from the public, police, phone companies and even one football referee because of his magical moniker.
When he was born in 1989, his mother Tracey Shaw had thought little of the name she had picked for her first child.

But eight years later when J K Rowling released Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone in 1997, his life was to be changed forever.

Now he suffers daily grief caused by people's reaction to his name and even had to show his girlfriend his passport so she believed him when they first met.
A bus company refused to issue him with a pass because they didn't believe he was telling them the truth when he tried to sign up.

And he has even got a scar on his forehead like the famous wizard, picked up when he ran into a lamppost aged fifteen.
In the series of seven books Harry gets his mark from arch enemy Lord Voldemort as the 'Dark Lord' tries to kill him.

Harry, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said he wished author J K Rowling had never used his name for her books.
He said: 'My life has changed completely since the books were written. At first I thought it might be quite a good thing to have the same name.

'But now it is like someone has cast a bad spell on me. The reactions I get from people range from making fun to plain aggressive.
'Sometimes I wish J K Rowling had never used my name...
'People seem to forget that I was Harry Potter before the character. I was nine when the books first came out.
'I never imagined when my mum first brought the book home that it would take off like this.
'Whenever I was playing up at school, the teachers would make some joke about my name, which soon shut me up.
'After 12 years of it I couldn't count the amount of times I've heard "You're a wizard Harry". It does wear a bit thin after a while.
'And I've heard all the puns about my wand.'

Harry is desperate to try and live a normal life and has a less glamorous job than his namesake.
Harry's mother, Tracey Shaw, 47, an accountant from Portsmouth said: 'I named him Harry simply because I liked the name.

'People used to assume that he was named after Prince Harry, and that was his nickname when he was very young - we called him Prince Harry.
"Harry's biological father's surname was Potter and that's how Harry got his famous name.
'There was no such thing as Harry Potter at the time so I didn't have a clue the name would become so famous.'

Unlike his magical counterpart, he has shunned the Hogwarts School of Wizardry for the more mundane surroundings of Lloyds TSB.
And now he and girlfriend Philippa Hall, 18, are hoping to settle down properly and are currently trying to buy their first house together.
The seven Harry Potter novels shot British author J K Rowling to stardom, with his adventures being snapped up by 400million eager fans.

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor that plays the title character in the films, was recently revealed to have bought his third property in New York - a townhouse worth almost £4million.

Since the books were released they have spawned blockbuster films and spin-off merchandise, making the brand worth an estimated £15billion.
But the fortune made by the wizard with the same name as him, provides little comfort to Harry.

He said: 'No one ever believes that I'm telling the truth about my name. I had to show my girlfriend my passport, my bank card, and my driving license to convince her that I wasn't lying.
'I wasn't even able to get a Facebook account in my name as apparently the rights are owned by the Potter brand.
'I had similar problems getting a bus pass, and gave up in the end. They just refused to believe me.
'I'm constantly asked to send off my ID so I can prove that I am telling the truth. I think a lot of people just think I'm a smart-arse.
'Someone called me once and asked if I was Harry Potter. When I said I was, I heard a whole office full of people laughing, and then they hung up.
'I called the number back and found it was a well-known phone company.
'I was even stopped by the cops about a month ago when I drove through a red light.
'They couldn't believe it when they saw my driving license. They thought it was hilarious, but still gave me points on my license and a fine.'
'I was playing in my Sunday League team once and the referee accused me of giving him a false name, after I made a minor foul on another player.
'He asked me for my name to book me, but thought I was just playing up. He asked if I wanted to be sent off.
'You can get banned from the league for giving a fake name so it was quite worrying...

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BlackBerry Bold 9700 official

It’s always a lot of fun for us — and hopefully for you, the readers — any time we can run wild with pictures, news, and even reviews of an unannounced handset. Today, however, RIM spoiled our fun and formally announced the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Things like carriers, release dates and pricing have been withheld for the time being, but RIM has made a statement saying that we should all expect to see the BlackBerry 9700 go on sale “around the world beginning in November.” Spec wise, nothing has changed since our pre-release review, but just in case some of you forgot or weren’t paying a whole lot of attention, here’s a quick refresher on the critical specs:
  • BlackBerry OS 5.0
  • 624MHz CPU
  • 256MB flash memory and support for microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Quad-band UMTS/HSDPA (800/850/1900/2100 MHz) or tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (900/1700/2100 MHz)
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g with UMA support (carrier dependent)
  • A-GPS
  • 2.44″ HVGA+ display
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • Optical trackpad
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP/AVCRP
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • 6 hours of talk time and 17 days of standby (3G)
  • 109mm x 60mm x 14.1mm, 122g

In short, this is the BlackBerry device of your dreams. We’re expecting pretty much every single major GSM carrier on the planet to pick up the 9700 sooner or later, so we’ll be sure to keep the updates coming. As always, high res pics and a few other odds and ends are available after the jump.

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The Unspeakable Lake

Something tells us the marketers of this lake’s recreational resorts are having an insane time trying to find customers...

(click on picture to enlarge)

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The Chicago’s Devil Baby of Hull House

The most famous American Devil Baby has to be the Chicago’s Devil Baby of Hull House. At least, this is certainly the most widespread legend.

Hull House represented the life’s work of Nobel Prize winning philanthropist Jane Addams. It was a place envisioned as a stepping-stone for underprivileged and impoverished members of Chicago’s poor immigrant society. Because of Addams’ particular interest in suffrage and women’s and children’s rights, it was natural that immigrant women and mothers would be attracted to the beacon of Hull House.

Despite Addams’ fervent denials (she dedicated more than 40 pages to the legend and its impact on her life in her autobiography) the story persisted that Hull House was the home of a creature not of this earth.

Originally, the rumor was just a whisper among the large immigrant population of late 19th century Chicago. Mostly superstitious and uneducated, it is certain that they brought with them from their homelands many ethnic and cultural beliefs that shaped their perception of their new foreign world. However, the “facts” were no fabrication: Most sources agree that Jane Addams, out of charity, took in the female who would bear the burden that would plague the good woman for generations to come.

The mother of the Devil Baby, though nameless, is said to have fled to Hull House to escape a brutal marriage. This is a central part of the story and an important one: evidently the young immigrant woman found herself pregnant once again and the husband, already having too many mouths to feed on his meager income, is said to have ruthlessly beat his wife, all the while cursing the unborn child. When the young woman fled to the shelter of Hull House, she found an understanding matron who was prepared to take her in and to protect her through the difficult pregnancy.

And it was a difficult pregnancy, according to the written accounts of Hull House servants who rendered firsthand descriptions of the notorious events. The mother-to-be complained of unusual pains throughout the pregnancy, of hearing voices and of having vivid, frightening nightmares. Jane Addams and the Hull House physicians put this down to the tormented life that the woman had led prior to escaping to Hull House, exacerbated by the continuous efforts of her husband to gain access to her.

As the time of her delivery came due, the horrible nature of what she had carried and nurtured for nine months was finally revealed. A writhing monster child full of scales and reptilian coldness with gleaming, black eyes, clawed hands and feet, and the protrusions of tiny horns on its forehead.

Legend has it that the mother died on the spot, mercifully released from this world. But in an unexpected turn of events, it is said that Jane Addams was overcome with such compassion that it moved her to take the child into her care.

Thus the story grew up over the years, whispered in every quarter, that behind the walls of Hull House an evil was growing.

This infant grew to a child – a monstrous lump of a human-like creature – that prowled the darkness and had full run of the dreaded third storey of Hull House. It is said that the child would peer from the windows, envious of the other children with whom it was not allowed to associate. Children and other residents of Hull House often awoke in the night to strange scrabbling noises and furtive breathing near their faces, only to discover in the lamplight that they were completely alone.

Eventually, Jane Addams died, but the legend of the Devil Baby of Hull House lives on and even today passersby and visitors to the location report seeing the shadow of “something” childlike peering at them from the darkness.

  • Facts

A link between ghosts and cemeteries has a certain logic, but a connection between specters and a monument to good works is less explicable. Nevertheless, a demonic spirit supposedly haunts Hull House, site of the most famous settlement house in America.

In 1889, Jane Addams and another social worker took over the Hull mansion at 800 South Halsted and turned it into a community center. The house, now part of the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois, is currently a museum dedicated to Addams and her work.

Addams was a hardheaded, progressive reformer, a proud and determined do-gooder in an age sorely in need of one. She and her colleagues turned Hull House into a community center, supplying shelter, food and practical advice to the huge number of bewildered young immigrant women in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In the winter of 1913, Addams could have used some advice herself to deal with what must have seemed to her no-nonsense mind a case of mass hysteria. Women were streaming into Hull House with a very particular request: They wanted to see the Devil Baby. Stories were circulating throughout the city about a child born with scaly skin, horns, hooves and a tail. Some of the rumors included accounts of the young demon flying about the rooms of Hull House while social workers tried desperately to catch him. "He looks just like Satan himself," a witness told newspaper reporters.

Depending on who told the story, the infant's origins varied. Jewish women claimed he was the offspring of an unfeeling father with a large family of daughters who declared that he'd rather his wife give birth to a demon than to another baby girl. Italians said the Devil Baby's mother was a God-fearing woman who had had the misfortune to marry an atheist. When the woman put a picture of Jesus on her wall, the husband angrily tore it down, saying that he'd rather have the devil himself in the house. And, according to this version, he got his wish. These and other variations ended with a desperate family taking the baby to Hull House and pleading for help.

In the beginning, Addams was furious at the rumors, which she tried to combat with appeals to common sense. Eventually, however, she worked out a sociological explanation that, to her way of thinking, explained the phenomenon. She noted that many purveyors of the Devil Baby story were older immigrant women, isolated in their new country, deprived of whatever domestic power and authority their age might have afforded them in their native villages. "The old women who came to visit the Devil Baby believed the story would secure them a hearing back home," Addams reported, "and as they prepared themselves with every detail of it, their faces shone with timid satisfaction."

But despite Addams' sensible, secular debunking of the Devil Baby as the outcome of a pitiable bid for attention, many Chicagoans still believe that a strange creature of some sort really existed. Some suggest that the Devil Baby may simply have been a horribly deformed child, kept by the Hull House workers to shelter it from an unforgiving world. Other believers still claim to see a devilish little face peering out of one of the House's second-floor windows.

Addams would doubtless have scoffed at such superstitious claptrap — or maybe not. In her diaries, she reported hearing strange noises coming from the upper rooms of the Hull House. She didn't know what made the racket, but she habitually put large buckets of water at the top of the stairs to keep it — whatever it was — at bay.

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Jerusalem, Israel

  • Early History to 1900

Despite incomplete archaeological work, it is evident that Jerusalem was occupied as far back as the 4th millenium B.C. In the late Bronze Age (2000–1550 B.C.), it was a Jebusite (Canaanite) stronghold. David captured it (c.1000 B.C.) from the Jebusites and walled the city. After Solomon built the Temple on Mt. Moriah in the 10th cent. B.C., Jerusalem became the spiritual and political capital of the Hebrews. In 586 B.C. it fell to the Babylonians, and the Temple was destroyed.

The city was restored to Hebrew rule later in the 6th cent. B.C. by Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. The Temple was rebuilt (538–515 B.C.; known as the Second Temple) by Zerubbabel, a governor of Jerusalem under the Persians. In the mid-5th cent. B.C., Ezra reinvigorated the Jewish community in Jerusalem. The city was the capital of the Maccabees in the 2d and 1st cent. B.C.

After Jerusalem had been taken for the Romans by Pompey, it became the capital of the Herod dynasty, which ruled under the aegis of Rome. The Roman emperor Titus ruined the city and destroyed the Temple (A.D. 70) in order to punish and discourage the Jews. After the revolt of Bar Kokba (A.D. 132–35), Hadrian rebuilt the city as a pagan shrine called Aelia Capitolina but forbade Jews to live on the site.

With the imperial toleration of Christianity (from 313), Jerusalem underwent a revival, greatly aided by St. Helena, who sponsored much building in the early 4th cent. Since that time Jerusalem has been a world pilgrimage spot. Muslims, who believe that the city was visited by Muhammad, treated Jerusalem favorably after they captured it in 637, making it the chief shrine after Mecca. From 688 to 691 the Dome of the Rock mosque was constructed.

In the 11th cent. the Fatimids began to hinder Christian pilgrims; their destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher helped bring on the Crusades. Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders in 1099 and for most of the 12th cent. was the capital of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1187, Muslims under Saladin recaptured the city. Thereafter, under Mamluk and then Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rebuilt and restored (especially by Sulayman I); but by the late 16th cent. it was declining as a commercial and religious center.

In the early 19th cent., Jerusalem began to revive. The flow of Christian pilgrims increased, and churches, hospices, and other institutions were built. Jewish immigration accelerated (especially from the time of the Egyptian occupation of Jerusalem by Muhammad Ali in 1832–41), and by 1900, Jews made up the largest community in the city and expanded settlement outside the Old City walls.

  • The Twentieth Century

In 1917, during World War I, Jerusalem was captured by British forces under Gen. Edmund Allenby. After the war it was made the capital of the British-held League of Nations Palestine mandate (1922–48). As the end of the mandate approached, Arabs and Jews both sought to hold sole possession of the city. Most Christians favored a free city open to all religions. This view prevailed in the United Nations, which, in partitioning Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, declared that Jerusalem and its environs (including Bethlehem) would be an internationally administered enclave in the projected Arab state. Even before the partition went into effect (May 14, 1948), fighting between Jews and Arabs broke out in the city. On May 28, the Jews in the Old City surrendered. The New City remained in Jewish hands. The Old City and all areas held by the Arab Legion (East Jerusalem) were annexed by Jordan in Apr., 1949. Israel responded by retaining the area it held. On Dec. 14, 1949, the New City of Jerusalem was made the capital of Israel.

In the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, Israeli forces took the Old City. The Israeli government then formally annexed the Old City and placed all of Jerusalem under a unified administration. Arab East Jerusalemites were offered regular Israeli citizenship but chose to maintain their status as Jordanians. Israel transferred many Arabs out of the Old City but promised access to the holy places to people of all religions. In July, 1980, Israel's parliament approved a bill affirming Jerusalem as the nation's capital. With suburbanization and housing developments in formerly Jordanian-held territory, Jerusalem has become Israel's largest city. Strife between Arabs and Jews persists. The issue of the status of East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel but regarded by Palestinians as the eventual capital of their own state, remains difficult. In 1998, Israel announced a controversial plan to expand Jerusalem by annexing nearby towns.


Few cities inspire as much passion as Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew, Al-Quds in Arabic), rooted deep in the past and revered by three major religions.

With its pleasant, temperate climate, fine upland setting, extraordinary historical sites and world-class museums, Jerusalem fascinatingly contrasts ancient and modern, oriental and western.

The larger part of the city, including the city center with its shopping and leisure district, is vibrant, Jewish West Jerusalem, characterized by broad avenues, busy pedestrianized streets and squares, cafes, restaurants and vivacious nightlife. Smaller East Jerusalem, predominantly Arab, is a 19th-century neighborhood lying north of the Old City. It has a slow but chaotic pace of life, with crowded, colorful street markets.

The Old City, on the eastern boundary, is where most of Jerusalem's main sights are found. Enclosed within awesome 16th-century stone walls, are a labyrinth of winding lanes where visitors to the city spend much of their time.

The Old City is divided into quarters, named after its four major communities in the 19th century: Arab, Jewish, Christian and Armenian, and preserving those sharp distinctions to this day. Within minutes, you may wander from calm squares where Jewish children play under the watchful eye of their mothers, to the hustle and bustle of an Arab souk, and into a tranquil Armenian garden, before arriving at the splendor of a medieval citadel.

Jerusalem came into being over 3000 years ago as the site of the Jewish Temple. The Western (or Wailing) Wall at the foot of Temple Mount is all that survives of the Temple, destroyed by the Romans, yet it remains Judaism's most revered place of prayer.

Extensive restoration and archaeological exploration gives astonishing insight into the structure and layout of the vast Temple in the time of Jesus.

For Orthodox and Catholic Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre encloses the site of the Crucifixion and tomb where Jesus was laid, having carried the cross here along the Via Dolorosa.

The Muslim's beautiful gilded Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount is Jerusalem's most iconic landmark, while Al-Aqsa mosque, beside it, is proclaimed Islam's third holiest shrine.

Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1950 but this is not internationally recognized. Most national institutions are in West Jerusalem, part of the state of Israel since the War of Independence following its creation in 1948. East Jerusalem and the Old City were first annexed by Jordan in 1948, then in 1967 by Israel, which integrated them into a reunited Jerusalem.

  • Sightseeing Overview

The compact size of Israel means that almost anywhere (with the exception of Eilat) is accessible for a day trip from Jerusalem. The coastal cities of Tel Aviv, Akko and Haifa, or the coastal ruins of ancient Caesarea, can easily be visited in a day, as can the area around the Sea of Galilee. There is enough to see in most of these places to merit a longer visit but, in terms of historical and religious sites, there is little to match Jerusalem.

The first stop for any visitor has to be the Old City, which contains the sacred sites that have caused such turmoil and unrest. It's divided into quarters (the Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim) each with its unique identity and character.

When sightseeing or just exploring, visitors should be aware of the intense campaign of terrorism being waged against Israel. Popular crowded venues, such as busy street markets, restaurants and cafes, crowded buses, discos, have especially been targeted by suicide bombers.

Security guards have now been posted at the doorways or entrances to most such locations and it is advisable to be wary of venues that have not put any security measures in place. To date, tourist sights have not been struck by the bombers, and Arab areas or Muslim sites are of course unlikely to be hit.

Tourist Information
Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO)
Tourist Information Center, Jaffa Gate, Old City.
Tel: (02) 628 0382.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 0830-1545, Fri 0830-1245.

A two-day pass for the 99 bus, which gives a guided tour of the city, will allow discounted entry to the Israel Museum, Tower of David Museum and the Biblical Zoo. It can be bought at ticket offices at these sites or from the bus drivers (see Bus Tours in Tours of the City).

Key Attractions:

Temple Mount

Temple Mount (Har Habayit in Hebrew, Al Haram ash-Sharif in Arabic), also called Mount Moriah, is sacred to both Islam and Judaism. It is a natural hill, which was built up artificially to support the huge Jewish Temple that stood here for a thousand years in Biblical times. Temple Mount has remained the focus of the Jewish religion ever since - when praying, Jews worldwide still face Temple Mount.

It was from a black rock within the complex, that, according to the Koran, Muhammad made his ascension to Heaven at the conclusion of his dreamt ‘Night Ride' from Mecca, and, according to the Bible, it was here that Abraham offered Isaac for sacrifice. With the arrival of Islam in the seventh century, the octagonal, blue-tiled Dome of the Rock, with its huge gold dome, was built over the large black rock. Dominating the skyline of the Old City, its dome glinting in the sunshine, this beautiful building is Jerusalem's most famous landmark and an absolute must for visitors.

Also on Temple Mount is the Al Aqsa Mosque, the oldest mosque in Israel and (unlike the Dome of the Rock) an actual place of Muslim worship. Its silver dome dates from the 11th century. The Islamic Museum, the third building within the complex, contains Islamic artifacts and relics. Only one of the 10 gates to the complex, Al-Mughradia (Moors) gate, allows entry for non-worshippers. This is located to the right of the Western Wall and is accessed from Western Wall Plaza.

Access from Western Wall Plaza (Old City)

Website: (Muslim site) or (Jewish site)
Opening hours: Closed during all prayer times (variable); otherwise Sun-Thurs 0730-1030 and 1230-1330; Sun-Thurs 0730-1030 (during Ramadan); closed to non-Muslims Fri and Muslim holidays. During periods of tension, the site may be closed.
Free admission for Temple Mount; charge for Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque and Islamic Museum combined ticket.

Western Wall

Situated along one side of a vast plaza at the bottom of Temple Mount is the historic Western Wall (HaKotel in Hebrew). Also historically known as the Wailing Wall (a name offensive to some Jews) from the sounds of Jews chanting lamentations on Tisha b'Av, the annual fast, mourning the destruction of the Temple. The Western Wall, constructed of massive rough blocks of golden stone, is a remnant of the outer retaining walls of the Second Temple as reconstructed by Herod in 30BC (the First Temple, constructed by Solomon, occupied the same site but was destroyed by the Babylonians).

Since the final complete destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD70, the Western Wall has been the holiest place of prayer for the Jewish people. Jews come from all over the world to pray or to contemplate. Some place notes with hopes, dreams and messages of goodwill in the cracks of the Wall. In keeping with Orthodox Jewish practice (because the entire site is technically an Orthodox synagogue) the length of the Wall has been divided into separate sections for men and women. Any man or woman may enter their respective section, provided men have their heads covered (visitors can borrow a kippah or skullcap when entering) and women are modestly dressed. The Wall can be reached either through the Dung Gate or through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

Western Wall Plaza (Old City)
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours.
Free admission.

Citadel or Tower of David

The tall, slender stone tower rising elegantly from the ancient walls of the Old City is almost as familiar an image of Jerusalem as the Dome of the Rock. But despite its name, the citadel has nothing to do with King David (the city's founder) and was in fact constructed in the first century BC, as a fortress for Herod the Great. It has therefore formed part of Jerusalem's defense structure for over 2,000 years. What remains today is largely medieval. It now houses the outstanding Museum of the History of Jerusalem, which vividly chronicles the entire history of the city. The Citadel's tallest tower, the Phasael, offers a superb panorama over the Old City. The main entrance is adjacent to Jaffa Gate.

Beside Jaffa Gate (Old City)
Tel: (02) 626 5333.
Opening hours: Sat-Thurs 0900-1700, Fri 0900-1400 (Apr-Oct); Sat-Thurs 1000-1600, Fri 1000-1400 (Nov-Mar).
Admission charge.

Via Dolorosa

The Via Dolorosa (literally ‘Road of Sorrow') is the route believed to have been walked by Jesus as he carried the Cross to his crucifixion at Calvary or Golgotha. The route begins at the Lion's Gate, passes through the Muslim Quarter and leads to the Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is marked along the way by the 14 Stations of the Cross. The stations indicate events along the journey and at some of these points churches have been founded. Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims walk this route in the belief that they are following in the footsteps of Christ.

Old City
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours.
Free admission.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Containing the last five Stations of the Cross of the Via Dolorosa, this is the holiest Christian site in Jerusalem. Upon entering the church, the little stairway to the right lead to the Chapel of Golgotha and three Stations of the Cross - where Jesus was stripped, crucified and removed from the cross. The Sepulchre itself is at the center of the church and marks where Jesus is believed to have been buried and resurrected. Downstairs is the Angel's Chapel, where the resurrected Christ made known himself to Mary Magdalene. The site of the church was first chosen in the fourth century by Queen Helena and the existing structure dates mainly from the period of the Crusades. It is divided into sections, which are each under the jurisdiction of a different Christian denomination. Protestants do not accept that this was the site of the Crucifixion or Resurrection.

Christian Quarter Road (Old City)
Tel: (02) 627 3314.
Opening hours: Daily 0530-2100 (summer); daily 0430-2000 (winter).
Free admission.

Yad Vashem

The name of this, the world's most important Holocaust memorial, means ‘A Hand and a Name', the word hand also meaning ‘memorial' and implying that every victim will be individually remembered. Yad Vashem (or the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority) is located on the western edge of Jerusalem. It is best known as a monument to the devastation wreaked upon the Jewish people by the Nazis during WWII. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, including museums, memorials, sculpture and a research and documentation center. The tree-lined Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations commemorates and honors gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews and leads to the Historical Museum, Yad Vashem's prism-like central concrete structure lying mainly below ground, where the course of Hitler's ‘Final Solution' is traced.

The Hall of Remembrance is a solemn tent-like structure that allows visitors to pay their respects to the dead. Also contained within the Yad VaShem complex is the wooded, walled Valley of the Communities, recording the names of Jewish communities wiped out in their entirety, and the Hall of Names, where the names and details of over three and a half million individual victims have been recorded and are being constantly added to. There is also a poignant Art Museum, containing work produced by Jewish inmates of the death camps. Possibly the most moving, however, is the Children's Memorial, where, in a dark underground chamber, names from the list of 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust are constantly read out.

Har Hazikaron (near Mount Herzl, western edge of the city)
Tel: (02) 644 3400.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 0900-1700 (2000 on Thurs), Fri 0900-1400.
No entry under 10 years old (including babies).
Free admission.

The Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is the nation's leading showcase for its archaeology, anthropology and art. It houses a vast number of fascinating exhibits relating to the long history and culture of the Jews in the region. Among the highlights are the modern sculptures of the Art Garden, the 20th-century artworks of the Art Pavilion, and the Archaeological Galleries, where major discoveries are displayed. In the Ethnography and Judaica wing, exhibits include a collection of ancient Jewish artifacts. A Youth Wing features hands-on activities for families and art classes for children.

The museum's greatest treasure is contained in a striking separate building called the Shrine of the Book. Resembling the lid of an earthenware jar, this structure was created to hold and display the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts. Discovered beside the Dead Sea at Qumran in 1947, the Scrolls consist of the oldest known scripts of the Torah or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), as well as the enigmatic scrolls of an austere, scholarly Jewish sect apparently resident at Qumran.

Ruppin Boulevard (near the Knesset, western edge of the city)
Tel: (02) 670 8811.
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Sat and holidays 1000-1600, Tues 1600-2100, Thurs 1000-2100, Fri 1000-1400.
Admission charge.

Further Distractions:

Mount of OlivesItalic
Rising beyond the city walls, to the east of Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives is part of the range of hills surrounding Jerusalem. The olives that gave the place its name were cut down in Roman times and the western slope is now covered by the white tombs of the largest Jewish cemetery in the world. Tragically, it was badly vandalised during the Jordanian occupation (1948-1967), when the stones were smashed and defaced and many were removed to be used for construction. Among both Jews and Christians, the traditional belief is that the resurrection of the dead will begin on the Mount of Olives. The mountain has added religious significance for Christians, as the place Jesus came on the night before his arrest and trial. The Garden of Gethsemane, which Jesus visited after the Last Supper, lies at the foot of the slope. The supposed tomb of his mother, Mary, is a Byzantine and Crusader structure reached through a fine doorway that leads to an underground shrine containing various tombs. Although medieval, these are claimed to be the actual graves of Joseph and Mary and her parents. At the summit of the mount, an Arab village named Et-Tur affords a stunning panorama of the Old City.

Mount of Olives (East Jerusalem)
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours.
Free admission.

Montefiore Windmill Bold
Built by Anglo-Jewish philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, in 1858, the windmill is one of the oldest and most famous landmarks outside the Old City. With the windmill and two rows of houses he set about establishing the first Jewish district outside the walls of the Old City, which he called Mishkenot Sha'ananim (peaceful dwellings), but which is now called Yemin Moshe. The windmill was damaged during the 1948 War of Independence, when the British attempted to blow it up. Today it has been restored by the Jerusalem Foundation, which plans to create an open air museum and visitors' center close by.

Yemin Moshe (West Jerusalem)
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 0900-1600, Fri 0090-1300.

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Mexican Alien Baby

Mexican TV revealed the almost unbelievable story - in 2007, a baby alien was found alive by a farmer in Mexico. He drowned it in a ditch out of fear, and now two years later scientists have finally been able to announce the results of their tests on this sinister-looking carcass.
At the end of last year the farmer, Marao Lopez, handed the corpse over to university scientists who carried out DNA tests and scans. He claimed that it took him three attempts to drown the creature and he had to hold it underwater for hours.
Tests revealed a creature that is unknown to scientists - its skeleton has characteristics of a lizard, its teeth do not have any roots like humans and it can
stay underwater for a long time.
But it also has some similar joints to humans. Its brain was huge, particularly the rear section, leading scientists to the conclusion that the odd creature was very intelligent.
But it has seemingly left experts stumped.

And in a further mystery, Lopez has since mysteriously died...
According to American UFO expert Joshua P. Warren (32), the farmer burned to death in a parked car at the side of a road.
The flames apparently had a far higher temperature than in a normal fire!
Now there are rumours that the parents of the creature Lopez drowned were the ones who in turn killed him out of revenge.
There are frequent UFO sightings and reports of crop circles in the area where the creature was found. Perhaps it was left behind deliberately by aliens.
Mexican UFO expert Jaime Maussan (56) was the first to break the story. He claimed it was not a hoax. Farmers also told him that there was a second creature but it ran away when they approached.

The puzzle has caused intrigue amongst BILD's readers. Some say it is a mutant, others wonder why aliens would leave a baby behind - and one reader asked why aliens don't wear clothes...

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