11th Hour IC News September 15th, 2006

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)










MIDTOWN -- WBDE (93.1 FM, "The Blade") hosted a live radio show from local curio shop "The Final Word," a bookstore and coffee shop in Midtown DC. On-Air Personality Lear "Nyx" Christiensen was the host for the event, which was to promote The Spirit of Washington Cruises' upcoming October "Ghost Tour" of DC, which will take a group of up to 100 participants on a guided all-night cruise up through the Tidal Basin and Monuments area, and back down past Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon, then returning to the Pier in Old Town.

The live broadcast covered some of Christiensen's typical weekly material on the paranormal and occult, as well as showcased The Final Word bookstore, one of the sponsors of WBDE's live broadcast from the Ghost Tour boat.

Listeners brought questions of the paranormal and unusual from the floor, as well as some phone-in topics, ranging from conspiracies to UFOs to occult overtones of the Little Death drug problem. As you might expect, much of the material was rather speculative if not outright outlandish, but thought-provoking.

Five Tickets for the Ghost Cruise were raffled off for $2 apiece, with the profits going to a local charity.

Groups of 15 or more attendees receive a group rate discount on tickets, which are normally $25 and include unlimited soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres, with a cash bar.



Human bones help lay bare oddity of lodges: Skeletons linked to initiation rites of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows are turning up nationwide
By Maria Glod, LA Times-Washington Post Service

Paul Wallace was alone, repairing overloaded circuits in the old red-brick building, when he discovered a tiny door to a dark recess between two walls.
Inside was a black wooden box. Curious, Wallace tugged it from its dark resting place. A white shroud appeared. Then leathery ribs. Then white candles.
"It was like a Dracula movie," Wallace said. "The top of the skull was covered, but you could see the rib cage and the sinew."
For a good 20 minutes, Wallace sat frozen. Finally, he returned the skeleton to its home between the walls of the Warrenton lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
When police learned of Wallace's macabre discovery, they rushed to get a search warrant and seized the remains. State medical examiners are studying the bones. Around town, neighbors speculate about who the corpse was and why she was there. But perhaps the strangest thing about the mini-drama captivating Warrenton is that strikingly similar mysteries have played out across the country.
It turns out that skeletons similar to "Jane Doe Odd Fellow," as one officer calls her, reside in closets, drawers, attics and crawl spaces in Odd Fellows lodges nationwide. To members of the age-old fraternal order, the skeleton is a symbol of mortality, a treasured relic used in one of their most solemn and secret rituals: initiation.

But for many residents in the towns where the bones are found, the whole thing is just plain odd. "A lot of people thought it was weird," Wallace said. "They were like, 'What if it were my daughter?"
As with many fraternal orders that compete, with today's fast-paced lifestyles, interest in the Odd Fellows has waned, and many lodges have closed. More and more of the skeletons are emerging from their hiding places, often to the shock of the souls who come upon them.
Lisa Stone, a Chicago historian who has studied fraternal organizations, said one surprising part of the rituals is that the group has kept them secret for so long. The rituals are "not a booga-booga scary thing," but out of context, the skeletons are "frighteningly powerful objects," she said. She noted that many fraternal orders, including the Masons, use similar images.
Even the Warrenton police haven't been able to get the Odd Fellows to betray their order. Lt. Kerry White said members have cooperated, but with one caveat. "They specifically asked us not to divulge what they told us," he said.

Odd Fellows Virginia Grand Lodge Secretary Jack Gibson Jr. bristles at the description of the organization's rituals. "I don't like the word 'secret,' Gibson said. "It is a ceremony that is confined to the members, and if you're not a member, you don't discuss it."
Why so hush-hush? "It makes you different," Gibson said.
The Odd Fellows skeletons have popped up in costume shops and as decorations in bars. One made its way into a display on serial killers in a New Orleans art gallery. Another made an appearance in "Dawn of the Dead," the cult classic horror film.
The Independent Order of the Odd Fellows dates to 17th-century England as a charitable organization that worked to help families in need and buried their dead. The first American lodge opened in 1819 in Baltimore.
Present-day Odd Fellows support a professorship of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University, and they contribute to the Arthritis Foundation and American Heart Association. The organization's symbol - three interlocking rings - represents friendship, love, and truth.
The skeletons likely were purchased from scientific or fraternal supply companies. One catalog from the early 1900s advertised a "genuine, full-size selected specimen, set up and wired, fairly deodorized."
"Every one has a different story," said Randall Kremer, a spokesman at the Smithsonian Institution. "The companies would obtain skeletons from anywhere possible. They could be indigents. Or often people, especially at the higher levels of society, were anxious to donate their remains for scientific study."








NORTHEAST -- DCPD Detective Antoine "Tony" Laike, on a medical leave of absence following a second mishap in the line of duty, has died suddenly while hospitalized.

Police and doctors have not given a cause of death, though a spokesperson did indicate that the death was not a suicide, as some had feared given Laike's service record of the last year.

Following witnessing the sudden and violent death of Laike's partner, Detective John Moran a couple of years ago, Laike struggled to cope with the demands of police service and had previously sought medical treatment, only just recently having been certified as fit to return to work.

Laike responded out of jurisdiction to a Virginia B&E call that seemed related to the ongoing "Little Death" investigation, and the encounter went wrong, resulting in the escape of one suspect and the death of the other, the only witness in custody.

Saint Elizabeth's Mental Hospital spokespeople indicate that Detective Laike was found on morning rounds a few days ago, dead in his quarters. and had appeared to have suffocated or had a seizure in which he swallowed his own tongue. They have no record of any pre-existing medical conditions to which they can attribute these symptoms at this time.






NORTHWEST -- GWU Undergraduate Harmony Neal was found dead in her dormitory last Sunday. Neal was last reported as having been seen by school acquaintances on the Metro heading home from a club in D.C.

She was found in her dorm room, having been raped and with one lung punctured. Preliminary post-mortem reports from the Coroner's office indicate that Neal was killed by a sharp knife or razor cut of the throat post-coitus.
Neighboring rooms, whose occupants were interviewed by the police, recall hearing the sound of something tipping over in the middle of the night and assumed it was her fumbling around in the dark, trying not to wake up her roommate due to getting back to the dorm at such a late hour.
Neal's roommate, whose name is being withheld, was off with family for the weekend and has been informed of her roommate's death. She was visibly shaken, saying that Harmony was a good friend and she was unsure of why anyone would want to hurt her.
There were no direct witnesses, though several students recall seeing an unknown white or Hispanic male of varying descriptions jogging away from the dorms at approximately 2:30 am.

Fellow GWU student Hank Bukalski is being held for questioning related to the case, but has not been charged with Neal's murder as of yet.

The police are asking that anyone with information on this case please call (202) 555-1000.







Harrison Ford: I'm still 'fit' to play Indiana Jones


ROME, Italy (AP) -- Harrison Ford says he feels "fit to continue" to play Indiana Jones despite growing older.

Ford, 64, said at the inaugural Rome Film Festival on Friday that he was delighted to team up again with directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for the film. Lucas co-wrote and executive produced the earlier films, which Spielberg directed.

"We did three films that stay within the same block of time. We need to move on for artistic reasons and obvious physical reasons," Ford said at a news conference. "I feel fit to continue and bring the same physical action."

"Indiana Jones 4" has been in development for over a decade, but the production has recently gained momentum. Lucas has said he and Spielberg, who would direct, are working on a script, though no details have been disclosed.

Ford played Indiana Jones in 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1984's "Temple of Doom" and 1989's "The Last Crusade." In the last film, Jones' father was played by Sean Connery, who Ford said might also appear in the planned fourth feature.

"He's part of the emotional fabric of these films. I think there may be an opportunity, I believe that Sean is still willing and I'd be delighted if he joined us," said Ford.

Connery, who attended the Rome event last week, has said that no offer had been made.

Ford declined to provide details about a shooting schedule or film locations, adding that the directors were not yet finished with the script.

"I think it's a real opportunity to make a film as successful ... as the ones we've made before," he said.






Chicken Ticketed for Crossing the Road


(AP) RIDGECREST, CA -- Linc and Helena Moore may have finally learned the answer to that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the chicken doesn't know jaywalking is illegal.
Kern County Sheriff's Deputy J. Nicholson does know, however. The deputy issued a ticket September 4th because one of the couple's chickens allegedly impeded traffic in Johannesburg, a rural mining community near Ridgecrest, some 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The Moores were in Superior Court on Friday to plead not guilty. A trial was scheduled for September 16.
The chicken's owners say they believe they were cited because they were among several people who complained that sheriff's deputies haven't done enough to control off-road vehicle riders who create dust and noise in their neighborhood.
Sheriff's officials say that isn't so, adding they are doing what they can to keep off-roaders away from homes.
"The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing," Moore said.


The Great Taste of Human Flesh, Without the Guilt

Mark Nuckols, a business student at Dartmouth, has begun selling a tofu-like food, Hufu, that is flavored to resemble what he believes is the taste of human flesh. His target audience is those who already enjoy cooking with tofu, as well as any actual cannibals who might settle for artificiality in order to avoid legal problems and logistical hassles. Nuckols said he has never tasted human flesh but based his recipe on cannibals' reported descriptions of the flavor.

AUSTIN, TX -- Nuckols, a Dartmouth College business student and part-time Austin resident, has created Hufu, a soybean product designed to replicate the flavor and texture of people.
“There is a lengthy tradition of novelists that have used the theme of cannibalism for either a tragic or comic effect,” said Nuckols, citing authors such as Evelyn Waugh and Mark Twain. “I think the whole project is tapping into something that runs quite deep in the culture.”
Nuckols’ own modest proposal originated about eight years ago in a London sandwich shop.
“I was working on Fleet Street, reading a book on cannibalism and eating a tofurkey sandwich, and I had a revelation,” Nuckols said. “If people could make tofu that tastes like turkey, why not tofu that tastes like human flesh?”
And thus the “healthy alternative to human flesh” was born.

Mark Nuckols is the founder and CEO of Hufu, LLC, and his company has but one goal: To serve man (or some reasonable, soy-based facsimile thereof). Hufu is tofu, but textured and flavored into a pseudo-meat billed as "The Healthy Human Flesh Alternative." They say it tastes like people.
At this point, the first question to spring to the mind of a normal, well-adjusted individual is, "Why!!?" For those of us who fall outside of that category, our first response is, "How?
As usual, the normal and well-adjusted will get a lot more satisfaction than the rest of us. The company is delighted to share details on why, but as for how, their only comment is, "The taste and texture of Hufu are the result of painstaking research and extensive testing in our kitchens. We are supremely confident that our food products would satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding cannibal." Clearly, there's no meat in that response. Cough.
As for why, the company says that they originally intended to market the product to students of anthropology who were curious about the cannibal experience, yet daunted by the task of reproducing it. But the folks at Hufu soon learned through market research that some of the general public was "interested" in such a food– though perhaps "morbidly curious" might have been a more fitting description– so they are now marketing it to a broader audience. And people are buying it.
So what does human flesh taste like? Their FAQ says, "If you've never had human flesh before, think of the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture. Contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken."
Their ambiguity on how makes one wonder if they simply made their best guess on the flavor, knowing that any persons able to refute the claim would most likely be unwilling to do so. And who would believe such a person's claims anyway? Perhaps they used a beef-based flavoring, sweetened it a tad, and called it good; but if so, they won't fess up.

Of course it's always possible that their researchers really were willing to make some sacrifices to get the flavor just right, but they would never admit to that either. No doubt the ambiguity is key to their borderline, curiosity-driven marketing: sales will dry up if they admit to shenanigans, but equally so if they claim their researchers have eaten real human flesh.



Wild Iceberg Tears up Antarctica

By Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
A huge wandering iceberg is tearing up the Antarctic like a slow-moving bull in a frozen China shop.
The roving destructor, named B-15A, slammed into the Drygalski ice tongue a month ago and broke off at least two city-sized chunks. Now it is poised to strike another feature sticking out from the continent.
At 71 miles (115 kilometers) long, B-15A is the largest free-floating object in the world.
It is expected to lumber into the Aviator Glacier any day now, scientists with the European Space Agency said Tuesday.
If B-15A gets stuck, as it has before, researchers fear it could block sea ice behind it, thwarting animals that need to move from shore to the open sea.
B-15A is the largest chunk left of a bigger iceberg, known as B-15, that broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000. That initial frozen hunk was about the size of Jamaica. After B-15 broke apart, the chunk named B-15A drifted into McMurdo Sound, where it blocked ocean currents and caused other sea ice to build up, threatening wildlife.
Scientists predicted an imminent collision back in January this year. Instead, the iceberg ran aground and stalled out. Then it broke free in March. On the move again, it collided with the Drygalski ice tongue in April, forcing the redraw of Antarctica maps.


Egyptian Doctors Remove Baby's Second Head

Science - Reuters By Amil Khan
BENHA, Egypt (Reuters) -
Egyptian doctors said they removed a second head from a 10-month-old girl suffering from one of the rarest birth defects in an operation Saturday.
Abla el-Alfy, a consultant in paediatric intensive care, told Reuters at the hospital in Benha, near Cairo, that Manar Maged was in a serious but improving condition after the procedure to treat her for craniopagus parasiticus -- a problem related to that of conjoined twins linked at the skull.
"We are still working on the baby. After surgery ... you get unstable blood pressure, you get fever. But she is stabilizing," Alfy said. "We have some improvement."
As in the case of a girl who died after similar surgery in the Dominican Republic a year ago, the second twin had developed no body. The head that was removed from Manar had been capable of smiling and blinking but not independent life, doctors said.
Video footage provided by the hospital, a national center in Egypt for children's medicine, showed Manar smiling and at ease in a cot with the dark-haired "parasitic" twin, attached at the upper left side of the girl's skull, occasionally blinking.
After the 13-hour operation, Reuters journalists saw the baby, her head swathed in bandages and body wreathed by tubes, in an intensive care ward. A separate twin sister, Noora, is healthy after initial problems with the birth on March 30.
Alfy said the 13-strong surgical team separated Manar's brain from the conjoined organ in small stages, cutting off the blood supply to the extra head while preventing increased blood flow to Manar's heart, which would have risked cardiac arrest.

The condition occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process and one of the conjoined twins fails to develop fully in the womb. The second twin can form as an extra limb, a complete second body lacking vital organs, or, in very rare cases, a head.
Last February, seven-week-old Rebeca Martinez died in the Dominican Republic after surgery to remove a second head. The leader of that team, Jorge Lazareff of the University of California at Los Angeles, noted on viewing one picture of the Egyptian baby that the face of the undeveloped twin was "very well developed" compared to that in Rebeca's case. "Rebeca ... had a more vertical sibling, whereas (in) this the second growth is tangential," he told Reuters, while noting he had not previously been aware of the Egyptian child.