American Tabloids
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Alien encounters and other puzzling evidence were as close at hand as your neighborhood grocery checkout counter again this week, as the tabloid press publicized new theories about UFO abduction and reported what may be the first recorded ET suicide.
The Sun moved into extraterrestrial territory by running an article about strange high-altitude rod-like shapes in the sky.
These shapes move too fast to be seen by the human eye, but can be captured on videotape and studied at frame-by-frame slow motion speeds, the supermarket magazine reported.
Regardless of the Sun's lurid disclaimer that its stories "seek to entertain and are about the fantastic, bizarre and paranormal" and readers should "suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoyment," rod phenomena are nothing new in more sober corners of UFOlogy.
Unlike the traditional metallic saucer or black triangular object, "rods" apparently exhibit more biological origins and behavior. After their discovery in New Mexico in 1994, study of the objects has been centralized in the southwestern United States.
James Peters, assistant director of the Colorado Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), has said careful study of the videotape convinced him that the rods are "a unique phenomenon" that he doesn't think "have anything to do with classic UFOs."
In another article, the Sun prophesied that astronauts on a "great aeroplane" or space shuttle would hear the voice of God near the end of 1999. The tabloid attributed the prediction to a hitherto lost statement of the Virgin Mary covered up by no less a figure than Joseph Stalin himself.
Weekly World News: Exclusive!
Melissa Yardbrow of Tulsa, OK, was held hostage by aliens for nearly half her life, according to an exclusive Weekly World News excerpt from her upcoming book, Alien Hostage.
Although a search turned up no publishing information on the book, the brief snippets published in the News piece together a life of horror and confusion. Yardbrow, now 27, says she was abducted by the nefarious Gray aliens soon after she ran away from her strict home environment.
They kept her aboard their gigantic "Mothership" for the next 12 years, forcing her and thousands of other "hostages" to play virtual-reality games designed to reprogram their minds. The aliens were apparently using these captives as insurance against human military authorities -- even though the vast moon-sized ship orbited the Earth at such a low altitude that it had changed terrestrial weather patterns, no Earthly nation would dare attack it with so many innocent people aboard.
If the brief excerpt is characteristic of the rest of the book, the Grays kept their legendary inquisitive habits largely in check around Yardbrow, limiting their examination to some tentacular instruments and "a kind of mind probe."
However, she later learned that these Grays were actually robots, which might explain their apparent lack of invasive concern.
Fortunately, everything turned out for the best for Yardbrow, who was liberated from an alien transport pod over Brazil by human troops only a few months ago. Although the troopers tried to threaten her into keeping silent about her experiences, she said, she is clearly "not afraid to tell the whole world."
Abductees may be telepathic time-bombs
In a felicitous editorial decision, the News ran a piece titled "People Who Claim Alien Abduction Score Higher on ESP Tests" across from the Yardbrow excerpt.
The article, a digest of a mysterious study performed by London psychologist Allard Kensilwort, indicated that test subjects who claim to have been kidnapped by aliens have five times as much telepathic potential as members of a control group.
As a result, Kensilwort now believes that the aliens have turned the abductees into "living receivers" that may some day "all simultaneously get some kind of message or 'marching orders' from their former alien captors," the News said.
X-ray examinations of all members of the abductee group showed "unusual masses" in their brains.
Alien suicide?
Other somber notes hit in the issue of the News cover-dated September 28 included an apparent alien suicide. Los Angeles UFO buff Jeff Hailaway was undoubtedly elated to see a flying disc appear over the sky of Roswell, NM, last July 4, but his triumph turned to horror as a hatch on the object opened and a "slightly built" humanoid "with a large, bulbous head" climbed out and apparently jumped to its death.
Hailaway and dozens of other tourists watched the saucer fly away, "as if on automatic pilot," and then quickly abandoned their tour bus to look for the alien, either to administer medical aid or else filch some extraterrestrial souvenirs.
However, not only was the alien never found, but highway patrolmen later boarded the bus, confiscated all film and suggested the tourists forget what they saw.
Fluctuations in super-massive star Eta Carinae could lead to devastation on a global scale, Carl Smalder, described as a "noted astronomer" by reporter Randy Jeffries, warned News readers.
"Judging by the size of Eta Carinae and its distance from Earth, we can expect tidal waves on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of America," he said. "The waves could rise up to 300 feet tall ... continents will shift and kill millions more."
In addition, Smalder, who is not listed in the membership rolls of the International Astronomical Union, warned that the star's fluctuations would swamp the southern hemisphere with hurricanes, with all the bad weather coming to a climax next August.
One of the largest stars in the Milky Way galaxy at about 100 times the size of the sun, Eta Carinae is approximately 8,000 light-years from Earth. The star flared in brightness about 150 years ago after apparently undergoing a cataclysm of supernova-level ferocity.
Jeffries attributed Smalder's dramatic weather forecasts to "magnetic power" associated with the star's increasing brightness.
The News also alerted its readers to "anonymous insider" reports that NASA plans to name an openly gay astronaut in the near future, implying that such a move -- unlike Sally Ride's pioneering 1983 leap for womankind -- would be a publicity grab designed to "ensure the money will keep coming."
The news came as a surprise to the space agency.