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Fortean TimesFortean Times

Fortean Times 372

Fortean Times, named after maverick American writer Charles Fort, is one of the world’s most individual and best loved magazines. For over 35 years FT has been chronicling the stranger side of life, delivering a heady mix of weird world news, up-to-date reports and features on every aspect of the unexplained: myths, monsters, ghosts and UFOs rub shoulders with ancient wonders and future science, while expert columnists bring you the latest on everything from cryptozoology to conspiracy theory. Open-minded, well informed and maintaining a healthy sense of humour, FT is the only place to go for a sensible look at our mad planet – it will change the way you see the world.

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It seems that the notorious ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ (FT341:4) has now been consigned to the realm of urban legend, joining such folk devils and bogeymen as Spring-heeled Jack, the Mohawks, and Jack the Ripper (FT310:30-35, 40-41). The putative moggy murderer was believed to have killed, mutilated and dismembered hundreds of cats across south London, starting in Croydon in 2014. The attacks quickly spread out across the whole Greater London area and beyond, with reports of similar (copycat?) killing sprees from Guildford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Northampton, and even Caernarfon in North Wales; to reflect this growing geographical range, the Croydon Cat Killer became the ‘M25 Cat Killer’ or ‘UK Cat Killer’. The Metropolitan Police made a shock announcement on 20 September: its three-year investigation was being closed down, “its final conclusion [being] that…

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the sunspot shutdown

On 7 September 2018 the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico, home to one of the largest active solar telescopes in the world, was shut down and all personnel evacuated. The FBI was on the scene almost immediately; employees and the public were indefinitely banned from the premises, and the observatory’s website read: “Temporarily closed”. The local post office was also shut down without explanation. No one seemed to know what was happening, not even Benny House, Otero County Sheriff, who sent his deputies onto the scene only to find absolutely no specific threat. “The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on,” said Sheriff House. “We’ve got people up there [at Sunspot] that requested us to standby while they evacuate it. Nobody would really elaborate on any of…

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the conspirasphere

HAND SIGNALS It’s beginning to feel as if the alt-right is establishing a kind of international aristocracy; a head-patting, back-rubbing, selfietaking club of shared interests and ambitions. Ambitions being an operative term: with the USA lurching along under the erratic leadership of the Donald, and Europe’s parliaments increasingly populated by factions and parties self-describing as populist, but led and staffed by people we all used to think of as fascists, it does seem like a good time to be a strident nationalist – so why not a strident internationalist supporting nationalism everywhere? A prime example of this air-mile version of the far right is the wonderfully monickered Brittany Pettibone. Ms Pettibone, daughter of the equally well-handled Theodore (once a gubernatorial candidate in the state of Kansas for the Reform Party, the plaything…

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cults and cures

In early 2018, hundreds visited the “miracle waters” of a remote spring in eastern Fiji’s Tailevu province. For Menausi Druguvale the magic began two years earlier when he was afflicted with conjunctivitis and tramped into the mountains seeking a rumoured spring his father told him could cure his eyes. “When I went to the main source after Cyclone Winston, I showered in the water, and soon my eyes cleared, so I started to tell people in the village,” he said. “A lot of people were injured after the cyclone. Then more and more people heard, around Fiji and around the world.” God bestowing a blessing on the Fijian people in the form of the spring makes sense to believers, especially as a kindness after Cyclone Winston, which killed 44 people and…

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FISH RAIN On the afternoon of 13 July 2018, fish – 4in to 6in (10-15cm) long – came down with monsoon rain around the tomb of Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti at Buland Darwaza in the ancient Indian city of Fatehpur Sikri (capital of the Mughal empire from 1571 to 1585). Someone asserted that the fish had been lifted from “nearby ponds”. Children took some of the fish home. www.thefortean.com thefortean.com, 14 July 2018. BOOM BOOM! Crystal Methvin [sic], 40, was facing drug charges after police in St Augustine, Florida, caught her – and her friend Douglas Nickerson – in possession of crystal meth in a parking lot on 26 May. Metro, D.Star, 1 June 2018. CONSENSUAL Daniel Raymond Webb-Jackson, 31, was jailed for 10 months for having sex with a horse. He told a…

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summer of serpents

The snake had curled up next to her as she slept in her London flat • A woman got the “fright of her life” when she woke to find she was sharing her bed with a 3ft (90cm) long royal python. The snake, thought to be an escaped pet, had curled up next to her as she slept in her flat in Kensington, west London, on 23 July. She rushed out and called the RSPCA, but the snake slithered away before they arrived. It was finally captured in the flat the following day as it made its way down a corridor. Royal pythons originate in West Africa. They grow up to 150cm (4ft 9in), can live more than 20 years in captivity, and require a diet of defrosted mice and rats.…