Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mythical white stag found in the forests of Gloucestershire

White stags have long been associated with mythology and legend, an elusive yet magnificent beast.

King Arthur was left frustrated by his attempts to capture one, as were the Kings and Queens of Narnia, who chased the creature through the woods and found themselves tumbling out of a wardrobe.

But photographer Ken Grindle has managed to get a little bit closer, taking this picture of the animal in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

Hungarian mythology includes the myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales and gods of the Hungarians. Many parts of it are thought to be lost, i.e. only some texts remained which can be classified as a myth. However, a significant amount of Hungarian mythology was successfully recovered in the last hundred years. The most important sources are:

* Folklore, as a lot of mythological persons remained in folk tales, folk songs, legends, also special traditions linked to special dates which are not known elsewhere
* Medieval chronicles, codexes
* Writings about Hungarians by non-Hungarian authors (mostly before 850)
* Archeology helped to assemble the religion.

The mythology in brief

The world is divided into three spheres: the first is the Upper World , the home of the gods; the second is the Middle World where is the world we know, and finally the underworld ). In the center of the world, a tall tree is standing: the World Tree / Tree of Life / Life Tree . Its foliage is the Upper World. The Middle World is located at its trunk and the underworld is around its roots. In some stories, the tree has fruits: these are the golden apples.

Upper World

The gods and the good souls live in the Upper World. Gods have the same rank, although the most important figure of them is Isten (meaning 'God' in Hungarian). He controls the world, shapes the fate of humans, observes the Middle World from the sky, and sometimes gives warning by lightning . Isten created the world with the help of Ördög ("the devil" Evil). Other gods include: Istenanya ('Mother God'), also known as Boldogasszony ('Blessed Lady'; later identified with the Virgin Mary), and Hadúr (War Lord or Army Lord).

The major celestial bodies, (the Sun and the Moon), are also located in the Upper World. The sky was thought to be a big tent held up by the Tree of Life. There are several holes on it: those are the stars.

The majestic wild animal - long associated with mystery and good luck - was filmed by the wildlife enthusiast.

Ken, 66, has been filming and photographing wildlife in the area for the past six years - but had never seen a white stag.

'I was very surprised to see it,' he said.

'I was camped in a shelter and was really fortunate. It just strolled right in front of me and calmly wandered around.

'He is a beautiful creature and it's really nice to be able to show people who perhaps can't make it into woodland what beautiful animals roam out there.

'I was lucky to be able to get some footage of it as well as the battery on my camera was running out.

'I wasn't sure I'd actually got it until I got home.


Colorado cow mutilations baffle ranchers, cops, UFO believer

Manuel Sanchez tucks his leathery hands into well-worn pockets and nods toward a cedar tree where, last month, he found his fourth mysteriously slaughtered calf in as many weeks.

"I have no idea what could do this. I wish I did," he says.

Four calves, all killed overnight. Their innards gone. Tongues sliced out. Udders carefully removed. Facial skin sliced and gone. Eyes cored away. Not a single track surrounding the carcasses, which were found in pastures locked behind two gates and a mile from any road. Not a drop of blood on the ground or even on the remaining skin.

In his life in the piñon-patched pastures where his father and grandfather raised cattle, the 72-year-old Sanchez has seen mountain lions and coyotes kill cattle, elk and deer. He's seen birds scavenge carcasses. He's heard of thieves slaughtering livestock in the field for their meat. He can't explain what he saw last month.

"A lion will drag its kill. Coyotes rip and tear flesh. These were perfect cuts — like with a laser or like a scalpel. And what would take the waste — all the guts — and leave the nice, tender meat?" Sanchez says, as he nudges his old Ford through rutted trails, rosary beads swinging from his rearview mirror. "No tracks. No blood. No nothing. I got nothing to go by. They don't leave no trace."

Every rancher who has reported similar cattle deaths — and there have been at least eight such deaths in southern Colorado this year — uses the same description.

"They just stripped this one," says Tom Miller, who in March was one of three ranchers near Trinidad who discovered mutilated cattle.

Cow raises the alarm

One morning, he went out to his concrete troughs to feed his herd of about 80 red and black Angus cows and calves. The herd was racing about. A cow that a week before had birthed a calf was bellowing, "raising all kind of devil," Miller says.

The remains of a calf killed on Manuel Sanchez's ranch show the killer's odd predilection for entrails. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Zukowski)

There by the trough — past the locked gate a quarter-mile from U.S. 350 east of Hoehne — was the calf. Its front legs and torso were gone. Its back legs were hanging by hide to a shattered pelvis and a meatless backbone. Miller thought a pack of coyotes had torn into the calf the night before.

Then he saw the ears: sliced off the head in circular, surgical-like cuts. He noticed that there were no tracks. And no blood anywhere.

"If anyone can show me how this happened, I will believe them. I know it's not coyotes, especially in one night. Only a human or something like that can cut the ears like that," says Miller, a 72-year-old rancher who was raised on the prairie bordering the Purgatoire River.

"If it was done by people, they sure went out of their way to bother and confuse me. And really, why? It doesn't make any sense."


Bank robber hypnotized tellers

Russian police say hypnotism is not an uncommon criminal technique.

Bank robbers have threatened tellers with knives, shot their way into banks and tunnelled up into vaults. But one woman in southern Russia chose a more peaceful method: Police say Galina Korzhova hypnotised a bank teller into handing over tens of thousands of dollars in what is believed to be just one in a series of daring, if non-violent, bank robberies.

Galina Korzhova was arrested, said Anton Kornoukhov, a spokesman for police in the southern city of Volgograd, on suspicion of hypnotising a bank teller in the nearby town of Volzhky into giving her more than $80,000. She is suspected of having robbed up to 30 additional banks in what Russian media have called a "grand tour" around the country.

“She met the woman on the street, saying that she would remove curses and help cure sick relatives,” said Kornoukhov in a telephone interview.

Korzhova is accused of telling the bank employee, whose name has not been released, to put the money into a plastic bag and meet her outside the state bank Sberbank, on Communist Street in the small town. There, the case goes, the teller gave Korzhova the money.

The robber took off with 30,000 euros, $20,000 and the rest in rubles for a total of 2.6 million rubles or $81,000, police said.

The teller only realised what she had done a couple of hours later and told her bosses at the bank what had happened.

Strangely enough there is a well-known tale of a Sberbank teller being hypnotised on longtime Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s orders. Wolfgang Messing was a German Jew who escaped to the Soviet Union from the Nazi Germany after he predicted Adolf Hitler's regime would collapse. Messing was said to be Stalin’s personal psychic and claimed that he hypnotised a teller to hand over 100,000 rubles as an experiment on Stalin’s orders. The Soviet secret police later gave the money back — the teller had a heart attack when he heard how he had been tricked.

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