1941- The Missouri UFO crash that pre-dates Roswell

Reverend William Huffman had been an evangelist for many years, but had taken the resident minister reigns of the Red Star Baptist Church in early 1941. Church records corroborate his employment there during the period in question.

After receiving this call to duty, he was immediately driven the 10-15 mile journey to some woods outside of town. Upon arriving at the scene of the crash, he saw policemen, fire department personnel, FBI agents, and photographers already mulling through the wreckage.

He was soon asked to pray over three dead bodies. As he began to take in the activity around the area, his curiosity was first struck by the sight of the craft itself.

Expecting a small plane of some type, he was shocked to see that the craft was disc-shaped, and upon looking inside he saw hieroglyphic-like symbols, indecipherable to him.

He then was shown the three victims, not human as expected, but small alien bodies with large eyes, hardly a mouth or ears, and hairless.

Immediately after performing his duties, he was sworn to secrecy by military personnel who had taken charge of the crash area. He witnessed these warnings being given to others at the scene also.

As he arrived back at his home at 1530 Main Street, he was still in a state of mild shock, and could not keep his story from his wife Floy, and his sons. This late night family discussion would spawn the story that Charlette Mann would hear from her grandmother in 1984, as she lay dying of cancer at

Charlette's home while undergoing radiation therapy.

Charlette was told the story over the span of several days, and although Charlette had heard bits and pieces of this story before, she now demanded the full details.

As her grandmother tolerated her last few days on this Earth, Charlette knew it was now or never to find out everything she could before this intriguing story was lost with the death of her grandmother.

She also learned that one of the members of her grandfather's congregation, thought to be Garland D. Fronabarger, had given him a photograph taken on the night of the crash. This picture was of one of the dead aliens being help up by two men.

Charlette Mann gave, in her own words, an account of what she knew for a television documentary. Some of that account is given here:

"I saw the picture originally from my dad who had gotten it from my grandfather who was a Baptist minister in Cape Girardeau Missouri in the Spring of '41. I saw that [picture] and asked my grandmother at a later time she was at my home fatally ill with cancer so we had a frank discussion.

"She said that grandfather was called out in the spring of 1941 in the evening around 9:00-9:30, that someone had been called out to a plane crash outside of town and would he be willing to go to minister to people there which he did."

"Upon arrival it was a very different situation. It was not a conventional aircraft, as we know it. He described it as a saucer that was metallic in color, no seams, did not look like anything he had seen. It had been broken open in one portion, and so he could walk up and see that.

"In looking in he saw a small metal chair, gauges and dials and things he had never seen. However, what impressed him most was around the inside there were inscriptions and writings, which he said he did not recognize, but were similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics."

"There were 3 entities, or non-human people, lying on the ground. Two were just outside the saucer, and a third one was further out. His understanding was that perhaps that third one was not dead on impact. There had been mention of a ball of fire, yet there was fire around the crash site, but none of the entities had been burned and so father did pray over them, giving them last rites.

"There were many people there, fire people, photographers, and so they lifted up one, and two men on either side stood him up and they stretched his arms out, they had him up under the armpits and out here.

As I recall from the picture I saw, he was about 4 feet tall, appeared to have no bone structure, soft looking. He had a suit on, or we assume it was a suit, it could have been his skin, and what looked like crinkled, soft aluminum foil. I recall it had very long hands, very long fingers, and I think there were three but I cannot swear to that."

"My grandfather upon arrival, said there were already several people there on the scene, two that he assumed were local photographers, fire people, and so not long after they arrived, military just showed up, surrounded the area, took them off in groups separately, and spoke to each of them.

"Grandfather didn't know what was said to the others, but he was told 'this didn't happen, you didn't see this, this is national security, it is never to be talked about again.'

"My grandfather was an honorable man, being a preacher, that's all that needed to be said to him. And so he came home and told the story to my dad, who was there, and my grandmother and my uncle. Now my mother was expecting at the time, so she was off in the bedroom."

"My sister was born May 3, 1941, so we are assuming this was the middle to the last of April. And he never spoke of it again. But about two weeks later, one of the men who had a personal camera that he had put in his shirt pocket, approached grandfather and said I think someone needs a copy of this.

"I have one and I would like you to keep one. So that's how it came about that grandfather had the picture to begin with. But he never spoke of it again. The other people seem to be very intimidated and very frightened and paranoid."

Other living supporting witnesses include Charlette Mann's sister who confirmed her story in a notarized sworn affidavit, and the living brother of the Cape Girardeau County sheriff in 1941, Clarance R. Schade. He does remember hearing the account of the crash, yet does not have many details. He does recall hearing of a "spaceship with little people."

There are also Fire Department records of the date of the crash. This information does confirm the military swearing department members to secrecy, and also the removal of all evidence from the scene by military personnel.

Guy Huffman, Charlette's father also told the story of the crash, and had in his possession the photograph of the dead alien. He showed the picture to a photographer friend of his, Walter Wayne Fisk.

He has been contacted by Stanton Friedman, but would not release any pertinent information.

Charlette had no luck in getting Fish to return calls or answer letters. It has been rumored that Fisk was an advisor to the President, and if this was the case, would account for his silence on the facts of the Missouri crash.

This case ends like many others, but appears by all indications to be authentic. All who have come in contact with Charlette Mann found her to be a trustworthy person who is not given to sensationalism, and has sought no gain from her account.

There is still research being done on the Missouri crash, and hopefully more information will be forthcoming to validate this remarkable case.


The Year of the Goat 2015

EVERY first New Moon of the Chinese Lunar calendar sets the emotional tone for all the year's 12 months. Interestingly, this feminine Moon (mood) stirs well in tandem with the masculine energies of the Fu Star Jupiter in western astrology which include optimism, growth, generosity, joy and abundance.

Now, 2015 is the Year of the Green Wooden Goat (also Sheep). It begins on February 19 marked by the transit of the lunar Goat eighth animal in the eastern parade of zodiac signs whose scintillating qualities (creative, intelligent, dependable and calm) may give color to the manner with which we act on or react to opportunities (courtesy, of course, by the Fu Star) cropping up for sure until February 7, 2016.


AGE OLD Chinese zodiac tradition describes the Goat personality: "Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center.

Their nurturing personality makes Goats excellent caregivers. They're quiet and reserved because they spend much time absorbed in their thoughts.

"Home and alone is where Goats feel most comfortable. There they can express themselves artistically, whether it's by painting, cooking or participating in whatever artistic endeavors they enjoy. Goats prefer the couch because there they can relax and explore their minds. They don't need elaborate furnishings, only items reflecting their desire for art.

"When traveling or seeking entertainment, Goats prefer groups or venues that hold many people. Goats spend money on fashions that give them a first class appearance. Although Goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish. Perhaps, because Goats are basically serene, they tend to have fewer health problems. Their fragile exterior hides the fact they're typically very healthy. When they're happy, they're healthy. When Goats become unhappy, especially as a result of romance, they quickly become sick.

"Goats tend to be private, so it can take effort to get to know one. The Goat is the one who will decide when and with whom it will share its personal life. As a result, most Goats have few 'close' friends, yet they'll work hard for those they love.

"Goats at work prefer being part of a flock. Power and status aren't important. Goats will only assume leadership roles when asked directly. They'll never volunteer. "Good career choices for Goats include: florist, interior designer, daycare teacher, pediatrician, actor, editor, hair stylist, illustrator, musician and art history teacher."

The combined Moon Fu Star transit affects all the signs of both eastern (Chinese) and western zodiacs. In this horoscope, these are the counterpart signs: Aries is Dragon, Taurus is Snake, Gemini is Horse, Cancer is Goat, Leo is Monkey, Virgo is Rooster, Libra is Dog, Scorpio is Pig, Sagittarius is Rat, Capricorn is Ox, Aquarius is Tiger and Pisces is Rabbit. So, read accordingly.


THE lucky Fu Star/Jupiter has been in your chart's sector of passionate amour, friendships and creativity since mid2014. So, friends that make you beam and warm up from the inside deepen in 2015, as you knit them into your daily life. That sunny melody plays on into the new year to August 11, when the fortune bringer segues in to fire up your well being, your work life and daily rhythm. The new year launch could feel, especially thrilling in some way.

That comes from feeling juiced up with the vital, bighearted energies of Fu Star/Jupiter, and a sense of being on the verge of something wholly unexpected a surprise.

However, continue to be cautious now about getting fired up to do battle with authorities. This could be a trap for you, and is only effective if you're confronting the power at its source. Learn about the history of wealth and power, who has it and why.

For greater success in your career or business, be proud, confident, generous and aboveboard in your professional dealings. Generosity can be shown through offering special sales, making customers feel special and unique, and giving to charities.

Spend the second part of 2015 (when Fu Star/Jupiter lights up the Rooster/Virgo sign) being a health maniac. Look into super-foods, refine your diet, balance out your day. Also, add new skills and more consistency to your day. This transit helps you put substance to your flash, and find a productive rhythm.


ONE trait of the Snake/Taurus is being steadfast, and that's admirable, but this can also lead to getting you bogged down in stagnant situations.

You are loyal and stick around, through thick and thin. During the last two years, your night vision goggles have been on, seeing the psychic and emotional reality of your relationships. You've been weeding, and 2015 is a time for seeding, in the love and friends department.

So 2015 is a year to enjoy a revival of your social life, with those kindred spirits you're able to naturally grow and flourish with.

Fu Star/Jupiter keeps you from getting too stuck in your ways, and reminds you of what you're truly passionate about. Follow what generates enthusiasm, and take note of what saps your will to live.

As Fu Star/Jupiter moves into the Rooster/Virgo sign from August 2015, you feel you are in your earth element. You thrive when you join your driving ambitions to a need you see out there. The pace of growth suits you, and makes it a good time to hone your craft, or develop a new area of expertise.

From a few angles, you're now invited to show more of your true colors, and step into the spotlight. In all you do, you bring your whole self to the moment, and others warm to this in a big way.


THE year 2015 could bring a significant "Twin" flame into your life, in love, friendship, creative collaboration or entrepreneurship. Stay on alert for those that share a vision or mission, and widen your sense of what's possible. Wise choices are those that keep you at your edge, inspired, curious and learning.

Your Horse/Gemini style is geared to the moment, the immediate impulse and what you're perceiving. With that pressure, you're able to stay aligned to the path that matches your future visions. More than ever, it's a year to dream big and use all your intelligences. And to follow your instincts, to stay magnetically aligned to your "true north."

By August Fu Star/Jupiter's transit into Rooster/Virgo sign keeps you on the straight and narrow health wise. Your path of growth is found in paying attention to your body, and taking time to digest all that you're taking in.

Many factors have you seeking a sense of purpose, and that can include matching your skills to a need you see "out there." You might explore roles through volunteering or an apprenticeship.

This is a super year to find your voice and/or unique style, through any kind of medium. There's discipline, especially when you're inspired by the vision you're aiming for. Be vigilant about avoiding getting caught in mass memes of distraction.

Toxic gossip takes you into the hall of mirrors, and is a time waster.


FORTUNE is smiling on you, Goat/Cancer, but, especially in early July when planets merge for big love. So let yourself free associate what kinds of goodies that could bring.

The Fu Star/Jupiter, in particular, lights the fires of faith, purpose, unexpected windfalls and lucky breaks. This is just one peak, in a year of pinnacles.

Fu Star/Jupiter in Monkey/Dragon is a vivacious presence in your "personal money" area up to mid2015, generating enthusiasm for blooming where planted. You grow confident in your natural talents, and settle in to a groove of investing your time to develop them.

The second half of 2015, as Fu Star/Jupiter transits to healthful Rooster/Virgo, foretells a path of growth when you steer close to the way of nature. Friends and neighbors surprise with commonsense plans to foster mutual thriving.

Being a presence in your neighborhood or civic circle, through volunteering or simply walking daily, brings unexpected returns. You make dependable allies in the course of the day, at classes or while running errand.

2015 presents opportunities for possible travel linked to seeking wholeness. Travel to foreign lands could dovetail with learning, or research, in some way. But be wary of empty promises or buying anything, sight unseen, that is in a far off place.


YOU'RE held in the magnificent glow of lucky Fu Star/Jupiter into 2015, so be watchful for favorable openings. This aspect magnifies your natural traits of generosity, creative adventurousness and lust for adventure. This charged, beneficial cosmic current is alight to August 11, making it a year for courageous growth. You could use this time, until Springtime (March to May), to remember, renew, restore and reinvigorate your dreams. You're invited now to hitch your dreams to the bigger waves of life.

What is your special role to play, and where does your shining light do the most good for your fellow beings? You gain almost supernatural speed, when you devote your unique radiance to a higher cause. Take heart, as the stars have been helping you purify your heart and soul.

But for most of 2015, you get acceleration, punching signature passion to your area of amore and adventure. This is also the area of children, and some of you may gain responsibilities here, or experience a shift of worldview in this regard.

That adds up to 2015 being a year of personal initiation, to get out there and experience life first hand. Another benefice star is always acting as a kind of anchor, urging you to stay authentic and resist the temptation to get pushy with your quest. There's always more to learn, and if you keep that in mind, it keeps you humble in your seeking.


A SYMPHONY of supportive orchestrations is going on for you in 2015, to know yourself profoundly, even as you release "what you know" into the cosmic stream.

Fu Star/Jupiter has been doing its secretive round in the dark of your private life, and continues to midyear. So, what's found likely makes you optimistic, and reminds you that you're way more interesting than what's "on paper."

At the same time, another star in your creative zone highlights further excavation of what makes you one-of-a-kind. You continue to discover treasures that are part of your unique shine. These can then be expressed in Rooster/Virgo approved ways, with a lot of skill and modesty. However, you won't be able to hide without recognition, as Fu Star/Jupiter bursts into your house of Self by August 11. The special ingredients you bring a mix of shine and substance attracts admirers in a big way. You also find allies at this time, willing to follow your plan, collaborate or be a supportive friend.

With Fu Star/Jupiter here, your fertility is high, and some might see that with the expansion of family. There's also an expansive atmosphere to your presence. And this enables you to make a stellar first impression. A key note to 2015's stars will activate your urge for greener pastures. You get restless to roam, and to move beyond limiting circumstances. You may move abroad or say yes to a career enrichment opportunity.

The chief arena is with your personal presence, and how you feel moving about in your world. You're able to shake off anything that's false, and show a truer, more authentic face.

And this meets a receptive audience, and leads to friendships that feel more real, too. If you've been living too in the virtual, Jupiter's presence encourages meetups in the flesh. You could experience a revival of good old fashioned happenings, and even lead them and find others responsive in a big way.

A grand chord of 2015 is that the stars play off in your first and seventh houses (houses where the "I Am" of Dragon/Aries and the "We" of Dog/Libra look to strike a balance). So a prominent theme for you is experimenting with being a bit selfish, having the aggrandize in the house of self-image even as it makes you more devoted than ever to being selfless.


LIBRA, you've had some astonishing wake-up calls, jolting you out of relationship habits that seemed so ingrained as to be part of who you are. The shocks to your system have been both an ordeal, and the invitation to a brand new life.

Until March 17, you're in the quake-and-shake zone again one last time. Here, you're a magnet for lovable freaks, geniuses and feral cats. Some relationships could be breathlessly short, but even that's okay, with your growing trust that the right people darken your door.

At the same time, you are being urged to find your own authentic to the roots version of home and family life. You are digging beyond the sediment of social conditioning, to discover your own traditions and sense of timelessness. But early July is a flash bang time for love with an affair in lusty Monkey/Leo period. Your Summer looks to be festive and spirited, with some passion spiked in the love punch.

Fu Star/Jupiter's move into Rooster/Virgo (by August 11), means your hermit self holds some sway. Your growth now comes from being highly attuned to your body, as a messenger to be respected. You widen your circle to make use of subtle perception to the unseen. You might spend more time, for example, lying flat in the park, watching the big microcosms and marveling at worlds within worlds.

You benefit from having a daily practice that restores your spirits and body. To midyear 2016, you've got the lucky star in the holy of hollies, your private inner sanctum. And the impetus to clean house will help you grow lighter, with less psychic and soul clutter from the past. This is good medicine, for the free spirit you're becoming, and for bringing more of yourself to the magic of the moment.


THE fixity of the last few years has shown you what makes you freeze up, or get too rigid in your routine. You know who you are, and 2015 is a year of sharing yourself more widely than ever before.

There's more forward movement this year, as you restlessly seek new experiences. From mid June to mid September, there's a back cycling for another change to firm up your resolve. So, 2015 is the year for unveiling a grand reopening.

There's magic aplenty in your area of self expression, love and children. All your creations, your unique signature are a source of spiritual nourishment for you now. Also, you're settling in to what enriches and builds on your natural talents. Your self-worth grows daily, as you dig in and experiment with giving shape to your innate gifts.

You've had the lucky star lighting up your work/career area, amping up your natural enthusiasm. Now having gone through the shedding of skins, you're ready to act with more gusto on your big dreams. To mid2015, you make a memorable first impression, bringing a lot of warmth and even passion to the vision you're presenting. It's also a good time for job interviews or making pitches.

A peak for luck happens in early July, when luck planets do the happy dance together there in your work/career area. You could have breakthroughs with investors or a sudden windfall at this time. You could also get a job offer that goes beyond your wildest expectations.

After August 11, Fu Star/Jupiter gets into busy bee mode in your area of friends/allies, magnetizing collaborators of all kinds. Now's the time to delegate like crazy when possible. You might take on an assistant or a business partner. This bodes well for finding the right people to assist you in practical ways.


THE marquee event for Rat/Sagittarius is that the planet of Karma has begun its two plus year journey through your sign from December 23, 2014, to December 19, 2017.

Yours is a sign of boundless physical energy, when you're in top form. Now, you may feel some of the slowing down and heavy vibe of the ringed one. You may find yourself saying no to more events, as you sense the need for more downtime. You may feel the hand of time, and with it, the need to get your act together.

This is a time to wisely protect yourself as you reflect on what's solid, and feel out how to "set in" a new image. What's being restructured is your sense of self, how you move about in the world, and your physical carriage and personality. You begin to sport a new look, one that suits who you are becoming. Friends notice you are settling in to yourself, are less restless, and a bit more serious.

All the while the Karma planet is working its magic on you to bring your self-image up to date, Fu Star/Jupiter leads you into colorful new landscapes, taking you out into the realms of higher knowledge and travel. You could bring your work to a wider sphere, or take your show on the road, so to speak.

Fu Star/Jupiter moves into your work/career area by August 11, for a time when gaining specific skills takes you far. So, the second half of 2015 gives you real traction that's satisfying.

To stitch it up, the stars are making you responsible to your true talents and sense of purpose. Even as you gain footing and a new found sense of Self, you're presented with opportunities to share that evolving unique presence widely, possibly other countries or regions. You could feel the vulnerability that comes with new growth, even as you're risking exposure to new audiences.

The stars are with you to make a solid impression, even as it's clear you're an inspired work-in-progress.


METAMORPHOSIS has become your middle name, with the demanding planet of transformation with you since 2008. You may not know when or if there's going to be a bottom to all this, when you're finally able to begin the rebuilding process.

The tremors in your family life add to the unsettled feeling, but look at how it's shaken you free from ancient and now out-of-sync roles. It's possible you've had a few false starts that involve moving, and that's tougher on you than most. But the inklings of what's emerging are there, in your home life too. There can be shocking new additions, or alliances with friends as family that become a lifeline. It's likely that some real weirdos enter your orbit and spice it up relentlessly.

The stability comes in staying light on your feet, and able to act in the moment.

Fu Star/Jupiter has moved your mojo into your merging and purging area. The bright spots come from the intensity and intimacy of shared ordeals. The kinds of bonds forged now are passionate and formed in trials by fire. If they don't last, they remain imprinted on your soul as significant for all time.

From midyear (August 11) on, Fu Star/Jupiter urges travel, but with a particular assignment or desired end goal. You could travel for work, and meet allies along the way. Fu Star/Jupiter in friendly sign Rooster/Virgo brings you support when you need it, in the shape of assistants or friends with special skills.

A big event for 2015 is when a planetary shift takes place in your private area, making you involved in some kind of moving meditation, like tai chi. You may also be lured to a sanctuary for a retreat, with a "spiritual" angle. Moving is a part of your medicine, and is also helpful when you're in a process of transformation.

Now is when you find yourself reexamining your associations. Are some of them weighing you down? It could be time to disengage from networks or friend circles that are out of sync with who you are becoming.


AS you're the living, breathing version of highly charged currents giving you the ability to activate those in your orbit you bring a whole lot of juice to the moment, with your hair standing on end in a static array.

So an area that continues to hold the energy of what's emerging is new media. You shine when you experiment freely with new ways to share your knowledge. Into 2015, your unique frisson is welcome, and often just what's needed to tip the scales to risking the new over clinging to dear life to the familiar. When you share your vision for a brighter future, and add the spice of warmth, your optimism is contagious.

2015 begins with Fu Star/Jupiter in a stretching opposition to your sign. The growing edge is to colorize your approach, add your personal tones and shades to all you put out there.

And it's auspicious that Fu Star/Jupiter is drawing luck to your solar area of significant lovers and others. Considering how the year begins, it's worth noting this theme of balancing the wild freedom urge with the desires of the heart.

What's new in 2015 is that you're being roused to the visionary edge, friend circles and flashes of the new, so your social life could undergo some renovation. It becomes clear this year, when you're ready to move on from a particular group or affiliation. The demand is structure in your life around friends and colleagues that stir your intellectual curiosity, and even challenge your philosophy of life.

You can meet people, possibly elders, who cause you to rethink your views. Travel could be a natural spinoff of your questing, or you may form alliances with people at a distance.


YOUR supremely sensitive energy body is further mystified by the ephemeral chorus of a Neptunian star. You're already someone tuned in to the nonphysical, but this gives an even looser hold on "reality." This aspect is in your sign for a good long while (to 2026), inviting you to fully explore your own capacity to know life as a multidimensional experience.

The gift in that is being able to freely scoop up quenching inspiration from the stream of the imagination. If you seek an escape from the harshness of life, find currents that nourish your confidence or build on an artistic natural talent.

Take special care, however, to avoid the fear memes circulating like viruses, as the same vivid imagining capacity makes you vulnerable to the phantoms and spooks of the age.

So after many years of keeping a loose structure, to be able to undergo the inner and outer changes these last years, 2015 is one for new, passionately directed ways of being.

An example could be rallying to put on a benefit for a cause. Or you might surprise your friends by getting credentialed in what you already know.

This is a year to acquire skills that give you fluency in your chosen medium. You're able to show off your unique way of presenting or expressing yourself. Your public image has a charge in 2015. You could expand your sphere of influence, and venture into teaching what you know.

The lucky planet Fu Star/Jupiter dances dramatically across your area of health and daily work routine. This influence (until mid2015) gives work a bit more color, and possibly stirs up a flirtation at work, or with an acquaintance you usually see while running errands. The warmth of familiarity is the base for new friends and even a lover in 2015.

Remember: You thrive when you have a cloister for your creativity. Keep the drama on the page or stage, and make 2015 the year you cultivate the craft to go with your artistic talents.


An Esoteric Look at Cats

Cats have been familiar to the human household from all antiquity, but they were probably first domesticated in Egypt, where, so far back as two thousand years ago, a temple was dedicated to the goddess of cats — BubastisPasht — represented with a cat's head. The Greeks inherited this feline pet of the house from Egypt, and from Greece the cat race, such as we have it now, was disseminated over Europe. It was a familiar element in Greek household life, and if anything was broken, according to Aristophanes, the phrase went then as now, "The cat did it." But cats were never venerated in Greece with religious adoration as in Egypt, the only country that gave them Divine honor, and where, if a cat died, the whole family shaved off their eyebrows in token of mourning. 

It is believed that the devil often assumes the form of a cat. The familiar of a witch is always a black cat; and it is supposed that black cats have powers and faculties quite different from all others of the feline tribe. They are endowed with reason, can understand conversations, and are quite able to talk if they considered it advisable and judicious to join in the conversation. Their temperament is inquisitive, they are artful malignant, and skilled in deception, and people should be very cautious in caressing them, for they have the venomous heart and the evil eye, and are ever ready to do an injury. Yet, the liver of a black cat has the singular power to excite love when properly administered. If ground to powder and infused into a potion, the recipient is fated to love passionately the person who offers it and has worked the charm.

The cat of the aforementioned legend had evidently charming manners, and was well intentioned; but there are other cats of evil and wicked ways, that are, in fact, demons or witches who assume the cat-form, in order to get easy entrance to a house, and spy over everything.

Cats are very revengeful, and one should be very careful not to offend them. A lady was in the habit of feeding the cat from her own table at dinner, and no doubt giving it choice morsels; but one day there was a dinner party, and pussy was quite forgotten. So she sulked and plotted revenge; and that night, after the lady was in bed, the cat, who had hid herself in the room, sprang at the throat of her friend and mistress, and bit her so severely that in a week the lady died of virulent blood poisoning.

Yet it is singular that the blood of the black cat is esteemed of wonderful power when mixed with herbs, for charms; and also of great efficacy in potions for the cure of disease; but three drops of the blood are sufficient, and it is generally obtained by nipping off a small piece of the tail. The observation of cats is very remarkable, and also their intense curiosity. They examine everything in a house, and in a short time know all about it as well as the owner. They are never deceived by stuffed birds, or any such weak human delusions. They fathom it all at one glance, and then turn away with apathetic indifference, as if saying, in cat language — " We know all about it."

But cats are decidedly malefic; they are selfish, revengeful, treacherous, cunning, and generally dangerous. The evil spirit in them is easily aroused. It is an Irish superstition that if you are going a journey, and meet a cat, you should turn back. But the cat must meet you on the road, not simply be in the house; and it must look you full in the face. Then cross yourself and turn back; for a witch or a devil is in your path. It is believed also that if a black cat is killed and a bean placed in the heart, and the animal afterwards buried, the beans that grow from that seed will confer extraordinary power; for if a man places one in his mouth, he will become invisible, and can go anywhere he likes without being seen. Cats have truly something awful in them. According to the popular belief they know everything that is said, and can take various shapes through their demoniac power. A cat once lived in a farmer's family for many years, and understood both Irish and English perfectly. Then the family grew afraid of it, for they said it would certainly talk some day. So the farmer put it into a bag, determined to get rid of it on the mountains. But on the way he met a pack of hounds, and the dogs smelt at the bag and dragged it open, on which the cat jumped out; but the hounds were on it in a moment, and tore the poor animal to pieces. However, before her death she had time to say to the farmer in very good Irish — " It is well for you that I must die today, for had I lived I meant to have killed you this very night." These were the last dying words of the cat uttered in her death agonies, before the face of many credible witnesses, so there can be no doubt on the matter.

Cats were special objects of mysterious dread to the ancient Irish. They believed that many of them were men and women metamorphosed into cats by demoniacal power. Cats also were the guardians of hidden treasure, and had often great battles among themselves on account of the hidden gold; when a demon, in the shape of the chief cat, led on the opposing forces on each side, and compelled  all the cats in the district to take part in the conflict.

All nations seem to have appreciated the mysterious and almost human qualities of cat nature; the profound cunning, the impertinent indifference, the intense selfishness, yet capable of the most hypocritical flattering when some point has to be gained. There traits are not merely the product of brute instinct with unvarying action and results, but the manifestation of a calculating intellect, akin to the human. Then their grace and flexible beauty make them very attractive; while the motherly virtues of the matron cat are singularly interesting as a study of order, education, and training for the willful little kitten, quite on the human lines of salutary discipline. Humboldt declared that he could spend a whole day with immense profit and advantage to himself as a philosopher, by merely watching a cat with her kittens, the profound wisdom of the mother and the incomparable grace of the children. For cats are thoroughly well-bred, born aristocrats; never abrupt, fussy, or obtrusive like the dog, but gentle, grave, and dignified in manner. Cats never run, they glide softly, and always with perfect and beautiful curves of motion; and they express their affection, not violently, like the dog, but with the most graceful, caressing movements of the head.

Peter Underwood (parapsychologist) dies at age 91

February 7, 2015
Displayed with permission from The Independent

Ghost stories are manifest in every corner of this world, but it is an area of human fancy the British seem particularly partial to. We are an old kingdom, of gloomy, powerful weather and lonely places, an island nation reminded everywhere of its lost glories and past injustices. Ever since the cobwebby Christmas tales of Dickens and MR James, the business of ghost-hunting has seemed something of a gentlemanly pursuit - and Peter Underwood, who has died at the age of 91 after a life devoted to the pursuit of spooks, epitomised that gentlemanliness.

Immaculate, urbane and sophisticated, he was a living link with a very faraway past; long after the other key players in the drama of Borley Rectory (touted as "Britain's most haunted house") had died, Underwood still lived to tell the tales. He wrote over 50 books on his subject, many of them gazetteers which collected oral history on supposed hauntings from around the country. He had a very healthy attitude to the supernatural, believing that 98 per cent of reports had a natural explanation; it was the other two per cent that foxed him. Nevertheless he collected every account he could, for the most part allowing his readers the pleasure of determining what was a likely story.

Born into a Plymouth Brethren family in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire in 1923, his mother from a prosperous farming family, Underwood had his first brush with the ethereal at the age of nine when he believed he saw his father Eli, a metalworker who founded a chain of hardware shops, appear at the end of his bed a few hours after he had died.

His professional interest in spooks was sparked by his grandparents, who lived at nearby Sarratt, a village which brings to mind TH White's wistful "Soft Voices at Passenham", a story in which the author describes the neighbourhood as "a good locality for ghosts. They have more ghosts there than ratepayers."

One of Sarratt's many shades was said to haunt his grandparents' home, and whenever curious tourists knocked, young Peter assumed the role of tour guide. He would regale goggle-eyed visitors with the tale, and was so fascinated when many shared their own experiences of the paranormal in return that he began to scribble them down.

After a private education, some of which was with a personal tutor, he joined Dent, the publishers. After military service with the Suffolk Regiment, which was halted in 1942 by illness, he continued to work there until devoting himself full-time to writing and ghost-detecting in 1971. He had joined the Society for Psychical Research in 1947 and from 1960 was president of the Ghost Club.

Two particular hauntings rapped loudest in his career. The first is known as The Greenwich Ghost, photographed scurrying up a circular staircase at The Queen's House Museum by a visiting clergyman in 1967. It's a wonderful picture, far too good to be true, and, deliciously, it has never been satisfactorily explained. Easily his favourite, Underwood would go no further than to call it "puzzling".

His other great case was Borley Rectory. A sorrowful building on the barren edge of the eerie end of Essex, Borley was a media circus in the 1930s, when celebrity ghost hunter Harry Price set out to prove its reputation for hoary apparitions. In the years since Price's death most of the Borley legend has been debunked, but Underwood, Price's executor as well as his protégé, remained fiercely loyal to him, dedicating the absorbing book he wrote on the subject (The Ghosts of Borley, with Paul Tabori) to his old friend, a gesture that rendered the book useless from the off to sceptics.

Underwood never pedalled mumbo-jumbo, but he was drawn to the idea of a ghost being an "atmospheric photograph", pondering that "all of our actions are perhaps recorded on some sort of eternal tape, and under certain conditions, maybe climactic, occasionally they reappear. I don't honestly think the figures that are seen represent an afterlife. I think it's much more likely that it's some kind of echo of a previous life."

Sadly, towards the end of his own life, internal squabbles shattered the gentlemanly mood of the Ghost Club; Underwood was ousted after more than three decades as president in a bizarre skirmish that involved anonymous calls to the police falsely accusing members of being part of an IRA cell (they were accosted by police while preparing for an all-night vigil at a haunted abbey in Hampshire). Compared to the supernatural, human nature proved far more destructive, and the incident caused the society more harm than any of the destructive poltergeists and faked phantoms in their long history ever did.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a leisurely author, thoughtful rather than gullible; Underwood's work was "no common task", as he called his 1983 autobiography; but after a lifetime spent chasing shadows, what he leaves behind is a solid treasury of legends and superstitions which make fine fireside reading, and here and there tell us something about the situations and ideas that perpetually disquiet us: stories that certainly would appear to be immortal.

Peter Underwood, author, broadcaster and ghost-hunter: born Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire 16 May 1923; married 1944 Joyce Davey (died 2003; one daughter, one son); died Bentley, Hampshire 26 November 2014.

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