Monday, August 01, 2005

Indians blame mystery attacks on UFOs

SHANWA, India -- Panic-stricken Indian villagers are blaming UFOs for a spate of attacks that have killed several people and injured many others in Uttar Pradesh state.
Villagers in this poor region say as night falls, a flying sphere, emitting red and blue lights, hones in on their homes. In the past week seven people have died of unexplained injuries, while many others have been burnt. Ramji Pal, was one such fatality, dying recently in Shanwa. His neighbor, Raghuraj Pal told The Associated Press that "a mysterious flying object attacked him in the night."
"His stomach was ripped open. He died two days later." Many others have suffered scratches and surface wounds, which they say were inflicted while they slept. In the village of Darra, 53-year-old Kalawati told AP she was attacked last week and displayed blisters on her blackened forearms.
"It was like a big soccer ball with sparkling lights," said Kalawati, who uses only one name. "It burned my skin."
"I can't sleep because of pain," she said.
Mass hysteria
But doctors have dismissed the stories as mass hysteria. "More often than not the victims have unconsciously inflicted the symptoms themselves," AP quoted Narrotam Lal, a doctor at King George's Medical College in Lucknow, the state capital, as saying. Just last year, Indian police concluded that a mysterious "Monkey Man," which instilled terror in New Delhi, was simply "mass hysteria" and a product of the city's collective imagination. A probe by forensic experts and psychiatrists said the supposed half man - half beast was a "mere figment of the imagination of emotionally weak people," The Times of India said, quoting police sources. Then, large colonies in the capital city were gripped by fear of attacks after dozens of people reported they were bitten or clawed by the nocturnal "monkey man." At least three people panicked and fell to their deaths from buildings during the two-week saga because they were convinced the attacker -- described varyingly as a monkey-like creature with metallic claws and a cat with tawny, glowing eyes -- was pursuing them.
Bugs or aliens?
But in this year's attack, police have admitted that it could be more than just a figment of the imagination. For their part, they have blamed bugs. "It is a three-and-a-half-inch-long winged insect" that leaves rashes and superficial wounds, Kavindra P. Singh, a superintendent of police, told the Press Trust of India news agency. Police drew this conclusion after residents of one village found insects they had never seen before.
But villagers remain unconvinced. In the most affected area, the Mirzapur district, 440 miles (710 km) southeast of New Delhi, people have stopped sleeping outdoors despite sweltering heat and frequent power outages. And as happened last year in the capital, villagers have formed protection squads that patrol Shanwa, beating drums and shouting slogans such as, "Everyone alert. Attackers beware." Some accuse district officials of inaction and failure to capture the "aliens." One person died Thursday in nearby Sitapur when police fired shots to disperse a 10,000-strong crowd demanding that authorities capture the mysterious attackers.
"People just block the roads and attack the police for inaction each time there's a death or injury," said Amrit Abhijat, Mirzapur's district magistrate, who claims he has captured the UFO on film.

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