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Debunking the Mothman

It was probably an owl. CSI | Mothman Revisited:
 Investigating on Site
. . . Because of Mothman’s squeaky cry, “funny little face,” and other features, including its presence near barns and abandoned buildings, I identified it as the common barn owl (Nickell 2002). One Skeptical Inquirer reader (Long 2002) insisted it was instead a great horned owl which, although not matching certain features so well, does have the advantage of larger size. It seems likely that various owls and even other large birds played Mothman on occasion. I did some further research regarding eyeshine, learning that the barn owl’s was “weak” and the great horned owl’s only “medium.” However the barred owl exhibits “strong” eyeshine (Walker 1974) and—
according to David McClung (2002), wildlife manager at McClintic—is common to the area; indeed, it is even more prevalent there than the barn owl. It is also larger than the barn owl, which it somewhat resembles, and is “only a little smaller than the Great Horned Owl” (Kaufman 1996, 317). (Mounted specimens of these and other species of owls are profusely displayed in the West Virginia State Farm Museum near the McClintic preserve. Museum Director Lloyd Akers generously allowed me special access to examine and photograph them.) In light of the evidence it seems very likely that the Mothman sightings were mostly caused by owls—probably more than one type. A man named Asa Henry shot and killed one, tentatively identified as a snowy owl, during the Mothman flap. Although only about two feet tall, a newspaper dubbed it a “giant owl” due to its wingspan of nearly five feet (Sergent and Wamsley 2002; 94, 99). In Point Pleasant I was able to view the mounted specimen and to speak with Mr. Henry’s grandson, David Pyles. Himself a taxidermist, Pyles (2002), who is “very skeptical of Mothman,” told me his grandfather always maintained that the Mothman flap ended after he had shot the bird. . . .

July 26, 2011

An innocent woman spends seven months in jail because the man who raped her framed her for armed robberies

Must Read. She had an alibi for all the crimes, but the police did not care. A Revenge Plot So Intricate, the Prosecutors Were Pawns - NYTimes.com
He said he was a police detective, but never seemed to go to work. He seemed obsessed with “C.S.I.,” “Law & Order” and other television police dramas. About a year after he moved into her house in Queens, their relationship soured. One day, he cornered her, taped her mouth and raped her, she said. Mr. Ramrattan was arrested. But he soon took his revenge, the authorities said. Drawing on his knowledge of police procedure, gleaned from his time as an informer for law enforcement, he accomplished what prosecutors in New York called one of the most elaborate framing plots that they had ever seen. One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. “You know you did it,” she said one later shouted at her. “Just admit it.” Ms. Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who was running a restaurant, said she had no idea what that meant. Yet suddenly, she was being treated like a brazen criminal. She was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle. In her first extensive interview about her ordeal, she recalled sitting in jail, consumed by one thought: “Jerry is behind this.” . . . Now, though, they concede that Ms. Sumasar was right — an astonishing turn of events that has transformed her case into one of the most bizarre in the city’s recent history. They released her from jail last December after seven months, acknowledging that the entire case against her had been concocted by Mr. Ramrattan, officials said. “We prosecute tens of thousands of cases each year, but in the collective memory, no one has ever seen anything like this before,” said Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney. “Few people have the capacity to pull off a master plot of this magnitude to exact revenge,” Mr. Brown said. Mr. Ramrattan framed Ms. Sumasar because she would not drop the rape charge, prosecutors said. . . . “From the beginning I was presumed guilty — not innocent,” she said. “I felt like I never had a chance.” “I can never have faith in justice in this country again.”