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Top 10 Earth Mysteries

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Ten of the most perplexing mysteries found on Earth

The Earth is a mysterious place. There is much going on around us every day that goes unexplained. For all our advanced technology and scientific understanding, there are events that occur, more or less, on a regular basis for which (as yet) we have no answers. Here is a list, in no particular order, of 10 of the most perplexing, documented phenomena that have baffled us for years - in some cases, decades and much longer.

1. ANIMALS ENCASED IN STONE

In 1821, Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine carried an unusual item about a stone mason named David Virtue who made an astonishing discovery while working on a large chunk of rock that had come from about 22 feet below the surface. Upon breaking it open "he found a lizard embedded in the stone. It was coiled up in a round cavity of its own form, being an exact impression of the animal. It was about an inch and a quarter long, of a brownish yellow color, and had a round head, with bright sparkling projecting eyes. It was apparently dead, but after being about five minutes exposed to the air it showed signs of life. It soon ran about with much celerity."

There are numerous documented accounts of such findings, mostly involving frogs, toads or lizards. Most often the animals come out alive. And very often there is an imprint of their skin or shape on the cavity in which they are entombed. And this raises a number of interesting questions: How could the animal have gotten in there and survived? How did rock - which geology tells us takes hundreds if not thousands of years to form - take shape around the animal? How long could the animal have been in there?

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2. CATTLE MUTILATIONS

"We were passing down this road, and there was a thunderstorm a coming up behind us. We smelled this animal as we come by. We came back to check on it, and found it was mutilated. We examined it and its sexual organs was taken out. Its eyes were taken out, and its eyelashes were taken out. Well, there wasn't no predators. Couldn't have been killed by a predator cause all the surgical work was done by an expert..." Such was the report of rancher C.E. Potts in 1990.

The report is typical for the phenomenon, which began to be documented in the early 1970s when reports came in from ranchers in Minnesota and Kansas. The mutilations were like nothing they had ever seen with their cattle; they seemed to have a surgical precision that ruled out predators (whose work ranchers were quite familiar with). The selectivity is also unusual: often only the eyes, tongue or sexual organs have been removed, and quite often there is an unexplained absence of blood from the scene. Theories to explain the mutilations include Satanic cults, aliens, government experiments (unmarked black helicopters are sometimes seen in the vicinity) and bizarre diseases. As yet, however, no conclusive answers have ever been found.

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