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Signs Supplement - Mystery Muck

More splatters from the sky reported
17 September 2003

A Wellington woman whose house was splattered from the sky with a brown smelly substance says the event is just the tip of the iceberg.

Shonnie Gordon from Takapu Valley near Tawa was still waiting yesterday for the outcome of tests being run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to find out what hit her house at the weekend. [...]

Mr Sommer said he had received a few calls from people complaining of similar experiences, but farmers had also said it could be from ducks.

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Smelly mess not from plane
Sep 23, 2003

Tests done by the Civil Aviation Authority have found there is no connection between splatters of foul-smelling waste that fell on a house near Tawa, near Wellington, and chemicals normally in an aircraft toilet system.

Owners of the property say the mess that appeared on the roof and sides of their house just over a week ago looked and smelled like human waste, and they believed it had been dumped by a plane.

Meanwhile, another case of the mysterious splatter has occurred, this time in Blenheim, where a family say their car and driveway were hit on Sunday night with a smelly brown substance.

Comment: Blaming ducks.

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Te Awamutu home latest to be hit by mystery substance

A Te Awamutu home is the latest to be hit by a mystery airborne substance.

Hamilton roofer Peter Lowe discovered the brown substance splattered across the new roof he is working on when he turned up to work yesterday.

The Civil Aviation Authority yesterday ruled out aircraft sewage as the cause of a similar incident in Takapu Valley, near Wellington, last week.

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Mystery flying muck strikes in Waikato
24 September 2003

A Te Awamutu home is the latest to be hit by a mystery airborne substance.

Hamilton roofer Peter Lowe discovered the brown substance splattered across the new roof he is working on when he turned up to work yesterday.

"It looks human to me," he said, carefully avoiding touching the dried-out splatters.

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More mystery showers of unidentified muck
25 September 2003

Victims of unidentified offensive brown muck showering people, houses and cars are popping up all over the country.

Many are blaming aircraft sewage, but no one knows what the splatter is or where it is from.

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More Mysterious Muck in New Zealand!

A house in Huia has now been hit by the mystery brown muck appearing on roofs around the country.

Plumber Murray Norris returned home from work on Friday night to find what appeared to be faeces splattered on the west wall and roof of his home.

"If there's anyone who knows what shit looks like it is me - and that's what it looked like," Mr Norris said.

Some patches of the mess were almost 3m wide but it did not smell.

The suspicious substance has appeared on homes in Takapu Valley near Wellington, Te Awamutu in the Waikato, and Blenheim. [...]

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Mysterious muck strikes again

A couple have become the latest target of a mysterious airborne menace that has dumped large amounts of foul-smelling muck on homes in some parts of the country.

Clive and Raewyn Patching, of Omokoroa, 18km northwest of Tauranga, were watching TV on Saturday night when something slammed into their roof.

The next day the couple inspected the damage - "a big splat on the roof, about 6-7sq m".

The roof was covered in a brown, smelly substance that looked like cow manure, only "much finer" in texture.
Mr Patching said it seemed his home had become the latest target of mystery "muck bombings" that have plagued home owners in Wellington, Cambridge, Te Awamutu and the Manukau Harbour settlement of Huia.

Like other victims, Mr and Mrs Patching believe the substance came from a passing aeroplane.

Comment: UFO sewage not from plane, says official

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Ducks get 'bum rap'
Hawkes Bay Today

The mystery of aerial spatterings of excrement on houses has deepened with Hawke's Bay Fish and Game dismissing accusations that ducks were responsible.

"There is far more of a likelihood that it is pig excrement," regional manager Steve Smith said as he defended the female duck population over what he considered was a bum rap.

In the ducks' favour was the fact they nested on the ground, not in trees.

And females were reluctant to go far from their eggs. "My experience is that they walk off the nest to relieve themselves," Mr Smith said.

Even if one or two did do "the business" from the air it was far more likely the result would be ground strikes, and not on roofs.

"The only time I have seen ducks defecating in the air is after they have been shot at," he said

Comment: Whatever made this muck, it was not a duck...

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Flying emus hitting HB roofs?
14.10.2003 - Hawkes Bay Today

Two more Hawke's Bay properties have been struck by sewage from above - with one victim saying "no way" a duck could have dropped what she reckoned only flying emus could have delivered.

The second victim, who had water-blasted the roof of his Taradale home only a few days earlier, agreed that ducks were unlikely to have been the culprits.

"I've lived here 36 years, been duckshooting many times and know a bit about them - but I have never heard of this happening before," he said.

Both victims wished to remain anonymous, although both had taken photographs of the strikes and contacted environmental officers from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The most recent incident happened last Sunday afternoon as a Durham Drive, Havelock North, woman was entertaining guests in her home.

"I wish I had taken more notice of the time but it would have been between 3 and 4.30pm," she said.

"It came thundering down on the roof ... it did sound like thunder, it was that loud."

Her husband took a small sample of the material while it was fresh and the couple have kept it frozen.

Regional council officers were contacting the couple today.

She described the strong smell as "like human faeces" and said it had rained down in a line.

Five days earlier the Taradale home was struck. "It was scattered over an area about two to three metres wide and about nine metres long. That wasn't birds. It was dark and there were bigger pieces as well as fine spray."

However, Hastings man Bill Liversidge said he had a theory which may be backed up by personal experience.

A couple of years ago, while at the mouth of the Clive River, he saw a four-wheel-vehicle scatter a large group of nesting, migratory terns.

In what he reckoned was some sort of defence mechanism, the flock "let go" while flying off and left his own vehicle spattered with droppings. The terns flew in large groups, often at night and if they were startled they could all go at once.

That theory was close to the mark in terms of how regional council officers were approaching the incidents.

Examination of the Taradale spattering revealed there was too much matter for one or two large birds.

"It would have been a flock," one officer said, adding that the mystery was now confined to just what sort of birds were doing it - and why.


NEWS FLASH! SIGNS OF THE TIMES Staff Solves Muck Mystery!

Here at Signs Central, we don't muck around. Through the intrepid reporting of our team of muckrakers, the Signs staff has been able to solve several mysteries with one wild hypothesis: the muck in New Zealand is clearly and incontestably the effluvia expelled from the self-cleaning sewers in Seattle! As this material flies across the globe towards its targets in New Zealand, it is obviously breaking the sound barrier which accounts for the rise in reports of sonic booms. The increase in sightings of burning objects in the skies must then be pieces of this muck and the methane gas that surely accompanies it igniting as it makes its way towards the southern hemisphere.

It is also possible, although we will need more evidence before confirming it, that the flying Seattle self-cleaning sewer muck is also responsible for the increase in power blackouts around the world. There are also unconfirmed reports that this muck has been found in the software running the touch-screen computer terminals used for voting in the US, that it is the cause of SARS and the mysterious diseases haunting US troops in Iraq, and perhaps it is even part of Saddam's Weapons of Muck Destruction.

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Falling goop most likely poop
January 8, 2004
Transportation Reporter

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . .

Actually, it's probably poop, and whether it came from a bird or a bathroom aboard an airplane, it's gross, say residents of an Oswego subdivision plastered in recent days with what police describe as "fecal matter."

The Ponds at Mill Race Creek subdivision in the far western suburb is under an O'Hare Airport flight path, so some residents initially suspected one or more planes unloaded lavatory waste over the community.

Police reports were filed, the Federal Aviation Administration was called, and some folks worried about possible health implications.

But the predominant view seems to be birds were the culprit -- although subscribers to this theory say their homes, backyard furniture and driveways have never been hit like this before.

"Based upon what I saw, I would say it's birds," said a resident who didn't want his name used. "I don't remember exactly what morning, but I'm thinking either Friday or Saturday morning, there were starlings or blackbirds all over the roofs of the houses."

Some people, though, didn't see or hear any birds.

Resident Dawn Dabrowski first noticed the apparent feces Friday after getting a call from a neighbor. There's a pond in the subdivision that attracts geese, but there's never been a mess like this in the seven years she's lived there, said Dabrowski, a 37-year-old mother of three.

"It was on the back of my house, the side of my house, on my patio chairs, patio table, my children's swing set, their Little Tikes sandbox, their . . . playhouse outside, it was all over," she said. "It's brown and some of it's long smears, and it's like circular in some areas where it's splattered."

While contents of airplane bathrooms sometimes fall from aircraft, that's probably not what occurred in this instance, said FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. If a plane was involved, the waste probably would be in frozen chunks, and "it's going to be a blue-ice type of product," she said.

Some residents still were discussing getting the material tested at a laboratory.

Oswego police Detective Jeff Burgner said: "It hasn't been confirmed if it was from an airplane or not, and currently it's still under investigation. We haven't closed the case out yet."

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Something Strange Rains on Valley Pike Home

STEPHENS CITY - It sounded like hail, sleet, or fat raindrops. But it only lasted about three or four seconds, and it happened during a sunny January afternoon.

Earl Leyman was sitting inside his Valley Pike home, south of Stephens City, when the phenomenon occurred.

When the sounds stopped almost as quickly as they had started, he walked outside to investigate.

"I saw brown spots covering the patio," he said. "Like big, brown raindrops is what it looked like."

The spots covered his driveway, carport, and cars parked near his house.

"[My granddaughter's] car was completely peppered," said Janet Leyman, Earl's wife. "We've lived here about 48 years and never experienced anything like that."

Janet said she believes the mysterious fluid probably came from an airplane.

But Earl said commercial airplanes headed toward Washington, D.C., don't usually fly over his house.

"I didn't hear no airplanes, but then, it might have been up too high," Leyman said.

Steve Rogowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, said the spots probably are not natural.

"I have never heard of anything like that before," Rogowski said. "We just do weather over here, and it wasn't weather-related."

Leyman said several friends have guessed the spots could be human waste from an airplane passing overhead.
But most airplanes are not capable of dumping waste mid-flight.

Commercial vendors collect waste accrued in military planes flown out of Martinsburg, W.Va., by the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard, Col. Brian Truman said. And their division, which often traverses the skies over Frederick County, did not fly at all the day the spots rained on Leyman's home.

"The only way that you can get to the chemical toilets is from the outside of the airplane," Truman said. "In other words, there's an access panel to the outside and when those airplanes need service, they have to physically undo the panel on the outside and take out the waste. So I'm not saying its's impossible, but it's very, very unlikely that it could have been [human waste] for that reason."

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Duck Muck Returns

Residents near Bourne can't explain black splatter

By Associated Press
Friday, June 18, 2004

A strange gray splatter is baffling Bourne residents.

The specks rained down on homes, cars and plants near the Bourne Bridge and a week later, they're still there. Town officials say it appears to be an oil-based material that was sprayed from the bridge on June 10th. But officials say it doesn't appear to be related to any work done on the bridge.

In the meantime, the Cape Cod Times reports that neighbors are using everything from paint thinner to glass cleaner to try to get rid of the smudges. One man said he'll have to replace the vinyl siding on his house.He's hoping to find the source of the problem so he recover his costs

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Return of the Falling Muck!

'Blue Ice' blamed for Blackstone mess

JOHN LARRABEE , Staff Writer 09/17/2004
BLACKSTONE -- Whatever goes up, must come down.

It's an elementary law of physics -- and one that will, for a time, haunt a Lakeshore Drive resident whenever she looks toward the sky.

The woman (who agreed to talk if she remained anonymous) stepped out her front door Monday afternoon and found white and gray material flecked across her lawn, her porch and the front of her house. When her daughter suggested a vandal with a paintball gun had fired on their home, she called police.

The explanation offered by Patrolman Steven Livingston was even more disturbing. He theorized a jetliner had passed overhead while a passenger was flushing.

"It's not poop, I know it's not," the woman said yesterday, repeating the line several times in an effort to convince herself.

"It's poop," her husband replied with resignation.

There are skeptics. Even Police Chief Ross Atstunpenas has some doubts about his officer's report. "He doesn't have the expertise to make that determination," said the chief, who never saw the splats himself.

But officials at the Federal Aviation Administration are hesitant to dismiss the possibility.

"Plane toilets do not flush into the air, but there is a phenomenon called 'blue ice,' " said Arlene Salac, spokeswoman for the FAA's eastern regional office. "It involves leakage from the plane's plumbing."

According to Salac, at high altitudes the leaking material can freeze and form icicles that hang from an aircraft's underside. When the plane descends to warmer altitudes, the ice breaks off and falls to earth. Sometimes it melts, sometimes it doesn't.

The material is called "blue ice" because that's the color of the sanitizing liquid that swirls about in airliner toilets. Blue is really a guess, however; no one has ever peeked beneath a soaring plane to observe the icicles. Less squeamish aviation experts have suggested other hues.

Contrary to urban legends, falling sky sludge has never claimed a human life, but property damage has been reported on a number of occasions.

Last year a Santa Cruz resident sued American Airlines after a frozen chunk crashed through the skylight of his yacht. He collected $3,236. And in 2002 US Airways sent a cleaning crew to scrub down a Pennsylvania home. The airline called it a "good will gesture," not an admission of guilt.

The FAA investigates every reported incident, according to Salac. "We try to find the plane it came from, but we're not always successful," she said. "We do a chemical analysis to determine if it really is blue ice. Sometimes it's not. On one occasion it turned out to be a flock of Canada geese. A very large flock."

She added that while the chemicals used in aircraft toilets are not hazardous, handling blue ice material is best avoided, for obvious reasons.

By yesterday afternoon, the Lakeshore Drive family had already cleaned most of the material from their property, but a few streaks and drops remained, including a white splotch across a glass panel on the front door.

"I scrubbed that with a toilet brush and every cleanser I could find," the woman said. "Please tell me this came from a sink, not a toilet."

She went on to describe the splatter zone. "It came across this way," she said, waving a hand past the front lawn. "It was all over the bushes, all over the porch, and all over the front of the house."

"I put my nose to it," a neighbor added. "It smelled like fish."

Most family members were inside when the mystery muck fell from the sky, but no one heard a sound. They learned something had happened when they stepped outside.

With reluctance, the family has dismissed the paintball scenario. Outdoor potted plants and shrubs are streaked and spotted, but there are no torn leaves, broken twigs, or other damage one would expect from paintball fire.

Nor do they believe that birds relieved themselves en masse.

"We feed the birds, and I see what they do all the time," the woman said. "This was not birds."

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