(TMU) — A cavernous underground space located near a cemetery in the Vatican was revealed Saturday to hold thousands of bones belonging to dozens of both adult and non-adult individuals.
The remains were discovered amid an ongoing investigation for clues as to the disappearance of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi over three decades ago. The girl was the daughter of a high-ranking Vatican employee who lived within the walls of the holy city. She disappeared while traveling home from a music lesson in Rome.
Forensic workers are now unearthing the bones from the burial chambers before subjecting them to DNA testing in a bid to establish their identities, a process that Vatican officials say could take an indeterminate amount of time to analyze.
The disappearance of the teenage girl has been of major interest to the people of Italy since it occurred, with many speculating that her disappearance may have been the result of conspiracies involving anyone from the mafia to the highest levels of the Roman Catholic officialdom headquartered at the papal enclave.
One theory even posits that she was the victim of a botched kidnapping operation whereby she was to be held at ransom to ensure the freedom of the ultra-nationalist Turkish gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in 1981.
Interest in the mystery of Orlandi’s disappearance was rekindled last summer when her family received an anonymous tip informing them that Emanuela’s remains were possibly located in the tombs of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg at the Teutonic Cemetery, according to CNN.
The family received an image portraying a sculpture with the note, “look where the angel is pointing”—a hint that ultimately guided them to the Teutonic Cemetery alongside Saint Peter’s Basilica.
While the Vatican agreed to open the tombs earlier this month, no human remains or traces of coffins were found. Vatican officials claim that the princesses’ remains were removed during the 1960s and ‘70s during renovation work.
However, two ossuaries storing the bones of the dead were uncovered during the investigation.
Genetics expert Giorgio Portera, who has worked on behalf of the Orlandi family, told the Associated Press that the collection of bones “thrown into a cavity” underneath the Teutonic College amounted to an “enormous number,” and the find was unexpected. He also noted that many of the bones were found in fragments, which complicates their work.
Emanuela’s brother, 60-year-old Pietro Orlandi, noted that the discovery and subsequent investigation of the ossuaries has been of “great satisfaction” to his family. He told CNN:
“In the ossuaries, there shouldn’t be any recent bones, so if there are, even if it’s not Emanuela Orlandi, it will be a problem for the Vatican.
There are hundreds, thousands of bones and now the Vatican is classifying them by age and will investigate the more recent ones.
To think if she was buried in the ossuary all these years, just 200 meters from our house, it would be devastating.”
Continuing, he noted that the independence of the forensic investigators is crucial to ensure that objectivity remains uncompromised. He said:
“The Vatican doesn’t want this out and doesn’t want to be seen in this way, but finally I feel like they have taken a step back and we have moved a step forward.”
The Vatican made a statement on Saturday stressing “its openness toward the Orlandi family” in agreeing to the investigations, even if only based on an “anonymous report,” while making zero mention of the vast amount of remains discovered under the Teutonic Cemetery.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.