Friday, April 11, 2014

Weirdness From The Web--But Is It To Be Believed?

The following stories were gleaned from posts on Pinterest. Amid a jumble of re-posted images bearing obviously faked iPhone ghosts and clearly staged CGI videos of extraordinary feats, a gem or two glistens. If not terribly veracious, they at least tantalize the imagination...

The Michigan Triangle is purportedly and area of mysterious forces and unexplained phenomena that ranges from Benton Harbor in the south to Sheboygan and the Pentwater area to the north. In 1937, Captain George Donner of the freighter O M McFarland disappeared from his locked cabin while the vessel was en route to Port Washington. It's been claimed that it was the captain's 58th birthday. In June 1940, a Northwestern Flight disappeared in the triangle--with 58 passengers aboard.

The Lincoln Tunnel Vortex is an Internet legend that has cropped up over the years concerning the much-trafficked tunnel that connects Manhattan to New Jersey. If the tale predates cyberspace is unclear. According to some, the tunnel is the home to a mysterious, unexplained incident that has been unsurprisingly "covered up".

Supposedly, the John Lawson House in Wappinger Falls, NY is home to no one but a few mannequins that have the unnerving capacity to move about by themselves and even change their clothing.

Another apocryphal tale from online is that of a Caucasian man who arrived at the Tokyo airport in July 1954 with a legitimate looking passport from a country called Taured, which doesn't exist. The Tokyo officials ask him to show them where on a map this supposed Taured is located. The man points to Andorra but is confused and frustrated that the map doesn't say Taured, a country that had existed, according to him, for over a thousand years. The man had money from various countries on him and his passport had been stamped in those countries as well as previous stamps for Japan. The Japanese officials placed him under guard in a local hotel as they checked out his story. While he had plenty of documentation to support his assertion that he was there on business, the company he claimed to work for had never heard of him. When the Tokyo officials returned to the man's guarded room, they were shocked to discover that he had vanished.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Secrets of Underground Paris


In 2004 Paris police discovered a movie theater / restaurant in a large, previously unknown cavern beneath that city's elite and wealthy 16th Arrondissement, near the Trocadero.

Over 170 miles of tunnels, caves, and catacombs snake out like roots beneath the ancient city and it's the police's job to patrol this labyrinth.

At the close of summer, one squad entered a drain next to the Trocadero and discovered a tarp marked "Building Site, No Access" concealing a tunnel. At its mouth, a closed-circuit TV camera was set upon a desk to record the presence of any intruders. Moving beyond that, the squad triggered a remote mechanism that loudly played an audio recording of angrily barking dogs.

Obviously, someone was going to great lengths to dissuade the average curious visitor. But the Paris Police were undaunted and ventured further in.

Following the tunnel some ways, the squad found themselves suddenly with in a large cavity that had been further carved out to resemble an amphitheater. The seating was arranged to face a large movie screen with projection equipment and video cassettes of films ranging from 50s noir to recent blockbusters.

Above their heads, scrawled in the soft stone, were strange symbols that included Swastikas, Celtic Crosses, and Stars of David.

Next door, in a smaller chamber, were tables, chairs, liquors and a pressure cooker that had been used to make couscous.

Moreover, the whole operation was powered by a professionally installed power. There were also three phone lines.

Baffled by the strange find, the unit retreated to inform their superiors. Three days of bureaucracy
passed before Police could once again venture down to the secret chamber.

To their shock, the phone lines, power cables, and equipment was all gone. The only thing left was a note on the floor that read: Do not try to find us.

It isn't clear who was responsible for the occupation of this lost cavern. It is unlawful--except in certain spots--to enter into the Paris Catacombs, but this doesn't stop everyone. Many urban explorers venture nightly into the warren of tunnels. One such group, known as the Perforating Mexicans, claimed the underground cinema was theirs. A photographer named Patrick Alk, who published a photo essay on the tunnels, claims it was another group altogether. He further adds, that there are many other areas of the underground still undiscovered by the public at large.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy 7th To Me


Just realized I have been blogging for 7 years this month. Strange State was briefly a website for about a year prior to that, but didn't get much traffic, so you'd be forgiven for never having seen it. :D

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When The Bough Breaks...

Dating back, at least, to 1785 is this Mother Goose rhyme familiar to most people:

Hush-a-by baby
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will fall baby
Cradle and all.
 

A cheerful little ditty to be certain but in 1875 in northern Georgia near the Kentucky border there was a report of spectral vision that seemed to play out a real life, but fatal, version of this same child's 'dandling' song. ("A Ghost in the Form of A Baby" Atlanta Constitution (25 August 1875)2.)
 
On a Sunday night Robert Gorman, Downingtown, another man and two women passed by a certain stretch of road said to be near Welsh MT, between Morgantown (Fannin Co., ) and Waynesboro (Burke Co.), 1/4 mile from the main road. 
 
As they passed they heard the most 'heartrending cries" as if someone were being beaten or murdered.
 
A Miss Ellie Parker of Paoli, saw a basket swinging in a tree.  Swinging back and forth...faint cries coming from its interior.   The sight and the sound disturbed the couples and the men began to plan how they might climb the small rise and get through the thick brush to the tree, when the child screamed and the basket crashed down through the limbs. Shocked, they hurried forward, but then saw it clearly back in its place on the higher limb, swinging gently in place in a breeze, and the child once more whimpering within.
 
Despite what they saw, as they watched all could swear they were looking at a living baby and this terribly disturbed the young ladies who began to weep and held to one another for comfort and support.
 
Not knowing what else to do  the couple left and hurried to the next town. As quickly as could be done, a search party hurried back to the spot early the next day.  Mr. J.S. Peters, Lancaster Co., said he did indeed see the basket, saw the baby in it move, heard its pitiable cries and then saw it disappear as well. For two weeks, it was said, witnesses from all around came to hear and see the mystery.  What happened, or proof of the story, has not been found but it does cause the skin to tingle at the thought of what might have been seen and the mind to wonder how it might have come about.
 
Of course, it could have been someone's boredom showing in a story composed to simply fill space but it is interesting.  Like so many true ghost stories its lack of details is matched only by the emotional response it brings out.
 
If you were traveling a lonely country road and heard the whimpering cries of a baby and saw a basket swinging slowly back and forth in the cool breeze, could you go check? Would you?
 
The next time you heard that familiar chant would it be with a slight shudder and a tiny shiver?
 
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will fall baby...
Cradle and all.

 
 
--Marilyn A. Hudson, excerpt from "The Ghost Teller Chronicles"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ancient Ghosts


[from The Anomalist] "The First Paranormal Investigator Northern Ghost Investigations -- To track this guy down, you have to travel back a mere 2000 years to Greece where a man called Athenodorus Cananites shared his ghostly encounter with none other than Pliny the Younger, who had an insatiable desire to record many interesting things for us to read 2000 years after he died. The story involves a cliched appearance of a ghost in chains that leads to the scene of a murder, but as Northern Ghost Investigations points out, what's more important is that this is evidence that ghosts were a common topic of conversation even that far back in history."

If you've not had a chance to read Finucane's Ghosts: Appearances of the Dead and Cultural Transformation, you really should. In this volume, he explores early accounts of such spirits as well as their cultural significance and how it mutates throughout history. It is quite telling, especially as to how we've come to view ghosts the way we do with all their attendant stereotypes and trappings.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Calling All Angels--Open Casting For Reality TV

This was in my inbox....

Hey Cullan,
My name is Carissa and I am an Associate Producer at V2 Films, a television production company based in New York City. I am currently working on a new real-life television series about amazing stories of people who were saved by angels. I saw your website and I thought this would be a great place to get the word out. If you could possibly post my casting notice or distribute it to your network it would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank You!


Casting Notice:

Has an angel saved you? Is there no scientific explanation on how you survived? Have you survived a vicious criminal attack, which could have been your final moments of your life?  A major cable network is looking to hear your stories and will validate the full faith believers and astonish the disbelievers as we investigative the science behind why these survivals shouldn’t have been possible. If you have a story please email your story to:CarissaCasting@gmail.com
 
Vidiots l www.vidiots.tv
P: 347-429-6156 Ext. 550
This message and any attachments may contain confidential or privileged information and is intended only for the use of the intended   recipient(s) of this message. If you are not the intended recipient of   this message, please notify the sender by return email, and delete this   and all copies of this message and any attachments from your system.  Any unauthorized disclosure, use, distribution, or reproduction of this   message or any attachments is prohibited and may be unlawful.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Puzzling Encounter

Having great respect for cemeteries and believing in the dignity of the dead, the following incident is offered in general terms.  Hopefully, no one would vandalize or disrespect the final resting place of individuals but such things are known to happen.  This conduct is forcefully disapproved.

" I was on a project looking for examples of graveyard art works, statues and the like, and found myself near an old and large historic cemetery on a recent Sunday morning in Oklahoma City.  Turning down the quiet residential streets I found it was a perfect time to visit. The lighting was good, the traffic practically nil and there was only one visiting group paying respect to their departed.  I was able to slowly drive through the lanes, observing headstones, and other features to see if any met my criteria for graveyard art. 
Finally, as I was preparing to go, I spotted some unique design features on a mausoleum and pulled over.  Grabbing my digital camera I got out and prepared to snap a few shots.  Looking down at the camera I halted. "Batteries Exhausted" was displayed.  I wracked my mind trying to remember when I put fresh ones in and thinking , "I just put new ones in here."  I tossed it back in and grabbed the SLR for some old school black and white photos. 
Later that day, I pull out the digital camera thinking I would replace the batteries and by habit I turn it on again.  This time there is no "Batteries Exhausted" message at all.  Anomaly of the camera or the batteries?  Checking the charge on the batteries determined they were just as new as I had thought.  Subsequent use of the camera for the rest of that day and the next saw no repeat of the message. 
For some reason, though, at that place in that cemetery, on that early morning, something drained the batteries..."

-- Submitted



You're Reading A Puzzling Encounter, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog for more like this.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SCIENCE ROUND UP: ANCIENT SECRETS

Intriguing discoveries have cropped up in the realms of ancient
studies.

First, in archaeology, a new hypothesis has been put forth to explain the enigmatic visage on the famous Shroud of Turin, which purportedly shows the likeness of Jesus. Many claim he was wrapped in this cloth after his death and that through supernatural means the cloth took on the image of the deceased like a photographic plate.

However, a new study shows that neutron emissions from an earthquake that rocked ancient Jerusalem (where the shroud was originally found) could have produced the image as well as account for the odd radiocarbon levels that many believe proves the artifact was less than 800 years old.

MORE

And DNA extracted from a prehistoric early inhabitant of North America provides a tantalizing link between Native Americans and the rest of the world. These findings hint at an occupied North America perhaps as much as 14,000 years before the Clovis people--the oldest known group in the region. Clovis, named for the discovery site in New Mexico, lived south of a massive ice sheet that reach down from Canada. It was believed that no cultures could have lived further north because of this massive glacier. However, the bones of the child whose DNA has led to these startling conclusions was found in Montana.

MORE

Speaking of ancient hunter-gatherers, construction workers in Seattle have unearthed an Ice Age mammoth tusk.

MORE

And a massive fossil find in Canada might change the way we look at evolution.

MORE

You're Reading Science Roundup: Ancient Secrets, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog for more like this.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Orleans' Elusive and Mysterious Grunch Road


Legend has it than an old, unpaved road courses through the remote environs east of New Orleans somewhere in St. Bernard Parish. The road has long been known as the center of unexplained disappearances, some of which have been blamed on strange, half-human creatures.

But stories often conflict on which road is the actual Grunch Road. Some say it lies in lower Algiers, past English Turn. Others say in Little Woods, off Haynes Blvd. Other stories place it down along River Road. Another account has it in Harahan, off Hickory. In this way, it is a lot like other mystery roads and crybaby bridges throughout the country.

You're Reading New Orleans' Elusive and Mysterious Grunch Road, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog for more like this.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

CELEBRITY GHOST TALES

How I Met Your Mother and Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Alyson Hannigan hadn't long moved into a new house in Los Angeles with her husband when a visiting friend first informed her that a man had just followed them out of the house. Since that initial sighting, Hannigan took to keeping a chalkboard where she thought he dwelt the most in hopes that he might leave her a message.

Actress Kate Hudson once related the story of seeing a woman with no face in a London home she and her mother, Goldie Hawn, had rented.

Designer Cynthia Rowley and her husband were living in a charming country home in Greenwich, Connecticut with the spectre of a woman whose face was always obscured by a gray scarf. The couple had encountered the manifestation several times. One Christmas, the designer had hung a large wreath above her fireplace, but was warned by her husband not to light the candles on the mantle. A sensible statement--and one with which Rowley would normally agree--but some sinister compulsion forced her hand nonetheless, as if she had no control over her actions. No sooner had she lit the candles, than the the wreath erupted in flames. The couple managed to escape but when the local firefighters put out the conflagration they were a bit unnerved. One quietly asked Rowly if she knew who had built the home. Rowley confessed she did not. She then learned from the firefighter that the woman who haunts the home was the heiress to the Diamond Match estate. She was burned and scarred from a fire in her father's factory when she was only a teenager.

Singer/Actress Demi Lovato recalls an incident from her childhood when she attempted to close her closet door when she was arrested by the sight of a young girl dressed in 19th century attire standing inside. When she told her mother what she saw, he mother recalled an incident when Demi was five. She was playing in her room alone and talking to herself. On the floor was a picture of a little girl dressed just as Demi described. Her mother asked Demi whom she was talking to. "My best friend, Victoria."

Months prior to his body having been found hanging in the closet of a Bangkok hotel, actor David Carradine had taped a segment for a program called Celebrity Ghost Stories on the Biography channel. Carradine explained that he had been tormented by the notion that his late wife's deceased husband was residing within the closet of their bedroom.

Cultural icon Cher has stated on several occasions she believes that her Malibu home is haunted--in a friendly fashion--by her late husband, Sonny Bono. Lights flickering even when they are turned off have been a sure indication that Bono is present.

You're Reading Celebrity Ghost Tales, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog for more like this.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sophisticated Dark Decor

Looking to decorate your dismal abode with a subtle hint of the sinister? Well, then many purveyors of the perverse have subtle, sophisticated offerings that would please even the snootiest of decorators.

While dark decor was once relegated to erstwhile 'goth' accoutrements, more and more companies (especially in the print-on-demand 21st century) are offering fashionable alternatives that can add a surprise element of horror in an otherwise traditional setting.

Many examples can be found online for wallpapers that scream horror chic...

Rats Behind The Wall Paper...

This Cthulhu Damask is available from Spoonflower
You can find an assortment of other Cthulhu-inspired designs on that same site.

If the macabre countenance of grinning skulls is more your style, check out Dia de los Muertos "sugar skull" pattern available via The Awesomer


I would imagine that in the right light, these flocked skulls would almost seem to float on this slick wallpaper from Rockett St George.


You can also re-cover an old Rococo-style chair with a funky skull damask fabric like those you can find at Spoonflower.com.


At first glance, these vases from houzz.com simply evoke the look of French Country crockery, but when you peer closer you will notice the eldritch escutcheons. 


This intriguing objet d'art is a great inspirational piece for crafting your own macabre statement, perhaps from clearance bin Halloween bargains. A resin skull dripping in gold paint and a wooden pedestal spraypainted to a glossy black instantly gives you not only a dark decoration but a conversation-starting work of art.


And if your tastes lean  more toward the distressed and antiqued, it is easy to create a compelling vignette like this once--if you don't mind getting your hands dirty digging up some of the pieces. :D The old-world reliquary feel of this grouping would look fantastic against a slate gray wall (as shown here) or against a tone-on-tone metallic damask.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where Are The Smart Zombies?

As the zombie trend shuffles listlessly on year after year, nothing much seems to change. Aside from a few minor details (fast zombies) little exists to differentiate one film from another. And yet the genre remains strong. But just as the over-abused vampire milieu has been tortured this way and that (before unceremoniously settling into glitter-skinned douchebaggery), so too must the zombie evolve.

In the past, there have been hints at an avenue that would prove most intriguing and even downright frightening: intelligent zombies.

I'm no zombie expert, but at least as far back as 1984's Night of the Comet, we have been treated to hints of this character. One of the scariest parts of that movie isn't the sudden emergence--the cut-to, if you will--of mindless creatures out to consume our flesh, but the slow and disturbing disintegration of those who were only sort of protected from the comet's effects from normal humans to zombies.

And even this last season of SyFy's Being Human  had us witness Sally and her other former ghost friends returning from the grave only to slowly and horrifyingly become ravenous consumers of live flesh. And they're aware of this. They see themselves going down that dark path and they hate themselves for it. Still, the hunger consumes them. Watching them agonize over the loss of their humanity while at the same time justifying it to hang onto that same said humanity is what makes the story compelling. These aren't me-want-brains cardboard cutouts, but fully rounded characters.

Too often the zombie cliche involves some disconnect from our protagonist's point of view prior to the "zombie apocalypse" to well after said event has occurred. We're seldom treated to that breakdown, that loss of humanity and social order. The terrifying prospect of losing your friends and family to something that consumes their identity. Instead, time and again, we start out with some sort of voice-over narration about the times before and how nobody knows exactly how it all began...blah, blah, blah. Or someone conveniently wakes up 28 days later to a world suddenly changed.

I say the most horrifying thing would be the change.

If zombie movies continue their slow, staggered shuffle over the next few years, let us at least explore different ways to tell the story instead of boring us with the same ol' cliches.

The Intelligence Behind Elusive Animals

In watching a documentary on PBS's Nature about Coywolves (coyote-wolf hybrids that are emerging as a possible new species in eastern North America), I was intrigued by the fact that they are extremely intelligent and elusive animals. In fact, the documentary went to great lengths to impress up the viewer that these animals go virtually undetected in densely populated urban areas--including New York City. This is largely because these animals become acclimated to the rhythms of human beings and make a point not to be seen. They will frequently wait until the coast is clear before moving on again.

I bring all this up because it establishes a precedent for an animal in North America to remain undetected if it so chooses. If it weren't for the sheer (and increasing) numbers of Coyotes and Coywolves in recent decades, I daresay few would ever catch glimpse of them.

Now, if you were to take an even more intelligent animal, as one presumes a Sasquatch-like creature to be, and add to that a population that would be substantially smaller, you've got a good recipe for its mythic status.

I think Sasquatch population estimates (flawed as they are) over-inflate the data. If such a large creature with the attendant attributes of high intelligence, strength, and possibly long lifespan were to exist, would not the breeding be kept to a minimum? Large animals usually don't have litters of offspring. And if a Sasquatch-like creature is more like humans, then they aren't likely to have many over their entire long lifespan. They would possess the wherewithal to survive as a species by other means than a genetic deluge.

This is all to point out that intelligent animals are aware of us and the threat we pose and can go to great lengths to avoid us even when they are in our own backyards. So, is it really that big of a stretch to think some hirsute hominid could be doing the same?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Suicide Song

46 years ago this month, the man who pinned what has been dubbed 'The Suicide Song' committed suicide himself. . . .

According to one urban legend, many people have committed suicide while listening to the song "Gloomy Sunday", which was composed by Hungarian pianist Rezso Seress in 1933. Originally titled Vege a vilagnak (End of the World), the musical piece later received lyrics by Laszlo Javor and retitled "Szormoru vasarnap". Hal Kemp first recorded the piece with English lyrics by Sam Lewis in 1936 and became quite famous when Billie Holiday covered it in 1941. Lewis referred to suicide in his version.

The legend goes that so many suicides were connected to this song that radio stations would refuse to play it. While the BBC did ban Billie Holiday's version, this was mostly because it was a depressing tune seen as being harmful to the morale of a nation at war. The BBC ban wasn't lifted until 2002.

When the song was released in the 1930s, the Great Depression was in full swing, so a higher than normal suicide rate seemed to be at work. However, most discount any correlation between these deaths and the song itself, owing such tragedies instead to the dire economic circumstances.

Fueling the rumor mill, the song's composer, Reszo Seress, killed himself in January 1968.

You're reading The Suicide Song by Cullan Hudson, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Many Ghosts of Chingle Hall


Chingle Hall is, in addition to being the oldest inhabited brick building, one of Britain's most haunted structures. The Hall was built in 1260 by Sir Adam de Singleton on family land dating back to Ughtred de Singleton in 1066. It remained in the possession of the Singleton family for centuries before their relatives, The Walls, then took possession.

The home's great room boasts wooden cross beams bearing unusual symbols. Tests were done of the wood itself and archaeologists have learned the wood came from an ancient Viking longboat.

One of the ghosts said to haunt the structure is that of John Wall, a Catholic priest during the reformation. It was necessary for him to perform his masses in secret, but eventually word got out and he was arrested and later executed in 1679. Wall's head, through a circuitous route, purportedly now rests either on the grounds of Chingle Hall or in the house itself.

The smell of wood smoke lingers from when, in the 1950s, one of the mysterious longboat beams caught fire. More mysteriously was how it seemed to extinguish itself before erupting in an uncontrollable conflagration. Was someone watching over the Hall?

Among the ghosts reported, we find several monks, children, vague and shadowy forms, animals, a chimney sweet, Eleanor Singleton, a Cavalier, and an entity known as "The Dizzy Man".

You're reading The Many Ghsots of Chingle Hall by Cullan Hudson, originally posted on strangestate.blogspot.com If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the blog.