Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inexplicable Expulsions Make For Mysteries

In 1984, a large chunk of earth measuring 10'x7'x2' was ejected cleanly from its matrix in eastern Washington where it traveled a distance of 73 feet. The removal process was so precise that those who saw the site stated it looked as though a cookie cutter had removed this slab of soil. Some offer geological explanations, while others hint that it may have been the work of extraterrestrials. Read More.

This calls to mind the mysterious incident involving the grave of young Harry Spitz.

Just prior to the 1975 Independence Day festivities in Morgantown, West Virginia, a curious event occurred that would haunt locals for quite some time. The caretaker of the local cemetery noticed a pile of dirt among the graves at Oak Grove Cemetery that should not have been.  Thinking some kids probably tore up some ground shooting off fireworks, he went to investigate. However, what he found mystified him.

It seemed a grave had been desecrated. The ground atop the site was torn up and the caretaker could see the vault thrusting outward. He promptly phoned the police to report an incident of vandalism. When the officers arrived, they were equally puzzled by the strange site. It really didn't look as if anyone had dug up a grave. Instead, it looked like something exploded outward. Somehow, the lid to a burial vault had erupted upward through the earth with such force as to burst through the soil and grass above, leaving the ground ripped and buckled. An examination of the site revealed no trace of an explosion either: no gunpowder residue or any signs of charred earth and vegetation.

The concern then shifted to the possibility of a natural gas eruption, but a review of the site by the local gas company eliminated this as well. However, it was revealed that a road once ran through this section of the cemetery and that when it was removed, the ground had been graded a few feet, meaning this grave was slightly more shallow than others.

The men examined the grave itself better. The vault had split at one corner, which might have forced the 3-inch thick slab lid to pop upward. But with enough force to erupt out of the ground? It didn't seem likely. Perhaps the build up of gases from decomposition had caused the expulsion, they wondered. Inside the vault, however, the men could see a child's coffin, still sealed and seemingly unmolested.

The child inside had once been Harry Spitz, who had died of cholera some 63 years prior. He still had relatives in the area, including a sister. An exhumation of the casket was granted in hopes that somehow this mystery could be lain to rest. Alas, opening the casket only presented further mysteries. The remarkably preserved body of Harry Spitz greeted onlookers. While his skin was somewhat leathery, it was intact and his face was framed by long blond hair. He wore a blue and white suit, a stuffed lion at his feet. And while the coffin lining had rotted away to shreds, Harry's vestments seemed in remarkably good shape. Tissue samples were taken to be examined by the morgue supervisor at West Virginia University Hospital, but no trace of living organisms were found to support the decomposition gas hypothesis. Besides, if such an event were to have occurred, it would have done so within the first couple of years - not 63 years later.

In short order, scientists from West Virginia University converged on the scene in hopes of finding an answer to the mystery. They couldn't. The region's rich coal mining was looked at, but no operations had ever been conducted in the vicinity of the grave. Methane was researched as well, but no traces were found.  Natural gas was eliminated as well. No seismic tremors were recorded.

To further complicate matters, atop the casket lay the delicate, desiccated husk of a flower and a small commemorative plate. Neither of these objects were affixed to the coffin and would have slid off easily if the coffin were jostled even slightly.

At a loss for any explanation, the police chief thought back to a strange group of people who had been reported on several occasions holding séances or such within Oak Grove Cemetery. While not willing to believe they summoned up with great force some entity, he thought they might have done something to the grave.

But no answers were forthcoming and, on July 12, the body of young Harry Spitz was reinterred in a new vault. The strange event would linger over the town for years to come, casting a mysterious shadow over Oak Grove Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Former Astronaut Talks UFO's and Poop In Latest Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair's Eric Spitznagel sat down with former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of only a dozen humans to set foot on the moon, to talk about his experiences. The interview takes an interesting turn...

...So in addition to your footprint, there’s a big bag of your excrement up there?

(Laughs.) Well no, probably not anymore. Sometimes we’d dispose of it during an EVA (extra-vehicular activity), when we were getting rid of a bunch of extra stuff. We did that on Gemini 12. I remember we were headed local horizontal, local vertical, and we opened the hatch and I had three bags worth gripped between my legs...

Three bags of…?

Yeah, yeah. And I just tossed them like this. (Pantomimes throwing bags over his shoulders.) Straight up! Being very familiar with orbital mechanics, I should have realized what I’d just done. I’d put those three bags on a free return trajectory. (Laughs.) Straight back to us!

This is starting to sound like a Farrelly Brothers comedy.

So an orbit later, we looked out the window and there were three bags in a row, heading straight for us.

Did you recognize what they were right away? A couple of years ago you hinted that you might’ve seen a UFO during a space mission. Is it possible you were just looking at floating bags of your own poo?

(Laughs.) No, not at all. They were very close. We could certainly tell what they were.

Read More
Talk about your Moon Pies...

They Sure Do Grow 'Em Big!

According to Steve's Believe It or Not blog, this 9-foot-long rattlesnake was killed near Beaver, OK (however, comments after the post seem to disagree on the location). It doesn't seem doctored and, while rare, a specimen this large isn't unheard of.
And Son of Hogzilla seems to have been killed by Larry Earley 30 miles from Tulsa, off the 412 turnpike

Monday, June 28, 2010

Questions, Doubts Stalk Bigfoot Tome.

Bigfoot enthusiast and researcher Autumn Williams is well-known within that community and many anticipated her newly-released book Enoch: A Bigfoot Story.  The nonfiction work chronicles Williams' communications with a Florida man named "Mike" who says he has been in contact with one of these creatures for many years. However, many researchers are beginning to doubt not only the veracity of his claims but that he exists at all. Now Williams is coming under scrutiny (and even attack) as various men and women in the field question if she didn't make up the story altogether.

Read the specifics at Phantoms and Monsters and Cryptomundo.

FIRESTARTERS: Two Illinois Cases Hint At Pyrokinetic Poltergeist Phenomena

In March of 1988, Karen Gallo and her family began noticing frightening and unexplainable occurrences in their split-level home in the Chicago suburb of Orland Hills. Events that would culminate in a ritual cleansing of the property.

It began as a white haze or mist that would fill the home, reeking of sulfur. The family, fearing a fire or gas leak of some kind, called the fire department. However, after a thorough examination of the home, the firefighters could find no cause for the described mist. Not long after the men had left did the draperies and furniture begin to catch fire. The fire department returned, dousing the blaze without immediately realizing that neither the walls nor floors of the home were in anyway damaged by the conflagration.

It seemed that the fires emanated from the electrical sockets, but their odd manner gave veteran firemen pause. How could flames shoot out from a wall socket as if from a blowtorch?

The family's insurance company ordered a rewiring of the sockets and, later, a total rewire of the house. Still the flames appeared, objects caught fire, and no one was any closer to understanding the mystery. Most puzzling of all was that fact that the very sockets that spat out these mysterious infernos were completely undamaged.

Soon all sorts of specialists were converging on the home to analyze the soil, air, the mysterious sulfur-smelling mist, the paint, the drywall, carpeting, woodwork, and even blood taken from those who had been exposed the longest to the phenomenon. Repeatedly, tests came back inconclusive. Investigators could only urge the family to relocate until the enigma could be solved.

When all else fails, the mind turns to other explanations - and many did. Talk soon arose of demonic forces, ghosts, and poltergeists. Over time, the home became a circus of curious onlookers who would park in the yard, stand in the street, and sit on the sidewalk and wait for something strange to happen.

One day, as law enforcement officers stood in the kitchen talking with Karen Gallo's 14 year old daughter (whose bus still dropped her off at her former home), a smoke detector erupted somewhere upstairs. At that same moment, the young girl began to scream as she dashed wildly about the house, perhaps trying to escape another barrage of flames.


One officer grabbed a fire extinguisher, raced up stairs, and discovered the girl's room filled with an eerie smoke the inexplicably stopped at the doorway to her room. Nothing - not even the wispiest of tendrils - snaked free of the room. Peering cautiously inside, the officer marveled at the large blue flame venting from the wall socket like rocket exhaust. He tried to use the extinguisher but found it strangely empty, knowing that it had been charged only a short time before.

Others joined him and together they raced to collect flammable items from the room. The mattress had already burst into flames as one man tossed it to the ground below. So hot was the fire that the bed - springs and all - was reduced to a mangled mess only 1/8 its former height. Most often in a mattress fire, a skeleton of springs and frames is all that remains afterward. Not so this time.

When additional personnel arrived, the blame was immediately - if not illogically - placed upon the girl, who they pointed out was the one element present at each fire. Somehow, they were convinced she had been starting the fires all along, perhaps in an attempt to garner attention.


One officer spoke up, defending the young, frightened girl. "How could she?" he demanded. "She never went upstairs and she was in our sight the whole time before the fire." And he demanded an answer as to how she could have made the strange flames that shot from the wall like a blowtorch. They had no answer.

No one did.

The fire marshal once again examined the home, determining the cause had been electrical in origin. This astounded the officer who quite heatedly pointed out that Com-Ed had pulled the plug - quite literally - on the whole house: the main power cable stood coiled in the yard near the street.

Anything that could be removed from the home - the remaining furniture, carpets, clothes - was taken away in hopes of quelling future outbreaks. No one wanted to dwell too much on the unsettling but obvious fact that the house itself (for whatever reasons) would not burn. Still, the flames kept coming.

The family left for good, the investigators gave up, and in October, the insurance company paid of the Gallo's and ordered a demolition of the home. It was everyone's hope that this would somehow put an end to this unsettling series of events.

At the demolition, scores of onlookers and the press congregated to watch as bulldozers reduced the house to rubble, cleared the land, and carted off the debris. Not surprisingly, more than one person sprinkle holy water on the ground and said a prayer over the seemingly accursed site.

"All of this talk about a haunted house is ridiculous," Karen Gallo herself said as she watched the demolition. But after 7 1/2 months of looking into arsonists, pranks, electrical problems, natural gas, methane deposits, sewer gasses, and more, the experts in Orland Hills might not have agreed with Gallo's assessment.

At first glance, it might seem (assuming all rational explanations had been excluded) that the psychokinetic manifestation commonly referred to as a poltergeist was somehow at work in this home. However, the obvious locus in these cases (a troubled adolescent) had been gone from the home for some time when subsequent fires erupted. It certainly doesn't fit the pattern. And solely pyrokinetic manifestations aren't a common aspect of poltergeists. These are usually marked by apports, autokinesis, and sometimes disembodied voices.

So what did plague the Gallo home? We'll probably never know. It could be that some strange, unknown earthly force was at work. Or it could have been a frustrated psyche expressing anguish through latent pyrokinetic powers. The continued presence of this phenomenon after the family had left may attest to the creation of what Tibetan mystics refer to as a Tulpa. Also known as a thought-form, these entities are created by the mind but manifest themselves into our reality. If powerful enough, a Tulpa can take on a life of its own, spawning like in return. Perhaps someone in that home created something. Something that would not go away.

Knowing more about the family and what their life was like could help. Sadly, for such a baffling and high-profile case, I can't find much research or documentation. I did find reference to another Illinois case referred to as The Macomb Poltergeist.

This strange story took place in Macomb, IL in 1948 when Wanet McNeill went to live with her father after her parent's divorce. The pair moved to the farm of an uncle, Charles Willey, west of Macomb. Wanet was unhappy about the situation. It is said that from this despair, Wanet unwittingly manifested the spontaneous ignition of fires throughout the farm with only her thoughts. As the phenomenon intensified, neighbors and relatives began standing vigil at the "haunted" home with buckets of water and garden hoses, ready to douse any flame.

As in the Gallo case, the Willey farm was visited by the fire fighters (including the State Fire Marshal) and even experts from the National Fire Underwriters Laboratory. They too had no explanation. The U. S. Air Force looked into the mystery, positing that radiation might be responsible.

Like the Gallo girl, eventually Wanet herself was blamed. While this might have been true (from the viewpoint of a parapsychologist), nuts-and-bolts firefighters believed that she was doing so with simple kitchen matches while no one was looking. So numerous were the fires that the quantity of matches, coupled with the state of hypervigilance (all those nervous bucket-holders at the ready), makes this an unlikely explanation. How could no one - in all the time these events transpired - have noticed that she had been striking matches? The noise? The smell?

The girl's confession seems to have been coerced by the Fire Marshal and State's Attorney who questioned her privately for over an hour. This seemed to satisfy all.

Only not quite.

Some reporters and investigators didn't buy it. Later, in his book "Mysterious Fires and Lights", famed anomalist Vincent Gaddis concluded that this was a classic poltergeist case.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Make Plans For The Roswell UFO Festival

Next weekend the denizens of Roswell, NM will once again celebrate the now-infamous crash of '47 through parades, fairs, and plenty of great New Mexican food (red, green, or "Christmas"?). If you're nearby, take a drive to this fun and wacky little town in southeast New Mexico and brush up on one of the most controversial UFO cases in history. And there's plenty else to keep you busy in the region, too. Just south of Roswell is Carlsbad Caverns and the Guadalupe Mountains; to the immediate west you can find the Capitan Mountains rising up from the Llano Estacado into the cool pine forests of towns like Ruidoso (home to Smokey the Bear), Cloudcroft (home to the haunted Lodge at Cloudcroft), and Ski Apache. You're also only a short drive from the famed Trinity Site (location of the first atomic bomb experiments), the famous White Sands and the Valley of Fires, an ancient lava flow that - over a 1,000 years ago - left the land for many square miles covered in a surreal moonscape of black lava rock.

So, if you're looking for a great vacation this summer, New Mexico is definitely a fascinating, exciting option. Brimming with natural wonders, ancient Native American mysteries, Spanish Colonial charm, and maybe a UFO or two, 'The Land of Enchantment' has a lot to offer.

And if you find yourself visiting the Roswell UFO Festival this July 4th weekend [clears throat, inserts gratuitous self-promotion], might I suggest you check out the great designs over at Roswellian? All of these affordable, quality, and (more importantly) ORIGINAL designs are available for fast, convenient ordering through, the leading print-on-demand website. Ranging from serious to silly and just plain cool, Roswellian is home to my own designs that not only highlight the Roswell incident but UFO lore in general. Check it out, get geared up, and hit the open road this summer.

Plan For The Boggy Depot Bigfoot Conference

Aside from yours truly, investigators and authors Nick Redfern and Ken Gerhard will be there. You can check out their latest collaborative effort, Monsters of Texas on Redfern's blog "There's Something in the Woods". Also on tap will be Randy Harrington, the C.O.P.S. team, and Mike Hall. Get more info here and here. The conference will benefit the Children's Miracle Network and the Children's Hospital of Oklahoma City.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FACT or F&#$ED? Will SyFy finally air an interesting show or just deliver America's Next Top Paranormal Investigator in our laps?

Just when you thought the words 'paranormal' and 'file' wouldn't be anywhere near each other for quite some time, SyFy steps in to fill that void in your soul. It's an attractive gaggle of "experts" (including a former F.B.I. agent) that comprise SyFy's latest cast of paranormal detectives. This time around, those oft-watched viral videos are given the once-over to determine just what is fact and what has been faked... What keen skills and wealth of knowledge is brought to bear on these purportedly true video clips? Well, for one, such gems as "It just doesn't look real to me." Judge for yourself.

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files is set to revolutionize paranormal programming by investigating the evidence witnesses post on the Internet every day. Have you ever seen a photo or video online and wondered, "Is this real?" This is the show that will answer that question.

Heading up the Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files team is Ben Hansen, a former FBI agent with a life-long fascination with the paranormal. Now, having left the agency, he leads a young team of intrepid investigators who will convene to dissect the latest unusual images and decide whether they merit further investigation. Grainy videos will be brought to life as the team conducts thorough and elaborate experiments in an attempt to recreate the phenomena, and Ben will make the final choice which cases will require a trip into the field.

Once an investigation is underway, the team will talk to witnesses, carry out experiments using the latest in high tech detection devices, collect physical samples, and determine whether a case should be debunked, or whether it's a baffling paranormal mystery that might even put the team in danger. It's all in a day's work for the dogged investigators of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files.

Summer Reads

STRUCK by Keith Pyeatt


When lightning strikes Barry Andrews as he hikes among petroglyphs in Albuquerque, the surge of energy awakens abilities he's carried since birth. Earth's fate is now tied to Barry's, and Barry's destiny is linked to the past.

A thousand years ago, the ancestors of today's Pueblo Indians built an advanced civilization in Chaco Canyon. Seeking to tame their harsh environment, they used the precise alignment of their pueblos to tap into powers they weren't meant to control. Their meddling almost ended life on Earth, and the Anasazi abandoned Chaco Canyon to protect man from himself.

But the pueblo ruins still hold power, and man still desires what he shouldn't have. One man, driven by greed, exploits ancient secrets. Now Barry must join forces with a Native American elder, become a warrior, and save the earth. Find out more at

With an effortless style, nascent author Keith Pyeatt delivers an exciting supernatural thriller that grapples with Native American spirituality without falling to the same tired clichés. The landscape he paints is at once beautiful and powerful, peopled by complex characters and framed by a heart-racing narrative that is as spiritual as it is adventurous. -- Cullan Hudson


Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..."

Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

From the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, comes what must be the first vampire-themed work in a long while that I would consider picking up. I have not yet read this one, but I'm going to check it out. Hey, it beats Twilight, right? An axe-wielding U.S. president out to destroy the undead instead of sexy, brooding vampires reeking of death and ennui in a trope for misunderstood teen angst. What's not to love?

"Grahame-Smith's sophomore effort outlasts the kitsch value of its title, and freed from the constraints of updating (or defacing, depending on one's viewpoint) a revered literary gem, the writer delivers a well-constructed, surprisingly satisfying narrative that straight-faces its absurd premise: that Honest Abe, the 16th president of the United States, led a secret life slaying the fanged undead." -- L.A. TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lumbees, Melungeons, and the Mystery of the 'White Indians'

The History Channel recently aired one of their new 2-hour documentaries that speculated who all comprised the precursors of Columbus. Everything from Vikings and Chinese to Polynesians and Israelites are examined for evidence to bolster the various hypotheses proffered by a wide range of researchers. One group of stories in particular caught my eye. In a confluence of recurring themes, I have been stumbling upon frequent references lately to the so-called "White Indians" of North America.

In the History Channel documentary, the Judaic origins of the Central Band of Cherokees, an officially unrecognized group of Native Americans who are possessed of strikingly European features, are examined both historically and scientifically. The Central Band are located in Tennessee and seem to have been for some time. Among their own traditions, this tribe believes they are partially (if not wholly) descended from ancient Israelites who practiced Judaism. The Central Band points to many similarities in their culture to that of those near-eastern people.

So confident are the tribe members that they were willing to undergo DNA testing. Unfortunately, the results concluded there was less than 3% of the genetic markers common to those peoples found in the region of present-day Israel. The tests also excluded a significant portion of Native American DNA, which means they aren't very much related to the Cherokee either. So who are they?

Despite a heavy identity crisis, it is likely that the Central Band of Cherokees are, as are many Americans, a mélange of races. Let us discuss the mysterious and controversial origins of both the Melungeons and the Lumbees - who may, in fact, be one in the same. And also, let us take a glance at Welsh Prince Madoc and the legend of the White Indians.


When, in the 18th Century, European explorers and settlers pushed further into the wilds along the Lumber River of North Carolina, they were surprised to encounter a band of English-speaking natives who dressed more like white frontiersman than local Native Americans. While many were of dark complexion, a large number were fairer and some even had blond hair and blue eyes. A few could read, claiming "white gods" had taught their ancestors how to "talk in books". They were also familiar with whiskey and many of the drinking customs common to the English.

These "Lumbees," as they came to be known, are thought by some to be descended from Sir Walter Raleigh's failed colony of Roanoke, which disappeared without a trace in 1589. It is thought they either joined up with the friendly Hatteras tribe or were overtaken by a marauding or cannibalistic tribe like the Croatans. The confusion comes from the fact that the only hint of where the colonists might have gone to came from a sign posted in the ransacked village. Upon the placard was one word: Croatan. This could have referred either to the dangerous tribe of warlike Indians or to a nearby island of the same name, upon which dwelled the friendly Hatteras people.

The Lumbees themselves believe they are descended from the intermingling of Roanoke survivors and local tribes. Perhaps in proof, it should be noted that of the 95 surnames found among the colonists, nearly half are found among the Lumbees. Furthermore, the Hatteras people began migrating from the islands offshore to the mainland in 1650, settling in the Lumber River Valley.


High in the misty hills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, along the border between Tennessee and Virginia there can be found a group known as the Melungeons. These people have a noticeable mélange (from the French, meaning "mix") of features: reddish-brown skin, straight and fair hair, thin lips, and narrow faces. Standing out from both the native Americans and the Europeans who people the region, the Melungeons are thought to be a mix of different ethnicities. Some feel they represent the descendents of shipwrecked Spanish or Portuguese explorers who then interbred among natives and perhaps even slaves. Wilder theories claim them to be descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. If you ask them, however, you will likely hear a similar story: the Melungeons are descended from the survivors of Roanoke colony.


While those of European origin advanced on the new American frontier, time and again tales of "White Indians" would arise. So compelling were the tales that no less than Andrew Jackson himself requested that Lewis and Clark keep an eye out for any tribes that seemed to match this description.

Their reality would, it seem, validate legends of other Europeans having arrived on the shores of North America before Columbus. Such a hypothesis would later be realized as truth, but at the time of Jackson, these may have been less than whispers of legends.

Such a legend concerned the mystery of Welsh-speaking Indians and a legendary Prince Madoc.

According to legend, Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd of Wales led a group of settlers to North America in 1170, perhaps to flee a bloody civil war. Weighing anchor in Mobile Bay, Alabama, Madoc's party of 120 trudged through the unknown lands that now comprise the southeastern United States. Some of these accounts are written in Humphrey Lhoyd's 1584 text Historie of Cambria, wherein he describes Madoc's multiple journey's to the New World. However, recent oceanographic modeling indicates such a journey would have taken Madoc in excess of 1.5 years - each way.

But does this discount that he and his party indeed made the journey?

In 1666, Morgan Jones, chaplain to the governor of Virginia, fled from a fearsome tribe of "British-speaking" Indians while exploring the Carolinas. Seemingly in hot water, Jones (of Welsh descent) was spared the tribe's wrath when it was realized they shared a common tongue. Over the years, Welsh-speaking tribes were reported throughout the southern central and southern colonies. Famed frontiersman Daniel Boone even claimed to have come across a tribe of blue-eyed Indians who seemed to be speaking Welsh, though he admitted to being no expert on the language.

And what are we to make of the long-standing Mesoamerican and South American legends of fair-skinned, bearded gods who visited the Aztec and such prior to Spanish arrival in those regions? These people told the Spanish that these predecessors came from "a little island in the north".

There are also mysterious physical traces of cultures that seem quite unlike Native Americans: mysterious stone chambers resembling ancient Irish temples found in Connecticut, the remains of what seems to be a castle in Tennessee and the list just continues...

While many of these legends lack verisimilitude, they seem plausible - especially as archaeology continually rewrites what we know about history. It's likely that many of these "White Indians" and such are of a more recent mixture (future DNA testing will tell us more) and that these various peoples are only misremembering, mixing facts, or simply wishing to be somehow unique. But, until we know more, we cannot discount that they may, in fact, be descended from Welsh princes, Viking explorers, or lost English colonists.


Validation Study for Autosomal DNA Ancestry Database Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Tennessee
[Paper scheduled for publication in Appalachian Journal, Fall 2010]
Donald N. Yates
DNA Consultants
ABSTRACT: The only previous attempt to validate the probabilistic prediction of ethnicity by an autosomal DNA database found a margin of error as large as 20% in identifying whether random samples were to be classified as "White" or "African American."

The authors took a more comprehensive approach based on case studies within a single mixed population. Using a convenience sample of 40 self-identifying Melungeons (a tri-racial isolate population in the southern Appalachian Mountains), the authors analyzed and compared their world database and ENFSI results. Several test subjects were part of an extended family, so it was possible to judge the consistency of results both latitudinally and longitudinally.

Among the findings: "One is left with a pattern of predominantly northeastern Scottish ancestry supplemented with Mediterranean elements and only minor contributions from adjacent northwestern European populations (England/Wales, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Denmark)."

In conclusion: "Although based on a limited sample, our results suggest that the Melungeons were not primarily drawn from ancestries in northwestern Europe, but rather represent an amalgam of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, North African, Sub-Saharan African and Native American ethnicities. It is possible that some founders carried South Asian and/or Gypsy/Roma ancestry, as well."

Discussed also are some of the little-understood aspects of population structure convergence -- for instance, that of Finns and individuals of predominantly northwestern European ancestry admixed with Native American.

[ch] The preceding, if correct, would diminish the likelihood of Prince Madoc and/or Roanoke claims, while bolstering those (perhaps) of the "Lost Tribes of Israel" or such, but I think we need more information from the DNA analysis. How far back to these various genetic strains go? The Appalachia region is well-known as the landing ground for many Scottish and Irish immigrants, so the presence of that DNA isn't at all surprising for people having lived in the region for so long. The question then becomes where these other genes come in, or more importantly, WHEN.

Did Bigfoot Attack City Manager's Car?

Read more here: Bigfoot Attack!

El Muerto: Headless Rider of the Texas Range

From its headwaters northwest of San Antonio to where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Cristi Bay, the Nueces River (meaning "nuts" in Spanish) winds its way through the hill country and scrublands of central and southern Texas. It was in this region during the middle of the 19th Century, when the Texas/Mexican border was in dispute and outlaws ran riot, that the badlands surrounding the Rio Nueces (as it was then known) became the stage for a mystery that has seared itself into the quasi-mythical history of the Lone Star State.

It seems that countless denizens of the region began reporting the appearance of a headless ghost rider that roamed the range. It was said he carried his head affixed to his saddle horn beneath a large hat. Stalwart cowboys and grizzled outlaws alike had reportedly taken aim at the ghastly apparition without effect. Bullets seemed to hit their marks with no apparent damage.

In time he would come to be known as "El Muerto" - the dead man. But who was this headless rider? Some thought him the specter of some long-dead Vaquero that guarded a gold mine at the Misión Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria del Cañón, a Spanish mission on the Rio Nueces. Others believed he was little more than a scarecrow strapped to a riderless mount and set loose as some practical joke.

It wasn't until a group of ranchers decided to settle the matter (with bullets) that the mystery was solved. Waiting at one of the phantom rider's familiar stomping grounds, the men ambushed the horseman as he arrived, felling him in a storm of firepower. When the smoke cleared, the men gingerly made their way toward the fallen horse. It was real enough; blood poured from its many wounds and seeped into the parched Texas earth. The rider, however, was a different matter. No blood pooled from beneath his headless form. Upon closer inspection, the men were shocked to find the dessicated corpse of some poor soul. It seems the man had been lashed to the saddle. Furthermore, he was riddled with the wounds of arrows, spears, and bullets. His skull lay, as legend held it, atop the saddle horn beneath a tattered sombrero.

Later, it was learned the man had been a horse thief named Vidal. His criminal escapades came to an end when he chose to steal several horses from one Creed Taylor. When Taylor found out about the theft, he pursued Vidal relentlessly until he cornered the horse thief down near the Rio Nueces. A shootout ensued, Vidal was killed, and as a lesson to other would-be thieves, Taylor told his right hand man - Bigfoot Wallace - to decapitate the body and strap him to a wild mustang. With a swift quirt, Taylor sent the horse bucking angrily into history. 

To read more about this strange, but seemingly true legend, check out these links:

Also, you can read two very similar and somewhat plagiarized* accounts that seem to go into greater detail.

*Read E. Randall Floyd's More Great Southern Mysteries

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2010 Paranormal Photo Hoax Contest Winners

Speaking of hoaxes... These are the top picks from's 2010 Paranormal Photo Hoax contest. While I don't agree with the winner, and I have to wonder how bad the discards were if some of THESE made it to the top, you will nonetheless be as surprised as I was at one or two. In following this contest over the years, I've be consistently nonplussed by the winners. I'm not sure the judging criteria are as unbiased or rigorous as they should be. That being said, I think I may start such a contest on this site....

10 Best UFO Hoax Videos

The folks over at count down the 10 Best UFO Hoax Videos for your enjoyment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Remnants of Atlantis? Island Mysteries Offer Tantalizing Evidence.

In 1803 Atlantis proponent Bory de Saint-Vincent published his Essai sur les îles Fortunées. In addition to presenting a straight-forward account of Plato's Atlantis, he also posited that the "lost continent" had subsided in two separate events, leaving behind only traces of their homeland: the Canary, Madeiras, and Azores islands.

In a map from his book, Saint-Vincent describes Atlantis as having once laid due west of Africa, almost touching at capes Bojador and Verde. He called the resultant body of water between these two points "Lac Tritonide," an element important in Diordoro's account of the Argonauts and the African Amazons. On the map, the Canary islands mark the original Atlas range. He (and others) felt that the towering 12,000-foot Pico de Teide matched far better the descriptions of Mount Atlas. Mount Teide, Tenerife

This is curious if you know a little something about Tenerife, that Canary island upon which can be found Pico de Teide. It is on this, the largest of these islands, that one can visit the mysterious Pirámides de Güímar. These mysterious stepped plazas and ziggurats were produced by unknown hands at an uncertain point in time. One of the Mysterious Pyramids

No less than the legendary Thor Heyerdahl attempted to plum its mysteries without much success. However, there is a theory that some archaelogists hold to: adventurous sailors from North Africa made their way to the tiny cluster of islands nearby. These first inhabitants, who seem to have gone extinct, are known collectively as "Guanches". While gone from history, traces of their language live on in dialects found on the Canary island of La Gomera. Later, both the Phoenicians and Carthaginians visited the island on numerous occasions. They found a Berber-like people eeking out a Neolithic life on the island.

It is possible these Guanches were the constructors of these enigmatic "pyramids". However, it remains a mystery as to why they were built. Could there be something to legends of Atlanteans living beyond the Pillars of Hercules? Perhaps not if one must think of a massive continent extending down from the western coast of Africa. However, if through translation blips and exaggeration, Atlantis was more of a political or cultural state than a geographic region, we might consider a culture that spanned multiple islands. Much like the Celts ranged all over Europe before retreating to enclaves on the northern islands, perhaps the Atlanteans held sway over various coastal regions and offshore islands prior to some event that left them stranded or diminished. It is a fact that the region is littered with seismic activities and volcanos. It wouldn't be hard to picture a dramatic end to this proposed-culture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Reported Bigfoot Sightings Aren't Taken Seriously

Moneymaker the Lawmaker? Bigfooter Wants Law To Punish Hoaxers

This is a reposting of an earlier article, which has been cleaned up and posted normally instead of the experimental image-post that didn't work out so well.

In a recent diatribe on the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) website, Matt Moneymaker harangues readers, demanding laws to protect the media - and by extension, the people - from hoaxers. He cites Tom Biscardi's dead Bigfoot hoax and the recent "balloon boy" debacle as examples of the media being duped.

As you might recall, the latter incident involved a family calling the authorities for help, claiming their youngest son was adrift on a runaway balloon shaped like a flying saucer.

Moneymaker says "Heen [the boy's father and apparent instigator of the hoax] was later charged with a felony for making false statements to law enforcement officers (and other public officials)...but not for hoaxing the press and the public. That part was permissible, and that's why it happens. You can get away with it. There is no real punishment."

Unfortunately what Moneymaker is overlooking is the press' need - nay, obligation - to investigate a story from all angles, remaining impartial and skeptical throughout. What he sees as a failure to protect the media from charlatans, I see as a failure for modern media to do its job.

In the new era of Yellow Journalism, reporters can't be bothered with fact-checking, research, investigative techniques, etc... to bring you the story. An impatient public needs to be fed and fed often - usually junk. So, they send out half-baked stories, bolstered by hearsay, supported by tweets, and visualized by YouTube. They would argue that it's a must; there are simply too many sources of information to compete with, and that to remain successful one must embrace alternative modes of reporting.

Does this, however, mean that fact-checking must die out like the dinosaurs? Does this mean that there is no longer time for savvy editors and producers to say let's wait on this, see what develops? Must everything be "breaking news" until it becomes nothing more than pointless screen watching?

How many times in recent memory can you recall having watched CNN coverage of a standoff or such and had to endure rambling reporters who, in the end, have managed to utter no facts? It's always a lot of speculation sprinkled with anchor commentaries before cutting to the pursed lip, finger wag of someone like Nancy Grace.

But Moneymaker says "blaming the news media for these situations is like blaming the victim." However, if we allow the inverse, we would be letting the media off the hook. They could then let their standards fall to whatever abysmal depths they should choose simply because we've thrown up our hands and said it's not their fault they fell for it.

"There is also the issue of fairness: If we demand high standards from news people, then we should also demand high standards from those who provide information to news people."

This statement is so patently absurd as to be risible. We rely upon professional journalists to get to the heart of a story, to penetrate to the truth. It's no different than a law enforcement officers job. Do they rely on suspects to tell them the truth because we would hope they hold themselves to a high moral standard? No. It is assumed that what is being told to the officer might not be the truth and needs to be checked out, investigated.

Moneymaker calls for a federal statute that would make it illegal to present false statements to the media in the execution of a hoax. He has faith that lawmakers will be able to hash out the legalese that would separate simply making an untrue statement from more organized forms of fraud. He further goes on to explain that this statute would narrowly apply only to the "breaking news" variety of media, as it most impacts the viewer. He mentions in his piece, "Nowadays, news directors make quick decisions about whether to go live to a breaking news story." This would, of course, exonerate the media from any culpability in reporting a half-baked story.

Still, journalists - as bad as they've become - continue to keep their language open. It's an alleged case of this or according to _____, John Doe was... This should (and frankly does) tell the public that not all the facts are in yet and that in legal situations we are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. We sometimes forget this in a world that increasingly judges our legality in the press long before the courtroom.

In my opinion, Moneymaker's ideas run dangerously close to trampling on freedoms, further tattering the First Amendment. For as much as it is the obligation of the press to report factually, accurately, wholly, and impartially, it is also our obligation to exercise common sense and investigate for ourselves. We cannot become automatons, vegetating before the flickering tube of unquestioned knowledge.

Mystery of the Giant Helmets

Shuker Nature ponders a curious postcard depicting two extremely ornate and LARGE helmets, seemingly displayed in a museum - possibly French.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Recent Sighting Over California City Calls To Mind Famed UFO Event

Caught on infrared camera, this chevron-shaped object, defined by a series of lights, which bears striking similarities to the mysterious "Phoenix Lights", was spotted over Oakland California and posted by

In addition to the Phoenix Lights, I am reminded of the famous "Los Angeles Air Raid" that took place several years prior to the oft-cited Roswell incident.

Recently, a documentary on the History Channel covered that mysterious event in 1942 when a massive anti-aircraft military barrage was focused on something over the city. Some believe it was an invading Japanese squadron (the event transpired mere months after Pearl Harbor), others think it was a covert exercise meant to keep Angelinos at a state of readiness, and some UFOlogists think an otherworldly battle transpired. The official line is that an escaping weather balloon (ah, good old weather balloons) triggered a series of events that played upon the trigger-happy "war nerves" of soldiers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


A yellow object was spotted by numerous witnesses the evening of June 12, 1956 over the small village of Kinson, southwest of South Hampton, England. As the object shot across the sky, it left a trail of blue sparks. One witness, Mrs. R. Scott, stated that "it was travelling at remarkable speed in the southwesterly direction."  Another witness said the object was as brilliant as magnesium. This woman's son also saw it as he fished the coast nearby. A third witness, Mrs. E. Keller, described a fast moving oval-shaped object that was luminous with a bright blue tail.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Debate Wages Over Truth About Necronomicon

H. P. Lovecraft's infamous creation, The Necronomicon, has been the source of endless debate among those who follow the horror masters works since the 1920's. Some feel - despite ample evidence to the contrary - that this strange grimoire written by a "mad" Arab is indeed real or based upon a real book. Micah Hanks examines.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


(Anonymous report posted on MUFON website) I woke up early (5/36/2010) and went to the kitchen sink to get a drink of water and saw the super bright light that at first I thought was the moon. The object lowered to almost ground level then illuminated the area in the woods all around it. We live in a home that is built on the side of a hill and the light was right on top of the hill where we live. After a few minutes I noticed that a beam of light was shining towards the north west and it stayed in that area for approx 3 min. The object then suddently shined a beam of light to the southeast area. The other area that had been illuminated in the opposite direction was then dark. The "moon" doesn't shine light in different directions. I woke up my husband and by the time I got back to the laundry room door window to show him what I was witnessing the light had dimmed. It was almost like they were watching me and knew I had gone to get another witness or something. He went back to bed half asleep.... and then is when it started shining a bright light in the two different direcitons (at different times). I woke him up again and he came and looked at it but was so sleepy he just said's the moon. I pointed out to him that we could only see one side of the tree's that was all lit up and he just said he was going to bed. I watched the light until it disappeared. It appeared to fade then just disappear. The woods are heavy behind our house up on top of the hill and when this object was illuminating the area all the tree's you could see very good. It was scary..I kept going from one window to another window to get a better look at it and trying to get my camera to work.

Hopefully you have had someone else in Oklahoma that saw this object. Whatever it was it was huge. There was no noise at all. It was a bright white light but big and you couldn't see any outline. I was looking at it through a lot of tree's so it was just a large large light.

The funny thing about it and the timing I thought might have something to do with the fact that I had started burning some brush piles next to our driveway that is right on the south of where this object was seen the day before. The fire had caught an old oilfield rubber hose that was very long on fire and it had burned very slowly all night. I wondered if this from the air could have sparked the objects attention. The next morning when I went up to look at the area where I'd seen the object I could tell that the rubber hose had continued to burn all night very slowly. The spot where the object was seen is a large open area where we had bulldozier work done the day before to clean up an old oil well site. There was fresh dirt and bulldozier tracks and trac hoe tracks and I only saw one little area that looked funny. It was a half circle with ridges prescisly spaced. I don't know but the track hoe could have made this impression in the dirt. I did take a few pictures of the dirt. During the sighting that early morning when I tried to take pictures my camera's battery was dead. By the time I got it half way charged I only got a few pictures and none showed the bright light, only one picture showed anything unusual and it shows 2 red lights in the upper right hand corner.

This was my experience and what I saw.
I'm not sure what the images are supposed to be. The ground photo looks like the tread of some sort of earth moving machine with some type of serrated implement mounted on it. I can't see anything in the second image save for specks on the glass, the framing of the window and something that looks like a canopy outside. - ch

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Haunting Of Jackie Hernandez (the paranormal version of All About Eve)

This is a story that I have wanted to write on this blog for quite some time, but as you can see it is a lengthy narrative with many convoluted twists and turns. So, it has taken me a while to get around to it. Hope it is interesting enough to be worth the wait.

In 1989, videographer Barry Conrad was asked to assist in the investigation of an alleged haunted house in San Pedro, CA. The project was spear-headed by Dr. Barry Taff, best known for his involvement in the famous "Entity" case of the late 1970's. This was an investigation that examined claims of violent poltergeist activity in Culver City, CA.

Conrad, who had worked for television before, was excited to dip his toes into some strange waters and work with someone of Taff's profile. He hoped he would be able to capture something really paranormal on camera. So, along with friend and photographer Jeff Wheatcraft, Conrad accepted the invitation and ventured to the San Pedro home of one Jackie Hernandez.

Once there, the assembled team heard impossible-to-believe stories about objects being tossed about by unseen forces, strange substances emanating and oozing from the walls (later said to be blood plasma), and the apparition of a ghastly and decrepit old man. In all, a classic Hollywood description of a terrifying haunting.

Before leaving that first day, Wheatcraft entered the attic--one of the home's many hotspots--through a panel in the ceiling to snap a few pictures. Suddenly, Wheatcraft cried out and leaped down from the attic. Once he was able to compose himself, he declared in terror that something had snatched the camera from his hands.

Still shaken, Wheatcraft accompanied Conrad back into the attic: the former to retrieve his camera, and the latter to find proof. Once inside, the two quickly saw that no one was hidden within its dark, dusty recesses, nor was there a way for someone to have slipped in or out unnoticed.

Strangely, the camera wasn't in sight. If there was the possibility that Wheatcraft's nerves conjured the fantasty that something had snatched his camera, it seemed to be fading fast. Only after several moments of looking was the camera spotted inside and old produce box. The lens had been detached and was found several moments later behind the door to the attic.

As the men prepared to leave, a malodorous scent filled the small attic. A sudden shout from Wheatcraft drew Conrad's eyes in time to see the photographer flee the attic promptly. Conrad quickly follow suit. Below, Wheatcraft recounted having felt a "bony" hand running along his lower back. Later, Wheatcraft would claim, visits to a chiropractor produced "evidence" of internal bruising of his back.

Conrad, who had until this point been unable to get his malfunctioning video camera to work, suddenly found himself able to shoot again as loud footsteps boomed through the attic above. When the sound stopped, Wheatcraft peered once more into the maw that so terrified him to confirm that nothing was up there.

He was about to close the attic back up when suddenly he shouted to the others that he could see three lights. Within moments, a large black mass manifested itself briefly before vanishing suddenly once more. Neither was anything caught on film nor video during the entire event.

Weeks later, Conrad received a call from a frightened Jackie Hernandez. As it happened, Conrad was in the company of Wheatcraft and another man, Gary Boehm, as the call came in. The men decided to record the conversation. Desperately, Hernandez pleaded for help. She and her family were in the midst of an exceptionally nasty bout of poltergeist activity: doors slamming, a soda can was flung at her, and an unseen force held her down as it tried to smother her.

It was around one in the morning when the men arrived at the seemingly calm little house. They were greeted by Hernandez from where she sat on the front porch with her two sleeping children, visibly shaken.

As the two other men checked out the house, Conrad stayed behind with Jackie and her neighbor, Susan Castaneda, who had joined them by that point. As the chatted, Conrad noticed an orange "comet of light" that suddenly luminesced before them. The strange phenomenon flew through a nearby door and disappeared outside. It happened so suddenly, Conrad didn't have time to capture it on video. However, he turned on the camera in hopes of its return.

As they waited, a series of sudden snaps were heard. Later these were described as the sound of a man snapping his fingers.

Barry began to roll the video just as a loud keening was heard from somewhere above. But it was not the mournful wailing of the disincarnate; it was the agonized voice of Jeff Wheatcraft emanating from the attic above.

Jackie screamed for him to come down.

As Conrad shot his video, trained on the attic opening, he could see several bursts from Wheatcraft's camera flash. Then darkness and silence for several long moments. Suddenly, Wheatcraft's baleful voice is heard calling out in confusion. "What's happened to me?"

Seconds later, Wheatcraft is crawling on the floor toward the attic opening. "I've got to get out of here," he says. "It's definitely raising hell... It put something around my neck".

Conrad and the women were shocked as Wheatcraft emerged from the hole. Around his bruised, red neck was a wire clothesline. Something had, he claimed, looped it around his neck and tried to hang him from one of the rafters. Conrad believed these events transpired too rapidly for his friend to have done this to himself in any attempt to hoax those below.

When Conrad examined the video at home, he noted that the same bright "comet of light" was seen in the video footage shortly after the hanging incident. Thinking these strange lights might be insects, Conrad had Dr. Keith Dobrey, an entomologist working in L.A., examine the tape. He determined that whatever these were, they were not insects.

Subsequent investigations at the home revealed more of these strange lights, which Conrad claims had been clocked at speeds over 200 mph. Conrad further states that Dr. Barry Taff's film team recorded similar phenomena during their "Entity" investigation.

By November that year, Jackie Hernandez had moved to a trailer home in Weldon, California. At first it seemed the nightmare of her poltergeist had been left behind in that dismal San Pedro home. However, by spring, strange things began once more.

Mysterious scratching noises, as if from some wild best, emanated from the walls of the shed behind the home. On April 2nd, while helping Jackie move a TV into the shed, Janice and Jim Silcott, Jackie's neighbors, saw the visage of an old man appear on the TV screen. Upon hearing their description, Hernandez was suddenly reminded of the ugly, angry looking spirit that haunted her in San Pedro. The Silcott's claimed he had "evil eyes".

Once again, Jackie Hernandez frantically phoned Barry Conrad and Jeff Wheatcraft who arrive at her home on April 13th, 1990. Conrad stated later that Wheatcraft reluctantly accompanied him, given his prior experiences in San Pedro, to Jackie's new home.

Arriving at night, beneath a full moon, the pair began their investigation, first spotting - amazingly - mysterious shadows inside her shed. Unfortunately, Conrad's oft-malfunctioning video camera was once more on the fritz and unable to record anything.

At the prompting of Hernandez, the trio was joined by a neighbor in an ouija board session. Conrad professed skepticism but went along with the experiment nonetheless. Jackie lit some candles (as surely one must) and the group began to ask their questions:

"Are you really a ghost?"


The table, according to Conrad, suddenly began to vibrate wildly. A shock passed through the group. Still, they pressed on.

"How many ghosts reside among the living?"

Phantoms fill the skies around you

Once more the table shook, joined shortly by their chairs as well.

Throughout the session, conducted in a room with all windows closed, the nearby candles slowly, inexplicably blew themselves out one-by-one.

Further revelations from the planchette: their tormentor had been murdered in San Pedro bay in 1930 when someone held him under the water. Conrad wanted to know why the anger toward them. Why, for instance, he asked, did the spirit attack Wheatcraft in the attic?

Because he has the likeness of my killer

The table shook once more. Conrad asked the spirit whom precisely in the room he hated. The planchette quickly spelled out the answer.


Suddenly, Jeff was tossed bodily through the air, smacking the wall of the trailer and slumping downward into unconsciousness. Conrad must have been cursing himself that none of this was caught on video. Oh, the irony! He raced to the floor where Jeff Wheatcraft lay. The man seemed to be coming around and Conrad helped him shakily to his feet.

Several days later, Conrad investigated what the spirit had said during the ouija board session, hoping to confirm the story. In reviewing the archives of San Pedro's paper at the time, Conrad discovered that a seaman named Heman Hendrickson had been murdered in 1930, drowned in the bay. This seemed important when, months later, they re-examined the cord that had snagged Wheatcraft that first visit. It seemed the knot was a type known almost exclusively to seafarers. Further still, Conrad says he learned that Hendrickson had lived in Jackie's San Pedro house.

But why leave the home he had haunted for so long to follow Jackie Hernandez? And why begin to follow Conrad and Wheatcraft suddenly? In July, the pair returned home to find things in disarray - subtle, but nonetheless noticed. A loud thump was heard, a coffee can overturned, two pairs of scissors placed under each pillow on the bed. It would seem the entity knew Conrad wouldn't be alone that evening. Similar events went on for the next few months: footsteps were heard, mysterious apports with sinister overtones, a luminous apparition... Almost without exception, compelling evidence was never gathered nor was anything caught on film due to the inexplicable camera problems that plagued the men since day one.

In time, Hernandez moved back to San Pedro to live in a small apartment. But within days the entity had returned. Objects once more moved of their own accord, strange sounds were heard, and mysterious lights appeared.

In August, Hernandez had the opportunity to photograph one of these mysterious lights, which seemed impressive enough to confound the learned minds at the Eureka Photo Lab & Gifts in Studio City, a one-hour photo processing center. Another photo enterprise in Hollywood commented that "no spillage of light" fell "onto the background wall whatsoever".

Later, Dr. Barry Taff (a person seemingly absent from all but the initial Hernandez investigation) would comment that "in all my years of psychic research, never have I heard of a poltergeist invading the domain of those who came to investigate it." Why did Taff drop out of the investigation so early on? Did he suspect something? "Only a handful of cases have ever been reported in which ghosts have physically attacked human beings." Then it would seem like a great opportunity to examine such a rare instance, and yet he does not. He must have had good reason.

In time, Jackie Hernandez reported fewer and fewer incidents. She still lives in San Pedro.

My thoughts (for the most part) have been restrained in the preceding paragraphs. Here, I will pose questions and point out certain curiosities.

In regards to the oozing substance found in the San Pedro home that was determined to be a blood product of some type. I wonder who did the testing of this. Conrad in his account doesn't say. How do they know it was "blood"? It should be noted that substances oozing from walls has a lengthy history of appearing pop culture via films and novels, but not a great deal of real-life examples exist.

Conrad would have us believe there wasn't sufficient time for Jeff Wheatcraft to have inflicted the "strangulation" upon himself. But he had been outside the attic with Hernandez, unable to see what was happening above. I would say he had plenty of time.

Why did this entity follow these people outside the home?

What we never learn is more about Jackie Hernandez as a person. Who is she? What does she do? What is her home life like? What was going on in her world prior to these events? Does she have a history of mental illness? Is she a fantasy-prone personality? Does she struggle with drugs or alcohol? Is she religious? Has she had brushes with the law? Is the literate in the paranormal? The list goes on. Things that should have been asked and yet weren't, it seems.

It could be that the home was indeed haunted. Some prior and later tenants claimed such - even before the story broke. I may have been, too, if such phenomena are to be believed, that Jackie Hernandez was possessed of those subconscious psychokinetic abilities that seem to plague poltergeist conduits. This may have been what initially attracted Dr. Taff to the case, but once the three-ring circus of confabulation with aims to sell a story arose, he bowed out.

It would seem, if you have seen any of the footage of this case, that a great deal of manipulation and misidentification has taken place. The strange lights buzzing about Hernandez' head, for example, are clearly an artifact of video speed as it affects how insects are seen. There have been many documented experiments proving these so-called "rods" are merely insects that, because of their rapidity of movement, can appear in multiple places across a single frame of video. Conrad has the necessary skills to determine this, as he also possesses the ability to manipulate the footage to suit his needs. Conrad never reveals what frame rate his cameras were operating at.

I have qualms with the ouija board session, beyond my qualms for ouija board sessions. Simply because Wheatcraft resembled the man who murdered the spirit doesn't seem sufficient reason, when even the spirit says he only LOOKS like him, to torment him so. I'm not about to psychoanalyze the dead, but it lacks a certain logic. If I were to venture a guess, I would say that slowly (perhaps guided by Conrad), these men began to shift focus from Jackie Hernandez to place themselves in the "starring roles" of this melodrama. Also, I find what the ghost purportedly says to be belabored speech. It's as if someone in the 1990's was trying to affect a "voice from the past" by using the passive voice, thinking it would sound more formal and therefore "antiquated". "You have the likeness of my killer" and not "you look like the man that killed me." It smacks of someone trying too hard to convince us that this is a voice beyond the grave. Also, I'm not certain that the facts (if true) concerning the murdered seaman weren't known before hand.

I've looked around and can find no documentation to bolster such claims as the "massive internal bruising" Wheatcraft (who seems to take all the punches) received from his initial encounter.

I also wonder why Hernandez kept calling Conrad and Wheatcraft back. They aren't paranormal investigators. They were cameramen. Was it because they seemed eager marks and Taff was unimpressed? Or is it, as some have suggested, related to a romantic interest Hernandez showed in Conrad? In an early to mid-1990s interview, Hernandez exhibited thinly-veiled resentment and even outright hostility toward Conrad and his work in those years. The scorn of a would-be lover who had been rebuffed?

Take what you will from this tale. I, for one, see an emotionally liable woman with a fantasy-prone personality and a need for attention (who might genuinely have been encountering a haunting or self-manifested poltergeist phenomenon) that draws in the attention of a somewhat famous man and one or more less-than-scrupulous opportunists. A tacit - if even unspoken - agreement arises that, if played right, this can bring a lucrative degree of attention. Books can be written, interviews given, and videos sold (as they have been). As things fell apart between Jackie Hernandez and the other men (for what reasons we can only speculate), Conrad shifts the focus of the haunting from her to himself. After all, it doesn't matter who the leading lady is; the ghost is the star.

Friday, June 4, 2010


One UFO investigator opines on the death of ufology at the hands viral videos and pseudospiritual ramblings - and you know, I think he's right.

Blobsquatch Does Play-for-Pay

In April 2009, Bigfoot enthusiast Mike Greene shot some thermal video that has now become known as the "The Squeaky Video" on the Internet. In this video, the man and his proponents claim, can be seen the form of a sasquatch-like creature. No details are visible due to the nature of the thermal video, so it is impossible to know for sure.

It has been said that you can watch 3 minutes of it for free at the website, but all I saw were a bunch of thermal recreations and other worthless videos. You have to plop down cold hard cash to examine the thing.

Mike Greene's Squeaky thermal video is now avalible for download in the .WMV format. Each download costs $2.00 US dollars which will be paid to PayPal. The video once downloaded may be viewed forever. If anything is at fault you must pay again to download the file. The footage is governed under US COPYRIGHT LAWS even though the watermark may be blurry. Mike has spent over $5,000.00 in documentation (lawyers included) to reserve this right and if it is found reposted on the web or in any other form you will surely be prosecuted!!! Please enjoy Mike's video if only because he has spent a lot of time and cash in this pursuit, not pastime. [from the site]

I guess everybody's got to make a buck these days. Downside is... makes it real hard for anyone to believe you don't have a motive for hoaxing the footage. Unless you're Matt Moneymaker. "This is the most important footage of a Sasquatch since Paterson/Gimlin film taken over 40 years ago,” Moneymaker said at a gathering to celebrate Bob Gimlin in Yakima, WA.

Alien Caught On Surveillance Camera

There is no set up for the following video, but it can be surmised that the man from Univision (a Spanish-language network) is speaking to attendees at some type of convention, possibly held by a MUFON group. He explains how the video was recorded and wound up in his hands, which you can review at your leisure, but if you wish to jump to the "money shot", you'll find that begins at the 02:00 mark. Without the original (we see his copy as broadcast on a TV set at the conference), it's hard to see what is happening in the video, but the fluidity of movement, combined with the odd shape and stature are very intriguing. The ubiquity of 3D modeling software and other digital gizmos should keep all excitement in check. In the 21st Century, it might be harder to trust our eyes when it comes to these claims. I'll look for more video on this and see what I can find. Updates will be posted.

Some interesting comments regarding this video can be found here.