Thursday, September 30, 2010

Military Members Speak Out About UFOs

Writer Robert Hastings managed to get his UFO/Nukes press conference off the ground. Yesterday, at the National Press Club in DC, former military officers addressed the press to announce that not only were UFOs real, but they present a viable threat to national security. Hastings has long written about the connection between UFO sightings and military installations, particularly those housing atomic facilities or nuclear arsenals.

New Book Haunts Tulsa's Past

"Welcome to a window into the past. Tulsa’s Haunted Memories explores the forgotten history and lost folklore of “America’s Most Beautiful City.” Tulsa’s haunting history will captivate the reader with the secrets it holds from its intriguing past. Mystery and mystique follow Tulsa’s urban legends and prove that truth can be stranger than fiction. Once known as the oil capital of the world, its streets were not only lined in “Black Gold,” but also tales of a time when ruthlessness and lawlessness ruled the city. Discover these places and stories that have left their ghostly impressions on Tulsa." [Arcadia Publishing]

Written by long-time Tulsan, Teri French, this work goes on sale, October 18, 2010. If I get an advance copy, I'll post a review here shortly. It looks to be an interesting read. While my own book did cover tales from Tulsa, no doubt French has been able to probe more deeply that city's storied past. I look forward to reading it.

 

High Flying UFOs Over Arizona City

Around the middle of September, 2010, a Tucson ABC affiliate posed images and video online of an altogether unremarkable wazit over the skies of that southern Arizona city. It was so small and distant, that it was scarcely visible to the naked eye. Yet, the post got so many hits on their website that it quickly became one of the station's top 5 stories.


Then last Thursday, calls came in about lights over the nearby town of Ajo. The following night received reports of lights over the Catalina mountains. Several of these witnesses sent in their amorphous, noctilucent blobs, which they found "incredible".

Read More Here

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Killing Off Ghost Hunting?

In "Dead and Buried: How the Paranormal Community Killed my Interest in Ghost Hunting," Nick Foust harangues readers with an impassioned diatribe that, while at times meanders, is nonetheless spot on in many respects. It is likely you will see many of your own laments in his words. Check out the whole post at http://whofortedblog.com/.  The post is from November of last year; however, I feel that it is even more relevant now. Perhaps, like myself, Mr. Foust longs for this field's death so that it may re-emerge from the ashes, a refocused phoenix ready for a more sensible iteration.

Crypto-Hunter Nick Redfern Goes Chupa Chasing in Oklahoma

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The Logistics of a Roswell Coverup

If any such crash occurred as the rumored '47 Roswell event, Anthony Bragalia posits exactly whom would be employed to effect a successful coverup - and to what lengths they would need to go. You can read more of his analysis at UFOiconoclasts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making Fun Of All That Goes Fist-Bump In The Night

Got a great mention from the Ghost Provokers:  "Our show got a nice review from Cullan Hudson, a writer and blogger from Oklahoma! Thanks for the shout out Cullan, and good luck with your book, STRANGE STATE!"

Check them out. They are an extremely funny parody of all that goes fist-bump in the night. Ghost Provokers  Tomorrow night they will be featured guests of the Ghost Divas on http://www.srnlive.com/.

Local OKC Anti-Exorcism Still On

A satanic group calling itself The Church of the IV Crown Princes (formerly Church of the IV Majesties) are still scheduled to perform their anti-exorcism, which mocks the Catholic ritual to expell demons, at Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The event was scheduled for October 21, but a recent internal upset forced a change in power, which put it temporarily on hold.

It seems that once members of the group, which worships Lucifer, Satan, Belian, and Leviathan in a smorgasboard approach to religion, discovered their former leader was also a registered sex offender, they had little choice but to dismiss him from his post. C'mon, what self-respecting satanist would be hanging out with a registered sex offender?

The former leader tried to dissolve the church and cancel the Civic Center event, but the remaining members reformed under the new 'Crown Princes' name and set about plans for the anti-exorcism. It's hard work: robes to iron, streamers to hang, balloons... If you've never planned an anti-exorcism, you can't even begin to understand the logistical nightmare one can pose.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Controversial UFO Figure Dies At 80

A former Cal State Long Beach professor whom many knew as a UFO outsider passed away Sept 8th, 2010.

Alvin Lawson, a one-time English professor, held many controversial views regarding the exact nature and origin of UFO phenomena. Among these was his hypothesis that accounts of alien abduction were, in fact, memories of birth trauma that manifested themselves for various reasons years or decades later. Lawson's hypotheses were born of his decades-long interest in the topic. However, as a multi-degreed English academic, his work lacked the psychological or medical training to back up such assertions. Consequently, his work was not well-received by either the UFO or scientific communities.

In 1996, Lawson was quoted, ""True believers are mad at me. My ideas represent a threat to their belief systems." While his work may have sparked interest among fringe UFO enthusiasts, none seem to have taken up his work and attempted to validate these claims scientifically, which is what is required. After all, as physicist Robert L. Park wrote, "It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right."

If for nothing else, Lawson should be credited for thinking outside the box, for daring to look beyond the conventional beliefs regarding UFOs. It is, I believe, only through toppling the dogma that blocks our path that we can ever see clearly a glimpse of the truth behind these mysteries.

Take Time To Give Back


This past weekend I helped local paranormal investigators from GHOULI, members of Abandoned Oklahoma, and others to clean up a historic structure in El Reno, OK. Preserving history is important and I feel it is incumbent upon us all to extend a hand so that we don't lose our grip upon the past. Sadly, Oklahoma has a long history of razing historic structures without a second glance, often to put up cheaply-made strip malls. If you are a part of an entity that investigates or otherwise frequents abandoned, historic, or disused structures, please set aside some time to give back. Schedule a clean up day or promote historic preservation through your activities.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Abandoned Hospital Makes For Stunning Photographs, Haunted Mystery


"Sara H.: There will be no venturing of any sort up to the third floor to 'just check it out' by any staff or other residents. The third floor is not used except for storage and Sara needs to be reminded of the fire codex as well. We as a staff team can not feed into her beliefs about the malignant presence up there or within the house. I expect all staff to gently discourage her away from viewing the third floor, and redirect her thoughts toward productive activities."



These are memos sent by a supervisor to her staff that was found among the debris littering the decomposing ruins of a now-defunct pyschiatric facility. [read more]

Sadly, Solis keeps the location of this particular hospital vague.  She only mentions that it encompasses more than 1,000 acres and the "haunted" third floor is within an old house the hospital converted into additional living facilities for its patients. It would be fascinating to learn more about this haunted claim and the patient who made it. Did others witness apparitions, malevolent presences, and other strange goings-on? If you visit her site and think you know where this expansive hospital is, I would love to hear about it. Perhaps you even know some of its haunted history.

You can view more stunning photography by Julia Solis at her site www.darkpassage.com. Therein she has images from not only abandoned hospitals but malls, amusement parks, and more. We share an affinity for the overlooked beauty that can be found in the textures and nuances of urban decay: cracked and peeling paint; wan light that filters sickly through occluded panes; and the archaelogical remains of world not so far-removed, but altogether forgotten.

Ghouls! Ghouls! Ghouls! OKC Hosts 4th H'ween Parade


For the fourth year in a row, Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween parade will slice through downtown Oklahoma City like a killer's rusty blade. Scores of ghouls, ghosts, goblins and God-only-knows-whats will form an unholy procession led by grand marshal and local TV legend Count Gregore. Also in attendance will be famed musical group The Flaming Lips, who will lead the annual 'March of 1000 Flaming Skeletons.'

Sponsored by the Oklahoma Gazette (among others), This event is fast becoming a must-do attraction. More than 50,000 attended the 2009 parade and this years is expected to be even bigger.

There are numerous ways to participate in this celebration of creativity and artistry taking place on October 23, 2010!

☠ FREE - You can be a costumed reveler (all by your lonesome or with other costumed freaks!)
☠ For $25, you can enter as a walking group, marching band or bicycle.
☠ For $50, you can enter a float, car, motorcycle or anything on WHEELS.

A limited amount of entries will be accepted, so enter now IF YOU DARE!

And remember, no one under 18 is allowed in the parade. See the rules page for full details.

If you would like to participate in this fun event, feel free to choose the form which applies to you. Make sure that you sign and date the form, then send in your application and entry fee to the address below.

Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild
PO Box 54649
Oklahoma City, OK 73154
http://www.ghoulsgonewildokc.com/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ghost Provokers Are Gonna Shove An EMF Meter Where Other TV Ghost Hunters Wouldn't Dare.


Who you gonna call when self-important ghost hunting teams have ripened to the point of parody?

When I first learned of the Ghost Provokers and their piss-off the spirits approach to paranormal investigation, I thought Ugh! Here we go again... However, after visiting their website and watching a bit of the promo work, I've come to believe this is actually a rather humorous and cynical parody of Ghost Adventures, etc., which is ironic because GA became a parody of themselves really. Watch and laugh (be sure to check out the bio clips!) as the team tackles new paranormal ground such as investigating the first lesbian haunting:

Scott: "She was an avid nutcracker collector?"
Dead chick's great-great granddaughter: "Over forty."
Scott: "She had a thing against nuts, huh?"





The notorious Ghost Divas will interview this comic trio September 29 at 10pm central on http://www.srnlive.com/

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TV Ghost Hunting Losing Steam and Wandering Aimlessly?

"There were moments early in [Ghost Hunter's] run when the personalities made it even more interesting to watch, when Brian was f'ing up and Jason was scared to proclaim anything haunted. They were like Duff and the gang at the cake shop in "Ace of Cakes." Somewhere along the line, however, the team began to lose its personality, became jilted and sterile, and way too cordial with each other as if they never spoke to each other outside of filming."


Read more about what direction ghost hunting is taking in Autumn Forest's latest post.

CLICK HERE

Man Plunges To Earth, Vanishes

Recently, in the sky over Egg Harbor Township, NJ, multiple witnesses spotted what looked like a man plunging head-first toward the earth without a parachute. However, a thorough investigation of the surrounding environs has yielded no evidence of a body. If a man truly fell to earth, he landed (or vanished - The Event anyone??) without harm. No missing skydivers have been reported. Onlookers reported seeing a small plane flying in the vicinity at the time. Local authorities have postponed their investigation until such time as further information becomes available. "We're not actively out there searching, but we're waiting for more information," police Sgt. Robert Gray stated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Noodling For Giant Catfish: VH1 Goes Legend Tripping With Real And Chance

VH1's dubious duo, Real and Chance (of Real Chance of Love) have embarked upon a new enterprise wherein the pair track down legends throughout the country. It's mostly a vehicle for putting this flamboyant urban team among regular folk à la mode de The Simple Life while cashing in on the current paranormal/legend zeitgeist ruling so many cable networks these days.

For one episode, the men venture to Stillwater, Oklahoma to investigate legends of giant catfish and proceed to provide comic relief for all who watch this fish-out-of water tale. Suffice it to say, girlish screams abound and the locals doubtlessly have a good laugh.

Check out Cryptomundo.com for a more thorough analysis of the program. As for VH1 viewers, they're already chiming in with comments on the network's website. It isn't pretty.

moneeman wrote this impassioned plea:

"Dear God, can we PLEASE implore VH1 to not run ANY episodes of this Minstrel Show?! It's 2010, people!! It's bad enough that we have the cooning that goes on in "Meet the Browns" or the Mammy-ing of the Aunt Jemima character who sells Popeye's chicken...but those at least aren't marketed as "reality television." I realize that these two fools are just looking for a paycheck and they can't comprehend that such profound statements as "Why ain't any of these little men's wearing clothes, brah?" will only add to the stereotypical "Ignorant Black Man" image. I would doubt that the show lasts more than four episodes due to the fact that they can only appear to be "scared" of the animals, etc, for so long before the audience loses interest, but that's not the point. Flav started this travesty with his shucking and jiving on "Flavor of Love," and these two are only following his lead of playing the part of the Clown. I hope the money they get from this joke of a show will be worth the cost of their dignity."

And Jacqueline wrote this intelligent critique:

DEY AINT NUDDIN BUT SUM REJECTS PPL STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP WE DNT CARE TO C DIZ **** UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


WTF GAVE DEES 2 NOBODIES ANOTHA DAMN SHO SMH DEES 2 FOOLS SUQ ASZ LMFAO WER DHA HELL DEY DO THAT AT??? CHANCE LUK SLO N REAL NEED 2 CUT THAT **** OFF HIS HEAD HE A GROWN ASS ****** MAN!!!!!!!! WOWWWWWWWWWWWW

A profound statement mitigated only by a faulty caps lock button, certainly.

Texacabra Explanation?

A "Chupacabras" found in Stilwell, OK

Stilwell, OK Specimen














Mexican Hairless Dogs














While Mexican immigration might be a hot button issue in Texas, it's a newer arrival from Mexico that seems to make the news often these days. Call it Chupacabra, Chupadogra, or Texacabra, it seems to be a mystery canine that has captured a hungry media's attention.

While the Chupacabras is an illusory Puerto Rican invention, the Texacabra leaves actual specimens behind. These look a lot like dead dogs with serious cases of mange. However, given that some of those found have very thin bodies with short ears and angular faces, I wonder if the specimens found aren't actually full-blooded or half-bred "mexican hairless" dogs. 

These animals, which officially go by the name Xoloitzcuintli, are a rarity in the dog world.  While they were a favorite among the ancient Maya, these dogs have only come to the attention of Americans recently. It is likely that uninformed Americans might think they were animals afflicted with mange - or a Texacabra.

Compare the photos of purported Texacabras with that of the Mexican Hairless and you might see the same similarities I have. While DNA testing has reportedly been done on several specimens, I have not yet heard any conclusion. While a strange mystery beast makes for a great headline, the truth that it was a dog seldom does.

Read more on the subject here.


Friday, September 17, 2010

COOL WORD: GRIMPENDIUM

Billing itself as a "guide to macabre and ghastly sites," J. W. Ocker's The New England Grimpendium is a collection of miscellany from the northeast. Ranging from banal curiosities such as Edward Gorey's home and the Nature Museum at Grafton, to the more promising "Dungeon Rock" and John Zaffis' Museum of the Paranormal, wherein the august investigator has amassed hundreds of possessed or paranormal-related bric-a-brac. You can learn more at his O.T.I.S. (Odd Things I have Seen) blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UFO Writer Nukes Chance At Smart Read

From his heated, call-to-arms language heavily laden with emotion to his utter reliance upon eye-witness testimony, author and researcher Robert Hasting's site promoting his new book, UFOs and Nukes, left me completely unimpressed.  I was even bothered by the title, but couldn't immediately articulate why. 

As luck would have it, I just stumbled across the following caveat while perusing a writer's style and reference book: "If you are writing for a general audience...and you use the term nukes, some readers...may be irritated by what they see as a frivolous reference to a dealy serious subject."

I think that is what bothered me most; it seemed a cheesy title for a book that aimed to examine intelligently these connections the author posits. His work, while often flawed, is smartly written and he certainly had done his homework. However, once more the bane of UFOlogy rears its head in an over-reliance on anecdotal "evidence" and presumption.

Hastings writes in an article entitled "A Shot Across The Bow: Another Look At The Big Sur Incident" that "Following the dramatic incident (according to witness, then Lt. Bob Jacobs) a 16-mm version of the amazing film was shown to a small, select group at Vandenberg. Immediately thereafter, the crucial frames were cut out and quickly confiscated by two “government agents”—possibly working for the CIA—who had been among those in attendance." Jacobs said that while in the meeting, his superior commanded him to keep quiet about what had been captured on the film, emphasizing that it did not happen.

Herein lie several of the pitfalls facing UFO research today.  While never overbearing, words like amazing, select group, immediately, crucial, and quickly confiscated paint an image of a wondrous event that was capriciously snatched from humanity by sinister "government agents". This brings me to my second concern: presumption. Jacobs, according to Hastings, described these men as possible CIA agents, but provides no evidence to that effect. In fact, in Jacobs' own words (here), he left that meeting without ever knowing who those men were. He also left that meeting before they did, so how can he know they took the film-if indeed any such film existed? In point of fact, I'm not sure we can be assured any such meeting took place.

Some years later, Jacobs broke his silence and sold his story to the National Enquirer.  It is only well after the fact, that he came to several spurious conclusions, including his belief that the entire missile tracking test was a cover for UFO activity that would later evolve into the Reagan-era Star Wars program.

Those who criticize Jacobs' story dug deep into military archives, coming up empty-handed on any documentation to support his claims. This is easily refuted by Jacobs and proponents like Hastings as proof of a government conspiracy. But the logical fallacy this presents is too rudimentary to even examine. Suffice it to say that if a man claims to have invented water, and his skeptics say "well, we can't find any proof of that". That man would be a fool to simply blame it on a government conspiracy.

And that's the crux of the problem with work such as Hastings' books and articles. While they make for interesting, well-written, deeply-researched tales, they simply cannot hold water as compelling evidence. To his credit, Hastings admits this reliance on anecdotal evidence. Yet, he proceeds with his lectures, books, articles, and a forthcoming press conference to shout to any who will listen that the sky is falling. It is obvious that he has a deeply abiding passion and concern when it comes to the correlation between UFOs and our military installations.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BOGGY DEPOT BIGFOOT CONFERENCE JUST AROUND CORNER


Boggy Depot Bigfoot Conference Schedule

8:45am - 9:00am - Opening and Greeting
9:00am - 9:50am - Randy Harrington / Darren Lee MABRC
10:00am - 10:50am - Nick Redfern
11:00am - 11:50am - Ken Gerhard
12Noon - 1:00 pm - LUNCH
1:00pm - 1:50pm - R. Scott Nelson
2:00pm - 2:30pm - Robert Swain
2:40pm - 3:30pm - Daniel Falconer
3:40pm - 4:30pm - Cullan Hudson
4:40pm - 5:30pm - PIN Texas ( Paranormal Investigation's of North Texas)
5:30pm - 6:00 pm - Drawing and Auction
6:00pm - 10:00pm - Dinner / Music ( food Served by Bigfoot Bar-B-Q )

Monday, September 13, 2010

Open-Mindedness, Skepticism, and Critical Thinking

This short film is an invaluable primer for any who investigate claims of paranormal phenomena.  You will doubtlessly see a great many people you know in the characters described - perhaps even yourself.  We should all challenge our assumptions and examine our thought processes when it comes to extraordinary claims.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Black Bear Population Rises In Texas

Black bears now join mountain lions in the ever-growing list of species that seem to be making a comeback in areas that haven't seen populations in more than a century. One healthy sign of black bear populations in Texas is a sudden spike in sightings reported in the eastern bordelands of that state. It would seem that numbers have risen enough in bordering states of Arkansas and Oklahoma that juvenile males have ventured further afield in search of their own territories.

If I might make a prediction, I suggest those who take interest in Bigfoot sightings be prepared for a spike in coming months. If these bears are now venturing into areas that haven't seen them in decades, the chances for misidentification run high.

To read more about this, check out cryptomundo.com.

In a related matter of migrating species, I can't help but express a modicum of concern regarding the forthcoming animated feature "Alpha and Omega".  This movie is, in essence, the story of two wolves at opposite ends of the lupine hierarchy (one being an 'alpha', or leader, and the other is the low man on the totem pole) being forced to work together to stop a bloody conflict from erupting between two rival packs.  However, I cannot believe that the manner in which this odd couple is thrust together won't manifest itself as some sort of misguided social commentary about how man is really snatch up wolves to relocate them where they don't belong.

While it's no secret that projects do exist that move wolves to new areas, this isn't a horrific abduction. These animals are being reintroduced into areas where unbridled hunting had previously killed them off. It is man actually trying to put right a mistake. The same has been done for many other animals in the past, but somehow the wolf stands as a point of controversy while the California Condor remains a beacon of greater human stewardship. Baffling.

And I may be wrong. Maybe this movie won't touch on this subject at all and simply use it as a plot device for how two animals get thrust together that would otherwise not be seen as equals within the pack.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Banff Bigfoot On Tape?!



If it's a hoax, it's not from those on the boat. I think in that sense, it is genuine: these people all saw something that wasn't a bear. However, I caution that doubtlessly this ferry runs the same route multiple times each day with tourists videotaping the whole way. If you wanted to get "caught" on tape, this would be your spot. Physically, it doesn't look right. It has the look of something smaller inside something large, like a costume. Its legs seem too close together and there's this oddly low center of balance on the thing. I say costume, but to be fair, we hardly get a good look at it.

ONLY LA COULD HAVE A HAUNTED STRIP JOINT

In 1904 Frederic Belasco, opened the original Los Angeles Belasco, a 1200-seat theatre at 337 S. Main street. In 1926, a new Belasco Theater was opened and the old venue was renamed The Follies, a burlesque club. While still a legitimate theater, the building played host to pianist Paderewski and famed songstress Mme. Schumann-Heinck. Early Hollywood legends such as W. C. Fields, Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau, Hobart Bosworth and others made live appearances on stage. In the 1930's, The Follies was remodeled by architect S. Charles Lee and remained a popular attraction for decades. By the mid-1960s, its age and neglect were apparent when journalist and author Susy Smith visited the establishment to investigate haunted claims.

Some of the stories Smith picked up during her investigation include an encounter employee Benny Roberson had one night at the Follies.

It was 4 am when Roberson spotted a young woman in a yellow sweater and brown skirt. At first he thought she had come in to apply for a job, but it seemed awfully late for that. He asked her if he could help her with anything, but she simply turned and left without saying a word. Benny followed her but she vanished. He searched all over the theater, but there was simply no sign of the young woman.

That was Roberson's first encounter, but in time, he came to learn more about the theaters haunted nature. The girl in question is thought to be the spirit of a stripper who hanged herself in the basement.

The ropes that move the sets and curtains were known to sway of their own volition. A vase once burst into pieces while Benny and a stripper named Barbara deVere were conversing in the dressing room. They both knew it was the ghostly stripper girl who had done it.

deVere's husband laughed this off, confessing to Smith that it was he who had invented the ghost. He related to the journalist how once, when his dancers had been complaining about the cramped dressing room, he had invented the tale as reason why he wouldn't open a boarded up space at the far end. In truth, he simply didn't want to mess with it.

From there, a story began to form as imaginations ran wild through the theater. It didn't help that a small room off the catwalks high above the stage had once been the workspace for a scene painter. This man had wallpapered the small space with pictures of various scantily-clad burlesque girls. Not unusual, right? Well, this man (whose name nobody could recall) had a particular preference for which girls made his infamous wall: the dead ones. Only those girls who had been killed or committed suicide made the cut. Memento mori? Was this macabre tableau a reminder to himself or the girls that life if fleeting, precious? Let us hope.

Confessions of confabulation aside, maintenance man Johnnie Lattimore told Smith of his encounters, which he swore truly occurred. He claimed to have seen the ghost at least 5 times. However, he has no tales of brown skirts and smart yellow sweaters. Lattimore tells of a redhead in a white negligee running backstage toward the stairs that snake up to the dressing rooms above. The first time or two, Lattimore chased after her. Each time, however, she seemed to vanish somewhere along the spiral steps before even reaching the top.

However, one wonders if his description isn't based upon Betty Rowland, who at one time was a very famous dancer. She came out to California in the mid-1930's following Burlesque's criminalization in New York City.  Not long after arriving, she and a few other New York gals began to work at the Follies. She stayed on for 15 years, earning the appellative "Ball of Fire".

Sadly, like so much history in this country, the Follies Theatre was demolished in May 1974. Today, the site is occupied by a large office complex. I wonder if workers, clacking away at their PC's ever catch fleeting glimpses of a young woman in a yellow sweater - or a white negligee.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Believing Is Seeing (What We Want)

Over at Phantoms and Monsters, there is a post that examines the still beating heart of 9-11 conspiracy. However, I must say most of it is based upon testimony and lacks any physical proof instead choosing to rewrite history and give errors in reporting greater significance. Add to this the frailty of human memories and we have a recipe for disaster. In fact, flawed memory is a topic discussed over at UFO Iconoclasts also.

This is a trap that paranormal researchers often find themselves in: witness testimony, while bolstering, does not replace hard evidence. While it makes for dramatic reporting, it does not replace the need for evidence either supporting or disproving claims. Much of this is spawned and promulgated by those who have a pre-existing distrust of the government, a propensity to see conspiracy everywhere, and a paranoid nature. Furthermore, their own confirmational biases won't allow them to shake these preconceived notions and look at the evidence objectively. We cannot take such things as early news reports that contradict later ones as evidence of anything more than hurried and sloppy journalism. Often times, at the onset, all the facts aren't in and reporting is incomplete. To make too much of this is to turn 9/11 into Roswell. "Well, they said it was a flying saucer first but then changed their minds. It must be a conspiracy!"

A Must-Read Site: Ghost Tech

Vince Wilson's post denouncing the use of IR and questioning the need to go "lights out" has made me an instant fan of this intelligent website.  Full of smart and witty observations on the pitfalls of investigating the paranormal, Ghost Tech injects a much-needed dose of reality into a field that has gotten rather full of itself in recent years. Wilson's posts cover the gamut from addressing hoaxes and poking holes in the science behind many gadgets to discussing disasterous infighting and and encouraging common sense.

Ninth Severed Foot Washes Ashore

Since 2007, a total of nine severed human feet have washed ashore on the islands and beaches between Washington State and Vancouver, British Columbia. The ninth was discovered August 27, 2010 on Whidby Island in Washington.

The foot, which seems to be that of a female or child, was discovered around mid-morning by a tourist strolling the beach. Officials who examined the unshod foot estimate by its decomposition that it had been in the water for less than two months. As yet, no missing persons cases match the facts known thus far.

All the others found along the coast were clad in running shoes. This is the first foot found bare.

These events began on August 20, 2007 when a man's right foot was discovered ashore on Jedediah Island. On August 26, another foot was discovered on Gabriola Island. Later it was learned the foot belonged to a deceased man whose name had been withheld by the police. On February 8, 2008, a third foot - another right - was discovered on Valdes Island. The fourth turned up on Kirkland Island May 22, 2008. This was the first female foot found. On June 16, 2008, at the mouth of the Fraser River on Westham Island, a man's left foot was discovered. DNA from this one matched the one from Valdes Island. The man's identity remains a mystery. The sixth turned up near Port Angeles, Washington (US) on August 1, 2008. On a beach near the Fraser River in Richmond, the seventh was discovered November 11. It was a woman's left foot and its DNA matched that of the fourth, which had been found on Kirkland Island. Officials were able to identify this woman. The eighth turned up in Richmond on October 27, 2009 - another man's right foot.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police believe these appendages became dislodged through natural processes affecting individuals who had drowned in the water. Both US and Canadian authorities are investigating this latest case, hoping to identify the victim. DNA tests will be conducted to aid in that effort.
 
The following excerpt is from a Wikipedia article on the subject:
 
Finding human remains on a beach is not uncommon. Storms may erode old burial sites and wash the debris out to sea where it is subsequently found, although this in particular would mainly reveal bones. In addition, missing people are common, and people fall off vessels at sea on occasion. Decomposition may separate the foot from the body because the ankle is relatively weak, and the buoyancy caused by air either inside or trapped within a shoe would allow it to float away.[2] According to SFU entomologist Gail Anderson, extremities such as the hands, feet, and head often detach as a body decomposes in the water, although they rarely float.[4]


However, finding feet and not the rest of the bodies has been deemed unusual. Finding two feet has been given a "million to one odds" and has thus been described as "an anomaly".[2] The finding of the third foot made it the first time three such discoveries had been made so close to each other.[4] The fourth discovery caused speculation about human interference and, statistically, was called "curious".[24]

This same article goes on to say that "...it is possible that the bodies could have been weighted down and disposed of, and the feet are separating due to natural decay."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mysterious Lights Caught On Dallas Nanny Cam


Dallas dad, Steven Divine, and his wife have discovered startling images on the 'nanny cam' that watches over their young child.

In something seemingly straight out of The Sixth Sense, the Divine's have recorded several noctilucent anomalies on the night vision camera that watches over their two-year-old son. In one video, a light manifests near the crib, floats toward the opposite end of the room and vanishes. Then, only seconds later, a series of glowing orbs, strung like pearls on a streak of light, moves across the upper portion of the camera's field of view.

The events first appeared following the boy's second birthday and have gone unexplained. The couple has tried mitigating or eliminating extraneous light sources with blackout shades, towels stuffed under doors, etc... Still, the strange light phenomenon persists.

The lights would vanish if ever someone entered the room while they were occurring, implying something of an awareness of the part of these streaks and orbs.

In time, the phenomenon has quieted down some and seems only to flare when strangers are in the home. Divine believes that whatever has slowly become acclimated to the family, and that it may be watching over their son.

According to the Divine's, more than two dozen people have witnessed the strange events and can attest to the veracity of these claims.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

UFO: Uh-F*%&ing-Oh!


Sire to all that is Hannah Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, is slated to be the next padre of the paranormal in SyFy's forthcoming UFO: Unbelievably Freakin' Obvious, which aims to examine UFO sightings with a "skeptical" eye.

Joining Cyrus is his son, Trace, and together they will travel the country in search of answers, and reaffirming the longstanding stereotype about backwood hicks and UFO's.

Cyrus was quoted as hoping "this series can shine a light on...the mysteries that have long inspired us." Yeah, light catching lightning in a bottle.

Here's hoping you can pull off another Hannah feat, but I don't suspect this will last long. Already, a collective groan can be heard echoing throughout the UFO community.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mystery Booms Pose Enduring Puzzle, Potential Threat

Over the weekend, I received the following e-mail that recounts a recent "mystery boom" event.

I came upon your site while doing a Google search & thought I would pass this on. Early Sunday morning (4-5:00 am; didn’t check exactly) on 9/5/10 my wife & I were awakened by what sounded to be a single, loud clap of thunder. I’m a bit of a weather freak so I knew that was unlikely due to the desert-like dry air we have had the last couple of days. It was cool so we had all the windows open & heard the sound clearly. All 3 dogs jumped up & one began growling. A quick look out the front door revealed a crystal clear starlit sky (as expected) with no clouds. Even though it was at night, I am quite sure it was neither a gunshot nor fireworks; much louder & deeper, but no echo. My guess would be a bolide exploded in the sky, but I can’t seem to find anything about a fireball on the local news websites. So, for the moment I’ll chalk it up to a “mystery boom” and pass it on to you. We live in rural Creek county, Southwest of Keifer & Mounds, Ok, near the border between Creek & Okmulgee counties.

I have posted about this unexplained sonic phenomenon on Strange State before. In early 2009, similar reports came in from the southeastern corner of the state. USGS scientists who study these things believe they may be the "snapping" of shallow earthquakes, perhaps precursors to a larger event. Geologists believe the famous quake that leveled the Missouri town of New Madrid in 1811-1812 is expected to make a comeback soon. Eastern Oklahoma lies within the damage radius of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Although, it should be noted that the events of last year seem to lack any verifiable seismic activity. Geologists at the time could find no correlating event to explain what was heard in LeFlore and Adair Counties.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

London's Forgotten Stone of Destiny

Whilst perusing Phantoms & Monsters, I read about an ancient British monolith that most know nothing about - even as they walk past it daily. The enigmatic and oft-neglected 'London Stone' sits mostly ignored in the heart of this ancient city, yet legend tells us it is directly tied London's success.

It may go largely unnoticed, but as these articles (1, 2) tell us, there are plenty reasons for taking a second look. I have a friend in London. I will have to ask him if he has ever heard of this lost bit of British history.

UPDATE: I went to visit the London Stone myself, sandwiched innocuously between a bank and a restaurant. Still a very overlooked bit of English history; my friend knew nothing about the stone til we visited it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Calls From The Beyond Haunt Crescent Guests

Recently, while staying at the haunted Crescent hotel in Arkansas, a woman received several strange text messages on her iPhone. Each message contained neither content nor information regarding its sender. Curiously, they all seemed to emanate from New Year's Eve 1969.

Some have stated this is a common error that occurs when upgrading to the latest version of the phone's operating system. However, I would like to recount a tale told to me personally that might cause us to reconsider this explanaton.

A couple I know was staying at the historic Crescent a few years back. The two had settled in for the night, turning off the lights and TV. Some time later, they were awakened by the TV coming on by itself.

Confused, but too tired to care, the husband reached over to the nightstand, grabbed the remote, and flicked off the set. The two then settled back into a sound slumber. But it didn't last. A while later, the set came back on again.

That's when they realized something strange had happened. The husband reached over and flipped off the TV in bewilderment. Thinking maybe he was hitting it in his sleep, he passed it over to his wife who put it on her side table, which is so far away for her short arms that she has to get out of bed to set it down. Soon the two are off to sleep again.

A short while passed and once more the TV turned on. Now, he thought, this is really weird. "Did you put the remote away?" he asked his wife. "Yes," she replied sharply. "It's right over there." He spotted it lying beyond her reach and became puzzled as to why the TV kept coming on. "Well, put it in the drawer just in case we're hitting it or something."

She tucked the remote away and once again the couple tried to salvage some sleep from this odd night. But the weird happenings at the Crescent weren't going to allow that. Like clockwork, the set soon flickered to life once more. The husband by this time was angry. He climbed out of bed, grabbed the remote, and removed its batteries. To be sure, he unplugged the TV from the wall also before getting back into bed.

He had only just drifted off to sleep when his cell phone buzzed; he had just received a text message in the wee dark hours of the morning. Angrily, he snatched the phone and peered at the screen through tired eyes. What he found puzzled him and forever convinced his wife that there IS something odd going on at the old hotel.

On the screen are these words: This is no fun. I'm not playing anymore.

Hailing Frequencies Open, Zak - And It Sounds A Lot Like A NOAA Weather Alert!

Desperate for SOMETHING to watch on TV last night, I landed on Ghost Adventures and thought, "What the hell". So, I watched a couple of hours of Zak and the Scoobies navigate the dark, labyrinthine corridors of derelict hospitals and Hot Topics full of frightening demonic souls and equally terrifying Affliction tees. With every "dude", "bro", and raise of an overly-metrosexualized eyebrow, I fell deeper down the rabbit hole, simply unwilling or unable to turn away. Was I transfixed by the deftly executed investigation or mesmerized by Zak's shirts, which seemed to shrink with every subsequent frame?

I had almost had my fill of the endless litany of uncorroborative incidents (phantom touches, hearing or seeing something that wasn't on camera) when out pops a device that sends me giggling like a schoolgirl.

I believe it is called a "Frank's Box" or an "Ovilus" (sounds like a prescription drug) that serves, for want of a better term, as a 21st Century 'magic 8-ball'. It's handheld with lights and knobs and dials and meters and from a tinny speaker it broadcasts words from the ether. Or so it claims.

What I found out by digging around is that the outmoded mechanized voice comes from a pre-programmed vocabulary of over 500 words. The device amalgamates EMF, temperature, and other readings that it assigns a numeric value. This number then corresponds to a word in the unit's dictionary, which is probably comprised of a lot of words that would lend themselves to paranormal interpretations.

What the manufacturer, Digital Dowsing, would have you believe is that their device senses atmospheric conditions that have been altered by the presence of an unseen entity. It then "reads" this information and establishes that these particular readings mean the ghost wants to say X. Now, how they came to this conclusion is beyond me and I would LOVE to see the years of experimentation that led to this wonderful device.

To be fair, the site does inject the caveat that the Ovilus is 'for entertainment purposes only'. This, however, does not stop the likes of Ghost Adventures and Paranormal State from using it. Or from the willing to believe that it's anything more than a handheld Zoltar.

As some have pointed out, the device is far from perfect. A dying battery could affect what words it speaks and altering the parameters changes what is said. Furthermore, some claim that when it seems to speak with uncanny accuracy on these shows, the explanation lies in how judiciously that shot was edited in post-production.

I don't know of anyone who has worked with one of these, mostly because bunk and cashflow are seldom the best of friends. If you have your own personal experiences with the Ovilus or something like it, I would love to read your comments. Until then, I'm going to go work out and root around in my closet for the tiniest t-shirt I can find.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sasquatch 101 Coming To A Learning Annex Near You

Writing for Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker gets a lesson in Sasquatchology via her local Minneapolis continuing education catalog and comes to discover there is a lot of science behind the silliness.

Read More Here

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Redheaded Rebecca Haunts Lodge At Cloudcroft, NM

Rising up from the arid plains and desert floor of southeastern New Mexico, the Capitan Mountains thrust visitors into an alpine realm of tall ponderosa pines and fragrant wildflowers.  Nestled high in these mountains is the Lodge at Cloudcroft, a stately hotel haunted by a seductive redhead.

In the 1930's, when Conrad Hilton himself managed the property, a young maid by the name of Rebecca charmed patrons with her beauty. According to the many stories told about her, she was very popular with the many lumberjacks who frequented the establishment. She was also very popular among the men in town.

While it isn't clear what became of Rebecca in life, it seems that in death she still haunts the halls of the old hotel. One legend claims that in a jealous rage, her lumberjack boyfriend killed her in an impassioned and brutal manner. He then disposed of her body in the woods behind the hotel.

Visitors have often claimed of encountering a strikingly beautiful woman with brilliant red hair. She has been described as playful and flirtatious. One guest was shocked to discover a lovely redhead bathing in his tub. He called down to the front desk, thinking the room had been double-booked. When the staff arrived, the girl was gone. Another gentleman glimpsed Rebecca very late one night as she was arranging flowers on a table in the hall outside his room.

Employees have witnessed her the most. To the dismay of the operator, the phone in the Governor's Suite often rings when no one is booked in the room. This is the same room that keeps many a frustrated maid busily tidying up the bed covers. Often times they will discover the indentation of a human form, only a short time after making the bed. Rebecca seems to enjoy hazing new recruits, as if to test their mettle.

When a couple by the name of Sanders purchased the hotel in the early 1980's, they received an especially dramatic welcome. The couple had stored some of their belongings in the basement, which it seems is a favorite haunt of Rebecca's. One evening, the couple went down to the basement storage and discovered a strange light floating in midair. They switched on the lights and discovered all their luggage and trunks and boxes were in complete disorder. Furthermore, a previously unlocked room in the rear of the basement was now suddenly wide open. 

The light floated over to the open door and disappeared inside the dark room beyond. The couple followed it into an old bathroom that had been sealed up for decades, it seemed. Suddenly, water burst with tremendous force from pipes all around the room, drenching the couple. After managing to shut off the water, the couple inspected the room but found no signs of a human culprit. If it were a human agent, he or she was at least VERY good at covering their tracks.

So it went over the years: doors opening and closing by themselves, strange phone calls, mysterious apparitions... But there doesn't exist a sense of fear or malevolence associated with Rebecca. On the contrary, she is seen as something of a celebrity. Her portrait hangs in the hotel lobby, a stained glass representation of her greets visitors to the dining room, and all who visit are charmed by her presence - whether she is seen or not.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Old Raw Head

I eagerly admit, the name by which this Missouri phantom is known was enough for me to share this legend with you. It's just WAITING to be turned into a horrid, low-budget CGI mess by the likes of SyFy.

Following the Civil War, roving bands of outlaws cut a swath of terror through Missouri and other states, robbing, ransacking, and murdering those who labored to rebuild America.

Morgan County, Missouri was especially hard hit by these higwaymen. It is said the ghost of one victim, dubbed "Old Raw Head" could often be seen throughout the county. A man by the name of John A. Hannay spotted the apparition near Versailles as it sat atop a haystack in a lonesome, moonlit field. Hannay approached for a closer inspection, but the entity slip from atop the stack and disappeared. However, Hannay could see quite clearly the raw red stump where the spirit's head should have been. It wasn't difficult to guess how "Old Raw Head" got his name.

Hannay's grandparents had seen it too. The couple had been driving along a deserted backroad when the ghost appeared quite suddenly between the horses pulling their wagon. It vanished just as suddenly, leaving the couple in a fright.

As an interesting note, there seems to be a long-standing Ozark folktale known as "Old Raw Head / Bloody Bones". There doesn't seem to be any correlation beyond the name, as the story revolves around a razorback hog who eats the roots and magic herbs of a witch. Thereafter, he had the power to talk and act like a man. But the razorback gets carted away to the slaugher house where a thief steals his remains. But the razorback has all that magic in him and is able to summon his bones together and seek retribution.