Monday, August 25, 2014

The Great Moon Hoax

"On this day in 1835, the Great Moon Hoax was perpetrated by the New York Sun newspaper. They launched a series of articles about the supposed discovery of life on the moon, which they falsely attributed to the well-known astronomer Sir John Herschel. Life forms were said to include such fantastical creatures as unicorns, and bat-like, winged humanoids." [source unknown; perhaps originally from Coast to Coast]

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mujina: The Faceless Spirit

Japanese folklore is filled with tales of the Mujina, a faceless spirit. The chilling accounts of those who claim to have met a Mujina read like urban legend, and go back a long way. In 1904, Lafcadio Hearn wrote one of the earliest accounts for Western readers in his book Kwaidan (Weird Tales).

In this volume, he tells the story of a Tokyo man who was following a road up a hill when he encountered a weeping woman along the wayside. Stopping to see if she needed aid, the man was frightened to discover that she had no face. In fear, he raced further up the road until he saw the dim glow of a lantern in the distance. He saw that it was a food vendor known as a soba. Grateful to find another living soul, the man explained his experience to the vendor, but he stopped short of explaining her face exactly. He was still too frightened to recall the experience. The soba man, moving from the shadows into the glow of the lantern, asked if perhaps she looked like this. To the traveler's horror the soba man, too, had no face. Suddenly the lantern was extinguished and the man was alone in the night with the faceless Mujina.

Japanese immigrants to Hawaii likely brought the legend with them, which might explain a rash of sightings in 1959.

In Honolulu, at the Waialae Drive-In, a girl encountered a faceless entity in the restroom, an event so traumatizing that she reportedly had been hospitalized. Another version said that the girl spotted a faceless woman with no legs in the mirror as she freshened her makeup. When she spun around, there was nothing there. The woman screamed and passed out.

Other reports have surfaced at weddings, shopping malls, and colleges across Hawaii in the intervening years.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cold War Era Mystery Satellites Set Americans On Edge

In February 1960, the North American Air Defense System picked up what seemed to be a rather large satellite in Earth orbit. But several striking features of the object became cause for concern. The unidentified object appeared to be of roughly 15 tons mass, a size too great for any known rocket to have launched. It also traveled a polar orbit, which is something no terrestrially launched object was doing at the time. The object was tracked for three weeks before it vanished.  A few months later, in September, however, a similarly strange satellite that gave off a reddish glow was uncharacteristically tracking east to west, according to Gumman Aircraft Corporation's Long Island facility. In short time, a committee was formed to investigate these matters, but their conclusions--if, indeed, there were any--never came to light.

You're reading "Cold War Era Mystery Satellites Set Americans On Edge" by Cullan Hudson on 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hauntings on the High Seas

Haunted houses and forlorn forests are the domain of ghosts--for the most part. However, there exist many accounts from sailors and seafarers who have spotted spirits at sea, as well as phantom vessels and other unexplained phenomena. These aren't solely relegated to old sea yarns of pirate ghosts and their requisite treasures. Quite a number of these accounts are contemporary. There is the famous tale of merchant seamen who spotted--and photographed--the ghostly faces of two crewmen who had died in transit. And many a sailor in the Navies of the world has come back with unearthly tales from their ordeals in the various wars over the past century. With all the hazards and terror of such engagements, it isn't hard to see the anguish that would bear out ghostly sightings. But what are we to make of reports from otherwise pleasant trips? Over the years, reports have arisen from various passengers on cruise ships around the world of strange goings on. Like floating hotels, these ships shelter thousands of people daily and Death has collected more than one sea-pass. It's a wonder, really, that these ships don't have MORE of a reputation. Let's look at a few tales that have been shared over the years....

At around half past 5 on the evening of September 23, 2011, a passenger on the Carnival Conquest was dressing for dinner in her cabin (6412) while her husband was outside on the balcony. She suddenly heard a man's voice say "you look beautiful tonight." She turned around but no one was there. The TV was on, but only playing music, and she could see her husband still out on the balcony with the door closed. Thinking she had simply imagined the compliment, she shrugged it off and finished getting ready for dinner. Moments later, she heard the same voice repeat the phrase. Understandably, she was unnerved by these events and raced outside to tell her husband. To make matters worse, an hour later there was an incident on the ship involving a man going overboard.

On the same ship, but in a different cabin (2465), a woman who wasn't feeling well stayed behind in her cabin as her husband went to dinner. When he returned she asked him if he had slipped in while she was napping. He hadn't. His wife then recounted how she had felt someone touch her leg, which awakened her. Following their trip, the couple visited a medium who was hosting a seance. In an eerie coincidence, the couple learned that one of the women's aunts had died on the Carnival Conquest in room 2463.

This post by username "Wags" was on a thread over at the popular cruising site,

"My husband and I were on a [Norwegian Dream] cruise in a balcony cabin. The second night out I woke up about 3:00 am to the sound of footsteps walking around the cabin. In the morning my husband asked me why I was walking around in the middle of the night. I said I thought it was him. I know the sounds did not come from the cabins above, below or in the hall. They were definitely in the cabin. I mentioned it to our steward and he said others had reported the same thing happening. It only happened the one night and we never found out what it was."

And "wwcruisers" posted this:

"Several years ago, we sailed on [Royal Caribbean's] Serenade of the Seas, with another couple, who are our best friends. In the beginning, we were a little jealous, because they were in a Grand Suite (and we weren't). Then, we started hearing about the weird things going on in their cabin:
-- All of their camera batteries (including back-ups) completely drained;
-- Recurring problems with their safe, as well as the cabin door locks;
-- Unexpected "cold spots" in the room (nowhere near air vents);
These were all explainable, to some degree. But, my friend said she was in the cabin one day and saw a shadow moving on the balcony. She just thought DH had gone out there for a smoke. A few minutes later, he came through the cabin door, talking about how much he'd just won in the casino. She ran to the balcony window -- nobody out there, of course!"

I've been on close to a dozen cruises ranging from the Caribbean to Europe and North Africa and made many stops in cities brimming with haunted sights. But I'd never once considered the mode of transport could be haunted as well. If you have any of your own stories to add, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Nothing like a good frightening local legend to both titillate and traumatize. Let's look at a few from around the country...

Fairfax County, VA -- The Bunny Man is the legend of a man in a bunny suit who traipses around with an axe. He was first reported around Halloween 1970 when a newly-engaged couple parked in a dark field off Guinea Road in Burke when the spotted movement from the rear window. Seconds later, their side window was smashed and they glimpsed a figure all in white screaming at them about trespassing. As they sped off, the couple discovered a small axe on the floor of the car. The couple's statements conflict: he insisted the man was in a rabbit suit, she insisted he was in a Klan robe. Some believe the Bunny Man was the ghost of Timothy C. Forbes, an escaped mental patient who fled his asylum in 1904. He may have been responsible for killing and skinning dozens of rabbits and hanging their carcasses from trees. However, Forbes was struck and killed by a train while eluding capture. Legend has it he was in the asylum to begin with because he killed and ate his family---on Easter Sunday!

Ojai, CA's "Char Man" stalks the Camp Comfort County Park. Legend has it, the man burned to death and now, inexplicably, runs out to frighten motorists and campers, leaving the linger stench of burnt flesh in the air.

Pittsburgh, PA's Green Man/Charlie No-Face is the creepy (somewhat true) tale of a deformed man that could be seen lurking in the roadside shadows at night. Some say he was a power company worker who had been struck by lightning or a downed power line; others claim he was doused with acid. Either way, his disfigured countenance turned to a greenish conglomeration of facial features. Some say the accident killed him, others that he lived on in isolation. One of these haunts is known as Green Man's tunnel, the site of many claimed mysterious accidents. Truth is Raymond Robinson was a regular walker along the roadside between Koppel and New Galilee and really could be spotted by locals. He did his perambulations under cover of darkness because of what happened when he was 8. On a dare, he climbed a power line and was electrocuted for his efforts. He lost both eyes and nearly his life. He subsequently wore a prosthetic nose, affixed like a novelty to a pair of dark glasses that covered his empty eye sockets. From there cruel teen taunts arose and soon legends were born, including attendant ones. The Green Man tunnel, which seemingly has nothing to do with the Green Man himself, has its own legends involving a man that killed his family and then threw himself in front of an oncoming train. The place is supposedly haunted.