Sunday, May 30, 2010

Haunted Staycations - On A Budget!

If summertime economic woes have you wailing like a banshee, wishing for a better vacation, perhaps you can combine your love of the paranormal with a cheap and close trip. Haunted Hikes is a book I have featured on this site before - with good reason. In this spine-chilling tome is a wealth of ghostly legends from America's national parks. So, it stands to reason there's one close to you. Check it out.

Leonine Lunacy Grips Texas Town

As they are wont to do, tales of lions on the loose crop up now and again. We are in the midst of a "now". The folks around Marshall, TX are reporting an African lion biting down on their neck of the woods. Texas Cryptid Hunter blog examines the issue. Over the past century, Oklahoma has had several escaped lion flaps, which you can read more about in the forthcoming sequel to Strange State, aptly titled "Stranger State".

On a side note, I've just begun the latest book in the Douglas Preston / Lincoln Child "Pendergast" series, which begins with the hunt for a man-eating lion with an unusual red mane...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dragons in the Desert

Joining the mounting number of escaped pets turned ecological nightmares, Arizona dealt recently with a 5-foot-long Asian Water Monitor.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Coming Soon! MONSTERS of TEXAS!

...across Texas there lurks a wide array of monsters, mysterious beasts and diabolical creatures that science tells us do not exist – but that a significant percentage of the good folk of Texas certainly know otherwise.
Coming soon from famed cryptid chroniclers Nick Redfern and Ken Gerhard, Monsters of Texas looks into the long and varied history of those strange beasts said to roam the Lone Star State. From Bigfoot-like beasts and giant birds, to lake monsters and even "chupacabras".

Mysterious Chicken Slaughter Has AK Authorities Stumped

In the pastoral hamlet of North Pole, Alaska, someone or something killed 26 chickens and arranged their bodies in a peculiar pattern.

The massacre was discovered Monday (5/24/10) at a coop on Sharon Road. The heads of the animals were completely severed and nowhere to be found. But most startling was that the animals were arranged to form a line 15-feet-long that terminated in a circle.

Alaska State Troopers are baffled as to the motive for this slaughter. Yet, they suspect the odd tableau may represent a threat toward the farm owners. Until they can better investigate the matter, those name will not be released.

Some Voodoo ritual? Or, when there are no cereal crops, do those forces responsible for crop circles manifest their work through whatever might be found on the farm? Or, worse still, as this is North Pole, AK, can we now assume to know why Santa's suit is so red?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Arkansas Mystery Skeleton Was First 'Chupacabras'?

With all the excitement in recent times regarding dessicated remains of mangy canines that become "chupacabras" in an onanistic frenzy for their own 15 minutes, I wish to bring to light what must surely be the very first case of strange remains that would later be linked to the Chupacabras phenomenon. In fact, it predates the chupacabras by several years.

In November 1991, Frank Pryor and his wife, Cindy, were hunting deer near Charleston, AR when they stumbled upon the mostly skeletal remains of a creature not easily identified.

By the remaining tissue clinging to the bones, it was calculated that whatever it was had been dead for as many as 6 weeks. The rounded skull possessed two large orbits and a large mouth filled with sharp teeth. Missing were its limbs, but it had a large rib cage and a row of "spines" along its back.

Pryor took the remains to the Westark Science Department. There, Dr. David Meeks informed him that the creature was some type of carnivore unknown to the region. From there, Pryor passed the specimen on to Oklahoma Baptist University, but scientists there were unable to determine what the creature was. The learned men and women at Oklahoma State University examined the specimen and pronounced it a llama. However, a Fort Smith, AR veterinarian said that he was familiar with these animals and didn't believe it was one. Dr. Mary Whitmore, a professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma, deemed that the specimen would never be identified. But another scientist, after studying it for several hours, concluded it was a new world camel (such as an alpaca, llama, or vicuña). Others scientists weighed in with their opinion that it was nothing more than the calf of a domestic cow.

Pryor was a bit disheartened that none were able to identify the animal conclusively. And yet the nascent mystery intrigued the Arkansas man. So, Pryor returned to where he discovered the animal in hopes of finding more of it. If he had a more complete skeleton, perhaps scientists would then be able to readily identify the animal.

While he found no further bones, Pryor did find some strange fibers embedded within nearby cattle tracks. Thinking these might be related somehow, he had them analyzed by Greg Fox, a DNA specialist in Ventura Co., California and the aforementioned Dr. Mary Whitmore.

Both, it is said, told Pryor that the fibers were not made up of any DNA known to exist. It would seem, however, the two scientists were saying that the fibers contained no DNA whatsoever. They were instead comprised of aluminum, silicon, calcium, and copper.

This is nothing unusual. Alloys made from these three metals are common and calcium is added in certain processes to strengthen the newly-forged metal blend.

It would seem Pryor met a dead end in his quest to understand the nature of the creature.

At some point during the excitement surrounding the find, it was reported that the popular television program, Unsolved Mysteries was interested in reporting the story. If true, they must not have liked what their investigation turned up, since no episode ever aired featuring the strange animal found in the wilds of Arkansas.

Later, as this strange story spread across the Internet, certain facts have become confused. For instance, in paring down the story to only its most salient details, the fact that DNA testing was done only on the fibers is frequently left out. The story perpetuates into cyberspace as DNA tests having been done on the animal, proving that it is not of this world. Further confusion arises when the fibers become metallic "hairs" that once covered the creature.

But it does raise and interesting question. Why was Pryor willing to spend the money on the fiber tests (an expensive proposition in the early 1990's) but not on the skeletal remains, which still had tissue clinging to them?

Later, some would go on to note a resemblance in description to the Chupacabras, which would rise to international stardom only a few short years later in Puerto Rico.

Dayne Chastain, a self-proclaimed treasure hunter, was reported to have borrowed the skeleton from Pryor (whom he considered a friend) in order to carry it in a bucket of preservative alcohol to Roswell, NM. Chastain was certain he could broker a deal for someone to purchase the strange find.


Mr. Pryor has contacted me (read comments) to inform me that the specimen has been examined by various scientists around the world. I have requested of him the DNA results from those. When these are made available, I will post that summary here.

He also wished to clarify that he did not pay for any DNA analysis on the purported hair samples. I can only assume then that the The Charleston Express was in error when they wrote on March 4, 1992: "Shortly after finding the bones, Pryor went back to the area and searched for anything else unusual and found several scraps of fibers in cattle tracks not too far away from where he found the bones. Although he couldn't be certain that the fibers had anything to do with the bones, he thought it was another strange happening and decided to have the fibers tested. He sent some of the fibers to Greg Fox, DNA scientist in Ventura County, California, and took some to Dr. Mary Whitmore, Professor in the department of zoology at the University of Okalahoma, and has just recently received results from their testing."

I wish to thank Mr. Pryor for elucidating these discrepancies and I look forward to his additional data in the near future. Perhaps in time the mystery surrounding these enigmatic remains will be solved, but until then we can assure ourselves that their ability to stir controversy is a strong now as in 1991.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wolf Pack = Love Children of Goths and Furries?

Mmmmmmm... Boku

Hey, witchdoctors need Hostess fruit pies, too.

The Lesser-Known 'Cap & Skull' Society

While many know of Yale University's secret and notorious Skull and Bones Society, it's a lesser known fact that New Jersey's Rutgers University shrouds the mysterious (and sometimes no so mysterious) machinations of the Cap & Skull Society. While Skull and Bones is well-known as the incubator of nascent power-brokers, Cap & Skull doesn't seem to have the same sinister cabbalistic cloud shadowing its innerworkings. Perhaps, as a state school, the funding simply wasn't there for these more Machiavellian aspects of collegiate life.

History’s Mystery
The legendary Cap & Skull Society, celebrating its 110th anniversary at Rutgers, reveals the truth behind a few fabled myths.

A Cap & Skull photo in Scarlet Letter 1920 depicts Paul Leroy Robeson RC’19 (left) and three other seniors who were inducted into the senior society. Photography courtesy of Rutgers University ArchivesFact or Fiction? Cap & Skull members wear black robes to conceal their identities. They meet in a clandestine location on campus. They induct new members at the stroke of midnight. All of their work is carried out in secret.

These are some of the infamous myths that surround The Cap & Skull Society (C&S), a prestigious “secret” society for Rutgers–New Brunswick seniors that has been in existence since 1900. The society’s mystique often obscures its altruistic mission, which is to celebrate the university’s history, spirit, and tradition by improving campus relations and giving back to the Rutgers community. In honor of C&S’s 110th anniversary, members are educating others about the society’s true character.

C&S is exclusive to Rutgers but draws inspiration from Yale’s Skull and Bones senior honor society. The society now inducts 18 new Skulls each year, a selective group of diverse student leaders from the junior class. Through 1937, candidacy was based on a system that awarded point values to specific leadership positions and honors on campus. Today, juniors can apply for membership, but induction still requires a unanimous vote by the senior members and culminates with the formal Tap Day Ceremony at Kirkpatrick Chapel, attended by family and friends.

The society’s motto is “Spectemur agendo” or “Let us be judged by our actions.” And while some members-only activities may take place behind the scenes, such as voting on new inductees and the informal induction rituals that are unique to each class, most C&S actions are intentionally visible so that the Rutgers community can see the society’s positive impact.

For example, members wear black robes (which are passed on through generations) at convocation so that first-year students become inquisitive about the society and strive for excellence in order to attain membership. C&S also organizes service and spirit projects on campus, such as the 9/11 unity banner created in the College Avenue Gym (2002) and the distribution of large “R” decals all over campus on the eve of football games (2005).

As for the society’s undisclosed meeting location? Well, the Cap & Skull Room does exist, but it’s no secret. Rather it’s a well-appointed conference room in the Rutgers Student Center that serves as a meeting location for numerous campus organizations. C&S endowed the space in honor of the society’s 90th anniversary.

Celebrate 110 years of Cap & Skull tradition at the Decades Dinner on November 16, 2010, in New Brunswick. For more information, visit or email History’s Mystery Rutgers Magazine (Rutgers Magazine - Spring 2010, Vol. 90, #2)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Mutated" Corpse Washed Ashore

With the decision to sell off New York's infamous Plum Island (where the U.S. government tested deadly infectious diseases for decades), a story has resurfaced of a strange incident back in January that seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most Americans.  A security patrol discovered the decomposing remains of a 6-foot-tall male in clothes tattered by the elements. It was noted at the time that the man had unusually long fingers, which caused some to dub the corpse a "mutant". The body was sent to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy. More Nothing more, it seems, has been yet  revealed about the strange incident.

Though one wonders if the tale isn't somewhat apocryphal, spurred into life by the events of May 2009. That's when the "Montauk Monster" washed ashore and locals jumped upon the theory that mutated animals were escaping nearby Plum Island. Turns out the "monster" was just the decomposed remains of a raccoon.

Don't cry UFO! just yet. Something big is taking off.

The world's largest airship, which will serve as a "stratellite", measures 235 feet long and will reach speeds of up to 80 mph. Designed to stay aloft for extended periods of time and run on an eco-friendly algae fuel, the Bullet 580 is designed to carry up to 2,000 lbs of payload 20,000 feet in the air.

While this lighter-than-air craft is the size of a 23 story building, it pales in comparison to the aerial leviathans of the past. The Hindenberg, for instance, ran a staggering 804 feet in length.

Future military applications are being considered for similar craft to aid in surveillance. Some say such ships are already being tested and can explain sightings of UFO's in recent times.

The Bullet 580 makes its maiden voyage later this year when it carries a NASA payload to measure moisture content of soil.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Air Force Tests Orbital Plane

While the U.S. Air Force is mum about the orbital whereabouts of its X-37B mini-space plane, a dedicated band of amateur skywatchers has got its cross-hairs on the spacecraft. MORE.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Esteemed Mathematician and Paranormal Debunker Dies

Prolific mathematics and science writer Martin Gardner, known for popularizing recreational mathematics and debunking paranormal claims, died Saturday. He was 95.
Read more at the Huffington Post.

Mammoths Among Us?

Do isolated enclaves of mammoths still roam hidden parts of the globe? Reports over the years (some more plausible than others) attest to this very fact.

It was a huge elephant with big white tusks, very curved; it was a dark chestnut colour as far as I could see.. It had fairly long hair on the hindquarters but it seemed much shorter on the front. I must say I had no idea that there were such big elephants. It had huge legs and moved very slowly. I've only seen elephants in pictures, but I must say that even from this distance (we were 3000 m apart) I could never have believed any beast could be so big.
To read more on this strange mystery, check out Lindsey Selby's article at Fortean Zoology blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dallas Man Snatches Foot From Corpse In TX Cemetery

"...Staley approached police officers and told them that he had a human foot in his bag. Police said he pulled the foot out of the bag and showed it to the officers about 3:30 a.m. Friday, telling them that he dug it up from a nearby grave..."

Read More HERE

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shark Found In Ohio River

A shark found in the Ohio River, but don't cue the Jaws theme just yet.  A commercial fisherman found what he believed to be a bull shark dead on a boat ramp in Olmsted, Ill on the morning of May 13, 2010 after a recent flooding event. While it is known that bull sharks are among the only species of shark that can survive for many miles inland in fresh water, Tony Gerard, a biology professor at Shawnee Community College, concluded after examining the speciment that it was actually a spiny dogfish shark. This particular species cannot handle living in a freshwater environment well. Gerard believes the animal was fished from the Gulf of Mexico. MORE

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Mexico's OTHER Roswell

Anthony Bragalia argues that, in examining Roswell, a second look at what may have crashed upon the plains of San Agustin in central New Mexico is warranted - especially in light of new information.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Design from Roswellian

Even if you don't plan on visiting this year's Roswell UFO Festival in the eponymous southeast New Mexico town, you can certainly celebrate the infamous crash of July 4, 1947.  The image to the left will be available this week via and, the leading online print-on-demand website. There are multiple other designs to choose from and they make great gifts. You can purchase most designs as a t-shirt, a mug, greeting cards, ball caps, and much more.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Earthquake Lights Make Rare Appearance In San Diego

The mysterious Earthquake Lights, which some scientists attribute to the piezoelectric properties of quartz-heavy rock layers during tectonic activity, are a rare phenomenon. This example was shot recently during a rash of seismic activity in San Diego. Once thought a myth, Earthquake Lights weren't accepted by scientists until the late 1960's when photographic evidence arose to confirm their existence. More information here and here. Might this or a similar phenomenon be behind reports of "Spook Lights" and the like?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Voyager probe begins transmitting in a new language, baffling NASA scientists and spurring some to question alien interference. HERE

Apparently, a shark isn't much of a match for an octopus. Release the kraken, indeed! (save yourself time, the money shot is at 1:43)

Bigfooters unite against common, anonymous enemy. HERE

Out going NH state rep reveals former president Eisenhower knew of an extraterrestrial presence on Earth and had opportunity to meet with aliens visitors. HERE

Skunk Ape sightings in Valdosta, GA HERE

Romanian man shoots brother-in-law through the heart with a silver bullet. Why? You guessed it... HERE

Warmer weather means beach time, mer-chick sightings HERE

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's like a flatbed scanner for the whole planet.

Remote sensing technology, specifically LIDAR, has enabled archaeologists to finally map the Mayan city of Caracol with amazing detail and accuracy. Read More.

Two Separate Species Make Appearances In Over A Century

An Oarfish returns to the waters off Sweden and a Gray Whale is spotted near Israel. Cryptomundo

Relic Species Terrorizes NM Family

Giant owls - some nearly as tall as a human - were once common fauna, but to hear one New Mexican tell it, those days aren't gone for good.
My family and I were driving south near Corona, NM; it was around 2:30am, when in the distance we all saw a 3 foot tall giant owl. At fist we were not sure but as we approached it, we realized that our eyes were not playing tricks on us. My father who was driving about 80-85 miles an hour thought about swerving, but decided not to. As we approached the owl, it’s back was facing towards us, and with in two feet or so, the owl’s head spun around, you could see it’s big eyes glowing from our car headlights.
Read more at Cryptomundo.

Tracks Talk of Bigfoot Presence in SE TX

Possible Bigfoot tracks found in southeast Texas raise hopes for members of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy (TBRC). As part of the organization's Operation Forest Vigil effort, the tracks were discovered May 7, 2010 in a remote area of the piney woods that blanket the eastern portion of the state. The prints measured roughly 12 inches in length and seem to possess the requisite "mid-tarsal break" so often spoke of when discussing those creatures collectively referred to as "Bigfoot". To read more about this expedition's find, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Move Over! You're Hogging The Casket! Two to a grave always sucks - especially when vampire legends rise up.

Within the spaces between fact and fantasy a curious legend has arisen like the undead around a mysterious grave marker in Lafayette, Colorado.

The tombstone lies among the indigent graves at the Lafayette Municipal Cemetery and legend has it belongs to a vampire. It is said that a man born in Transylvania rests disquietly below and that folks have been seeing unusual lights, hearing disincarnate voices, and those who dare visit the site alone are attacked by an unseen force. Some have claimed to have seen spirits hovering about the grave. Those wary of whatever dwells below in the earth have been known to leave behind tokens meant to dissuade any evil forces: voodoo dolls, salt, and rosaries.

Truth be told, according to reports in the Lafayette Leader, there are actually two men in the grave - both miners. Theodore Glava, aged 43, was born in Austria and John Trandafir, aged 27, was in fact from the Transyvania region of Romania. Ostensibly both men were brought to Colorado during the booming days of Rocky Mountain mining, but influenza struck down Glava and Trndafir succumbed to pneumonia. Since the men had now family on these shores, they were interred among the less-fortunate.

However, the men were given a tombstone to share. Crudely etched into a wet cement slab was a scant epitaph for each. Several words were misspelled and information belonging to one man was mistakenly attributed to the other.

Some hold fast to the belief of a haunted grave site. Facts don't seem to diminish that. Drea Penndragon, a local paranormal investigator, reports having collected an EVP, upon which she claims a spectral voice can be clearly heard asking the ominous question, "Do you want to see my stake?"

Through misunderstandings and ignorance, many believed the grave belonged solely to a man named Glava. From this half-truth, interesting local legends sprouted. Some claim, for instance, the tree that seems to rise up from the center of the grave germinated from the wooden stake thrust deep into Glava's heart. Local legend also grows thorny around Trandafir's name, which in Romanian means "rose". For a while roses grew by the grave. The story is that these were Glava's fingernails sprouting out as a rosebush as he tried to free himself from the ground. This undoubtedly arose prior to anyone discovering that a second person with this Romanian word as a surname was buried alongside Glava.

This is both a prime example of how legends arise and the importance of proper research for paranormal investigators.

You can read more about this in Weird Colorado, which has just been released.

Look, up in the sky! It's a shapeshifting flying saucer thunderbird!

A UFO/Flying Humanoid/Thunderbird? I don't see anything, but you can decide.

What The Hail Was That?

Yesterday, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes wrought havoc upon many Oklahoma communities. First, I would like to offer all my hopes to those affected, wishing them each a speedy rebound.

Among the bizarre weather yesterday (triple cyclones, for instance, or the weird way in which electrical towers can be toppled while delicate glass curios remain unscathed) were the reports of large, baseball-sized hailstones that pounded the region.  While hail during a thunderstorm is no rarity in Oklahoma, baseball and softball sized globes of ice aren't an every day occurrence - and they cause significant, sometimes deadly damage. But far rarer than these are the amorphous globs of ice that have been reported that bear no resemblance to the typical spherical shape.

For instance, in October 1993, Keith Partain reported the observance of oddly shaped ice falls that accompanied a brief tornadic event. The ice formations resembled spiked balls with "grotesque" arms radiating from their cores. While Partain claimed to have frozen samples, no images seem to exist (at least on the Internet). The drawing to the left was found accompanying the report on the Science Frontiers website. A cursory search for Partain through Google reveals an association with the reporting of other strange phenomena, but no actual images of his unusual find. However, oddly-shaped hail is out there to see. Flickr member Crabasa (a.k.a Carter Rabasa) posted an image simply entitled "Texas Hail" that bears some semblance to what Partain had described.

This report, which was supplied by Mr. Partain himself in a personal communique from that year, in some ways resembles reports of "ice falls".  This phenomenon is comprised of witness testimony to the fact that large, sometimes multi-pound chunks of ice have fallen from the sky. In 1965, a fifty pound chunk of ice crashed  through the roof at a refinery in Woods Cross, Utah.

Some have dismissed these ice falls as accumulated ice dislodging from passing planes, but reports predate the advent of aircraft.  For instance, in 1849 a large, "irregularly shaped" mass of ice (20 feet in diameter) fell to earth near the Estate of Ord in Balvullich, Scotland.

Others have speculated that hail can coalesce to a large degree, forming these blocks of ice aggregately in the air before finally falling to earth. A Pennsylvania man reported the sudden and alarming fall of large chunks of ice to a local meteorologist in 1957.  The first that came careening over his head before crashing some yards away, weighed roughly 50 lbs, and the second, which fell moments later, was approximately half that.  Upon inspection, meteorologists Matthew Peacock and Malcolm J. Reider noted that the ice had frozen quickly and was riddled with dust, fibers, and algae.  The men described the accretion as having been formed like a "popcorn ball".  It was concluded that a mass of hailstones had somehow congealed in the air before falling. Strangely, though, were these sediments as well as the presence of salts and other minerals in such high degrees as to be unfit for drinking. Later, Paul Sutton of the U. S. Weather Bureau at Harrisburg, stated that the ice "was not formed by any natural process known to meteorology."

What are we to make of these unusual weather phenomena? While I don't doubt that there is some untold force at work in thunderstorms that could cause many disparate hailstones to coalesce into some large cluster, I have to pause at reports of ice chunks 20 feet in diameter. If documented better when found, such strange events could help scientists better understand the weather that plagues us.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tracking Down San Antonio's Mystery Beast

In the wooded hills west of San Antonio, Texas, Bigfoot hunters are on the prowl, convinced specimens are lurking deep within Garner State Park. Investigators Troy Hudson and Chase Robinson of The Bigfoot Investigation Group out of Dallas have spoken to several witnesses who have had brushes with some unexplained beast at the state park just south of Leakey, TX. One man claims he saw one of these hirsute hominids dash across Highway 83 in December 2006. More

This past December, several people in San Antonio claimed to have reported a hairy, bipedal primate of some type that left behind tracks. Presumably, Hudson and Robinson's assertion is that the creature(s) emanated from within the park's 1,420 acres.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Learning From Our Mistakes

A recent article in the Oklahoma Gazette reveals that I. M. Pei's visionary model of an Oklahoma City of the future (as he viewed it in 1964 at the height of the urban renewal zeal) is being looked at by some as a blueprint for the coming century. While inarguably Pei was a impactful architect of the 20th Century, Oklahoma City needs to remind itself of history. Urban renewal ate away at historical structures with the remorse of cancer. What they saw as the corroding heart of a city, we now see as irretrievably connections to our history and culture. We mustn't make the same mistake twice. While the city has learned a great deal and many historic neighborhoods are being gentrified, salvaged, and protected, current M.A.P.S. frenzy might have a misguided public thinking new, slick, modern - at all costs, as was the mindset in the 60's. Visions of a modern, concrete utopia of clean lines and twig-like trees placed sparsely about were common elements in urban planning of the period. Today, we can see how soulless such architecture could be. It often wasn't crafted by loving hands to be viewed as the pinnacle of human engineering and art, but rather form followed function into a cold, remote place where decoration was viewed as ostentatious pretenses that should be eschewed at all cost. So, in memory to such glories as the Biltmore Hotel, the Criterion Theater, and historic treasures such as the mysterious Chinese Tunnels, let us learn from the mistakes of the past and find ways to conserve our history as we move forward into the future.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Prostitute's Death Left All Of Manhattan Wondering If Jack The Ripper Had Come To Play

On April 23, 1891, Carrie Brown, a 60-year-old prostitute known as “Old Shakespeare” because of her penchant for quoting the Bard after a few drinks, took a customer to the East River Hotel. The next morning, her body was found on the bed in room 31 of the hotel, on Catherine and Water Streets. She had been strangled and disemboweled.