Monday, January 31, 2011

Hidden Chambers Within The Great Pyramid?

"Jean-Pierre Houdin -- who was rebuffed three years ago by Egypt in his appeal for a probe into how the Pyramid was built -- said 3-D simulation and data from a U.S. egyptologist, Bob Brier, pointed to two secret chambers in the heart of the structure."


UPDATE: And perhaps there is some truth.... In 2011, archaeologists (using a snakelike fiber optic camera) peered inside a tiny cavity to reveal an large, unknown chamber.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Phantom Fountains Flush Haunted Hopes (How's THAT For Alliteration??)


Many paranormal investigators and researchers will tell you that every place has something of a presence, something of a haunting. What they don't tell you, however, is just how lame it may be.

On a recent photo safari of historic Guthrie (the one-time capital of a fledgling Oklahoma), I and two other friends visited the old state newspaper office, which has now become a history museum. When one of us asked the curator about what ghosts the old place might house, he told us a rather lackluster tale about these two water fountains. Apparently, they were known to come on by themselves from time to time and run for a long while before turning off. This was startling because apparently everyone who worked there was under the impression that they didn't work and the water supply to the fountains had been turned off.

There you have it. That's the story. No footsteps, no creaks, no phantom whispers or glimpses of time-locked apparitions. A busted water fountain.

And the staff seemed completely amenable to the concepts of ghosts; they just didn't have any of which to speak. It just goes to show you that not all that glitters is gold and not all that's old is haunted.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Decoded: Bohemian Grove

Click to enlarge.
Caught Decoded on the History Channel last night and was reminded of something I read once but forgot. It was a much-improved episode that tackled the mysterious cabal that converges yearly on Bohemian Grove in California's Russian River area. 

For more than a century, the powerful, rich, and influential men of this country (and others) have sought refuge deep within the towering redwoods of Northern California. They come, ostensibly, to behave like drunken frat boys or lodge members--bizarre druidesque rituals and all. 

While it may seem to be so much arrested adolescence, one can't help but think that this concentration of influence is not without its impact on the whole of society. Under-the-table deals are most certainly made here and perhaps secrets slip from whiskey-loosened lips. Others in the program made the point that political decisions are made all the time on golf courses and in churches. However, I would argue those are equally dangerous. This isn't how our government works. At least, it shouldn't. 

It was argued in this episode that much of the discomfort and suspicion surrounding the activities at Bohemian Grove center around sour grapes, but I don't think so. There's a genuine concern here when presidents, senators, and other politicos combine ad-hoc policy shaping and national decision making with drinking, dressing in drag, and worshiping a monolithic owl head in druidic robes. One can't help but think influence grows stronger and clear-thinking falters under these conditions. 

A sociologist who studied the activities at the Grove waxed eloquently about fraternal bonds and intimacy. It was all very naked-male-drum-circle. What becomes of us, though, when our elected officials are compromised by that same said brotherly bond? How often does it supersede the good of the nation? How many battles began in the Grove to satisfy the personal greed of small men? Since we don't know--since we CAN'T know--we can only wonder and worry. 

The team wasn't able to penetrate the intense security surrounding the Grove--even in the off-season. Two of the four who tried a river approach were arrested as soon as they trespassed. The episode, however, managed to uncover enough details to certainly give us all pause.

Learn more about Bohemian Grove's history here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


To make a point about how many hear what they want in random noise (a specific type of apophenia known as pareidolia), Tonya Hacker with the group GHOULI shared the following video on the team's site. If you don't learn something about better investigative techniques, you'll at least split your sides laughing so hard....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gorilla Walking On Two Legs

Thanks to Texas Cryptid Hunter for bringing our attentions to this interesting video of a male gorilla walking (rather fluidly) on his legs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1963 Film Of A UFO In Colorado

You gotta love it just for the music alone!

The Bigfoot Napoleon Dynamite?

Capturing the Uncapturable
Girard’s Bigfoot an Authentic Snapshot of Teenagehood

Rare is the adult who doesn’t have some tired, worn out old belief he or she still cherishes—be it UFOs, or Santa, or an all-powerful and loving God.

Bigfoot, Pascal Girard’s pitch-perfect second graphic novel, is a tale of one teen’s search for that most legendary of creatures—a girlfriend. Translated from the original French by Helge Dascher, Bigfoot tells the story of Jimmy, an average teenager living through the crumminess of small-town Quebec in the Internet era.

After his best friend Simon uploads a clip of him practicing dance moves to YouTube, Jimmy becomes an internet sensation—a sensation that rubs him entirely the wrong way, however, as he becomes simultaneously the centre of attention and the butt of jokes for seemingly everyone in his all-too-tiny town.

Jimmy’s not the only one dealing with an overdose of e-fame; after his attention-hungry uncle uploads a video purporting to offer proof of Bigfoot’s presence in the woods bordering the town, the ludicrousness of his claim and his connection to the already-notorious Jimmy causes them to become twin laughingstocks.

While his uncle lays low, waiting for the buzz to blow over, Jimmy bravely soldiers on, joining a weekly drawing class in an attempt to win over Jolène, his crush, while Simon attempts to enlist Jimmy’s aid in his constant quest to get it on.

The storylines—and Jimmy’s intensifying feelings for Jolène—all converge when the three teens head to Jimmy’s uncle’s cabin for a weekend to scope out the woods for Bigfoot.

Bigfoot’s incorporation of the 21st century into a setting and narrative that feel otherwise tried-and-true is a testament to Girard’s skill at honest, simple storytelling.

Though it’s hard not to think of it as a Québecois Napoleon Dynamite in graphic novel form, Girard’s biggest triumph in Bigfoot is not the realism of Jimmy’s rural town but the story’s investigation into being a lovelorn teenager. Perhaps a more apt comparison, then, would be to Gus van Sant’s Elephant.

Though Elephant is a movie about a school shooting, in reality, it’s a story using a school shooting as a starting point from which to quietly and honestly explore the various travails of adolescence that all teens face.

Bigfoot replaces the school shooting with the process of going viral, but uses the same methodology. Both stories employ relatively straightforward fictionalizations of real, singular events—the Columbine Massacre and the “Star Wars Kid” video, respectively—in order to get at deeper underlying issues: loneliness, insecurity, budding sexuality, and fear of failure. At this, Girard is uncannily skilled; his story rings true in a way that few films or novels about teenagers seem to manage.

Luckily for us, Bigfoot is not as hard to find as its larger, blurrier, more mythical cousin. If you get a chance, grab a couple of friends and go hunting in the woods for this thing—you won’t regret it.

This article originally appeared in The Link volume 31, Issue 19, published January 18, 2011.

Syfy Doing Good With 'Being Human'

Knowing in advance that SyFy's new "original" series, 'Being Human', was based upon a popular British drama helped persuade me to give it a go. This is rare. My default stance with SyFy these days is to avoid most original productions so I don't have to suffer through Atomic Tornado or Croctopus 3: Giraffasaurus Rex.

But if the Brits enjoyed the premise of a vampire, werewolf, and ghost living together as roommates, then who was I to question this.

Truthfully, I was a little wary about the concept, but I had a hunch that, if handled properly, this could be the next 'True Blood' or such--something this network desperately needs, respect. And 'Being Human' delivers with likable characters and plots that are darker and more complex than one might expect from such an offbeat setup.

The broodingly handsome vampire is something of a trope for drug addiction, as he is trying to "go straight". But he stumbles and must wrestle with the consequences (literally) on his road to 'being human'. Our werewolf is something of an odd duck, a quirky geek that keeps people at arms length--lest he feast upon them. But he yearns for connections, a dichotomy that causes him endless angst. Our trio is rounded out by the ghost of a young woman once betrothed to the boys' landlord. She's grateful to have people who can see her finally, but she's as insubstantial as mist in a breeze. She's torn between moving forward and clinging to her past.

If you get a chance to watch it, I say give it a try. It's funny, dark, and interesting. I don't think we can ask for much more from a network that loves to give us wrestling and reruns of 'Joan of Arcadia'.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scariest Ghost Videos

Ghost Hunting Theories blog has posted a video of a program that aired some years back featuring what they term as the scariest ghosts caught on tape. While many are doubtlessly hoaxed. There are some that are effectively nonetheless and leave one to wonder...

Check it out HERE

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fumes From Woman's Body Wreak Havoc

Here's a weird one:

The body of a dead woman emitted strange fumes that caused examining staff to pass out. While explanations have been touted, it seems the truth remains a mystery.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mysterious Signal Filled Russians With Alien Hopes

Moscow, 1965

Soviet astronomers received mysterious radio signals from outer space. With guarded optimism, Professor Loserf S. Shklovsky of the Sternberg Astronomical Institue stated that at the least it represented " absolutely new, still unknown type of cosmic object..."

The learned Dr. Frank Drake (known best for his work on SETI and his eponymous equation), weighed in from Cornell University. He believed any number of variable stars or other such quasi-stellar radio sources could have contributed to the ordered pattern detected by the Russians.

As with any of these events, the problem still arises that radio waves propagate far too slowly in the vastness of space. Any civilization that sent such a message would likely expire long before the signal was received by another, which is why such science fiction shows as Star Trek have to make use of a fictitious 'subspace' in order to communicate across the galaxy.

It would seem then that if such interstellar beings existed, they would have to communicate in some manner other than radio. It could be that communication is made interdimensionally or at the quantum level where the rule of the universe as we know them seem to take a holiday.

Click To Read Enlarged Version

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mysterious Lunar Phenomenon Still Eludes Science

In the summer of 1964, terrestrial telescopes were aimed squarely at the moon in hopes of catching glimpse of the mysterious red illuminations--some as wide as 12 miles--spotted at Lowell Observatory the previous winter by Air Force 'moon mappers' plotting lunar topography for forthcoming visits.

Some joked at the time these were the flickering campfires of Russian explorers, who thus far were winning the space race.

The activity seemed centered around a large crater known as Aristarchus. Some, such as Dr. John Hall of the Lowell Observatory, believed tidal forces might warp the moon's crust, allowing for the expulsion of hot volcanic gases.

In time, this phenomenon would come to be known as Transient Lunar Phenomenon (TLP) and it would be discovered these mysterious lights have a long history. Canterbury monks spotted them in June 1178; British astronomer Sir William Herschel caught sight of the phenomenon in April 1787; Julius Schmidt, a lunar cartographer, caught sight of them in 1866; and Russian scientists viewed them in November 1958.

In 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission, NASA had the fortune of receiving a report from West Germany of these lights in the vicinity of the Aristarchus crater. What the astronauts saw on the moon confirmed what those on Earth were spotting: "an area that is considerably more illuminated...It seems to have a slight amount of fluorescence," Neil Armstrong reported.

Theories abound from impact events and electrostatic phenomena to outgassing and distortions in the atmosphere. Although, if Armstrong is to be believed, the latter doesn't follow, since both the Germans on Earth and the astronauts on the moon witnessed the same event. Moreover, Armstrong's description of a fluorescent phenomenon seems to eliminate many of the favored explanations. It may be that something altogether new is going on.

Until we can once again return to the moon or otherwise establish a consistent presence (with unmanned lunar rovers perhaps), we won't be able to answer these riddles anytime soon.

Welcome To Pleistocene Park

Japanese scientists are working hard at their goal to clone an extinct mammoth within the next five years.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pentagram Reveals Unfinished Memorial In Oklahoma City

Is this overgrown site the location of secret satanic rituals?  No.

According to an article in the May 26, 1988 edition of the Oklahoma Journal Record, a 6.5 million dollar national memorial for the U.S. Marshals was slated to be constructed across from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. However, for reasons unclear (perhaps funding issues), the project was abandoned after only having lain down a circular drive and star-shaped path.


Eight years of writing, rewriting, editing, cutting, writing again and this work is finally ready to make its debut this spring at the Ghostlahoma, the Oklahoma paranormal conference.  You can learn more about this supernatural thriller by visiting

Blast From The Past: Wazit Terrorizes Pakistan Village

In 1966, authorities in Jessore, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were seraching for a "monster" that had terrorized the small village for days on end. The police said the beast came out at night to attack villagers before "vanishing". It had already killed a baby girl, attacked a cab driver and a woman, and slaughtered several cows.

I could uncover no clear description of the creature. Jessore lies between Nepal / Bhutan and the Bay of Bengal, about 3 hours northeast of Kolkata (Calcutta). This puts it squarely between the realms of the "Mande Burung", an ape-man known to the people of Bangladesh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Decoded Disappoints

I've dipped in several times now to see what Brad Meltzer's Decoded was all about. I have to say that I've been underwhelmed. Despite those august countenances lined up on the screen like the Super Friends of history, I find the whole show biased toward History Channel sensationalism. Far too many of the (few) episodes have been about Masonic / Illuminati conspiracies, which have about as much veracity as a long-winded narrative from Pinocchio.

I did, however, enjoy their look into D. B. Cooper, the famed parachuting money-snatcher. However, I doubt they brought much original information to light. I've not studied the case extensively, but I suspect much of what they presented as evidence they uncovered for themselves has actually been written about before. The team's one original contribution to the investigation consisted of lifting up an attic floor board. Ground-breaking. But the case for the man upon whom they (and doubtlessly other investigators) are pinning the crime is plausible.

I officially checked out during their End-of-Days, Apocalypse 2012 episode. It was puerile, rehashed, and sensational. I can tell you the very moment I turned the channel... After much discussion about Hopi prophecies involving some blue star raining down to destroy the world, the team talks to an astronomer who confirms that an unusual blue star was recently discovered. 

However, it is only unusual because of how old it is. Not for being a blue star, which the astronomer flat-out states are common. That doesn't stop Melzer from stating in his frequent asides that now we know these blue stars exist.

Well, yeah.

The astronomer just said they were common. Furthermore, our learned astronomer adds that this particular blue star was flung free of the galaxy, likely when it encountered some singularity within. It is now traveling outward from the galaxy.

The whole episode continued on this path: rehashing staid facts to add dramatic flourish. It didn't help that one could easily make a strong case for the emergence of a new drinking game where everybody has to toss one back whenever the woman gasps, oh-my-Gods, or otherwise "clutches the pearls".

In all, it's a show with a fascinating premise that fell flat on its lazy face. Little original research goes into their investigations; rather, they talk to individuals who have researched it all before and often written about it. In that sense, they succeed. They bring obscure knowledge to light.

A good example is that some believe the statue of liberty represents Lucifer--but not the Judeo-Christian Satan. She represents, they say, the goddess Venus and the "star", which also goes by the name Lucifer (Latin for "Light Bringer" or "Illuminator" for those who want to make an Illuminati connection). That misnomer is worthy of its own post. Instead, here's a link to a Wikipedia article about Lucifer.  However, you have to be pretty conspiracy-minded to see it that way. It makes more sense that she is who she is: Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

Perhaps I shouldn't judge too harsly. Many good shows get off to rocky starts, but if they don't find their way soon.... Oh, who am I kidding? This is the History Channel, or as I'm calling it "The Reading Man's Spike".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of Sleep Paralysis and The Horla: A Horror Classic's Surprising Realism Paves The Way For Later Works

In Guy de Maupassant's classic horror work The Horla, published in 1887, the French author writes with peculiar familiarity about a nightmare the protagonist experiences.  The details form an accurate description of Sleep Paralysis and the 'Old Hag' scenario:

"I sleep--a long time--two or three hours perhaps--then a dream--no--a nightmare lays hold on me.  I feel that I am in bed and asleep . . . I feel it and I know it . . . and I feel also that somebody is coming close to me, is looking at me, touching me, is getting on to my bed, is kneeling on my chest, is taking my neck between his hands and squeezing it with all his might in order to strangle me.

I struggle, bound by that terrible sense of powerlessness which paralyzes us in our dreams; I try not to cry out--but I cannot; I want to move--I cannot do so; I try, with the most viloent efforts and breathing hard, to turn over and throw off this being who is crushing and suffocating me--I cannot!"

In this short story, an entity--The Horla--comes from beyond this world like an incubus, a vampire in the night to suck the life force from hapless humans. In reading the tale, you can see how it has inspired other works that followed: vampiric elements and an epistolic style in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897); and mind control from an otherworldly entity bent on domination can be found in both H. P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu and in the classic science fiction tale The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein.

The detail involved in de Maupassant's description of Sleep Paralysis leads some scholars to believe he had first hand experience with the phenomenon.  His deteriorating mental condition in real life also likely manifested itself as the main character's own struggle with sanity and the eventual contemplation of suicide.

If you've never read this short story, you should. It's a primer, a template for many stories that followed and should certainly be recognized for this.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

North Texas Man-Dog Account

A North Texas woman recently contacted Spirit Rescue International, a non-profit organization that "cleanses" client's homes of unwanted supernatural presences, regarding a portal on her property. She believes this gateway opens periodically to expel some strange, black creature. The woman's neighbor reported spotting it as well.

Spirit Rescue International investigated the site remotely (as in their mind's eye). Through several of these sessions, SPI was able to sketch both the physical reality of the site as well as its spiritual composition.

On the third attempt, the psychic was able to visualize the creature: "dark colored, canine in appearance but also possessed some human-like features. There was hair on the face and back but the rest of the body was hairless with a dark colored 'sheen' on the skin."

The account goes on and is quite entertaining. I suggest you take a moment to read it.

What struck me, however, is that this is the north central part of Texas. Those of you familiar with my book will no doubt recall the man-dog mentioned in the story about Brown Springs on the Red River that divides Oklahoma from Texas. I wonder if there is a deeper cultural lineage surrounding legends of a man-dog that is specific to North Central Texas.

In the article on Phantoms and Monsters, Lon speculates whether this is related to the Native American Skinwalkers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Antimatter From Thunderstorms

"A space telescope designed to probe the farthest reaches of the cosmos has spotted beams of antimatter streaming from thunderstorms on Earth." MORE

NEW STUDY REVEALS ALIENS DON'T EXIST (or they do and want to rape our planet--it's a real either/or sitch)

We Come In Pieces!!
"When considering the prospect of alien life, humankind should prepare for the worst, according to a new study: Either we're alone, or any aliens out there are acquisitive and resource-hungry, just like us." [Read More Here]

A new study! LOL! Ha ha ha! How can you study something that hasn't been proved to exist? You certainly can't make the statement that "...aliens out there are acquisitive and resource-hungry...."

This is the same thought that Stephen Hawking echoed a year or so ago.

These are the same tired old arguments the crop up again and again. They're based upon little more than philosophical speculation and vague probabilities--often to further an agenda.

We do not have the data to support any claims that life elsewhere will be like us. Of the countless lifeforms on this planet alone, those with even a modicum of intelligence are few in number. It is likely that if we encounter alien life (barring it coming to us), it will be something we might consider unintelligent. Space cows, basically.

If something more intelligent comes about, having evolved elsewhere in the universe and possessing of a different form than ourselves, the most likely outcome of such a scenario would be a creature with different needs, thoughts, wants, and motives. In essence, such an encounter would probably result in complete incomprehension between the two species.

It's easy to see where such "learned" minds get these Saturday afternoon serial hypotheses: they're of an age that grew up with the Cold War and those very same B-Grade monster movies about men from Mars. It's probably hard to shake some of the presuppositions that take root in the subconscious of starry-eyed kids.

The simple fact is that we don't have any data to support these premises. As we don't have data to support the position that UFOs are alien spacecraft from afar. Intelligent life may very well exist in the universe, but to dismiss this possibility simply because it has never contacted this planet is anthrocentric hubris at its best. As the character Spock said in Star Trek IV: "Only human arrogance would assume the message MUST be meant for man."

What if they can't visit? When was the last time you trekked across the country on a Big Wheel?

What if they don't want to visit? How excited would many of you be to visit some backwater, squeal-like-a-pig town that's known only as the lynching capital of Skunkwater County?

That's what I thought.

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Last Bird Account

I was ready to put this bird business to bed. In fact, I thought I had. At least, I thought so until someone showed me this historic account. It doesn't answer any questions. In fact, it brings up one or two. But it does add further dimensions to these accounts.


Chicago (UPI)--A powerful searchlight Sunday was blamed for the death of hundreds of birds at the Glenview Naval Air Station.

The bodies of the birds littered the jet parking ramp, posing a problem for jet planes which tend to gobble up objects in the path of their air intakes and suck them into the engines.

Bird authorities theorized the grosbeaks and redstarts were attracted by a powerful light the station uses to measure altitude of clouds.  They apparently fluttered around the light until they fell dead from exhaustion.

[printed in The Oklahoman Sept 25, 1961]

Is this normal behavior for certain bird species? To flock to a light like a fluttering* of moths?

*I made that up. I don't know what a group of moths is called, collectively. But here are some interesting collective nouns ascribed to various bird species....

A bevy of quail
A bouquet of pheasants [when flushed]
A brood of hens
A building of rooks
A cast of hawks [or falcons]
A charm of finches
A colony of penguins
A company of parrots
A congregation of plovers
A cover of coots
A covey of partridges [or grouse or ptarmigans]
A deceit of lapwings
A descent of woodpeckers
A dissimulation of birds
A dole of doves
An exaltation of larks
A fall of woodcocks
A flight of swallows [or doves, goshawks, or cormorants]
A gaggle of geese [wild or domesticated]
A host of sparrows
A kettle of hawks [riding a thermal]
A murmuration of starlings
A murder of crows
A muster of storks
A nye of pheasants [on the ground]
An ostentation of peacocks
A paddling of ducks [on the water]
A parliament of owls
A party of jays
A peep of chickens
A pitying of turtledoves
A raft of ducks
A rafter of turkeys
A siege of herons
A skein of geese [in flight]
A sord of mallards
A spring of teal
A tidings of magpies
A trip of dotterel
An unkindness of ravens
A watch of nightingales
A wedge of swans [or geese, flying in a "V"]
A wisp of snipe

Food For Thought: Perception

Ghost Hunting Theories comes us with an interesting post to scratch your head over.

"...a woman breaks up with a man and he goes all psycho on her. His angry stalking does not mean he loved her more than other men love their women. It simply means his self explanatory style is not grounded in reality but fantasy. He's running around telling himself his life is over without her and thus he reacts as if he's trying to save his life."

Perhaps this is something you've witnessed yourself. Perhaps you are also guilty of this. In fact, I know you are. I am. We all have this tendency at times. I think the important thing is to be aware of this and make a conscious effort to avoid it in our lives and during investigations.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Spurious FBI Quote Suggests Hitler Lived

Falling into today's "how sad is this?" category, I find the following from some contributor to the Daily Grail website:

recently in news, the FBI of america had quoted: "Reports have been found and clues have been discovered that Adolf Hitler had not actually commited suicide as the reports said after the second world war." "He escaped to argentina and it is said to have lived there for atleast 11 years"

Besides sounding nothing like anything the FBI would waste their time on, the wording seemed sophomoric and unprofessional, as if not from a legitimate press release or public statement. Curious, I googled the quote and found not a single reputable news source associated with it. I only saw conspiracy theory websites.

Now, we come to the truly sad part: in all of the comments beneath the post on the Daily Grail, not one of them--regardless of their position in the matter--challenged the veracity of this unattributed quote.

But what can I expect from a blogger who furnished us this subsequent sentence. You read correctly; the following is all one sentence:

Well, many ppl may think that this is just plain B.S, but I personally think that this subject is something to ponder about, I mean, after all Hitler's corpse has not been recovered till date, nor are there any traces of him killing himself, if the reports were true that hitler had shot himself in his bunker, no blood stains, bullet holes or any trace of death is visible in the place, FBI has recently said that hitler could have easily escaped among some of his nazi people past the incoming soviet troopers, into one of his U-boats and make his way to argentina, furthermore, some argentinians have said that they did see hitler in the country.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Will Be My Final Bird On The Matter

Puns aside, I ran across these quotes from learned professionals in the field that might quell the quail kill hysteria that seems to be sweeping the globe as every lifeform known to man is suddenly dying in record numbers. Poor things. No, not the animals; I'm speaking about the paranoid delusionals who are reading all this hype. A lot of people unqualified to talk about this topic are really stirring up a lot of controversy and apocalyptic doomsday nonsense. Perhaps this will provide some balance.

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that bird collisions with tall, lighted communications towers, and their guy wires result in 4 to 10 million bird deaths a year." [source:]

"LeAnn White, a wildlife disease specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said bird kills occur more frequently than the public realizes. The USGS database contains at least 16 cases in the last 20 years of large numbers of blackbirds dying in contained areas. "We just think it's a rather strange coincidence," she said.

The most likely explanation for what caused the birds to plunge from the Arkansas sky is sudden trauma. Roosting birds probably panicked at the sound of holiday fireworks, flew into a frenzy and then crashed into each other at high speeds, scientists say. White said the Louisiana birds probably flew into a power line.

"Blackbirds will naturally, at this time of year, spend the night in large roosts, in thousands," said Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation. "If they are frightened, which easily could be the case with fireworks, they could panic." And birds colliding at 40 miles per hour could easily kill each other.

Plus, preliminary reports released Monday by the Livestock and Poultry Commission Veterinary Diagnostic Lab show blood clots and internal bleeding in many of the birds, indicating that trauma had occurred before the fall. "These are not just dead birds lying on the ground," Inkley said. "These are damaged, dead birds lying on the ground."

(as for fish kills...)

Samples have been sent to the lab for analysis, and while results from the necropsies won't be complete for another three weeks, disease is considered a top contender. "Many diseases are host-specific, so it's a reasonable speculation on the part of the agencies," Inkley says. [source: Birds Tumbling From the Sky; Fish Floating Dead in the Water: How Unusual Are These Animal Die-Offs? By: Jenny Marder accessed from]

"It is not that unusual," said Kristen Schuler, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Centre. "There is nothing apocalyptic or anything that is necessarily out of the ordinary for what we would see in any given week."

Indeed, the USGS keeps a log on its website with reports of groups of birds dying each week, averaging from dozens to thousands

[source: Mass bird kill theories take off |Web feeds curiosity, but experts say it's not unusual by KERY SHERIDAN, AFP via]

Dark Cougar Killed, Questions Linger

A rather dark-colored cougar was recently killed in the mountains of far West Texas near El Paso. READ MORE HERE at Texas Cryptid Hunter. I used to live in West Texas and can tell you it is rugged, sparsely-populated, and inhospitable. Under the best of circumstances, cougars are hard to spot. They are reclusive and generally avoid people. Given how rare it is to see one with normal coloring, and factoring in how dark this one is by comparison, it isn't hard to imagine that even darker (perhaps black?) animals are hidden away in some rocky alcove high up some mountain cliff in the middle of the desert. The odd become then quite remote of properly documenting their existence.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Red Dirt Reporter Spots North Texas UFO

Andrew W. Griffin, who writes for the Red Dirt Report website, was traveling through North Texas recently when he spotted something unusual.

"Whatever it was it was just east of this community near the Johnson-Ellis county line that your Red Dirt Reporter noticed a very strange object hovering in the air in the sky between Grandview and Maypearl."

UFO? Plane? Griffin isn't entirely sure, but it struck him as odd. You can read more about this sighting here.

Chewbacca on Bigfoot

While shooting “Return of the Jedi” in the redwood forests of Northern California, Peter Mayhew, the seven foot, three inch actor who portrayed Chewbacca the Wookiee, was warned not to walk off set in costume for fear of being shot by hunters. “Remember, this is Bigfoot country,” he was told by concerned crew members.

Read More HERE

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Bird Deaths--Now Sweden!

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – In a week that saw unexplained massive bird deaths in the southern United States, up to 100 birds were found lying in a snow-covered street in Sweden Wednesday, officials said.

"Most were dead," Christer Olofsson of rescue services in the southwestern town of Falkoeping said of the 50 to 100 jackdaw birds, a type of crow.

Ornithologist Anders Wirdheim said the find was surprising.

"This is unusual," he told tabloid Aftonbladet, which posted online a reader's photo of dozens of black birds littering a snow-covered road.

"They are probably jackdaws. They spend the winter in large flocks. If they are exposed to disturbances, they can become so stressed that they fly themselves to death," he said.


Doubtlessly this sort of thing happens a lot, but all the sudden news coverage of it makes it seem like THE END OF THE WORLD APPROACHETH!!!!!

Buried Alive! (Nearly)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fort's Thoughts On Falls

I've presented that tornadoes and such probably have a relationship to many of these mysterious Falls (as they are known), of which the Arkansas birds are the most recent (if not the most mysterious). The literature is full of strange things--organic or otherwise--that rain down from the sky. It's hard to discount that there was very recent tornadic activity in Arkansas prior to the event. It's also hard to discount that it occurred on New Year's Eve. Many blame fireworks and bad weather on the sudden plummit of several thousand dead red-winged blackbirds in Beebe, AR. All very sound and logical.

Still, in looking through my library and files of all things weird, I came across a quote by the noted anomalist, Charles Fort:

"Coffins have come down from the sky; also...hats and horse collas and pajamas. But these things have come down at the time of a whirlwind.  The two statements that I start with are that no shower exclusively of coffins, nor of marriage certificates, nor of alarm clocks has been recorded; but that showers exclusively of living things are common. And yet the explanation by orthodox scientists who accept that showers of living things have occurred is that the creatures were the products of whirlwinds. The explanation is that little frogs, for instance, fall from the sky, unmixed with anything else, because, in a whirlwind, the creatures were segregated by differences in specific gravity.  But when a whirlwind strikes a town, away go detachables in a monstrous mixture, and there's no findable record of washtubs coming down in one place, all the town's cats in one falling battle that lumps its infelicities in one place, all the the kittens coming down together somewhere else, in a distant bunch that meows for its lump of mothers."

He makes a valid point, assuming we agree to one condition: that the accounts of mysterious falls throughout history are to be believed entirely as they have been perceived. Doubtlessly many are fabrications, drafted for the amusement of either the reader or the writer. In the era Charles Fort collected many of his tidbits from newspapers everywhere, these same said newspapers were rife with tabloid tales meant to drum up sales. It's hard to take every fantastic story serious when so many were known frauds. What is it they say? One bad apple? Maybe there's a fall of apples in the literature as well.


"Early tests on the birds showed no toxic gases trapped in their feathers, though biologists found some physical trauma indicative of being hit by hail or lightning. Still, a bird die-off of this magnitude is unusual. Among the possible explanations: People shooting off fireworks in the area flushed a large roost of birds out of treetops, causing them to fly into either a hail storm or a lightning strike.

Beebe's blackbird population is large enough so that the US Department of Agriculture has in the past attempted large-scale scarecrow techniques to move large flocks out of the area. Outnumbered and outmaneuvered, the USDA gave up those efforts a few years ago.

In 1973, several hundred ducks dropped from the sky near Stuttgart, Ark., known as "The Duck Capital of the World," victims of a sudden storm. In another case, biologists found hundreds of what Ms. Rowe calls "perfectly good," but dead, pelicans in the middle of the woods. While the pelicans showed no outward signs of injury or singe marks, necropsies showed they'd been hit by lightning.

Adding to the mystery is an apparent fish kill 125 miles away in the same state. A day before the bird die-off, a tugboat operator near Ozark, Ark., spotted thousands of dead drum fish floating in the Arkansas River. Biologists say the two events are probably not related and suggest that the fish kill – a much more common event than a bird rain – is likely linked to a disease that affected only one species."

More from this article HERE

[ch] I used to work for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. I can tell you that both fish and bird "kills" (as they're termed) aren't that uncommon. These just made the news because there wasn't much else to discuss apparently.


Confirmation on the Louisiana bird kill, although it took linking through three different websites to find it. You're no help at ALL, GOOGLE! Check it out.

More Birds?

Nick Redfern's latest post (link really) informs us that more birds have been struck down in Lousiana and Kentucky. However, I note, when one follows the link, it simply directs to a Google roundup of blogs like Above Top Secret. I didn't find one legitimate news source reporting on bird kills in those states following on the heels of the recent occurrence in Arkansas. Take it with a grain of salt.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Birds Fall Dead From The Sky -- More Than 1000!

"Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area."



Sunday, January 2, 2011

When A City Closes Its Heart, It Suffocates Its Soul

Since the 1930's, Oklahoma City's First National Bank building has towered like an Art Deco light house over this prairie metropolis. Although spared the wrecking ball of Urban Renewal in the 1960s (that fell so many glorious structures), the First National building hasn't been without its difficulties. Read about current owner financial issues here. Now, gorgeous marble floors and walls have been ripped out and replaced with cheap tile that makes the soul weep.

What makes this building so marvelous is how little has actually changed about it over the years. The old wooden-banistered stairwells still stand; Art Deco bas relief abounds, mixing with graceful remnants of Art Nouveau stylings; and that glorious lobby! The old bank lobby sits like a two story marble sanctuary in the heart of the building, empty of course. There hasn't been a First National Bank in years. It's used now to house the lofty Christmas tree that's put up each year.

1st National Tree
It's on this note, I cringe. A friend of mine who works downtown recently went to the First National building--as people do each day for business or to enjoy the many shops and restaurants still left along its main concourse--to snap some shots of the Christmas decor. He had done it before. I have done it before. It's a beautiful set-up. Only this time, he was ushered off by an irate building manager and security staff--for doing nothing more than taking pictures of an empty bank lobby that hasn't been in business for decades.

It's a sad day when a building that was once open for people to enjoy has now become something of a police state. Given their financial woes, I'm surprised the current owners aren't more hospitable to customers--that's what they are, because they could come to eat, shop, visit the offices of the Oklahoma Tourism Department... It's for that reason I have been there myself several times, delivering copies of my book to the offices of Oklahoma Today magazine.

I used to go with my father sometimes when I was a kid to the underground Concourse beneath the building, where a favorite breakfast spot of his was located. It was such a treat for me, an adventure. While not as big, by any means, the First National building reminds one (especially a kid in love with all things King Kong) of the Empire State Building, although First was built first.

"featuring polished aluminum, granite, glass and several varieties of marble from around the world. Rising 446 feet above the sidewalk, the building was topped out with an aluminum aviation tower and a red beacon light above a polished aluminum notched roof line. The aviation tower originally housed a massive white rotating beacon that was visible for 75 miles....The 32nd floor was a public observation deck." [Wikipedia]

Demolishing HistoryRecently several buildings have been demolished only one street up from the First National building. Historic buildings. I took pictures.

In those sections ripped open by the crane, I could see a graceful and artistic structure that once stood beneath a cheap mid-Century facelift. It's sad, really. I guess I can't explain to those who just don't get it how beautiful architecture can be, how it becomes a part of a city's soul. I'm not opposed to modern architecture. Some might get that impression from reading my various diatribes on the matter. No, I appreciate any design wherein the architect's love for both the creation and the community is made evident instead of just drafting an answer to a need. A solution to a problem.

Transcendence. That's what is required. Transcending banal need and function to embrace a deeper craving, something the soul demands. I think Oklahoma City has a hungry soul and I could easily fathom (sad as this may sound) a wrecking ball one day coming for the First National building.

We marvel at other cities. In fact, some might say that is one of Oklahoma City's failing: always wanting to be someplace else. We have to remember, though, that those other cities--New York, Chicago, Paris--didn't happen overnight and all that glorious architecture we marvel at didn't survive because the populace sat back with a collective "meh" and did nothing. True, treasures have been lost in the those cities as well, but I think they fight for each and every one. There seems to be the sense that people really care about these buildings, as if they are citizens too. The people don't shut the buildings out, and the buildings, in turn, don't shut the people out.

I've often heard it joked that if Oklahoma City is a PC, Tulsa is a Mac. And it seems true in a way. Tulsa has a far nicer skyline with many beautiful older buildings still hanging around. And there's no denying that Tulsa seems to have a vein of artistic appreciation that runs far deeper than Oklahoma City's. They've had a riverfront area and beautiful parks far longer. I think it's about the people and what they see as important. The old can sit alongside the new--and should. In Barcelona, I ate in a restaurant that was probably a restaurant a thousand years ago. It was built into the niches along the base of an old Roman wall. These cities care about history, art, and beauty. It's important to them, to their souls, and to the soul of their city.

I often ask myself when thinking of the icons of great cities (Alamo, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower) what Oklahoma City's icon is. I haven't yet found a satisfactory answer to that question. Maybe it's because we demolished it already. Maybe it's the First National Building. If so, it won't be a beloved icon by shutting the people out or falling victim to the mentality that soulless glass and steel structures are somehow better and that all this old junk needs to go to make way for the Future.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Moving 4-Ton Stones? Call The Wicker Man!

"I always thought that dragging these huge stones was physically impossible because of the friction on the surface. The key thing is the technology was always there around them," he said.

It is the movement of the 60 famous Bluestones which causes historians such problems. Each stone weighs up to 4 tons and they originally came from the Preseli Mountains in Wales – some 200 miles away.

Mr Lavin has come up with a cylinder ‘basket’ to roll the massive and irregularly-shaped stones.

The basket is created by weaving willow and alder saplings to form a lightweight structure that can be easily moved by 4 or 5 men. To complete the rig and to ensure the best rolling and floatation conditions, the gaps between the basketwork cylinder and the irregular stone are packed with thin branches.

This spreads the load as the basket flexes in transit, much like a modern tyre, and creates buoyancy when transported down rivers and across the sea.

One of Mr Lavin’s key discoveries during his earlier experiments was that the wicker cages that contained the stones were able to float. This would have enabled Neolithic man were able to get the huge stones across rivers on their journey, as well as making it easier to transport them over long distances without having to carry them the entire way. READ MORE HERE

Sky Net Has Become Self Aware

Does a complex, interwoven network of banking and stock tools represent some nascent AI system?

"Most intriguing, though, is the idea that no one is responsible – that instead, the systems are doing it for themselves. The financial markets’ digital systems are now so complex, and the number of organisations using bespoke trading bots so huge, that the interaction between the programs could well be generating emergent phenomena spontaneously. That is, these patterns are just weird side effects that come about in much the same way that fract­als come about as a result of chaotic phenomena, emerging fully formed from the ether with no design or overall purpose. But they are nonetheless there, asking for quotes and behaving in ways that every so often have an influence on trading."

Read more of this weirdness at Fortean Times

There's A Fine Line Between Paranoia And Hubris

Is the government watching you? Check your blog stats...

Google's Ngram Tracks Word Popularity

You can watch trends rise and fall with a single word. Some, like 'vampire' or 'UFO', show an exponential increase over time. Read More.