Sunday, 30 November 2008

Big Cats In Britain Part Two: The Evidence

Big Cats In Britain Part One: The Surrey Puma

"Alien big cats" are reported throughout the country (and throughout the world). But all such reports should be treated critically as human perception can be flawed. So what other evidence is there that large big cats wander our woods, fields and sometimes towns? Let's take a look.

There's plenty of video "evidence" on Youtube and the following video is certainly intriguing but only if that fence is 12 foot high. If it's not then this would be the smallest big cat in history.

In 1991 an European Lynx was shot near Great Witchingham, Norfolk. See the picture below.

Many think this animal was an escapee from a zoo or private collection who preyed upon local livestock until it was killed. It does at least show big cats have survived in the wild in the UK before. Another lynx was captured in 2001 and earned the nickname "the Beast of Crinklewood". She's now called Lara and lives at London Zoo.

Across the country in Shropshire, Devon and even on the Isle of Wight Jungle cats and Leopard cats have been shot or run over (on more than a few occasions!) over the last couple of decades. Now these cats aren't "big cats" but they are large ecologically alien cats and it is very interesting to see that they can be found living wild in this country.

The Times carried a story headlined "Puma Cub Caught Near Hospital" on the 28th of October 1976. That same year the Dangerous Wild Animals Act went through Parliament. This act is often cited as a cause for the release of captive animals into the wild in an effort to avoid breaking the law (it wasn't illegal to release them until the eighties). Although my article on the Surrey Puma shows big cat sightings do predate this event, perhaps this is when a larger more widespread population was introduced. In 1980 Ted Noble caught a puma, later named Felicity at Cannich, Inverness-shire, Scotland. This however didn't stop sightings of a large cat that had preceded her capture and they carried on as she lived out her days as a tourist attraction at the Highland Wildlife Park, Kinguisse. Another incident happened in Greenwich Park (just a few minutes walk from where I sit typing this) in 1987 when police shot a puma near the famous Greenwich Observatory.

Big cats mark their territory in a number of ways including tree scratching. Check out some pictures from Surrey here.

Worrying footage can be found about 7 minutes into this video. Part one of this documentary can be found here. I'm not big on conspiracy theories (as you, Dear Constant Reader, know) but I'm at a loss to explain away that footage of firemen and men with guns turning up at this man's property after a big cat sighting. Either there is an established extermination programme or the authorities have reason to take such reports extremely seriously. Now if they were simply taking things seriously surely it would be uniformed firearms officers who attended? Not a ramshackle group of guys who look more like guns for hire than officers of the law? Really rather interesting footage which I will take with a big dose of "reality" but will still ponder for quite some time. The big dose of reality is simply that the "big cat" looks to be a large domestic cat in this instance. Can they really grow that big? YES! I myself am desperate to own a Maine Coon which is a very large (and beautiful!) breed of felis catus. So I'm wary of the rest of the story as the premise (as featured in the video beforehand) is faulty. Another similar sort of report of police involvement can be read here. Again I make no claims of belief in such a cover up but simply put it out there for consideration.

Neil Arnold has an interesting article (among many) on what sort of big cats could survive and remain relatively hidden in the wilds of Kent (and hence most of Great Britain).

Check out the Monster Quest episode The Black Beast Of Exmoor for some more supposed footage of big cats in Britain.

Don't get me wrong, I believe most reports of such cats are simply mistaken identity as most pictures are very clearly domestic cats or some just dogs (I really despair when I see a picture supposedly of a big cat and see instantly it's a dog). But there is too much evidence to dismiss the fact that somewhere out there, right now, a large cat is lurking. Whether it's a rogue or a member of a thriving breeding population... that is what we need to establish.

Further Reading

Big Cats Loose in Britain - Marcus Matthews (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Mystery Big Cats - Merrily Harpur (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

The Surrey Puma: The Natural and Unnatural History of Britain's First Alien Big Cat - Roman Ilmar Golicz (UK Amazon)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Interesting Squid Video Released

This week National Geographic released a video of a rather interesting squid called a Magnapinna "Big Fin" squid.

This squid is not a newly discovered species although no examples have yet been caught dead, or alive.

Isn't the way it just seems to float there, almost looking directly at the camera, really rather wonderful? Brilliant video.

Haunted Sofa? News (if you could call it that)...

Sometimes I truly am amazed at the guff the news media print in this country. I can almost forgive the Sun, but the fact the Telegraph also went with this story proves that it has gone to the dogs.

Nigel and Christine Strange (cue five million jokes) from Bristol think their leather sofa is haunted because... it makes squeaking noises when they sit on it. The noises appear to be getting louder over time and their "fearless Yorkshire Terrier" is scared by the noises. 

1. Anyone ever had a leather sofa? I hate the things, the squeaky noises can be totally irritating. 
2. Sofas often BREAK and if something is broken inside it will often make a noise, especially when sat on, and over time the noise might get worse as the problem gets worse. 
3. Yorkshire Terriers will bark at anything. 

How can anyone take this seriously? It's obviously a set up story to enable the Sun to push it's parent companies latest release "The X-Files: I Want To Believe" (I did too but I was very much off put by the terrible plot). Only an idiot would assume something was haunted just because it squeaked when you sat on it!

And really... it's just a boring story. Unlike these tales of the unexpected (with a furniture twist)

Further Reading

Possessed Possessions : Haunted Antiques Furniture and Collectibles -  Ed Okonowicz and Kathleen Okonowicz (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Possessed Possessions 2: More Haunted Antiques Furniture and Collectibles - Ed Okonowicz and Kathleen Okonowicz (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Mystery Airships: The Steampunk UFOs Part Two

The Steampunk UFOs Part One

The Airship Wave Of 1909

Less well known than the 1896-97 spat of sightings, the 1909 wave is still worthy of mention. This wave occurred at the true dawn of air travel and appropriately enough had a much more international flavour.

The "scareships" appeared across Britain that year causing panic and fear. We must remember that the early years of the 20th Century spelt the end of Britain's splendid isolation thanks to the invention of controlled, powered flight. The British truly were scared of what that could mean, and sadly we all know we Brits were quite right to fear what lay ahead. So "scareships" was the phrase the papers coined for that year's mystery airships.

The first ascent of the Zeppelin LZ1 in 1900

The Airship Wave Of 1909 - Dr David Clarke is a rather brilliant article about the scareships and their immediate historical setting. I'll give you a few examples of the sights Dr Clarke mentions:

In May 1909, the skipper of the Suffolk-based fishing smack Superb, J.H. Stockman, reported how in October the previous year, when fishing in the North Sea 35 miles out of Lowestoft he had seen what at first appeared to be "a large star rising out of the water" and approaching his ship. After calling one of his crew, Stockman decided to signal to the "airship" with a red flare, and to his surprise he was immediately answered by a red flare from above his ship. He then showed a white flare, and received a blue flare in response! The "airship" appeared to be sausage shaped, and carried a single light; it eventually disappeared out to sea in the direction of the Continent

No German Zeppelin would have been able to make such a crossing and the report is remarkably similar to many latter day UFO sightings.

From the point of view of the London newspapers, however, the scare can safely be said to have begun with the sighting made by Police Constable Kettle in the Cathedral city of Peterborough, early on the morning of 23 March 1909. It was this sighting which was the first to appear in a London evening newspaper, the Daily Mail, and was subsequently noted by Charles Fort in his account of the airship scare.

In his original statement, published in the Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser, Kettle said: "I was on duty in Cromwell-road at 5.15 am when I heard what I took to be a motorcar some 400 yards distant. It was quite dark at the time, and I looked along Cromwell-road expecting to see the lights of an approaching car. Nothing appeared, but I could still hear the steady buzz of a high-powered engine. Suddenly it struck me that the sound was coming from above, and I looked up. My eye was at once attracted by a powerful light, which I should judge to have been some 1,200 feet above the ground. I also saw a dark body, oblong and narrow in shape, outlined against the stars. When I first sighted the machine it was not straight overhead but appeared to be over the railway in the direction of Taverners-road. It was travelling at a tremendous pace, and as I watched, the rattle of the engines gradually grew fainter and fainter, until it disappeared in the northwest."

The Daily Mail's account mentions that a second policeman in another part of Peterborough had corroborated Kettle's account, but no further reference has been located referring to this fact in the local Press. Newspaper reporters, however, were quick to locate other witnesses in the town who claimed to have seen a similar object in the sky over Peterborough at around the same time. One of these was a Miss Gill, daughter of the city electrical engineer, who upon returning from the theatre with friends that same night saw "a brilliant flashing light in the sky...apparently attached to some dark object moving slowly in the direction of Cromwell Road.

This was to be the first in a series of sightings in East Anglia and soon enough fevered reporters and onlookers descended on the counties thereabouts in search of the lights in the sky. Soon the craze moved further afield...

"a report was made by a police constable Day, of the Lincolnshire force, to the effect that he had seen an airship hovering over Immingham Dock at night. PC Day claimed he was patrolling on the banks of the Humber at 2am when his attention was attracted to a bright light hanging over the river nearby.

"Having been in the navy for several years, the officer states emphatically that it was not a searchlight," maintained the Sheffield Telegraph. "He also states that he distinctly saw the outline of a car, which was swaying gently in mid-air. For an hour the mysterious body and light remained visible until, in fact, the officer went off duty."

As usual there may well have been a less sensational explanation for this sighting, for the account went on to say: "It so happens that there was a remarkable display of the Northern Lights early [on the morning of 22 May] and it is quite possible that this may afford an explanation."

I just imagine him staring at this strange sight, amazed and bewildered than seeing his watch and thinking "Wooooo... what am I doing standing around here, it's time for a beer!" Typical Brit... ;)

At Herne Bay in Kent, five independent witnesses in different parts of the town observed the passage of an airship shaped like "a big cigar" or a sausage, carrying a brilliant light, which travelled inland from the sea between 9 and 9.30 pm on 13 May.

On the same night hundreds of miles to the north in Hull, on the East Coast of Yorkshire, Mr A. Walker was walking home when he observed a flash of light in the sky above the Humber at 11pm. "It was working to the west and seemed to be tracking a little as if going against the wind which was forcing it back," he told the Hull Daily Mail. "It was a luminous body seen through a cloud, and appeared arc-shaped, and I also heard a peculiar whirring noise. The light was high up, about a mile up, I should think. It was dark and cloudy at the time and I had the light under observation for about two minutes. I immediately called my father and mother who were in the house, and they also both saw the light as it travelled westwards."

Several other Hull residents also came forward and claimed they had seen an airship hovering over the Humber the following night, and that "for a brief space, a piercing searchlight was directed on the river."

Did you think Kent would escape a mention? Never!

That is just a few of many sightings in Britain that spring and I've left out some actual encounters with "Germans" and even a few Men In Black stories too mentioned in the article which I really urge you to read. Given the huge amount of publicity and the sheer quantity of witness statements it's quite astonishing that so few people have even heard of the scareship wave, whether it was aliens, pre-WWI delusions or German recon flights it's still a fascinating phenomenon. The reports continued right up until the outbreak of the First World War and the first waves of real "scareships" which brought misery to our isles. In fact one incident in 1912 when the sounds of an airship were heard flying over Sheerness in Kent (trust me, if you are of right mind you'd want to ensure you flew above Sheerness and not ever touch down there...) lead to questions being asked in Parliament.

Another place that was home to a wave of sightings of strange craft was quite a long way away from any possible threatening Zeppelins; New Zealand.

This site has quite a few sightings listed:

New Zealand, Dunedin: On July 28, an airship apparently came down over the city of Dunedin. A resident in the North Eastern Valley reported that he was awakened by a horrible noise at about two o'clock this morning,' he told a reporter. “The noise was like a ship dragging her anchor up or a windlass of a steamer with dry-gear wheels working. I got up and went round to the front and I saw something floating up past Knox College. It was a great black thing with a searchlight attached.'"
• New Zealand, Fairfax: The afternoon of July 31, 1909, a resident reported seeing an airship while he was at Akatore. At 4:55 p.m., he saw a dark object shoot over the brow of the hills in the east and rapidly climb towards the west. He got a side view of the object which he described as cigar-shaped but bulkier, with a box-like structure underneath in the centre.
• New Zealand, Gore: Early the morning of August 1, a resident of Grosvenor Street in Dunedin reported seeing an airship. At one stage, he saw a bright yellow light shoot up what looked like a mast and stay at the top.
• New Zealand, Greenvale: On July 31, there was a UFO incident during the early morning hours at Greenvale, near Gore, South Island. While feeding the horses, a Greenvale farmhand heard a strange whirring sound, which frightened the animals. On looking out, he saw an airship overhead about 150 feet long. It had head and taillights and was moving so fast that, when he woke up his mates, the lights were faint in the distance.
• New Zealand, Kaka Point: New Zealand was repeatedly visited by UFOs, then known as "airships". On July 24, 1909, some half dozen boys were playing on the beach at Kaka Point saw a huge illuminated object moving about in the air. It appeared as if it was going to alight at Kaka Point. The light from it was distinctly reflected on the roof of Mr. Fitzgerald's cottage. The boys thought it was being attracted by their lantern and left it on the beach. The airship then glided around the rocks at the old pilot station and nearly came in contact with them. It shortly afterwards disappeared. The boys said it was as big as a house.
• New Zealand, Kaitangata: On Sunday night July 25, the mysterious object again made its appearance at the beach and was seen by Mr. George Smith and Mr. Poulter about 8:30. Mr. Smith viewed it through a very powerful night glass. It was apparently over Mr. Aitkenhead's house when he first saw it, but it glided high in the air and sailed north in the direction of Kaitangata, swooping west and east and finally disappearing over the horizon. About 10:30 Mr. Smith was called out by Mr. Poulter to see the airship, which again had made its appearance. This time it headed out to sea and eventually disappeared. As seen through the glass, Mr. Smith said it appeared to be a fair size, dark superstructure with a powerful headlight and two smaller lights at the side.
• New Zealand, Kelso: On July 23, a small group of schoolchildren and some residents reported that an airship came down and bobbed around in the sky over the school for a few minutes.
• New Zealand, Lambourne: On July 27, about 10 a.m., Mr. Allan Mitchell and Mr. Alex Riach, while working at Lambourne near the mouth of the Pomehaka River, saw high in the air a large boat-shaped structure floating in the air.
• New Zealand, Oamaru: On July 19, three residents of Oamaru, reported "a flickering light" moving about in the sky.

And just to prove it wasn't just the British Empire losing it's marbles, New England too was host to a fresh wave of American airships.

With sightings also reported in the Middle East and Vietnam the final few years before the First World War truly were the last great mystery airship wave. So what could be behind these reports? Are they lies, or misidentification of other phenomena? Are they steampunk aliens? The work of crazy inventors? A Government conspiracy? Or war machines sent by foreign powers? Next time we'll look at the evidence... Mystery Airships: The Steampunk UFOs Part Three.

Further Reading

Mystery Airships In The Sky - Steven A. Arts (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery - Michael Busby (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

The Great Airship Mystery - Daniel Cohen (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Secret: Again

As the topic of the Secret seemed quite popular I thought I'd just show you all a video from the Infidel Guy debunking the whole thing. Long live the Infidel Guy!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Mystery Airships: The Steampunk UFOs Part One

On November the 21st 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes ascended to the skies in the worlds first known manned flight using a hot air balloon. Seeing that anniversary the other day sort of reminded me about those anomalous flying machines of the late 19th Century; the "Mystery Airships"

New Hampshire in 1870

Things began to go bump in the sky in the 1870s. Paris was occupied by the Prussians and Alexander Graham Bell was tinkering with a prototype which would one day drive us all insane and in America strange reports were appearing of "airships" in the sky. Over the next few decades the sightings continued, mostly in sporadic bursts, right up until the foo fighters took their place as the UFOs of the 1940s.

Although the major "flap" didn't occur until 1896 there were significant unidentified flying object sightings before that, with the below being the best known, and best documented, one.

On March the 26th 1880, in a small dot on the map named Galisteo Junction, New Mexico, a worker on the railroad and couple of friends were walking after a hard days work when they heard voices in the sky. The voices were in an unknown language, punctuated with laughter, and when they raised their eyes to the sky they were greeted with the sight of a gigantic craft floating above them occupied by a dozen or so men. They would later describe the craft as "fish shaped" because of it's cigar body shape with a tail, all driven by some sort of propeller.

The occupants threw out some objects and pieces of paper which were carefully examined by the men. The writing on the paper made them think of Oriental script and a cup was later described as being unlike any they'd seen before.

Later a strange visitor to town bought the objects and they were never seen again but, according to this site and the April 5th 1880 Santa Fe Weekly New Mexican, there is a postscript:

A party of tourists which included a wealthy young Chinaman stopped in the vicinity and found the stranger engaged in archaeological work. The young man grew excited on seeing the articles dropped from the airship, because among among them was a note in his fiancee's hand, and he explained that CHINESE EXPERIMENTS IN FLYING HAD AT LAST SUCCEEDED, meaning, the airship which crossed the skies of Galisteo Junction was THE FIRST FLIGHT OF a CHINA-TO-AMERICA airline.
China. To America. By Airship. In 1880. Hell, it's one heck of an idea!

But the real excitement started in 1896. Sightings began in California and over the next few months moved gradually eastwards.

In Sacramento in November 1896 some men "Not Addicted to Prevarication", as one newspaper put it, reported seeing a light moving across the sky and heard voices (in a remarkably similar manner to the New Mexico sighting that happened nearly two decades before).

"The most detailed report of the evening came from one R.L. Lowery, a former street railway employee who said he heard a voice from above call, "Throw her up higher; she'll hit the steeple." When he looked up he saw two men seated on a bicycle-like frame, peddling. Above them was a "cigar-shaped body of some length." Lowery said that the thing also had "wheels at the side like the side wheels on Fulton's old steam boat." The Mystery Airship Of 1896
A few days later even greater numbers of people observed the phenomenon in Sacramento and also in San Francisco. After that the sightings, and the claims about them, became increasingly weird and worryingly common. Sightings were reported all along the west coast from Canada down to California and people claimed the airships to be the works of crazy inventors or military machines destined for war against the Spanish (read any right wing blog and insert the word Spanish for Muslim and you'll understand America's feelings towards our European cousins in the late 19th Century). The feverpitch gradually dissipated and all was calm until... 

In February 1897 the airship(s) made another appearance, this time over Hastings, Nebraska and few days later 40 miles away in Invale. Soon they were again coming from all over with one farmer reporting:
"It is cigar shaped, about 200 feet long and 50 feet across at the widest point, gradually narrowing to a point at both ends,"
The Nebraska sightings grew so numerous many people began spending their evenings watching the skies, nearly one hundred years before Mulder and Scully! The sightings moved into other states near and far and that's when things got a little weird... 

The airship was first spotted in Kansas on March 26, and reports came in through April and early May. The most amazing account out of Kansas came from a farmer named Alexander Hamilton, in the little town of Le Roy. According to Hamilton, the airship had dropped down on his farm on the night of April 20. The pilots lassoed a heifer from Hamilton’s herd and carried it off into the air. Mr. Hamilton even produced a notarized statement from twelve prominent men of Le Roy, attesting to his honesty and truthfulness.

The small town of Aurora, Texas, had an even more dramatic incident. On April 19 the Dallas Morning News reported that the airship had crashed into a windmill in Aurora and exploded. The body of the pilot was recovered, and was identified as a native of the planet Mars. Despite this, the remains were buried in the local Masonic cemetery.

Chicago awaited the airship with great anticipation, and was not disappointed. The mysterious lights reached Illinois at the beginning of April, and lasted through the first half of the month. After a handful of reports during the first week of April, a spectacular series of airship sightings swept Illinois and Indiana during the week of April 9-16, with 110 reports over the course of seven nights. It was spotted all over Illinois, frequently in different parts of the state on the same night.

In nearby Wisconsin, a farmer found a letter, apparently from the pilots of the airship, describing its construction in Tennessee. Other letters turned up in Michigan and Texas, obviously practical jokes. The most celebrated “airship message” was found in Astoria, Illinois. It was addressed to Thomas Edison, and was seemingly a coded report to him from the pilot of the mystery airship. The great inventor called it a “pure fake.”

After Illinois and Indiana, the sightings began to taper off. They did not end at once; reports were still being published in June of 1897. But they were scattered and few in number. The great wave of airship mania had broken and receded. The Amazing Airship of 1896

I believe the below picture to be one taken in Chicago at the time of the ships appearance there, although even then it was widely assumed to be a fake.

Things didn't end there.... Mystery Airships: The Steampunk UFOs Part Two

Further Reading

Mystery Airships In The Sky - Steven A. Arts (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery - Michael Busby (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

The Great Airship Mystery - Daniel Cohen (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Thursday, 20 November 2008


The Shadow Man is the only thing that holds me back from falling completely into scepticism and losing the last vestiges of my imaginative youth. Maybe I should thank him for that, although I have no doubt if he ever presented himself to me again I'd be beating a hasty retreat for the nearest exit.

For many years he was a secret between me and my Auntie Melly. But one day when I was about sixteen I was at a BBQ with my Mum and lots of her arty friends (she was into that stuff that year, no doubt prompted by her Salvador Dali obsessed artist boyfriend) I happened to tell a group of people the story. One woman stared at me open mouthed and told me her own story. In her house she and her family often found a shadow man crouched in the corner of her landing. Whenever they spotted him he'd get up and run away but not before they'd catch a glimpse of his bright red eyes. It chilled me then to think that we had both encountered/imagined something so similar.

I put it out my mind until a few years ago when I was busy writing up my Shadow Man story for a Halloween blog post. I decided to do a little search on the net and was truly horrified to discover... the shadow people are something many people have encountered. Be it an illusion of the human mind or a group of entities, there is something in it worthy of further investigation.

After I wrote my blog post on the shadow man many Halloweens ago, one of my workmates read it and got freaked out by it. She told her entire department about it and later that day one quiet member of the marketing team sidled up to my desk and asked to talk to me. Jo told me about how she'd woken up one day to find the shadow man in her bedroom... and he didn't just stand and watch her but "freaked out" and attempted to attack her before she fled the room screaming with terror. Again I felt a chill run down my spine... she told me she had never told anyone before because she was afraid they'd laugh at her and she'd never heard anyone else talk about them but my description matched hers exactly. And it scared her quite a bit. How many others around us have met a shadow and keep it to themselves because they are afraid of ridicule?

As I said in one of my first posts on this subject on this blog, the Shadows is a particularly good website. Yes it's a fundie site. But it has some good info hidden in there too. The Shadow Gallery is the most useful part for me and page 3 especially interesting; it was here I discovered something even more disturbing.

The pair of Hooded Shadows haunted me at Sharnall Lane (where I saw the Shadow Man). I'd often see them hiding behind things outside, staring through windows and even running off down alleyways if I caught a glimpse of them. I know, it sounds insane, but even though I'm referring to them as "beings" I am more than open to the probability they are but figments of my imagination, and others imaginations too. But still the question that interests me the most is why do so many people reports the exact same things? Are our brains wired up to see shadows? Possibly. Pareidolia is the condition that causes our minds to interpret some images from our eyes as human faces or forms like the Face of Mars, and Hypnagogia is a form of waking dread that causes hallucinations, feelings of dread and the feeling of paralysis. Plus there are multiple other explanations... but still whilst my rational mind nods with approval my other mind, my now tiny irrational brain, that has slowly given up territory on religion and supernatural phenomena to my rational side, clings with desperation to this one last thing. I just can't shake the feeling that there's something more to shadow men. And if there is something more to shadow men, then the entire rational world I've bought into these last few years will go up in smoke and I'll have to reevaluate my entire way of thinking. That is why this topic will return again and again.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Nazis In Antarctica

I've always found what happened in Germany towards the end of the Second World War and shortly afterwards to be absolutely fascinating. One minute the Nazi party has full control over the country and next everyone is jumping ship and changing allegiances as quickly as they can as they see the writing on the wall and feel the breath of the Red Army on the back of their necks are they fled. Last Christmas was spent in the company of several friends including a wonderful old German lady who in her youth had been a member of the Luftwaffe near the end of the war. Talking to her is like looking through a looking glass into a different world.

But could perhaps those fiendishly inventive and resourceful Nazi's have survived the destruction of their empire and fled to a place that is still relatively untouched; Antarctica?

German exploration of the continent had begun properly in 1901 with an expedition that broke new ground in Antarctic exploration (they were the first to see Antarctica from the air in a fancy hot air balloon). By the Nazi regime's pre war years the exploration of Antarctica was pursued further through the third German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939) was led by Alfred Ritscher. It's purpose was to help establish a base for a whaling station to service the recently launched German whaling fleet and help increase production of whale oil into useful commodities. In so doing they marked out territory (some already claimed by Norway) and brought into being Neuschwabenland (New Swabia), the Nazi German Antarctic claim.

Further exploration was considered but cut short by the outbreak of war in Europe. This, so far, is all well established history and as far as most are concerned New Swabia died with the collapse of the Nazi German empire.

Some however claim something quite different occurred. They like to quote Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz (who has the "distinction" of being Hitler's successor as Fuhrer of the Nazi Reich) who they say said in 1943:

"The German submarine fleet is proud of having built for the Fuhrer in another part of the world a Shangri-La on land, an impregnable fortress."

Sadly I can find no source for this quote and thus we must treat it with extreme caution however if we were to suppose this was true. what did he mean?

Let me quote from The OMEGA File (the mistakes are their own and I won't correct them)

The historical facts are evident. Beginning in 1838, long before the end of the Second World War, the Nazi's commenced to send out numerous exploratory missions to the Queen Maud region of Antarctica. A steady stream of expeditions were reportedly sent out from [at the time] white supremacist South Africa. Over 230,000 square miles of the frozen continent were mapped from the air, and the Germans discovered vast regions that were surprisingly free of ice, as well as warm water lakes and cave inlets. One vast ice cave within the glacier was reportedly found to extend 30 miles to a large hot-water geothermal lake deep below. Various scientific teams were moved in to the area, including hunters, trappers, collectors and
zoologists, botanists, agriculturists, plant specialists, mycologists, parasitologists, marine biologists, ornithologists, and many others. Numerous divisions of the German government were involved in the top secret project.

This is where the mainstream historians leave off, as only revisionist historians will dare consider the implications of the rest of the story

Woo there... that is where mainstream historians leave off?? Parts of the continent free of ice with warm water lakes?? Riiiiight. Anyway most believers suggest that the shipments grew in size and soon construction began in Antarctica on a hidden underground base.

Now many also believe that when the war ended the base's obvious isolation allowed it to survive and some think that Nazi higher ups, including Martin Bormann, escaped via South America in U Boats to this new stronghold. But their time there was not without opposition. Supposedly the British found them out and launched an expedition to eradicate them. The details are rather long but interesting if you keep one hand firmly gripped on reality as you plunge head first into insanity. Check out Britain's Secret War In Antarctica. It has also been suggested that Operation Highjump, America's postwar Antarctic expedition, was in fact another attempt to weed out those frosty Nazis.

The idea of an Antarctic landbase for the Nazis is usually linked to another fun theory; Nazi UFOs. Could UFOs really be Nazi recon missions from their Antarctic base rather than interplanetary craft? Could they simply be preparing themselves for a new beginning here on Earth striking out from the South Pole to conquer what was once theirs and begin the Fourth Reich? Have a read of those links, do a little search round and tell me what you think...

P.S. for anyone interested in the accepted story of the end of the Third Reich I recommend Berlin: The Downfall 1945, the best non fiction book I've ever read. Or check out the much Youtubed movie "Downfall [2004]"

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Secret AKA The Law Of Attraction

As far as out there crackpot theories go, The Law Of Attraction or "The Secret" has got to be among the upper echelon of weirdness.

Let us get the basics straight: proponents of the Law of Attraction state that thoughts have "energy" and that this energy attracts "like energy". This should enable people to be able to use their thoughts to fashion and control the world around them.

By using some simple rules one would be able to gain anything they wish: power, material wealth or personal fulfillment. 

The rules are, very simply:

1. Know what you want and "ask the universe for it"
2. Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is on it's way
3. Be open to receiving it. 

Skip a single step and you flunk out and you don't get what you want and might get something you don't want. Simple? Nope. 

"If you really want something and believe it's possible, you'll probably get it. On the other hand, if you really don't want something and put a lot of attention on it, you'll probably get that, too. You can't avoid stuff by hoping you don't get it because the unconscious mind is literal and doesn't process negatives." In other words, negative thoughts bring negative experiences. Three Steps To The "Law"
So your unconscious mind might be betray you!! Sneaky. 

So say I want a car. I need to know I want a car. I need to "ask the universe for it". I need to feel like I really am going to get it and I must be willing to accept it. So I get the car. How did the universe get it to me? Did it in fact know I wanted a car before I asked for it, and set the wheels in motion ensuring that particular car was manufactured and sent to the right place at just the right time for it to somehow end up in my possession? If so... what was the point in asking for it? Surely "the universe" already knew what I wanted?

Do people really believe this stuff? Oh yes indeed... Oprah said it must be true and thus it is... So how did it come about? 

The theories and suggestions that ultimately coalesced into this bizarre belief system began in the late 19th Century but first found their true form in 1910 in a book came out called Science of Getting Rich: Attracting Financial Success Through Creative Thought. This book was the first of many and would quite directly lead to the current craze for "The Secret". 

The Secret, was created by Australian Rhonda Byrne, and she says that if you follow its philosophy, you can create the life you want—whether that means getting out of debt, finding a more fulfilling job or even falling in love.

Rhonda says she stumbled on what she calls The Secret at the end of 2004. At the time, everything in Rhonda's life had fallen apart—physically, emotionally and financially—and she was in "total despair." Then her father died suddenly, and she was worried about her grief-stricken mother. "I wept and wept and wept, and I didn't want my daughter to see me sobbing," Rhonda says.

That's when Rhonda's daughter gave her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. "Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it," Rhonda says. "It gave me a glimpse of The Secret. It was like a flame inside of my heart. And with every day since, it's just become a raging fire of wanting to share all of this with the world." Discovering the Secret

I think this can give us somewhat of an insight into what gives The Secret it's power; it's appeal to those most desperate. It's a similar attractiveness that allows beliefs such as Scientology to remain so successful. Person A desperately wants to beat cancer/have enough money to live/be happy. Their desperation leads them to listen to Book A or Person B when they say "You can have these things all you need do is believe you can have these things."

It seems harmless enough but there are two issues I have with this philosophy:

1) It is so obviously UNTRUE. It is a lie, and serves only to make money for those writing books and movies on the subject. 
2) It may seem a very positive belief system but it also has a terrible side effect. If you don't get what you want or worse something bad happens to you then the only person to blame would be you. Cancer? Your fault, your subconcious must be betraying you. Not really a very nice philosophy. Imagine if everyone believed in The Secret. Would we be sympathetic to those in need or would we admonish them for being useless? The Secret breeds contempt and not love for others. It is thus a disturbing and unworthy system.  

I will put a link below to the Secret should you still wish to read it but... if you are one of my American readers I'd recommend you give the following book a read which breaks down the various arguments against the Secret and other such beliefs intelligently, but sympathetically. 

Further Reading

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A Little History Of Giants: Giants In America

I'm sick and tired of reading religious texts so to take a break from the next religious post about giants and to allow myself to get a post up today, here is a little information on the possible survival of giants into modern human history in America...

We all know of the megafauna that existed in ancient the Americas, and which met untimely ends at the hands of the first human colonisers; the Mammoths, the giant sloths, and perhaps the Terror Birds. But did these early pioneers also encounter giant "humans"? There's some evidence that they did...

"It cannot be denied that there have been giants in this country. I can affirm this as an eyewitness, for I have met men of monstrous stature here. I believe that there are many in Mexico who will remember, as I do, a giant Indian who appeared in a procession of the feast of Corpus Christi. He appeared dressed in yellow silk and a halberd at his shoulder and a helmet on his head. And he was all of three feet taller than the others." The History of the Indies of New Spain - Diego Durán

Diego Duran was one of the earliest European writers on the culture and history of the inhabitants of the New World. Not only does he offer some first hand evidence of giants but he also captures some of the ancient stories of giants passed down by the Aztecs from when they first moved into the area that became their homeland.

"they recorded in their painted books the type of land and kind of people they found here. These books show two types of people, one from the west of the snow-covered mountains toward Mexico, and the other on the east, where Puebla and Cholula are found. Those from the first region were Chichimecs and the people from Puebla and Cholula were 'The Giants,' the Quiname, which means 'men of great stature.'

"The few Chichimecs on the side of Mexico were brutal, savage men, and they were called Chichimecs because they were hunters. They lived among the peaks and in the harshest places of the mountain where they led a bestial existence. They had no human organization but hunted food like the beasts of the same mountain, and went stark naked without any covering on their private parts....

When the new nations came, these savage people showed no resistance or anger, but rather awe. They fled towards the hills, hiding themselves there.... The newly arrived people seeing, then, that the land was left unoccupied, chose at will the best places to live in.

"The other people who were found in Tlaxcala and Cholula and Huexotzinco are said to have been 'Giants.' These were enraged at the coming of the invaders and tried to defend their land. I do not have a very true account of this, and therefore will not attempt to tell the story that the natives told me even though it was long and worth hearing, of the battles that the Cholultecs fought with the Giants until they killed them or drove them from the country.

"These Giants lived no less bestially than the Chichimecs, as they had abominable customs and ate raw meat from the hunt. In certain places of that region enormous bones of the Giants have been found, which I myself have seen dug up at the foot of cliffs many times. These Giants flung themselves from precipices while fleeing from the Cholultecs and were killed. The Cholultecs had been extremely cruel to the Giants, harassing them, pursuing them from hill to hill, from valley to valley, until they were destroyed.

"Even if we detain the reader a little, I should like to tell the manner in which the people of Cholula and Tlaxcala annihilated that evil nation. This was done by treason and deceit. They pretended to want peace with the Giants, and after having assured them of their good will they invited them to a great banquet. An ambush was then prepared. Some men slyly robbed the guests of their shields, clubs, and swords. The Cholultecs then appeared and attacked. The Giants tried to defend themselves, and, as they could not find their weapons, it is said that they tore branches from the trees with the same ease as one cuts a turnip, and in this way defended themselves valiantly. But finally all were killed."

Not only did Diego see some giant bones, for several accounts report similar encounters:

"When I was in Mexico, in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred eighty six, they found one of those giants buried in one of our farms, which we call Jesus del Monte, of whom they brought a tooth to be seen, which (without augmenting) was as big as the fist of a man; and, according to this, all the rest was proportionable, which I saw and admired at his deformed greatness." History of the Indies, Joseph de Acosta

In 1520 on Magellans voyage he stopped off to get supplies in Patagonia, his chronicler writes of this encounter:

We had been two whole months in this harbor without sighting anyone when one day (quite without warning) we saw on the shore a huge giant, who was naked, and who danced, leaped and sang, all the while throwing sand and dust on his head. Our Captain ordered one of the crew to walk towards him, telling this man also to dance, leap and sing as a sign of friendship. This he did, and led the giant to a place by the shore where the Captain was waiting. And when the giant saw us, he marveled and was afraid, and pointed to the sky believing we came from heaven. He was so tall that even the largest of us came only to midway between his waist and his shoulder; yet withall he was well proportioned. He had a large face, painted round with red; his eyes were ringed with yellow and in the middle of his cheeks were painted two hearts. He had hardly any hair on his head, what little he had being painted white.
A tribe of supposed giants managed to survive in the 19th Century if some reports are to be believed. The Karankawa tribe lived on the south western Gulf coast of Texas. Their accepted history alone is fascinating (and somewhat tragic, as is the way with much of the later history of the native Americans) and a very well written article on them can be found here. Some reports have said they were extremely tall, usually between 6 and 7 foot high. Similar heights however are reported for many native tribes, and I suspect this may be where a lot of the reports stem from. We must remember that the European explorers and settlers were of a short stature. Even today being 6'0" is still considered tall, and I've been to many houses showing that even in Victorian times British folk were remarkably small. 

These white pygmies must have been shocked to encounter the strapping, well built and healthy (until they met the invaders anyway) natives and probably awestruck by their comparatively large size. They may well have appeared like giants to them. But what about those bones? 

I think I'll just quote from Wiki for this one:

Aside from mythology and folklore, remains of giants have been claimed to have been found in America. Giants are usually classified as human-like remains that are 7' 5" (2.26 meters) or more in height. The book Forbidden Land by Robert Lyman (1971) recounts the following alleged finds:

* A decayed human skeleton claimed by eyewitnesses to measure around 3.28 metres (10 feet 9 inches tall), was unearthed by labourers while ploughing a vineyard in November 1856 in Wheeling, West Virginia.

* A human skeleton measuring 3.6 metres (12 feet) tall was unearthed at Lompock Rancho, California, in 1833 by soldiers digging in a pit for a powder magazine. The specimen had a double row of teeth and was surrounded by numerous stone axes, carved shells and porphyry blocks with abstruse symbols associated with it.

* Several mummified remains of humans with reddish hair claimed to range from 2-2.5 metres (6.5 feet to over 8 feet) tall were dug up at Lovelock Cave, (70 miles) north-east of Reno, Nevada, by a guano mining operation. These bones supposedly substantiated claims for legends by the local Paiute Indians regarding giants which they called Si-Te-Cah. However, there appear to be no verified Paiute legends about giants or that call the Si-Te-Cah giants (Fossil Legends of the First Americans (Princeton University Press 2005) — ISBN 0-691-11345-9). Fortunately one of the giant Lovelock skulls is still preserved today. It measures almost 30cm (1 foot) tall and resides along with other various Lovelock artefacts in the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca, Nevada. Some of these artifacts can also be found in the Nevada State Historical Society's museum at Reno. Adrienne Mayor states that these skeletons are normal sized. (Fossil Legends of the First Americans (Princeton University Press 2005) — ISBN 0-691-11345-9) She also points out that hair pigment does not stay stable after death, and that ancient very dark hair can turn rusty red or orange due to a variety of conditions such as soil condition, temperature, etc.

* A 9' 11" (3.02 meters) skeleton was unearthed in 1928 by a farmer digging a pit to bury trash in Tensas Parish, Louisiana near Waterproof, Louisiana. In 1931 a 10' 2" (3.1 meters) skeleton was unearthed by a boy burying his dog in 1933 in nearby Madison Parish, Louisiana.

Aside from in Forbidden Land, we can find other unverified examples or legends about the remains of giants:

* A 9' 8" (2.95 meters) skeleton was excavated from a mound near Brewersville, Indiana in 1879 (Indianapolis News, November 10, 1975).

* In Clearwater Minnesota, the skeletons of seven giants were found in mounds. These had receding foreheads and complete double dentition

* A mound near Toledo, Ohio, held 20 skeletons, seated and facing east with jaws and teeth "twice as large as those of present day people", and beside each was a large bowl with "curiously wrought hieroglyphic figures." (Chicago Record, October 24, 1895; cited by Ron G. Dobbins, New England Antiquities Research Association Journal, v13, fall 1978).

So what happened to all these skeletons? Some believe in a conspiracy, which this site goes into in great depth and calls "The Smithsonian Cover Up"

This site claims to have some photographic evidence of large Incan giants. It also has a lot of further resources on the stories of giants.

But it still leaves me feeling all this is rather convenient... evidence found, evidence lost. That's the sort of thing that started the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But it's not good science.

I love the stories of giants in America because they remind us just what it must have been like to encounter strange people, unlike anyone met before by Europeans. It reminds us too of a time when cultures quite different to our own flourished. That strangeness and otherworldliness could not but influence some of these gigantic stories among those explorers. And that these stories were only backed up by more diminutive natives fabulous myths of giants in their past must only have increased the "truth" some found in these supposed encounters with giants.

Alas I think the giants of the Americas were more the result of over active imaginations, embellishments and fantasy.

Further Reading

Forbidden land, 1614-1895 (His Strange events in the Black Forest) - Robert Ray Lyman. This book explores the tales of modern bones being found. 

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A Little History of Giants: Religious Views

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
King James Bible Genesis 6.4

NOTE: This proposal to do a post about the history of giants and investigate the reasons for the stories sounded all very good at first. A quick post would suffice. Then I realised there was too much material for one post and thought of doing a series. Now I see there is so much material this series will be ongoing for quite some time... just getting through the religious texts will take me quite some time. I'll try to sprinkle in posts about other topics, but giants are my new obsession. I apologise in advance. 

Stories of giants abound throughout all cultures and time periods. From the Bible through to the Chronicles of Narnia (sure they are linked by Narnia's Christian symbolism but hey let me get away with that leap!), giants have certainly left quite a great mark on our history and literature considering they are supposedly mythical creatures. What causes tales of giants to be so prolific?Let's first look at the evidence from the belief systems of the world (what's the difference between belief systems and folklore? I hear you cry... erm... not much but I'll try and make some prejudiced decisions as I go along)

*CAUTION: FUNDIE THINKING AHEAD* - Who knew that fundamentalists Christians have a giant fetish? (Giant fetishists are known as macrophiles, for anyone who might have wondered). 

Abrahamic Accounts

But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

King James Bible Numbers 13:31-33

Nephilim (or Rephaim) are the giants of Biblical times. Supposedly born of human females who had been seduced by a group of fallen angels from Heaven they were greedy and mean creatures. Check out this passage from the Book of Enoch (nope, not in your Bible... but it's in some!) in which the Watchers (fallen angels) giant children are punished for having brought misery to Earth.  

The parents of the Nephilim?
And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men, and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling. And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. 
Book of Enoch 15:8-11
Not much of a punishment there. They cause misery on Earth and their punishment is to keep causing misery on Earth. Hmm.... me thinks that God must have been having an off day. The story is also told in the Book of Giants. The Nephilim seem to disappear from Biblical accounts after the Great Flood and many Young Earth Creationists believe them to be a pre-flood race only. Others believe something more sinister happened to them but that'll have to wait for another day.

Perhaps the most famous giant from the Old Testament is Goliath, one of several giant Philistines who, I hardly need remind you, met an unfortunate death at the hands of the King David. So how tall was he? Well most accounts, including those found on the Dead Sea Scrolls, put him at four cubits and a span which is about 6'7" (2 metres) tall. That's shorter than me! It was only later accounts that have placed him at heights of over 9 feet. As such Goliath, if he existed at all, would have been merely a notably tall man not a true giant.

So what could have caused reports of the Nephilim? The time during which the Hebrews began to write their Bible was just after the greatest calamity befell civilisation since it's inception thousands of years beforehand; the end of the Bronze Age. It is still unclear what really brought about the collapse of several different major civilisations within a very close time period, but whatever it was it happened quickly. So rapid and complete was the devastation wrought that within a few decades little was remembered of those past civilisations by the new inhabitants of their lands. All that these new inhabitants saw was the impossibly large ruins of the cities, and finding them so incredibly advanced compared to their own culture and abilities they may have concocted stories of giants as the only way they could comprehend what may have created these megaliths. 

We shall return to the Nephilim and the religious texts stated here in another post, where I'll bring up some of the more zany and out there modern theories to do with the giants of the Bible. Tin foil hats will be required. 


Ancient Sumeria, modern day Iraq, is the birthplace of our civilised world. It's also not a million miles away from the lands of the Bible. The Anunnaki were Sumerian deities who lived in the Heavens and on Earth.  Another related deity was Marduk who supposedly hailed from a celestial body named Nibiru (probably Jupiter). Why mention these? Well they were often depicted as giants and the fact they came down to Earth offers a similarity to the Nephilim of the Bible. Plus I will be mentioning them later as in some peoples minds the Nephilim and Anunnaki are one and the same... In mind they are too but not in the real sense. I have no doubt that tales of the Anunnaki would have influenced early Hebrew thinking. Babylon (a successor state to Sumeria) features heavily in the history and writings of Hebrew thinkers and it's crazy to think they wouldn't hear about Marduk and the Anunnaki

Incan Beliefs

As there is in Peru a story of some giants who landed on the coast at the point of Santa Elena, in the vicinity of the city of Puerto Viejo, I have resolved to mention what I was told about them, as I understood it, without taking into account the opinions of the common people and their various anecdotes, for they usually magnify events larger than life. The natives, repeating a story received from their forefathers from very remote times, say that there came from across the sea on reed rafts that were as large as big ships some men that were so big that an ordinary man of good size scarcely reached up to their knees: their members were in proportion to the size of their bodies, and it a monstrous thing to see their enormous heads and their hair hanging down about their shoulders. Their eyes were as large as small plates. They say they had no beards and that some of them were clad in the skins of animals, and others only in the dress nature gave them. There were no women with them. On reaching this point, they set up their camp like a village (and even in these times there is a memory of the site of their houses). As they found no supply of water they remedied the lack by making some very deep wells, a labor certainly worthy of record, being undertaken by such strong men as these must have been, to judge by their size. They dug these wells in the living rock until they came to the water, and afterwards they built the wells in stone from the water line upwards so that they would last for ages. In these wells the water is excellent and it is always so cold that it is very pleasant to drink.

When these great men or giants had thus made their settlement and dug these wells or cisterns, they destroyed and ate all the supplies they could find in the neighborhood. It is said that one of them ate more than fifty of the natives of the land; and as the supply of food was not sufficient for them to maintain themselves, they caught much fish with nets and gear that they had. They lived in continuous hostility with the natives, because they slew the latter's women in order to have them, and they also slew the men for other reasons. But the Indians were not numerous enough to kill these newcomers who occupied their land and lorded it over them; and although they held great discussions about this, they never dared attack them.
The Royal Commentaries of the IncasGarcilaso de la Vega
Perhaps, having become quite unpopular in the Old World, the Nephilim decided to head for pastures new. Other Inca legends speak of home grown giants:

According to Inca legend, Lake Titicaca was revered as the location where the god Viracocha created a race of giants and later, the first humans. The Inca maintained that the giants built Tiahuanaco and also many other cities and structures in the area. However, due to their great evil, Viracocha destroyed the giants in a world flood.
From this article
Similar theories have been, bizarrely, suggested in modern times to explain the Nazca lines. For a more sober look at the Nazca lines, check this out.

Despite being separated by thousands of miles the synchronicity of the stories between the Middle East and the New World is worthy of comment. 

Next time Mayans, Greeks, Hindus and more... 

This post is already too long and I've not even scratched the surface... to be continued... 

Watch the documentary below, it's quite good although relies too much on some rather dubious scientists who I suspect might in fact be YEC Christians... 

Further Reading

A Little History of Giants: Update

Wow. First off I've been so totally distracted by visits to my family, the pub and work that I've been unable to work on my current giant project. So today, before a quick lunch, I thought I'd finish off my first post... whereby I followed some leads and ended up discovering so much material that I'm now having to split things up even more... and thus have delayed myself even further.

So my first post WILL be done by tonight, even if I have to stop enjoying my Sunday, and it will be based solely on evidence from religious texts regarding giants... who knew about the Abrahamic Book of Giants? Not me... until now!