Tuesday, 30 June 2009

We Interrupt Your Usual Programming For Migaloo

Migaloo is on the move, and you better keep back!

Isn't Migaloo absolutely gorgeous? Cryptomundo has more.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Monster Of Glamis

Thomas George Bowes-Lyon and Charlotte Grimstead, Lord and Lady of Glamis and heirs to the Earldom of Strathmore, are the great, great grandparents of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. On October the 21st 1821, Lady Glamis gave birth to her second child and her first son. His name was Thomas Bowes-Lyon, and sadly for all involved he is recorded as passing away that very same day. But was that really the end of the story?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

Little Thomas was born in poor health and deformed in some unidentified ways. The midwife left soon after his birth but it would seem lacked the decency to keep his difficult birth a secret and spread word around the nearby village of Glamis. When his death was later announced few believed it, and when no gravestone was forthcoming to mark his passing these suspicions turned into wild rumour.

Glamis Castle, Angus, United Kingdom

The story goes that he did not die on the day of his birth but instead was brought up in a secret room of his parent's Glamis Castle where he would be kept alive but denied his right to the title of Lord Glamis.

The room was supposedly 10 ft by 15 ft and accessible only via the chapel, he was fed though a barred slot by the "factor" of the estate (basically the estate manager) who was, along with the Earl of Strathmore, the heir to the earldom (once they had reached 21) and the families lawyer , one of the few people to know of the existence of the monster.

Peter Underwood described the monster as being “an enormous flabby egg” with short arms, legs and an almost non-existent neck on a hairy round body. The short arms and legs suggest some form of limb deficiency, an extremely common deformity but the hairy round body seems less likely.

This story, like so many other "historical" stories here in Britain, has become embellished ad infinitum with a hundred different varieties. Trust me, once a castle or house is taken over by a trust and opened to the public these stories just run and run!! For instance some locals are said to have encountered the "monster" being taken for walks by two assistants, although he was extremely ungainly on land. However he is reported to have been able to swim like a fish when allowed to do so!

One very famous story is that some time in the 19th century the Earl of Strathmore had guests around. Whilst he was off out somewhere they bribed the butlers to allow them to open all the windows in the house. Once done they attached a handkerchief, towel or bed linen (delete as appropriate) to each and went outside. They found that despite having gone to every accessible room they could see four windows (or sometimes just the one) that were still dark and shut. At this point the Earl returned and angrily made them leave for their impertinence (no offense but I would have too! Disgustingly bad manners).

Another story is of a workman who happened upon the entrance to the monsters secret room and upon seeing what lay there promptly ceased work. He was only silenced with a large gift of money and a transport to Australia.

Perhaps a more detailed version of that event lies with the story of one of the factors of the estate, Andrew Ralston, being told the secret and from that moment forth refusing to spend a night in the castle and on one snowy evening even making the servants dig a path back to his residence some distance away!

Finally, the story goes, it is said the beast lived for many years well into the 20th century. When Her Majesty's grandmother enquired as to the mystery (how she would know given it was a SECRET I don't know) with the aforementioned Ralston she was supposedly rebuffed with:

“It is fortunate that you do not know it and can never know it, for if you did know you would not be a happy woman.”

Perhaps there is a kernel of truth to the story. It's possible that young Thomas did survive but was very disabled. Being loving, but Victorian, people his parents were too ashamed to tell anyone but continued to provide for him quietly. Perhaps trusted servants did take him for walks and even for a swim but the ignorant and backwards folk of Glamis saw not a disabled human being but a "monster" and embellished things from there. Could it be that this is not the tale of a monster but instead of some poorly understood disabled child?

Otherwise the ever changing details and the fact that the monster was meant to be a secret suggest to me this story is an early urban myth, a ghost story to keep adults amused and children thrillingly terrified. And really there's nothing wrong with that!

If you want sources and even more details then this article can't possibly be a better place to start

Further Reading

The A-Z of British Ghosts: An Illustrated Guide to 236 Haunted Sites - Peter Underwood (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

The Queen Mother's Family Story - James Wentworth-Day (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places - Brad Steiger (UK Amaon, US Amazon)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Ghost Rockets: Sweden's Mini UFO Flap

Sometime early in 1946, strange objects began to appear in the skies above Sweden. It wasn't the first time this sort of thing had happened. During WWII neutral Sweden had been at the forefront of Allied research into Hitler's V weapons due to it's proximity to the research site at Peenemünde, and it's "luck" to be the crash site of several wrongly directed V2 rockets (timeline here). But in early 1946, the war had been over for more than six months. The Nazi's had long before abandoned their V2 research sites and they were now under new management (our old friends the Soviets). So where were these new aerial phenomena coming from?

The first reports of luminous fireballs and mysterious lights in the sky started to come in during February 1946. As the months went by the sightings became both more frequent and more descriptive.

Over the course of about a year over 2000 objects would be reported in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Most, like the picture below, would turn out to be mis-identifications of meteors and the like, but some remain unexplained.

Picture of a probable meteor taken by Erik Reuterswärd.

Some of the "rockets" were seen making "maneuvers" in the skying that would be impossible for a meteor. Others were described as slow moving cigar shaped objects which is a very common report in modern UFO reports and, of course, from the 19th century mystery airship flaps. "Crashes" were observed mainly into lakes, here's some examples taken from here:

1946 July 9. Lake Barken, Sweden

Object w/ blue & green flashing lights crashed into lake.

1946 July 10. Bjorkon, Sweden

Projectile trailing luminous smoke slammed into beach. Slaglike material. Cylinder 20-30m in dia. Military investigated.

1946 19 July, noon. Lake Kolmjarv, Sweden

Ghost rocket into lake.

1946 august 12. SW Sweden

Cigar shaped object, 5 ft. long trailing smoke landed on small uninhabited island.

1946 august 16 Malmo Sweden

Ghost rocket exploded breaking windows & dropping fragments.

1946 mid-October Southern Sweden

Small dart with wings & ball shaped tip exploded as it crashed into water.

1946 July 18. Lake Mjosa, Norway

2 - 8' long missiles with wings crashed into lake with notable turbulence.

These reports were taken very seriously by the Swedish military, especially given the emerging political order of the soon to start Cold War, and an investigation launched under the leadership of Swedish Air Force officer Karl-Gösta Bartoll.

Karl-Gösta Bartoll at Lake Kölmjärv on July 19, 1946 investigating "crash"

Searches were conducted for the remains of objects at crash sites and whilst some things were found, all were later put down to meteor debris. Gradually the sightings dropped off in Scandinavia and the investigation found nothing concrete although Bartoll always insisted what people were seeing was something "real".

Given the sensitivity of the events, the USA got involved and a rather interesting document exists from that time:

Further sightings were reported in other parts of Europe, mainly Greece but also in Belgium, Portugal and Italy.

So what were they? It's hardly likely that the Soviets had, within a year of the end of the Second World War, reestablished the V2 experiments and moved them on to the point of having the V2 rockets be maneuverable. It is also highly unlikely, given the situation at the time, that they'd risk an international incident by testing these over the northern European skies. I find it unlikely any other player on the international scene would get involved. Whilst the idea that these were alien spacecraft of some form is widespread, again I just don't see it. Why would they do something so distinctive from other UFO reports for just that year in just that place? Makes no sense.

Personally, based on the lack of physical evidence or witness testimony to the contrary, I believe these to be meteors and other natural phenomena reported by people already paranoid because of the world events unfolding before them, and no doubt some were embellished a little. The evidence for anything else is just so weak and scarce I can't see any other sensible explanation.

Sadly I think the ghost rockets were not as exciting as the name would suggest.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Unidentified Submerged Objects: The Golfo Nuevo Incidents

I admit, until recently my only knowledge of USOs came from reports from South America (specifically Brazil and Argentina) and so it seems appropriate for the second entry in this series to focus on one of the most famous series of incidents from that part of the world.

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Golfo Nuevo is a body of water formed by the Península Valdés and Punta Ninfas in the province of Chubut in the Argentine Patagonia. It is located 650 miles (1,046 km) southwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Puerto Madryn is its major seaport - Wikipedia

When it comes to USO activity, the Golfo Nuevo has previous, so to speak. Even before the more famous incidents in 1958-60, it was a place weirdly frequented by submarine activity.

New information has now come to light regarding U-boat activities around Golfo Nuevo. On 7 March 1942 the CO, Third Argentine Destroyer Division advised his superior, CO Destroyer Squadron of a sighting:

"...Today 1730 hrs when the Division was heading to enter Golfo Nuevo, destroyer San Juan signalled: 'After seeing wake and ripples, hydrophones station reported a submerged vessel one to two kilometres off port bow, position 42°55' 64°01'...."

On 25 March 1942 in his report to Navy Minister Fincati, Admiral Sueyro stated: "This is not the first time that such reports have been received by me, all from the same area, Golfo Nuevo, but at different times since last year."

There was little, if any, known German hostile U-boat activities off the Argentine coast, yet here as early as 1941 submarines were being sighted visually at the entrance to Golfo Nuevo.

In the SA newspaper "Der Stürmer" of 17 June 1938, thus before the outbreak of war, Dönitz had stated: "The German Navy is proud. It has built for the Führer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler an absolutely impregnable retreat where he will be safe from all enemies." - UFO Casebook Forum Post

Now, of course, the events of WWII were confusing and often didn't make much sense so it's hardly surprising submarines were seen in odd places. But how about a German Type XXI U-Boat being seen here, 15 years after WWII had ended? Now that is certainly interesting.

On the 21st of May 1958 the cruisers "General Belgrano" (a ship very familiar to us Brits), "9 de Julio" and "La Argentina" were performing exercises in the Golfo Nuevo along with the destroyers "Buenos Aires", "Entre Rios", "Misiones" and "Santa Cruz" plus support vessels and naval aircraft.


Around about 10.00pm the tugboat "Sanaviron" began sonar testing. Thirty five minutes later the submarine detection sonar operator reported a contact even though no submarines were operating in the fleet maneuvers. The commanding officer of the fleet, Benjamín Moritán Colman, ordered the destroyers on to anti submarine duties. Depth charges were dropped in the shallow waters of the gulf, and during the operations a periscope was sighted from various points on the "Buenos Aires" and an oil spill seen. A schnorchel was also reported. Operations continued for two weeks with irregular sonar contact. On the 10th of June 1958 it was announced the submarine had left the gulf at a fast speed. Based on sonar reports the sub had consistently been travelling between 8 and 10 knots during it's two week enclosure. (sources Maritime History and Archaeology and UFO Casebook)

A two week search, a strange unidentified submarine and one of the largest anti-submarine operations since WWII. You would have thought that would have been weird enough.

Yet in October 1959 another unidentified submarine was detected in the Golfo Nuevo. After 5 days, and following an intensive search by the Argentinians, it again left without signs of significant damage. What was so exciting about the Golfo Nuevo? Were the Soviets spying on the naval activities at Puerto Madryn? Perhaps it was NATO doing the same?

Three months later the submarine returned... and one of strangest and woefully under reported military operations of the Cold War era began. Given the complications I'll quote from source, which is this rather excellent forum post (I know it's hardly academic, but this is a USO story we are talking about here!).

At 0930 on 31 January 1960 the torpedo boat "Cervantes" obtained a sonar contact of an object moving slowly at 90 feet, identified as a submerged submarine. A depth charge attack was carried out.

1 February 1960: In an official communiqu� published in the newspaper "La Naci�n", the Chief of the Naval Staff Operations Centre, capit�n de corbeta Juan Vasallo stated: "Yesterday the task force of cadets of the Naval Military School engaged on the annual training cruise on teh Atlantic coast, composed of the torpedo boat "Cervantes" and the patrol boats "King" and "Murature", obtained a sonar contact inside the entrance to Golfo Nuevo identified as a probable submarine. An air-sea task force has been assembled to investigate."

3 February 1960: Secretary of the Navy contraalmirante Clement announced that more warships had been attached to the task force. He considered it probable that there were two submarines "because these boats generally operate in pairs."

4 February 1960: After hours and hours of depth-charging by seaplanes it was thought that the submarine must have been destroyed. Escape was impossible, for a minefield had been laid across the ten-mile wide entrance to the gulf, and a large foce of anti-submarine vessels stationed on listening watch seaward of the minefield. The search force was finding it impossible to obtain a bearing on the boat by radar, sonar or hydrophones. Although the submarine could be heard, its geographical location was impossible to establish. This made it extremely difficult to attack the boat.

For days and days the aimless attacks went on. At night hundreds of flares lit the night sky while ships' searchlights swept the waters. Up and down, up and down they steamed, depth-charging then listening, then depth-charging again. It had become a wonderful festival for all the many holidaymakers who visit Puerto Madryn at this season of the year.

10 February 1960: The submarine was confirmed as being audible within the gulf. Ten warships waited in a semi-circle beyond the minefield while maritime aircraft circled overhead. The corvette "La Rep�blica" had arrived with replacements including many experienced sonar operators while Argentine marines occupied Cracker to prevent a possible landing. On this day at 2245 hrs a second submarine surfaced in international waters. This was considered to be a lure. The newspaper "La Naci�n" quoted military sources next day as saying that the surfaced submarine "has a profile very similar to the German Type XXI wartime U-boat. It is said that the design has been copied and can make 16 knots submerged." This boat had "great manouevrability" and had made "audacious attempts to draw off the Argentine Fleet to allow the intruder to escape from the gulf."

11 February 1960: Argetnine President Frondizi ordered an all-out attack to destroy the intruder. He had thirteen warships and forty aircraft available.

13 February 1960: Modern depth-charges, flares, sonar buoys and other advanced anti-submarine weaponry arrived from the United States together with WWII anti-submarine veterans. The US technical team was led by Captain Ray Pitts, Naval Operations HQ reporting directly to Vicealmirante Raga, Chief of Argentine Naval Operations. The new depth charges were of terrific effect and could destroy a submarine down to 200 metres, which was deeper than anywhere in Golfo Nuevo.

On The Diplomatic Front: 13 February 1960: The Spanish newspaper "Las Provincias" published a telex from correspondent William Horsey in which he reported that the intruder submarine had been positively identified as a Type XXI German U-boat of WWII. In unconfirmed reports, oil which the boat had discharged was analyzed and found to be the kind made by satellite states of the USSR to the formula used by the Third Reich.

The Argentine Navy now issued a final ultimatum to the submarine to surface and surrender or be sunk. To avoid any possibility of an international incident, Argentina requested 26 nations including the US, USSR, Britain, France and West Germany to admit that the submarine was theirs. All answered in the negative.

The suspicion was that this must be a Soviet submarine. The Soviet naval attach� to Buenos Aires, rejcted the accusation in indignation while Vice-President Mikoyan stated "...the only thing they are going to kill in that gulf is a heap of fish." The formal denial of the Soviet Government was reinforced over the next few days when the Soviets made no attempt on the diplomatic or military fronts to assist the submarine to escape. If it had been sunk and identified as Soviet, the USSR would have been exposed to ridicule worldwide, while the USA would have made endless capital out of its part in the sinking.

14 February 1960: Two strange submarines arrived in international waters outside the gulf and began to manouevre near the Argentine Fleet. They were described as "gigantic" but the type "could not be ascertained with exactitude". Inside the gulf the depth-charging with the new, powerful explosives began, one every ten minutes all day.

15 February 1960: The naval forces reported that the intruder submarine "had the mysterious ability to avoid electronic detection." This meant that it did not return the radar beam, and its bearing could not be determined from hydrophone or sonar equipment. Late this day the Argentine Minister of Defence, Justo Vilar, announced that that submarine "must have escaped". This meant he believed it had sailed through the minefield and got between the vessels on listening watch.

17 February 1960: The patrol boats "King" and "Murature" maintained contact with the submarine briefly.

18 February 1960: Official Argentine sources reported that they were" sure that the submarine had escaped".

20 February 1960: Contact was re-established with the intruder inside the gulf, and the biggest navy-air concentration since the Second World War gathered for the "final onslaught".

21 February 1960: In the early hours the intruder surfaced. It was seen to be a Type XXI German U-boat of WW2 design. Homing torpedoes were fired but "incomprehensibly all missed". More salvoes were fired at the submarine, but these also missed. Finally the newest sonar-type torpedoes were launched. These also all missed.

22 February 1960: The intruder submarine surfaced briefly to discharge oil.

23 February 1960: The Argentine Navy reported "carefully combing the waters of Golfo Nuevo on 21 and 22 February without making any further contact with the intruder, which is believed to have escaped. It is felt however that it may return. Nevertheless the search is being stepped down...."

Lest you think these are the delusions of some crazy conspiracy theorist, here's the Time Magazine article that was released during the events.

Type XXI U-Boat (US U3008 in 1948)

There is a much more popular, and slightly more crazy, version of events out there which are repeated in exactly the same, word for word, way:

In 1960, the Argentinean Navy tracked two unidentified submerged objects in the Golfo Nuevo, 650 miles south of Buenos Aires. At first it was thought that they were US submarines, but then they appeared to break apart and fly out of the water. Paul Stonehill, co-author with Philip Mantle of UFO-USSR, explained how the objects simply emerged from the water and vanished. Paul went on to tell us that the Soviet leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev, was so impressed with the report that he ordered his representative in Buenos Aires to find out more about the event

I think this version of events does NOT go with known length of time the USOs were detected for. It seems to have gained popularity in this rather lazily researched USO documentary (more lazy than my research and that's saying something!)

So who's submarines were they? Was one of the superpowers using their old XXI's to spy on smaller countries (Puerto Madryn was a major anti submarine base) with impugnity? Certainly everyone denounced such suggestions, the US even sending more depth charges to Argentina!, but in the Cold War such duplicity was not uncommon. However I suspect even the Soviets wouldn't have denied involvement given the almost certain destruction of the submarine (I'll get to that in a minute!). Could it be our friends in the Fourth Reich? Perhaps the Nazi's last refuge was not Antarctica but some secret base in south America, hence the interest in south America. "Former" Nazis have strong connections to south America and specifically Argentina (thanks to things like the ODESSA programme) so it's not completely insane. Or perhaps it's some unknown player, a country who got hold of an XXI and was testing it out? Unlikely but possible. Ivan T. Sanderson believed it indicates an advanced civilisation lives beneath the waves, one that is responsible for all UFO and USO unexplained encounters.

Based on the information it seems clear to me that this was SOMETHING and not just sonar echoes. The problem is that if we say it was submarine, how on Earth did it survive in the Golfo Nuevo for weeks under such a constant bombardment (possibly the biggest anti submarine campaign post WWII). Some, such as my favoured source, suggest that the submarines were of a much higher technical capability with force fields, invisibility and/or the ability to jump into another dimension. This would certainly jive with most of the Antarctic base stories for the Nazis for instance. BUT it's a bit too out there for my liking. The Time magazine article suggests that hammering noises were heard (which would indicate repairs being carried out) and oil slicks were seen. Perhaps it wasn't invulnerable but just able and lucky. Based on the information available it is impossible to draw a conclusion as to the origin of these mysterious submarines but that's half the charm isn't it?

Whatever the case, I find this story truly compelling. It also highlights USOs are NOT (just) UFOs. No need for aliens or exciting time travel to explain away some USOs, although I suppose that also applies to most UFO reports. But hey still... no aliens required.

Further Reading

Invisible Residents - Ivan T. Sanderson (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists - Martin A. Lee (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, 22 June 2009

The Loveland Frogmen And The Green Clawed Beast

Could there really be monsters in this world? I'm not talking cryptozoological mysterious animals, but real versions of those scary, looming bipedal monstrosities of our nightmares. Could something like the Creature of the Black Lagoon or one of it's many movie brethren be out there, waiting for us down dark roads and in all the scary places?

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On the 5th of March 1954, the Creature from the Black Lagoon was released to scare and stun cinema audiences the world over.

A little over a year later, fact seemed to be following fiction. In May 1955, on a quiet road near Loveland in Ohio, bordering the Little Miami river, one lone business man encountered monsters.

Some time in the early hours he spotted three strange figures in the road, and pulled up to the curb to observe them more closely. He described them as about 3- 4 foot tall, with leathery skin, standing upon two legs. These bipedal creatures appeared reptilian but even more strongly resembled frogs in their facial features and their webbed hands and feet. An artists impression can be found here.

Now I'm sure both we and the anonymous business man must be thinking at this point things can't get any stranger than this. He decided to make a exit but as he pulled away one of the creatures pulled out a "wand", held it above it's head and sparks were seen to fly from it. Needless to say, our intrepid witness made a very quick getaway!

Just a few months later one girl may have had an even closer encounter...

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About 250 miles from Loveland is the town of Evansville in Indiana lying alongside the Ohio River (of which the Little Miami river is a tributary). Three months after the weird encounter in Loveland, two girlswere taking a swim in the river. Darwin Johnson and Chris Lamble were enjoying the sun on the 21st August 1955 when, suddenly, Johnson was seized around the knee by an unknown hand and dragged under the water. She kicked herself free of this unwanted attention and resurfaced but was immediately seized from behind.

As her friend screamed her heart out, Johnson made one last attempt to break free and grabbed hold of her friends inner tube violently. Somehow they both made it back to shore without further attack. Johnson had multiple cuts on her leg along with a green, palmprint shaped stain which could not be removed for several days. This led to a nickname for the "creature" among some cryptozoologists of "The Green Clawed Monster".

Whilst no one saw the assailant, could this underwater menace be related to the Loveland Frogmen?

It wasn't until the 3rd of March, 1972 that the Loveland frogmen made another appearance. A police officer was cruising along Riverside Road, Loveland at a very slow speed due to icy conditions. He noticed something like a dog lying by the curb, but no sooner did he see it than the creature darted out in front of the cruiser forcing him to hit the brakes.

The creature lay prone in the beam of headlights. As the officer peered out of his window screen he watched as it stood upright on two legs and stared right back at him, it's eyes glowing from the reflection of his headlights. It then clambered over the railing on the side of the road, down the slope and into the Little Miami river.

The officer described this creature in exactly the same way as that poor businessman did 20 years previously. Another officer investigated the scene the next day but found little evidence of the encounter beyond some scratch marks on the railings which the frogman went over.

Two weeks later Mark Mathews, another police officer, had an encounter with something although later recanted on what he saw. American Monsters describes events accordingly:

The second sighting occurred two weeks later while police officer Mark Mathews had an encounter of his own. According to the report officer Mathews, while driving into Loveland, spotted what he believed to be an injured animal lying on the pavement.

Mathews climbed out of his cruiser with the intention of removing the carcass from the already ice slickened road, when the creature abruptly lurched upwards into a "crouched" position. Taken aback by the Frog Man's Reptilian visage, Mathews unholstered his revolver and took a shot at the creature, which then proceeded to hobble over to the side of the road and step over the guardrail - all the while keeping a watchful eye on the trigger-happy officer. Mathews' "Frogman" matched the first officer's description down to the last detail, with the exception of a tail, which was absent in earlier reports.

His later tale is somewhat different, if actually slightly LESS believable if that was somehow possible. Here it is recounted by X-Project Paranormal Magazine

In an e-mail interview with retired officer Mark Mathews, the second police officer that saw the bizarre creature in March 1972, he states, "There is absolutely nothing to the incident that relates to 'monsters' or the 'paranormal'. This entire thing has been habitually blown out of proportion...".

Mr. Mathews continues with his first-hand account of what he saw:

"It was and is no 'monster'. It was not leathery or [had] wet matted fur. It was not 3-5 feet tall. It did not stand erect. The animal I saw was obviously some type of lizard that someone had as a pet that either got too large for its aquarium, escaped by accident or they simply got tired of it. It was less than 3 feet in length, ran across the road and was probably blinded by my headlights. It presented no aggressive action."

Mr. Mathews pointed out more discrepancies in this famous story. He shot at the creature, as no one had believed his partner's sighting a few nights before. Despite being hit, the lizard still escaped and Mathews suspected it either died of the wound or eventually died from the cold weather. The dramatic, commonly described scene of the lizard standing erect and stepping over the guardrail while keeping it's watchful eyes on Officer Mathews in fact, never happened.

Hmm... this officer's a little trigger happy indeed!! But then again police officers are only human and just as likely to do stupid, dangerous things as anyone else.

If we are to believe the tales of the Loveland Frogmen we must completely rearrange our worldview, because for these creatures to exist we must imagine possibilities outside the fields of known science and head into realms of fantasy. But sometimes that isn't a bad thing. Maybe there is something out there...

A few months after the two police officers encounters, on the 19th of August 1972, two boys - Robin Flewellyn and Gordon Pike - had their own encounter with an aquatic monster in Thetis Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The Thetis Lake Monster was born...

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This freakishly scary fiend of a fish is quite different from most lake monsters in that it has a humanoid body similar to that of the beast from the film The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In 1972, two teenagers on the shore of the lake said they witnessed a scaly, humanoid form suddenly rise from the water. The two teens turned and took off, but the creature caught up and cut one the boy's hands with a barbed fin on its skull. - Epoch Times

A day after the story was published in a newspaper (which would be the 23rd August 1972) two men came forward claiming to have also seen the monster but on the opposite of the lake to where the two boys saw it.

(Update: Coincidentally, Cryptomundo has a piece on the Thetis Lake Monster today)

But perhaps this story lends some credence to Officer Mathews recantation of his original story in favour of a large escaped pet.

The mystery was solved soon afterward. On August 26, the Province newspaper said police got a call from a man who’d lost a teju lizard (below left) in the area the previous year. Tejus, which are native to South America and often kept as pets (their mottled black-and-white skins are also used for cowboy boots), grow up to three feet long. The police decided the lizard matched the monster’s description, and closed the case. - Unknown Victoria

So perhaps these water monsters are really nothing more than large lizards misidentified by the ill-informed. Speaking of which:

W. Haden Blackman suggested in his 1998 Field Guide to North American Monsters that something's still lurking around. “If you do come across it, remember these kind of creatures are all considered extremely dangerous,” wrote Blackman, who told would-be hunters to carry a flaming torch to prevent an attack – a bit of advice far more deadly in the tinder-dry park than any old reptile. - Unknown Victoria

Beware cryptozoologists offering tips of dealing with mystery animals is all I can say. What sort of person makes up remedies for things they don't even know for sure are real??? Madness.

Here's a little video from the Monster Spotter team on the Loveland Frogmen.

Further Reading

Mothman and Other Curious Encounters - Loren Coleman (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Monster Spotters Guide to North America - Scott Francis and Ben Patrick (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Unidentified Submerged Objects: The Shag Harbour Incident

Many assume that the UFO phenomenon is a purely aerial and terrestrial thing. That couldn't be further from the truth. Unidentified Submerged Objects have a history all of their own.

The Shag Harbour Incident is a great place to start. Not truly a USO sighting, it does however possibly suggest the link between UFO and USO sightings.

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Shag Harbour is a small Nova Scotian village which is home to a small lobster fishing industry. October the 4th 1967 was a day that would rock this tiny settlement and produce one of the most well documented, if still unexplained, weird encounters of our time.

Sometime around about 11.00pm that evening Norm Smith and David Kendrick were returning from a date with their girlfriends along Highway 3 when Norm pointed out an object to David. It was hanging in the night sky at a 45 degree angle pointing down towards Shag Harbour. It had four or five amber coloured lights flashing sequentially and Norm thought he saw "windows" reminiscent of an airliner. They kept an eye on it through the tree lines before losing sight of it as it disappeared behind some more trees about 2 miles from them in the direction of the harbour.

Also driving along Highway 3 (this time in the village itself) were Laurie Wickens and four friends. Moments after David and Norm's sighting they spotted the object above and in front of their car. It was again said to have 4 amber coloured lights, and was angled again at 45 degrees towards the harbour. They lost sight of the object for a moment behind a hill and as they rounded it he pulled the car up in a parking lot over looking the "Sound", a large body of water adjacent to the harbour.

About 800 feet off the shore a "dark object" was hovering just above the water, it's previously lights were no longer showing but instead a single orange light appeared at the top.

Wickens and his friends believed it to be an airliner in trouble, and Wickens headed for a pay phone to notify the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He got through to RCMP Corporal Werbicki and reported an aircraft crash in the Sound off Shag Harbour. Werbicki asked him if he was drunk, and then told him to stay by the phone whilst he did some enquiries. No sooner had Werbicki hung up the phone to call some constables to investigate he received another call, this time from Mary Banks on Maggie Garron's Point who also reported an aircraft crashing into the Sound. Two more calls from different people at different locations also came in reporting exactly the same thing although one man described also hearing a whistle and a bang, one of Wickens friends also reported a whistle and a whoosh.

Werbicki arranged for some of his constables to meet him at the parking lot where Wickens friends were observing events.

Around the same time David dropped Norm off at his home and left. As Norm walked around his house he saw the object again just as it dropped behind a hill. He managed to get his father, Wifred, in time to also observe it and both agreeing it had gone down in the harbour set off to see if they could lend a hand in any rescue efforts.

Werbicki and his constables arrived at the parking lot and also observed the object which they judged to be about sixty feet wide. Concerned that there may be survivors of a crash out there Werbicki was about to begin organising rescue efforts. But just as they were about to set off the object slid into the water and disappeared. With renewed urgency the rescue operation swung into action.

Bradford Shand and Lawrence Smith (Norm's uncle) were local fisherman who were quickly requested to set off in their boats to investigate. Werbicki and one of his constables took a boat each, Norm headed out on Shand's boat and his father in Lawrence's.

About a mile out they ran across their first evidence of the dark object's existence. Across the water stretching for about half a mile and being about eighty foot thick was a 4 inch deep yellow foam which smelt slightly of sulphur.

For the next couple of hours the boats searched, joined by other fishing boats and a Coastguard Cutter, but found no further sign of survivors, debris or the dark object. Word was received that no flights were missing or in any way unaccounted for. The search went on with navy divers but eventually they moved on and the file was case was unexplained. Check out some newspaper articles from the time here

That is where the documented part of the story ends, a rather compelling story in and of itself. But were things even stranger than even this weird event?

As the source material is mainly in print, I'll just quote from Wikipedia (ever reliable!) and you can decide on things yourself.

While the official story of the incident ends here, further evidence attributed to various military and civilian witnesses might imply a highly secretive military search involving a small flotilla of U.S. and Canadian ships about 30 miles to the NE of Shag Harbour near Shelburne (see map above), site of a top secret submarine detection base. According to one military witness, he was allegedly briefed that the object had originally been picked up on radar coming out of Siberia. After crashing in Shag Harbour, it traveled underwater up the coast and came to rest on top of the submarine magnetic detection grid near Shelburne, where it was supposedly joined by a second vehicle. Ships were anchored there for a week, according to the witnesses, in an attempt to recover the object. [1] A barge was said to have been brought in from the United States to assist in the recovery, as reported by another military witness. Regional newspaper stories did mention a barge with "atomic furnaces" being brought to Shelburne on October 6 for emergency repair, theorized by some as a cover story to explain its presence there. [2]

One American diver, known only as "Harry" in the book Dark Object by Styles and Ledger, stated that the object wasn't from planet Earth. "Harry" claimed photographs were taken by the divers and some foam-like debris brought up. [3] Another military witness claimed that there were actually two objects, one perhaps trying to assist the other. The naval search was suddenly called off on October 11. That night, a seemingly identical UFO was reported departing the area by witnesses near the original Shag Harbour crash site.

The most recent History Channel documentary about the incident, which aired on August 10, 2006, also reported that one of the divers involved in the Shag Harbour search did come forward during the mid-1990s, refusing to allow his identity to become known publicly. Once the researchers verified that the man in fact had served as a diver during that search, he recounted his version of what had happened at Shag Harbour.

In this recounting by probably the same diver, by the time they reached Shag Harbour, they already knew that nothing would be found there, because the target had already been located off the coast at Shelburne. He went on to further say that the Canadian military and the United States Navy monitored the "unknown objects" by radar and sonar, and that the objects were underwater. This monitoring continued for at least three days, until a Russian submarine was observed entering allied waters to the north. With that, the navy departed to intercept the submarine, and by the time they had returned, the "unknown objects" had evidently departed.

However, unlike the event at Shag Harbour, no official documentation or confirmation has yet emerged to support witness stories of a second search near Shelburne. There has been nothing to substantiate the diver's claims, with the exception of archived records that indicate a substantial amount of search and monitor activity in the Shelburne area during that 10 day period.

More info on the possible secret searches can be found here.

This all happened during the Cold War and it does not take much of an imagination to consider the high probability that there were further searches for this object, just to be on the safe side so I wouldn't rule anything else.

What was it? You decide. I've got plenty of material on these USOs and so you can count this as another of those part ones in a series of part ones!

Further Reading

Dark Object: The World's Only Government-Documented UFO Crash - Don Ledger and Chris Styles (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Maritime UFO Files - Don Ledger (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Black Triangle UFO off the coast of Kent?

Yes you heard me correctly, according to This Is Kent, a strange triangular object has been sighted on Google Maps about a mile east of (Planet) Thanet.

View Larger Map

Yoinked from Monsters of Kent

Dear Constant Reader, haven't you missed Kentish references? ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Giant Peruvian Snake

In case you've been missing it, the CFZ bloggo has been offering a blow by blow account of a giant snake "discovery" in Peru.

It all started with a story in a newspaper. CFZ picked it up and followed through on it with a rigorous investigation of their own. Turns out it was just a sandbar (quelle surprise). Well probably.

I might be a sympathetic sceptic, but even the more hardcore sceptics should give credit where credits due. CFZ do not just accept any old story, they properly look into the merits of each case. That's why I subscribed to Animals and Men last year and will do so again when I have the money. In the meantime I say check out the Peruvian snake saga, and then explore the rest of the fab articles over there. Anyone with a passing interest in animals, or cryptozoology, will find something of interest on there.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, 6 June 2009

UFOs In Space!

Now astronauts aren't any more reliable a group of people than your average group of scientists/military specialists (evidence here) but their unique experiences and talents do lend them a little more credence than most of us earth bound folk.

Given the strangeness of their surroundings and the vastness of space, it's hardly surprising that astronauts see and report things which are difficult to identify. But even so it's quite amazing the amount of UFO sightings reported by our intrepid explorers.

Some say UFOs in space have been observed since the very early days of space flight, including a supposed sighting captured by John Glenn on Mercury 1

Major Gordon Cooper, the last American to ever launch into space on a solo mission and a Mercury astronaut, is often cited as the first person in space to spot a UFO. However he always denied this was the case, and given that he was actually a very vocal believer in UFOs and claimed to have seen them when in the US Air Force I tend to think we can trust him on that. Why would he lie?

So that leads me on to a later mission instead as our first really significant sighting. Gemini 4 was launched in June 1965 crewed by James McDivitt and Edward White. They videoed and photographed a moving object which some claim is a UFO.

Others however have been somewhat less enthusiastic about it with McDivitt and White being particular uninspired regarding the events (sadly White passed away not long afterwards during the Apollo 1 disaster).

Not long after this mission, Gemini 7 was launched. It has spawned several stories of UFO encounters in space. Here's a transcript from just after the launch.

"Spacecraft: Gemini-7 here. Houston, how do you read?

Capcom: Loud and clear, Seven, go ahead.

Spacecraft: Bogey at 10 o'clock high.

Capcom: This is Houston. Say again, seven.

Spacecraft: Said we have a bogey at 10 o'clock high.

Capcom: Roger, Gemini 7, is that the booster or is that an actual sighting? Spacecraft: We have several, looks like debris up here. Actual sighting.

Capcom: You have any more information? Estimate distance and speed? Spacecraft: We also have the booster in sight.

Capcom: Understand you also have the booster in sight. Roger.

Spacecraft: Yeah, have a very, very many -- look like hundreds of little particles banked on the left out about 3 to 4 miles.

Capcom: Understand you have many small particles going by on the left. At what distance?

Spacecraft: Oh, about -- it looks like a path to the vehicle at 90 degrees.

Capcom: Roger, understand they are about 3 or 4 miles away.

Spacecraft: They are passed now -- they were in polar orbit.

Capcom: Roger, understand they are about 3 or 4 miles away.

Spacecraft: That's what it appeared like. That's roger.

Capcom: Were these particles in addition to the booster and the bogey at 10 o'clock?

Spacecraft: Roger

Spacecraft (Lovell): I have the booster on MY side, it's a brilliant body in the sun, against a black background with trillions of particles on it.

Capcom: Roger. What direction is it from you?

Spacecraft (Lovell): It's about at my 2 o'clock position.

Capcom: Does that mean it's ahead of you?"

Spacecraft:. It's ahead of us at 2 o'clock, slowly tumbling."

Sounds interesting? Sadly it's not quite as interesting as it first appears. Gemini 7 was a very early mission and space flight was still a relative unknown. This phenomena is now widely accepted as being related to booster separation. See here for more interesting facts on Gemini 7 and an explanation of why this was not first contact.

Gemini 11 was the next to "make contact".

The Not So Alien Gemini 11 UFO




Alas, yet again this seems to be nothing more than a misidentification.

(SEPTEMBER 14, 1966):



There are rumours that during the Apollo 11 moon landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spotted either ships or "installations" on the surface but as no actual evidence has ever come to light on this one we'll move quickly on.

UFOs weren't merely seen by American astronauts but by their Russian cosmonaut colleagues as well:

In April 1979, Russian cosmonaut Victor Afanasyev sighted an alien craft whilst in space, he states:" I think we are not alone, something of extraterrestrial origin has visited Earth. The alien craft turned towards ours, followed us and flew formation 25 to 29 metres away. We photographed the metallic engineering structure that was 40 metres long. The film was later confiscated." Victor did in fact make a drawing of the object

Gennadij Strekhalov, another cosmonaut - MIR Space Station, relates:

"On the last two flights I saw something. During the flight of 1990, I called Gennadij Manakov, our commander to come to the porthole - but we did not manage to put a film in the camera quickly enough. We looked on Newfoundland and the atmosphere was absolutely clear - suddenly a kind of sphere appeared. Beautiful, shiny and glittering - I saw it for 10 seconds - it disappeared. What was it, what size it had? I don't know, there was nothing I could compare with - it was a perfect sphere. I reported to the Mission Control Center, but I did not say I have seen a UFO - I said I saw a kind of unusual phenomenon. I had to be careful with the choice of my words - I don't want someone to speculate too much or quote me wrong".

During docking with the Russian Mir space station astronaut Musa Manarov filmed an anomalous object, he stated: "At some point during the filming I caught sight of something I thought had separated from the ship… however, it was not very close, I know this because the camera was focused on infinity. Nothing could have broken away. There were no alarms were going off. Later there were arguments over what possibly it could have been". Source

Of course there are multiple sightings coming from the NASA Space Shuttle program

From STS 48

From STS 63

From STS 114

From STS 115

There's plenty more like this on Youtube. Personally, as a lay person, I think these sightings could easily be put down to debris (moving that fast I hear some scream, yes things really do move that fast in space) and other phenomena. But then again, what do I know? Either way I feel like watching more Shuttle videos as they are fantastic. The STS 48 one, showing the thunderstorms is particularly wonderful!!

Check out the following documentary (part one of 12, see more on Youtube) for many, many more examples of this very interesting part of ufological study. Plus this webpage is pretty informative.

Further Reading

Ufo's and Outer Space Mysteries: A Sympathetic Skeptic's Report - James Oberg (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist