Sunday, 12 December 2010

Awesome Piece On African Cryptids

Great piece on CFZ's bloggo on some of the lesser known cryptids of the Congo. Check it out here.

For more info on giant spiders, from the Congo and elsewhere, check out my blog post here

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Zombie Apocalypse by Stephen Jones

Full disclosure: I'm a Zombie-aholic. I've seen the movies, read the books, adored the comics and just this last two weeks raved about TV series. So when, whilst wandering through my local bookstore the other day desperate for inspiration, I saw a book entitled "Zombie Apocalypse I could not walk past. 

In retrospect, picking it up and taking it home was an excellent decision. The story is told via the medium of letters, emails, diary entries, blogposts and Twitter feeds which makes it quite disjointed but not unduly so, and is very reminiscent of World War Z by Max Brooks (not a bad thing at all). It helps create a picture of the world far more easily and quickly than a normal narrative story.

Mixing humour, recent political and news events, horror and an underlying bleakness, the story rolls on quickly to a humourous if despairing end. I got through it in a matter of hours, which shows just how easily it grabs your attention.

You do care about the characters, you do get taken in by the story (I stopped reading half way through and was surprised to find there were no zombies trying to break down my door!) and it will leave any horror or zombie fan very satisfied indeed. 

An excellent book and one I wholeheartedly recommend. 

Further Reading 

Zombie Apocalypse! US Amazon UK Amazon

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Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Fourth Kind

I watched the Fourth Kind last night. It's a movie which purports to based on real life events in Nome, Alaska. Those events involve repressed memories, alien abductions and levitation.

Interspersed with, supposed, real life video and audio recordings of the events and an interview with the "real life" person upon whom Milla Jovovich's character is based.

I didn't think this movie was quite as awful as the critics have made out, and found it genuinely chilling in parts. But it quickly becomes obvious (thanks both to logical deduction and VERY poor acting) that the "real life" parts are totally fake. Which takes a great deal away from the film.

It's a wellshot, diverting movie let down by some poor acting and silly attempts to make it seem true when it so obviously isn't.

Further Watching

The Fourth Kind (US Amazon) The Fourth Kind (UK Amazon)

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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Forever War

For most people World War II ended in 1945. And, though many remained in service in occupations of affected countries and in prisoner of war camps, most soldiers and support staff began the often long journey home. Defeated and victorious nations alike breathed a sigh of relief as their menfolk returned.

But for a few, the war didn't end. And it wouldn't end for quite some time to come. On December 17, 1944, 22 year old Lt. Hiroo Onoda left Japan for the Lubang Island, in the Philippines, to join the Sugi Brigade (the Eighth Division from Hirosaki). He was ordered to do all that he could to hamper enemy attacks on the island, including destroying the airstrip and the pier at the harbor, his orders also stating that under no circumstances was he to surrender or take his own life.

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we'll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that's the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

Onoda's mission was compromised by the reluctance of more senior members of the Japanese armed forces already there and, within months, the island was overrun by Allied forces. The soldiers who survived split into smaller and smaller groups to evade capture until Onoda ended up in a group of 4 people: Corporal Shoichi Shimada (age 30), Private Kinshichi Kozuka (age 24), Private Yuichi Akatsu (age 22), and Lt. Hiroo Onoda (now age 23). They survived on meagre supplies and the occasional stolen cow from a local farm. They were not the only cells operating on the island and by October 1945, 2 months after the Japanese surrender, a campaign was launched by the Allied forces to inform the cells that the war was over. Leaflets were left on the farms where cattle were taken from:

"The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!"

The group didn't understand how this could be possible and remembering that another cell had been fired upon just a few days before, dismissed it as a trick.

Over the following months more leaflets were dropped from planes, but left paranoid and without communications from superiors the group again dismissed each one after another as frauds.

For years after they lived in squalid conditions, occasionally firing on the locals:

"We considered people dressed as islanders to be enemy troops in disguise or enemy spies. The proof that they were was that whenever we fired on one of them, a search party arrived shortly afterward."

In 1949 (4 years after the war!), Private Yuichi Akatsu made his escape from the group and after 6 months on his own, he surrendered. It only served to increase the paranoia of the remaining three.

In 1953 Corporal Shoichi Shimada was injured in a skirmish, and whilst it healed left him glum. On May 7th 1954 he died in another skirmish.

For the next 20 years the remaining two continued to dutifully await reinforcements to retake the Philippines. In October 1972, now 27 years after the end of the war, Private Kinshichi Kozuka was killed by a Filipino patrol. His body spurred interest in the idea that Private Onoda, declared dead in 1959, might still be alive. However searches for him were fruitless and he continued his now lone vigil.

In 1974, a college dropout named Norio Suzuki decided to travel to around Asia. He told his friends that he was going to search for Lt. Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman. Surprisingly, on his visit to the Philippines, he found Lt. Onoda and attempted to convince him that the war really was over. Onoda explained that he would only surrender if his commander ordered him to do so.

Hiroo Onoda 1940s

Suzuki headed back to Japan and found Onoda's former commander, Major Taniguchi, who had become a bookseller. On March 9, 1974, Suzuki and Taniguchi met Onoda at a preappointed place and Major Taniguchi read the orders that stated all combat activity was to be ceased. Onoda was shocked and, at first, disbelieving.

We really lost the war! How could they have been so sloppy?

Suddenly everything went black. A storm raged inside me. I felt like a fool for having been so tense and cautious on the way here. Worse than that, what had I been doing for all these years?

Gradually the storm subsided, and for the first time I really understood: my thirty years as a guerrilla fighter for the Japanese army were abruptly finished. This was the end.

I pulled back the bolt on my rifle and unloaded the bullets. . . .

I eased off the pack that I always carried with me and laid the gun on top of it. Would I really have no more use for this rifle that I had polished and cared for like a baby all these years? Or Kozuka's rifle, which I had hidden in a crevice in the rocks? Had the war really ended thirty years ago? If it had, what had Shimada and Kozuka died for? If what was happening was true, wouldn't it have been better if I had died with them?

During his units 30 year campaign, 30 innocent Filipino's had been killed and 100 had been injured. After formally surrendering to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos pardoned Onoda for his crimes while in hiding.

When Onoda reached Japan, he was hailed a hero. Life in Japan was much different than when he had left it in 1944. Onoda bought a ranch and moved to Brazil. In May 1996, he returned to the Philippines to see once again the island on which he had hidden for 30 years.

But he was not the last member of the Imperial forces to surrender! Teruo Nakamura had that honour, a few months later. From Wikipedia:

Nakamura was an aborigine, probably Amis, from Japanese-colonized Taiwan. Born in 1919, he was conscripted into a Takasago Volunteer Unit of the Imperial Japanese army in November 1943. He was stationed on Morotai Island in Indonesia shortly before the island was overrun by the Allies in September 1944 in the Battle of Morotai. He was declared dead in March 1945.

After the capture of the island, it appears that Nakamura lived with other stragglers on the island until well into the 1950s, whilst going off for extended periods of time on his own. In 1956, he apparently decided to relinquish his allegiance with the other remaining holdouts on the island and set off to construct a small camp of his own, consisting of a small hut in a 20-by-30 meter fenced field. When asked for the reason why he left the others, Nakamura claimed that other holdouts had tried to kill him; however, this claim was denied by three other stragglers from his group who had been discovered in the 1950s.

Nakamura's hut was discovered accidentally by a pilot in mid-1974. In November 1974, the Japanese Embassy to Indonesia in Jakarta requested the assistance of the Indonesian government in organizing a search mission, which was conducted by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai and led to his arrest by Indonesian soldiers on December 18, 1974. He was flown to Jakarta and hospitalized there. News of his discovery reached Japan on December 27, 1974. Nakamura decided to be repatriated straight to Taiwan, bypassing Japan, and died there of lung cancer five years later in 1979.
For a full list of Japanese holdouts, see here.

It wasn't just in Asia that the 2nd World War continued in the minds of some men... in Europe Polish resistance to Soviet occupation continued until the '60s until the death of Józef Franczak. World War's are incredibly messy and history is never quite as simple as you think...

Further Reading

No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War (Bluejacket Books) (UK Amazon)

Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-75 (UK Amazon)
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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Baby Ghosts In Thailand

Prepare yourselves. No seriously. Sit down, make sure you have not eaten in the last few hours nor expect to for roughly a day. Ready? Here goes.... has this article today, from which I'll quote...

The foetuses all come from illegal abortions. Once they are dried out, a black magic ceremony is performed to turn this into a Kumong Tong or Golden Boy. Some people believe that the spirit of the un-born child will protect them and keep them safe from danger. They are often worn in an amulet around the neck or close to the body


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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Piranha caught in Folkestone park pond

As soon as I return to my hometown of Folkestone, in the much loved county of Kent, a piranha is found in a pond! From the Guardian

When your chosen fishing spot is a pond inside a park in central Folkestone, it's fair to say you're not expecting to catch anything too exotic. Hence Derek Plum's shock when, after a 15-minute struggle, he reeled in a piranha.

The 46-year-old caught the half-kilo carnivorous predator at Radnor Park pond in the Kent town, some way from its normal South American habitat.

"I felt an almighty tug on my rod – next thing I knew it had dragged my line about 500 yards. It was going all over the place," Plum told the Sun newspaper.

"Luckily, the fishing hook had fallen out of its mouth otherwise I would had somehow had to remove it myself."

The Environment Agency said the fish had probably been kept as a domestic pet, but was released when it became too big for its tank.

Ben Weir, a fishery scientist of Angler's Mail magazine, said today: "I used to keep them and they would sharpen their teeth on the glass of the tank, so I know one when I see one.

"It's probably become too big for its tank but it's extremely irresponsible to release it like this.

"They are a top-end predator. I'm extremely shocked that this has happened."

The fish was identified as a red-bellied piranha, whose diet consists mainly of fish, insects and worms. The chairman of the local angling club said a member had seen someone emptying a container into the pond the week before the piranha was caught.

Paul Foot said: "Our pond gets dumped full of goldfish and the odd koi carp because people cannot afford to keep them. It's unusual that this fish survived because the weather has been so cold."

Piranhas are among some of the most ferocious predators in the world and generally attack in large numbers. They usually feed on insects and fish but have been known to strip large animal carcasses such as cows and horses.

There are over 20 species of piranhas which grow to an average of between 20cm and 30cm, although some as long as 60cm have been found.

Experts said piranhas cannot survive long-term in UK waters, but that the introduction of non-native species into the waterways can cause serious harm.

In August 2009 a freed pet piranha was also found in the River Torridge in Devon.

The Environment Agency have urged people to seek advice rather than freeing exotic animals into the wild.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Knobby Of Cleveland County

The year is 1979 and we're paying a visit to Cleveland County, North Carolina. Something odd is afoot. Strange noises "like a woman screaming" have been heare d in the woods and Forest Price found his full-grown goat, Bill, dead due to a broken neck.

Last Sunday morning, Forest Price found his full-grown goat, Bill, dead of a broken neck.

"I didn't see it happen. I don't know how it happened. All I know is that something just killed the hell out of Bill and now I've got to get me another goat," he said.

A few days earlier, Price said, something frightened his animals, causing a mule to beak a rope and escape.
Yeap. Sure enough, there were reports of a bigfoot about, first seen by 88-year-old Minnie Cook near her house on December 21st 1978. Knobby became a big hit with local news and radio programmes who used "searches" for this elusive beast as publicity stunts. Pretty soon after the initial flurry of reports, Knobby disappeared.

Timothy Peeler called 911.

Peeler, of Vanada Drive in Casar, is a self-proclaimed “South Mountain man.” He’s surrounded by woods and a ridge worthy of postcards.

It was June 5 when Peeler supposedly spotted a man-beast, upwards of 10 feet tall, that screeched like “a night bird” and grunted in the warm night air.

The creature sported dark hair, Peeler said, with a grey beard stretching to its navel.

Authorities were dispatched that morning around 3 a.m., according to a report from Cleveland County Communications.

Deputies filed a suspicious person report after investigating the incident. Source: Shelby Star
 Here's a clip from a local news station on the latest sightings:

FYI There is a sighting from the early 70s in the exact same area, so perhaps there is more to this than just a lot of hot air.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Beast Of Bray Road

Werewolves have been part of the myths and legends of our ancestors for centuries, leading to a great deal of fear (and no doubt a great deal of mob "justice" on misidentified "werewolves"). But for all the terror movies can add to a subject (just see our reactions to sharks after Jaws came out) in the case of werewolves they have served only to make them an ever more distant, fantasy concept. But perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to the legends than meets the eye... 

Werewolves??, I hear you cry with derision. Well maybe that's not the best word for it as it comes attached with all sorts of transformational baggage. Instead think of bipedal wolves, the canine equivalent of bigfoot perhaps, or a "wolfman". Whatever gets you in the mood. 

Today we shall be concentrating on a particular example, a creature known as the Beast of Bray Road (pretty damn awesome name if you ask me!), but in case you think tales of wolfpeople are somehow isolated incidents then please take a look here and here.

Sightings of the Beast started in earnest relatively recently in the late 1980s, although there are some older reports. Bray Road is near Delavan, Wisconsin and is the location of the first few sightings, hence the name of the Beast, although sightings have been reported across Wisconsin, northern Illinois and Michigan. 

In 1989 Lorianne Endrizzi was driving along Bray Road when she thought she saw a person hunched over by the roadside. She slowed down to take a closer look. She was no more than six feet away from it. Endrizzi clearly saw a beast with grayish brown hair, fangs, pointed ears and glowing yellow eyes (which is what you'd expect a canine's eyes to look like when reflecting headlights). "His face was … long and snouty, like a wolf" she said. Unusually she reported that this muscular creature was crouched on it's rear legs whilst holding a prey animal in it's human like hands (sketch can be found at top of this page)

She had been prompted to report her story only after hearing rumours of a more recent encounter (the year then being 1999) from a lady named Doristine Gipson. On 31st October 1999 Doristine was on Bray Road, about half a mile from where Lorianne had had her own encounter a decade before, when she felt her right front tire leave the ground as if she had hit something. She stopped the car and had a look on the road but could see nothing. But as she looked around, peering into the darkness, she saw a form race towards her. She managed to throw herself back into the car but as she tried to pull away the creature jumped onto the bonnet. Thankfully it had been raining and the wetness of the car and the movement meant it slid straight back off and she was able to escape. Later that evening she was taking a girl trick or treating and had to drive past the spot. She again saw a form lying on the side of the road where she had left it but quickly rushed away as the form began to move again.

There are older reports:  

"It all started one night in 1936 when a lone man driving down a dark stretch of US 18, just east of Jefferson City, saw a strange, hairy creature that stood at least six feet high and had a canine muzzle and strange three-fingered hands.
The beast was digging up one of the many Native American burial mounds that dapple Wisconsin’s countryside. The witness, a local named Mark Schackelman, drove on, but returned the next night to see if he could find evidence of the creature. Schackelman reports walking over to the mound, only to find the man-wolf standing there, stinking of decaying meat and growling a strange, three-syllable word that sounded like “Gadara.” The witness goes on to report that, understanding the creature to be some agent of evil, he began praying and slowly backing away until he reached his car and was able to escape." Source

And then:

Year: 1964
Location: Jefferson County, Wisconsin
Dennis Fewless was driving along Highway 89 around midnight when he saw a figure running across the road. When his headlights caught sight of the creature, it was eerily similar to werewolf seen in 1936 just a couple of miles away. Large and muscular, it stood around seven feet tall, covered in dark brown hair, with a dog-like face.
Fewless saw the creature run across the road, jump over a barbed-wire fence, and disappear into a corn field.
Fewless waited until the sun was up the next day to return to the scene of the werewolf sighting. He had hoped to find tracks to prove the size of the beast, but the ground was too hard. He was able to find the place in the cornfield where the werewolf had entered. The stalks of corn were broken and askew in such a way that supported the theory that a man-beast of massive size had been there. Source

There are further sightings listed here. Plus a few theories as to what the creature might be (in brief: a wolf, a coyote, a dog, a shunka warak’in, or a hoax). Personally? The sightings last for extremely short periods of time, usually in poor visibility and in the sort of lonely places one might start to let their imagination wander. I know, I know, this is all very dismissive and every paranormal researcher out there is preparing to hit me over the head with a piece of electronic equipment but... I've seen things myself. I know the human mind can see all sorts of things. There are plenty of brilliant and interesting stories here. But are there any wolfpeople in Wisconsin? I don't think so. But hey, I would say that! Linda S. Godfrey is the resident expert over there, and I'd suggest you check out her books to see what you think.  

Further Reading

Hunting the American Werewolf Linda S. Godfrey (UK Amazon Link)

The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf Linda S. Godfrey (UK Amazon Link)

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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Nazi Survival: Roswell

Nazi survival stories are a common item on this blog. It's a somewhat macabre thing to be fascinated with, and I'm quick to distance myself from any "longing" for a scenario where the Nazi empire continued to survive past the battles of Berlin and Prague. But... it is something that presents a rather interesting thought experiment; how would the world react to the re-emergence of a Nazi regime? Just think about that for a moment!!

Whilst aliens are usually the favourite explanation for UFOs, the Nazi's appear to run a close second. We've covered this before, but it goes much deeper than I thought. Even Roswell, sacred to ufologists everywhere, comes under scrutiny as possible evidence for Nazi survival.

There's two favourite Nazi explanations: 1) as part of  Operation Paperclip the US Government was part of the experiments which led up to the crash at Roswell or 2) the Nazi's set up a still undiscovered (or at least unannounced) redoubt somewhere and were kept an eye on their old foes with UFOs when the crash happened.

For a look at that, rather unlikely, second scenario check out this timeline which basically says that if the Nazi's had survived and the governments had let their citizens know there would have been mass panic. Hmm...

Personally I think the whole Nazi survival/UFO thing is a lot more believable than the possibility that aliens are observing us (I believe in aliens existing as a general principle but I find it highly likely they would use the sort of technology it'd take to travel the distances required just to "observe" us, after all that travelling you'd think they would be a bit more chatty) . But that's not saying much.

Further Reading

Roswell and the Reich: The Nazi Connection - Joseph P. Farrell

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Ropen: Another Prehistoric Survivor?

2010: Year Of Posts About Prehistoric Survivors? Maybe (see Dinosaurs Are Alive for more). I must say, before we start today's post on the Ropen (a possible pterosaur seen in Papua New Guinea), that many of the sightings and witness reports have been made or taken by creationists. Just fair warning!

Oh, and also, I must do my usual public service announcement: pterosaurs are not dinosaurs.

With that out the way... let us begin.

The Ropen is a flying creature reported from Papua New Guinea, specifically Umboi Island. Described as having a large wingspan, a large protuberance from the back of it's head and a long tail which is also supposed to glow. These features (except maybe the glowing tail!) lead many to believe the Ropen to be some sort of pterosaur.

Duane Hodgkinson, now a flight instructor in Livingston, Montana, in 1944 was stationed near Finschhafen, in what was then called New Guinea. After he and his buddy walked into a clearing, they were amazed as a large creature flew up into the air. The men soon realized that it was no bird that started to circle the clearing. It had a tail “at least ten to fifteen feet long,” (book Searching for Ropens, 2007) and a long appendage at the back of its head: apparently, a live pterosaur.

Jonathan Whitcomb, a forensic videographer, interviewed Hodgkinson, in 2004, and found his testimony credible. In 2005, Garth Guessman, another experienced ropen investigator, video-taped his own interview with Hodgkinson and the session was analyzed by Whitcomb, who became even more convinced the World War II veteran was telling the truth: The man had seen a ropen. Source: Ropens
Ropens also has plenty of local's own eyewitness accounts and also some "objective" study of these reports can be found here.

There are some videos out there such as this tourists film, some interviews and info films here and an elusive video by Paul Nation which featured a series 3 episode of MonsterQuest. That video shows two lights in the night sky, which I think look artificial but others have different opinions.

Is there really any chance of there being undiscovered creatures in Papua New Guinea. Erm... quite a big chance actually. Papua New Guinea still has uncontacted people, and is one of the places where new zoological (and botanical) discoveries are occurring at an awe inspiring rate. If there is any chance of something that's very large and land or air based being discovered, then one of the most probable places for it to be found is in eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

I don't get the feeling that people are making these stories up. That doesn't mean I believe that the ropen is a real, undiscovered species of animal. My main problem is the way it is being used to further a Christian/creationist agenda, especially considering there is nothing for them to gain by discovering a live pterosaur descendant in proving the existence of God or intelligent design.

Check out some of sources out there about this, there is plenty of interesting material. But try not to confuse the Ropen with Rodan.

Further Reading

Searching for Ropens: Living Pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea  Jonathan Whitcomb

The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time - David M. Unwin

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Saturday, 13 February 2010

John Titor: A Visitor From The Future?

We've dealt with time travel before, thanks to those two famous French time slips the Moberly-Jourdain incident and the Simpson-Gisby incident.

But those two tales were of people who had supposedly accidentally slipped back in time. This tale is of a man who claimed he had travelled through time.... and he had a mission.

Part Kyle Reese and part Sarah Connor, John Titor first posted a message online on the 2nd November 2000. At first he posted under the username Timetravel_0 on sites such as Art Bell and the Time Travel Institute. Soon, having had to register a new account somewhere else, he adopted   the name John Titor. Among discussion of time travel in general, John Titor claimed to be a time traveller himself.

He said he was born in 1998, and that by 2036 was working in a government time travel project. Sent back to 1975, his mission was to retrieve an IBM 5100 portable computer which was needed to translate between some legacy IBM systems and UNIX. He claimed the IBM 5100 was able to do this due to certain in-built functions that were not documented when it was manufactured.

On his way he made a stop off for personal reasons in 1998-2001 to see his family. He also claimed to be attempting to gauge, for research purposes of course, the reaction of others to encountering a person from their future. Hence the posts on random internet forums...

John warned of a coming Second American Civil War, which would lead to a destructive Third World War. Wiki has a brief synopsis of this future history:

The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with "order and rights". He described it as beginning in 2004, with civil unrest surrounding the United States presidential election, 2004. This civil conflict that he characterizes as "having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse" will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep" and erupts by 2008.

Fighting Diamondbacks Insignia 
Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war, the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives. This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:

"In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China, and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed."

Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.

Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation" but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III.
The complete forum posts, pictures and predictions of John Titor can be found here. His last forum post was in March 2001, and he has not been heard from since...

Now, you may be thinking, this is just a bunch of old tosh (and you wouldn't find me disagreeing there either!). But John explained that his presence here in our "worldline" means that we have already diverged from the timeline and in affect he came from an alternative dimension. Hence the fact things haven't turned out quite the way he says they would is not something that can be used to criticise him. But there is plenty of other criticism out there.

With most people today claiming John Titor is in fact John Rick Haber, brother of the owner of the commercial rights to all things John Titor, Larry Haber.

But perhaps, just perhaps, John Titor really was a traveller from the future who came in order to warn us all of the future we faced. Maybe he succeeded in averting disaster.

Further Reading

John Titor A Time Traveler's Tale - Written by the "John Titor Foundation" in 2003

Time Travel - Journeys into Time - DVD 

Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time - J. Richard Gott 

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Saturday, 6 February 2010

In Search Of Noah's Ark

The story of Noah's Ark is probably one of the best know stories from the Bible, thanks to it's rather appealing symbolism, it's drama and it's happy ending (well if you forget about the suffering and pain caused to millions of people, animals and plant life). It's also helped by the fact that flood stories seem to have a deep resonance across cultures (something some Christians insist helps prove the reality of the Flood).

Believing in the literal truth of the Flood story is one thing, but some people don't just believe it happened: they believe the Ark is still around today and can be found.

Traditions regarding the location of the Ark stem back far into Judeo-Christian history.

Genesis 8:4 (New International Version): "and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat."

Josephus, a Roman-Jew who recorded the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, was among other early commentators who postulated that the mountains of Ararat lay within Armenia (which would later, perhaps fittingly, become the first Christian country).

By the 7th Century a place known as Mount Judi (possibly in what is today northern Iraq) was considered the most likely "Place of Descent" and it is this tradition that was taken up by the contemporary Quranic accounts.  Many from these times believed not only that the Ark came to rest but that it was still in existence. These early accounts have fuelled modern searches. Marco Polo says in The Travels of Marco Polo:

In the heart of Greater Armenia is a very high mountain shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah's ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah's Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises.
By modern times the tradition had moved to Greater Ararat back in Turkey (and mere miles from the Armenia border), a tradition which continues to this day.

James Bryce climbed above the tree line on Mount Ararat in 1876 and claimed to discover a slab of hand-hewn timber, four feet long and five inches thick, which he identified as being from the Ark.

Thanks mainly to the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey and the onset of the Cold War (which caused the Turkish-Soviet border to become one of the possible flashpoints), many Arkeologists (you see what they did there??) found it difficult to do research. Some of the difficulties could be seen during the two expeditions led by lunar astronaut James Irwin:

Ever since astronaut James Irwin led an expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey in 1982, people around the world have been fascinated by the possibility that actual evidence of Noah's Ark may be discovered. Unfortunately, Mr. Irwin was knocked unconscious when he tumbled down the 17,000-foot mountain. He returned to Mount Ararat in 1983, but a blizzard halted the expedition. Kurdish militiamen halted another expedition in 1985.

Finally, Mr. Irwin was arrested by Turkish officials in 1986 when they accused him and the film crew of conducting espionage. Irwin never returned. The ark-hunting astronaut died of a heart attack in August 1991.

Irwin's interest in Mount Ararat was spurred by what is known as the Ararat Anomaly: The claim that a wooden structure atop snowy Mount Ararat had been spotted and photographed by military pilots in 1949. The 600-foot anomaly was also photographed by two U.S. satellites in the 1970s. Irwin's high profile as a moon-walking astronaut who wanted to discover Noah's Ark generated enormous publicity and curiosity about Mount Ararat.

In recent years, however, the Turkish government has rejected all requests for expeditions on Mount Ararat. Some people speculate that the CIA has installed high-tech surveillance posts on the mountain. Source: The Quest For Bible Treasures

The Ararat anomaly is one of two currently proposed sites for the landing place of the Ark. The picture on the right was taken in 1949. The other possible site is Durupinar which is in the Ararat mountain region but not on Greater Ararat itself.

This site was made famous by Ron Wyatt's expeditions and supposed discovery of the Ark here in the late eighties and early nineties.

Ron Wyatt's claims are interesting so I've dug up a Youtube video so you can see them and make up your own minds (I think you know where my own mind sits)

Part Two is here

Even as recently as 2006, another group claim to have discovered the Ark... in Iran! What do I get from all this? It's all very, very dodgy. Little evidence, much fanfare and little results. It makes the Oak Island Money Pit explorations look positively successful! What do you guys think?

Some sceptical perspective on the story and some of the finds.

Further Research

Discovery of Noah's Ark: The Best Evidence 2 DVD Special Edition - From Ron Wyatt's expedition

The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark  Charles Sellier

The Explorers Of Ararat Rex Giessler

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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Dinosaurs Are Alive

Over a year ago I wrote The Last Dinosaurs, a post stating quite clearly that I don't believe dinosaurs (as in the order dinosauria) have managed to survive in a recognisable form into the modern era. Birds are the closest we are going to get.

But there are still a few interesting stories that I've seen since then that should be put out there for consideration. Tales of sauropods and other quadrupedal dinosaurs are two-a-penny in cryptozoology. But theropods, two legged dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, are a little less common and all the more intruiging for it. Could there really be giant bipedal dinosaurs stalking our planet still?

The Burrunjor

Although I'd obviously previously heard of the most famous Australian reptilian anamoly; Megalania (I type this sitting in a chair with one of Megalania's relatives Mr Gibbs The Bearded Dragon lying on my chest) I'd never heard of a Burrunjor. It would appear there is another giant beast stalking the outback.

From Rex & Heather Gilroy's book Out Of The Dreamtime:
Campfire stories substantiating Aboriginal claims are commonplace across the far north. Back in 1978, a Northern Territory busman and explorer, Bryan Clark, related a story to me of his own that had taken place some years before. While mustering cattle in the Urapunji area, he became lost in the remote wilderness of that part of Arnhem Land. It took him three days to find his way out of the region and back to the homestead from where he originally set out.He had not known at the time, but his footprints had been picked up and followed by two Aboriginal trackers and a mounted policeman. On the first night of their search they camped on the outskirts of the Burrunjor scrub, even though the two trackers protested strongly against doing so. The policeman hobbled his horse, cooked their meal, then climbed into his swag and went to sleep.Later that night the two Aborigines shouting intelligibly and grasping for their packs and saddles suddenly woke him up. The policeman also realised at this moment that the ground appeared to be shaking. Hurriedly getting to his feet, he too gathered up his belongings, and shortly afterwards, the three galloped away. As he told Bryan Clark later at the Urapunji homestead, he had also heard a sound, somewhat like a loud puffing or grunting noise, certainly loud enough to be coming from some large animal. When asked if he intended to include this incident in his report, he replied he would not because he feared no one would believe him. The policeman warned Bryan never again to return to that area, because if he got lost there again he’d be “on his own”, as he would not come looking for him! 
The region’s cave art, thousands of years old, depicts these monstrous animals. Many Aborigines believe these monsters wander back and forth across the Gulf country and Cape York to this day. Back in 1950, cattlemen lost stock to some mysterious beast that left the mutilated, half-eaten remains of cows and bulls in its wake over a wide area, stretching between the border country and Burketown. Searchers on horseback found huge reptilian tracks of some bipedal-walking beast. They followed these three-toed tracks with their cattle dogs through some rough jungle terrain until they entered swampland beyond which was more dense scrub. However, it was at this point that the cattle dogs became uneasy and ran off. The horses were also uneasy and obviously did not want to cross the swamp. While most of the cattlemen decided their animals knew best, two men set off on foot with their carbines. The story goes that they soon came across further tracks in an open area beyond the swamp. While his mate searched about, the other man briefly spotted the dark form of an enormous creature, perhaps 30ft in height, further off in dense timber. The men left the scene in haste. 
Johnny Mathews, a part-Aboriginal tracker, claimed to have seen a 25ft tall bipedal reptilian monster, moving through scrub near lagoon Creek on the Gulf coast one day in 1961. “Hardly anyone outside my own people believes my story, but I known what I saw”, he said to me in 1970. 
In 1985 a 4-wheel drive vehicle and it s family of travellers, the Askeys, heading for Roper River Mission, happened to take a back road for some sightseeing. Just before they were to pull up and turn around to resume their journey to the mission, they all saw, moving together across an open plain some distance away, two bipedal-walking reptilian creatures a good 20ft tall respectively. “The monsters were a greyish-brown colour and dinosaur-like in appearance. We didn’t wait around”, said the father, Mr Greg Askey.
I certainly think there is a lot more "evidence" for this creature than for the slightly more famous story which is to follow, but I still think we must be wary. Australia is certainly massive and whilst it may have over 20 million inhabitants, this is a drop in the ocean considering the size of the continent. However could something large really escape the attention of science for so long? I think it is interesting that the aborigine population have legends that back up the story but aborigine's know no more about the outback than many other Australians nowadays and thus I don't think we should suddenly start to accept all their beliefs and folk tales as fact.

Kasai rex

Reports regarding this mysterious creature seem to have been duplicated and names confused. Supposedly the story originated in the Rhodesia Herald in 1932 with a story regarding the exploits of a Swede named John Johnson (in other versions he is J. C. Johanson)

On February 16 last I went on a shooting trip, accompanied by my gunbearer. I had only a Winchester for small game, not expecting anything big. At 2 p.m. I had reached the Kasai valley (sic).
No game was in sight. As we were going down to the water, the boy suddenly called out "elephants". It appeared that two giant bulls were almost hidden by the jungle. About 50 yards away from them I saw something incredible - a monster, about 16 yards in length, with a lizard's head and tail. I closed my eyes and reopened them. There could be no doubt about it, the animal was still there. My boy cowered in the grass whimpering.
I was shaken by the hunting-fever. My teeth rattled with fear. Three times I snapped; only one attempt came out well. Suddenly the monster vanished, with a remarkably rapid movement. It took me some time to recover. Alongside me the boy prayed and cried. I lifted him up, pushed him along and made him follow me home. On the way we had to transverse a big swamp. Progress was slow, for my limbs were still half-paralyzed with fear. There in the swamp, the huge lizard appeared once more, tearing lumps from a dead rhino. It was covered in ooze. I was only about 25 yards away.
It was simply terrifying. The boy had taken French leave, carrying the rifle with him. At first I was careful not to stir, then I thought of my camera. I could hear the crunching of rhino bones in the lizard's mouth. Just as I clicked, it jumped into deep water.
The experience was too much for my nervous system. Completely exhausted, I sank down behind the bush that had given me shelter. Blackness reigned before my eyes. The animal's phenomenally rapid motion was the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever seen.'
I must have looked like one demented, when at last I regained camp. Metcalfe, who is the boss there, said I approached him, waving the camera about in a silly way and emitting unintelligible sounds. I dare say I did. For eight days I lay in a fever, unconscious nearly all the time.'
Now based on this report, even if it was real which I very much doubt, there is nothing here to suggest this is a Tyrannosaurus. The creature is referred to as a lizard and no remarks are made about it hunting on two legs or in fact even standing up on them. So alas I don't think we have two legged carnivorous dinosaurs roaming about the Congo.

With just one report I think we can safely put this one down as a "hoax".

So there are two more dinosaur survival stories for you to feast on. Enjoy!

Further Reading

Mystery in Acambaro: Did Dinosaurs Survive Until Recently?  Charles Hapgood

Claws, Jaws and Dinosaurs - Kent Hovind and William Gibbons

Mysterious Australia by Rex Gilroy

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Monday, 18 January 2010

Is It A Giant Swastika On The Moon? No... it's just marketing!

After a bit of debate on Above Top Secret it has been conclusively proven that this picture is NOT actually a Nazi UFO, but instead a picture from a faux news story made to promote Iron Sky.

It truly is amazing that even ONE person would believe such things, but as we've seen; it was much easier to destroy Nazi Germany than it has proven to be able to destroy the Nazi survival myths.

If the Nazi's had made a base on the Moon do you really think they'd market it using a giant swastika???

Further Reading

"German Secret Weapons of the Second World War" - Rudolf Lusar (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

Nazi International: The Nazis' Postwar Plan to Control Finance, Conflict, Physics and Space - Joesph P. Farrell (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist