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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