Archive for the ‘controversial’ category

The Tombstone Pterodactyl and Vintage Cryptids…

August 11, 2021

In the wild, weird west as well as in the present day, folks saw and reported strange beasties, such as the “Thunderbird” supposedly pictured here, reported by the Tombstone Epitaph in April 1890 which had reportedly been terrorizing Native American and local populations for some time. So a couple of good ole cowboys shot the sucker down, and are proudly posing with the carcass in the picture above, its wings extended to give you an idea of the critter’s size. It resembles a pterodactyl, which some contend never had become fully extinct, and which may upon rare occasion be seen from time to time

Trouble is, the newspaper in question lacked the capability of producing photos at that time, and the original of the photographic evidence has never been located. It is accordingly widely thought to be a vintage fake. Similar photos also exist of Civil War soldiers who supposedly also shot down a pterosaur or two.

So why, then, do such photos exist? The answer is simply that such stories sell newspapers, even if unaccompanied by a photo. They were simply meeting a public demand for the sensational while increasing their own profit margin. People tended to be a bit more gullible in the 1890’s, although there’s still no shortage of such folks today.

Now, I would dearly love to see Rodan grace the skies, but until we have scientific proof of the existence of such cryptids, we need to be skeptical of any and all such claims. If nothing else, they were entertaining then as now…and we want to believe!

Dr. Seuss Books in Racist Row…

March 3, 2021


Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published owing to racist images and references within them, specifically in regards to black and Asian people.  Not to excuse or condone such things, but they were common stereotypes of the time, and I did grow up with them while never becoming a white supremacist.  I far preferred the surreal iconoclasm of Dr. Seuss to the exclusive vanilla wholesomeness of the Dick and Jane readers, plus he drew awesome anthropomorphic animals!

Objectionable racist portrayals in kiddie lit and entertainment of the time were not by any means restricted to Dr. Seuss.  Consider Elmer Fudd as a ludicrous Native American in Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt.  Remember Disney’s Song of the South.  Visit the 1961 Dick Tracy cartoon series for stereotyped crime fighters Joe Jitsu and Go Go Gomez.  These are but a few examples, to be sure.

The discontinued Dr. Seuss titles are but a few books among many that do not have objectionable content, and generally are among his lesser-known works.  Dr. Seuss got a lot of kids reading, and eagerly so.  His art had furry roots, and could be quite thematic while wildly entertaining.   It largely holds up well today.  While Theodor Geisel was a product of his times as are we all, he was a pretty cool dude whose legacy remains a good one.

And all I know is that I’m keeping and cherishing my Fox in Socks book forever, even if the fox does appear to have some kind of strange unknown disease or genetic affliction…

 

 

 

“History’s Greatest Mysteries” on The History Channel

November 14, 2020

 

If you, like myself, are drawn to strange stuff, and might confess to watching an occasional episode of MonsterQuest or Ancient Aliens, you might be interested in a new show scheduled to debut on The History Channel in my area Saturday night November 14th at 9:00 p.m., History’s Greatest Mysteries.  Featuring Laurence Fishburne who will both host and narrate, the series will get into some of the strange and loose ends of history, such as the Roswell incident, the Shackleton Expedition, the sinking of the Titanic, and similar stories. 

The first episode will get into the strange story of hijacker D.B. Cooper.  While not all episodes are likely to be equally intriguing, they’re going to have three episodes alone on Roswell, for cripes sake!  I’ll withhold my coveted Pawprint of Approval rating until I’ve actually seen a few episodes, but History Channel usually does have good production values, and this new series just might be worth a look… 

 

 

“Real Vampires” on MonsterQuest…

November 6, 2020

 
We can’t all be vampires, much less Dracula…some of us are just children of the night, and I can live with that.  It’s not that I dislike vampires, it’s just that I’m much more of a werewolf guy! Besides, we children of the night have a hell of a band, being know for our music.  Alright, now we’re just a garage band, but watch for our breakout album…

…that being said, MonsterQuest recently aired a new episode titled, Real Vampires.  Now vampiric legends exist in 95% of human cultures, with the oldest originating thousands of years ago in China and India.  Kali the Hindu goddess was one such example.  A word of warning that some gruesome things covered in the episode follow…

Flashing forward to more modern times, we have the case of “JB,” who was buried in the 1800’s in Willington, Connecticut.   His remains were accidentally discovered in 1990, and his body exhumed due to its unusual condition, which included the remains being mutilated, with the corpse decapitated, the ribs broken, and the thighbones disarticulated and placed into an “X” formation on the chest…some people thought that they were destroying a vampire here.  Modern forensic investigations found that the poor soul had suffered tuberculosis, revealed in the thickening of his rib bones.  Terminal tuberculin victims cough up blood towards the end of the disease progression, which to the unenlightened may have suggested a blood feeder rather than a disease victim.

New England vampiric beliefs likely came from eastern Europe, where in Hungary in the 16th century, Countess Elizabeth Bathory,  the “Blood Countess,” was obsessed with maintaining her fading youth and lured young girls into her service over a twenty  year period of time, later torturing and killing them and bathing in and drinking their blood; she would be convicted of 80 counts of murder, and is thought to have been one of the most prolific female serial killers in history.  In 1784, the Johnson children were exhumed to presumably break a vampire curse, which often involved removing and burning or destroying internal organs of the deceased.  Years before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, a woman called Mercy Brown in 1892 was exhumed two months after her death due to suspected vampirism, and had her heart cut out, burned to ashes, and fed to her brother, the gruesome ritual failing to prevent his death from tuberculosis, then called “consumption.”

So what gives with these people?!  Mysterious plagues, superstition, and a lack of scientific understanding can drive people to do strange and horrendous things.  Disease processes and even human decomposition were poorly understood, with such things appearing paranormal to those unfamiliar with them.  Rigor mortis and then the subsequent relaxation of muscular tissue after death can cause corpses to move somewhat, with the gases of decomposition also causing bloating and at times the expulsion of bodily fluid through the mouth that can appear blood-like.  Subsequently, those looking for vampires could appear to find them through changes in the corpses of deceased individuals. – – Get the torches, pitchforks, and stakes ready, we got us an “undead” vamp here!

Even more recently, a “vampire clan” operating in Eustis, Florida in 1996 killed the parents of one of their disciples, their leader drinking small amounts of the blood of the victims.  “Clinical vampirism” has professionally been recognized as a delusion that the blood of others is needed to survive.

After examining this extensive but not exhaustive history, MonsterQuest last examined the phenomenon of psychic vampires, who reportedly feed off the life force of others and are not themselves “the undead.”  A psychic investigator shown on camera during the episode found that a so-called psychic vampire could slightly affect a measured electromagnetic field in an interaction with another person that they were “feeding” off.  I think that many of us know people who can drain the energy out of a room by entering it…

The legend of vampires is embedded in popular culture, and involves power over someone or something else.  Portrayed over the ages as anything from outsiders to dark heroes, vampires symbolize a deep human hunger…

 

 

“Serpentine Creatures” on MonsterQuest…

August 31, 2020

 

MonsterQuest was a show largely about cryptic creatures that debuted in October of 2007 and ran for three seasons before vanishing and being replaced by a series of inferior imitations.  The series was far better grounded than most, incorporating history of the supposed hidden life form under investigation, eyewitness accounts, and even commentary by actual scientists! 

I’m pleased to see that MonsterQuest is back for a fourth season on the History Channel as a series of specials, the first of which aired recently and concerned “Serpentine Creatures” or “Lake Demons,” essentially oversized, monster eels in North American lakes. 

In Lake Ontario in 1974, an eel fisherman was reportedly lifted out of the water by an eel that he could barely escape.  “Cressie” is said to exist in New Foundland, reportedly measuring 20 to 40 feet in length.  Then there’s the gold standard of North American lake monsters, Ogopogo, said to measure up to a whopping 50′ in length and to inhabit Lake Okanagan in Canada!  Ogopogo is said to have a snake-like body displayed in coils, and about seven sightings a year are reported by diverse people.

Pursuing Cressie, the MonsterQuest investigative team engineered a search that combined a helicopter team with a dive boat.  The helicopter crew spotted a thermal signature from the air, summoning then the dive boat to do a search.  The divers found sink holes in the lake, but encountered considerable silt obstruction.  They found a carcass that was hoped might be a juvenile specimen, but later scientific testing proved it to be nothing more than a deteriorated salmon…

While the tone of the episode was reminiscent of the old MonsterQuest series, it really wasn’t exciting to me personally, dragging at times to the point of becoming almost tedious. Giant eels really don’t float my boat, although they might if they were actually under it!  Hopefully episode 2 concerning Bigfoot will interject a little of the old series excitement…

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“Project Blue Book” A Winner!

January 17, 2019



Think of a real-life X-Files series set in the 1950’s, and you’ve got the gist of what this ten episode dramatic series on The History Channel is like…and boy, did they get the period atmosphere and flavor right, down to the home decor and guys going everywhere in hats!  In addition to careful and authentic detail, there is superb acting and engaging scripts based on actual Project Blue Book investigations.  Aidan Gillen known for Game of Thrones gives a wonderful characterization of J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant but underappreciated professor called in by the government basically to put cases to rest but finding that science can’t explain everything away. He is pressured by his assigned partner Air Force Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) who in turn is pressured by military higher-ups to produce the desired investigation outcomes.  It’s all there, including shadowy “Men in Black” figures lurking in the background, and glimpses of a UFO hidden in a government hanger.  

Episode 2 concerned an investigation of The Flatwoods Monster, a close encounter of the third kind which occurred in West Virginia in 1952 and about which I blogged here way back in 2010.  The incident was previously highlighted in an episode of the late great series, MonsterQuest.  Anyways, in this Project Blue Book treatment Dr. Hynek explains away the alien sightings as being of an owl up in a tree so as to appear ten feet tall, but is beginning to doubt his own explanations as the episode ends and he is hustled off the case.  Future episodes will probably depict the continuing evolution of the character, and I look forward to seeing it, commending the series for your viewing…

 

Spider-Goats!

January 31, 2018


(PhysOrg.com) — Researchers from the University of Wyoming have developed a way to incorporate spiders’ silk-spinning genes into goats, allowing the researchers to harvest the silk protein from the goats’ milk for a variety of applications. For instance, due to its strength and elasticity, spider silk fiber could have several medical uses, such as for making artificial ligaments and tendons, for eye sutures, and for jaw repair. The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2010-05-scientists-goats-spider-silk.html#jCp

I, for one, am both entertained and concerned with the prospect of Spider-Goats.  I mean, imagine entering one of your rooms and finding one of the buggers hanging on your wall or ceiling!  I doubt that the usual spritz of Raid spray would be enough to deter one of them.  It might, however, lead to the development of a new generation of pest controllers, Goat-Busters. — I’m claiming royalty rights on that film franchise now!  The theme song’s already playing in my head…you got goats, got yer freakin’ goats?

And we have other thorny issues to sort out, too, like cross-over problems.  Would Spider-Goat be a superhero or super villain?  Would a special issue of Spider-Man be called for featuring a knock-down, drag-out fight?  And who plays Spider-Goat in that film treatment?  Even if computer-generated, voice work is required…I’m available!

Now because the spider silk is found in the goats’ milk, could you acquire spider powers yourself if you drank it, assuming of course that you could get it down?-  – Would that be a baaad idea?  Would you then be a Spider-Goat-Person? The line is forming to the left, folks, but remember that with great power comes great responsibility…

…remember the Spider-Pig episode of The Simpsons?  We’ve all got plenty to think about now, and I think that 2018 is off to a roaring (or perhaps a bleating) start.  As Dr. Seuss might have expressed it, From there to here / From here to there / Hybrid animals are everywhere!  

At least I’ll better fit in now, someday, maybe…


Revolutionary Soldier and Creature in the Woods…

December 24, 2017


How would you like to live right by a cemetery?  The neighborhood has been a bit dead lately, you say?!  Well, on the Season 1/Episode 7 installment of Terror in the Woods,  we are first told the ghostly story of Annie in Ohio, who when visited by her two sisters (Amy and Mary-Beth) at her Ohio house decided that it would be spooky fun to go on an after-dark graveyard walk in the adjoining cemetery.  This they did, complete with loud joking conversation and picture-taking. It was all fun and games until the night seemed to darken, and a presence was felt.  The sisters retreated to Annie’s house, where one felt a hand touch her when retrieving something from the car.  Returning to the cemetery the next day in broad daylight, they found graves of people sharing their names.  Looking later at the pics they had taken the previous night, a blurry but full-body image of a revolutionary war soldier was seen.  It seems that the cemetery was the final resting place of folks born in the area in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.  Annie swore that she later momentarily saw a revolutionary war soldier in the cemetery from her window, and she would never again return to the graveyard.  

The second segment, Creature in the Woods, involved a couple in Nebraska (David and Laura) and their two children who went on a deep woods retreat to a cabin constructed by one of the lady’s relatives.  The woman had been going to the woods in general and that cabin in particular since childhood, and was not a nervous Nellie.  While fetching water, the family heard a deep grunting in the forest together with stamping on the ground which sounded aggressive.  They later heard resonant growls and thumps while preparing lunch.  Banging on wash tubs and an oil drum near the entrance to the camp was also heard, at which point the family decided to pack it in and fled in their car, afraid.  While no sightings were made, the inference was clearly made that they had encountered one or more Bigfoot-type creatures…

“Haunted Cabin” on”Terror in the Woods

December 11, 2017

 

The Haunted Cabin episode of “Terror in the Woods” (S1/Ep8) was basically a ghost story, but with a side order of cryptid thrown in.  The story was pleasantly scary and creepy, and I like that!

In deepest Kentucky in the Red River Gorge, a rustic cabin sat in the woods on an abandoned logging road that married couple Bill and Charisse chose as kind of a retirement retreat.  Bill held the fort while Charisse worked hard for the money at a city job about two hours away.  Now Bill was a college grad, not some yahoo, and he put up a security camera outside the cabin.  One night around two to three a.m., said camera picked up a sporadic green mist that seemed to morph in and out.  We, the viewers, were shown the actual footage, and it did look like a floaty mist to me! Alerted by the security camera, Bill went outside and thought that he saw a ghost…

…other creepy things then transpired.  Bill’s TV and Playstation came on twice by themselves!  Now Bill was suitably creeped out by this. I mean, would you want ghosts messin’ with your PlayStation?! They’d stay on it for hours, and leave slime all over the console and controllers, for cripes sake! Bill then did what any sensible person would do, and spent the night in his car.

A week later, Bill’s trusty security camera showed a ball of white light that seemed to come out of the ground and which floated along the area; ghost alert! Viewers were also shown this footage. Bill trucked into town, speaking to and showing locals the footage; not surprisingly, they thought it ghostly.

Now comes the Bigfoot alert; walking outside his cabin in the woods, Bill hit a tree with a branch, and thought that it was answered with other knocks. Bill experienced fear and panic, since ghosts and Bigfoot make for a full paranormal schedule. A friend later visited him, and they found strange footprints with four digits and hooked claws; pictures were taken of this, which viewers of the episode were again shown.

His wife later returned to join Bill, and things went smoothly for a time until they heard howling and barking of a guttural, hellhound nature. They tried to record the commotion, but the sound stopped. Later when watching a ghost show on television, the two decided it would be a kick to casually try and summon a spirit themselves. Be careful what you ask for, because a loud knocking then came to their door, although nothing was there when the door was answered!

So our protagonist again went to the nearest town, showing the locals and woodsmen his latest videos and pics of the strange footprint.  Not surprisingly, they couldn’t explain them but agreed that they were freaky.  It was learned, however, that the cabin Bill and Charisse had bought was built for an ailing daughter who died in the cabin.  The cabin has since continued to be plagued by paranormal activity…spooky!  

Bigfoot and the Catacombs

December 3, 2017

The S1/Ep6 episode of Terror in the Woods featured an encounter with a cryptid and later a ghost, haunting, or restless spirit encounter.  First considered were the adventures of Rodney and fellow campers who were settled in at a campsite in Red River Gorge, Kentucky when a large rock landed near them, followed by others.  Guttural vocalizations then came towards night as well as tree-knockings, sounds reportedly generated by Bigfoot creatures hitting limbs against trees.  The campers heard bipedal footfalls, and Rodney saw the outline of a large creature, which shunned flashlight beams and began throwing tree limbs.  Later into night, camping pans were knocked over, rummaging sounds were heard, and Rodney despite having only a machete exited his tent to see a Bigfoot creature scraping a pan, presumably scavenging food.  The creature stood six to seven feet tall, and had broad shoulders and long arms.  This Bigfoot made long, angry vocalizations as it made off.  The other campers with Rodney were professionals who did’t want to speak of the incident.  Rodney, however, continued to wander the woods in later times with a camera and firearm in search of the creature.

The “Catacombs” segment took place in Savannah, Georgia.  Ashley and Jess with others climbed down into the catacombs which were located near an abandoned hospital that was used as a quarantine location for yellow fever patients in the late 19th century.  Some of the unfortunate patients had tried in the 1800’s to escape the grounds via the catacombs while others were simply contained there.  Anyways, the group held a seance in a large chamber of the catacombs and heard a large stone shatter on the wall.   The last person in the group to depart the catacombs is reported to have felt a suctioning force on her body which pulled her back into the underground chamber.  A second effort to climb up and out was successful, however.  It was related that guards were stationed in the catacombs in the past to prevent patients from escaping them, with the inference being that they had encountered one of these spirits, still trying to perform their duty…  


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