Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment has been a subject of long controversy, debate and blurry vision. The basis is, it was an experiment conducted by the Navy to create a ship that couldn't be detected by magnetic mines and radar. In other words, they wanted to render a ship invisible.

The Philadelphia Experiment has also been associated with several invisibility projects and mind-control experiments. While the actual truth behind the experiment can never be known, we rely on what little information was leaked out or given out by people claiming to be witnesses to the project, or otherwise members of the project itself.

  • Prelude
Now, the alleged results of these experiments are extremely bizarre, yet a string of coincidences and events that centered around the Philadelphia Experiment have lent these some credibility. The results include things such as the whispers of men "freezing" in time for months, men traveling through time, and even some of the men becoming embedded into the bulkheads and floor of the ship.

The idea for the experiment came from investigations and experiments by a group involving Tesla for the possibility of invisibility through the use of electricity. The experiments succeeded for small objects, and around 1939, it was presented to the government. The military was particularly interested in this, possibly due to the fact that there was a war going on at the time, and technology like this would be monumental.

In 1943, the government decided to perform a test on domestic animals on a ship. It was the USS Eldridge on which the animals were placed in metal cages. The ship did indeed go invisible, but when the animals were observed again, several of them bore radiation and burn marks, and several were missing. They had decided that humans were not to be tested.

Despite this decision, on August 12 of the same year, the USS Eldridge, with a full capacity human crew on board, underwent this experiment. The crew did not know that an experiment was about to happen. The generators started, the switch was thrown, and the ship disappeared, as was expected. However, the date of August 12 is disputed, with some claiming that October 28, 1943 would have been a more accurate date, because according to the Eldridge's deck log and war diary, it wasn't in Philadelphia at the time. However, the logs could easily have been changed for the sake of national security.

Although the logs stated the ship had been gone for a few minutes, witnesses testified that it was gone for at least 4 hours, and had been transported through space and time.

What was observed when the ship returned was rather disturbing: When it returned to its original place, there was a greenish haze on deck and around the ship. Some sailors were on fire. Some had gone insane. All of them were sick, some suffering from heart attacks, and some were simply dead. Most astounding of all, was that some of the sailors had become part of the structure of the ship itself, buried in the walls or deck of the ship. Additionally, some of the men were missing.

Where the ship had gone, can only be speculated. Some witnessed claimed it went to Norfolk Harbor, and others say it went 40 years into the future and wound up at Montauk, New York.

The Navy, of course, denied everything and claimed that the men were lost at sea. You can read their current rebuttal of the Philadelphia Experiment here.

There is even an elaborate story that combines the Philadelphia Experiment with the Montauk Experiment, a time loop linking the sailors of the Eldridge to Montauk, New York, with a time loop to 1983.

  • Afterwards...
But wait, there's more! As the story continues, the sailors went crazy after the ship materialized, and they raided a bar. They told the bar maid their story and completely terrified her. A newspaper article had been written about the raid, but no date was named, so the article couldn't be found. Most of the crew members eventually went insane, but a few retained their sanity, only to face further situations. One man sat down to dinner with his wife and child, but then got up from the table, walked through the wall, and was never seen again. Two other sailors were also said to have simply disappeared into thin air and never seen again. Another crew member vanished in the middle of a fight, surprising his opponent to the extent of shocking him. All three of these incidents are said to have had witnesses.

Another side effect was of the men getting 'stuck'. Getting 'stuck' basically consisted of becoming unable to move or interact with anyone for long periods of time. The crew members called this phenomenon as "Hell Incorporated". Another name for this was the "Freeze". A common freeze would last from a few minutes to a few hours and damaged the person psychologically, but wouldn't cause madness. A man would come out of the Freeze if the other crew members laid their hands upon him to "give him strength." This usually worked, except in one case, two men attempted to lay their hands upon a frozen crew member, and he burst into flames and burned for eighteen days. The fires could not be stopped, nor did they spread to the surrounding locations.

As if that weren't enough, some of the men started going into "Deep Freeze." Deep Freeze was something similar to getting stuck, except they would be visible only to the crew members, and they would be completely aware of others and their actions but was unable to communicate with them or interact with them. It was said that it took only two days for a man to go insane in the Deep Freeze. It is also said that the first Deep Freeze took six months and five million dollars of research and equipment to correct.

The man who got out from the six-month Deep Freeze was insane by the time he got out. Some have attributed that the disappearance or freezing of people to the Zeeman Effect - "the spreading out of the spectral lines of atoms under the influence of a strong magnetic field." The rest of the sailors were discharged from the Navy as mentally unfit.

  • Technical Details, perhaps
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the following details, but I include them here due to relevance to this article.

Two crewmen had been walking in a park when a haggard looking man approached them. The man told them a fantastic story about an experiment done in which most of the crew died or suffered terrible side effects. He said that the government then claimed the entire crew was insane so that when they came forward, they would merely be dismissed as a group of crazy people who had merely concocted some fantastic story. After the conversation, one crew member was convinced while the other was not. Eventually, the member that had been convinced contacted Dr. Jessup and told him the story. Although this was a substantial lead, Dr. Jessup was not getting very far and he found that his reputation in the scientific community was worsening. Faced with overwhelming odds, Dr. Jessup eventually committed suicide on April 20, 1959, believing "another existence of universe being better than this miserable world." (The Philadelphia Experiment, 79). Some believe that his suicide was actually an assassination by government agencies to keep the experiment quiet.

Unfortunately for Dr. Jessup, a major clue in the puzzle turned up shortly after his death. This clue was a man by the name of Alfred D. Bielek.

Bielek's story is even more bizarre than Allende's. He claims that he was transported in time to the future and that here in the future he was brainwashed by the Navy. This brainwashing led him to believe that his name was Alfred Bielek, rather than his true name, Edward Cameron. Upon discovering his true identity, he tracked down his brother who had also participated in the experiment. Bielek claims that his brother time traveled to 1983 and lost his 'time-lock'. As a result, his brother aged one year every hour and eventually died. Bielek then claims that his brother was reborn. Needless to say, only a small group of people believe Bielek and nearly everyone thinks that his stories are based on some truth, but he's exaggerating the truth for personal reasons. This popular opinion seems to be reinforced when Bielek starts remembering things only after having seen the movie "The Philadelphia Experiment". Bielek has a Ph.D. in Physics, so he does have some technical experience. He is also a retired electrical engineer with thirty years of experience. Because of his obvious intelligence and skill, he cannot be discounted entirely. Bielek stated that the technology used in the Philadelphia Experiment was given to us by aliens. However, the germanium transistor, which was what Bielek said had been used, was invented by Thomas Henry Moray.

Bielek also stated that Dr. Albert Einstein, Dr. John von Neumann, and Dr. Nikola Tesla were involved in the project. Some controversy has arisen as to the participation of Tesla because he died in New York city on January 7, 1943, which was only a two month period of time after the project took place. Einstein, on the other hand, suggested such a project as this to the Navy on several occasions. Because of this, he was probably involved in the project. As for von Neumann, there is no evidence to refute or promote his active participation in the matter. There is evidence that supports the fact that he later continued on the experiment at a different time.

The principle that lay behind the Philadelphia Experiment was the Unified Field Theory. This theory states that gravity and magnetism are connected, just as mass and energy are connected through the formula E=mc2. Einstein never solved the Unified Field Theory, but the very nature of the Philadelphia Experiment suggests otherwise. It is probably that this theory has become a government secret because it is capable of doing many things, possibly even space travel without the assistance of rockets.

In a search for actual technical data on the experiment, not much information can be found that isn't tainted with doubt and speculation. The basic design has two large Tesla coils (electromagnets) placed on each hull of the ship. The coils are turned on in a special sequence and their magnetic force is so powerful that they warp gravity itself. Bielek also says that on August 12 every twenty years, the magnetic field of the Earth reaches a peak and allows the synchronization between the Tesla coils. The oscillator which Bielek claims to have run the coils in a special pattern looks more like an Army field kitchen refrigeration unit than anything else. Many believe that's exactly what it is and Bielek's story is just a hoax. Bielek gave it a technical name however: the "Zero Time Reference Generator". The oscillators would synchronize with the adjustable phase angle and created a scaler type wave (Anderson). Several scientists today have attacked Bielek's testimony on this, as they believe a vector wave would have been more efficient and probable. Bielek also does not make clear if the power used is AC or DC, pulsed or rotating, and what the Microwave and Radar frequencies are. In other words, Bielek provides almost no accurate technical information that can be used.

Rick Anderson however, may be able to shed some light upon the subject. He states that four RF transmitters were phased to produce a rotating field. This field was pulsed at a 10% duty cycle. Instead of two coils, he says that four coils would have been set upon the deck of the ship and would be run by two generators that were pulsed in a counter-clockwise motion. Anderson states that the Tesla coils use a total of 7,500 feet, or 1.42 miles of #16 magnet wire. Because of this enormous quantity, no one has privately undertaken the experiment; the wire would be too expensive and also must to be wound in a special way (Anderson). Other scientists believe that Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and the science of the Philadelphia Experiment are connected.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is also known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. Yet another scientist named Alexander S. Fraser believes that everyone is wrong about the electromagnetic qualities of the experiment. He believes that it was never done with electromagnetism, but with thermal fields. This thermal field could have caused the optical mirage effect which several witnesses reported. Fraser says that Allende had spoken of a 'scorch' field, fire, and optical wavering, all of which are products of a thermal field. As for the part about the Eldridge disappearing in front of their very eyes, certain weather conditions have been known in the ocean to cause islands to disappear as well. These weather conditions were taking place the day of the experiment. Yet another scientist believes that sonic and ultrasonic waves were used.

The sonic waves could have been used to create an 'air blanket' around the ship, which is consistent with reports. There were many experiments done in the 1940's with high power ultrasonic waves, which indicates a high probability of the Philadelphia Experiment being one of them. Strong sonic fields are known for having bad side effects upon humans, which is also consistent with reports. The green haze which was presumably around the ship was caused by "exciting the surrounding sea water with powerful ultrasonics - 'sonoluminescense' and related phenomena." (Anderson) The ultrasonic field would have caused the crew to pass out and make the journey from Philadelphia to Norfolk seem to last only a couple minutes. Needless to say, the technicalities of the Philadelphia Experiment are a matter of hot debate among scientists and no one seems to be able to provide any solid evidence. As Rick Anderson aptly puts it: "An electronics person knows that, without a DETAILED, comprehensive THEORY behind bench set-up, he is not going to know how to set up voltages and currents, power levels, frequencies, wave forms, pulse widths or duty cycles. If there's a chance a circuit won't work, Murphy's Law dictates that it WON'T more often than not."

If the technicalities of the experiment are vague and a matter of controversy, the results of the experiment are just as foggy. One fact which everyone seem to agree on is that a field was extended many yards, up to perhaps one hundred, outside of the ship and into the water (Anonymous). Everything inside of this sphere was vague in form and the only visible shape was the hull of the Eldridge in the water. This field seemed to have a greenish color and was misty. Another fact everyone agrees was that the Eldridge did not function properly after the experiment and became a source of trouble.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dyatlov Pass Accident

During the night of the 1st of February 1959 a team of nine experienced cross country skiers abandoned their tent in the Russian Ural Mountains and fled to a nearby forrest. They were in such a hurry that they were only partially clothed and cut though the sides of their tent to save time. The temperature outside was minus 15 degrees. Within hours they were all dead. Rescuers recovered their bodies at two seperate times and discovered that whle some had frozen to death others had sustained injuries. Reports have made claims of high levels of radiation, strange lights in the sky, missing body parts, strange orange skin tones and even the possiblity of UFO involvement. Now Aquiziam seeks to understand the truth about what really happened.

  • AN OVERVIEW
In brief, the rescuers and later investigators discovered that during the night, and for an unknown reason, the ski-team had apparently ripped or cut open their tent from the inside and fled from it into the snow in temperatures of approximately -15 to -18 degrees Celsius where there was a cross wind of approximately 10 – 15 kilometres per hour (20 – 30 knots). While not as cold as the -30 degrees often reported these were still very harsh conditions and survival would be limited to between three to eight hours depending on whether those involved could keep moving. At least five of the team had fewer cloths on than would have been expected and some may even have been barefooted. Within six to eight hours every member of the ski-team was dead.

The corpses were discovered at various distances from the camp site and showed little immediate outward sign of injury but on investigation it was discovered that two victims had a fractured skull (one severe), two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. In addition, two of the victims' clothes were discovered to contain trace levels of radiation. Russian investigators finally closed the case stating only that "a compelling unknown force" had caused the deaths. Again, this is a mistranslation that has added to the misunderstanding. In actual fact the correct term is “Force Majeure” and is an expression that is simply used to describe something significant that cannot be easily explained. It is also often reported that after the event the area, now loosely known as Dyatlov Pass, was immediately sealed off by the authorities and access forbidden for at least three years. Again, this implies much more than actually happened. The area was restricted but only to amateur ski-sports enthusiasts and only for reasons of safety.

This is a little known mystery and truly deserves much more attention as it is well documented and was formally investigated. Once much of the “exaggeration” and “journalistic hype” has been explained it is possible to understand that there is only really one incredible mystery and it is this. Why did nine people flee from their tent in conditions that were almost certain to result in their deaths?

Later in this review we will examine the allegedly bizarre evidence and accusations and provide some answers. With the assistance of some of the actual original investigators the Aquiziam team has done its best to piece together the story from the information available – some of it in Russian. This is what seems to have happened…
  • PURPOSE OF THE TRIP
According to Dr Vladimir B. group ski activities of this type were fairly common although each had their own somewhat different purpose. In his experience of Russia at the time the usual reasons were Sporting, Sightseeing (Aesthetic Appreciation) Social and Exploratory. The various teams would be made of people with varying degrees of appreciation for these interests. In the case of the Dyatlov Team their focus was on the Sporting Challenge of trip and in particular they aspired to undertake an excursion of the highest level of difficulty (complexity).

It is often stated that the purpose of this particular trip was to reach the mountain “Gora Otorten” but, in fact, the proposed route was much further. After Otorten the team planned to travel 100 kilometres southwards along the main ridge of the Ural Mountains up to Ojkachahl Peak. From this point they intended to follow the (Northern) Toshemka river thus passing 100 miles to east of the town of Vishay (Vizhaj). Today, with the availability of advanced equipment such a route would only be considered “average” in difficulty but in 1959 is was one of the hardest that could be undertaken. As more becomes clear it seems that Igor Dyatlov had intended this trip as "training" for a future expidition possibly to the the sub polar or even polar / Artic regions. According to B. E. Slobtsova formal training did not exist at this time for such ventures and depended on experience gained during trips such as the Dyatlov team were undertaking.
  • THE SKI TEAM
The Dyatlov ski team was made up of eight men and two women who, except for Alexander Zolotarev, were mostly students or graduates from the Ural Polytechnic Institute located in Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, and now renamed the Yeltsin Ural State Technical University. Georgyi Krivonischenko, Rustem Slobodin, and Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollel were engineers. Igor Dyatlov and Zinaida Kolmogorova were students of the Radio Faculty, Lyudmila Dubinina and Yuri Yudin were studying Economics, Yuri Doroshenko was studying Power Economics and Alexander Kolevatov was a student of the Geo-Technical Faculty.

Alexander Zolotarev was a ski / tour instructor (a professional travel guide) and wanted to go together with Dyatlov’s team to add performance points to his degree and so achieve promotion to the rank of “Master” or Expert instructor. This was and still is the practice in Russia.


Zolotarev did not know the other team members but was recommended by friends of the team from the sports club. He was accepted into the team and according to the diaries he co-operated and worked well with all of them. It is worth noting that Sports Associations were common at this time as was the willingness for people, who shared an interest such as skiing, to cooperate with each other where possible.The original mystery was reported in Russian. By looking at these and comparing them to English versions we have identified quite a number of components that seem to have been lost in translation. These “facts” may-or-may not be true but are as follows:
1.Yuri Yarovoi (a Sverdlovsk writer and journalist who was the photographer for the original rescue mission and later involved in the inquest) wrote a fictional book entitled “of the highest Rank of complexity” (strange title). Although he clearly had knowledge and insights not available to the average person his book was a romanticised version of the event with a significantly happier ending. He was allegedly made to rewrite it twice before the authorities permitted its publication. In this version only the team leader dies. Now this is the interesting part: Yuri and his wife were killed in a car crash in the mid 1980’s a few short years before the partial declassification of the Dyatlov papers. According to this source all his papers, records and private notes of the Dyatlov Pass Incident have gone missing.

2. Some details of the tragedy became publicly available in 1990 due to publications and discussions in Sverdlovsk's regional press. One of the first authors was Sverdlovsk journalist Anatoly Guschin (Анатолий Гущин). Guschin reported that police officials gave him special permission to study the original files of the inquest and use these materials in his publications. He noticed, however, that a number of pages were excluded from the files, as was a mysterious "envelope" mentioned in the case materials list. At the same time, unofficial photocopies of the case parts started to circulate among other enthusiastic researchers. (Wikipedia 2008)

3. A chance meeting between on a train with a medical assistant at the accident site – Maria Ivanovna – revealed that she recalled 11 bodies being discovered and not nine. Two were hurriedly removed to a destination unknown to her.

4. Apparently the Dyatlov Foundation has been established in Ekaterinburg, with the help of Ural State Technical University and is led by Yuri Kuntsevitch (Юрий Кунцевич), a close friend of Igor Dyatlov and a member of the search team. We would very much like to make contact with them and would appreciate any address available.

5. Evidence of metal fragments and rocket parts indicate that the area had once been used for weapon trials. However, this have may predate or post-date the Dyatlov pass Incident.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zone of Silence in Mexico

There is much about our world that we still do not understand. Scientists tell us that natural mysteries abound in every corner of the Earth, from the lifeless desert of Chile to the bottomless depths of the Pacific, there are things we simply do not comprehend.
Perhaps this is the best way to describe a place in northern Mexico in the middle of the hot, searing, punishing Chihuahuan desert, a place commonly called the "Zone of Silence" by the few locals, scientists, students and visitors that wander there from time to time in search of answers. It is a strange place to experience, one of those mysterious natural wonders that beg our attention and muddle our senses. It is sometimes difficult to tell what is truth and what is not; to recognize what you see as real or not.
Drive 400 hundred miles west of El Paso and you enter into an unforgiving section of foreboding semiarid desert landscape that begs for mercy but offers none. The nearest settlement is Ceballos, a ragtag community that holds on precariously to its existence some 25 miles across the barren plain from the heart of "The Zone". Here life is challenging, and there is a constant, delicate balance between death and survival.
The region has remained all but undiscovered by the outside world. There are no fancy hotels in the Zone, no beaches or pools, no life except for the most hardy of insects, reptiles and small mammals that suffer its tormenting weather.
But in 1970 a faulty American Athena missile fired from the White Sands Missile Base in nearby New Mexico went off course inexplicably and crashed into the mysterious desert region and made the world aware of the unique and apparently unusual properties of the area. Subsequently a team of U.S. Air Force investigators, with Mexican government approval, journeyed to the crash site and made an unexpected discovery. Within an unspecified and sometimes shifting area within the Zone, radio signals fail to travel through the air, creating a type of dark zone. No television, radio, short wave, microwave, or satellite signals seem to penetrate this zone. The name, Zone of Silence, was quickly adopted, and researchers began flocking to the remote location shortly thereafter.
The Mexican government has since constructed a research complex in "the Zone", a place the scientists assigned there call the biosphere. The primary purpose of the research facility is to study the plant and animal life of the unusual region. But rumors have it that a lot more research is going on there than meets the eye - if there were any eyes in this remote part of the world to see it.
It turns out there may be some natural anomaly associated with the region. High levels of magnetite have been discovered there, and scientist have also found that the area is a hot bed for meteorite activity, raising speculation that there may be some unusual magnetic properties associated with the minerals in the chalky soil. Researchers have been trying to determine whether magnetic ore is naturally occurring or is the product of contamination from thousands or millions of years of meteorite bombardment. And if the high-magnetic properties are a result of natural causes, could this be the reason that so many iron-rich objects from space find their way to this remote spot on Earth?
Theorists are quick to point out that the Zone is geographically located just north of the Tropic of Cancer and shares the same latitude south of the 30th parallel as the Bermuda Triangle, a fact scientist point out is probably a simple coincidence. In fact, scientists at the Mexican research center have dubbed the region, the Mar de Tetys, or The Sea of Thetys, because at one time, millions of years ago, the area lay at the bottom of an ocean.
In defense of the theorists, there have been a number of unusual tales that have come out of the Zone. Strange lights, floating orbs, burning bushes, flying saucers, and alien encounters have all been reported with a degree of abundance considering the sparse population of the region. Ranchers of the area report the night sky is often filled with mysterious lights, and they have reported "floating aircraft" that allegedly landed vertically in the desert, often causing brush to ignite and catch fire.
And there have been reports of encounters with strange humanoid creatures. One ranch family claims they are regularly visited by a trio of blonde, long haired humanoids, two males and a female, that speak perfect Spanish. As the story goes, the visitors only ask for water, never for food or other provision. And when asked once by the rancher where they came from, they reportedly answered "from above".
Then there's the story of the visiting researcher at the "Biosphere" who became lost in the desert. He reports he was directed back to the research center by a similar trio of blonde "strange looking people." Another story has it that a TV news investigation crew was aided by strange beings in the desert after being stuck in the road after an unusual cloud burst. These "beings" reportedly wore long raincoats and ball caps, something, admittedly, you don't often see in the desert wilderness.
How much about the unusual region in northern Mexico is true and how much is the product of human imagination, how much fact and how much fiction, no one can say for sure. But there is little question that there does exist some natural phenomena that appears to evade logical explanation. What the cause and effect may be (science, miracle or magic) remains to be seen. But isolationists and serious researchers of the unusual will find the region of great interest if you're in the mood for a dirty day in the desert.
Just don't plan on watching any TV in Ceballos. There isn't any.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kongamato

Some 65 million years ago, starting in the Jurassic and lasting into the Cretaceous, there existed a powerful flying reptile known as the Pterosaurs. The majority of fossils found have been in marine deposits, which means they probably were fish eaters and spent most of their time over coastal waters. These Pterosaurs apparently managed to fly with no feathers, their main aerodynamic feature where wings of membrane supported by an enormously elongated fourth finger. They had hollow limb bones and a large keeled breastbone attached to strong wing muscles which where needed for true flight, not just gliding.

The large expenditure of energy required to remain in flight for long periods of time, and the resulting loss of heat caused by the surface of their wings exposed to moving air, means that they must have had some method of regulating body heat, although it is doubtful they were truly warm blooded as mammals are. The majority of the Pterosaurs species where anywhere from the size of a sparrow to the size of an eagle, however some larger species have been discovered. The Pteranodon with a wingspan of 27 ft. and the colossal Quetzalcoatlus, with a wingspan of 50 ft, possibly 60 ft. are two examples of these larger species. Some pterosaurs even had fur, although they are in now way related to mammals. It would seem impossible that these creatures could have survived to the present day. After all, if they existed surely people would see them flying about as they hunted for food. How could a flying population of reptiles remain hidden? There are reports that people have been seeing flying creatures that match the description of pterosaurs for a hundreds of years. People have even been reportedly killed by these ancient flying creatures.

In 1923 a traveler by the name of Frank H. Melland worked for a time in Zambia. He gathered native reports of ferocious flying reptiles. The natives called this creature Kongamato which translated into “overwhelmer of boats". The Kongamato was said to have lived in the Jiundu swamps in the Mwinilunga District of western Zambia, near the border of Congo and Angola. It was described as having no feathers, smooth black or red skin, a wingspan between 4 ft. and 7 ft., and possessing a beak full of teeth.

It had a reputation for capsizing canoes and causing death to anyone who merely looked at it. When showed drawings of pterosaurs the native people present immediately and unhesitatingly picked it out and identified it as a Kongamato. Among the natives who did so was a rather wild and quite unsophisticated headman from the Jiundu country, where the Kongamato is supposed to be most active.

In 1925, a distinguished English newspaper correspondent, G. Ward Price, was with the future Duke of Windsor on an official visit to Rhodesia. He reported a story that a civil servant told them of the wounding of a man who entered a feared swamp in Rhodesia known to be the home of demons. The brave native entered the swamp, determined to explore it in spite of the dangers. When he returned he was on the verge of death from a great wound in his chest. He recounted how a strange huge bird with a long beak attacked him. When the civil servant showed the man a picture of a pterosaur, from a book of prehistoric animals, the man screamed in terror and fled from the servant's home.

In 1942 Colonel C. R. S. Pitman reported stories the natives told him of a large bat - bird like creature that lived the dense swampy regions of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. Tracks of the creatures were seen, with evidence of a large tail dragging the ground. These reports were not limited to Zambia, but also came from other locations in Africa such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

Skeptics suggest that these fantastic sounding tales derived from the fanciful imaginations of natives who were hired to work on archeological digs where fossilized pterosaurs were uncovered in Tendagaru, Tanzania, in the years prior to World War I. These digs, however, took place over 900 miles from Zambia. Why did no reports of living pterosaurs come from Tanzania, where these imaginative natives lived?

Perhaps the most striking report of living pterosaurs comes not from natives, but from white explorers in the employment of the British Museum. In 1932 through 1933 the Percy Sladen Expedition ventured deep into West Africa. In charge of the team was Ivan T. Sanderson, a well-known zoologist and writer. While in the Assumbo Mountains in the Cameroons, they made camp in a wooded valley near a steep banked river. They were out hunting near the river when Sanderson shot a large fruit-eating bat. Upon being shot the creature fell into the swift moving river below, as Sanderson was carefully making his way in the fast moving current, he lost his balance and fell in. He had just regained his balance when his companion suddenly shouted "Look out!"

"And I looked. Then I let out a shout also and instantly bobbed down under the water, because, coming straight at me only a few feet above the water was a black thing the size of an eagle. I had only a glimpse of its face, yet that was quite sufficient, for its lower jaw hung open and bore a semicircle of pointed white teeth set about their own width apart from each other. When I emerged, it was gone. George was facing the other way blazing off his second barrel.

I arrived dripping on my rock and we looked at each other. "Will it come back?" we chorused. And just before it became too dark to see, it came again, hurtling back down the river, its teeth chattering, the air "shss-shssing" as it was cleft by the great, black, dracula-like wings. We were both off-guard, my gun was unloaded, and the brute made straight for George. He ducked. The animal soared over him and was at once swallowed up in the night."

When Sanderson and George returned to camp they asked the natives about the creature. Sanderson asked them, spreading his arms, what kind of bat is this large and is all black? "Olitiau!" was the response. The natives asked Sanderson where they had seen this creature, to which Sanderson pointed back at the river. The natives fled in terror in the opposite direction, taking only their guns and leaving their valuables behind.

While it may be suggested that the creature that attacked Sanderson and George was merely the mate of the bat they had shot, it is somewhat unlikely. Fruit bats are not known for attacking humans, and Sanderson, a highly knowledgeable and internationally respected zoologist, clearly indicated that he did not recognize the creature. Fruit bats are a brownish or yellowish color. Sanderson described the creature as all black. He, however, did describe it as a bat and pterosaurs are bat-like.

In 1956 in Zambia along the Luapula River, engineer J.P.F. Brown was driving back to Salisbury from a visit to Kasenga in Zaire. He stopped at a location called Fort Rosebery, just to the west of Lake Bangweulu, for a break. It was about 6:00 p.m. when he saw two creatures flying slowly and silently directly overhead. Bewildered he observed that these creatures looked prehistoric.

He estimated a wingspan of about 3-3 1/2 feet, a long thin tail, and a narrow head, which he likened to an elongated snout of a dog. One of them opened its mouth in which he saw a large number of pointed teeth. He gave the beak to tail length at about 4 1/2 feet. After this report came out, a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. D. Gregor reported that they had seen a pair of 2 and a 1/2 ft. long flying lizards in Southern Rhodesia, and a Dr. J. Blake-Thompson reported that natives of the Awemba tribe had told of huge flying creatures resembling rats that would attack humans. They lived in caves in cliffs near the source of the great Zambezi River.

In 1957, at a hospital at Fort Rosebery, the same location J. P. F. Brown had reported seeing strange flying creatures the year before, a patient came in with a severe wound in his chest. The doctor asked him what had happened and the native claimed that a great bird had attacked him in the Bangweulu Swamps. When asked to sketch the bird, the native drew a picture of a creature that resembled a pterosaur.

Soon afterwards the Zambezi valley was flooded as a result of the Kariba Dam Hydroelectric Project. Daily Telegraph correspondent Ian Colvin was at the scene, when he took a controversial photograph of what might be a pterosaur, however, it has recently been discovered that the photo was a hoax.

Reports of prehistoric looking flying creatures are not just limited to dense swampy regions; there are also reports of giant flying lizards from the deserts of Namibia. In 1988 Professor Roy Mackal led an expedition to Namibia where reports of a creature with a wingspan of up to 30 ft were collected. The avian cryptid usually glided through the air, but also was capable of true flight. It was usually seen at dusk, gliding between crevices between two hills about a mile apart. Although the expedition was not successful in getting solid evidence, one team member, James Kosi, reportedly saw the creature from about 1000 ft. away. He described it as a giant glider shape, black with white markings.

But could ancient prehistoric flying reptiles thought to have died out 65 million years ago still be roaming the dense swampy areas and hot desert mountain regions of Africa, or could there be a simpler explanation for these sightings. There are two species of birds that live in the swampy areas of Zambia that could possibly be mistaken for some kind of prehistoric apparition, especially under low light conditions or at nighttime. The shoebill stork is a dark colored bird with an 8 ft. wingspan and a decidedly prehistoric appearance. They have become rare, and can only be found in the deep recesses of swamps in Zambia and neighboring countries. However, there is no evidence of the shoebill behaving aggressively towards humans, and in fact they try to avoid humans as much as possible.

They have large bills, but they are not pointed, and they do not have teeth, in fact no known bird living today has real teeth. Another odd-looking bird that lives in the area is the saddle billed stork. These rather beautiful birds have a wingspan of up to 8½ feet, a long bright red bill with a horizontal black stripe ¾ up from the tip and with a yellow blaze from the eyes down and into the stripe, with additional orange stripes on the sides of the head. Their overall coloration is black and white with a black head, featherless red feet, and a beak that is long and pointed. Although it would be difficult to confuse this bird with a featherless, monotone colored pterosaur, its beak is similar.

It also is not beyond the realm of possibility that perhaps a deranged, sick, threatened, or confused saddle-billed stork could attack a human and plunge its beak into a man's chest. Both of these candidates are rather poor substitutes for pterosaurs, although they probably do account for some of the reports. Many of the natives are very superstitious, and fervently believe in the stories of monsters in the swamps waiting to attack intruders. It is not difficult to imagine that a quick flyby of one of these large birds in the dark could send one running back to camp with a story of a near miss by a flying demon.

Whether the reports are of actual sightings of pterosaur related creatures, or if it they represent some unknown huge sort of bat or bird, perhaps time will tell. Of all the remote, inaccessible locations in the world where unknown creatures could still exist, probably the best candidates would have to be the deep enormous swamps in Africa. These swamps are so overgrown with vines and undergrowth that human travel is next to impossible. In addition, the ground is often so soft that humans could not even stand without sinking, and the many rivers and waterlogged areas block many avenues of penetration. Vicious insects and other critters that can cause sickness from disease or death from venom accompany the hostile terrain.

The area is racked with political instability, patrolled by guerillas and armed bandits with little respect for non-native intruders, which provides a powerful disincentive to would-be explorers. Over flights by aircraft are ineffective since the treetops are so thick in the deep swamps that little or nothing can been seen underneath. Africa is hiding its secrets well. If there are living dinosaurs alive today, these dense over grown swampy areas of Africa are a prime candidate for harboring them.

The Evidence

Despite many sightings by credible eye witnesses the Kongamato has left behind no physical evidence to prove that it actually exists. Natives, close to death after a run in with the creature, do not prove anything other than an attack of some kind did happen. As with the majority of crypid it will take a body, alive or dead, to prove to the world that the Kongamato exists in reality not in just myth and legend.

The Sightings

In 1923 a traveler by the name of Frank H. Melland worked for a time in Zambia. He gathered native reports of ferocious flying reptiles.

In 1925, a distinguished English newspaper correspondent, G. Ward Price, was with the future Duke of Windsor on an official visit to Rhodesia. He reported a story that a civil servant told them of the wounding of a man who entered a feared swamp in Rhodesia known to be the home of demons. The brave native entered the swamp, determined to explore it in spite of the dangers. When he returned he was on the verge of death from a great wound in his chest. He recounted how a strange huge bird with a long beak attacked him. When the civil servant showed the man a picture of a pterosaur, from a book of prehistoric animals, the man screamed in terror and fled from the servant's home.

In 1942 Colonel C. R. S. Pitman reported stories the natives told him of a large bat - bird like creature that lived the dense swampy regions of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

In 1932 through 1933 the Percy Sladen Expedition ventured deep into West Africa. In charge of the team was Ivan T. Sanderson, a well-known zoologist and writer. After shooting a large bat by the river they set camp by, Sanderson was attached by a large unknown bat like bird.

In 1956 in Zambia along the Luapula River, engineer J.P.F. Brown was driving back to Salisbury from a visit to Kasenga in Zaire. He stopped at a location called Fort Rosebery, just to the west of Lake Bangweulu, for a break. It was about 6:00 p.m. when he saw two creatures flying slowly and silently directly overhead. Bewildered he observed that these creatures looked prehistoric. He estimated a wingspan of about 3-3 1/2 feet, a long thin tail, and a narrow head, which he likened to an elongated snout of a dog. One of them opened its mouth in which he saw a large number of pointed teeth. He gave the beak to tail length at about 4 1/2 feet.

In 1957, at a hospital at Fort Rosebery, the same location J. P. F. Brown had reported seeing strange flying creatures the year before, a patient came in with a severe wound in his chest. The doctor asked him what had happened and the native claimed that a great bird had attacked him in the Bangweulu Swamps. When asked to sketch the bird, the native drew a picture of a creature that resembled a pterosaur.

In 1988 Professor Roy Mackal led an expedition to Namibia where reports of a creature with a wingspan of up to 30 ft were collected. The avian cryptid usually glided through the air, but also was capable of true flight. It was usually seen at dusk, gliding between crevices between two hills about a mile apart. Although the expedition was not successful in getting solid evidence, one team member, James Kosi, reportedly saw the creature from about 1000 ft. away. He described it as a giant glider shape, black with white markings.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Murphysboro Mud Monster

The Strange Beast that Prowled a Southern Illinois town...

The vast reaches of forest and open fields of southern Illinois, combined with the sparse population in some areas, seem to invite weirdness that might not occur in cities and more crowded locales. In the most southern portions of the region, the Shawnee National Forest covers miles and miles of territory. The acres of forest seem almost untouched by man and some believe that strange things occasionally pass through here, unseen by human eyes.

In the summer of 1973, the town of Murphysboro in southwestern Illinois was the site of a bizarre series of monster sightings. The enigmatic creature, now recalled as the “Murphysboro Mud Monster” appeared without warning and then suddenly disappeared just two weeks later, seemingly without a trace. In its wake, the monster left a number of confused and frightened witnesses, baffled law enforcement officials and of course, an enduring legend.

The monster was first seen around midnight on June 25, 1973. A young couple, Randy Needham and Judy Johnson, were parked near a boat ramp into the Big Muddy River near Murphysboro when they heard a strange, roaring cry that shattered the stillness of the night. It came from the nearby woods and both of them looked up to see a huge shape lumbering toward them. Whatever it was, it continue to make the horrible sound and they later described the noise as "something not human".

According to their account, the monster was about seven feet tall and covered with a matted, whitish hair. The "fur" was streaked liberally with mud from the river. By the time the creature approached to within 20 feet of them, they quickly left the scene. They went directly to the Murphysboro police station.

A short time later, Officers Meryl Lindsay and Jimmie Nash returned to the area and surveyed the scene. Although skeptical, they were surprised to find that a number of footprints had been left in the mud. The footprints were "approximately 10-12 inches long and approximately three inches wide". At 2:00 AM, Nash, Lindsay, another officer named Bob Scott, and Randy Needham returned to the scene again. This time, they discovered more tracks and Lindsay left to go and get a camera. The others followed the new footprints, tracing their path along the river.

Suddenly, from the woods about 100 yards away, came the creature's terrifying scream. They didn't wait to see if they could spot the monster and instead, made a quick retreat for the patrol car. After waiting in the darkness for a little while, they got back out again and spent the rest of the night trying to track down a splashing sound they heard in the distance. Things quieted down after daylight, but the next night, the creature was back!

The first to see the monster this time was a four-year old boy named Christian Baril, who told his parents that he saw a "big white ghost in the yard". They didn't believe him, but when Randy Creath and Cheryl Ray saw an identical monster in a neighboring yard just ten minutes later, Christian's parents, and the police, quickly reconsidered the little boy's statement.

Randy and Cheryl spotted the monster at about 10:30 PM, while sitting on the back porch of the Ray house. They heard the sound of something moving in the woods near the river and then spotted the muddy, white creature staring at them with glowing pink eyes. Cheryl would insist that the eyes were actually glowing and were not reflecting light from some other source. They estimated that it weighed at least 350 pounds, stood seven feet tall, had a roundish head and long, ape-like arms. Cheryl turned on the porch light and Randy went for a closer look. The creature seemed unconcerned and finally ambled off into the woods. Investigators would later find a trail of broken tree branches and crushed undergrowth, along with a number of large footprints. They also noticed a strong odor left in the monster's wake, but it didn't last for very long.

The officers who arrived on the scene, Jimmie Nash and Ronald Manwaring, quickly summoned a local man named Jerry Nellis, who had a trained German Shepherd that was often used by the police department as an attack dog and to search buildings and track suspects. The dog immediately was sent in pursuit of the monster. He managed to track the creature through the woods and down a hill to a small pond. Eventually, the trees and undergrowth became too thick for the dog to continue and it was pulled off the track just moments after almost pulling its handler down a steep embankment. The officers began searching the area with flashlights and the dog began sniffing near the trees, hoping to pick up the scent again. He then set off toward an abandoned barn, but refused to go inside. In fact, the animal began shaking with fear and barking.

Nellis called the two officers over and they opened the barn and went inside. After a few moments, they realized that it was empty. The three men were puzzled. The dog had been trained to search buildings and Nellis could not explain why it had refused to enter the barn. A short time later, the search was called off for the night.

The Mud Monster was reported two more times that summer. On the night of July 4, traveling carnival workers stated that they spotted the creature looking at some Shetland ponies that were being used for the holiday celebration. Then, on July 7, Mrs. Nedra Green heard a screaming sound coming from a shed on her rural farm. She did not go out to investigate.

So what was the Murphysboro Mud Monster? Local authorities admitted that they didn't know. "A lot of things in life are unexplained," Police Chief Toby Berger admitted at the time, "and this is another one. We don't know what the creature is, but we do believe what these people saw was real."

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, the Mud Monster emerged again as a possible culprit to an attack that allegedly occurred at the Rend Lake campground near Benton in August 1989. During the attack, gaping holes were left in a tent and animal blood was left behind at the scene. The attack was later determined to have been from dogs, but that didn’t stop local residents from speculating about the Murphysboro Mud Monster again!

In the 1989 newspaper reports, Jerry Nellis, the dog handler in the original case stated his own theories on the famous case, which left he and the other witnesses to the events as “hunted” as the Mud Monster itself. Reporters and “monster hunters” came from everywhere asking questions about the case but Nellis maintained that "in my opinion ... we were tracking a bear."

But for the rest of Southern Illinois (the news story continued) and for every outdoorsman who has, as Nellis suggests, "seen something we can't make out just beyond the headlights," that original vision reported to police on June 25, 1973, is all we need to imagine.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine

What strange secrets lie hidden near Superstition Mountain in Arizona? Did a lone miner really discover a fortune in lost gold here? And what strange force has caused a number of adventurers to die brutal deaths and vanish without a trace in this rugged region?

Located just east of Phoenix, Arizona is a rough, mountainous region where people sometimes go... only to never be seen again. It is a place of mystery, of legend and lore and it is called Superstition Mountain. According to history, both hidden and recorded, there exists a fantastic gold mine here like no other that has ever been seen. It has been dubbed the “Lost Dutchman Mine” over the years and thanks to its mysterious location, it has been the quest of many an adventurer... and a place of doom to luckless others.

What strange energy lingers here? What has caused dozens of people who seek the mine to vanish without a trace? Is the answer really as the Apache Indians say? Does the “Thunder God” protect this mine... bringing death to those who attempt to pillage it? Or can the deaths be linked to other causes? Are they caused, as some have claimed, by the spirits of those who have died seeking the mine before?

Let’s explore all of these questions and journey back into the haunted history of the Lost Dutchman Mine... and uncover the numerous deaths and the violence that surrounds it.

  • Superstition Mountain
Superstition Mountain is actually a collection of rough terrain that has gained the name of a single mountain. The contour of the region takes in thousands of cliffs, peaks, plateaus and mesas and even today, much of it remains largely unexplored. Despite the tendency by many to call this a range of mountains, it is in reality, only one. It is certainly not the highest mountain in the region, but it has the reputation of being the deadliest. Over the course of several centuries, it has taken the lives of many men and women and has perhaps caused a madness in them that has encouraged them to kill each other.

The Apache Indians were probably the first to set eyes on the mountain, followed by the Spanish conquistadors, the first of which was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. He came north from Mexico in 1540 seeking the legendary “Seven Golden Cities of Cibola”. When he reached the region, the local Indians told him that the mountain held much gold, although they refused to help the Spaniard explore it. They were in too much fear of the “Thunder God”, who was said to dwell there, and who would destroy them if they dared to trespass upon his sacred ground.

When the Spaniards tried to explore the mountain on their own, they discovered that men began to vanish mysteriously. It was said that if one of them strayed more than a few feet from his companions, he was never seen alive again. The bodies of the men who were found were discovered to be mutilated and with their heads cut off. The terrified survivors refused to return to the mountain and so Coronado dubbed the collection of peaks, Monte Superstition, which explains the origin of the infamous name.

The mountain became a legendary spot to the Spanish explorers who followed.... and was regarded as an evil place.

  • The Spanish Mine
The first man to discover the gold of the Indians on Superstition Mountain was Don Miguel Peralta, a member of a prominent family who owned a ranch near Sonora, Mexico. He discovered a vein of rich gold here in 1845 while searching for the treasure described to Coronado.

Before he returned to Mexico for men and supplies with which to excavate the gold, he memorized the surrounding territory. He described the mountain’s most outstanding landmark as looking like a “sombrero”; thus he named the mine the “Sombrero Mine”.

To others, the peak, or spire, looking more like a finger pointing upwards and it has also been referred to as the “Finger of God”... except to early white explorer Pauline Weaver. He used the rock as a place to etch his name with a knife and subsequent prospectors discovered the etching and dubbed the landmark “Weaver’s Needle”. The name stuck and nearly every reference to the lost mine uses the Needle as a point of origin.

Peralta returned to Mexico and gathered men and material to work the mine. Soon, he was shipping millions of pesos in pure gold back to Sonora. It was obvious that this was a gold strike like no other.

Meanwhile, the Apache were angry over the Spanish presence on the mountain and in 1848, raised a large force to drive Peralta and his men from the area. Peralta soon got word of the impending fight and withdrew his men from the mine. They would pack up all of the available burros and wagons with the already mined ore and return home. Because he planned to return someday, Peralta took elaborate precautions to conceal the entrance to the mine and to wipe out any trace that they had ever worked there.

Early the next day, he assembled his men and prepared to move out.... but they never had a chance. Taken by surprise, the Apache warriors attacked and massacred the entire company of Spaniards. The pack mules were scattered in all directions, spilling the gold and taking it with them as they plunged over cliffs and into ravines. For years after, prospectors and soldiers discovered the remains of the burros and the rotted leather packs that were still brimming with raw gold.

The area, dubbed “Gold Field” became a favorite place for outlaws and get-rich-quick schemers, who spent days and months searching for the lost gold. The last case of anyone finding the bones of a Peralta mule was in 1914. A man named C.H. Silverlocke showed up in Phoenix one day with a few piece of badly decayed leather, some pieces of Spanish saddle silver and about $18,000 in gold concentrate.

  • The Blind-folded Doctor
The next discoverer of the Peralta mine was a man named Dr. Abraham Thorne. He was born in East St. Louis, Illinois and all of his life, longed to be a doctor to the Indians in the western states. Early in his life, he was befriended by the frontier legend, Kit Carson, and when Fort McDowell was founded in Arizona in 1865, he arranged for Thorne to become an army doctor with an officer’s rank.

At this time, fighting between the whites and the Apache was often fierce. The Indians were being besieged by the Army but it would not be long before cooler heads would prevail and President Abraham Lincoln would create a compromise in the area. He proposed a reservation along the Verde River, near Fort McDowell, which could serve as a sanctuary for the Apache. It was here, in an area known unofficially as the “Strip”, where Thorne came to live and work amongst the Indians. He soon made many friends and earned respect from the tribal leaders, caring for the sick and injured, delivering babies and teaching hygiene and waste disposal.

In 1870, a strange incident would take place in Dr. Thorne’s career. Several of the elders in the tribe came to him with a proposal. Because he was considered a good man and a friend of the Apache, they would take him to a place where he could find gold. The only condition would be that he was to be blindfolded during the journey of roughly 20 miles.

Dr. Thorne agreed and the Indians placed a cloth around his head and over his eyes. They led him away on horseback and at the end of the journey, the cloth was removed and he found himself in an unknown canyon. He would later write that he saw a sharp pinnacle of rock about a mile to the south of him. Treasure hunters believe this was most likely Weaver’s Needle. There was no sign of a mine, but piled near the base of the canyon wall (as if placed there for him) was a stack of almost pure gold nuggets. He picked up as much of it as he could carry and returned home. He later sold the ore for $6,000 and became another strange link in the mystery of the mine’s location.

  • The Dutchman
First of all, I guess we should clear up one popular misconception about Jacob Walz (or Waltz depending on the story you hear) and it’s that he was not a “Dutchman”. He was actually from Germany and born there in the early 1800’s. He came to America in 1845 and soon heard about the riches and adventure that were waiting in the frontier beyond New York. His first gold seeking took him to a strike in North Carolina and from there he traveled to Mississippi, California and Nevada... always looking for his elusive fortune.

Walz worked the gold field of the Sierra Nevada foothills for more than ten years, never getting rich, but turning up enough gold to get along. By 1868, he was in his fifties and wondering if he was ever going to find his proverbial “mother lode”. The Indians had nick-named him “Snowbeard” because of his long, white whiskers and it isn’t hard to picture him as one of those grizzled old prospectors who were so common in western films.

That same year, Walz began homesteading in the Rio Satillo Valley, which is on the northern side of Superstition Mountain. Soon after he arrived, he began to hear stories from the local Indians about supernatural doings around the mountain, about a fierce god... and about vast deposits of gold.

Most stories about Jacob Walz say that he spent the next 20 years of so prospecting for gold around the Arizona Territory. He often worked for wages in other men’s mines while he searched from his own fortune. It was during one of these jobs that he met Jacob Weiser, most likely while he was working at the Vulture Mine in 1870.

One version of the legend claims that Walz was fired from the mine for stealing gold and soon, the two “Dutchman” struck out on their own and vanished into the land around Superstition Mountain. Not long after, they were seen in Phoenix paying for drinks and supplies with gold nuggets. Some claimed this gold was the stolen loot from the Vulture Mine, while others said that it was of much higher quality and had to have come from somewhere else. Regardless of where it came from, the two men would spend the gold around town for the next two decades.

There have been a number of stories about how the men found the “lost” mine. According to some, they stumbled upon it by accident. Others say that killed two Mexican miners, who they mistook for Indians, and then realized the men were mining gold.... but the most accepted version of the story is that they were given a map to the mine by a Mexican don whose life they saved.

The man was said to have been Don Miguel Peralta, the son of a rich landowner in Sonora, Mexico and a descendant of the original discoverer of the mine. The Dutchmen saved Peralta from certain death in a knife fight and as a reward, he gave them a look at the map to the mine. He was later said to have been bought out of the mine by Walz and Weiser.
At some point in the years that followed, Jacob Weiser disappeared without a trace. Some say that the Apaches killed him, while others maintain that Walz actually did him in. (As you can see, there is a lot of speculation to the legend).

But Walz was always around, at least part of the time. Long periods would go by when no one would see him and then he would show up in Phoenix again, buying drinks with gold nuggets. It was said that Walz had the richest gold ore that anyone had ever seen and for the rest of his life, he vanished back and forth to his secret mine, always bringing back saddlebags filled with gold. Whenever anyone tried to get information out of him, he would always give contradictory directions to where the mine was located. On many occasions, men tried to follow him when he left town, but Walz would always shake his pursuers in the rugged region around the mountain.

By the winter of 1891, an old Mexican widow named Julia Elena Thomas, who owned a small bakery in Phoenix, befriended the aged miner. Apparently, they became romantically involved and Walz promised to take her to his secret mine “in the spring”.... but she never saw it. The Dutchman died on October 25, 1891 with a sack of rich gold ore beneath his deathbed.

Immediately after word reached town about Jacob Walz’s death, a number of men who had heard the Dutchman speak of the mine over the years rode out for the mountain in search of the mystery. They never found it... and in fact, two of the prospectors, Sims Ely and Jim Bark, spent the next 25 years searching in vain for what they called “The Lost Dutchman Mine”.

The search has since fueled more than a century of speculation. Theories as to the mine’s location have filled dozens of books and pamphlets. Literally hundreds of would-be prospectors have searched the Superstition Mountain region and most have come home with little more than sunburns......

But there are also many who have not come home at all.

  • Death and Mystery
There is no way to guess just how many people have died in pursuit of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Some who have disappeared may have just quietly slipped away, unwilling to admit that they failed to find the treasure.... while others may have gone in secretly and never came out, their names recorded as a missing persons case somewhere.

The death toll of the legendary Peralta Massacre varies between 100 to 400, plus there are the murders attributed to the Dutchman, Jacob Walz himself. He is alleged to have killed at least two men who found his treasure trove and is blamed for the death of his partner, Jacob Weiser, and others.

There are also a number of people who were slain by the Apaches after they were found searching the mountain for the mine. These deaths, like the victims of the massacre and those killed by the Dutchman, are easy to document and understand.

But there are others.... which are not so easy to explain.

In the summer of 1880, two young soldiers appeared in the town of Pinal. They had recently been discharged from Fort McDowell and were looking for work at the Silver King Mine, operated by Aaron Mason. They also asked him to take a look at some gold ore they had found while crossing Superstition Mountain. Mason was stunned to see a bag of extremely rich gold ore. Where had they found it?

The soldiers explained that they had been on the mountain and had flushed a deer into one of the canyons. On their way out, they found the remains of an old a tunnel and mine. This small bag of gold was only a little of what could be found there.

Mason asked them if they could find the place again and they believed they could, having been scouts for the Army and very conscious of the details of the landscape. They remembered the mine being in the northerly direction of a sharp peak (which Mason was sure was Weaver’s Needle) and in very rough country. A narrow trail had led from the peak and into the valley where they found the mine.

The soldiers admitted however, they knew little about mining. Would Mason go into partnership with them? He agreed and purchased the ore they brought with them for $700, then helped them get outfitted for their return to the mine. They left Pinal the next day... and never returned.

Mason waited two weeks and then sent out a search party. The nude body of one of the soldiers was found beside a trail leading to the mountain. He had been shot in the head. The other man was found the next day and had been killed in the same manner. Apaches? No one would ever find out...

A year later, a prospector named Joe Dearing showed up in Pinal and worked as a part-time bartender. After hearing about the death of the two soldiers, he began to make searches of the Superstition, looking for the mysterious mine. He was more successful in his search than most, although I don’t think I would go as far as to say his luck was any better.

According to Dearing, he had discovered the mine and that it “was kind of a pit, shaped like a funnel and with a large opening at the top”. He said that the pit had been partially filled in by debris and there was a tunnel that had been walled over with rocks. Dearing planned to work as a bartender until he could make enough money to excavate his find.

He later went to work at the Silver King Mine, still intent on saving his earnings.... until a cave-in killed him a week later.

Another prospector connected to the Lost Dutchman Mine and its mysterious deaths was Elisha Reavis, better known as the “Madman of the Superstitions”. From 1872 until his death in 1896, he resided in a remote area on the mountain and raised vegetables. The local Apaches never bothered him because they were afraid of him. The Indians held those who were mad in superstitious awe and Reavis certainly seemed to fit the bill. It was said that he ran naked through the canyons at night and fired his pistol at the stars.

In April of 1896, a friend of Reavis realized that he was overdue for his periodic trip into town and went in search of him. His badly decomposed body was found near his home. Coyotes had eaten him and his head had been severed from his body (much like the Spanish conquistadors). It was found lying several feet away.

The same year that Reavis was found murdered, two Easterners went looking for the mine. They were never seen again.

Around 1900, two prospectors, remembered only as Silverlock and Malm, began an excavation on the northern edge of the Superstition. They found some of the gold remaining from the Peralta Massacre, but little else. For some reason though, they remained working the area for years after, sinking dozens of shafts and finding nothing.

Then, in 1910, Malm appeared at the Mormon cooperative in Mesa. He was babbling incoherently that Silverlock had tried to kill him. Deputies brought the man in and he was judged insane and committed to the territorial asylum. Malm was later sent to the county poor farm, none too steady himself, and both men died within two years.
What was it about the Superstition that unbalanced these men?

Also in 1910, the skeleton of a woman was found in a cave, high up on Superstition Mountain. Several gold nuggets were found with the remains. The coroner judged the death to be of recent date although no further information about her was ever found. And the gold nuggets were never explained.

In 1927, a New Jersey man and his sons were hiking on the mountain when someone began rolling rocks down on them from the cliffs above. A boulder ended up crushing the legs of one of the boys. The following year, a person rolling huge rocks down on them also drove two deer hunters off the mountain.

In June of 1931, a government employee named Adolph Ruth from Washington, D.C. left for the Superstition foothills with what he claimed was an old Peralta map to the mine. When a search party went to look for him a few days later, his campsite was found to be intact, but Ruth was missing. That December, his skull was found on Black Top Mountain with two holes in it. The rest of his skeleton was found a month later, about three-quarters of a mile away. In his clothing was a cryptic note that read “About 200 feet across from cave” and “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). There was no trace of the treasure map. Law enforcement officials attributed his death to sunstroke or suicide....

In December 1936, Roman O’Hal, a broker’s clerk from New York City died from a fall while searching for the mine. It was believed to have been an accident.

In 1937, an old prospector named Guy “Hematite” Frink came down from the mountain with some rich gold samples. That following November, he was found shot in the stomach on the side of a trail. A small sack of gold ore was discovered beside him. His death was also ruled to be an accident.

In June 1947, a prospector name James A. Cravey made a much-publicized trip into the Superstition canyons by helicopter, searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine. The pilot set him down in La Barge Canyon, close to Weaver’s Needle. When Cravey failed to hike out as planned, a search was started and although his camp was found, Cravey was not. The following February, his headless skeleton was found in a canyon, a good distance from his camp. It was tied in a blanket and his skull was found about thirty feet away. The coroner’s jury ruled that there was “no evidence of foul play.”

In February 1951, Dr. John Burns, a physician from Oregon, was found shot to death on the Superstition. It was said to have been an accidental death.

In early 1952, Joseph Kelley of Dayton, Ohio began his own search for the mine. He was never seen again... until his skeleton was discovered near Weaver’s Needle in May of 1954. He had been shot directly from above and according to the coroner’s jury, “by accident”.

Two California boys hiked onto Superstition Mountain the same year as Kelley. Nothing further was ever seen of them. Some have suggested that they met the same fate as the three Texas boys who had also disappeared a few years before.

In January 1956, a Brooklyn man reported to police that his brother had been missing for several weeks. It was believed that he had gone in search of the mine. His body was found the next month and a bullet hole was discovered above his right temple.

In April of 1958, a deserted campsite was found on the northern edge of the mountain. There was a bloodstained blanket, a Geiger counter, cooking utensils, a gun-cleaning kit, but no gun, and some letters from which the names and addresses had been torn. No trace of the camp’s occupant was ever found.

In October 1960, a group of hikers found a headless skeleton near the foot of a cliff. The skull was found four days later was it was determined that it belonged to an Austrian student named Franz Harrier.

Five days later, another skeleton was found and in November, police identified the body as William Richard Harvey, a painter from San Francisco. His cause of death was unknown.

In January 1961, a family picnicking near the edge of the mountain discovered the body of Hilmer Charles Bohen buried beneath the sand. He was a Utah prospector who had been shot in the back.

Two months later, another prospector, Walter J. Mowry from Denver, was found shot to death in Needle Canyon.

That fall, police began searching for Jay Clapp, a prospector who had been working on the Superstition on and off for about 15 years. He had last been seen in July..... the search was eventually called off. His headless skeleton was finally discovered three years later. He was identified by two cameras with the initials “JC” scratched on them.

And with that, my record of mysterious deaths comes to an end, although the death of Jay Clapp was far from the last. Over the years, there have been many who have sought the gold of the Dutchman and who have never returned.
If you are thinking of trying it for yourself, make sure that you follow the advice of prospector and cowboy Barney Barnard, an expert on the Lost Dutchman Mine (if such a person exists):

1. If you are a citizen of the United States, you have the legal right to search for the mine. 2. Do not buy any maps that claim to show its location. There is no map in existence. 3. Do not go onto the mountain alone. Go in pairs at least and go armed. Shoot only to protect your life. 4. Take plenty of water and carry only light, condensed food. 5. Establish a central camp and work in every direction from it.
As you can guess from the narrative that preceded this list, Barnard never found the Lost Dutchman Mine and has neither has anyone else. It is still out there somewhere in the rugged hills of Arizona, just waiting for someone to return and claim its prize.

But is something else waiting out there too? Something that watches over the mine, or even the mountain itself, waiting for the unsuspecting interloper to dare and trespass on what the Apache believed was sacred ground? Perhaps the prospector named Joe Dearing said it best when he described the mine as “the most God-awful rough place you can imagine... a ghostly place.”

It is certainly a haunted spot. Haunted by an unknown energy that claims the lives of men? Haunted by the ghost of the Dutchman, Jacob Walz? Or haunted by the spirits of the countless men and women whose lives have been taken because of it?

That answer is as mysterious as the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine itself......

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Swiss Watch Found in 400-Year Old Chinese Tomb

While some mysteries are occasionally solved, the majority tend to live on forever without the truth being revealed. One in the latter category concerns the recent discovery of a century-old Swiss watch discovered in an ancient Chinese tomb that has been sealed for more than 400 years.
How did it get there? This is the question haunting the archaeologists who discovered the Swiss watch in an ancient tomb in Shangsi, southern China, they believed had not been opened since its occupant’s funeral, which occurred during the Ming Dynasty (15-16th centuries).

The miniature watch, which is in the shape of a ring, is thought to be barely a century old. The mysterious timepiece was encrusted in mud and rock and had stopped at 10:06 am. On the back of the watch, the word, ‘Swiss’ is engraved.

Its presence raises more questions than answers… like: Where did the watch come from? Could the watch/ring have been planted at the tomb, but if so, why and by whom?

The known facts do not really help in this case.

The Ming Dynasty did have its own unique age of watch making, but that does not explain why the word, ‘Swiss’ on the back of the watch is engraved in English. In Geneva, Switzerland, other languages were more common, namely French and German.

In 1541 in Geneva, there was a ban on flashy jewelry, so the idea of a watch/ ring might make some sense, as a watch was considered practical and essential. Still, there is no record anywhere of ring/watches being popular in Europe until after 1780, which only deepens the mystery.

The archaeologists were filming a documentary with two journalists when they made the puzzling discovery.

The dig has been suspended and researchers are currently awaiting the arrival of some experts from Beijing to help them unravel this most unsettling mystery.

Anyone know what time it is?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Darwinius masillae - the missing link

SCIENTISTS in New York today unveiled the skeleton of what they said could be the common ancestor to humans, apes and other primates. The tiny creature, officially known as Darwinius masillae, but dubbed Ida, lived 47 million years ago and is unusually well preserved, missing only part of a leg, or five per cent of the skeleton.

The finding, described today in the PloS ONE scientific journal, was displayed at New York's Natural History Museum, and is due to be the subject of a documentary on the History Channel, BBC and other broadcasters.

Organisers said that scientists led by Norway's fossil expert, professor Jorn Hurum, worked for two years on Ida, first discovered in 1983 by private collectors who failed to understand her importance - and split the bones into two lots.

The monkey-like creature was preserved through the ages in Germany's Messel Pit, a crater rich in Eocene Epoch fossils.

Although bearing a long tail, she had several human characteristics, including an opposable thumb, short arms and legs, and forward facing eyes. She also lacked two key elements of modern lemurs: a grooming claw and a row of lower teeth known as the toothcomb.

"This is the first link to all humans - truly a fossil that links world heritage," Prof Hurum said.

David Attenborough, the renowned British naturalist and broadcaster, said the "little creature is going to show us our connection with all the rest of the mammals".

"The link they would have said until now is missing... it is no longer missing," he said.
video
Ida gives a glimpse into a time when the world was just taking its present shape. Dinosaurs were extinct, the Himalayas were forming and a huge range of mammals thrived in vast jungles.

According to the international team, Ida had suffered a badly broken wrist and this might have been her undoing. The theory is that while drinking from the Messel lake she was overcome by carbon dioxide fumes and fell in.

"Ida slipped into unconsciousness, was washed into the lake, and sank to the bottom, where the unique conditions preserved her for 47 million years," organisers said.

Her last meal shows she was a herbivore. Gut contents revealed remains of fruits, seeds and leaves.

"This fossil is so complete. Everything's there. It's unheard of in the primate record at all. You have to get to human burial to see something that's this complete," Prof Hurum said.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Montauk Monster

An odd creature has apparently washed up on New York's coast, sparking claims that it may be another so-called "Montauk Monster."
A similar carcass sparked an online and media frenzy last July after appearing at a popular surfing spot near Montauk, N.Y.
Nicky Papers, who runs a Web site dedicated to the mystery, says he was contacted by a couple on May 5 who "think they’ve found what appears to be the Montauk Monster" on the North Fork of Long Island.
Papers wrote that he traveled to Southold, N.Y., to view the remains.
"The beast smelled like a mix of low-tide and rotten garbage," Papers wrote. "It really smelled horrific. I couldn’t help but take numerous pictures of it and video clips."
He said the carcass was being kept in a "cooler full of ice."
'Race against the clock'Papers suggested there might be a link between the creature and the nearby Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
"If this is a genetic mishap from Plum Island, we’d like to sell the remains to an independent lab for study," he wrote on www.montauk-monster.com. "It has become a race against the clock as the couple who originally found 'Beastie' are diligently putting more ice into the cooler to keep the carcass fresh."
Papers says he's "dedicated quite a bit of time to debunking all theories presented regarding the Montauk Monster" since establishing his Web site last summer.
"I haven't ruled out biological warfare on this yet," Papers added. "A diseased carcass floating in waterways around Long Island could be infecting the water."
Some bloggers speculated that the original "Montauk Monster" may have been a viral marketing ploy for an indie movie while others suggested it may actually be a decomposing dog, pig or raccoon.

The Mystic Lamb

The Ghent Altarpiece, also known as the Mystic Lamb, was completed in 1432 by Flemish Primitive Jan Van Eyck. The painting is surrounded by mysteries concerning, possibly, the Holy Blood(line) of Christ... This also is the reason why the panel of the Just Judges got stolen, the thiefs got killed and the Nazi's were very interested in the mystic masterpiece...

The Ghent Altarpiece, also known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, completed in 1432 by the Van Eyck Brothers (Hubert & Jan), is a large and complex polyptych, originally made for the Joost Vyd Chapel in Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium. In the eighties, for security reasons, it was removed to another chapel in the cathedral. The Mystic Lamb is regarded as a true artistic highlight of Christianity and of Western civilisation. It is said - but it's not sure - that Hubert Van Eyck started the work and his brother Jan, the famous Flemish Primitive who was attached to the court of the Duke of Burgundy, finished it.

A Masterwork of Mystery

The Ghent Altarpiece consists of a complex series of 24 scenes, with two doors and a central piece which is showing some saints and apostles adoring the Mystic Lamb, or the symbol of Jesus Christ. From the panels to the left and to the right, pious hermits and pilgrims, Just Judges and Knights of Christ are approaching the ceremony in the middle. The upper register shows Christ as a King, between the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist, Adam and Eve. Inside, there are angels singing and making music.

The oil painting offers intricate details and composition, unrivaled realism, mystical meaning and a translucent use of colour which is responsible for the beautiful light. Over the centuries, the masterpieces has retained its luminous colours.

The polyptych, surrounded by mystery, has always been the main attraction of the impressive cathedral of Saint Bavo. After being kidnapped by the French revolutionary forces, some panels of the Mystic Lamb returned to Ghent. In 1816 however, the panels were sold for 100.000 guilders to an antiquary, while the bishopric knew they had a value of at least four times this sum... and indeed, the panels were sold very soon to a museum in Berlin for 400.000 guilders. At the end of the 19th century, these panels were cut lengthwise. In 1919, thanks to the Treaty of Versailles, they returned to Belgium again. Oh yeah, and what are the Knights Templar doing on this very catholic piece of art?

Maybe the greatest mystery of the many mysteries surrounding the Mystic Lamb, was caused by the lower left panel, called the Just Judges. The original panel got stolen in 1934, has never been found and was replaced by a copy. It's Belgium's most famous unsolved mystery. Countless amateur and professional sleuths are still tracking clues. In a BBC interview with crime writer Minette Walters, Ghent's former police chief Karel Mortier referred to the theft as "the art crime of the century".

The Theft of the Just Judges

In the night of April 10, 1934, two panels - the Just Judges and St. John the Baptist - measuring 1.49 x 55.5 centimeter, were stolen from the cathedral. On May 1, the bishop of Ghent received a letter, which said that the sender possessed both panels. The letter was signed "D.U.A.". Provided he would receive 1 million francs for the Judges, he would return St. John without any charge. DUA asked the bishop to answer him through an advertisement in a newspaper, and St. John was delivered at the railroad station Brussels-North. But instead of the requested sum, the authorities only wanted to pay 25.000 francs... and the Just Judges did not return home.

November 25... Arsène Goedertier, aged 57, a broker who lived and worked in the small town of Wetteren, aged 57, collapsed after a speech at a political rally. On his death bed, he informed his friend Georges de Vos in private that he had a file on the crime at his home. Goedertier tried to say more... but finally took the secret in his grave. Later, the police found in his home carbon copies of the messages which had been sent to the bishop by DUA. Only one single cryptic line spoke of the possible whereabouts of the Judges: the panel was "in a place where neither I nor anyone else" could recover it drawing attention.
The wife of Arsène Goedertier revealed that her late husband was an avid reader of detective novels and a true fan of Arsène Lupin, the hero in some of Maurice Leblanc's mystery novels. Arsène, of course, was also Goedertier's first name, and Lupin was a "gentlemen thief". Goedertier had read The Hollow Needle (L'aiguille creuse) several times. The theme of the novel was "art thefts". Arsène Goedertier undoubtedly felt inspired by Arsène Lupin, who always left a trail of coded messages after his thefts. Goedertier used a similar code in his ransom notes.

Arsène Goedertier was an eccentric, but although he might have typed and mailed the ransom notes, I doubt he was the original thief... and he sure didn't act alone. The broker from Wetteren was in a very healthy financial situation. Maybe he chased some sort of a symbolic revenge. Indeed, Goedertier is said to have been "angry" at the Catholic Church.

Since 1956, former police chief Karel Mortier has dedicated himself to the search for the Lost Judges. Mortier beliefs the panel was hidden somewhere in Saint Bavo Cathedral. X-ray investigations however were fruitless. Another policeman, Chris Noppe, is convinced that the Judges are hiding in the coffin of King Albert I. A few months before the theft, the Belgian King - the hero of the Great War - died in a climbing accident, which was possibly a set up for murder. The body of King Albert I now lies in the crypt of the royal family in the palace of Laeken, near Brussels. Belgium's own Miss Marple, Maria De Roo, is defending a conspiracy theory, claiming the authorities retrieved the panel. And I think Goedertier and two accomplices worked for Himmler's SS and were murdered when they double-crossed a nazi agent.

Van Eyck, neo-Templar and alchemist

I do believe Van Eyck's painting held a "Da Vinci Code", containing information the true whereabouts of the Holy Grail, also known as the Holy Blood(line) of Christ. In the 16th century, Jan Van Eyck already was described by art historian Giorgi Vasari as an alchemist, suggesting he was a member of a secret brotherhood. In his article 666 = Satan's Song? - Part 2: The Just Judges and Otto Rahn, Philip Coppens says that modern freemasons have noted how Van Eyck depicted a working lodge in a drawing of Saint Barbara.

Jan Van Eyck entered the service of Philip the Good in 1425. The Duke of Burgundy was moving his court between his palaces in Brussels, Lille and Bruges. Van Eyck resided in Lille and mostly in Bruges, where he died in 1440. He performed certain missions for the Duke, but the exact nature of these missions has remained unknown. Both men were very close, the Duke served as godfather to one of Jan's children.

While working on his masterpiece, Jan's patron established the Order of the Golden Fleece. The name has never been fully explained, but it is no secret that Philip was very interested in alchemy. In his palace in Brussels for example, he installed a real "alchemical room". Though Van Eyck was employed by Philip the Good, he took the commission for the Vyd family. He knew he would have to spend a great amount of time on this Ghent Altarpiece. So, even if Jan only completed what Hubert had begun, he needed the consent of his patron. But that seemed to be no problem at all.

The Mystic Lamb clearly depicts Jesus as a King. This was very uncommon in medievalor Gothic paintings. It was also very uncommon in 1432, and even dangerous, to depict a bunch of arch-heretics on your piece of art. Under pressure of King Philip of France, in 1307 many of the Knights Templar were arrested, tortured - so they would give false confessions - and burned at the stake. The Order was disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312 on the charge of religious heresy and sexual misconduct.

So, here is one of the great Mysteries of the Lamb of God: what are the Templars doing on this "true" catholic masterpiece? The title of the panel is "Milites Christi", Soldiers of Christ, the official name of the Knights Templar. Moreover, they don't look like sinners who are seeking forgiveness, do they? No, this one knight in his shining armour rides with great kings and noblemen, bearing the shield and the banner of the Temple!

On the Ghent Altarpiece, the Mystic Lamb is spilling his blood in the Cup of the Last Supper. This bleeding lamb is common christian iconography, but the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Chalice usually doesn't show up together with the Templars, who were regarded as the keepers of the Holy Grail... or the secret of the Holy Blood(line) of Christ.

The Nazi Plot Theory

I have developed the "Nazi Plot Theory" for the first time in a book called Mysteries of the Mystic Lamb (Mysteries van het Lam Gods, 1991). Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933, just a year before the Judges got stolen. I do think the Nazi's commissioned the theft, because of the mystic and heretic connotations of Ghent Altarpiece. Hitler wanted to seize the iconography of the Mystic Lamb and incorporate it into the Holy Canon of his own "Arian" religion, that had to compete with Christianity.

The Mystic Lamb should be read as a code and some of the panels could be incorporating documents or a map, concerning the Holy Blood brought by the Knights Templar and Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders, to Bruges. The first Grail story was commissioned by his son, Philip of Alsace. In the late 19th century the chaplain of the Holy Blood Chapel in Bruges seems to have turned into a satanist. His tale was told by Joris-Karl Huysmans in his book Down There (Là-Bas) and preceded that other story of a satanist priest, who found a treasure and/or a secret concerning the Templars, the Grail and the Holy Blood(line) of Christ. In other words, is the story of Bérenger Saunière, the parish priest of Rennes-le-Château, nothing else than an echo, a hoax, part of a disinformation project designed to turn the eyes of the world to southern France, so that the true secret could remain a secret?

The obsession of the top Nazi's for the Ghent Altarpiece is a matter of record. During World War II, the Ghent Altarpiece was stolen by the SS and hidden in a salt mine near Salzburg. A special agent was sent to Belgium with only one task: finding the Judges! It was to SS-officer Henry Koehn that Goedertier's widow spoke of her husband's fascination for The Hollow Needle. Interestingly, Leblanc's stories of Lupin, a character he created in 1905, showed a great number of indirect references to the mysteries of Rennes-le-Château...