The Big Study

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DOWN IN THE CRYPTO-DUMPS, part three: Hairy Humanoids.


Another one of our mysteries which is set in stone in the ancient mind --- either those old folks had no clue whatever, or we don't.

Ivan had several classic illustrations of hairy wild men which formed part of his ideas on the "Wudewasa" of Europe's past, and I'll just post a few here. The above is, I believe, a fragment of a painting study by Hans Durer {I've never heard of Hans Durer; Albrecht Durer yes.} .

All of these are interesting, but the very bottom drawings intrigue. I notice that the picturing of the Ourang-outan is quite like the drawing of the wildman by Bontius, and that slides right into the drawing by Gesner of Breydenbach's apeman. This in turn reflects upon the next picture.

These are illustrations for Breydenbach's Travels in the Holy Land. Our wildman is at the bottom right, and it, if just an orangutan is pictured with a tool and leading a camel. Well, that is at least odd. Other than the "orangutan/wildman", the camel, giraffe, crocodile and long-eared sheep seem uncontroversial. But what about the giant salamander and the unicorn? The unicorn has as "Narwhal-looking" a horn on it as any I've seen. Is Breydenbach just a wholesale liar?? He states unmistakenly: " These animals are truly depicted just as we saw them in the Holy Land." What's going on? The only way that I can think to rescue his reputation would be to say that he visited some notorious stuffed animal museum which contained real and whizzed up animals.

........ or he could have really seen a unicorn and a giant salamander.

But we don't want to think about that, I guess. Too Out Proctor with too little data.

Alright. Pushing onward into the Bush: GIANTS.

Ummm.... ugly. Can The True and The Ugly be one? Though Plato didn't think so, {he of "the good, the true, the beautiful" idealism}, he must have not taken himself literally in the popular definition sense of beauty, since, despite what the guy in The Princess Bride said, he was not a moron. Our Native Americans believed in a true race of giants and one of their artists is telling us that we are now looking at one. ... Sasquatch with a shave and a haircut??

Ivan published at least three articles in PURSUIT on the subject of Giants. The first claimed that Lundy Island [a small piece of land in the general gap between Wales and Cornwall] had two ancient coffins containing two eight-foot skeletons plus "sacrificed slaves". Upon trying to track this claim down, SITU got nowhere except to hear that the original writer of the newsclipping got his "data" from an "older clipping" and "reference books", all unnamed and unfound.

A second article listed several dispersed claims. a]. 100 miles south of Tug Hill, PA remains of a people of giant size; b]. Sayopa, Sonora Mexico old cemetery of burials of men averaging eight feet; c]. El Boquin, Chontates District, Nicaragua gigantic man with head missing. {Ivan noted that Chontates is an indian word meaning "wildman"}; d]. Island off southern Florida eight foot tall human skeletons embedded in the sand; e]. Tioga Point, Bradford county PA 68 men buried in a mound, averaging seven feet tall; this last group was said to have evidence of horns on their heads. ... I think that I'll pass on these ... for more than one reason.

The third article was an examination of a claim repeated by Ivan himself in his classic Abominable Snowman: a Legend Come to Life. In that he spoke of a giant skull found during WWII on the very western tip of the Aleutian Island chain. The catalyst for this PURSUIT article was the appearance of an old Sanderson acquaintance who was on site when the thing was uncovered. This man had scolded Ivan for not asking him about the claim before publishing it in his book. Ivan retorted: "I didn't know you were there!!" The man [kept anonymous by Sanderson] went on to describe uncovering the damaged and degenerating skull of what he called an Icthyosaur [Ivan disagreed with that identification while buying that this thing was not human], which had lost part of its beak, and was in the process of losing the rest. The seamen were referring to it as The Giant, while not knowing what they were talking about. Ivan then rejected the spectacular claim, and with the new data decided that something like a bottle-nosed dolphin was a better guess.

There were also two articles from something called Forgotten Ages. These things were entitled "The Sons of Goliath, parts one and two".These articles were loaded with giant claims and far too dense for me to detail here. I'll give a too-brief thumbnail. Part one was more worldwide while part two was almost entirely US focussed. Part one listed claims of the following sort: a]. 1928 Ecuadoran Central Railroad blasting crew--- eight foot and nine foot giants. b]. about same year, Gargayan, Philippines --- seventeen foot tall skeleton; c]. also same period, Ceylon --- thirteen foot skeletons; d]. 1960 Tura, Assam, India --- eleven foot skeleton --- "authorities" dismiss it as "only" the bones of an ape ... uhhh, just an eleven foot ape? Sure, no news there; e]. 1969 Terracina Italy --- fifty tiled coffins each containing a skeleton between 6 1/2 and 8 feet tall; f]. 1891 Crittendon, Arizona --- sarcophagus with skeleton 12 feet tall; g]. 1911 and 1931 and 1939 Lovelock, Nevada --- several skeletons and mummies between 6 1/2 and 9 feet tall, between 8 and 10 feet tall, and one seven feet seven inches; h]. 1879 Brewersville, Indiana --- number of skeletons one of which was 9 feet 8 inches tall; i]. 1925 Walkerton Indiana --- eight skeletons 8 to 9 feet tall; and eight more instances, most of which were from Minnesota. In one of those "mound stories" it was insisted that among the remains were the bones of HORSES despite them not being native to the continent.

Part two of this hard-working review piece, concentrated on the idea that not only was the North American continent littered with the remains of giants, but that the Native Americans knew this all along. These giants went by the names of the "Sitecah" or the "Allegewi" or the "Telligewi" [among doubtless others]. They were considered to be the legendary opponents of the current tribes, of great size, fair skin, outstanding understanding of technology, and the builders of the mound culture. The academic archaeologists and anthropologists cringe horribly at even the thought of this, as it is academic cant that the Native American peoples built all of that themselves --- I by the way am happy with the thought that the direct ancestors of the current peoples were the Mound Builders, but in the spirit of Charles Fort severely disapprove of having such conclusions as basic "untouchables" built right into the psyches of a whole tribe of academics by training [programming]. It should at least give a little pause when native elders and shamans tell you a different story.

The part two goes on to fire even more shots across the academic bows, bringing up the much argued "Chinese exploration of the Americas" as claimed documented in the Shan Nai King. Herein it is claimed that America was well explored in the 2000BC era, and two areas of Giant inhabitation were found [The East Coast and the Western Deserts, if you're interested]. The Chinese called the latter "The Great Men's Country". There was also a somewhat lengthy description of something that has totally eluded me over my 75 years --- the lost work of a student of Plato, Theopompus of Chios, who allegedly wrote something called the Meropidae. {I've got to look this up and see if it's even real}. This thing, a dialogue between King Midas and the Satyr Silenos [THAT would have been one great conversation to sit in on --- hah!], purported to describe the inhabitants of the land across the ocean. Guess what? They were giants. ... and two types of giants. Supposedly, they came across the ocean once, landing in Hyperborea [Great Britain], whereupon they were confronted by a happy and strong people [The Druids no doubt].

Well, much fun. I haven't a clue as to whether any thing of this is real, except one thing: Native American legends are rife with images of physically real large humanoid somethings-or-other having intelligence. How does that relate to Sasquatch? That's your job now.

CHINESE WILDWOMEN: Some time ago on the blog I presented several entries on the materials in some rare Russian monographs held by Ivan in his collection. Among the many fascinating things in those books were tales of violent aggressive female Yeti/Almas/whatevers. As you see below, they seem to have shown up again.

This should be expected I guess, as even Bhutan has memorialized the wild female side of this exotic mystery in its postage stamps.

Interesting to me to read of an interview with Eric Shipton, being as his famous Yeti print is such a big deal in this ABSM data bank. 

The rest of this small article continues below --- I couldn't get the scale correctly matched, but it's the same article....

I, as always, am puzzled by things that more veteran researchers would not be. My puzzlement here is why Shipton showed a "human" proportioned footprint rather than his famous "ape" proportioned one. This lecture would have taken place in about 1975, as the article appeared in Bigfoot News of January 1976.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about {rest easy, most people don't know what I'm talking about}, the above is the famous photograph of the track. As you see, it's not very much like a humanlike foot, but much more resembles that of an ape with a possible prehensile big toe. Why would the aging Shipton not show his classic picture?, or if he did, why would veteran Bigfoot researchers speak of it as a human foot, albeit kingsized? Sometimes I think that the world is playing pranks on me ... Whoa! Can't go that route! Not only Out Proctor, but LOST Out Proctor! 


..... a sharp-eyed researcher spots a hoax.

This letter also relates in a way to a small packet of letters exchanged between John Green and Sabina Sanderson [just post Ivan's death], concerning their shared belief that Peter Byrne was untrustworthy as an ABSM researcher, in the particular instance of the famous old "Jacko" Bigfoot case. {I'm not going to wash that dirty laundry here, just letting you know that the Sandersons and John Green didn't hold Byrne in high regard. The letter above by the way is by neither Green nor the Sandersons}. 

HAPPIER WILD STUFF: Percy Fawcett's Amazonian Giants. 

If you can't trust this guy, well at least don't tell him that at the local saloon. 

A map sent to PURSUIT purported to focus on this mystery --- frankly not too closely, but it's fun anyway.

This is the internet version of the location of the Guapore River bordering Brazil and Bolivia, from which Fawcett turned northwards towards the Machado. The correspondent sent this map below to illustrate the encounter area where Fawcett and his team were abandoned by the locals to face the violent hairy primitives alone. 

All readers should pack their bags and get their tickets and go exploring. Hey! What kinds of Forteans are you anyway!? 

The scenery is beautiful and there's a good elevated butte on which you'll find Challenger's Lost World. So get going! 


No, that's not a comment on my previous enthusiasms. But the Australian version of Yeti might feel that way. There were two Yowie things in this cryptodump. The article claimed to be able to characterize the Yowie by comparing many witness accounts. And the answer is:

That sort of approach is something that seems fairly rational and sort of "proto-science", if the credibility quotients of the case reports are good. The following newsclipping however pushes things beyond comfort zone to say the least:

Ummmm.... dropping down to see what's happening eh?? 

The Yowie subject did mention an oldtimer character who seemed to have something to do with this cryptomystery though: H. James McCooey.

Though appearing a bit disreputable in the picture above [and in fact having all manner of rough up-against-the-law claims against him], McCooey seems to have been a legitimate accomplished animal recorder and collector and species finder. In short, he was a heck of a good old-style in-the-woods naturalist. McCooey said that he had collected many stories of a large Australian ape and had seen what he thought was the animal himself. A lot of this activity was in the mountains of NSW. 

Another good spot for you guys to go exploring: the Blue Mountains. 

Whether we find the Yowie or not, I liked the following case just slipped in quietly at the end of the article: 

.... High Strangeness .... pure oxygen for the soul. 

And with that I'll give us both a break. 

Not sure what's next in the crypto-dump pile. Some "thing" will doubtless pop up.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Small Note on an Puzzlingly-Ignored Mystery

FAFROTSKI ..... Ivan Sanderson's word for Things Which Fall From The Skies.

Most of you have seen the recent report by a biology teacher in Norway who was on a skiing trip with friends near Bergen. The group came across large numbers of worms {as pictured above} lying moribund but alive on the surface of the snow, which was in many places up to a meter deep. There was no sign of any penetration of the snow [i.e. tunneling upwards], and such behavior makes no survival sense at all anyway. The worms were just lying there as if dropped down in large numbers from above.

While no one in the teacher's party saw these worms in the act of falling, there was no explanation, given the quantities scattered about, of anything else which would explain their presence.

I've collected a thick notebook full of such strange {apparent} falls over the years, and Ivan collected hundreds of the incidents. Wormfalls are not as common as many other categories, but they are not absent in the literature either --- "famous" ones occurred in 1927 in Sydney NSW and in Sweden in 1924 and 1945 --- the latter one is pretty spectacular, being seen falling over an ellipse 100x300 meters in size, and some sploshing down into a family's cream cake. The worms were described as "deep frozen, transparent, and reddish in color." Neither the local crows nor chickens would eat them. {My guess here is that, being frozen, the worms didn't have the requisite odor that signaled dinner}.

The evidence therefore would point towards the fact that worms [and other things] DO fall from the sky. What continues to stun me however is the talk which tends to follow in the media when such things are acknowledged. There is always some denial skepticism, which usually makes no sense given the quality of the observations, and then some expert comes in and is quoted about "whirlwinds and waterspouts" picking up objects in one place and dumping them in another --- as if that could end the story. But it doesn't even come close.

Let us give the mini-tornado theory a temporary OK. Alright then, what are the "experts" saying? IF THEY FOLLOWED THEIR OWN LINE OF REASONING, then they must believe that these winds have the ability to pick up JUST ONE KIND OF OBJECT, leaving everything else on the ground [or in the water]. Boy, are those whirlwinds smart.

If they don't think that whirlwinds are that smart, they they must engage in further theoretical dances : Oh, only those particular things were at the site of the pick-up; nothing else at all, and large quantities of the things picked up. Hmmmm.... I find that idea EXTREMELY unreasonable. Oh well then, how about this?: The whirlwinds picked up all different sorts of stuff, but in transit dropped out everything but just this one kind of thing --- sort of like a fabulously efficient air centrifuge. So everything heavier was dumped AND everything lighter. And this despite that all manner of other things are JUST the density of the worms, or extremely near to it. And I find THAT just as unreasonable.

The mystery of the phenomenon of the Fafrotski is not that things fall, but that things are SORTED out during whatever the process is. Either something has sorted them while still "on the ground", or they have been somehow sorted in the air.

What about Norway's worms? I can't buy the air centrifuge theory [is there even one stated in the literature?]. It is a bit like the solid waste "air classification" blower system for separating mixed recyclables, but impossibly better refined. So how else might the Norwegian worms have been separated? Worms might "gather" I suppose, but how good are the chances with a natural process that nothing else of similar size [and lift-ability] was in the same place as the pickup?

But the great SORTER-OUTERS of the universe are intelligences. Whoops! Probably shouldn't go there. And maybe that's why the experts don't continue their line-of-reasoning either.


That's my BS for the day folks. I'll get back here with another Down-in-the-Cryptodumps entry [about ABSMs] soon,     Peace

Friday, April 10, 2015

DOWN IN THE CRYPTO-DUMPS, part 2: Lost at Sea

Here's a second pass at the Crypto-dump-box pile: Sea Monsters. {I was too lazy to make a "cases grid" this time, and the structure of this part didn't lend itself as well to a list, so let's just "dive in".} 


This is Olaus Magnus' great old 16th century map. As we know it's full of sea monsters, and I can't help liking it. Our old cartographer, who was really a Catholic Archbishop, claimed encounter information existed for all of these things. 

He wasn't alone. Above are the monsters from Sebastian Munster's book published in Germany {to be} in 1598. It's a delightful crew. A and B are mountain-sized whales and Physeters, as described by our favorite ancient cryptozoologist, Pliny. Sea serpents and pretty ugly critters abound. The bird-headed thing is a Ziphius. The bottom giant is another superwhale. A nice little trading run in the seas of Norway was a walk {swim} through a meaner Jurassic Park. 

Modern cryptozoologists tend to give the sea serpent the most attention [this is one of Olaus'], and they are not alone --- so, apparently did the "older folks". Magnus said this about them:

"Those who sail up along the coast of Norway to trade or fish, all tell the remarkable story of how a serpent of fearsome size, 200 feet long and 20 feet wide, resides in rifts and caves outside Bergen. On bright summer nights this serpent leaves the caves to eat calves, lambs, and pigs, or it fares out to sea and feeds on sea nettles,crabs, and similar marine animals. It has ell-long hair hanging from its neck {an ell is almost four feet long}, sharp black scales and flaming red eyes. It attacks vessels, grabs and swallows people, as it lifts itself up like a column from the water."

I can't help but wonder how our good bishop got that information, as he certainly seems to believe it. 

My personal puzzlement about these claims in this geographic area is further complicated by claims by two more priestly fellows {frequent readers know that I am a Catholic, and tend to have a bias to witnesses "of the cloth" --- well, at least I'm honest about it.} 

The above are two renditions of the famous sea serpent of Hans Egede [semi-legendary missionary to Greenland], and based upon Egede's description and a sketch by a traveling companion, Pastor Bing. Egede says:

".... that most dreadful Monster that showed itself upon the surface of the water in the year 1734, off our New Colony in 64 degrees, this Monster was of so huge a size that coming out of the water its head reached as high as the Mast-head; its body was as bulky as the Ship, and three or four times as long. It had a long pointed snout, and spouted like a whale-fish; great broad paws, and the body seemed covered with shell-work, its skin very rugged and uneven. The underpart of its body was shaped like an enormous huge Serpent, and when it dived again under water, it plunged backwards into the sea, and so raised its tail aloft, which seemed a whole ship's distant from the bulkiest part of the body." 

That re-telling leaves me torn by two images: a large elongated serpentine critter, and the totally different "leaving the area" behavior of a cavorting humpbacked whale. {recall the famous Prudential  commercial}. I know that humpbacked whales cannot be used as answers to the serpentine aspects of the tale, but if our good missionary had only described the "leaving", then that would have been sufficient. 

In the 1700s another sea monster commentator again zero'd in on the Norwegian Sea Serpent, with a firm piece of artwork declaring it a very big snake-like thing indeed. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century then, interested parties seemed to converge on the idea that the Norwegian Sea Monster was a big Serpentine thing, and was real. 

In 1845 this thing was reported again. This time it was a long serpentine entity [greater than 40 feet in length] with two forward flippers and none behind [note that this is characteristic of a primitive whale "zeuglodont".] It undulated like a snake [a Zeuglodont would not do that, as that is reptilian, not sea mammalian, motion]. The skull was domed and had a sharp snout. It was dark brown. No "mane" was noticed.

Again in 1847 it appeared. This was another elongated serpentine creature, over thirty feet long. Its body was about two feet in diameter and it had big five inch diameter red "sparkling" eyes. There was a mahogany-colored mane which was similar in color to the skin on the head [body color not described]. Again the swimming motion was described as undulating. 

The writer who brought these to the attention of the English public, Henry Lee, a London fisheries expert, believed that the reporters of the first case meant that the motion, while snakelike in its curves, was actually up-and-down wavelike --- leaving the door open that both were mammals. 

But then he went All-Calamari on us and suggested that the real nature of these beasts was that they were partial seeings of Giant Squids. Well, full marks for novel thinking, but, as so often happens, this seems to violate the witness testimonies, especially those witnesses who say that they clearly saw the head and eyes. {How DO theorizers simply disregard things like that?} 

I have another [very small potatoes admittedly] reason for rejecting the theory of Lee. When I was doing my research on the PNW sea serpent [Wasgo/ Sisiutl] of the Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl peoples, I came across an artifact in a museum case [photographed above] labeled "sea serpent" or "sea monster", I forget now just which. It was rearing pretty much like Egede's Norwegian monster. "My" Sisiutl turned out to be far more like a primitive elongated whale/zeuglodont than other candidates. 

Mid-1800s, an era of Sea Monster enthusiasm.

It seems that many people were fascinated by the idea of the sea monster in those days. Not only were they being reported, and Henry Lee writing and commenting, but the great pre-expressionist painter JW Turner began some never-finished paintings called "Sunrise and Sea Monsters." And over in the USA something weirder, well at least more spectacular was happening. 

The Director of the St.Louis Zoo "discovered", reconstituted, and exhibited the bones of the Thing Itself. A born showman, Albert Koch called it Hydrarchus, King of the Sea. So --- pretty much proves that the sea monster existed once, right? And with all the witness reports, it still must. 


Koch was more Barnum&Bailey than Baron Cuvier but he wasn't entirely an ignorant man, and he knew something about early palaeontology, but mainly he was an enthusiast who wanted to publicize wonders and make money for himself and the Zoo. He ended up creating such a sensation that he got invitations to pack Hydrarchus up and take it to other cities for exhibit.

Above is a letter from a Mr. Albee to his wife describing his trip to see Koch's monster. It reads:

"Though I found here well on towards an half a million of people I was never more alone {I think this fellow is in NYC}. .... I then went to the Apollo buildings where there is exhibiting the greatest wonder that naturalists have ever discovered. Dr. Koch calls it the Hydrargos. 

It is about 100 feet long, the bones are a good state of preservation. I here made the acquaintance of Dr. Koch of Dresden, of Prof. Silliman, Mr. Locke, the writer of the famous Moon Hoax and other scientific gentlemen ... I was perfectly delighted with the conversation and amply paid for all the attention I have devoted to Geology.

This monstrous skeleton was found in Alabama, everybody here who has seen it believes in the existence of the sea serpent." 

It turns out that they WERE looking at a sea monster, or rather, FIVE of them. Koch. not knowing what he was doing, and having a preconception of sea monster in mind, had tinkered pieces of five Basilosaurus skeletons together to make the beast. 

I leave this long [but to me anyway interesting] trip back into time at this point. For me, the Koch story was fun, but the intrigue is in the many straight-up sounding reports of the sea orms of Norway and elsewhere. Physically real? Candidates for Biology text books? Folkloric Entities of the Waters? Spirit Entities of the Ocean? As usual they seem real and not real at the same time. 

But on to a short series of "other deep water stuff" from this SITU crypto-dump.........


Some nice 1900s serpents.

... and some from the 40s {30s?} too. 

And two from FATE in the 60s.

Below: one that came to SITU after Ivan, but he probably knew about the claim.

In 1981, Gary Mangiacopra sent a news-article-type of possible publication to the SITU editorial board. Somehow it got lost in the correspondence confusion and [I'm almost certain] was never published in PURSUIT. {Gary has since published an expanded version two decades later}. He had uncovered a sea monster claim with a photo in a newspaper file from 1908 [San Francisco Examiner]. Because it seemed forgotten and it had a photo, he rightly considered it noteworthy. This photo was not a sharp photo as Gary was forced to take it from the paper page on which it was printed and under poor conditions, but one does what one can. The whole photo is above, and Gary made separate shots of the two sides of the paper, and sent the negatives to SITU to accompany a possible publication. The negatives, turned positive by me [except for one where I left both a negative and positive] are below. I've tried to clean them up and get as good a contrast as I could.

The Negative version above

Neither of the experts [one was the Smithsonian's George Zug, a pro-Nessie biologist] were impressed with the pictures. Zug told Mangiacopra that he thought the picture could be a fake of a relatively small object. When added to the non-facts about who took the picture and where, this case has been generally dismissed, and perhaps rightly so. 

My humble contribution here is probably valueless, but hope springs eternal. The article states that the picture was taken from the yacht Emerald, as if a reader should recognize that name. AND, if you were alive in 1908, you would. The schooner yacht Emerald, pictured above, was the most famous "Yankee" yacht in the world, and the pride and joy of the Eastern Yacht Club, sailing out of the Boston area. In 1908, the Emerald [owned by a guy named Clarke who was very famous at the time] was making voyages up and down the Eastern coast [racing or just showing off in yachting displays], and so the location of the picture-taking would likely be between Boston Harbor and either North to Maine or perhaps south towards NY. But near the coast. 

But the photographer remains mysterious. Undaunted by lack of evidence for my wild speculations, I offer the following weak sauce: 

The photographer is named in the article as "Professor Sharpe", also as if you should recognize the name. Much later in the 1930s another mention of this case occurred listing him as "BA Sharpe", despite there being no source or hint as to why the new initials. I'm going to disregard these added initials. Why? Well, it makes what I'm about to theorize make more sense, and I think that there's no evidence for "B.A." anyway. So with that B.S. on my part, who could a famous East-Coast Professor Sharpe be? 

Sadly, I can't find any. But I did find THIS guy: Professor Dallas Lore Sharp, Professor of English at Boston University and probably the most honored Nature Writer of his age. 

Hmmmm.... famous.... nature writer..... Boston area.... OH NO!! Wrong spelling!! {Could the news article have gotten it wrong?} 

Well, that's my baloney on this one. IF this picture was taken aboard Clarke's yacht on a Boston-to-Maine run with guest naturalist Dallas Sharp on board, well, THAT would put a rather different light on the credibility of this thing. I'll leave you with that romantic door ajar.

The Chesapeake Bay Sea Serpent. 1982 era.

This is the film frame shot by Frew:

and a later offering by Mike Frizzell of The Enigma Project:

Of course, like almost every cryptozoological picture, this doesn't have much stand-alone value. The Smithsonian could only say "animate but unidentifiable object". 

One last thing for today: 

Ivan had a Popular Science [October 1959] article in his files. I read it, and I liked three of the cases that I've indicated in red in the text. It's a small [5pp] article, so I'll leave it here for your perusal.

More than enough for now, eh? 

Hope that some of it was interesting. Next time maybe I can sort out the ABSM part of the Crypto-dump. Till then, Peace and Good Fortunes.