Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SITU Status: Summer 2012.

Hello folks from Kalamazoo [back here for about 3+ weeks]: Since I'm home for a little bit, and since there has been some improvement in the state-of-accessibility of the SITU files, it seems appropriate to give you a report. What you're looking at above is a "central corridor" in my garage, which has been gutted of its former contents so as to house the SITU collection for the Society For Scientific Exploration. As you can see, the place is carpeted [not expensively, but carpeted nonetheless; and I'll even get around to vacuuming it sooner or later --- later is a better guess]. The lighting is decent with the overhead fluorescents but again not fabulous [anyone wanting to come and read the files can always bring them downstairs to my UFO/Anomalies research area, if conditions aren't up to their liking in the garage --- like Winter in Michigan, for instance].

You are looking down that corridor made of brand new and super-sturdy shelving units --- almost exactly $1000 dollars worth [out of my own pocket, by the way --- the things we idealists do for Truth]. What's on those shelves is the Sanderson collection of biological-zoological books mainly, with a dash of other areas of science. Ivan would have used these in his own zoological interests and perhaps to check details on various critters which might constitute mundane possibilities for anomalistic claims. There at the end of the corridor, facing you, are some of the famous Ivan Sanderson three-ring notebook files. I placed them, especially the Bigfoot/ABSM/ Lake and Sea monster ones there for "romantic" reasons --- they are the Heart of Sanderson, and this gives them a little center ring "glory".

There are a lot more of these ring-notebook files than you could see above in picture #1. I stored them all safely in the basement while all the paper-&-box slinging went on in the garage to get it organized. Less than half of them have been brought back up to shelve, but that now is easy and only awaits backs healthier than mine. As you can see in the picture above, there is a shelving unit literally clogged [but sorted] with the precious things just waiting for transportation upstairs.

This is what you see if you look down the parallel corridor to the left of the first picture. It's where most of the purely anomalies-related volumes are and where most of the anomalies related journals and newsletters will ultimately be. The latter are quite voluminous and will occupy most of the top and bottom shelving areas on both corridors. The actual containers for those things are a bit of a nightmare, as they didn't come in any journal boxes, and any halfway decent library "magazines box" costs about a buck a shot. I estimate that I'd need a few hundred --- not sure that I want to keep depleting my account foolishly, so some journals will probably find themselves occupying ordinary types of boxes.

Sharp-eyed observers might have noticed a Gigantopithecus skull [reconstruction by Grover Krantz] and five pre-modern Homo-whatevers on the top of the shelving in the rear. They weren't part of the collection, but I'm donating them to it. Better with SITU than my own stuff. The third corridor which I haven't pictured, is holding all the old-civilizations and cultural anthropology and nature adventuring things from the collection. Many non-anomalies-related books from both Sanderson' and Warth's collection were culled out of here, as the boxes which came to Michigan also contained some of their personal libraries which clearly had nothing to do with SITU. We checked each cull for anything special, mainly signatures, before taking them to the local libraries for intellectual recycling. There were also many anomalies books in duplication. Almost all those duplicates went out. A few exceptionally significant works were kept in duplicate or more --- works by Heuvelmanns would be an example. The reason for the culling is obvious: unless there is something special [signatures; marginalia--- there was almost none of this], a book is a book, and one copy will do. Also, pragmatically, the amount of space just wouldn't take the useless "fat".

There are a few "artifacts". Not a huge quantity of such things unfortunately, but fun nevertheless. This picture shows a cast of the famous Shipton Yeti print --- which some argue cannot be true, as they believe that Shipton never made such a casting, as well as a "negative" [i.e. what the print would have actually looked like impressed into the snow], which, I would guess is the mold which Ivan used to pour his metal cast of the "bronze" showpiece Yeti print that he used to hang on his wall. I believe that I saw that showpiece briefly during the great initial box shuffling heroics, but at my age I might just simply be out of my mind. I'll tell you later if I come across it as we head down the final laps of getting this beast organized. As to whether Ivan knew that the casting originally came from Shipton, or whether the cast used to make the print you see and the negative for the showpiece was just an artistic carving using good copies of the photography, I have no documentation seen in the collection yet anyway, and will also tell you if such surfaces. It IS odd that PURSUIT says rather flatly that the reproductions were from a "cast" if that wasn't true, but what do I know?

There are a very disorganized "pile" of smaller artifacts. The vast majority of these things are poorly to no-way labeled and, frankly, enrage me about the laziness of whomever was responsible. Most of these things will doubtless NEVER be identifiable, and be wasted. DON'T PANIC: I will NEVER throw away any such things in the childish hope that one day something will click for someone and the thing will get identified.

Above are happier examples. The two cylindrical "pill-containers" actually have [wonder-of-wonders] three examples [LABELED!!] of the mind-boggling "fishing lines from the sky" incidents. I'm a real child when it comes to things like this. I yelled "YES!" out loud when I picked those containers up and read the contents. The other two things are a piece of the burnt sidewalk of the South Hills VA UFO case [round container], and some metal from the alleged St Lawrence massive Metalfall, in the square container. Those two are things that I'm transferring from my own collection to the SITU archive because they "feel" like they belong there more.

Whenever I get time to probe into what is now a "junk box of debris", and locate some other identifiables, I'll let you know. Samples of "ringing rocks" would be a likely success in this "pursuit".

So, the books are essentially shelved. The famous notebooks are shelved or on their way. The journals are at least organized and will find their way "up" whenever the energy can move me. Artifacts will be worked on as it happens, but at least are "located" in the main. What you're looking at is the remaining monster. These are boxes filled with paper. If you were generous you'd call them "files". I call them a variety of very uncivilized names, but rarely "files". These are the most disorganized piles of near-garbage that could reside in any historian's nightmares. [I've looked through about ten or so not in this picture]. But, my historian's conscience will not allow me to shortshrift this work, which is pretty unrewarding I can promise you. Who knows what's in the boxes in the picture, but in the boxes I've gone through there are countless unsubstantial mark-ups of PURSUIT articles being edited, irrelevant bills, reminders of past dues, and indescribable trash. HERE AND THERE IS SOMETHING INTERESTING. So onward I will plod. Believe me, I'm in no hurry on this last task.

Here are the basics: The SITU files are owned by the Society for Scientific Exploration, under the administration of SSE treasurer John Reed. John has asked me to store, safeguard, and make accessible [within reason] these files. If someone wishes to visit the files, they are "open" [given the conditions of them as you have read above]. To do so, one needs to contact me and arrange it. AND, because of my on-again/ off-again caring for my Mother in West Virginia, that will have to be on a "Michigan month". This month I'm here. July, not. August, I'm here.... and past that the future is clouded.

In a day or two, I think I'll show you what the rest of this house's research potentials are ... that is, my personal research materials et al "downstairs".  Till then.


  1. 'Sharp-eyed observers might have noticed a Gigantopithecus skull [reconstruction by Grover Krantz] and five pre-modern Homo-whatevers on the top of the shelving in the rear.'

    I noticed the skull when you posted those first pictures of jumble-sale chaos last year. This time, I think I noticed a large box labelled 'Allende.' That guy keeps showing up recently and the Philly legend keeps on going.

    The thought strikes me that perhaps you could invite local college/ uni students to help in organising the remaining files? Maybe then you could sit back and supervise while they do the lifting.

    Whatever happens next, it's a fine-looking collection and I'm almost sure that none of us readers are feeling the uncomfortable itch of envy.

    1. Yes, there is Allende material in this pile of stuff. I haven't tried to read any of it --- I've done some of that with old stuff from the Gray Barker files and it's as close to schizophrenic babble as you can get. I'm not holding out much hope that the SITU pile is any better. As to muscle-work: my connection with Western is so far in the past that there is no easy touchpoint there any longer. The actual gruntwork isn't that much for an able-bodied person at this stage, and my friend Will Matthews [who sometimes comments here] could do it in about two strong sessions once I get everything journal-boxed. It's those darned mixed boxes that will take forever and unfortunately no one else but me knows these materials well enough to help with the winnowing and filing much.

      When I post what my own research collection looks like, there may be even more readers "not feeling the uncomfortable itch... " But in reality there is a dilemma for me too about this overabundance of riches: The SITU files will somehow go back to the SSE when I pass or become infirm, but what of my own? There is no good plan existing now to take something like my own mountain of often unique materials and get them into some quality researcher's hands, or somewhere where other researchers might use them. Post-age 71 it's something you think about.

  2. Possibly thanks to you, I frequently wonder about the fate of such archives. Borderland data and tales from the liminal zone? They’re as apt to disappear as the gimlet eye of `a passing faerie and leave barely more of a trace. In a mildly romantic sense, it’s the library for all those critters, ghosts and humanoids that have teased and taunted the lone rural traveller. In that scenario you might want to steer clear during the Witching Hour so as not to disturb those studying their histories.

    Sorry, I digress. It’s regrettable that these collections remain isolated, but as long as they exist somewhere, in some form, it’s got to be the goal. Whatever becomes of the information or the stimuli, this is the oral history of the shadows. The AFU seem to be a secure organisation, although I suspect that if you wanted to donate your private collection shipping would be expensive.

    Given the nature of these subjects, even an extraordinary collection would be unlikely to attract a university or city library. The costs wouldn’t be justified by the public footfall or academic interest. Floor space is so costly and competitive. Still, when did public interest ever matter when deciding what’s really important?

    If I said I was envious of this problem, I’d be lying and thoughtless. Wanting to browse and being a custodian are worlds apart; you’ve landed quite a responsibility there.

  3. Michael,

    I have enjoyed watching your saving, sorting, and assembling of these archives. Congratulations!

    I tried out my skull replica identification skills, and had fun with your posting's treat/challenge on this matter. Here's my attempt at id'ing the lot: http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/id-skulls/

    Best wishes,

  4. Yep... but the only part of it that concerns me is the "passing the torch" part. I go onwards simply in the hope that the right person will turn up. OR...that our ecovillage project will someday materialize and I can place the majority of my collection there, and offer it as an unofficial extension to Western's academic library.

  5. Loren has taken the opportunity to have a little detective enjoyment by figuring out the skulls on the top shelf of the one picture. The big one, as mentioned, is Grover Krantz' reconstruction of Gigantopithecus. The others were plastic-like models purchased a very long time ago from Carolina Biological Supply Company [which I used in science lectures at WMU]. They turned out to be great size comparisons for Grover's Bigfoot candidate.

    Here are the skull identifications via Carolina:

    1]. next to Gigantopithecus: Homo sapiens sapiens [ourselves], "Cro-Magnon Man" skull reproduction from the Vezere Valley in France.

    2]. second from G's left: Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, "Neanderthal Man", from La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France.

    3]. third from G's left: Homo sapiens rhodesiensis, "Rhodesian Man", from Broken Hill, northern Rhodesia.

    4]. fourth from G's left: Homo sapiens steinheimensis, "Steinheim Man", from Steinheim near Stuttgart, Germany. Sort of a Cro-magnon/ Neanderthal "compromise."

    5]. last from G: Homo erectus pekinensis, "Peking Man", from Choukoutien, China.

  6. Thank you, Michael, for the identifications on the skulls.

    I thought that was the Steinheim Man, but my eyes were fooling my brain. It said ancient human and Neandertal, at the same time. Now I know why. The Steinheim skull remains something of an enigma. Even the standard definition of what it is, a Lower Paleolithic Neanderthaloid man having some neanthropic characteristics, belies a lot of anthropological fence sitting.

    I do recall that Carolina Biological Supply Company use to make fossil hominid replicas but having never gotten any directly from them, I'd not seen these specific ones. Nowadays, between Bone Clones and Skulls Unlimited, most of the second hand replicas seen on eBay are usually from those sellers. Besides getting some of my skull copies directly from Grover Krantz, I picked up quite a few from the University of Pennsylvania, who formerly sold several high quality teaching skull replicas.

    Thanks again for sharing this peek inside the continuing organized collection, plus your adds.

  7. BTW, I frequently express my thoughts about archives, in general, and am often dismayed to see that after people die their collections are frequently thrown away. I was delighted to see these SITU items are safe with you.

    As you know, Ivan T. Sanderson's personal papers went to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. If you ever have difficulty in keeping these, they might be explored as a future option.

    At the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, we have been the repository of some newspaper and literary cryptozoological collections, such as Mahl Wagner's, John Lutz's, and part of John A. Keel's. Others have donated artifacts and art.

    My feeling is that as long as a cryptozoologist's life work is not thrown into a dumpster (realities which have happened), and are donated to their alumni, a local university, museum, or someplace safe, then the end of the story will be a happy one. Such collections can therefore remain available and open to other researchers for years to come.

  8. I took some time this morning to again answer the issue that is addressed above about the much-discussed Yeti "artifacts," which Michael found in his sorting.

    Please see That SITU Snowman Shipton Cast, Again .


  9. Professor, unfortunately I have no chance to visit Kalamazoo now or in future due to money restrictions (from Europe to Kalamazoo it's pretty expensive). But I'am searching for something special Ivan has mentioned and therefore thought you maybe have seen it (or find it in future during organisation). I don't want to name it public yet until I got all things together. So please would you contact me (I don't found/know your address) at muffi.schlumpf(AT)gmx.de? All the best, Markus.

    1. you can contact me at mswords@att.net

  10. I am happy to see you are keeping the collection organized and in such fine shape! I'm no relation to Ivan, but I do have a connection to Kalamazoo. My father lived there for a time and my grandparents owned a sewing machine/vacuum repair/sales shop there... the place still has our name but different owners and may be closed now.

    1. I'm doing what I can under the circumstances of part-time presence and getting older. Preservation of archives, especially "unpopular subject" archives, is a sacred duty that we all have in our different ways --- some folks just need to make the effort to get their own anomalous incidents recorded and to a scholar. I'm overly concerned about this, I suppose, but I feel these things are just very important beyond what we see on the surface.

      As to Kalamazoo: I wouldn't trade it for hundreds of cities. It is my fine civilized little town... nothing's perfect, but this little city is right by me.

  11. I would hasten to add justifiably overly concerned!

    Kalamazoo is indeed a nice town. My oldest brother has a place there when he's not out selling on the road and there are some cousins by other last names there. The aunts (my Dad's sisters) passed on long ago and the surviving uncles of other last names are in Florida. My Mom is still nearby in Battle Creek along with a couple brothers. I visit Kalamazoo a couple times a year at family get-togethers.

  12. I hope to make it to Kalamazoo some time to see this wonderful collection. It seems more and more historical newspapers are becoming digitized. I've started a new archive that links to a variety of these, https://sites.google.com/site/cryptoarchive/. My main focus is on marine creatures and African dinosaurs. Did Ivan keep any kind of written bibliography of his clippings or journals? It would be nice to see if some have already been digitized.



    1. A). you're always welcome to visit the archive. I just need plenty of warning.

      B). to my knowledge Ivan was not interested enough to keep up with things like bibliographies, even though he felt that they were important --- I think that his yearning for the adventure plus his later failing health truncated any grand schemes along these lines.