Thursday, June 28, 2012

Return to Action, I Think. (And a shameless plug).

Hello folks, after a hiatus of two weeks. Even though I was back in Michigan for a while, there was no time to get deeply involved with any reading and therefore nothing much that I could rationalize presenting to you. I don't have much of anything today either except "news". But I'm using that as an excuse to get started again, and give warning that the blog may become more frequent again.

The main news involves "The Book". The cover is above. And what's new is that it is at the printer. Depending on the "place in line" The 600-page [or thereabouts] beast should be seeing the light of day by the end of the month of July or sooner. You could check Patrick's website at Anomalist Books to get the latest.

For those who don't know: this thing began as a dream of several veteran UFO historians [you'll recognize Barry Greenwood, VJ Ballester Olmos, Clas Svahn, Bill Chalker, Jan Aldrich, and insider MUFONers might well know Robert Powell and Steve Purcell. Bill Murphy also worked a lot with the book, as did Richard Thieme. Jerry Clark wrote the Foreword. Patrick Huyghe, great friend of UFOlogy and anomalies in general, is our publisher. Hopefully Patrick will get enough sales to break even on this production. If he does, he'll be the only one who makes anything from it. As usual, we UFO stiffs work for love.

We wanted to break an ugly unhelpful UFO tradition and work on this as a team, recognized as a team, and everyone's name [Bill Murphy said that he did not feel comfortable with the publicity so he is the exception, and we honor him] on the cover. We ARE "The UFO History Team" and this book is our accumulative product. My name's first on this --- I couldn't come up with any counterarguments --- because I wrote the majority of the chapters. Even though true, I could not have done this job without the other guys, nor without Loren Gross' monumental run of History Chronicles to set a skeletal matrix. We proudly dedicate the book to Loren, one of the great unsung UFOlogists [and one of its nicest people].

The book begins with WW2 and goes on to the Ghost Rockets era, and into the big sweep of military and intelligence community involvement through Colorado/Condon and somewhat beyond. The difference is that this story is told almost in its entirety from the "inside documents" of the military. It gives you the opportunity to see what was going on with the guys who were making the decisions, what they were trying to cope with, what they were worried about, why they brutally man-handled Truth and gave us the strange world that we live in today: one of the most robust mysteries ever, yet one which is thoroughly "forbidden" to do serious work upon. We also have three of the world's best to tell you how their countries handled it, and we take smaller focussed peeks into several other nation's activities. The book ends with massive indices, including copies of several of the most significant documents from the text.

Even though I wrote a lot of this, let me be the first to say that there will be mistakes that we, and I, made. This was a huge effort, and we really do not have a foundational history guide to "polish up". This was close to uncultivated ground. How many little details to get accurate? 60,000? We're going to mess up. We tried to reduce speculation beyond the documents to a bare minimum. Still, some will object that we got it wrong. That's history. We're tossing a rather large stone into the pond and the future can re-write its message as appropriate. On the other hand: I like this book very much. For me, it explains almost all of our government's heavy-handed actions over the Blue Book years. I hope that you folks will like it too.

... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Other than that: The SITU archives are in better shape, and were even visited by an old SITU member who wanted to talk about the wonders of upper Michigan and also read the "BOZO" notebooks of Ivan, as a relative of his had seen the Minnesota Iceman "in person". So we did some good there.

My goal for the blog in the near future is to tackle the issue of whether there are any useful UFO pictures, drawing as usual on my own files, as I have shipped that case category here to Wheeling. I do not know if this will be interesting to you or me --- I just dive into these things and see what happens. I've also stumbled across an old journal article [from one of those old magazines I saved from disuse by buying them from the local Old Book Shop] on the interaction of humans with elephants in North America pre-Columbus. I brought my own file on this with me from Kalamazoo, so may be able to make a good post on that once I get organized. This could take a few days. The third floor apartment here was not being cooled, and I was hit with 93 degrees when I walked in a moment ago. My air conditioner is one step up from a piece of junk, so it will take a few days probably for this space to be workable.

In fact, with sweat dripping onto the keyboard, I'll stop.

Get back to you soon.  Hopefully.

Friday, June 15, 2012

TRICKSTER, or just a Fool?

This is a brief thing that I'm going to apologize for first off. I had a, to me anyway, mysterious thing occur, which resembles on the first glance a "trickster" event. Now these are things that happen to other members of my family --- members who are VERY careful about how they evaluate things --- but do not happen to me. Yes, I had a very nice CE1 UFO incident once, but UFOs are denizens of this common old physical universe [most of them] and don't count as paranormal. So my feeling about this story I'm about to relate is: I'm probably wrong and don't know what I'm talking about. But here goes nothing....

Long ago I broke the band on my watch, which was OK by me since I didn't like it on my wrist anyway. I just carried it around in my pocket [it's on the right of the picture above]. On June 7th I went to my quarterly doctor's appointment, and before going in, since my back was feeling a bit "out", I lay down on the lawn and "popped" it. After the appointment was over and I was back home, while unloading my pockets I saw that my watch was not there [and I had dutifully loaded it pre-visit]. Well, I went through the normal routine anyone would --- checking all pockets everywhere multiple times, looking microscopically through the whole area where it would normally be lying on the kitchen counter [multiple times], checking my "soft" chair and even the bed [in case I had lain there a bit before], etc etc. Coming up empty over and over, I thought that it probably had dropped out during the back popping, or in the MDs office somehow, or in the cab. It was likely a lost cause.

On Monday June 11th I went shopping with a friend, and the watch not having appeared either in the pants or shirt pockets or on the kitchen counter in those four days, I decided to take the opportunity and buy another watch [the one on the left of the picture above --- $14, cheap.]

On Thursday June 14th, as I was getting ready to go to lunch with friends and was beginning to fill my pockets ..... there was the old watch just sitting there completely in the open view on the countertop exactly where it should have been all along. This was one of those surreal moments where just for a second you believe that what you are seeing is impossible, so you must not be seeing it. But there the thing was. And there they both are as you can see in the picture.

I've been trying to imagine a sequence of events wherein this was just all a mistake. I searched that countertop a lot and thoroughly. I searched those clothing pockets many times. I filled the same pocket that I always stow the watch in several times and unloaded it in the meantime. I can't come up with a mundane pattern-of-action. To have happened without some "tricky help", that watch would have had to become sequestered in some twisted way down in the pants pocket such that multiple intent searchings did not sense any odd lumps to give away its presence and this continued for several days actions until the thing finally unravelled out of its astonishingly successful stealth cave at the bottom of a pocket, and I unconsciously unloaded it and other things on robot control. Then there it was later, where it should be. Frankly having lived through the searchings, I don't believe a word of that.

But things like this don't happen to me, so ....

Go away and mess with some other folks. You just cost me fourteen bucks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

ICEWATER SERPENT?: Out in the Cold in Iceland.

Ok, some things occasionally grow bigger than they're supposed to. But how much bigger could a freak growth be? That is one of cryptozoology's main conundrums which it often faces. Although the science is pretty definite that we are not going to be seeing giant ants like in the movie THEM anywhere but the cinema, how big could some worm or snake grow?

Many of you will already have seen this recent thing about a "giant worm" in Iceland. Doubtless the internet is swarming with speculation by now. But if you haven't, I'll give you a peek for what it's worth. The story was ignited by the filming of an Icelandic farmer of a strange shape that he saw in a "lake" [I think that this body of water is actually directly connected to the ocean]. That particular lake has had a reputation of having a serpentine monster, so the story had more flavor than usual.

The farmer saw this thing out of his window and began filming. I believe that the story is that he went outside then to get closer for better shots. What I'll do here is let you get an impression of the "thing" as you get closer to it.

As you can see, this "form", whatever it is, stays under the surface for the whole sequence --- it would have been EXTREMELY "handy" if it had broken the surface sometime. The fact that it didn't puts the alternative hypothesis of this being an unusual looking formation of a semi-solid boundary between thin ice sheets in a very strong position. In fact, I would not consider this very mysterious at all, were it not for two facts: 1). The farmer thought that this was quite unusual. To his eye [the best piece of optics in this story], the "thing" was indeed a Thing, and not just riven/slashed ice in a semi-solid lake surface. The fact that this farmer has been looking at this lake his whole life makes one believe that this was at least very unusual. 2). The farmer described the Thing as having a serpentine motion as it "swam". Well, my preference for crediting witness testimony [especially "expert" testimony, as this is a man whose is more experienced in looking at this lake than anybody], makes me pause and say: "Maybe, at least".

As usual, this incident needs a serious field investigation, not just the surface newsy interview of the ABC reporter. Example: How did the thing "go away"? Why did the farmer stop filming? If the form just "breaks up" eventually, the odd slash in the ice theory is THE theory. Once again, "news and entertainment" triumphs over the search for answers.

As mentioned, one of the reasons why this story had flavor is that it possibly melded into the local traditions that this lake had a formidable serpentine monster: The Lagarfljotsormur or Lagarfljotsormurinn, or alternatively, The Skrimsl. The local historian produced the 16th century map above which showed the elongated N/S "lake" to the middle right, with an old inscription saying that in this lake dwelt a giant serpent. So we know the legend stretches back into the Renaissance period, and therefore probably earlier. The cryptozoologist encyclopedist par excellence, George Eberhart, informs us that an early mention of the monster comes to us from 1345. Other sightings have been recorded from 1749, 1750, 1819, and a recent one in 1998. For some mysterious reason Arthur C. Clarke became interested in this legend and wrote to the Icelandic Museum of Natural History about their views. Well, you can imagine what members of that bastion of the establishment felt like saying back to another establishment giant. They issued Clarke a "very vinegary response" that all these sightings have ever been were floating tree limbs et al. Doubtless they had observed that "scientifically" themselves, including time-traveling to 1345 to get the early one. But, what-the-heck, they MAY be right. It's just that they have no right to say so absolutely nor authoritatively.

The Lagarfljotsormur or Skrimsl has been described as a 40'+ serpentine creature with a 6' neck, whiskered face and a long thinner tail. It is supposedly pale-colored. As you can read/see our recent film doesn't match this very well --- maybe it's a baby Skrimsl. The big fellow DID swim with undulations like a snake though so there's at least something in common. Allegedly there is a photograph from the 1998 sighting though I've not seen it.

Somewhere in my research files I have a huge list of sightings of things like this from Gary Mangiacopra, but wouldn't you know it?, it's one of the few basic resources that is still back in West Virginia. So, I'll have to leave the background information as it is. Doubtless many others know more.

Because there was that 16th century Icelandic map which showed the lake with the inscription about its sea serpent, I wondered if that great purveyor of anomalistic map information, Olaus Magnus, had it on his Carta Marina. ..... but I can't find it there. He does have something non-sea-serpentry though.

Up in the upper right corner he pictures some sort of mountain troll, apparently, sawing away on a fiddle, and attracting sea creatures, two of which could possibly be serpentine. Also, there is the mysterious [?] "Criptoporticus" caves burrowed into the hills with no further clues as to their meaning. Troll homes? Well, it is at least fun to think about. This line of "thought" somewhat interests me for several reasons: 1). Iceland is frequently in the news because of stories about their local faeries/trolls and the bad "luck" one might incur if you mess with them; 2). as readers of this blog know, I tend to lean towards a paranormal hypothesis about the better witnessed lake monster situations; and 3). on the ABC news brief, the commentator asked a local biologist what he believed about the Lagarfljotsormur, and the fellow said that he did not believe that it could be a physical monster, because there wasn't enough food supply. The commentator followed on with a single comment about fish, but never picked up on why the fellow said "physical" with a bit of emphasis. It could have been true that the local biologist thought that the thing was real, but NOT "physical". And that would be quite within Icelandic traditions.

Do we have "trolls"/ faerie in Iceland? Icelanders sure think so. And Olaus Magnus may have too. In the nearby Greenland area of the map, he might be picturing a confrontation between a Greenlander and a shorter troll man. Did Lagarfljotsormur have anything to do with them? Maybe. Did they have anything to do with this latest film? I think that the odds are against it, but at least the story brought back up the mystery of that area, and it's possible paranormal connections.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CUFOS-Michigan: Where all "Things" are Welcome.

Since I gave a status quo on the SITU archives the other day, it seemed [possibly] useful to follow that with a visual description of the archive [my own] with which it temporarily resides. Some researchers could possibly find that the co-location of these two resources was valuable to their investigations. I'll be brief, folks --- I know that this is like showing guests slides of one's vacation.

All this is in the basement of my home. The three tan-colored filing cabinets are those case files that I'm always complaining about being in Michigan when I am in West Virginia. They are broken down by sighting type, CE1s, Radar, CE3s, the different forms of CE2s, etc, and color-coded for orderliness of refiling. The gray cabinet has rare journals, some APRO cases, and the bottom two drawers are McDonald papers. Above the cabinets is a set of Loren Gross' history monographs [extremely useful]. Hidden under them is a complete run of FATE, just for fun. Through the door is the Inner Anomalies Library, nicknamed for George Eberhart.

Stepping to the door of that inner library. The cabinets on the right are for correspondence, topical files, NICAP and CSI-NY files, year-by-year news story files, FOIA, and Allen Hynek materials. The library shelves in this direction are for cryptozoology, Corliss books, and a variety of paranormal/ psychic topics. Place is almost always a working mess.

Looking from within at the other main wall shelves: This is for UFO books and documents mainly with some specially constructed topical files [examples would be "angelhair cases", "Robertson panel", HUMCAT, JAllen Hynek personal books, Ted Bloecher files, Howard McCoy materials]. There is a shelving unit dedicated to Archaeoastronomy, Lost Continents, Historical Arthur, Megaliths, et al.

The last of the shelving walls: Here reside the UFO journals mainly. All of CUFOS, NICAP, APRO, FSR, all of the non-recent MUFON, and the non-US best journals. This, far beyond the books, is the backbone of any researcher's facility, as here reside the actual cases which comprise the phenomenon. You are at least one step closer to actual encounters when reading journals rather than books. There's also a SETI section down below.

We're back outside the inner library now. The notebooks that you see and the boxes on the floor are the John Timmerman files from which Grass-Roots UFOs was written. Thank goodness John was able to get someone to type out transcripts of all his audiotapes or I'd never have done the work of writing them up for him.

The blue filing cabinet contains, in its top two drawers, the Edward Ruppelt files. Sacred Ground there. In the bottom two drawers are Colorado [Condon] Project archives. The shelving unit alongside contains a mix of journals [some worthwhile] and the Paul McCarthy files for his PhD thesis on James McDonald. To the left you see boxes full of extra PURSUITs which mainly will have to be culled from the SITU collection [we'll keep maybe 8-10 copies each].

The four cabinets to the left are the George Hunt Williamson archives; the one to the right is a personal mixed anomalies file cabinet. I decided to preserve Williamson's material because he is by far the most interesting/creative of the alleged "contactees". The fact that I rarely believe a word of what he's claiming is irrelevant to the scholarly historical process. And, it's a continual rock-&-roll hoot to read these.

Last picture [I AM trying to be brief :-) : This is the AV room. I don't spend much time in here anymore as that sort of thing takes so much time. But treasures abound in here. One is that set of similar-looking videocassettes you see strung across the middle back shelf. That's Tom Tulien's terrific Oral History video project --- mostly important witnesses, with a sprinkling of UFO research vets. Some very interesting "antique" audiotapes also reside here, including ancient reel-to-reel things from Hynek and NICAP. Fortunately that reel-to-reel player you see is in pretty good condition.

I'm stopping now... bored you long enough. What you've seen is what I feel some duty to pass on.

Now back to trying to relax...  till next time.

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.