Lake Worth Monster Bash

Cryptomundo - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 7:47pm
This Saturday, October 4th, from 10 am to 2 pm, the Fort Worth Nature Center is celebrating the 45th anniversary Lake Worth Monster Bash.
Categories: Fortean

Monsters Underground Moves Back to Destination America

Cryptomundo - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 5:23pm
The traveling saga of Monsters Underground continues. Initially set to">premiere on Destination America on August 22, only to be taken off the schedule only days before the premiere. The show then premiered on the Discovery Channel on September 4th but was not on the schedule after the first two episodes, Volcano Cavern Olitiau and Graveyard Gulch Mapinguari, aired. Now Swamp Monsters Moves Back to Destination America...
Categories: Fortean

But ... how?

Michael Prescott - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 5:20pm

My post on Michael Shermer's anomalous experience has prompted the question: how can "the other side" possibly coordinate such episodes? What is the method?

I don't pretend to have any kind of definitive answer to this question. But I can hazard a couple of guesses, at least in regard to an experience of my own.

Shortly after my mother passed away, I was talking to myself out loud – a habit of mine – and I said (paraphrasing from memory), "I think life after death can be proven by the standards of civil court, even if not by the standards of criminal court. In other words, it can be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, even if not beyond reasonable doubt."

A couple of hours later, I had to change the batteries in my TV's remote control. To see if the new batteries worked, I used the remote to turn on the TV. I had no idea what channel would come on or what programming might be scheduled for that time of day. The show that appeared was a soap opera, and the first words I heard were those of an actor portraying an attorney. He was telling his client that there's a difference between the standards of evidence in civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, you need to prove your case only by a preponderance of the evidence, while in criminal court, you must prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt …

Although this could, of course, be dismissed as a chance coincidence, I found it very meaningful. Other anomalous events occurred during the same period.

But how could it possibly work? Are we supposed to believe that the "spirits" arranged for the television show to feature that particular dialogue exchange at precisely that moment?

Well, here are two notions about how it might have happened. The first does not involve "spirits" at all. It's simply a matter of psi – in this case, premonition. If I had a subconscious premonition that I was going to see that dialogue exchange in a couple of hours, it might have filtered through my subconscious and emerged as a thought about life after death, a subject that was very much on my mind anyway.

The second possible explanation is similar, but it involves "the other side." Here we have to assume that those who have crossed over can see at least a little bit into the future. Personally, I think that our whole idea of the "present moment" needs to be revised somewhat. It appears that most people have at least a subliminal impression of events that will happen one or two seconds in the future. What we think of as "the present" may be a somewhat elastic bubble of time encompassing the immediate past and the immediate future – perhaps a total of two or three seconds in all. Though we are consciously aware only of this immediate split second, on an unconscious or subliminal level we seem to be aware of more than that.

Conceivably, those who have crossed over have an expanded bubble of time and can see an hour or two into the future. I doubt they can see much further; long-term projections made by those on the other side seem to be generally inaccurate. But shorter term predictions may be more reliable. After all, there is no shortage of people who say that they received a supernatural nudge or warning that saved them from danger a few seconds, a few minutes, or even a couple of hours later. As just one example, the writer Dean Koontz has said* that he received a mysterious phone call the day before his mentally ill father attacked him with a kitchen knife. The phone call consisted of the warning "Be careful of your father," and the voice on the line sounded like that of his dead mother.

If we assume that those on the other side can see a little bit into the future, then we might imagine that somebody knew I was going to overhear those particular lines of dialogue on the soap opera later that day. Then it would be, perhaps, not an impossible task to subtly inject the same line of thought into my subconscious and prod it in the direction of conscious awareness.

Notice that in neither of these cases would it be necessary to actually affect the content of the television show itself. It's a matter of anticipating that I would happen to see that part of the show, and then using this random event as the basis for a synchronicity.

I realize that this conjecture does not answer the question of how Michael Shermer's radio could have suddenly started playing when it was apparently completely inoperable. Truthfully, I have no idea. I do recall reading an account of an EVP researcher who disabled a radio for a public demonstration and then received apparent communications over it, even though the device should have been rendered useless. But I haven't been able to track down the story online. And even if I could find it, it wouldn't explain the mechanism that was used. Conceivably, some kind of ability to directly influence the electromagnetic spectrum (as may have been the case in Koontz's phone call and other "phone calls from the dead") could be involved.


* The relevant comments by Koontz are found in the fourth-to-last paragraph of the linked article.

Categories: Fortean

Delivery Drivers Witness a Yowie in the Dead of Night

Cryptomundo - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 3:26pm
Driving North between Broken Hill and Tibooburra, two delivery drivers witness a Yowie on the side of the Silver City Highway in the dead of night. The reported the incident to Police.
Categories: Fortean

Arcane Radio: Searching for “Champ” with Katy Elizabeth

Cryptomundo - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:40pm
Lon and Sean take you to Lake Champlain, home of the legendary Champ lake monster. Joining us is Cryptozoologist Katy Elizabeth, member of Champ Search, to discuss her research, the monster, and her new book. Champ Search Website
Categories: Fortean

Update: Photo of Sasquatch Watching a Passing Train

Cryptomundo - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:29pm
Yesterday evening, I had come home to see this interesting picture posted on the Coast 2 Coast website, depicting what appeared to be a Sasquatch observing a train as it passed. Well if it is a train, it must have been moving awfully slow. The other thing that struck me as oddly familiar and not in a good way, mainly the nose.
Categories: Fortean

Update: 2014 Original Texas Bigfoot Conference

Cryptomundo - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 7:02pm
Update: Rob Riggs, author of In The Big Thicket: On The Trail of the Wild Man, Weird Texas and Bigfoot: Exploring the Myth & Discovering the Truth has been added to the speaker lineup!
Categories: Fortean

The Mothman Festival: Reviewed

Cryptomundo - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 5:12pm
"Last weekend I attended, and spoke at, the annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. After no less than a 19-hour drive (with Cryptomundo’s Craig Woolheater), I got into town around 4.00 p.m., Friday afternoon."
Categories: Fortean

Sasquatch Game Cam Photo from Pennsylvania?

Cryptomundo - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 2:47pm
A man in Pennslyvania sent us a game cam photo of what he believes to be a Sasquatch..You decide.
Categories: Fortean

Photo of Sasquatch Watching a Passing Train

Cryptomundo - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 12:13pm
From Coast to Coast AM: In our Photo of the Day, Ricky B. shares a cell phone image of a possible Sasquatch creature (enlarged on right), as taken from a train in Idaho. What is your take on the photo?
Categories: Fortean

Bigfoot Takes A Swim?

Cryptomundo - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 1:34am
He says he was out of town for a couple weeks and when he got back his pool was a mess. According to John there was algae growth all over the bottom of the pool. When he got in to vacuum the pool he found these footprints. At first he just assumed that someone had taken a swim in his pool when he was out of town. Which was irritating but he didn't think to much of it other than not wanting to be liable for someone drowning when he was gone. But when he went to turn on the filter to run the vacuum he found a bunch of grey and brown hair in the filter. This is when he realized that whatever was in his pool was hairy.
Categories: Fortean

Ripping it up, part two

Michael Prescott - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 8:09pm

In a recent post I discussed the much-hyped news that the identity of Jack the Ripper had finally been revealed via DNA analysis of an old shawl purportedly found at one of the murder scenes. I also discussed objections raised by so-called "ripperologists" – dedicated aficionados of the unsolved Ripper murders, who have learned to be skeptical about such revelations.

Since then, I've had the opportunity to read the book that started all the commotion, Naming Jack the Ripper, by Russell Edwards. The book clears up a number of things, but it also raises more questions, leaving the story as yet unresolved.

Those who are interested in getting into the controversy in depth are advised to check out this ever-growing thread at the website, dedicated to ripperology. At last count, the thread had grown to more than 4,200 comments, all pertaining to Edwards' claims and possible counterarguments. Naturally I can't cover all that detailed material here. What I'd like to do is focus on two specific facts, one of which may help substantiate Edwards' theory, and another that may cause problems for it.

One of the biggest obstacles to the acceptance of Edwards' ideas is the provenance of the shawl itself. Did it actually come from one of the Ripper crime scenes? Ripper experts have expressed doubt because no such item was reported by the police. In his book, Edwards includes a list of all items found on the person of Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes, the woman who is said to have been found with the shawl. No shawl is mentioned. But he then adds a quote from "a press report in the East London Observer," which said: "Her dress was made of green chintz, the pattern consisting of Michaelmas daisies." He adds that other periodicals repeated this detail.

The disputed shawl, which is about eight feet long, has a pattern of Michaelmas daisies. Now, a shawl is not a dress. But in the confusion and darkness of the crime scene, when the police were doing their best to keep onlookers back, it's at least possible that a reporter glimpsed the shawl covering part of Eddowes' body and mistook it for a dress. If it was indeed the same item, then its absence from the official list would indicate that it disappeared somewhere between the crime scene and the mortuary.

According to family lore associated with the shawl, Acting Sgt. Amos Simpson of the Metropolitan Police Department was allowed to take the shawl with him to give to his wife, a dressmaker. When I first heard this, I was extremely skeptical that the police would be so lax in their procedures as to allow a potentially vital piece of evidence to be carried off. But one of the commenters at the Casebook site made the point that in those days, the clothing of murder victims was routinely burned; after all, given the primitive forensic techniques of the day, there was no way to extract any useful evidence from such items. If this is true – and it sounds right – then it is conceivable that the police did allow this rather valuable piece of fabric to be salvaged rather than burned. The shawl was of good quality, stained with an expensive dye apparently made from natural materials. It's easy to think that someone would prefer to see it in the hands of a dressmaker than simply consigned to the furnace. It's also not impossible that Sgt. Simpson's wife, upon receiving the shawl, declared that she wanted nothing to do with the gory, bloodstained garment.

Crucial to Edwards' case is the idea that the shawl was not laundered in all the years that it remained in the family's possession. How plausible is this? As it turns out, it's quite believable. The primitive blue dye used on the shawl would have bled and washed away if it became wet. Accordingly, the only way to clean the shawl was to beat it like a rug and air it out. It would not have been washed — indeed, it could not have been washed, because if it had been, the dye (still very much visible) would have come off. Apparently it was never cleaned at all, just stuffed away in a storage container — a lucky break, inasmuch as it retained DNA that would otherwise have been lost.

So far, so good. There are other issues involving the provenance of the shawl, such as Simpson's presence at the crime scene that night when his normal jurisdiction was miles away. Edwards suggests possible scenarios that seem reasonably plausible to me, but which strike many of the Casebook people as unpersuasive. I'm not going to go into all that.

What I do want to cover is the biggest potential problem with Edwards' case that I've come across so far. It involves the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis performed on the bloodstains visible on the shawl. Edwards reports excitedly (he has a tendency to get a bit worked up) that a segment of mtDNA from the blood matched that of a matrolineal descendant of Catherine Eddowes, and that it

had a sequence of variation which gave a match with the mtDNA of [Eddowes' descendant] Karen Miller only and did not match any of the other control samples. The variation is known as a Global Private Mutation, a rare gene variation that is usually found only in a single family or a small population. According to the database of the Institute of Legal Medicine and based on the latest information available, the variation that both Karen's DNA and the DNA from the bloodstains on the shawl shared has a frequency estimate of only 0.000003506, in other words, it is present in only 1 in 290,000 of the world's population.

To put the genetic variation discovery into context, it means that as the United Kingdom currently has a population of around 63,750,000, Karen Miller is one of only around 223 people in the country who possesses this genetic variation. If that ratio was the same back in 1888, when the UK population would have stood at about 36,000,000, Catherine Eddowes, whose blood (also containing that variation) appears to be on the shawl, would have been only one of about 136 people in the country with that variation. [pp. 203, 204; italics in original]

He goes on to estimate that Eddowes would have been one of no more than a dozen people in London to fit this profile at the time.

This is strong stuff. If indeed the blood on the shawl can be narrowed down to only twelve people, one of whom is a known Ripper victim, it would be pretty conclusive evidence that the shawl was originally found on or with her body, however it ultimately came to be removed.

But the devil is in the details. The DNA expert who conducted these tests wrote his own report, in which he stated

One of these amplified mtDNA segments had a sequence variation which gave a match between one of the shawl samples and Karen Miller's DNA only; i.e. the DNA sequence retrieved from the shawl did not match with control reference sequences. This DNA alteration is known as global private mutation (314.1C) and it is not very common in worldwide population, as it has frequency estimate of 0.000003506, i.e. approximately 1/290,000. [p. 205]

But here's the thing. A couple of the dedicated ripperologists on Casebook looked into mutation 314.1C and found that it seems to be merely a variant nomenclature for mutation 315.1C — and 315.1C is not uncommon at all. Far from being a rare mutation confined to a relative handful of people, 315.1C is distributed throughout 99.2% of the population!

As the online investigator who tracked down this discrepancy wrote,

It appears that something has gone badly wrong with the analysis here, and obviously the quoted figure of 1 in 290,000 can't be accepted without further explanation.

As of now, that's where the matter stands. If 314.1C really is identical to 315.1C in all but name, and if 315.1C is common to nearly all of us, then the "global private mutation" does not narrow the field at all, and the claimed identification of the sample with Eddowes is on much shakier ground (though at least she is not ruled out).

There are other questions pertaining to the analysis of skin cells purportedly matching the Ripper suspect, Aaron Kosminski, but for me, the 314.1C thing is the biggest issue right now. It is hard to believe that a distinguished DNA expert could make a mistake so elementary that non-experts could catch it simply by Googling the relevant term. On the other hand, there seems to be no getting around the fact that 314.1C and 315.1C are one and the same sequence.

Until this is cleared up, the status of Edwards' ballyhooed "discovery" remains in doubt. And old Red Jack continues to mock us all ...

And hey, if you've read this far, you may be interested enough in the Ripper to read my novel about a modern-day connection to the case:

Categories: Fortean

What About Stacy Brown’s Skunk Ape Arm?

Cryptomundo - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 8:09pm
Well, Stacy Brown's Unknown Primate Arm was written off as an alligator leg. But is that the real story?
Categories: Fortean

Update: More Survivorman Bigfoot Episodes

Cryptomundo - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 3:45pm
Latest update from Les Stroud regarding the new Survivorman Bigfoot episodes he is filming
Categories: Fortean

Talking Bigfoot in Texas

Cryptomundo - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 12:53pm
Categories: Fortean

Exclusive Exists Clip

Cryptomundo - Mon, 29/09/2014 - 12:28pm
Tell me you don't want to see ‪#‎Exists‬ after watching this..Eduardo Sanchez
Categories: Fortean

Alaskan Saberwolf Attack

Cryptomundo - Sun, 28/09/2014 - 5:25pm
According to legend, a gigantic wolf-like creature rumored to once inhabit the Headless Valley in the Yukon has migrated west and brought along his decapitating bite with him. These two men attempt to fight off an attack.
Categories: Fortean

Monsterific Interview of Exists‘ Director Eduardo Sanchez

Cryptomundo - Sun, 28/09/2014 - 2:17pm
Welcome to episode twenty-four of Igor's Lab Monsterific Podcast. This week Jason and I speak with writer/director Eduardo Sanchez. We talk for a while about The Blair Witch Project, his newest found footage film Exists and more.
Categories: Fortean

Saberwolf and Bigfoot Oh My!

Cryptomundo - Sat, 27/09/2014 - 8:52pm
The team investigates reports of a massive wolf that folklore claims has the ability to bite off the heads of its unsuspecting victims. But while looking for the elusive creature they come across another big legend... Bigfoot.
Categories: Fortean

Searching for Sasquatch

Cryptomundo - Sat, 27/09/2014 - 5:42pm
One club's 25-year quest around a B.C. resort town Every few weeks, members of the B.C. Scientific Cryptozoology Club head into the wooded hills around this resort town – pins on their backpacks reading “Sasquatch research” – looking for proof of something that few people think is there. For a quarter century, the club’s hobbyists, scientists and other laymen have passed through Harrison Hot Springs and continued the search they have mounted for longer than any other group in Canada.
Categories: Fortean