Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

31 May 2008

You don't find monsters, monsters find YOU.

Okay, I'll admit I'm guilty of watching MonsterQuest and Destination Truth, as well as any other Cryptozoological or paranormal themed show from time to time. And while I don't pretend to be an expert tracker or all-knowing authority on how to conduct a scientific expedition, some of what I see just strikes me as wrong. If we consider what we know about extant animals, what we THINK we know about certain cryptids, and the historical accounts of paranormal events, my personal thoughts are that some of today's seekers of weirdness are off base.
Whether we're talking about a BF encounter, a run-in with another cryptid, a pesky poltergeist, a UFO/alien incident, or any other Fortean event, the fact is that such things are rare. They happen to the unprepared, the bystander, the person minding their own business. Some soul walking in the woods, a driver on a deserted stretch of country road, or (even more rarely) a town full of mystified onlookers.
IOW, such events can't be predicted, they can't be coaxed into happening, you can't make them come to you.
If BF is an undiscovered primate, he's an undiscovered NEW WORLD primate. He doesn't speak gibbon or gorilla, so blasting calls of creatures from the other side of the world are more likely to spook than attract. Same goes for scent "lures". Pheremones are species-specific, a 'possum in heat isn't going to draw rabbits. And yes, BF and certain other cryptids do seem to display some curiousity, but they also shun man and remain notoriously elusive. I seriously doubt that hanging CDs from branches to sway in the breeze is going to draw one in. (Isn't this same trick used to DRIVE AWAY deer, birds, and garden pests?)
And, given most creatures sense of smell, is it REALLY a good idea to plant trail cams all over the woods, spreading human scents far and wide?
Next: My Tips for Finding the Unusual

25 May 2008

Bigfoot Must Die!

Sorry if I disturbed any easily upset bleeding heart tree hugging animal rights hippies out there. And personally, I've got nothing against the big guy. It's just that I've been thinking about the whole uproar over the M.K. Davis affair, the newly enhanced Patterson film, and the constant cry from the sceptics of "Show me a body!".
Face it, that's the ONLY thing that's going to convince some people. While researchers get excited over the History Channel DNA findings, or new evidence linking Bigfoot behaviour to known primate behaviour, the "Legitimate Scientific Community" and the public at large are still crying for blood. (actually, they want more than blood, don't they? Bigfoot blood is old news). Nope. Somebody's got to leave the cave, kill one, and bring it home.
BF is too big, too smart, and too elusive to trap. Heck, they (or somebody) even destroy the camera traps people have set up.
Nope, science needs a corpse.
But how to get one? As I pointed out before, there are plenty of cases of BFs being shot, or shot at. And then there's the matter of certain states declaring BF a protective species (doesn't a species have to exist to be protected?)
And there's another sticky problem: what if BF really is human? If someone kills a BF, and it is discovered post mortem that BF is "us", would that result in a charge or conviction?
And, worst case scenario: the BF turns out to be a prankster in a suit. That's one case I'd really like to watch. Did the shooter have any way of knowing? Should the shooter have known better? (since BF "don't exist") Could the shooter persuade a jury that he really was in fear for his life? Would the entire "Bigfoot Community" be blamed by the media for promoting the belief that a large, hairy, unclassified primate is out there somewhere?
I sugggest a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 Gov't, loaded with Buffalo Bore or Garrett ammo, and a piercing cry of "IT'S COMING RIGHT AT US!!"

24 May 2008

M.K. Davis and the Patterson Film Controversy...

Okay, unless you've been out in the Gobi searching for the Mongolian Death Worm, or in the heart of the Congo seeking out Mokele Mbembe, you're aware of the uproar over M.K.Davis's announcement at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, and the internet buzz regarding "The Bluff Creek Massacre"(and coverup), "Patty was shot" (or shot at), "Patty is human", "Patty had a braid" and whatever else has popped up in the last few minutes.
Since everybody else in the cryptozoology/bigfoot community has been chiming in, choosing sides, and taking shots, I'm sure you're all wondering what my take is.
Let me clarify that I wasn't at the conference. All the info I have is secondhand. I don't know Davis or any of the others involved. I don't have a dawg in this race or any axes to grind.
First: The whole Bluff Creek Massacre. The jury's still out as far as I'm concerned. I haven't seen one bit of supportave evidence. Did it happen? Could it have happened? Are/were those involved the kind of people who could wipe out an entire clan, discover that they had just killed a family of humans, keep the whole incident quiet and cover it up for fifty freakin' years? I doubt it, and even if it did happen, it doesn't really effect present-dat cryptozoology, does it? I'll leave that whole matter to the cryptozoological equivalent of Oliver Stone or the Warren Commission.
Second: Was Patty shot? No. No. No. After watching the enhanced footage time and again, I see nothing to indicate a shot. (unless the Patterson party was packing Daisy Red Ryder BB guns, even then, the "bullet wound" and the creature's reaction just don't bear it out) Anyone who thinks Patty was shot in the leg while being filmed obviously has never shot anything. A shot from even a .22cal rifle would evoke a more serious reaction, even from a Sasquatch-sized creature.
Third: Does Patty have a ponytail or braid? From what I've seen, my opinion is that it's a case of seeing what one wants to see. It could be a braid or ponytail, it could also be a length of darker colored hair, similar to the "marked hominids". Hey, some people look at the P/G film and see an actual creature, and some look at the same film and see a guy in a suit.
And finally, the "Declaration" that Patty was human. I'm sorry, but there's just no way to make such a statement based on the film.
In closing, to give credit where it's due, Davis's work at enhancing and stabilizing the film should be recognized for the great work that it is. The time and dedication devoted to this project alone should be recognized and respected by the "community".

18 May 2008

Expedition plans and group rivalry...

Remember my previous post about rivalry and competition? I'm trying to plan an expedition later this summer, but it's apparently in some "paranormal investigation" group's territory. I'm trying to make contact, share information and techniques, maybe plan for some joint action and cooperation. But, thus far I've recieved no replies.
Plus, this particular group published the details of their latest expedition on their site. Evidently, their idea of research is going out to the woods, having a loud, big-ass all night party, and seeing if the "psychics" in the group can detect the presence of sasquatch.
I still plan to go with or without their cooperation, but I fear their antics may have cooled off a possible hot spot.

Busy weekend

Added a pair of Optronics remote controlled spotlights to the Commander this weekend. The vacuum attachments have held up so far (no drilling!). They've stayed put at 70mph. But running the power and remote cables was a bitch. Gotta figure out how I'm going to mount the monitor and remote multiple camera system next. I'll call it the "Roadkill Cam".

14 May 2008

I Bet THIS Takes Care of Those Armadillos!

Seems that The South is now poised for an invasion of pythons. There are an estimated 30,000 of 'em in the Everglades, smack dab in Skunk Ape territory. Do I smell a Sci-Fi Channel movie here?
Now if only we could introduce some giant anteaters to deal with the fire ants!
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355104,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/naturalscience

11 May 2008

In Praise of the Glock 20


Okay, I'm a firearms enthusiast. There was a time when one could use the term "gun nut" without risking a federal investigation, but those days are long gone.

I won't get into the debate of whether a cryptid should be killed (just yet). But when I venture into the deep woods, I'm packing some heat. In addition to monsters, there are more mundane (and arguably more dangerous) threats out there.

Depending on one's area of operations, the risk of encountering a dangerous animal will vary. If your out looking for a phantom black panther or alien big cat, an indigenous puma or mountain lion may just be looking for you. Not to mention the ubiquitous snakes, and in some areas, bears.

Plus, there's always the risk of encountering the most dangerous predator of all, man. While moonshining isn't the big business it once was, today, a more likely threat stems from the pot growers and meth lab operators. Hunters and forest rangers are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers these criminal types pose. From armed guards to deadly booby traps, the backwoods explorer faces a real danger from a predator of the two-legged variety.

My "piece of mind" is usually in the form of my customized Glock 20 10mm. Fitted with a stainless match grade 6" Lone Wolf barrel, steel guide rod, 20 lb spring and a recoil buffer, this piece, when stoked with Double Tap Ammo's 230gr hardcast load at 1120 fps, packs almost as much punch as a .44mag. Plus, it's lighter and more compact than my .44mag Redhawk, offers a 15 shot capacity, and the recoil is easily managed. I stagger my mags with DT's 200gr Controlled Expansion Hollowpoint @ 1250fps. These two loadings offer 641 & 694 ft/lbs or muzzle energy, respectively.

If I lived in bear country, I'd pack something with more power (like, as much as I could handle!).

While I own several long guns and handguns, the G20 is my "go-to" gun for a couple of reasons beyond those mentioned.

Suppose you encounter a forest ranger or law encorcement officer. Running around the woods at night with a hunting rifle and night vision gear, or riding along forest roads with a spotlight on your vehicle and a shotgun at your side could get you pegged as a suspected poacher. OTOH, the Glock 20, while offering magnum-level power, doesn't scream "hunting handgun" the way a big revolver does. I have a CCW permit, and I'm carrying a defensive handgun. The fact that it can take game up to deer or hogs (or bigfoot or panther) is just a bonus.
Of course, always comply with federal, stare, & local laws, and never carry a gun without proper training.
And since I touched on the subject of shooting bigfoot, apparently it happens more often than we think:

09 May 2008

Competition, Exclusion, and Elitism...

There seems to be an increasing number of cryptozoology organizations, paranormal research groups, ghost hunting societies, and other organizations involved in the study of things Fortean, ghostly or weird. While this can be a good thing in that it gets more people involved in the field, it also has the unfortunate downside of forming a clique-like atmosphere. Groups and organizations feel the need to safeguard their territory, zealously protect their techniques, and in many cases, keep their findings to themselves.
While this is more prevalent in the cryptozoology field (where there's actually the potential to make some serious money from a discovery), it also occurs in other fields of investigation as well. Sure, I can understand the possible problems of bringing along someone new or inexperienced into the field. And I can see how an individual or group may naturally have a desire to keep "outsiders", well, outside. But, in the long run, aren't we hurting ourselves? Or the paranormal research community in general? Or even the effort to gain the respect of the legitimate scientific community?
Why should one group claim "dibs" on a geographic area? Refuse to aid another group who may be interested in performing research on their turf? Refuse to share any findings or data with others in the field?
As people interested in studying the fringe areas of existence, shouldn't we have more of an attitude of the more, the merrier? How many of us owe our interest in our particular field to the writings of those who shared their knowledge? The Colemans, Keels, Redferns, Holzers, and countless others who actively encouraged us to get out there and hunt.
Naturally, there are exceptions, those groups and individuals who are willing to share, to answer questions, to encourage us to take a theory and run with it.
IMO, it's these people who should reap a greater reward than those who seek to keep their personal findings and discoveries secret in the hope of getting that big book deal or speaking engagement.
Aren't we all in this together?

06 May 2008

Crypto-botany?


Scenario:
You're visiting the island of Sumatra. The local people describe a plant, with a ten-foot flower resembling a giant male member, that emits the almost unbearable stench of rotting flesh. Your party searches the jungle high and low, but finds nothing. You leave wondering if indeed it's fact or fiction.
Fans of exotic plants know just such a flower exists. The amorphophallus titanum is the largest flower (or inflourescence) in the world. The flower only blooms for a few days, stinks like rotting meat to attract flies for pollination, then rests for several years before blooming again. (no wonder you couldn't find it!)
Before I got bitten by the "tropical plant bug" a few years ago, I didn't realize that new species of plants are being discovered almost every day. I'm not talking about hybrids (either natural or man-made), or slight genetic variations or varieties, I mean previously unknown plants discovered in the wild.
So far, no one has discovered a plant that can detect man's presence and run away and hide. Plants, unlike animals, tend to stay put. If we haven't found all the immobile plant species, is it naive to assume we've found all the animals that can actually hide from us?

05 May 2008

"It sounded like a woman screaming"...

Anyone who's read enough about mystery animals, monsters, and cryptids will find this phrase popping up in witness accounts time and time again. The sound of a woman's scream has been attributed to or associated with: Bigfoot (and other hairy unknown bipeds), the Loch Ness Monster (and other lake monsters), Thunderbirds, the Mothman, the Jersey Devil, certain accounts of Black Panthers, Black Dogs, the Shug Monkey, and the many variations of ghosts, demons, poltergeists, werewolves, and on and on.
I've been wondering if there's some connection between the sound and the creatures. In his book "Three Men Seeking Monsters", Nick Redfern describes creatures called "Cormons". Entities from another world or dimension who enter our world through some sort of gateway or window. Cormons literally feed on fear, and may in fact create a "fear field" of sorts around them. If a being is dependent on fear, could it not develop a talent for instilling it? The sound of a woman screaming is pretty much universally guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. If heard by a female, the witness immediately identifies with the "victim". If heard by a male, our natural protective instincts kick in.
Or, let's suppose the cause and effect are being confused. If certain creatures are some sort of interdimensional being, it means that they must pass through some sort of window or doorway to enter our world. Could the sound be the key that opens the doorway? Sort of a cosmic "Open, Sesame"? I doubt it. I'm pretty sure that in the course of experimentation with sound waves our scientists have reproduced every conceivable frequency, timbre, and volume level imaginable, with no bizarre results. (that we know of, anyway!)
If the sound isn't the cause, perhaps it's an effect? When a jet or rocket breaks through the sound barrier, it produces the familiar "sonic boom", shaking the windows and rattling the walls in the immediate vicinity. Could it be that when an interdimensional entity or mystery animal crosses the line, a sound is produced that, to our ears, sounds like a woman screaming?

04 May 2008

Visit Gummerfan's Monster Hunter Supply!

Visit my little shop! I'll be adding some pics here later (once I get some models lined up!)
All proceeds will help support my research and fund my expeditions!
If I can sell 1100 more items, my budget for my upcoming monster hunt will be met!
The more I can find, the more I can share! Just click on the title of this post for the link!
Support Your Local Monster Hunter!

Creatures That "Cross the Line"

There's continuing controversy in the Cryptozoology community regarding just what cryptids are worthy of serious study or pursuit. Should, for example, the Mothman or the Jersey Devil be classified as genuine cryptids? Or do they belong squarely in the realm of the paranormal?
The Jersey Devil is typically described as having hooves, arms, and wings. Since there is no evidence of any animal (other than insects) either at present or in the fossil record with these traits,(6 extremeties) should the reports be shrugged off as beyond the scope of serious study? Sure, it's easy to dismiss the JD as nothing more than unfounded folklore based on the typical description alone. It's like a great trade-off: You can have arms and hands or claws, but then you can't have wings.
OTOH, the platypus is a known species that, at first glance, seems to defy the rules of biology, so why not be open to the possibility that "impossible"animals may in fact exist and account for faulty witness testimony?
Should the Mothman be treated as a possible unknown species? Perhaps a Thunderbird? Or (admittedly more likely) a misidentification of a known creature? Is it even possible to seperate the Mothman from the supernatural trappings surrounding the sightings and simply investigate the creature itself? Or should the baby be thrown out with the bathwater and the entire Mothman phenomenon be pushed to the paranormal fringe?
Don't get me wrong: I believe traditional science should be applied to the study of cryptic creatures. I'm not comfortable with using one unknown (the paranormal realm) to "explain" another (mystery creatures). But, I'm becoming more and more convinced that there may just be a point (however ill-defined) when the Rulebook may not be adequate.
Are Alien Big Cats, Black Panthers, Bipedal Canids, the elusive as ever Hairy Hominids and traditional lake monsters (who science insists shouldn't be there) strictly flesh and blood creatures, or do they cross that blurry line that divides that which can be explained from that which can't?