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 December 2009

Book Review: Monster Hunter International

"Truth is stranger than fiction. It has to be, because fiction has to make sense."
I read that line many years ago in "Cracked" magazine, and it pretty much summarizes how I feel regarding my choices in reading material.
When it comes to monsters, cryptids, and general "high strangeness", I rarely read fiction. I'm one of the very few former D&D nerds who've never read Tolkein or even Lewis. There's just way too much nonfiction and folklore that I'd rather read, so I admit I'm waaaayyy late to the party when it comes to this particular book. All I can say is that it's my loss!
Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia, is a real rollercoaster ride of an adventure. Here's the basic summary:
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.
It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.

Business is good . . .

Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

About the Author
Larry Correia is hopelessly addicted to two things: guns and B-horror movies. He lists his occupations: gun dealer, firearms instructor, accountant, and writer, and is part owner of FBMG (Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns) a company specializing in firearms and movie props. He shoots competitively and is a certified concealed weapons instructor. Larry resides in Utah with his very patient wife and family. He has also designed a special patch for the agents of Monster Hunter International, Inc. As he puts it, “If you don’t look good while you’re killing stuff, then you’re not really a monster hunter.”

I debated with myself (which means right or wrong, I win anyway!) about just how to handle this review. There are a lot of things I feel merit mention. I thought about breaking it up into shorter posts, but I figure, heck, you're adults, if you get tired of readint the whole thing you can just read more later. If you read no farther, I'll say this: Read the damn book! It's great! No, it's no monumental work of literature, but it's well worth reading. I'll even pay it my highest compliment and read it multiple times!

The Author

As stated above, Larry Correia is (or was) co-owner of Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns (FBMG). This comany sells guns and accessories. They were the FIRST U.S. company to produce and sell 10-round magazines for the Saiga 12ga shotguns. I got in on the introductory offer and bought 11 of 'em. Larry is a regular poster on the Saiga Forums and other gun boards. It's funny that while reading the book, I realized that not only did I "know" him, but he seems to know me!

The Guns

Since the book is about armed Monster Hunters, firearms play a big role. Larry does a great job of accurately depicting and describing the various guns used throughout the book, without becoming overly technical and boring the "non-gun person".
If you've read some of my earlier posts, I've often sung the praises of the Saiga-12, the Marlin 45-70 levergun, .44 magnums, Glocks, 1911s, and big bore guns in general. Imagine my delight when I found these very guns (most of which I own)mentioned in the book and my own opinions echoed by the author.
Weird? Keep reading...

The Location
In the book, the MHI headquarters, and indeed most of the action, is located in Alabama. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I'm born, raised, and live in AL.
A major plot point takes place in Gulf Shores, an Alabama town on the Gulf Coast. That also happens to be my family's favorite vacation spot. Almost a home away from home.
(Now this is a real kicker!) MHI maintains a psychiatric care facility devoted to monster hunters and victims of monster attacks. The name of the facility is the "Appleton Asylum".
"Appleton", dear readers, is MY surname!

There is a sequel to this book scheduled to be released next year. (or more like THIS year, since it's New Year's Eve as I type this!) I personally can't wait for it's release.
If you Google "Monster Hunter International" or "Larry Correia", you'll find more about the author and the book. In fact, Larry started out as a blogger, posted parts of the book online, finally took the plunge and self-published it, and eventually it was picked up by a publisher.
Way to go!

The author had a limited number of "MHI" patches made up to accompany sales of his first edition. I've been unable to find one thus far.
If anyone can find me one, or help me find one, you'll have my eternal gratitude!

Christmas Aftermath...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! At the office Christmas party, the guy who drew my name got me a book of urban legends, he said he had no idea what to get me, but he "done good"! My boss gave me a Zippo lighter, a portable cigarette snuffer/ashtray, and a copy of the Gun Digest 2010 Annual.
I think they're really getting to know me, which is a scary thought!

15 December 2009

Humor, Weirdness, & Weird Humor

Autumforest's flattering comments prompted me to post about my particular approach to some of the topics I discuss. I read and participate in a wide variety of forums, websites, bulletin boards and other online groups devoted to a wide range of interests. Cryptozoology, ghosts, conspiracies, ufo's, paranormal & supernatural topics (among many others). In some cases I've been shocked at the way members of these "fringe" communities treat one another. Far from being open-minded, willing to explore different theories, hypotheses and ideas, too many members of these communities have set up opposing camps and drawn battle lines. Individuals and groups accuse "legitimate science", or "organized religion" of being close-minded, intolerant, and dogmatic for not considering alternative points of view, yet mercilessly attack "their own" with the same venom and fury if they toe a different line.
People have been mercilessly flamed, even threatened, for voicing an opinion different from that of the other side. Bigfoot as undiscovered ape or paranormal entity, or even a species of human. UFO's as anything other than alien space craft from a distant galaxy. These are the most well known points of contention, but there are plenty of others. Rather than admit that "we don't know", a lot of members of this big, dysfunctional family latch onto an opinion, and cling to it fervently.

And I think that's FUNNY!

I became interested in these bizarre fields because, to me, they're FUN! I enjoy reading various points of view because..."I don't know!" And until someone can satisfactorily prove any theory, not only to me, but to the world, no one else knows, either.
While my interest is sincere and my research is serious, if it becomes
"un-fun", I'm out.
Face it, we discuss and study subjects that the majority of world considers nonsense, unreal, fantasy, or just downright wacko. In addition to an open mind and insatiable curiousity, I consider a sense of humor to be a requirement. To quote the great Jimmy Buffett, "If we weren't all crazy, we'd all go insane."
I'm glad some people get it. :)

The "Official" Gummerfan Christmas Card

I got kind of "inspired" this morning, so I thought I'd come up with a way of wishing all y'all a Merry Christmas. A quick ms paint job, a little imagination, and perhaps the best-known crypto pic in history.
(after all, Christmas is all about "believing", right?!)

09 December 2009

"The Origins of Psychic Phenomena", Stan Gooch

To rip off the cartoon character Pogo: "We has met the monsters and they is us."
In contrast to "Demoniality", this book, written by a psychologist, takes a fascinating position regarding well-known psychic phenomena. The author has not only witnessed, but experienced such phenomena as Incubi/Succubi, poltergeist activity, and "presences".
Far from being a debunking scientist, the author doesn't question the fact that such things exist, rather he seeks to explain them as manifestations of the unconscious mind. This isn't saying the phenomena themselves are subconscious, on the contrary, there is abundant evidence demonstrating that such events manifest as part of objective reality, in front of credible witnesses, and occasionally under controlled conditions.
There are chapters devoted to Incubi/Succubi, Demons, poltergeists, paranormal fire (including spontaneous human combustion), automatic writing, "past" lives, stigmata, mediumship, and a few other paranormal topics.
Gooch uses some well-known cases to illustrate his point and support his theory. (including the famous "Entity" case).
Gooch makes a strong case for the unexplored potential power of the unconscious, explores the development and evolution of the mammal/human brain, and stresses the need for mainstream science to take a serious look at psychic phenomena from a psychiatric and psychological perspective.

Demoniality, Or, Incubi and Succubi

Oh, the things a monsterhunter has to read! I found this interesting little book on Amazon. The full title is: "Demoniality, Or Incubi and Succubi: A Treatise Wherein Is Shown that There are in Existence on Earth Rational Creatures Besides Man, Endowed Like Him with a Body and a Soul, that are Born and Die Like Him, Redeemed by Our Lord Jesus-Christ, and Capable of Receiving salvation or Damnation". (remember that one for your next "charades" competition!)
The book is an 1879 English translation by Isidore Liseux of a 17th century Latin text by the Rev. Father Sinistrari of Ameno.
I really enjoy reading these old texts. It's interesting to read the thoughts and positions of people of another time. This particular work examines the nature of beings such as Incubi, Succubi, Demons, Satyrs, Fauns, and similar supernatural or paranormal entities. The author sets forth to prove that such beings not only exist, but are in fact much more than phantoms or spirits. Written from a religious perspective, the author nonetheless incorporates the emerging scientific discoveries of the period in order to persuade the reader to accept his thesis.
Using historical accounts as well as Biblical writings and theology, the author's position is that there are intelligent, rational beings other than Man, that these beings have corporeal (yet "subtle") bodies, (interestingly, there was contemporary debate regarding the corporeality vs incorporeality of vampires in some old texts as well), that they were created by God, and that they have souls and free will regarding good and evil.
The author gives some examples to prove his point. For instance: Incubi and Succubi do not respond to exorcism, Holy relics, or the cross, yet Demons do. Therefore, Incs and Succs aren't Demons, but a different type of entity. They DO respond to other remedies and banes which in turn do not affect Demons.
A central theme is the question of how the Church should treat "Demoniality", or sexual relations with a Demon or supernatural entity. The author's conviction is that, outside of other trappings ( a selling of the soul, or a compact or renunciation of fatih), Demoniality is basically the same sin as Bestiality, since the subject had relations with a creature of a different species. In this case, it's a crime against nature, but not a crime against religion or the Church.
Of course, the author's use of canon, scripture, and theology still creates a circular argument ("we know it's true because the Bible says so") and some of his attempts at rationalization using contemporary scientific discoveries haven't stood the test of time, but all in all it's a very interesting read, and deserves a place on my shelf. The accounts alone are great stories.

07 December 2009

New Blog Alert!

Here's a relatively new blog I stumbled on recently. Cryptozoo-oscity is an informative, frequently updated blog about cryptozoological matters, including sighting news, theories, and links to articles. Check it out!

Visum et Repertum, or, Vampire Hunting Old School Style

When you hear the words "vampire hunter" or "vampire slayer", what pops into your mind? Buffy? Blade? Van Helsing? How about Captain Kronos or the Frog brothers?
The fact of the matter is, vampire hunting in the old days wasn't exactly grand and glorious. In reality, an exploration of historic vampire hunters reveals that their occupation would more likely be featured on "Dirty Jobs" than on any of todays paranormal-themed reality shows, and the slayers and hunters of modern literature, cinema, and tv are heavily-glossed to say the least.
Visum et Repertum (Seen and Discovered) is an historical document dating from 1732, in which a Dr. Johannes Fluchinger (or Fluckinger among other spellings) documents the exhumation and destruction of a graveyard full of vampires in Serbia. Not surprisingly, the report is rarely referenced in modern treatments of the vampire or even in what passes for "vampire studies" in today's "sexy vamp" culture.
This is to be expected since traditional vampire lore and history pretty much went into the toilet after Dracula. Few of today's self-annointed vampire experts care anything about the original folklore or serious study of the Vampire phenomenon, preferring to go along with the cinematic and literary image of the vampire as a romantic image, sexual metaphor, or whatever the latest pop-psychology spin tells us the vampire is supposed to represent.
Here's a copy of the document I found online. As you read, take particular note of the grisly details:

Visum et Repertum
Seen and Discovered

After it had been reported that in the village of Medvegia the so-called vampires had killed some people by sucking their blood, I was, by high degree of a local Honorable Supreme Command, sent there to investigate the matter thoroughly along with officers detailed for that purpose and two subordinate medical officers, and therefore carried out and heard the present inquiry in the company of the captain of the Stallath Company of haiduks (a type of soldier), Gorschiz Hadnack, the standard-bearer and the oldest haiduk of the village, as follows: who unanimously recount that about five years ago a local haiduk by the name of Arnold Paole broke his neck in a fall from a haywagon. This man had during his lifetime often revealed that, near Gossowa in Turkish Serbia, he had been troubled by a vampire, wherefore he had eaten from the earth of the vampire's grave and had smeared himself with the vampire's blood, in order to be free from the veIation he had suffered.

In 20 or 30 days after his death some people complained that they were being bothered by this same Arnold Paole; and in fact four people were killed by him. In order to end this evil, they dug up this Arnold Paole 40 days after his death - this on the advice of a soldier, who had been present at such events before; and they found that he was quite complete and undecayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown; and since they saw from this that he was a true vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, according to their custom, whereby he gave an audible groan and bled copiously, Thereupon they burned the body the same day to ashes and threw these into the grave. These people say further that all those who were tormented and killed by the vampire must themselves become vampires.

Therefore they disinterred the above-mentioned four people in the same way. Then they also add that this Arnold Paole attacked not only the people but also the cattle, and sucked out their blood. And since the people used the flesh of such cattle, it appears that some vampires are again present here, inasmuch as, in a period of three months, 17 young and old people died, among them some who, with no previous illness, died in two or at the most three days. In addition, the haiduk Jowiza reports that his step-daughter, by name of Stanacka, lay down to sleep 15 days ago, fresh and healthy, but at midnight she started up out of her sleep with a terrible cry, fearful and trembling, and complained that she had been throttled by the son of a haiduk by the name of Milloe, who had died nine weeks earlier, whereupon she had experienced a great pain in the chest and became worse hour by hour, until finally she died on the third day. At this we went the same afternoon to the graveyard, along with the often-mentioned oldest haiduks of the village, in order to cause the suspicious graves to be opened and to examine the bodies in them, whereby, after all of them had been dissected, there was found:

1. A woman by the name of Stana, 20 years old, who had died in childbirth two months ago, after a three-day illness, and who had herself said, before her death, that she had painted herself with the blood of a vampire, wherefore both she and her child - which had died right after birth and because of a careless burial had been half eaten by the dogs- must also become vampires. She was quite complete and undecayed. After the opening of the body there was found in the cavitate pectoris a quantity of fresh extravascular blood. The vessels of the arteries and veins, like the ventriculis ortis, were not, as is usual, filled with coagulated blood, and the whole viscera, that is, the lung, liver, stomach, spleen, and intestines were quite fresh as they would be in a healthy person.

The uterus was however quite enlarged and very inflamed externally, for the placenta and lochia had remained in place, wherefore the same was in complete putredine. The skin on her hands and feet, along with the old nails, fell away on their own, but on the other hand completely new nails were evident, along with a fresh and vivid skin.

2. There was a woman by the name of Miliza (60 years old), who had died after a three-month sickness and had been buried 90-some days earlier. In the chest much liquid blood was found; and the other viscera were, like those mentioned before, in a good condition. During her dissection, all the haiduks who were standing around marveled greatly at her plumpness and perfect body, uniformly stating that they had known the woman well, from her youth, and that she had; throughout her life, looked and been very lean and dried up, and they emphasized that she had come to this surprising plumpness in the grave. They also said that it was she who started the vampires this time, because she had eaten of the flesh of those sheep that had been killed by the previous vampires.

3. There was an eight-day-old child, which had lain in the grave for 90 days and was similarly in a condition of vampirism.

4. The son of a haiduk, 16 years old, was dug up, having lain in the earth for nine weeks, after he had died from a three-day illness, and was found like the other vampires.

5. Joachim, also the son of a haiduk, 17 years old; had died after a three-day illness. He had been buried eight weeks and four days and, on being dissected; was found in similar condition.

6. A woman by the name of Ruscha who had died after a ten-day illness and had been buried six weeks previous, in whom there was much fresh blood not only in the chest but also in fundo ventriculi. The same showed itself in her child, which was 18 days old and had died five weeks previously.

7. No less did a girl ten years of age, who had died two months previously, find herself in the above-mentioned condition, quite complete and undecayed; and had much fresh blood in her chest.

8. They caused the wife of the Hadnack to be dug up, along with her child. She had died seven weeks previously, her child - who was eight weeks old- 21 days previously, and it was found that both mother and child were completely decomposed, although earth and grave were like those of the vampires lying nearby.

9. A servant of the local corporal of the haiduks, by the name of Rhade, 21 years old, died after a three-month-long illness, and after a five week burial was found completely decomposed.

10. The wife of the local bariactar, along with her child, having died five weeks previously, were also completely decomposed.

11. With Stanche, a local haiduk, 60 years old; who had died six weeks previously, I noticed a profuse liquid blood, like the others, in the chest and stomach. The entire body was in the oft-named condition of vampirism.

12. Milloe, a haiduk, 25 years old; who had lain for six weeks in the earth, also was found in the condition of vampirism mentioned.

13. Stanoika, the wife of a haiduk, 20 years old, died after a three-day illness and had been buried 18 days previously. In the dissection I found that she was in her countenance quite red and of a vivid color, and, as was mentioned above, she had been throttled, at midnight, by Milloe, the son of the haiduk, and there was also to be seen, on the right side under the ear, a bloodshot blue mark, the length of a finger. As she was being taken out of the grave, a quantity of fresh blood flowed from her nose. With the dissection I found; as mentioned often already, a regular fragrant fresh bleeding, not only in the chest cavity, but also in ventriculo cordis.

All the viscera found themselves in a completely good and healthy condition. The hypodermis of the entire body, along with the fresh nails of hands and feet, was as though completely fresh. After the examination had taken place, the heads of the vampires were cut off by the local gypsies and burned along with the bodies, and then the ashes were thrown into the river Morava. The decomposed bodies, however, were laid back into their own graves.

Visum et Repertum
Seen and Discovered
Regimental Field Surgeon Johannes Fluckinger
To the Emperor

Let's see, digging up a graveyard full of old corpses (including infants),, performing imrovised field dissections on each, beheading and burning the suspect ones, and reburying the corpses that exhibited "proper" states of decay.
Not all that sexy, is it?

05 December 2009

Saint Possenti, Guide My Aim...

Okay, so I'm not Catholic. In fact, religion-wise, I'm a little bit of everything and not much of nothing. But I've always liked the idea of Patron Saints, somebody up there looking after me. I figure I should be covered by quite a few. Saint Joseph (head of households), The Archangel Gabriel (communications industry), The Archangel Michael (swordsmen), and when I travel, there's always Saint Christopher. But the coolest one in my opinion is Saint Gabriel Possenti, the "unrecognized" Patron Saint of Handgunners. Saint Possenti is the only saint known to have used a handgun, singlehandedly defending the village of Isola, Italy from a band of marauders.
The St. Gabriel Possenti Society is a group dedicated to persuading the Vatican to declare St. Possenti as the recognized Patron Saint of handgunners. Here's the story from their site:

St. Gabriel Possenti was a Catholic seminarian whose marksmanship and proficiency with handguns single-handedly saved the village of Isola, Italy from a band of 20 terrorists in 1860.

The Savior of Isola

In 1860, a band of soldiers from the army of Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy. They began to burn and pillage the town, terrorizing its inhabitants.

Possenti, with his seminary rector's permission, walked into the center of town, unarmed, to face the terrorists. One of the soldiers was dragging off a young woman he intended to rape when he saw Possenti and made a snickering remark about such a young monk being all alone.

Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier's revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. The startled soldier complied, as Possenti grabbed the revolver of another soldier who came by. Hearing the commotion, the rest of the soldiers came running in Possenti's direction, determined to overcome the rebellious monk.

At that moment a small lizard ran across the road between Possenti and the soldiers. When the lizard briefly paused, Possenti took careful aim and struck the lizard with one shot. Turning his two handguns on the approaching soldiers, Possenti commanded them to drop their weapons. Having seen his handiwork with a pistol, the soldiers complied. Possenti ordered them to put out the fires they had set, and upon finishing, marched the whole lot out of town, ordering them never to return. The grateful townspeople escorted Possenti in triumphant procession back to the seminary, thereafter referring to him as "the Savior of Isola".

When things get better I might just have to get a couple of Saint Possenti medals and have them inset on a pair of custom grips for one of my handguns.

03 December 2009

"Conspiracy Theory"

I wondered how good this show would be. So many "conspiracy" type shows toss out half-baked theories, provide no real evidence, and seem to be aimed at the "fringe". But, I've always liked Jesse Ventura ever since his wrestling days. In pro wrestling, in order to be a successful "heel", or "bad guy", you really have to know how to play to the audience. Ensuring that the masses develop that peculiar "love to hate" relationship isn't as easy as the pros make it look. Case in point: Hulk Hogan. Even in his "bad guy" Hollywood persona, he was never really hated. Jesse "The Body" Ventura managed to pull it off, though.
I saw him on the Tonight show once. He did the first half of his interview "in character". The audience booed and hissed. Then, he broke character for the later part of the interview and was treated to cheers and applause. The man knows how to play an audience.
I enjoyed last nights "HAARP" episode. Ventura & company did a solid job of presenting the facts about the HAARP project and the possible dangers of its use. The wild conjecture was kept to a minimum (just enough to keep you interested and make you think) and the guests and interviewees were sane and rational (no tinfoil hats!). I hope the series continues to display this quality of investigation and presentation and doesn't veer off into condescending, paranoia inducing ranting.
One of Jesse's trademark lines as a wrestling commentator sums up my view thus far: "I'm impressed, and I don't impress easy!"

02 December 2009

"Paranormal Activity" and It's Aftermath...

I mentioned way back in the early days of this blog about my problem with a succubus. I didn't (and still won't) go into all the details about the long ordeal. Suffice it to say I've had some experience with demons and they know my weaknesses. Thanks to a reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) I managed to eventually free myself from the thing. It has tried to return a few times since, but (again, thanks to my friend) I learned how to strengthen my defenses. Sometimes I do wonder if my wife's pain and suffering may be some sort of backlash or counterattack, if it's attacking her, causing her pain, straining our marriage, delighting in torturing us, or maybe something even worse. But, our current situation has only caused us to become closer, to appreciate each other more, and strengthen our relationship.
Because of my experiences in the past (which go on for years), I don't mind saying that I avoid anything having to do with demonic entities like the the plague. Monsters, ghosts, spirits, aliens, just about any other paranormal subject is fine, but keep the demons away from me! In fact, had I known PA involved a demonic entity, I doubt I would have even watched it.
Of course, it's just a movie. There's nothing inherently "evil" or "demonic" about it. But, in my case, it must have opened an old door, or stirred some old memories, or activated whatever part of my twisted mind allows these things in. Some of my acquaintences tell me that they can sense that I'm a "sensitive". I don't feel like it myself. If I tried really hard and maybe relaxed my debunking muscles, I could count what I would consider any "psychic episodes" in my life on the fingers of one hand and still pick my nose. So with my little backstory filled in, here's what's been going on:
The sound on the copy was pretty bad, I had to turn up the volume all the way. Numerous times during the movie, I heard a female voice calling my name. (my REAL name, lol!). Sometimes it was right in my ear, sometimes it sounded like it was coming from elsewhere in the house. My wife was watching tv in the other room, and I kept getting up to go see what she wanted, only to find that she hadn't called me. Maybe it was just a case of aural hallucination caused by the bad sound/speaker/dvd player combination, or maybe not.
A couple of nights later, I was lying in bed and my wife and I both heard a series of knocks. Not random knocks, but several in a row a few minutes apart. like someone knocking on the window or door. They didn't stop until I got up and opened the door to look outside. Of course there was nothing there, but the knocking stopped after that.
The next night, we heard a few more strange noises during the night. Rustling of paper, knocks and bumps, again with no apparent cause.
The next night, I had a very vivd dream about three little "demons" that had gotten into the house. One (seemingly the leader) was solid red, only a couple of inches tall, with a disproportionally large head and huge grinning mouth. The other was blue and slightly taller, and the other was only seen once or twice and was sort of a yellow/ochre color. The red one was the only one who spoke and was the most active. The other two only came around when I was trying to destroy the red one. They all felt like they had no bones, like they were made of rubber. I tried to destroy them with salt (hey, Supernatural can't be wrong, can it?). The salt would cause them to melt (screaming!) into a slimy substance, but eventually they would reform and go about their business, seemingly ticked off at my attempts to kill them. Chopping them into pieces only resulted in their instantneous reconstruction and they seemed to find it humorous.
They would also occasionally try to bond on my hand, like in the movie "The Blob", but I could peel them off immediately.
And then, (remember my weakness?) the three of them joined together and took on the appearance of an attractive, naked black female. "She" made a few offers about how nice it would be if I allowed "her" to stay and "she" and I could be together. And I must confess, I was as they say, "sorely tempted". It must have sensed this, because I immediately heard a huge ruckus in another room. Throwing the dark temptress off my lap, I went into the other room and saw the red demon throwing things around. It said it was "making room for the others". I guess this snapped me out of my "sorely tempted" state and I realized that there's no dealing with these things, they're only out to destroy, and they'll use any means and exploit any weakness to achieve their ends.
I renewed my attempts to destroy the things, or at least get them out of the house, but I woke up before the conclusion.
Since that night, I've experienced some of the old signs of the presence of the succubus, but nothing has really happened yet (other than a few sleepless nights)
Am I saying the movie will affect others the same or similar ways? Well, it would be interesting to see if I'm alone, but honestly, I don't know. Just as plenty of people can play with a Ouija board and have no problems, or dabble in the darker aspects of the paranormal with no repercussions, it may just be a matter of sensitivity, psychological makeup, or subjectability.
After all, it IS just a movie.

One Weird Week...

Some great and freaky things have happened since I last posted.
First, at long last, the ammo for the 460 Rowland arrived and I finally got to shoot the thing. I'm extremely pleased all around with it. I'ts probably going to replace my Glock 20 10mm as my favorite autoloader, and that's saying a LOT. If you're a "gun person" who owns a 1911-style pistol, get the Clark Custom conversion asap. If you don't own a 1911, get one, then get the conversion. I've seen a lot of "new" calibers come and go over the years. Some deservedly never catch on, some die an undeserved death at the whim of the marketplace, and some catch on and last. I fervantly hope (and believe) that the 460 Rowland will be one that catches on with enough followers to gain popularity.
Next, I'm another year older than I was last week. Saturday was my birthday. I was hoping to get the day off, but I kinda got shafted into covering Friday and Saturday. My coworkers gave me a nice party at work, though, so it wasn't all bad.
And now for the weird part: I happened to get my hands on a bootleg copy of "Paranormal Activity". (please, no speeches about that, when the "legit" dvd comes out, they'll get some of my money!). But, while I watched it, and for several nights afterward, I've had some strange experiences. I'll go into more detail in my next post.

25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite the setbacks and complications my family has experienced lately, we still have a great deal for which to be thankful. And from what I know about most you out there, so do you.
So, tomorrow as we sit down to commemorate the anniversary of the occasion when the Pilgrims somehow convinced their Native American neighbors that a picnic, in Massachusetts, in NOVEMBER(!?) was a good idea, let's remember to count, and share, our blessings!
Oh, and one more thing...


The Kelly-Hopkinsville Incident

This incident is one of the most famous in the annals (that's with two "n"s!) of ufology as well as unexplained creature encounters and general high strangeness, it's also one of my personal favorites, since the victims shot back! :D
Here's part of the rather lengthy wiki entry:
On the evening of August 21, 1955, members of the Taylor family from Philadelphia were visiting friends, the Sutton family of Kentucky. The Sutton family home was a rural farmhouse located near the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, in Christian County, Kentucky (the farmhouse still stands today although the Sutton family moved soon after the incident). There were a total of seven people in the house that night, including the children of the two families. The Suttons had no running water in the farmhouse, and due to it being a warm evening Billy Ray Taylor, the patriarch of the Taylor family, went to an outside water pump for a drink. It was about 7.00 p.m. Taylor said he observed strange lights in the sky to the west, which he believed to be an unusual craft. He excitedly told the others about his "flying saucer" sighting, but no one believed him, instead thinking that he had become overly excited after seeing a vivid "shooting star".[1]

At about 8.00 p.m., the families began hearing strange and unexplained noises outside. The Sutton family dog which was on guard outside began barking loudly and then hid under the house, where it remained until the next day. Going outside a few minutes later with their guns, Billy Ray Taylor and Elmer "Lucky" Sutton then asserted that they saw a strange creature emerge from the nearby trees. Jerome Clark describes the creature as:

a luminous, three-and-a-half-foot-tall being with an oversized head, big, floppy, pointed ears, glowing eyes, and hands with talons at their ends. The figure, either made of or simply dressed in silvery metal, had its hands raised.[2]
Disquieted by the creature's bizarre appearance, the pair were further unnerved when it began rushing towards the house holding its hands up in the air, which the men took as threatening behavior. When the creature approached to within about 20 feet, the two men became scared of a home invasion and began shooting at it, one using a shotgun, the other man using a .22 rifle. There was a noise "sounding like bullets being rattled about in a metal drum", and the creature, they said, then flipped over and fled into the darkness and shadows. Sure that they had wounded the creature, Lucky and Billy Ray went out to look for it. Hendry writes that as the men were stepping from the porch, "a taloned hand reached down from above and began grasping at their hair."[1] They again shot at the creature—it was perched on an awning over the porch—and it was knocked from the roof. Again they heard the rattling noise, although the creature was apparently unharmed.

Lucky and Billy Ray returned to the house in a disturbed state. Within minutes, Lucky's brother J.C. Sutton said that he saw the same creature (or at least a similar creature) peer into a window in the home; J.C. and Billy Ray shot at it, breaking the window, whereupon it too flipped over and fled. For the next few hours, the witnesses would assert that the creatures repeatedly approached the home, either popping up at the doorway or at windows in an almost playful manner, only to be shot at each time they did. The witnesses were unsure as to how many of the creatures that there were; at least two, as two were seen at once, but there may have been as many as fifteen. At one point the witnesses shot one of the beings nearly point blank, and again would insist that the sound resembled bullets striking a metal bucket. The floating creatures' legs seemed to be atrophied and nearly useless, and they appeared to propel themselves with a curious hip-swaying motion, steering with their arms. Clark writes that "[i]f the creatures were in a tree or on the roof when hit [by gunfire], they would float, not fall, to the ground."[2]

There might have been partial corroboration of the Taylor-Sutton tale: at about 11 p.m., a state highway trooper near Kelly independently reported some unusual "meteor-like objects" flying overhead, "with a sound like artillery fire coming directly from them."[2]

Hendry writes that Sutton family matriarch "Mrs. Lankford … counseled an end to the hostilities," noting that the creatures had never seemed to try harming anyone nor had they actually entered the house.[1] Between appearances from the creatures, the family tried to temper the children's growing hysteria. At about 11.00 p.m., the Taylor-Sutton crew decided to flee the farmhouse in their automobiles and after about 30 minutes they arrived at the Hopkinsville police station. Police Chief Russell Greenwell judged the witnesses to have been frightened by something "beyond reason, not ordinary." He also opined "[t]hese were not the sort of people who normally ran to the police … something frightened them, something beyond their comprehension." A police officer with medical training determined that Billy Ray's pulse rate was more than twice normal.

Twenty police officers accompanied the Taylor-Suttons back to the farmhouse, and several entered it to assess the damage. According to Daniels et al., "[t]he official response was prompt and thorough."[3] In 1998, Karal Ayn Barnett wrote, "By all accounts, the witnesses were deemed sane, not under the influence [of drugs or alcohol], and in such a state of terror, no one involved doubted that they had seen something beyond far their ken."[4] Police and photographers who visited the home saw many bullet holes and spent shells, and further discovered what Clark describes as "an odd luminous patch along a fence where one of the beings had been shot, and, in the woods beyond, a green light whose source could not be determined."[2] Though the investigation was inconclusive, Daniels et al. writes, "Investigators did conclude, however, that these people were sincere and sane and that they had no interest in exploiting the case for publicity. The patch sample, although photographed, was never collected and had mysteriously disappeared by the noon the next day. "[3]

Police left at about 2:15 a.m., and not long afterward, the witnesses claimed that the creatures returned. Billy Ray fired at them once more, ruining yet another window. The last of the creatures was allegedly sighted just before dawn, at about 4:45 a.m. on August 22.


The August 22, 1955 Kentucky New Era claimed that "12 to 15 little men" had been seen.[4] Clark writes that none of the witnesses ever claimed this, rather that "[t]he observers had no idea how many of the creatures there were. They could only be certain that there were at least two because they saw that number at the same time."[2]

Later on August 22, Andrew "Bud" Ledwith of WHOP radio interviewed the seven adult witnesses in two different groups. He judged their tale of the events as consistent, especially in their descriptions of the strange glowing beings. Ledwith had worked as a professional artist, and sketched the creatures based on the witnesses descriptions. Their descriptions were generally consistent, though the female witnesses insisted that the creatures had a somewhat huskier build than the male witnesses remembered, and Billy Ray Taylor was alone in insisting that the beings had antennae.[4] Hendry describes Ledwith's efforts as "fortunate … because the publicity soon grew so obnoxious to that Sutton family that they later simply avoided telling the story and refused to cooperate [with UFO investigators, excepting] Isabel Davis."[1]

As reports reached the newspapers, public opinion tended to view the story as a hoax and showed only brief interest in the event. Some residents of the local community, including members of the police department, were skeptical of the Sutton's story and believed that alcohol (possibly moonshine) may have played a part in the incident, although to date no evidence has been found to support this belief. The fact that some of the witnesses worked for a carnival somehow contributed to the belief in a hoax.

The farm became a tourist attraction for a brief period, which upset the Suttons who tried to keep people away, eventually attempting to charge people an entrance fee to discourage them. That only convinced the sight-seers that the family was attempting to make money from the event, and increased the public view that the event was a hoax. Finally, the Suttons refused all visitors and refused to discuss the event further with anyone. To date, family members who survived the event rarely talk to reporters or researchers, and by given accounts have stuck to their version of the event. As late as 2002, Lucky Sutton's daughter, Geraldine Hawkins, believed her father's account, stating,

It was a serious thing to him. It happened to him. He said it happened to him. He said it wasn't funny. It was an experience he said he would never forget. It was fresh in his mind until the day he died. It was fresh in his mind like it happened yesterday. He never cracked a smile when he told the story because it happened to him and there wasn't nothing funny about it. He got pale and you could see it in his eyes. He was scared to death."[5]

The United States Air Force took the allegations seriously and officers from nearby Fort Campbell inspected the case, but could find no rational explanation and to this day is still labelled an open case. The official UFO investigation office, Project Blue Book, never officially investigated the case, although a file has been kept on it and is labelled "unexplained"[4] Prominent Ufologist Allen Hynek had interviews with two persons with direct knowledge of the event a year after the event took place.

Okay, so what's the "rational", skeptical position on the encounter? Well, there are a few opinions I've found.
First, there's the possibility that the family members were partaking of some of Kentucky's famous moonshine, and imagined the whole thing. But the police officers who responded didn't observe any signs of alcohol or drug consumption. Besides, how often does it happen that multiple individuals share identical delusions? Granted, I don't have any experience with hallucinogens (does mescal count?), but I'm pretty sure that the "trip" is particular to the individual.
Next, it has been posited that the encounter was in reality an owl (yep, owls again!). Given the description of the "goblins" appearance and behaviour, I'm ready to toss that one as well. Owls don't hang around once bullets start flying.
And finally, (I just LOVE this one!), the witnesses actually encountered a silver painted monkey that had escaped from a circus. Let's think about many circuses feature silver painted monkeys? Remember, this was a very rural, isolated area, not exactly freakshow central. Just what are the odds that, on the same night as several UFO or meteor sightings, a silver painted (and apparently bullet-proof!) monkey escapes from a travelling circus in the middle of nowhere and makes its way to an isolated farmhouse, wreacking havoc and panicking the locals? Occam's Razor, people?
I have another possible thought on the incident. (Put on your "Think Weird" hats for this one). Some researches into strange phenomena have voiced the possibility that the event is entirely subjective, that it occurs solely in the experience of the observers or witnesses. This isn't the same as calling it "imagination", the events are percieved as completely real, but are taking place somewhere outside of objective reality. This can apply to alien abductions, bigfoot and other creature sightings where no physical evidence is found, "missing time", and practically any other brush with strangeness. Maybe sometimes these entities aren't entering our reality, rather, some of us stray into theirs.
The case is officially labelled as unsolved, but I like to think that a stalwart band of armed rednecks did indeed save the earth from hostile alien invasion. It's just too bad they were only armed with a .22 and a shotgun. Remember, there's no such thing as "too much gun"! Had they been packing magnums, it might have been a case of "Well, it's dead, whatever it was!"

24 November 2009

More Followers Needed!

No, I'm not shamelessly self-promoting or anything like that! It's just weird when I'm talking to people about my blog and mention that I have "12 followers"! "12 followers", get it?
One more would make it 13, which is unlucky, so I need at least 2 more to get the numbers out of the dangerously strange area!
Pimp Me! :D

The Bronx, 1904, Owl, "Divil", Or Something Else?

Here's a story I ran across recently. It seemes there was a series of attacks by a big winged creature in the Bronx, NY in 1904. Police uniforms were slashed, helmets were battered, police and citizens alike were in fear of the "what-is-it?".
According to the story, "officially" the attacks were attributed to a large brown owl, despite one officer's insistence that it was some kind of humanoid "divil". Owls seem to be the typical explanation for any winged humanoid encounter, from the Jersey Devil, to Mothman, to other flying humanoid creatures (much in the same way Bigfoot sightings are blamed on upright bears). Even the Flatwoods Monster (which was never described as winged or even capable of flight) has been dismissed by some as a large owl perched in a tree!
So, was this in fact an owl? Did the Jersey Devil make a visit to the Bronx? Or is it an early Mothman sighting? I've been unable to find any follow-up to the story, so I can't say if an owl was ever caught or even seen, or any explanation for the attacks.

22 November 2009

The Gummerfan Channel

Two things happened this week that prompted this post. First, the news that Oprah Winfrey's talk show is shutting down next year and the buzz that she will be starting her own channel. Next, the brouhaha over Donna Lacroix's interview in which she revealed that GASP!, "Ghost Hunters" is an ENTERTAINMENT show! While reading some of the online discussions, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the faithful GH viewers aren't the sycophantic fans I thought they were.
(BTW, anybody catch that line in the Ghost Hunters Academy promo about how Steve & Tango were "trained by the BEST?" Huh? "The Best" according to whom? Who declared a couple of plumbers with a few electronic toys and half-developed theories "The Best"?)
Anyway, I've been wondering just what yours truly would like to see if I had the bucks to start my own little channel. Here's a few of my projects-in-development-that-haven't-been-stolen-and-made-somebody-else-famous:

A heavily-armed team of monster specialists scour the globe in search of really scary monsters and attempt to bring 'em back dead or alive. Packing guns, gear, and garlic, our intrepid team overcomes all obstacles, doggedly determined to find "something".
Look for special celebrity guest appearances by Michael "Burt Gummer" Gross, R. Lee Ermey, and Ted Nugent.

(the mutant offspring of "UFO Hunters", "Storm Chasers", and "Top Gear")
In a concept similar to "Storm Chasers" (the show with the specially-built vehicle running around Tornado Alley in hope of driving straight into a twister), our team travels through UFO hot spots seeking a close encounter. The team's vehicle will be festooned with cameras, radar, microphones, multiband recievers, as well as mounted 50BMG rifles and belt-fed Brownings for those low-flyers.

A diverse group of ghost hunters, cryptozoologists, UFO investigators, Fortean enthusiasts, paranormalists, conspiracy theorists, and other assorted oddballs are sequestered in a compound in the Nevada desert.
One-by-one they drive each other and the viewing audience completely insane.

Kicking the technique of "taunting" spirits up a notch, our team of investigators test various methods and devices to see just what would happen fired a high-intensity burning laser into a manifested spirit, or, you zapped a "cold spot" with microwaves, or, you lug a wagonload of high powered automotive grade power cells into an area where "equipment battery draining" is occuring (ever notice that entities prefer DC to AC?), or if you subject Shadow People to tasers or cattle prods?
The team would also be open to viewers ideas a la' "Mythbusters".

Volunteers are outfitted with streaming video cameras and audio and proceed to sneak, slip, bust, or barrel their way into Area 51, the Skinwalker Ranch, and various and sundry top-secret or off-limits military, government, or private locations to see just what they can find before they're arrested and hauled off to prison.
(the lawyers are still working on the numerous releases, waivers, and agreements participants must sign before taking part in filming...)

Picture a survivalist cooking competition similar to "Iron Chef". The contestants must prepare meals in a primative environment, using scrounged and found ingredients, and the cuisine is presented to The Chairman and a panel of epicurean judges.

These are it for now, until more original programming is developed, The Gummerfan Channel will air reruns of the Tremors movies and series, and episodes of The Mighty Boosh in order to fill airtime...

28 October 2009

Fainting Goats: No Jedi Training Necessary...

If you've seen the trailer for the movie "The Men Who Stare At Goats", you've seen the clip where George Clooney, well, stares at the goat. The helpless critter falls over on its side, legs straight up in the air. I don't know if the scene is supposed to imply that the G-man possesses the video game ninja-like ability to "kill with a thought" or not. Maybe he just has the ability to make fainting goats faint.
Here's what wiki has to say about these weird and fascinating creatures:
A fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle.
Yet another case of truth being stranger than fiction (based on truth!)
If you do a search for "fainting goats" or "myotonic goats" on youtube, you'll find a few videos of fainting goats...fainting.

15 October 2009

What, Me Worry?

Well, folks, this has been a rough couple of weeks...
My dear wife has been suffering from chronic back pain for the past two years. After seeing numerous doctors and specialists, so far she hasn't had any relief. Some days she can't stand to walk, stand, or even sit. And even lying in bed isn't much better. While she hasn't technically lost her job, she's used up all of her leave time. She's seeing a lawyer next week to get the ball rolling on her disability. It hurts me to see her in pain and know there's nothing I can do to help her.
There's no telling when she'll start drawing disability, or how much it will be. More than likely the Big Weird Jeep will have to go. I can manage to get a few more hours at work (but with budget cuts, "time" is getting tight). I probably won't be posting as much, though I'll still check in on the blogs I follow. Between working more and caring for her, I'll be stretched pretty thin.
And I know this may sound horrible or selfish, but I honestly don't think she realizes how hard this is on me. I try to keep a stiff upper lip and all that, and I just don't feel I have any right to complain to her. I know that her pain, depression, stress and fear are worse than mine.
I mean, here we are on the verge of losing everything we've worked for over the years, and I don't mind losing the stuff, hell, I'd give up everything if it meant she could get better, but knowing that even after cutting back or cutting out, she's still going to be hurting unless somehow the docs find something that works. This is all incredibly stressful for both of us, but I keep trying to soldier through when deep down inside I wish I could just just cry, scream, something to work this stress out.
I'd really appreciate any thoughts, prayers, good vibes, positive energy, or whatever you fine folks could send our way. Not for me, but for her.

12 October 2009

The Troup-Heard Corridor and Strange LaGrange

I mentioned that I've been reading "Strange Georgia" by Jim Miles. I've only skimmed through some of it, but there's a great chapter on the "Troup-Heard Corridor", which is an area of great personal interest. I've only found a little about it online, mainly this page from MUFON.
In addition to a lot of factors mentioned in the MUFON reprt, conditions which would make this an ideal spot for covert military ops, I've found a few other little facts in the book that would lead one to wonder if this is also a "window" for paranormal activity.
The geology of the area is quite interesting. The region has deposits of unusual specimens of quartz rock that, when rubbed together, create a soft glow where the surfaces contacted. Could this explain some of the reports of glowing orbs or balls of light? Or, are the UFOs drawn to this as an energy source for some advanced means of propulsion?
There is also a fault line that runs through the area, where the Noth American Plate abuts the African Plate.
The bulk of UFO reports are reported from the city of LaGrange, GA, which, coincidentally, is the largest city that is considered to lie within the THC. (more population=more potential witnesses=more reports). The UFOs reported are of every concievable size and shape. Discs, balls, triangles, cigars, diamonds, and objects flying in seemingly-connected formations. Some are seen moving at humanly impossible speeds, while others are so slow as to be aerodyamically impossible. (one witness was able to slowly stroll along beneath one until he reached the fence and couldn't follow farther).
But, not only is the LaGrange/THC region a UFO hotspot, it also has its share (or more) of other paranormal phenomena. Bigfoot-like creatures, black panthers, giant snakes, alien encounters and abductions, the discovery of a lead tablet engraved with Sumerian Cuneiform, shadow people, and what the author calls "INT"s, for "Dimensional Interterrestrial Beings".
I read in one of Loren or Jerry Coleman's books (I can't locate it right now) that "Grange" "Granger", and "LaGrange" are all names which seem to have a strong relation to Fortean phenomena. (wonder if ZZ Top knew that?) :D

05 October 2009

You're Still Here?!

Okay, so Saturday night I went to see "Zombieland", a comedy about the end of the world caused by zombie infestation. While there, I saw the trailers for "2012", about the end of the world based on the Mayan calendar, and "Legion", in which God gets disgusted with Man again, and sends a bunch of angels to bring about...the end of the world.
Sunday at Walmart, I was digging through the DVD bargain bin, when I found "Day of The Dead", about zombies and...the end of the world. Looking for another movie (to get the sale price deal) I found a double feature, "Panic In the Year Zero", a 1950's movie with Frankie Avalon and Ray Milland, about survivors coping with the aftermath of a nuclear attack and...the end of the world. Also on the disc was the Vincent Price classic "The Last Man On Earth", based on Mattheson's "I Am Legend", about the lone survivor of a plague that brings about...the end of the world. I must say that both TLMOE and "The Omega Man" blow Will Smith's "I Am Legend" out of the proverbial contaminated water.
Anyway, after a weekend of immersion in TEOTWAWKI scenarios (which also included a run to the store for more shotgun shells), it was nice to wake up and see the world is still going 'round.
Even if it is a Monday!

03 October 2009

Weird & Strange "Guidebooks"

I just finished reading "Alabama Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and Other Offbeat Stuff" and I'm currently reading "Strange Georgia".
Alabama Curiosities contians a few ghost stories (which were covered much better in the classic "Thirteen Alabama Ghosts" by Katherine Tucker Wyndham) but it's also full of information and trivia.
I knew that AL is the home to the only meteorite in the world known to have actually hit a person, but I have never heard of the Wetumptka meteor crater. The meteor crater in Arizona is less than a mile across, the crater left by the explosion of Krakatoa was 2 miles across. The meteor crater in Wetumpka is 4 miles across! It was estimated to have been created 80 million years ago, by an object at least a thousand feet wide (appoximately the size of a college football stadium). "Stars Fell On Alabama", indeed!
I didn't know that the Alabama Blues Brothers (headqurtered about 10 miles from me in the town of Town Creek) hold the distinction of being the only Blues Brothers tribute band in the world who are actually...brothers!
I didn't know that Edgar Cayce spent ten years in Alabama "laying low" and running a photography studio in Selma. He was forced to "blow his cover" when his own son burned his eyes playing with some flash powder in the studio. Unsatisfied with the doctor's diagnosis, Cayce went into a trance and dictated the treatment which ultimately restored his son's sight.
And if you're a history or geology buff, you're probably familiar with the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811, the largest North American earthquake in recorded history, which caused the Mississippi River to run backward and permanently altered the geography of a few states. Did you know that was Alabama's fault? (no pun intended). It seems that a few months earlier, the great Shawnee warrior Tecumseh was in Alabama at the Creek Nation town of Tukabachi, trying to recruit the Creek Indians in his uprising against the white man, but the Creeks declined. According to legend, the disqusted Tecumseh told the cheif that when he returned home to Detroit, he would stomp his foot on the ground and "Shake down every house in Tukabachi."
Two months later, during the great quake, Tukabachi was indeed shaken to the ground.
And I wasn't surprised to learn of numerous shrines to Hank Williams and Bear Bryant, but I never knew that Rick Nelson's final song before his death was performed in Guntersville. Eerily, it was a cover of "Rave On", by Buddy Holly.
I'll be posting some more stuff from both these books later on, including alien and UFO sightings, a few monsters, and more bizarre coincidences.

30 September 2009

"Chickenfoot" Drive-through

I drove out to Chickenfoot today. I wanted to get a look at the lay of the land before going out at night. Here's a pic of the intersection:

The road to the left is posted as a private drive, so I just kept going straight. The one-lane dirt road is filled with potholes, and at some points it's dark even at midday due to the close overgrowth on either side. You can literally reach out of your window and touch the trees. There is the occasional field or pasture, but I didn't reach a dwelling (a nice sized farmhouse) for miles. The GPS showed a few county roads intersecting the road I was on, but it must be pretty outdated, since these "roads" were nothing more than trails through soybean fields, and again, some of these were marked "Private Property, No Trespassing". This is another good reason to recon an area before heading out for a full-fledged hunt. You certainly don't want to go blundering onto private property without permission.
After a few miles of pot holes, big mud puddles, and rickety wooden bridges, I could go no farther. I reached a mudhole the size of a pond right in the middle of the road. I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I'll have to wait til things dry out before proceeding any farther. Our whole area has been subject to almost daily flashfloods for the past month!
I performed a three point turn on the narrow road and returned to the intersection, this time taking the other road. This one wasn't quite as desolate as the first one, but there were still plenty of woods, streams, and a few huge cornfields on one or both sides of the road. (sounds like some of the areas Linda Godfrey mentions in her werewolf books).
There was another road that also looked promising, but I didn't have time to explore it.
So, did I see or hear the "White Thing", or "Chickenfoot Monster"? Alas, not this time. I can't wait to get out there at night, though, the place is unsettling enough in broad daylight.
I DID see something though. Check this out:

This bull was again within arm's length of the car window. Just imagine being on this lonely dirt road at night, and catching a glimpse of this guy looking in your window!
This is a cool area to check out. If it doesn't have a resident monster, it certainly needs one!

28 September 2009

"Where The 'White Things' Are"

It was pretty hard to come up with a title for this post that didn't sound racist. ("Do The 'White Thing'", "That's Mighty White Of You", I had settled on "White Things, You Make My Heart Sing" when I saw the trailer for the new movie "Where The Wild Things Are"...)
A few months back, I read Kurt McCoy's book "White Things, West Virginia's Weird White Monsters", a collection of accounts of encounters with mysterious "WTs" in West Virginia. The creatures range in description from smaller animals resembling badgers to Bigfoot-type hairy hominids. One story that stuck in my mind was an encounter which took place in a secluded cemetary, where a teenaged boy had taken his "Goth" girlfriend in hopes of doing what teenaged boys hope to do with their girlfriends in secluded spots, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (Hmm... a remote secluded spot, sexual energy, and a monster, does this scenario sound familiar?)
I have since discovered that I wouldn't have to travel to the land of Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster to find WTs.
Here's a post from Cryptomundo about sightings of a WT near Birmingham, AL. What's odd about this story is that there's no good description of the creature, other than big, white, and shaggy. It's mentioned that it stands on two legs, but it seems that it moves on four most of the time. It also moves extremely fast, matching some of the WV reports. A look at Google Earth shows that the area isn't exactly remote wilderness. That spells paranormal to me, since the area doesn't appear capable of supporting and concealing a population of large white flesh-n-blood creatures.
And even closer to home, I've heard WT reports from a wildlife refuge in Decatur, AL, and then there's the Chickenfoot Monster.
The Chickenfoot Monster has no resemblence to a chicken. "Chickenfoot" is a local name for the area because the dirt road splits into three different roads at one point. (ya' know,like a chicken's foot!). This road is just a few miles from me, at the base of a mountain in a heavily-wooded and swampy area.
I haven't been able to find too much about this one, other than it has a head like a goat (shades of the Texas Goatman?) and, like the previously mentioned WTs, it sounds "like a woman screaming". (another interesting commonality among certain crypto-beasts).
Are these creatures some kind of paranormal interloper? Are they misidentifications of an albino, yet known creature? Are they nothing more than campfire stories, urban (or rural) legends, or just tall tales?
I'll be doing some drive-through "expeditions" to these local areas to see what I can see.
On a side note, Loren Coleman has noted a pattern with creature sightings and general weirdness and place names. Cities named "Decatur" around the US seem to have a "high strangeness quotient", and places named "Lafayette" (or variations thereof, from the French for "place of the fairies") also rank high.
The wildlife refuge is across the river from Decatur AL, and part of it is also directly across from Lafayette Street.
Weird, huh?

25 September 2009

Land Between the Lakes KY, Another "Window"?

I first became aware of this region when I viewed the documentary "Hunt The Dogman" which I posted about here.
I've done some more searching recently and found that in addition to the Dogman/Werewolf sightings, LBL is also the home of the "Vampire Hotel", an abandoned structure (it has since been demolished so only the foundation and a few walls remain) where Rod Ferrell and his "Vampire Clan" held meetings, conducted blood-drinking riuals, and allegedly practiced animal sacrifices prior to embarking on their trip to Florida, where Ferrell beat two people to death and drank their blood before driving to New Orleans to live among the vampires. The Vampire Hotel is still a "pilgimage" sight for vampire wannabes.
It was after conducting their rituals that Ferrell declared himself a 500 yr-old vampire named "Vesego".
So, now we've got an area with both werewolves and "vampires". But wait, there's more. I've also run across posts from those who've visited the area and reported that at night, you can see glowing red eyes staring through the trees, but when the area is illuminated, no animal or creature can be seen. Others have also reported UFOs and mysterious lights among the trees, some reports of non-typical Bigfoot-like creatures, as well as a general "creepy" feeling.
The LBL region has a lot in common with other "Window Areas" as well. It's situated between two large lakes, it's a heavily forested area, it has been under the control (or at least auspices of) the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Corp of Engineers ( that's right, the Government!), it is home to a lot of old cemetaries and Indian burial grounds, and it has a history of being haunted or sacred that predates the arrival of the White Man.
I can't help but wonder if Ferrell and his followers unwittingly made contact with some kind of entity, and if in his desire to become a vampire, he allowed it to "possess" and control him? Is there some kind of energy in the area? Is it yet another playground for what we label as "spirits"?
Just what IS going on there?

22 September 2009

460 Rowland Caliber Conversion

I've converted the Taurus 1911 to 460 Rowland caliber using the kit from Clark Custom Guns. The 460 Rowland is a "new" caliber (actually, it's been in development and testing for a few years now) that delivers .44 magnum ballistics from a 1911 style handgun, with nothing more than a barrel and spring swap. I've also reinstalled the factory grips, replacing the flamed custom ones for now, and picked up a few Chip McCormick 10rnd magazines.
But, the ammo is still on backorder for a few more weeks, so I can't shoot it yet. But the extended mag and the barrel compensator looks wicked awesome. Can't wait to try this f**kpuppy out!

More Gun Porn!

A couple of weeks ago I found a great deal on a Mossberg 500 .12gauge shotgun. Mossberg calls this model the "Roadblocker". The big thing on the end of the barrel is a muzzle brake, modeled after the ones used on the 50-cal rifles. It's supposed to reduce the recoil of the weapon. The gun was originally equipped with just a pistol-grip (no stock), but since pistol-grip-only shotguns are useless, pointless, and impractical (outside of action movies, anyway!), I added a Knoxx SpeCops folder. The shottie is much easier on my shoulder now, and follow-up shots are pretty darned fast.

Just smile and wait for the flash!

Ghost Towns and Curses

Like everything else, sometimes entire towns "up and die". The reasons are varied and usually quite mundane. Mines, mills, and factories shut down, prompting an exodus of those whose livelihood depended on them. In the early days of US history, movement of the railroad lines could mean certain death for a once-thriving community. In more recent history, the Interstate Highway System bypassed once-popular tourist stops and destinations which had previously enjoyed a measure of prosperity from highway travellers passing through town and spending their dollars at the local cafes, or forking over some cash at the local tourist trap.
But sometimes the reasons were more than a little bizarre. There are a few occasions where it appears that entire towns have suffered for the sins of a few.
Here's an account of the city of Kaskaskia, the first capital of Illinois:

A new settlement was started along the western edge of the Illinois region in 1703 and it was called Kaskaskia. For more than a century, it was the commercial and cultural capital of Illinois. Little of the city remains today, although it was once a prosperous and thriving settlement. Strangely, many believe that the city was destroyed because of an old curse, leaving nothing but a scattering of houses, and ghosts, behind.

Many years ago, Kaskaskia was a part of the mainland of Illinois, a small peninsula that jutted out just north of the present-day location of Chester. There still remains a portion of what was once Kaskaskia, which is accessible from Illinois today, but the peninsula is now an island, cut off from the state by a channel change in the Mississippi River that took place decades ago. Much of the area was flooded at that time and it is now largely a ghost town, consisting of a few scattered homes and a handful of residents.

The remains of the town, while still considered part of Illinois, can now only be reached from Missouri. There is an ancient bridge between Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary’s which crosses the Mississippi to the island. It is the only physical link this desolate spot has to either state. There are only a few scattered buildings left here, including the Kaskaskia Bell Memorial site, which indicate that the city ever existed.

The vanished town was founded by the French settlers and it was once considered the "metropolis" of the Mississippi Valley and the main rendezvous point for the whole territory. It also served as a springboard for explorations to the west and in time, became the state and territorial capital of Illinois.

The area grew and in 1804, Kaskaskia became a land-office town and the territorial capital in 1809. The town was made up of stone mansions and homes of typical French architecture, which according to contemporary sources, were inclined to be "shabby".

Half of the inhabitants were French or French-Indian mixtures who raised cattle, horses and hogs and worked small farms. The city also boasted a post office and a number of general stores, a hat shop and three tailor shops. There was only one tavern in town and it was said to be constantly overcrowded by state officials, soldiers, adventurers and land speculators.

In 1818, the state capital was moved to the new city of Vandalia, in the central part of the state. Illinois had just gained its statehood and legislators began searching for a place that was more centrally located than Kaskaskia. The move was made with some regret... but of course no one knew that the river city would be destroyed in just a few more years.

About 25 years later, the waters of the Mississippi began to shift in their channel and flooding attacked the edges of Kaskaskia, destroying homes and farms. By 1881, the peninsula was completely cut off by the river and the city nearly ceased to exist.

But what happened to change the fates of this once marvelous city? Was it simply nature taking its course.... or were more dire circumstances behind the demise of Kaskaskia?

According to some, there was a terrible curse placed on the town many years before which predicted the city and the land around it would be destroyed and that the dead would rise from the graveyard in eternal torment. Believe it or not, these events actually came to pass!

The legend of the curse dates back to 1735, when Kaskaskia was a thriving community of French settlers. There was a wealthy fur trader who lived there and who is remembered only by the name of Bernard. He lived in a luxurious stone home in the company of his daughter, Maria, a beautiful young girl who was the pride of his life.

Bernard owned a trading post on the edge of the city and he frequently hired local men, both French and Indian, to work for him. Most of the Indians were hired to do the menial work, as Bernard cared little for them and considered them a "necessary evil" at best. At some point, he hired a young Indian to work for him who had been educated by French missionaries. As the two spent time together, Bernard actually began to become fond of the young man, at least until he realized that his daughter had also become fond of him. In fact, Maria and the Indian had fallen in love.

When Bernard learned this, he became enraged. He immediately fired the young man and spoke to friends and other merchants, who then refused to put him to work. Eventually, the young man left town. Before he left, he promised Maria that he would return for her.

Needless to say, Maria was heartbroken by her father’s actions. She pretended that nothing was wrong, so as to not arouse her father’s curiosity, but deep down, she secretly hoped, waited and watched for the return of her lover. Several local men attempted to court her, but while she feigned interest in their attentions, she secretly pined away for the young Indian.

A year passed and one day, a group of unknown Indians visited Kaskaskia from the west. Among them was Maria’s lover, wearing a disguise so that he would not be recognized by Bernard. Maria and the Indian arranged to meet in secret and then quickly fled Kaskaskia to the north.

When Bernard learned what had happened, he vowed to seek vengeance on the young man. He gathered several of his friends and began hunting his daughter and her lover. They found them and captured them near Cahokia. Maria begged her father to understand but he refused to hear her cries. He decided to kill the young man by drowning him. The Indian was silent as the rough trappers tied him to a log and then set him adrift on the Mississippi. Just as they placed him in the water, he swore a terrible curse...

He swore that Bernard would be dead within the year and soon he and Maria would be reunited forever. Kaskaskia was damned and would be destroyed, along with all of the land around it. The altars of the churches would be destroyed and the homes along with them. Even the dead of Kaskaskia would be disturbed from their graves!

The river then swallowed the Indian beneath the muddy water. He was silenced, but the curse eventually came to pass. Within the year, the prophecy began to come true. Maria became distraught over her lover’s fate and refused to leave the house or eat. She soon died and rejoined her lover on the other side. Bernard became involved in a bad business deal and challenged the man whom he believed to have cheated him to a duel. Bernard was killed by the other man.

And the river began to seek the Indian’s revenge on Kaskaskia. The river channels shifted and flooded the peninsula over and over again until, by 1881, Kaskaskia was completely cut off from the mainland. The homes and farms were abandoned and people began to slowly leave the island. The church was moved over and over again, but it did no good. The altar was eventually destroyed in the 1973 flood. By this time, Kaskaskia had become a desolate ghost town..... but not before the Kaskaskia cemetery was washed away and the bodies of those buried there erupted to the surface and then vanished beneath the river.

Cursed? Perhaps... but Kaskaskia is not forgotten. It remains today not only as a scattering of buildings, but also as one of the greatest legends of early Illinois!

As a footnote, according to the most recent census, the population of this former state capital, this formerly propsperous river port, was...9.

And here's an article about a ghost town that's much closer to me:
The Randolph County Historical Society has placed a marker at the entrance to the town telling the history of the ghost town.

"One mile North, on the East bank of Tallapoosa River, was located Louina, named for an indian woman who operated a trading post. Settled 1834. It became chief business center in Randolph County with county's first newspaper, schools for boys and girls, Baptist and Methodist Churches, Masonic Lodge, grist mill, wool factory, and cotton gin. Company of Confederate soldiers organized here August 1, 1861. Last store closed 1902 and post office moved eastward to Concord and named Viola. Among outstanding descendants from Louina's settlers was U.S. Senator J. Tom Heflin."

The little town of Louina, on the banks of the Tallapoosa River came into being in 1834 when Isham Weathers opened a store and trading post.

Louina was named for a wealthy Indian Woman. When she was forced to leave, it was said she put her silver in sacks but they were so heavy, the ponies could not carry the load. Legend said Louina buried some silver but, despite years of digging, none has been found.

Louina was an important town in Randolph Co. Before the Civil War, the town paid more than one third of all the taxes in the County, paid mostly by slave owners. What is today a ghost town once 30 homes, eight stores, two schools (one for boys and one for girls), hotels, taverns, saloons, a Masonic Lodge and a Methodist and Baptist Church.

The Concord Baptists church was organized in 1850 by J. Day Barron, editor of the Louina Eagle, the towns newspaper. Louina was on the stage coach line from Wedowee to Dadeville and had it's own post office.

In 1870, W. E. Gilbert, co-publisher of the newspaper, planned to build a cotton mill and began a dam on the Tallapoosa River. But a blasting accident killed one man and another man lost an arm and the project was abandoned. In 1902, the last store closed closed and the post office was moved to J. F. Cardwell's store at Concord and renamed Viola.

In 1856 the newspaper was moved to Wedowee and the name was changed to the Southern Mercury, later the Randolph County Democrat. The paper closed just before the Civil War. All the stores and other buildings are long gone, perhaps bearing truth to the legend that Louina was so angry she she was forced to leave she put a curse on the town and said it would vanish from sight.

Curse or no Curse, this is what happened. Where Liberty Church once stood near Highway 22 is the old cemetery, grown up with weeds and scrub oak. Some small headstones still stand.

Ray Carson whose great-grandfather lived in Louina from 1833 to 1836 warned of old wells now covered with grass and weeds. Carson said that the town that once had 2,500 residents and was the largest town in Randolph County has only 17 wells filled, which means many old wells may still be open, he said.

Major Harris states that the old Louina Cemetery is now Concord Church Cemetery.

Oddly enough, I haven't been able find out to just why Louina was forced to leave the town, nor could I find any specifics about the curse.
If any of you know of any more towns that have "died" possibly as a result of a curse, I'd love to hear about them!

18 September 2009

Handy Online Resource

If, like me, your tastes and interests are rather eclectic, (okay, I'll admit that in my case they're just plain weird!), here's a site that features a wealth of old and unusual book titles, most of which can be read free online. I own copies of a few,(and consider some of them "required reading") but it's nice to be able to peruse the titles and check out the content even if you plan to buy. And speaking of buying, the prices aren't bad at all, either!

12 September 2009

What Time Is It?

"Does anybody really know what time it is?"-Chicago-

"You are not a victim, you just scream with boredom,
You are not evicting Time"
-David Bowie-

"Time won't let me"-The Outsiders

While reading through some accounts of creature sightings and associated weirdness, I've read numerous reports of phenomena that seem to begin, build, then disappear never to be reported again. I label these creatures/events "Short-Timers". Researchers use the term "flap" to denote periods of increased activity. There have been major UFO flaps every decade since the '40's. The big Cattle Mutilation flap of the '70's. Periodic increases of sightings of Nessie and Lake Monsters.
But, while such phenomena as UFOs, Cattle Mutilations, and Lake Monster sightings occur with less frequency during non-flap periods, the Short-Timers make the news for a while, then suddenly disappear. The Paranormal equivalent of a one-hit wonder.
There haven't been many credible reports of Mothman, the Jersey Devil, or the Fouke monster in years. Springheeled Jack, The Mad Gasser of Matoon, and the Scrape Ore Lizardman appear to have retired. The Phantom Clowns have left the scene, and whatever became of those Black Eyed Kids?

"There are three vital ingredients to comedy: material, delivery, and another one that I can't remember right now..."

During the 13 months that the Mothman was flying around Point Pleasant, residents reported encounters with the Men In Black. The many people who have had dealings with these guys report that they are always obsessed with knowing the time. MIBs ask the witnesses for the time several times during the course of their encounter. And the MIBs are known for their pattern of wearing outdated, yet brand new appearing clothing, and driving decades-old vehicles that not only look, but even smell new. (if only we could learn the secret of preserving new-car smell!).
Like a lot of others who study and research various strange phenomena, I'm always hoping to find some kind of discernable pattern to events. Factors such as geography and location, and even connections with names. But, if we accept the proposition that such bizarre creature encounters are the result of something intruding into our reality, perhaps we should examine a temporal connection as well?
I don't mean a specific pattern of dates and times. IF something or someone unknown is crossing over into our world, time itself could be a factor.
Travelline through space and time is a tricky business. Like the transporter from Star Trek, you have to get your "coordinates" right. If you just travel through the dimension of time, you run the risk of materializing in the vacuum of space, cursing with your last breath as you watch the Earth hurtling toward or away from you at 90 miles per second. Not good.
And even if you could somehow compensate for "space" as well as time, there are other matters to consider. Wanna travel to the future and materialize inside an oak tree that didn't exist when you left? Travel to the distant past and realize too late that your target area was covered with water at that time? How about materializing fused into a wall of a building that wasn't even built in your "then-present"?
If these intruders into our reality are deliberately travelling here from someplace/sometime else, maybe there are only occassional windows of opportunity for safe transport. Whether it's by some artificial or advanced technological means, or some sort of natural ability,(or even just through some circumstance over which the creatures themselves have no control at all) the laws of the universe always have their limits. (how would they get around the Law of The Conservation of Matter, for example?).
Of course this is bad news for those of us who hope to find a way to predict such events, since it involves knowledge to which we aren't currently privy, but maybe eventually we'll figure it out.

"...TIMING! TIMING! THAT'S the other thing!"

24 August 2009

Gummerfan: Fearless Vampire Hunter?

Interesting message I got today from one of my "connections":

I heard from a guy who's putting together a TV show--kind of like ghost hunters, but with vampires as the target instead of ghosts.  He's looking for people who might be interested.  I thought of you and wondered if I could pass on your contact info to him.  Let me know.

Don't know if anything will come of it or not, but it's kind of exciting nonetheless!

17 August 2009

A Little Gun Fun!

I recently traded off my Carbon-15 pistol for a Golani Sporter. This is basically a semi-auto version of the Israeli Galil assault rife, (which in turn is an Israeli version of the Soviet AK47 assault rifle, hmmm...)

I also got a couple of these neat-o magazine extensions for my Glock 20 10mm auto.

These add 5 extra rounds to the stock mag capacity for a total of 20 rounds of magnum-level power in a packable semi-auto pistol. Does it get any sweeter than that?

Bennington Triangle

If you follow Autumnforest's Ghost Hunting Theories, you've no doubt seen some of the posts and comments about Portals, or Window Areas. Today I got an email announcement regarding this very phenomenon. Check this out:
C4C radio, Tuesday, 7pm CST.

Jim's Site.

Jim and his fellow researchers will be deep in the woods on expedition. Should
be exciting to hear from him and what they have found. We will also update
everyone on what's going on out here. The family I mentioned is still getting
nightly visits.
I'll be on site there today. Wes and Darin got more tracks, and huge bedding
areas on the property yesterday. The family confirmed a sighting again the night
before. They put "him" around 10 feet tall(a baby).........Tune in for and
exciting show,,,,,


The term "Bennington Triangle" was coined by New England author Joseph A. Citro
during a public radio broadcast in 1992 to denote an area of southwestern
Vermont within which a number of persons went missing between 1920 and 1950.

This was further popularized in two books, in which he devoted chapters to
discussion of these disappearances and various items of folklore surrounding the
area. The area shares characteristics with the Bridgewater Triangle in
neighboring Massachusetts.

Precisely what area is encompassed in this hypothetical "mystery triangle" is
not clear, but it centers around Glastenbury Mountain.

Glastenbury and its neighboring township Somerset were both once moderately
thriving logging and industrial towns, but began declining toward the late 19th
century and are now essentially ghost towns, unincorporated by an act of the
state legislature in 1937.

According to Citro's books, stories of strange happenings had beentold about
Glastenbury and the surrounding area for many years prior to the disappearances
in the 1940s, and other sources do seem to corroborate that such folklore does
appear to date back as far as the late 19th century and perhaps even earlier.
This includes the local folk belief that Native Americans regarded Glastenbury
as "cursed" and avoided it, as well as tales of hairy "wild men" and other
strange beasts in the woods.

Looks like another one for the books!

14 August 2009

Monster Hunter Salute: Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter

Quick! Name a half-vamp, sword-slinging, daywalking vampire hunter! Hint: he's assisted by an intelligent sidekick who's an expert on vampires and counter-vampire measures and weapons. Another hint? Okay, he's got a rather unique, flashy wardrobe and a slightly arrogant personality.
If you're thinking "Blade", then you must have missed the 1974 Hammer Film "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter."
CK easily gains a place in my Hall of Fame because the character and the movie are both true originals.
The "bio" of Kronos isn't really detailed in the movie, you sort of gather bits and pieces. CK returned from "the war" (which war is unknown, since the movie"s atmosphere is set sometime in the 19th century, and you're never really sure exactly what the location is) to find his family has been turned. He is forced to kill them all, but not before his sister gives him a bite (but doesn't kill or completely turn him). That CK possesses superspeed is sort of hinted at through a few camera tricks, but not graphically demonstrated. No "Matrix" like slo-motion or CGI, after all, it was filmed in 1974. So, Kronos makes it his life's mission to seek out and destroy vampires wherever he may find them. Kind of like Mad Max or The Punisher, except with vampires.
Kronos gets "Style" points for the following reasons: He neatly sidesteps the eternal "rapier vs katana" debate by using both. (STYLE!) He can dispatch a whole tavern full of scumbags without mussing his hair (or even leaving his spot at the bar!) (STYLE!)
He gets to make it with Caroline Munro (STYLE!) and he's got some clever lines.

(Kronos is recieving a leeching)
"You'd better remove our little friends before they turn blue."
"I come from very aristocratic stock."

(Speaking of his valued assisstant)
"What he doesn't know about vampirism wouldn't fill a flea's codpiece."

(Caroline Munro asks to travel with him)
"If you'll have me..."
"Oh, I'll have you!"

The plot involves CK's efforts to rid a village of a mysterious figure who is draining the "youth" from local...youths, leaving their wrinkled dead bodies in it's wake. This is much more in line with the older Vampire lore, before the "youth", "energy" or "life force" was literalized into the blood. In fact, Kronos's (as well as Blade's) half-vamp status is a carryover of the traditional folkloric vampire hunter. (for a complete explanation, see Bruce McClelland's excellent book "Slayers and Their Vampires, A Cultural History of Killing The Dead" Warning: it's not exactly a "light" read!)

CK has some really original takes on the Vampire legends, and IMO succeeds in it's attempt to combine horror and swashbuckling.
Check it out!