Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Monkey Day 2014

Happy Monkey Day!

monkeysmiles
December 14th is International Monkey Day.

The holiday started in 2000 and was the inspiration of a pair of students from Michigan State University. When the pair began to include the ‘holiday’ in their artwork and comic strips, other artists took up the idea and played along. Over time, the holiday began to be promoted online and caught the attention of artists and activist around the world.

Although called Monkey Day, the holiday has become a time to raise awareness for all primate related causes. Animal rights organizations, sanctuaries and rescue groups use the day to generate attention to their causes, and to have a little fun along the way. Over the years, numerous artists have produced Monkey related material during the holiday.

Director Peter Jackson, in a nod to International Monkey Day, released King Kong on December 14th, 2005.

Casey Sorrow, one of the MSU students responsible for the genesis of Monkey Day, maintains a blog called “Monkeys in the News.” Check it out for some interesting highlights:
http://www.monkeyday.org/2013/12/happy-monkey-day-2013.html

The Monkey Sanctuary works hard to assist primates and has an annual ‘adopt a monkey for Christmas’ program:
http://www.monkeysanctuary.org/fundraise/adopt-a-monkey/

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Cryptid Christmas 2014

Tis’ the season for Crypto-Gifts! While I’m sure there are tons of books and DVDs on the list of most people interested in cryptozoology, I thought it would be interesting to list a few of the more unusual items on offer that may spark the interest of those fascinated with strange animals.

DB383084Bigfoot Tree Ornament
What’s better than Bigfoot on a Christmas tree? These ornaments have been around for a few years but they remain a holiday favorite. Cast in resin, the figure depicts Sasquatch with a Christmas cap and a string of lights. The ornaments are available from Design Toscano:
http://www.designtoscano.com/product/code/DB983084.do


SafariCryptozoologyToob__04912_1383691835_1280_1280Cryptozoology Toob
Toy company Safari Ltd., has produced a new item in their ‘toobs’ line and they’ve ventured into cryptozoology. The new toob features a series of seven cryptids that includes: Bigfoot, Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, Kraken, Jackalope, Furry Trout and the Coelacanth.
These quality miniatures are made of hard plastic and look great on any cryptid hunter’s bookshelf. They’re available from the International Cryptozoology Museum for a limited time. While you’re at the site, check out the other fine offerings from them including t-shirts and Museum passes:
http://cryptozoologymuseumstore.tictail.com/


00453408-810815_283Giant Squid Coffee Mug
The Discovery Store has a number of items available from its annual Monster Week event. The giant squid coffee mug pictured here is just one of the many possibilities. Other items include t-shirts, ipad & iphone covers and magnets, all with the monster week logo and various creatures.
http://store.discovery.com/monster-week/index.php?v=animal-planet_shows_monster-week








shirt1-blackBoggy Creek T-Shirt
Back in 2012, author Lyle Blackburn penned the ultimate book on the Legend of Boggy Creek. Many modern cryptozoologist remember the film fondly and consider it an early inspiration in their pursuit of strange creatures. Since his book release, Blackburn has released a number of Boggy Creek items featuring the legendary creature. A favorite is the Best of Boggy Creek T-shirt, produced on high quality cotton and available in all sizes. They’re available at the Fouke Monster shop at the website below.
http://www.foukemonster.net/shop.htm



Yeti Statue
Finally, the ‘big one.’ Design Toscano already produced a Bigfoot statue available in three different sizes from a couple of feet up to a ‘life sized,’ six foot version. Now, they’ve turned their attention to the Himalayan Yeti, or, as some call him, the Abominable Snowman. Just like the brown Bigfoot, the Yeti is produced in three different sizes, medium, large and life size. Ranging in price from a hundred dollars for the medium statue, to a hefty price tag of over two grand for the six footer, these unique statues are nicely done and will be a great prize for any cryptozoologist on your list.
yetidt
http://www.designtoscano.com/product/code/DB5383091.do

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mississippi Chupacabras

News reports out of Leake County, Mississippi claim that a local man has killed a chupacabra, the legendary creature known as the ‘goat sucker.’

Twenty eight year old local man, Matthew Harrell shot the creature when he caught it in a chicken coop. “My neighbor said the creature had killed three of his chickens. I thought it was a coon at first.”
Harrell says he realized the animal wasn’t a raccoon when he saw its glowing red eyes.

“This one wasn’t lunging. He was down like a cat…and I was seeing the teeth and red eyes. It looked like he was going to jump down there and I didn’t give him the chance.”

101809_ff_chupacabra_16_9The animal that Harrell killed appears to be a canine, but it is mostly hairless. Local animal officials believe that the animal is nothing but a wild dog or possibly a coyote with mange, a common explanation offered in such cases.

The animal looks very similar to other ‘chupacabras’ specimens that have been found in Texas and other parts of the west. Dubbed ‘Texas blue dogs’ because of the tint of their skin, these animals are being reported with greater frequency from the southwest to the deep south.

Reports suggest that these strange canines can run as fast as thirty-five miles per hour. In 2008, DeWitt County deputy, Brandon Riedel captured footage of one of the animals using his patrol car’s dash camera.

Dr. Phylis Canion, a nutritionist from southern Texas found one of the creatures in 2007 on a road near her Cuero, Texas ranch. In an interview on “The Unexplained Files,” Canion stated that she believes the creature was responsible for almost 28 chickens killed on her property.

“Each time we found a chicken dead, it was opened up…in its throat area. It appeared that all the blood was out of it.”

The creature that Canion discovered weighed almost forty pounds had blue eyes and a long snout with a pronounced overbite.
DNA test conducted by the University of California, Davis, have suggested that the animal is a coyote/Mexican wolf hybrid. Canion herself disagrees and believes the animal is a separate species. She’s been studying the creatures for several years and has offered to pay for DNA testing on the animal killed in Mississippi.

Harrell however, threw most of the corpse away, keeping only the jawbone and teeth, along with a couple of clippings from the body. Canion is unsure if scientist will be able to obtain viable DNA for tests.

“I’ve seen a lot of nasty stuff. I’ve never seen anything like this” says Canion who spent four years in Africa. Her hope is that one of the animals can be captured alive for study and DNA. If that happens, perhaps science can prove once and for all if the legendary goat sucker is a new hybrid, or an undiscovered species.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Slenderman Paranoia

There's been a lot of attention drawn to Slenderman recently.  Is this a Internet meme or something more sinister?

I covered the history of this creature's genesis in my book Strange Intruders, but with recent criminal cases now making national news, there's more interest than ever, and with it, there are more questions than ever.

Ron Patton, publisher of Paranoia magazine has produced a special edition of the magazine featuring the Slenderman. 

Contributions from a wide range of writers are featured, and happy to have my own piece, "Tendrils of the Slenderman" included.

Check out the issue for some great reading on this weird topic, available at the Paranoia shop:

http://www.paranoiamagazine.com/shop/paranoia-59-fall-2014-pdf/

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Walking Shark

Sharks have been scaring people out of the water since well before Jaws set the image of the ocean predators in everyone’s mind. But the silliness of recent movies ‘Sharknado’ and ‘Ghost Shark’ may be nothing compared to the possibilities of a newly discovered species.

“Hemiscyllium Halmahera” a species of ‘walking’ shark has been found in the waters off of Indonesia. The shark uses its fins to push itself across the ocean floor as it searches for small fish and crustaceans.

image_1335e-walking-shark
Walking sharks are also known as bamboo sharks or longtail carpet sharks. The good news is they are harmless to humans and only grow up to about 47 inches in length. While the possibilities are intriguing, there are no records of the animals walking on land. Of course, this probably won’t stop a sci-fi B movie from developing the idea!
A video of this fascinating creature can be found here:




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Show Low, AZ Bigfoot Sighting

Show Low is a small town in the eastern central part of Arizona.  It’s in Navajo County at an elevation of 6,400 feet.  The area has extensive forest and is a popular recreation spot.  Show Low is close to the White Mountain Apache tribe.  Natives in the region have long told stories of Sasquatch living in the area’s forest.

The report below is from a witness who encountered what he believes was a Bigfoot in Show Low, Arizona in September of 2012.  He and a friend were staying in Show Low and had started taking daily walks in the surrounding forest.

“My friend and I were taking a walk.  It was about five o’clock in the afternoon.  We heard an odd sound, sort of a low grumbling noise.  It was very deep, not like a dog but like something from a larger animal.  We both stopped and started looking around to see what had made the noise.  My friend spotted it first and pointed to me saying look!  Over by some pine trees there was a tall creature, I’d say it was around seven feet or a little more.  I couldn’t really see facial features very well because it all happened so fast.  The creature was brown in color and dirty looking.  The hair was long all over the body.  The shoulders were very broad and it didn’t really look like it had a neck at all, just bulky shoulders going straight into its head.  It was on two legs and I knew right away it wasn’t a bear or any other kind of animal that I had ever seen.  It looked at us and my first thought was that it was angry.  It made that grunting, growling sound again, then turned its back on us and walked away into the trees.  We got out of there right away as we were both afraid that the thing might change its mind and come back towards us.  The whole incident was probably less than a minute.  We didn’t go walking in that area anymore after seeing it, I know that it was a Bigfoot.”

220px-MOGOLLONRIM_AZ17
 
 
 
Show Low is also near the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment that defines the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau.  The Mogollon Rim is known for its high limestone and sandstone cliffs.  Extensive pine forests cover both the slopes of the rim as well as the plateau.  The area has abundant wildlife and there have been numerous Bigfoot sightings over the years.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Atlantic Sturgeon

There’s a creature living in the Atlantic ocean that looks like something from the age of dinosaurs.  It can reach lengths of fifteen feet and weigh up to eight hundred pounds.  It’s the Atlantic sturgeon.

In times past, the fish was in great abundance in the Atlantic.  Fishermen were not interested in the massive fish until the meat became popular as an export.  In more recent times, it has been caught primarily for the production of caviar.  The product became so popular that the fish is now endangered.

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As of February 2012, this amazing fish was officially classified an endangered species.  The Atlantic sturgeon’s official range extends from New Brunswick, Canada to the eastern coast of Florida.  It’s considered threatened along its entire range, although it is completely absent from some of the areas that it previously populated.  In Virginia, in the Chesapeake watershed, the James river is one of the last confirmed holdouts for the fish and conversation efforts are underway.

Sturgeon are among the oldest living species of fish and have retained many primitive characteristics.  Rather than having true scales, the Atlantic sturgeon has five rows of bony plates called scutes causing it to have an “armored” appearance.  Coloring of the sturgeon ranges from blue-black to olive green with a white underside.

The sturgeon’s bony plates are not the only strange aspect of their appearance.  Their eyes are tiny and there are barbels on their face that help them locate prey in murky waters.  Their bizarre look makes it easy to imagine how early sailors must have responded when spotting these ‘sea monsters’ and it’s certainly feasible that they are responsible for some accounts of weird aquatic creatures.

sturgeon sc
In March 2012, a large carcass washed up on Folly Beach in South Carolina.  Area residents were puzzled by the massive carcass and there was much talk of the discovery of a ‘sea monster’.  The animal was soon identified by a local veterinarian from the South Carolina Aquarium as an Atlantic sturgeon.

Sturgeon have survived for over 100 million years.  An individual fish can live to be over 60 years of age.  Let’s hope this modern monster can survive the ravages of man.




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Release the Kraken!

Tales of massive, many armed sea creatures date back to ancient times.  The Greeks wrote about the Scylla, a six headed creature from the depths that threatened Odysseus during his journey.  The most well known legendary monster of the deep however, is the Kraken.

First mentioned by name in the 1700s in Norway, the Kraken was typically described as a giant squid or colossal octopus.  Sailors long feared encountering this creature since it was reputed to attack ships, pulling them underwater in order to devour the men on board.

Could there be truth behind such a legendary creature?  Some scientists think so and have been searching for species giant squid deep in the ocean.
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A team of scientists led by Japanese researchers captured the first footage of a giant squid in it’s habitat in the waters south of Tokyo.  The images show a ten foot long cephalopod moving through the murky darkness of the waters almost 1 km below the surface.  The footage was filmed near the Ogasawara Islands off the coast of Japan.

The team was led by Japanese zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera.  “These are the first ever images of a real live giant squid.  Many people have tried to capture an image of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat, whether researchers or film crews but they all failed.”  Tsunemi stated.

Tsunemi attributed his team’s success to a small submersible rigged with lights invisible to both humans and cephalopods.  Sitting in the pitch black water, using near-infrared light, the team waited for the giant squid to approach, following the creature and filming as much footage as they could before the it swam away into the depths.  “When I saw it, well, it looked to me like it was rather lonely.”

Giant squid are solitary animals, living far down in the ocean’s depths.  Capturing one of film is an important first step towards understanding more about the unique animal.

“I’ve seen a lot of giant squid specimens in my time, but mainly those hauled out of the ocean. This was the first time for me to see with my own eyes a giant squid swimming,” he said. “It was stunning, I couldn’t have dreamt that it would be so beautiful. It was such a wonderful creature.”

It’s long been thought that a breed of giant squid may be responsible for accounts of the Kraken.  Some scientists estimate that the creatures may reach 40-50 feet in length.  Certainly, a frightening sight to early sailors journeying across the ocean in fragile wooden ships.

kraken3
The Kraken has appeared frequently in fiction and popular culture.  From Jules Verne’s famous “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” to Pirates of the Caribbean but many mysteries still remain.
Perhaps more answers will be found in the ocean’s depths.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Texas Phantom Kangaroo

Reports of so called "Phantom Kangaroos" have appeared periodically around the United States since the late 1800s.  They are often witnessed by numerous people and the animals usually vanish as suddenly as they appear.

Back in 2012 I received one such report out of central Texas.  A woman, her boyfriend, and her daughter all witnessed the animal.

Barbara had driven out to west Texas to visit friends for the holidays.  Her boyfriend and her teenage daughter made the trip with her.  On Thursday, December 29th, 2011, they were driving back home to the Austin area.  It was early afternoon and Barbara was at the wheel.  Seeing an animal ahead on the right hand side of the road, she began to slow down.  Barbara's boyfriend was in the passenger seat and leaned forward trying to distinguish just what the animal was.

"Suddenly, it sprang into the air and landed on the highway."

Barbara now had the car at a complete stop on the road and she realized exactly what she was seeing.

"Oh my God!  It's a kangaroo!"

The three travelers sat in the car and stared in amazement at an animal that clearly didn't belong in Texas.  After a moment, the kangaroo leaped again, landing in a field on the left side of the road.  It paused a moment, then bounded across the field, vanishing in the brush and tress.

Barbara pulled off the road and the three got out, trying to catch another glimpse of the animal, but it was gone.

Calls to local zoos revealed that no animals had escaped recently.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

New York's Giant Rats

New Yorkers may have more to worry about than alligators in the sewers. A photo has gone viral on the internet that purports to show a three foot rat.

The giant rat was allegedly found dead in a Foot Locker shoe store located in the Bronx. The photo, which was apparently taken in the fall of 2011 shows the rat on a shovel.
Employees working at the Foot Locker location have refused to comment on the incident.

This is not the first giant rat discovered in New York. A similar creature was speared to death with a pitchfork at a housing project in Brooklyn.

Jose Rivera, an employee with NY’s Housing Authority, was clearing a rat hole in Brooklyn when three of the rodents came out.
Rivera struck out hitting one of the rats but the other two escaped. The creature appears to be about three feet long and is covered in white fur.

Residents of the project say they have seen the giant rats running around the area and that even cats are afraid of them. Sightings of the massive rodents have been reported for at least six years.
Animal experts believe the Bronx rodent may be a Gambian pouched rat which can grow up to three feet in length.

Gambian pouch rats were once imported to the US as pets but were officially banned in 2003. The exotic rats are nocturnal and in the wild are very social, living in large groups.
Experts believe the rats could have been pets released by their owners once they reached such large stature.

Funny, that’s what they say about the gators in the sewers.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Macabre Moments

Check out a recent interview I did for Macabre Moments with Marie Samuels, it's a great discussion on a wide range of topics from Mothman to the old hag syndrome.

Marie has posted some great interviews recently including David Rountree, Jason Offutt and Dr. Barry Taff.

http://macabremoments.com/

Friday, May 30, 2014

Intrepid Magazine

I'm often asked about my explorations of Easter Island.  For a glimpse into this mysterious place and it's iconic statues, check out the latest issue of Intrepid Magazine for my article, Whispers of the Moai.

You'll find a lot of great articles in the mag, including Andrew Collins on Gobekli Tepe, a special feature on the amazing art of Pat Broderick and much, much more.


http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/764574

Monday, May 26, 2014

Strange Intruders Review


Here's a recent review of my book Strange Intruders posted by Seriah Azkath.  Seriah has a podcast called "Where Did the Road Go?"

I've had the pleasure of appearing on the show and he's had some great guests in the past, check out the archives if you have some time and show your support to his blog.

http://aopr.blogspot.com/2014/05/book-review-strange-intruders-by-david.html

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Bigfoot Times

I guess I’m old fashioned, but there’s something I really enjoy about receiving a newsletter in the mail each month. Sure, I know what you’re thinking. This is the digital age, why subscribe to a paper newsletter when there’s plenty of info available with a few clicks at the keyboard?

The news stand is shrinking at a rapid pace has more and more companies find it too expensive to publish paper editions of their magazines. I understand the ease of digital publication, the fact that trees are saved and the ability to do more with graphics, but at the same time, we’re losing something in the process. There’s something tangible about a printed publication that someone has put work and effort into producing.

When I started pursuing world mysteries back in the 1970s, newsletters and magazines were the lifeblood of the community, helping us all keep up with investigations and topics that were current in the field. Yes, I know, nothing beats the speed of Facebook and Twitter, but I still have stacks of publications from years of exploring the field and, despite google, I still find myself referring to those old publications. They’re treasure troves of information, much of which is not available on the Internet.

Thankfully, there are still a few ‘real’ publications around. One of them is The Bigfoot Times. A small, informative newsletter that I enjoy reading and occasionally, contributing to. The Bigfoot Times comes out consistently each month. Daniel includes sightings, interviews, book and conference info and reviews and more.

Friend and fellow Bigfoot researcher Daniel Perez has been the publisher and editor of The Bigfoot Times since 1979. As Daniel says;

“When I started publishing the original BigfooTimes [correct spelling] in 1979, I may have been the youngest editor of a Bigfoot newsletter ever and now, approaching my 50th birthday, I may end up as the oldest editor of a Bigfoot newsletter as well.”

Stop by the Website, check it out and, if you have any interest in Bigfoot, subscribe, you won’t regret it.

http://www.bigfoottimes.net/


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Monster Week 2014

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 Animal Planet’s annual Monster Week begins Sunday May 18th. New specials for this year include “Man-Eating Super Wolves,” “Man-Eating Zombie Cats,” and a new movie, “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys.” Like last year, Monster Week wraps up with the season finale of River Monsters on Sunday May 25th.

River-Monsters-Animal-Planet

Previews of some of the new shows are on the Animal Planet website:
http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/monster-week


Thursday, May 15, 2014

RIP Farley Mowat

Canadian nature writer and environmentalist Farley Mowat has passed away at age 92.

Mowat was a prolific author with over 40 books to his credit including People of the Deer, No Man’s River, Born Naked, and Owls in the Family. His bestseller, Never Cry Wolf: Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves was made into a feature film by Disney in 1983.

Mowat started writing early in his life, penning a regular column on birds for the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. He later started his own newsletter, Nature Lore.

During his long career, Mowat received numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and the Governor General’s Award. In 2012, he was given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Mowat passed away on May 6th, and a private funeral was held on Tuesday May 13th in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.

In 2012, Canadian publisher Douglas & McIntyre announced plans to create the Farley Mowat Library series that would re-release many of his most popular titles with new cover designs and introductions.

Mowat’s claim to “never let the facts get in the way of the truth” earned him praise and criticism but his books remain a great resource of wildlife stories and nature lore.

Farley-Mowat-died-at-92

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ghostman Q&A

Here's a quick Q & A I did for Mark Anthony Raines over at his Ghostman blog:

QUESIONS WHAT INSPIRED YOU
I believe that when you are destined to explore the unknown, it finds you as much as you find it.  As a child, I was always drawn to the mysteries of the world, Ancient lore, tales of ghosts and cryptids, psychic phenomena, mysterious sites such as the pyramids and Easter Island and much more.  When I reached my teenage years, I began to meet people who were able to point me in the right direction to start exploring these mysteries.  I began to investigate on my own and learned much through trial and error and by attempting to follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Charles Fort, John Keel, Hans Holzer and others.  In the 1970s, I discovered Fate magazine and soon after, “In Search Of” debuted on television, I was hooked and have pursued the strange since then.


 -WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS
My only agenda is to put information out there and inspire others to pursue these topics and ask their own questions.  The more people who peer into the unknown, the more we’ll all have to discuss and explore.  For me, the more answers I find, the more questions I have.


  -WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE
I have several projects in the works.  A couple of more books are already in the pipeline to come out and a few others in various stages of completion.  There’s also a video project in the works and some other exciting things.  I’ll be making several appearances at conferences this year, both in the states and abroad.  My blog and Facebook page are the best ways to keep track of new releases and updates on my work.
http://twocrowsparanormal.blogspot.com/



Check out Mark's site for Q & A's from other folks in the field, along with lots of great post on current stories:

http://ghostmanraines.blogspot.com/


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2014

ohiobigfoot

There’s a great Cryptozoology conference coming up this weekend in Ohio. If you’ve never been to the annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference, now in its 26th year, this weekend is your opportunity to check it out.

Featured speakers this year include Lyle Blackburn, author of the Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man, true story of the Bishopville Monster. Grab your copies and get em’ signed and of course, you’ll get a chance to hear Lyle lecture.

Also appearing is Cliff Barackman, star of Animal Planet’s hit show Finding Bigfoot. Cliff is the real deal and has spent tons of time in the field, well before he became an international TV star.

Additional guest include Charlie Raymond, Tom Yamarone and the legendary Bob Gimlin of Patterson-Gimlin fame.

Check it out at the Salt Fork State Park Lodge & Conference Center.
http://www.ohiobigfootconference.com/Home_Page.php

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Jackalope: Mythical Icon of the West

 

61-seated-wild-jackalope-48085-c-pcThe Jackalope has long been a part of American folklore. Depicted as a large jack rabbit with the horns of an antelope or deer, the mythical hybrid animal is a solid icon of popular culture in the west.

The origins of the American jackalope are shrouded in the past. Some of the first stories of the animal may have come from the exaggerated campfire tales of lumberjacks in the early 1900s. These rugged men spent much time in the forest and the telling of tall tales became their entertainment. Outrageous stories of rare animals and strange things that lived in the wild were standard fare at lumberjack camps.
jackalope

One popular origin story for the American jackalope says the creature was the brainchild of a Wyoming hunter named Douglas Herrick. An article published in the New York Times claims that Herrick got the idea when he saw the carcass of a jackrabbit next to a set of deer antlers. Using taxidermy skills he learned from a mail order course, Herrick and his brother put a set of antlers on a jackrabbit head, mounted it for display, and the jackalope was born.

Herrick sold his first mounted jackalope to a gentleman named Roy Ball who put it on display in the LaBonte Hotel in Douglas, WY. It drew a lot of attention and an entire legend began to unfold around the Jackalope. Herrick’s mounted jackalope remained on display at the LaBonte Hotel until it was stolen in 1977.

Herrick may have actually gotten his idea for a jackalope from lumberjack tales, or, he may have seen depictions of so called ‘horned hares’ in early animal encyclopedias.

In the 18th century, many "Bestiaries,” (fanciful animal encyclopedias) contained depictions of various horned hares. They were in fact listed in so many “scientific” texts of the time that they were given their own, formal Latin name—Lepus cornutus translated as “horned hare.”

The animals were purported to exist in many parts of Europe, especially Germany, but were supposedly very rare. It’s possible that the tales of these European beasts were simply transposed to American soil by Europeans.

As with many tales, there may be a grain of truth to the early stories of rabbits with horns. Around the same period that Herrick created his jackalope display, a Canadian writer and naturalist named Ernest Thompson Seton was publishing a series of books titled “Lives of Game Animals.” Included in volume four of Seton’s work was a hand drawn plate showing sketches of rabbits with horn like growths on their heads and faces. It turns out; there actually had been sightings of animals with this bizarre condition.
Horned hare pic, Joris Hoefnagel, 1580The odd condition was documented by biologist Richard E. Shope. Shope discovered that a virus could cause the growth of hard tumors on the heads of infected rabbits. The virus, now called the “Shope papilloma virus,” could create the appearance of horns on rabbits. On rare occasions, people still spot animals infected with this condition.

Humorous and outlandish qualities have been attributed to the jackalope over the years.

According to the lore, there have been rare sightings of groups of jackalopes. Such a gathering is called a “flaggerdoot.” More often than not, it’s solitary jackalopes that are spotted. Full moons are considered the best time to catch a glimpse of the animals as they like to sit in the moonlight and sing in a human voice. Jackalopes can in fact, mimic any human voice that they hear as well as the sounds of other animals. This makes them notoriously difficult to catch. When pursued, they will throw their ‘human’ voices and emit misleading cries such as “Over there!” or, “He’s this way!”
VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110
Over the years, cowboys discovered that the best way to catch a jackalope was to use a bottle of whiskey as bait. It seems the animals can’t resist the potent beverage.
Today, jackalope items can be seen in gift shops all over the west. From postcards, to t-shirts and statues, to mounted jackalope heads.

The creature is celebrated in Wyoming, especially in Douglas, the proclaimed “Home of the Jackalope” where the annual “Jackalope Days” are held each June.

Zoologist Karl Shuker did an excellent piece on European horned hares on his ShukerNature blog, linked below.

Horned hares, mythical jackalopes and the tall tales of early America have given the west its crazy icon, and let’s face it; it’s a lot more believable than a giant rabbit delivering chicken eggs on Easter!

Karl Shuker on Horned Hares:
http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2013/09/horned-hares-potted-or-should-that-be.html

Douglas, WY Jackalope Days:
http://www.cityofdouglas.org/index.aspx?NID=156


 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

4 Corners Beyond the Edge

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Be sure to tune into this week’s Beyond the Edge with hosts Lon Strickler, Eric Altman and Sean Forker as they welcome Crypto Four Corners founder JC Johnson and Native elder Chief Leonard Dan.

This is sure to be a great round table as they guys discuss current and historical investigations in the four corners region.

Listen live and join in the chat on Sunday night, April 20th.

http://www.beyondtheedgeradio.com/


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tweeting Sharks

      
shark16n-1-webScientists have tagged a massive great white shark off the Western coast of Australia. The female shark was estimated to be at least sixteen feet long and weigh a staggering 1.6 tons.
Great whites are impressive animals, considered highly intelligent with a curious nature and highly developed senses. They can reach up to twenty feet in length and over two tons in weight. Great whites can swim at speeds up to fifteen miles an hour and despite their size, can leap completely out of the water in pursuit of prey. These huge sharks have three hundred teeth arranged in seven rows. They have been known to attack humans and have killed a number of divers and swimmers off the Australian coast in the last several years.

Australia has received a lot of flack recently due to a culling program designed to keep swimmers and surfers safe from shark attacks. Critics point out that many shark species are at risk and, while the great white is not officially endangered, it is considered ‘vulnerable.’ Wildlife supports believe that alternatives to killing the sharks are needed to protect the species. Biologists have devised a tracking plan using acoustic tags surgically inserted into the sharks. The tags allow scientists to track the movements of sharks and should last for at least ten years per tag.

The great white, nicknamed “Joan” was tagged in King George Sound. Once the shark was hooked, fisheries staff had to attach ropes around it and roll it upside down. Rolling it over caused the shark to slip into a state of “tonic immobility,” similar to being asleep. Keeping the shark in the water, a small incision was made in its stomach and the tag was inserted.

Mark Kleeman, project head for the Shark Monitoring Network stated that tagging a great white of such size is unprecedented. He told the Newcastle Herald:

“This is very exciting and potentially a world first. Lots of juveniles get tagged, but to have a fully mature female and get 10 years data out of it is a big thing for us. We are excited by the potential of what this shark can give us.”

The tags are linked to a satellite network that includes over 320 seabed monitors to help record the movements of the sharks. Kleeman said that the program greatly improves the safety of Australian beaches and provides extensive data to scientists studying shark behavior.

“Over time we will be able to build the data and then we can see if there are any patterns forming, which is great for understanding more about them.”

This innovative program is another step to learning more about the mysteries of the ocean and the creatures that live there.
In a clever use of modern technology, the shark tagging program computers are now linked to a computer feed that sends out alerts via twitter. The tweet notifies people of the size, breed and approximate location of over 300 individual sharks now tagged by the program.

https://twitter.com/SLSWA

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paradigm 2014

I have the pleasure of returning once again to speak at the Paradigm Symposium in Minneapolis, MN this year. 
If you're interested in alternative ideas and thinking, you'll feel right at home at this event.  Drawing speakers and attendees from around the world, the Paradigm Symposium has quickly become a premiere event in the field.

Symposium organizers Scotty Roberts of Intrepid magazine and Egyptologist DR. John Ward, have put together an amazing lineup this year including Graham Hancock, Erich Von Däniken, Andrew Collins and a host of others.

Advanced tickets are available now, register right away if you'd like to take part in the special VIP banquet on Saturday night, a crowd favorite that's sure to sell out.  Details available here:

http://www.paradigmsymposium.com/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Admissible" Reviewed


I’m often asked for recommendations of books useful for new investigators and those interested in taking a serious approach to the paranormal and related fields.  Although there are thousands of books published on paranormal topics, there are very few practical manuals to assist investigators in learning the proper process of gathering evidence and pursuing cases.  Fortunately, Chase Kloetzke and Richard Dolan have stepped in to fill the void.

“Admissible,” the new release from this pair of veteran investigators fills a big gap in the field and proves to be a useful text for both novice and seasoned explorers of the strange.

In recent years, there’s been a boom in the number of people interested in investigating the paranormal.  Fueled by the popularity of paranormal reality shows, this new crop of investigators is an enthusiastic lot but they often have little investigative experience.
For those approaching the field as a part time hobby, this is less of an issue.  However, for those who have a deeper interest in probing strange cases and want to take a more serious approach, it’s essential to learn investigative techniques and proper evidence collection.

Subtitled “The Field Manual for Investigating UFOs, Paranormal Activity, and Strange Creatures,” Kloetzke and Dolan’s manual fulfills its promise to provide practical, useful information in a clear and concise manner.
The book walks you step by step through the investigative process.  The authors begin with an introduction to the basics, including organization and planning.  Following sections cover investigation conduct and the interview process, evidence collection and cataloging, and investigation closure.  The book is rounded off with clear guidelines for maintaining records and an appendix of useful forms that can be copied and utilized for individuals or groups.

But don’t think for a moment that this is a dry technical manual.  Bullet points and checklist throughout help note special items of interest and the illustrations by Chuck Harrison add to the shear entertainment value of the book. 
Kloetzke is a former MUFON Star Team manager and has traveled extensively in her pursuit of strange cases.  Dolan of course is a well known figure in the field of UFOlogy for his outstanding work, the two volume “UFOs and the National Security State.”

Overall, this is a valuable reference guide and you certainly can’t go wrong adding it to your library.
Published by Richard Dolan Press, Admissible is available at Amazon.  For more information about Chase’s work, check out her website at:

http://www.chasekloetzke.com/home.html

 

Public Investigation Event

 
 

For tickets, visit the paradigmsymposium.com website.

RIP Peter Matthiessen

Sad to report that American writer, researcher and activist Peter Matthiessen passed away April 5, 2014. After being diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago, Matthiessen died of the disease in New York at the age of 86.

Matthiessen’s life story reads like an adventure novel and his travels spanned the globe including Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and Australia. A highly educated man, he served time as a journalist, explorer, novelist, professional fisherman and even a spy.

MathiessenIn 1953, he co-founded The Paris Review, a well known literary magazine. Years later, in a 2008 interview with Charlie Rose, Matthiessen admitted that he “…invented The Paris Review as a cover” for his CIA operations. He worked for ‘the company’ for two years before moving on to other ventures.

After the passing of his first wife in 1927, Matthiessen spent time in Nepal trekking into the Himalayas. Also during the 70s, he experimented with LSD, practiced Zen meditation and later, became a Buddhist priest. He believed that his Buddhist path was a natural progression that evolved from his experimentation with hallucinogens.

Matthiessen was a three time National Book Award winner and a prominent environmental activist with a focus on the effects that humans have on the animal world.

764165He also had a long standing interest in reports of Sasquatch type creatures from around the globe. In his 1978 bestseller “The Snow Leopard” he spoke about his search for the Yeti, a creature he would write about again in his 1995 book, “East of Lo Monthang: In the Land of the Mustang.”
Matthiessen was in attendance at one of the first gatherings of those interested in the study of the Sasquatch, a conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in May, 1978. The list of attendees reads like a who’s who of Sasquatch studies and included John Green, Rene Dahinden, Bob Gimlin and Grover Krantz.

In later years, Matthiessen gave talks on the topic including a lecture hosted in Idaho by Sasquatch authority Dr. Jeff Meldrum. The presentation, “A Naturalist’s Impressions of the Wildman” featured Matthiessen’s knowledge of the elusive creatures and he discussed legends of Wildmen ranging from the Pacific Northwest to the high Himalayas.

Even his massive bestseller, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” mentioned the Sasquatch, specifically, Lakota legends of the “Big Men,” the regional, native term for the mysterious, furry beings.
Scientist and writer, Stephen Jay Gould dubbed Matthiessen “Our greatest, modern nature writer in the lyrical tradition.”

Peter Matthiessen’s final book, a novel titled “In Paradise” is scheduled for release this week. He will be deeply missed.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

River Monsters Season 6

wade6


Jeremy Wade returns with River Monsters season six on Animal Planet. The season premiere on April 6th is “Amazon Apocalypse.”

Check out the sneak peak on Animal Planet’s website:
http://m.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/river-monsters/videos/get-a-sneak-peek-amazon-apocalypse-season-6-premiere?page=0

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tagging the Coelacanth

coelacanthScientists have reported success with a coelacanth tagging program launched in 2013 off the coast of South Africa, and they have retrieved a satellite tag holding nine months worth of data about the rare fish.
Because of the creature’s endangered status, only one coelacanth was tagged under the project in May, 2013. The tag was programmed to release and float to the surface after nine months.
Since coelacanths spend much of their time in caves on the floor of the sea, scientists were not sure the tag would ever make it to the surface.

In February of 2014, the tag’s location information was transmitted to project members and a search party found the small egg sized device the following day.

V4-2Coelacanth_750The coelacanth has been called a ‘dinosaur fish,’ a ‘living fossil’ and a ‘Lazarus fish.’ It was thought to have gone extinct in the Late Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago.
In 1938, a coelacanth was discovered among a catch of fish off the coast of South Africa. Brought in by the fishing ship, Nerine, the bright blue fish was taken to a museum by curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. Debate over the authenticity of the specimen raged until another was caught near Madagascar fourteen years later. Following the discovery and verification of the coelacanth’s existence, countless specimens were caught, so many in fact, that it led to their endangerment.

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The fish is not considered a food source since its oils give the flesh a foul taste. It is however, the frequent victim of commercial fishermen using deep sea trawling methods. So far, none have survived long in captivity making it a difficult animal to study closely.

The name ‘coelacanth’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘hollow spine,’ a nod to the hollow spine fins that the fish bears. The fish can grow to between five and six feet in length and weigh over a hundred pounds. The coelacanth has eight fins and is covered in armor like scales. Each of the fish bears its own, unique color markings and their colors vary from bright blue and white to brown. Scientists believe that the fish are able to recognize each other through electric communication.

In 1997, a second population of coelacanths was discovered off the coast of Indonesia. Marine biologist Mark Erdmann spotted the fish at a local market and snapped a picture. At the time, Erdmann didn’t realize the fish had not been documented in the region. Indonesian fishermen were well familiar with the animal however. They referred to it as the “Rajalut” or “King of the Sea.”

For many years there have been rumors of a population of coelacanths in the Western Hemisphere. Various bits of evidence have been presented including coelacanth like scales. Some areas even have local legends about the fish, but no solid evidence has been proven.

The current populations of coelacanths are being closely studied. Both known species of coelacanth are considered endangered and scientists are taking precautions to help save the fish.

The coelacanth is often cited by cryptozoologists as an example of supposedly extinct species that have still survived in remote pockets. The approach in dealing with these rare fish should be watched closely as a learning model for future cryptozoological discoveries.

More about the Coelacanth tagging project can be found here:
http://www.sanbi.org/news/coelacanth-tagging-study-success



Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Spirit Talk

My friend Chris Fleming host a monthly podcast to explore various aspects of the paranormal.  Chris is a medium, sensitive and paranormal investigator.  Many of you will recognize him as the star of TV's Psychic Kids and Dead Famous.

This month, Chris and I discussed some of the material from my new book, Strange Intruders.  We cover Djinn, Shadow People, Pukwudgies and more.

It's always a pleasure to be on Spirit Talk, the format is conversational and with our similar backgrounds, Chris and I have a great time delving into some interesting aspects of these weird creatures.

Check out the program at the link below.

http://spirittalk.planetparanormal.com/

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Strange Intruders on C2C AM


Thanks to everyone who tuned in for my latest appearance on Coast To Coast AM with host George Noory.

The discussion was wide ranging kicking off with Black Eyed Children and then moving into material from Strange Intruders including the Djinn, Shadow People, Spring Heeled Jack, the Zanfretta case and more.  I stayed on with George for the last hour to take phone calls and listener questions.

For those who missed the show, archives are available at the C2C website.


http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2014/03/04

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 International UFO Congress

This is a bit late since I’ve been on the road, but here’s a quick wrap-up of this year’s International UFO Congress held in Phoenix.

The conference ran over Valentine’s weekend, bit of a strange choice, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind.  The hard working folks at Open Minds once again did an excellent job and things ran smoothly despite a couple of late speaker cancellations.  This year’s presenters included Stephen Bassett, Ted Peters, Kewaunee Lapseritis, Rob Simone, Aaron Sagers and a host of others.
A few of the lecture highlights included:

David Marler discussing his book “Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation.”  Marler showed just how far back sightings of triangular UFOs can be traced, countering the skeptical argument that such craft are merely modern military planes.
Jaime Maussan was on hand to present video clips and information gathered while working as a journalist and TV host in Mexico.  Maussan is always a big hit and it’s nice to have an international perspective. 

Mike Clelland’s lecture, “Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee,” caught a lot of attention from the audience.  Mike shared stories from his personal experiences as well as tales sent to him through his exploration into the strange connection between owls and unidentified aerial objects. 

British researcher Timothy Good was on hand discussing his new book; “Earth: An Alien Enterprise.”  Good is known to many in the field for his classic “Above Top Secret” as well as several other UFO titles.  Good hasn’t made many recent appearances so it was nice to see him at the Congress
George Noory presented a special Q&A session.  Noory never fails to capture the crowd’s attention with his humor and anecdotes from his years hosting Coast to Coast AM.

The EBE awards were presented following the Saturday night banquet.  Stephen Bassett was awarded the “Researcher of the Year” for his work with the Citizen’s Hearings on Disclosure.  Bassett, head of the Paradigm Research Group, is a hard working advocate for disclosure and the award is well deserved.
This year’s lifetime achievement award was given to Dr. Bruce Maccabee.  Maccabee has been active in UFOlogy since the late 1960s and has investigated countless cases including the Gulf Breeze Sightings and the Phoenix Lights.  He is an author and has appeared in numerous UFO related documentaries and shows.
Unfortunately, due to health concerns, Maccabee was not able to be on hand to accept the award and instead, a video recording was played of his acceptance.

The year’s film awards were wrapped up solidly by L.A. Marzulli and Richard Shaw who won both the People’s Choice award and the Best feature film award for their outstanding work on Watchers 7: Physical Evidence.

All in all, another successful conference and as always, it’s nice to catch up with old friends and make new connections. 

Links:

International UFO Congress:  http://ufocongress.com/

Watchers 7:  http://lamarzulli.net/