Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weird News of Week


Decorative Beard Trends

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Legos Washed Ashore in UK

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Fukang Bans Matches from City

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Earth Puncture

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Kidney Stones on the Rise due to Climate Change

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Positive News of the Week


Love appears in New Orleans

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Phone finds it way home 
(OK to Japan and back)

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Captain Gifts passengers with Pizza after flight delays

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Making Lemonade from Lemons - Boy raises 50K for friend

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Good Night Margaret

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weird News of the Week


Happiness Blanket

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Sale on Wild West Town 

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Electrical Currents to Heal Cavities

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UFO Sighting in the city of Altoona

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Biology of Beating Stress: A Look at Mistakes by Jeanne Ricks, CHC



Stress is killing us unilaterally. All races, creeds, colors, socioeconomic groups, political parties – it does not discriminate. According to a recent study by the American Institute of Stress, 48 percent of stress sufferers say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives. With an abundance of information on stress readily available on the Web and through other media outlets, people need a mediator to help them separate fact from fiction.

Author Jeanne Ricks is that mediator, here we share an excerpt from The Biology of Beating Stress: How Changing Your Environment, Your Body, and Your Brain Can Help You Find Balance and Peace.  This section comes from Chapter 7: Anxiety (or Dance With the Elephants).

Mistakes
       You screwed up!  There, I said it. Acknowledgment is your first step. Note, I did not say that you were a screw-up! Big difference. You’ve made mistakes, and if you’re very, very lucky you’ll make many more. Congratulations!

       It means that you’re alive—a living breathing person on planet Earth. Recognize too that there is a huge difference between a mistake and just plain misbehavior, which for simplicity’s sake we’ll define just as improper conduct, rudeness, or wrong-doing without cause or consciousness. We all know some highly evolved people who simply behave badly and there’s no “mistake” to it. What we’re speaking about in this segment is having made an unfortunate choice.

       Nothing brings on the anxiety like a “fork in the road” or its consequences. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” However, the most self-devaluing part of making mistakes is not the mistake, but how you interpret the error (perception). Remember from Chapter 1 our discussion about the cascade of biochemical signals that flow through your body based on your reactions to your environment. Mistakes can cause gigantic reactions.

       Obviously there are some mistakes, tragic mistakes which are more significant than others, but they too are a part of life. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche "That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

       Anxiety over making mistakes can translate into either a fear of failure or a fear of success. Ultimately what happens next is the core of the experience and where your STRESS lies. Consequence—the unknown void that follows failure (or success)—can certainly be problematic. But you’ve made mistakes and you’re still here!

       You are a born problem-solver. Every day you deal with problems and mistakes caused by you and others (small, large, tiny, medium). You do it all day long. It’s second nature to you, but you don’t give yourself credit. Most of the time you just let it go. When you can easily spot a problem and redirect before the consequences are felt, you feel great. Homerun! But when you really miss the ball and it barely leaves the plate, that’s when the inner critic comes out and that’s when you really have to keep an eye on your reaction to the error.

       Blame is usually our immediate response. Some will assume all the blame themselves, which avoids what they perceive may be a messy confrontation or may give them a false sense of control over the possibility of a repeat (if it was just their mistake, then they can make sure it doesn’t happen again). Others will blame anyone but themselves. Then there are those who will blithely act as if nothing happened and merely wait for the fallout (often hoping, wishing, and praying that it will all just go away). Also there’s the justified approach wherein the person believes “I had to do that because so-and-so did such-and such,” or “Anyone would have done the same thing if they were in my shoes.” Lastly, there’s the person who believes that everything in life is happening to them—outside forces beyond their control have caused all of the wrongs in their life. We’ve all engaged in each of these scenarios at one time or another, to greater or lesser degree. Even our basic need to control events and outcomes can unintentionally twist our most sincere efforts. So, maybe assigning blame is not the most helpful route toward resolution of the mistake.

       Accountability, however, is valuable and a necessity often overlooked (or avoided). What’s the difference between blame and accountability?

        Blame seeks to condemn and punish, while accountability focuses on what happened and what needs to be improved. That said, making an apology should never be used as a defensive tactic merely to gain acceptance, recognition, approval, affirmation, or some other angle. Acknowledging your part in an offense is not just a sign of maturity, it allows much needed movement forward (growth).

       Accountability will not undo the harmful past actions, although if done sincerely it can undo some of the negative emotional effects left in the wake of those actions for you both. Not being accountable leaves you wide open for esteem-robbing, self-reproach, and guilt. But know what you’re apologizing for. Step back and look into it more deeply.

       Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better,”3 and this is certainly something to aspire to, but not always true. There are times when you know better, yet continue to do the same darn thing—like a moth to the flame. There’s an often repeated saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Sometimes the same issue has arisen, but in a different disguise. At other times you may blatantly just make the exact same mistake again! What’s wrong with you? Absolutely nothing. Your actions, however, deserve some closer examination.

       There’s something about this particular life lesson that you have not honestly taken the time to explore (operative word is “honestly”)—some aspect that continues to draw you in and you’re acting on it. Perhaps it’s some unresolved parental issue that shows up now with a significant other; a cross reprimand from a long-ago teacher revisited now with your boss; the need to compete with a peer for reward—any number of unconscious longings and unfinished business. In other words, maybe you’re co-mingling some recyclables from your past with your present. But if you open up to learning from your mistakes, you will be able to move on rather than wallowing in regret or disappointment. Unless wallowing in self-pity is actually your goal—even unconsciously.

       Self-pity is addictive, self-perpetuating, and carries a certain amount of power. First, it's an escape of sorts. This level of self-absorption feels good, it allows for complete mental obsession, and it also effectively separates you from reality. The bonus being that personal responsibility also gets jettisoned through self-pity.

       Also, people become blinded when wrapped-up in self-pity. They genuinely can’t see that they're being self-centered. Their focus is all about me, me, me. The world is constantly happening TO them. They perpetually continue to play the victim role in their own movie. Ironically, it's also empowering because along with their Oscar award they become entitled to demand that everyone around them feed into this distorted pity reality as well. Anxiety and depression play huge roles here too.



       So, how do you break a self-pity cycle? Every day you must strive to increase your awareness so that you can begin to identify when you’re slipping into self-pity mode. This initually requires a bit of effort and practice. But when you do it for a few days it will become second nature to you.

       Focus also on gratitude for even the small things in your life. Actually, that’s something we all should make a daily habit. Gratitude not just for the big ticket items, but those small moments, when you look for them, can bring you a real sense of joy. You can do this for yourself all day long.

       Regret from mistakes becomes harmful because you grow attached to that image of how you wanted things to turn out before the error. It’s a natural reaction; once it has happened, you keep looping back to how things should have gone.

       Now, take a closer look at that picture you’re holding onto of what might have been. Find within it those elements that truly matter to you. Distinguish from the specifics of the error that happened, such as how you still want to feel, how you really want to express yourself, where you want to be, and how you want to see the world. Then get into action. Get moving with positive new ways to get there. Begin with just that feeling that you originally wanted to feel and now move toward that feeling.

Note: actual addiction to unhealthy behaviors or substances will require more in-depth assistance from a professional source. These aren’t ordinary mistakes, but signs of more serious issues to be discussed with a trained counselor or licensed therapist.

       But for most, mistakes, while painful, signal a good time for pulling off the road and taking some time for reflection. Even if the mistake was not entirely your own, it still must be dealt with and there’s valuable information in it—for you. It is well worth it to address the elephant in the room.

       Many of us were basically never taught how to sit down with a decision that needs to be made and reason it out. Many mistakes are made because no time was taken for obtaining, culling, and processing information, weighing pros and cons, and creating a roadmap first to determine the best route for where you’re heading.

       Cut yourself some slack. Don’t identify yourself with the mistake, but do try to pinpoint the error itself. What led up to the point where your blunder happened? Reevaluate your approach. Did you have so many balls in the air that you couldn’t keep them prioritized? Were you rushed? Maybe it’s an area where you’re deficient. Did you need more information, additional knowledge, or training? Take some time to consider what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you feel, and how you make others feel. What was the reward that you were seeking? Can you really be honest (without taking on added guilt) and just identify what your true motive was from the outset on that particular road?

       Nine times out of ten you did “that thing you did” because you ultimately thought it would make things better or make you (or someone else) “happier.” That’s not a bad thing, but maybe a misdirected thing. Maybe, just maybe you were attempting to gain happiness along the wrong road. Now you are on a new road and must deal with the resulting change.

       The true value is found in what you do next 
and what you want to feel now in this moment.

Jeanne Ricks, CHC, is the former Director of Holistic Wellness Programs for The City College of New York. Her credentials include certificates in health counseling through Columbia University from the Open Center in New York, through their professional training program in herbalism covering traditional, Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Native American traditions. Ricks is certified as a holistic health practitioner from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and as a clinical hynotist through the National Guild of Hynotists.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Positive News of the Week




Quadriplegic Man Moves his Hand using his Own Thoughts

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Crossing Guard Makes Folks HAPPY!

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Program Sparks 'Unique Chemistry'

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Missing Kitty living in Airport

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Creature of the Month:
The Piasa and the Manticore:
Part Two: The Malevolent Manticore
by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart


The Malevolent Manticore

The Manticore is equally appealing,
He jumps about and has a prickly tail.
Three rows of teeth and two superb mustaches,
You’ll find him leaping over hill and dale.
—Barbara Wersba (1932–), The Land of Forgotten Beasts




“The Manticora Monster of Tartary,” 17th century.

 In Part One of this investigation, “The Peculiar Piasa,” I concluded by noting that the modern images of the Piasa do not at all resemble either the 1673 drawing in Fr. Marquette’s diary, or even the later renderings by William Dennis, J.C. Wild, Henry Lewis, and others. Rather, they bear an uncanny similarity to a pen drawing from a 17th-century bestiary manuscript, titled “The Manticora Monster of Tartary” (above), which would seem to be the prototype upon which McAdams based his popular Piasa image from which all subsequent versions derived. Note the fierce bearded human face with horns, the draconic wings, the large body scales, and the knobby scorpion tail which appear for the first time on graphic interpretations of the Piasa.
        
      Which, of course, leads us directly into the next subject of this mythic investigation—the malevolent Manticore. Also called Martikhora, Martiora, Manticore, Mantichora, Manticory, Manticoras, Mantiquera, Mantiserra, Mancomorion, Memecoleous, Satyral, this is a ferocious, red, leonine creature of India with the face of a man, mane of a lion, tail and stinger of a scorpion, three rows of iron teeth, and a beautiful musical voice like a trumpet or flute. Its name, in all these variations, comes from Persian Mard-khor, and means “man-eater.”
      The earliest historical reference to this horrific monster comes from the indefatigable Ctesias, a 5th-century bce Greek physician who served for 17 years in the Persian court of Darius II and Artexerxes Memnon. During that time he compiled histories and geographies of Persia and India (though he never actually visited the latter), which formed the basis for virtually all subsequent bestiary accounts through the ages.


Fig. 13. Martikhora.

      Ctesias’ Martikhora (changed by Aristotle to Manticora, and corrupted by later writers into other variations) is certainly based upon the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), but it also seems to include elements of the Porcupine (Hystrix leucura). Here is his account, in full, from Indica (as preserved by Aelian):

He [Ctesias] describes an animal called the martikhora, found in India. Its face is like a man’s—it is about as big as a lion, and in colour red like cinnabar. It has three rows of teeth—ears like the human—eyes of a pale-blue like the human and a tail like that of the land scorpion, armed with a sting and more than a cubit long. It has besides stings on each side of its tail, and like the scorpion, is armed with an additional sting on the crown of its head, wherewith it stings any one who goes near it, the wound in all cases proving mortal. If attacked from a distance it defends itself both in front and in rear—in front with its tail, by uplifting it and darting out the stings, like shafts from a bow, and in rear by straightening it out. It can strike to the distance of a hundred feet, and no creature can survive the wound it inflicts save only the elephant. The stings are about a foot in length and not thicker than the finest thread. The name martikora means in Greek “man-eater,” and it is so called because it carries off men and devours them, though it no doubt preys upon other animals as well. In fighting it uses not only its stings but also its claws. Fresh stings grow up to replace those shot away in fighting.  These animals are numerous in India, and are killed by the natives who hunt them with elephants, from the backs of which they attack them with darts.7


Fig. 14. Phrygian-capped Manticora from a 12th-century bestiary.

      Drawing on Ctesias (whose writings survived only as fragments in the works of others writers, and extracts compiled in the 9th century ce by Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople), various other authors added  their own comments and elaborations to the mythology, carrying the legend of the monstrous Manticore far from its origin in the reality of the Indian tiger. In Haitian Voodoo folklore, for example, the Cigouave is a predatory monster with the body of a lion or panther and a human head; it was derived from 16th-century missionary descriptions of the Indian Manticore.
      Depictions of this creature also became more and more fantastic, until some scarcely resembled any living beast at all. Later artists even added horns, udders, draconic wings, and, most curiously, a Phrygian cap. A heraldic version became known as the Lympago (also Mantygr, Man-Tiger, Montegre, or Satyral). It has the body of a lion or tiger, the head of an old man, and horns. Sometimes the horns resemble those of an ox, and the feet are more like a dragon’s.


Fig. 15. Heraldic Lympago.

      The culmination of this artistic evolution is the truly bizarre representation described at the beginning of this section—which seems to have leapt the oceans to become finally affixed in stone in the center of America as the supposedly indigenous Piasa.

“There are,” replied Apollonius, “tall stories current which I cannot believe; for they say that the creature has four feet, and that his head resembles that of a man, but that in size it is comparable to a lion; while the tail of this animal puts out hairs a cubit long and sharp as thorns, which it shoots like arrows at those who hunt it.”
—Philostratus (170–245 ce), The Life of Apollonius of Tyana8

Another maner of bestes there is in Ynde that ben callyd manticora; and hath visage of a man, and thre huge grete teeth in his throte. He hath eyen lyke a ghoot and body of a lyon, tayll of a Scorpyon and voys of a serpente, in such wyse that by his sweet songe he draweth to hym the peple and deuoureth them. And is more delyuerer to goo than is fowle to flee.
—Willam Caxton (1422–1491), The Mirrour of the World9


Fig. 16. The terrible Manticora monster, caught in the year 1530 in the Hauberg Forest, Saxonia.
From Konrad Gesner’s De Quadrupedobus Vivipari, Basle, 16th century.

I saw some manthicores, a strange sort of beast: the body a lion’s, the coat red, face and ears like a man’s, and three rows of teeth closed together, like joined hands with fingers interlocked. Their tails secreted a sting like a scorpion’s; their voices were very melodious.
—François Rabelais (1495–1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel10

The Manticora, (or, according to the Persians, Mantiora) a Devourer, is bred among the Indians; having a triple Row of Teeth beneath and above, and in bigness and roughness like a Lion’s; as are also his Feet; Face and Ears like a Man’s; his Tail like a scorpion’s, armed with a Sting, and sharp-pointed Quills. His Voice is like a small trumpet, or Pipe. He is so wild, that ‘tis very difficult to tame him; and as swift as an Hart. With his Tail he wounds the Hunters, whether they come before or behind him. When the Indians take a Whelp of this Beast, they bruise its Buttocks and Tail, to prevent its bearing the sharp Quills; then it is tamed without danger.
—Thomas Boreman (fl.–1744), A Description of Three Hundred Animals11


Fig. 17. The man-dragon Manticora, used as a device by the printer Busdrago, Lucca, Tuscany, 1551.

      The spiky tail of the Manticore can probably be attributed to a confusion with the porcupine, which was (and still is) popularly believed to be able to shoot its tail quills like arrows. Perhaps more likely, one can easily imagine the appearance of a tiger whose tail has had an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine! However, it was also a common belief in India that tigers’ whiskers were poisonous quills, and natives routinely plucked them from slain specimens to prevent accidents.


Fig. 18. Manticora from ancient Bestiaria. Note spiky tail.

      But one feature that remains consistent from its very earliest description by Ctesias seems inexplicable—namely, the scorpion sting with which the monster’s tail was said to terminate. However, in 1884, the Irish scholar Valentine Ball published a paper on the Manticora, which addressed this apparent anomaly. Having worked for years as a geologist in India, and later becoming director of the National Museum in Dublin, Ball’s research convinced him that nearly everything the Greek physician had reported had a factual basis.12


Fig. 19. Manticora by Merian. Note scorpion tail.

      For example, it is true that in India, tigers were hunted by princes from the backs of elephants—a custom that persisted into the 20th century. They are also notorious and feared man-eaters. And Ball attributed the “triple rows of teeth” to the distinctive three-lobed carnivore molars of tigers. As for the scorpion-like tail stinger, Ball asserted that “at the extremity of the tail of the tiger, as well as other Felidae, there is a little horny-dermal structure like a claw or nail, which I doubt not, the natives regard as analogous to the sting of the scorpion.”13


Fig. 20. Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)

One of the greatest publishing achievements of the mid-16th century was the massive four-volume Historia Animalum (1555) by Swiss naturalist Konrad Gesner (1516–1565), which included hundreds of original woodcut illustrations. Considered to be the foundation of modern zoology, this comprehensive documentation of the animal world also included a number of fabulous creatures, including the Manticore. In 1607, Edward Topsell (1572–1625) compiled an English version of Gesner’s work, which he titled The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes. Topsell’s image of the Manticore has remained the best known and most often reproduced; and his text entry on this beast introduced yet another element into the myth—an equation with the Leucrocota, or Hyaena:


Fig. 21. Topsell’s Manticora (1607)

This beast or rather monster (as Ctesias writeth) is bred among the Indians, having a treble row of teeth beneath and above, whose greatness, roughness, and feet are like Lyons, his face and ears like unto a man, his eyes gray, and colour red, his tail like the tail of a Scorpion, of the earth, armed with a sting, casting forth sharp pointed quills…. This also is the same beast which is called Leucrocuta about the bigness of a wilde Ass, being in legs and Hoofs like a Hart, having his mouth reaching both sides to his ears, and the head and face of a female like unto a Badgers. It is called also Martiora, which in the Persian tongue signifieth a devourer of men; and thus we conclude the story of the Hyena for her description, and her several kinds.
—Edward Topsell (1572–1625)14


Fig. 22. Leucrocota by Merian.

      The Leucrocota (Greek, “White Wolf-Dog”) that Topsell mentions was an Ethiopian animal first described by Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis (77 ce). He said it was the size of a donkey, “with cloven hooves, the haunches of a stag, the neck and tail of a lion, the head of a badger, and a mouth that extends to the ears; it imitates the sound of the human voice.” Later writers called it Crocotta, Corocotta, Crocotte, Crocuta, Curcrocute, Cynolycus, Leucrota, Rosomacha, Akabo, Alazbo, Zabo, and Lupus Vesperitinus. It was said to be an ass-sized dog-wolf of India with a leonine body, deerlike legs with cloven hooves, and a humanlike voice with which it lured its victims. Instead of teeth, it had bony jaws to crush its prey, which it then swallowed whole. It had to turn its entire head to focus its immobile eyes. Ctesias had referred to this creature as the Cynolycus, “Dog-Wolf.” Also called Yena, Akabo, Alzabo, Zabo, Ana, and many other names, it is the animal we know today as the Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta), but confused with elements of the antelope.
      We can see the entire story come full circle in the description of the Rompo, a nocturnal scavenger beast from India and Africa that feeds on human corpses. It was said to have a long body and tail, the head of a hare, the ears of a man, a mane of hair, the forefeet of a badger, and the hind feet of a bear. These habits and the description clearly identify it as the hyaena, and yet some are also reminiscent of the Manticore. I believe the final connection between these two animals may be found in the Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena), whose distinctive coat patterns resemble those of the tiger.


Fig. 23. Striped Hyaena.

      There is one last footnote to this fascinating history. Peter Costello reports that André Thévet, writing in 1571, described a personal encounter with a Manticore: “When I traveled on the Red Sea, some Indians arrived from the mainland…and they brought along a monster of the size and proportions of a tiger without a tail, but the face was that of a well-formed man.”15 Costello suggests that this “Manticore” was probably an anthropoid ape, but none of the great apes or baboons are indigenous to India, and it is impossible to determine from this description what species it may have been.

References:

7.        McCrindle, J.W. ed., Ancient India as Described by Ktesias the Knidian (1882 reprint), Manohar Reprints, Delhi, India 1973.
8.        Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, trans. F.G. Conybeare, Harvard University Press, 1960.
9.        Caxton, William, Caxton’s Mirrour of the World, ed. Oliver H. Prior, Early English Text Society, Oxford, England, 1913.
10.     Rabelais, François, The Five Books of Gargantua and Pantagruel,  trans. Jacques Le Clercq,  Modern Library, 1936.
11.     Boreman, Thomas, A Description of Three Hundred Animals (1786; facsimile), Johnson Reprint, 1968.
12.     Costello, Peter, The Magic Zoo: The Natural History of Fabulous Animals, St Martin’s Press, London, 1979.
13.     Ball, Valentine, “On the Identification of the Pygmies, the Martikhora, the Griffin, and the Dikarion of Ktesias,” The Academy (London), vol. 23, no. 572, April 1883.
14.     Topsell, Edward, The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, 1607 (Houghton Library, Harvard University)
15.     Costello, Op cit.
16.     Lehner, Ernst & Johanna, Big Book of Dragons, Monsters, and Other Mythical Creatures, Dover Pictorial Archives, 2004.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weird News of the Week


First Transatlantic Smell via iPhone

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Supersized Righty

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Donkey Calms Restless Rhino

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Beer Waste to Build Bones?

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Skydiver Pilot makes First Jump

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Positive News of the Week


Reporter Uncovers Unexpected Mystery

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In the Future, Cars Made of Tomatoes?

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No One Can Place Limits

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Find the Miracle Within

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Flying Into Oblivion, an excerpt from Nick Redfern's new book



Everyone has heard of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But what about close encounters of the fatal kind? The field of UFO is rife with unsettling examples of suspicious deaths. Accounts of accidents that might have been accidents after all, abound. Researchers and witnesses have vanished, never to be seen again. Here we share an excerpt from Chapter 6: Flying Into Oblivion from author Nick Redfern's new release.

Mysterious Skies
At about 9:30 a.m. on November 10, 1953, Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson, two friends originally from Wisconsin but at the time living in California, hired a small airplane and took to the skies of Los Angeles. It was the last time either man was seen alive. It was the last time the aircraft was seen, too. Maybe they crashed shortly after takeoff and died fiery deaths. If so, where was the wreckage? Where were the bodies? No one, including the emergency services that launched a hasty search and rescue operation when it became apparent that something was awry, could find a single piece of telltale evidence of such an accident anywhere. It was almost as if Hunrath and Wilkinson had been abducted by aliens. In fact, that may have been precisely what happened to them.

When news of the pair’s vanishing act surfaced, many of California’s UFO researchers voiced their suspicions that Hunrath and Wilkinson had been whisked away to a faraway world by benevolent aliens—the so-called Space Brothers that dominated so much of the West Coast world of Ufology in the 1950s. Others researchers took a far bleaker approach to the whole thing and pondered the possibility that deadly aliens had lured the pair to their deaths somewhere in the mountains of California. Such thoughts were not at all unreasonable ones. Hunrath and Wilkinson were big players on the Los Angeles UFO scene at the time and, in the weeks and months leading up to their disappearances, were making it widely and loudly known that they had made contacts with at least two races of extraterrestrials—via ESP, drugs, and Ouija boards, no less. But how had the two men become embroiled in the UFO controversy in the first place? The answer is a strange one.

Hunrath, Adamski, and the FBI
The deeply curious saga all began when Hunrath—a man with a violent, hair-trigger temper, a dislike of women, and a flair for creating all manner of electronic gadgets and gizmos—decided to get hot on the flying saucer trail. That meant heading out to where most of the alien action was taking place: California. In late 1952, Hunrath quit his job in Wisconsin, left his rental house firmly behind, and took a one-way flight to Los Angeles. After quickly establishing new roots in L.A., Hunrath wasted no time at all in hooking up with the major UFO players in and around town. That included George Hunt Williamson, George Adamski, and George Van Tassel—three of the most famous, but undeniably controversial, UFO contactees of all time. As well as the three Georges, Hunrath also spent much time getting to know Frank Scully, the author of the very first book on crashed UFO incidents, Behind the Flying Saucers, which Scully cranked out in just six weeks in 1950. But, it was on January 12, 1953 that matters really began to develop.

On the morning of the day in question, Hunrath was hanging out at the home of George Adamski—on Palomar Mountain, California—along with Jerrold Baker, one of Adamski’s faithful followers. Quite out of the blue, Hunrath boasted loudly that only a few days earlier he had met with a group of long-haired, human-like aliens in a desert area on the outskirts of Joshua Tree, California. Not only that, the hippy-like ETs had supposedly given Hunrath a fantastically advanced weapon that had the ability to destroy aircraft in flight. Rather oddly, Hunrath gave the deadly device its very own name: Bosco. Having no love for his own government, or even for his fellow citizens, Hunrath practically bellowed to Adamski that he might even test the weapon on an aircraft or several of the U.S. military, just to see how powerful it really was. An outraged and worried Adamski immediately ordered Hunrath off his property. And that’s when the problems began.

Unknown to Hunrath, Adamski, and Baker, Adamski’s secretary, Lucy McGinnis, overheard Hunrath’s less-than-patriotic rant and was quite understandably unnerved by the whole situation. As a result, she chose to quietly phone the soon-to-be wife of Jerrold Baker, whose name was Irma, to let her know that her fiancé was mixing with distinctly disturbing company, namely Hunrath. Irma utterly freaked out when the details of the aircraft-destroying technology were outlined to her, petrified that her beloved Jerrold might be hauled off to jail by the Feds. So, Irma took her own course of action: She quickly called the FBI.

Within just a few hours, two unsmiling special agents of J. Edgar Hoover’s crime-fighting agency were sitting on Adamski’s couch, grilling him all about Bosco and Uncle Sam’s aircraft, and specifically the potential threat the former posed to the latter. The pair told Adamski they had heard rumors that he, Adamski “had in his possession a machine which could draw ‘flying saucers’ and airplanes down from the sky” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1953). Although this was completely untrue, Adamski realized immediately that the FBI agents were actually talking about Hunrath—who, up until the bust-up earlier on that very same day that led to the FBI arriving, had been fairly chummy with Adamski for two months or so.

Hardly impressed by Adamski’s tales of the alien variety, but finally satisfied that it was Hunrath, and not Adamski, that they needed to focus on, the G-Men left, but not before giving the petrified Adamski a stern order to keep away from Hunrath from now on. Adamski didn’t need telling twice. His path never again crossed with that of Hunrath.

For the next few months, the FBI kept a careful, secret watch on just about every move that Hunrath made, just in case he really was in possession of advanced technology—whether of extraterrestrial or human origin—that could bring down military aircraft, or UFOs, in fatal fashion. Another reason for such intense surveillance of Hunrath was the fact that the FBI uncovered never-substantiated rumors that he was working for the Russians, trying to find out the truth about UFOs for Kremlin paymasters! During this same period, Hunrath convinced Wilbur Wilkinson, an old friend from Wisconsin, to join him in Los Angeles in his quest for the truth about UFOs. Given that Hunrath was very much a crazed Dr. Frankenstein–type to Wilkinson’s meek and subservient Igor, it didn’t take much to persuade Wilkinson to make the move, which occurred in March 1953.

Seeking Out the Saucer People
When Wilkinson and his wife reached Los Angeles, they found themselves a pleasant home, settled into their new lives, and became more and more immersed in the UFO issue. Whereas Wilkinson’s wife was content to remain an interested, but somewhat detached and slightly cynical, observer of the phenomenon, Wilkinson himself became overwhelmingly obsessed by all things of a flying saucer nature. On several occasions in the months that followed, Hunrath and Wilkinson traveled to the Prescott, Arizona, home of George Hunt Williamson to further their UFO pursuits.

The three spent hours engaged in nighttime experimentation—under the stars—trying to contact extraterrestrial entities on a telepathic-style basis. Reportedly, this was achieved by taking hits of mescaline and plunging their minds into decidedly altered states. Supposedly, such experimentation worked all too well. On one particular night during the first week of November 1953, Hunrath and Wilkinson received the mind-to-mind invite from their disembodied contacts from above that ultimately relegated them to oblivion, and provoked wild rumors that the pair had been kidnapped, or even killed, by alien entities. With matters having now reached their peak, the two said their goodbyes to Williamson—who was the very last person in the flying saucer field to ever see them—and planned the final countdown to cosmic contact. As to what happened next, it’s still a matter of conjecture, six decades later.

Ten days after the two disappeared, the Los Angeles Mirror newspaper highlighted the mystifying affair in its pages—as well as the attendant theory that their vanishing act was the work of aliens, good, evil, or indifferent. Suddenly, and hardly surprisingly, pretty much the entirety of the rest of the city’s media descended upon the Wilkinson home. When the press arrived they found that the walls of Wilkinson’s den were covered—from almost floor to ceiling—with photos, drawings, press clippings, and more, all on the subject of UFOs.

On top of that, what the Los Angeles Mirror described as strange signs and formulas—but which Mrs. Wilkinson said was actually an interplanetary language—were scrawled on numerous sheets of paper that lay in haphazard, discarded-looking fashion on the floor. When questioned about all of this, Mrs. Wilkinson stated that although she was not overly into the subject of UFOs, her husband certainly was, chiefly as a result of Hunrath’s bullying encouragement. She added—in a fashion that only increased the weirdness—the two men had recently been in contact with an alien name Regga, from the planet Masar. Quite what the Los Angeles media thought of that is anyone’s guess. (“Saucer Investigators in Strange Disappearance,” 1953)

Was it true? Were Hunrath and Wilkinson invited to take a one-way trip to another, faraway world by benevolent aliens? Or was the whole thing a fatal ruse—a terrible ploy engineered by deadly extraterrestrials, as some of their friends and family members suspected? Others speculated that the whole affair could be explained away as mere accident and offered that nothing stranger than engine trouble had probably led to terrible tragedy and death on the mountains of California. Some, however, weren’t quite so sure that the baffling disappearance of Hunrath and Wilkinson was just due to careless pilot error or mechanical malfunction. But those same souls weren’t looking to ET for the answers, either. They were looking across the border or to the government. And not just the U.S. government.

George Hunt Williamson, who, as we have seen, spent considerable time with Hunrath and Wilkinson, was one of the more vocal ones on this matter:

Some people think the two men went to Mexico, but they didn't have enough fuel for the trip. It has also been reported that Karl is in England and will reappear shortly and also that he has been seen recently in Los Angeles with his hair dyed. He has been called a spaceman, a man possessed of evil spirits, an angel, a member of the F.B.I., and a Russian spy. What he really was no-one [sic] knows (Williamson, 1953).

Despite having occurred more than 60 years ago, the story of the baffling disappearance of Hunrath and Wilkinson refuses to fully roll over and die. Shortly before his death in November 2012, at the age of 81, longtime UFO researcher Jim Moseley shared with me his decades-old notes on the Hunrath-Wilkinson affair, compiled as part of a plan to write an ultimately aborted book on the 1950s-era UFO scene.

In part, Moseley’s December 1953 notes state that certain, pertinent information was brought to his attention by Manon Darlaine, a rich, elderly woman who worked with French Intelligence during the First World War and who later moved to Los Angeles to follow her passion for UFOs. In Moseley’s own words, and according to Darlaine, the aircraft in which Hunrath and Wilkinson vanished “has been found, but the men have not. The plane was dismantled, i.e., taken apart carefully and willfully, but not destroyed or damaged as it would be in a crash. This fact serves to deepen the mystery” (Moseley, 1953).

It certainly does deepen the puzzle. With Darlaine, Williamson, Adamski, Hunrath, and Wilkinson all long gone, and Moseley having now passed on, too, it seems that whatever really led to the disappearance of that curious pair of UFO researchers in the November 1953 skies of California is something destined to remain a mystery.

A Plane Crashes; Two Men Die
Despite the long and winding nature of the story, and its undeniable links to the UFO phenomenon, one has to wonder if Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson really were taken out of circulation by extraterrestrials or if their vanishing act was carefully staged. There’s a very good reason for that speculation. It revolves around two things in particular. Recall that Hunrath was (a) originally from Racine, Wisconsin and (b) had supposedly been given an advanced alien weapon that could disable and destroy U.S. military aircraft. This was the oddly named Bosco, you will recall. Under very weird circumstances, less than two weeks after Hunrath and Wilkinson went missing, and only a short distance from Racine, two baffling and deadly events occurred, both involving military jets, one of which crashed and the other vanished, never to be seen again.

It all began on the afternoon of November 23, 1953, when a Northrop F-89 Scorpion aircraft, flying out of Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin, plunged from the skies and slammed into the swampy shores of Lake Wingra, a small body of water, also in Madison. On board were pilot First Lieutenant John W. Schmidt and radar operator Captain Glen E. Collins. The story was big news for the people of Madison. It was tragic news, too, because both men were killed in the crash.

Madison’s local newspaper, the Capital Times, on November 24, 1953, noted that one Colonel Shoup, a spokesperson for Truax Field, was “convinced that the men had stuck with their plane in an attempt to keep it from crashing into densely-occupied areas of Madison. He praised the cooperation of police, fireman, members of the press and radio and others in trying to find the men” (“Second Truax Jet, 2 Fliers Missing,” 1953). The newspaper added that a “sudden mechanical failure” caused the crash—a “failure” that occurred so quickly neither Schmidt nor Collins had time to bail out or make a distress call (Ibid.). Significantly, when Major Donald E. Keyhoe—a noted UFO investigator from the 1950s to the 1980s—looked into the matter, he learned from a colleague, Frank Edwards, that “several witnesses said a saucer flew near the plane, just before it dived into a swamp” (Ibid.).

The distance from Karl Hunrath’s hometown of Racine, Wisconsin, to Madison, Wisconsin, was just 104 miles by road, which would have presented no problems in transporting the allegedly shoebox-sized Bosco and deploying it somewhere in the vicinity of Madison.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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