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).
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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):
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
Phrygian-capped Manticora from a 12th-century bestiary.
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 Cigouaveis 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.
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.
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
“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
—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.
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
—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.
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
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)
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
—Edward Topsell (1572–1625)14
Leucrocota by Merian.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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”
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.