October, Rocktober, Shocktober… Schlocktober. Whatever kind of -tober you call it, it’s that time of month. The wind turns cold, dead leaves start swirling around in the streets, Home Depot shuffles out their halloween decor. Wait, that was last month, this month they set up all of the Christmas displays.
I can recall a time when Home Depot sold nothing but serious equipment, tools and materials for electricians, plumbers, construction and landscraping professionals. Now Home Depot, et al., are just department stores with lame, jumbo Halloween decorations and plastic Christmas trees, who also happen to stock building materials. And people think the paranormal is weird….
But I digress. It’s October! It’s almost Halloween! It’s that time of year when our minds drift to the supernatural and spooky, the creepy and macabre (the “r” is generally silent there by the way). So, what zany out of this world event didn’t happen this month in unexplained mystery history? I’ve got just the thing…
The Philadelphia Experiment
That’s right, didn’t happen, so stop watching all of those dopey “documentaries” that claim this nonsense is real and get on with the true meaning of the season: fun for fun-sake, bunk for bunk-sake. There doesn’t have to be anything real about any of it, it’s just fun fodder for fertile imaginations.
Now, how do we know that the Philadelphia Experiment didn’t happen? Easy, it’s called “Occam’s Razor.” In short Occam’s Razor is a reasoning tool which can be summed up like this: the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Write that down.
The following is based on information easily digested at Wikipedia.org. See the main article at that website for any potential references. They did the research, I’m just summarizing.
The Philadelphia Experiment was first proposed in letters received by Morris K. Jessup, a writer on the UFO phenomenon who mostly earned a living as an auto parts salesman and photographer. Though he had a masters degree in astronomy he never persued that field any further than beginning work on and ultimately abandoning his doctorate.
The letters were written by a Carlos Miguel Allende, who also referred to himself as Carl M. Allen in other correspondence to Jessup. The mystery letter sender’s real name was in fact Carl Meredith Allen. Allen was a strange fellow with a very active imagination and just maybe a screw or two loose.
In these letters Allen claimed to have witnessed an experiment which occurred in October of 1943, at the Naval Shipyard in Philadeplphia, involving U.S. Navy ship USS Eldridge, in which the ship was made invisible with some kind of humongous electromagnetic field. Or something like that. After reappearing it was subsequently revealed, somehow to someone, that while invisible the ship had made a short jaunt to to New York and even encountered some aliens along the way.
Sounds fun, except for the part where, upon allegedly reappearing in Philly after its alleged vanishing, some of the crew were allegedly found physically blended with parts of the ship. Not just stuck half way into a wall, but literally part of the wall.
That’s an incredibly fantastical tale, so… Insert decades of bunky nonsense here, regurgitated and revised by countless television shows, documentaries, newspaper articles, books, magazines, websites, forums, podcasts and on and on…
Jessup considered Allen a whack-job, and for good reason: generally speaking Allen was a whack-job. We have it on first-hand account by Robert Goerman, a freelance reporter who has written on various topics in the paranormal camp. During his research into the persona of Carl M. Allen, Goerman found that the truth was closer than he expected. Turns out he was actually acquainted with Allen’s immediate family, though he didn’t know it until he mentioned his research to them during a casual conversation.
It was revealed that Carl M. Allen was literally disturbed and a “creative loner.” Read Goerman’s report on the matter at his website.
So, SLICE… Occam’s Razor cuts a huge chunk of bunk from the story of the Philadelphia Experiment and we come to the more logical, and practical, explanation that Carl Meredith Allen perpetrated a hoax with his letters to Jessup regarding the alleged vanishing of the USS Eldridge in 1943.
The truth is usually right under our noses, but all too often—more like all the time when it comes to the paranormal and “unexplained”—a simmering soup of speculation and stubborn beliefs among dedicated fans of these mysteries creates a sloppy glop of claims and fantastic ideas that obscure the truth, distract and mislead.
But why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?
Why do many of us get scared by the dopiest thing? It doesn’t matter how well you know your environment, on a spooky night with the lights out that jacket tossed over the chair becomes a boogeyman. Blink and it’ll be standing by the bed…
We get scared because we’re human. Many of us, myself included, won’t immediately consider logical explanations when these things occur. Walking down a dark road at night for instance. Any unexpected and unfamiliar sound from the woods beside us, or the darkness behind us, makes us jump. We get goosey and run, or at least pick up the pace and get the hell out of there. So what’s going on?
Allow me to introduce the friendly autonomous sentinels in our brains called the amygdala. These amazing things cue in on stimuli in our environment way before the rest of our noggin is even remotely aware of it. They are specially tweaked through evolution to recognize facial characteristic, pick up on sounds and other things, even how close people are standing to us before we consciously think about it. They are the early warning system in the brain that helps us avoid danger. In fact, the heck with “thank god!” We can thank the amygdala that we’re even still here on this planet. If we didn’t have this innate ability to identify threats the human race would have been long gone by now.
When something potentially harmful or threatening is picked up by the amygdala it warns us by making us feel nervous or scared, causing the hair to stand up on the back of our neck, giving us goosebumps, raising our heart rate and triggering what is called the “fight or flight response.” Generally waking us up to the fact that we might be in danger. If the threat is a false alarm, big deal, we get a scare, but if the threat is real we have a chance at saving ourselves. We either run like hell or kick some ass.
The thrill we experience when the threat is not real is the result of dopamine being released by the brain and causing us to feel good, even though we’re getting scared. It works differently for some people, which is why not everyone enjoys getting scared and some people absolutely love it to extremes.
Some of us stand in line outside a haunted attraction waiting to get the crap scared out of us. Some of us watch scary movies or read scary books at night. Some people enjoy jumping off of cliffs with parachutes attached. I mean, that’s just crazy right there.
The brain becomes overloaded with potential threats, like hitting the ground, that the conscious brain is already aware won’t really happen, it hopes. But the poor amygdala doesn’t trust a rip chord and is still responding as it has been evolved to do; sending you threat alerts. Since you already know the threat is not real you feel the fear as excitement due to chemicals in the brain.
A silhouette outside the window, creaking branches in the wind, unknown sounds, cold spots, footsteps, haunting moans and creaks, the earth rushing toward you at critical velocity. This stuff scares us, and for good reason! Our amygdalae are trying to protect us because, for all they know, something very bad is going to happen. Most of the time our rational brain steps in to quickly survey the situation and make a decision. But the excitement has been had.
Our imagination, the amygdala, and a little dopamine. That’s the recipe for thrill seekers and the rest of us who just like a little scare once in awhile. Remember your older sister jumping out as you walked down the hall? BOO! Whether you seek it or not, the thrill happens.
Many of us like listening to spooky stories as we sit around campfires with the dark night and forest surrounding us. We enjoy the stir of fear and excitement we feel. The same thing happens when we venture into a spooky location at night, or intentionally put ourselve in a scary situation.
Ever notice that every paranormal investigation takes place at night? Why would ghosts care what time it is? They don’t, we do. We get a bigger thrill being in a spooky, supposedly haunted house at night than during the day. That’s exactly why the crew from Finding Bigfoot ventures out at night. It’s more fun and exciting to look for scary things in the dark, try it sometime.
For an in depth look at the science of fear, and why we sometimes enjoy it, check out Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear by Margee Kerr.
So that’s that. Our amazing brains are the reason we get that rush of adrenaline, the excitement in fear. You guys have a great night now, I need to go lock my door. Just heard something outside. Probably the wind rattling the door handle, let me take a look….
Ahh why not Marion, NC too? The village of Whitehall, NY, dubbed the old Cryptozoological poster-cryptid their official animal last month, there’s plenty of Squatch to go around.
I can hear the mayor of Marion, NC, now, “Crap we should have put that through sooner, Whitehall beat us to it!”
Bigfoot of Whitehall, NY
Whitehall is a small unassuming village a mere mile and a half or so from the Vermont border, just east of Lake George, nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks. The high peaks region of the Adirondacks lies within a two-ish hour drive to the northwest. Plenty of wildlife, rivers, creeks and miles of forest shelter. The Adirondacks is Bigfoot heaven.
Lets face it, the northeast wilderness of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont is probably the most likely region on the east coast for a decent population of these creatures to thrive if they do actually exist. I mean, if Bigfoot (that is the plural form, like deer and bear) are real the Adirondacks is the kind of place they’re likely to be found cavorting. The jury of popular science is still out on that though, so more compelling evidence—than the thousands of sightings and footprint casts already amassed—is required.
Whitehall is a personal favorite for various reasons; beautiful scenery, a massive steel Bigfoot sculpture and assorted other tributes to these hairy forest giants, including a rather goofy looking metal Bigfoot sculpture standing outside of Bigfoot Wine & Liquor. Whitehall has had a fair share of Bigfoot sightings over the years too.
The first reported and most famous Bigfoot sighting near Whitehall is the 1976 Abair Road encounter. On the night of August 24th of that year 18 year old Paul Gosselin and his friend Martin Paddock were driving in a pickup truck along Abair Road just over the town line in Hampton, NY. They passed a “human figure” standing by the roadside. Turning around they returned to the spot and stopped the truck but the figure was gone.
The story goes that they heard a sound like a “pig or a lady” screaming. Startled and unsure what to make of it all they “took off to the top of the hill” where they locked the doors and waited for a bit. Suddenly they saw “something big” running at them so they high-tailed it out of there and drove into Whitehall to get the police. After a few jokes and jeers the officers, one of whom was Paul’s older brother Brian Gosselin, returned with them to check out their claim. Their father, also a cop, was also on the scene as were state troopers. This was apparently a pretty big deal.
At one point officer Brian Gosselin shined his search light into a field along Abair Road and caught a huge creature in the wash of the beam. The boys witnessed the creature as well and the officer stepped closer to the field while another officer apparently fled the scene, later refusing to admit what he had seen. It’s interesting to note that although many iterations of this tale mention state troopers and other officers on the scene not one of those other witnesses ever came forward to tell their version of events and are not mentioned further.
Read more about the Abair Road encounter in the new book Abair Road the True Story by Sue Gosselin. The road name is pronounce with a long “A” like “ey-bear” by the way. The documentary Beast of Whitehall is another good resource including this and other Whitehall sightings. Bonus, in that doc you’ll also hear excerpts from actual recorded interviews made during the investigation by Bigfoot researcher Bill Brann.
Other sightings in Whitehall include a Sasquatch who apparently wanted to play through on the golf course at Skene Valley Country Club; two hunters who heard low vocalizations and saw a creature on the opposite side of a creek; a NJ couple passing through Whitehall reported a creature crossing the road; and most recently—and maybe conveniently with the upcoming Bigfoot Calling Festival—earlier this month a motorist spotted a large hairy something crossing Route 4, and investigator Paul Bartholomew, co-author of the awesome but sadly out of print book available for an elevated sum by thrid-party sellers at Amazon.com, Monsters of the Northwoods, made a cast of a large footprint found nearby.
If Bigfoot tickles your whatever and you also happen to be a fan of craft beer and brew pubs there are almost as many breweries as Bigfoot sightings in the vicinity. Just south of Whitehall, on Rt 4 in Fort Ann, you’ll find Battle Hill Brewing Co. During our investigation of the area my partner and I stopped in for a flight of some really great beers. The brewer really knows what he’s doing. From the huge window in the dining area you get a great view north toward Whitehall, including the peaks of Battle Hill and the Pinnacle in the distance. I think it’s the Pinnacle, anyone who knows for sure is welcome to leave a comment.
It is this blogging investigator’s opinion that Bigfoot, as flesh and blood creatures, have a greater chance of being real than more fantastical things like ghosts, fairies, demons, unicorns or the Great Pumpkin. This isn’t a supernatural thing and it isn’t about belief. There are millions of acres across the Northeast states that roll right on up into Ontario, similar to the gazilions of acres of pristine forest land in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, you get the occasional rogue hairy upright walking hominid in Vineland, NJ—plenty of woodsy spots there and it’s close to IHOP—but nothing compared to the sprawling forests farther north.
Now, about this Marion thing…
Bigfoot of Marion, NC
What sort of Bigfooty things are going on in Marion, NC? Hardly enough to make Bigfoot the official town critter but apparently there is enough Squatchery nearby that they wanted to hop on the Bigfoot bandwagon. There are only two sightings in McDowell county listed in the BFRO database, one in Spruce Pine and other occurances in Little Switzerland that may have been Bigfoot related.
Adjacent counties have had about as much activity over the years as McDowell with just two alleged Bigfoot related incidents each for Avery, Buncombe, Burke and Yancey. One each for Rutherford and Mitchell. So for an area covering over 2,500 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains, that’s 1.6 million acres, twelve sightings ain’t much. Granted those are sightings actually reported to the BFRO.
By comparison there are 21 Bigfoot related events in Warren and Washington counties in New York. Whitehall is located in Washington county which boasts 9 sightings. Granted the BFRO isn’t the be-all-end-all of Bigfoot sightings, no doubt there are countless sightings and incidents that have not made it to the BFRO database. Sighting reports still sitting in file cabinets in news offices and police departments across America.
I can’t believe I’m spending so much time on this.
Can’t blame Marion for jumping in on the Bigfoot craze. They did it for the same reason Whitehall did: tourist dollars. You see, after early interest in this subject dwindled in the public eye through the 1980s and 90s, due to the onset of internet social media platforms and services like YouTube the topic of Bigfoot, and other so-called unexplained mysteries, has again grown in popularity and filmmakers and TV producers are taking advantage of this interest, creating content that further fuels the flames of squatchery.
Bring people into town to spend money at local restaurants and businesses, and everyone’s happy. That’s the idea. But how can you get them there? Any way you can. Create a festival, draw attention by claiming Bigfoot as your official animal, give folks something fun to do, something strange to ponder, food, beer, enterainment and you’re all set.
Want Bigfoot festivals? You got it!
Whitehall is hosting the Sasquatch Calling Contest & Festival on September 29th this year. Free admission, fun for the kids, vendors, movies, live music, Bigfoot information and of course the calling contest. Get your vocal cords ready, you might win $100! For more information visit the Bigfoot Calling Festival Facebook page.
Marion is hosting the NC Bigfoot Festival on September 8th.
Just like the northeast U.S., western North Carolina has millions of acres of wilderness hills and mountains, the perfect place for Bigfoot. So don’t be surprised if, on some moonlit night, you’re driving back from the festival to your RV at the campground or your cabin rental in the mountains, and some hulking, hairy beast steps out into the beam of your headlights. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, you may encounter Bigfoot…
Last week the interwebs were shaken up by a video in which the poster claimed he saw “a spacecraft” hovering in the distance across Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.
The interwebs weren’t the only thing shaking. The quality of this video suffers from what my collegues in paranormal pursuits and I refer to as fakey-shakey, jive-jiggle or bullshitter jitter. The guy is shaking the camera, in this case his cellphone, on purpose and so damn much that there is no possible way viewers can see what the hell he is recording.
Take a quick look at the video below and see if you can identify the object…
In fact some sharp-eyed YouTubers have pointed out what the object is likely to be and their suggestions have been corroborrated by GoodYear officials. It was a GoodYear blimp, Wingfoot One specifically—and actually a “semi-rigid” airshit not a blimp—as revealed in a USA Today article about the video.
So the video of the UFO over Lake Norman is actually an IFO, and the guy who made the video knew exactly what he was recording, he’s just a joker.
Still and always I will continue my search for real evidence of the unexplained, but crap like this just fogs the swamp. I’m not holding my breath.
The Phoenix Lights Festival returned for its fourth year to The Park at Wild Horse Pass on April 7 & 8, 2018. The two day music festival featured 42 artists, including techno, dance and trance DJs and full bands. Festivals need themes and the Phoenix Lights Festival has an interesting piece of local lore behind it. Who knows, there may very well have been some extraterrestrials at the festival, but there weren’t any at the original sighting events back in 1997. Or at any other time. I don’t mean to pop any bubbles, just being real. It’s my job.
To be sure, festivals are not the problem, the problem is these dopey documentaries that show up 21 years later, rehashing reports, adding new nonsense and completely ignoring anything that resembles reality. But then, one guy’s reality is another’s… whatever, you know what I mean.
21 YEARS since Phoenicians first experienced a strange light formation in the sky, and mysterious orange lights flickering over South Mountain and the Sierra Estrella mountain range, southwest of Phoenix, AZ.
Before I comment on this Expanded and Updated documentary which is also apparently Beyond Top Secret, let me first summarize the events which I have independently investigated while sitting at the dinette of my little RV. I happen to be camping in a remote location, staking out a logging site for a friend of mine. He thinks there may be a Bigfoot roaming around in the woods here.
After a long day and no Bigfoot I was winding down with a cold beer and decided to cover-surf on my Amazon FireTV Stick. Since I frequently watch shows about the paranormal as part of my investigative work Amazon pops up various titles that I might find interesting. I know Amazon tracks my viewing behavior, I just hope my Alexa is minding her own business. I’d hate to think she’s logging my conversations, especially the ones I have with myself. Ha! Logging.
Anyway, that’s where I noticed the Phoenix Lights – Beyond Top Secret – Expanded and Updated. The title reads like just like a bullbunkum book you wouldn’t pay two cents for. Well, I wouldn’t, I can get that stuff on Kindle for free. I don’t enjoy the stuff really, but I need to keep up to date in my line of work. Beyond top secret huh? Let’s talk about the Phoenix Lights…
The Phoenix Lights Story
Two events unfolded on the evening of March 13, 1997, and many, including Lynne Kitei, confuse the them, maybe deliberately so, merging them into one and dismissing any rational explanation because it does not fit with what they want to believe.
Witnesses of the first event recount seeing a triangular, or V-shaped, formation of lights traversing slowly overhead and seen by witnesses starting at 7:55 MST in Henderson, NV. A report was made by a motorist in Kingman, AZ, then reports started at 8:17 MST in Prescott, AZ, followed by witness sightings in Phoenix.
Most witnesses described lights in a V formation traveling at a slow rate of speed from northwest to southeast. Some claimed a massive object blocked out stars in the sky as the formation passed overhead, though the brightness of the nearby lights witnesses were focused on would most likely cause their eyes to adjust, thereby making far distant stars seem much dimmer.
Here you go… an amateur astronomer using a Dobsonian telescope observed the lights of the V formation and clearly saw that they were attached to individual airplanes. That pretty much settles it for me, but maybe I should doubt what he says because he could just be a plant for the government to misdirect people from the truth about the UFO Alien coverup. Yeah that’s it.
The second event was subsequently confirmed by authorities at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range to be a series of parachute flares dropped by A-10 Warthogs over the testing range southwest of Phoenix. In fact, video recordings made by some residents clearly depict lights behaving exactly as one would expect descending and flickering parachute flares to behave. None of the video clips presented in any news reel or documentary show the full deployment of course because then it would be evident as to what they are. They just wouldn’t be as intriguing.
A distant line of reddish glowing lights appear in the distance, flickering to life one by one and progressively descending, eventually disappearing behind the Sierra Estrella mountain range, generally in the same order in which they were dropped. No sound was heard because the aircraft dropping the flares were some distance away and flying perpendicular to witness viewing directions from Phoenix.
So, Beyond Top Secret, what’s that about? There was absolutely nothing top secret about the so-called Phoenix Lights in the first place. Air Force personnel freely disclosed that the series of lights seen over the mountains from Phoenix were flares dropped in a training run, and a guy with a telescope saw airplanes in the giant V-formation.
Now, About this Documentary…
… that I couldn’t waste more than 8 minutes on.
Three swigs into my beer I decided to switch over to Longmire. I just couldn’t stand listening to Dr. Lynne Kitei ramble on about the miraculous encounter she and her husband had had with the lights, and how magical the whole thing seemed to her. In the documentary she implied that she could sense a presence in the lights, and seemed to seriously believe they were some kind of higher beings trying to connect with humanity.
Over and over we see reenactments of her taking pictures of the event and she comments frequently on one photo in particular, which we are never shown. At one point I caught myself yelling at the TV, “show us the picture! Show us the PICTURE! SHOW US THE DANN PICTURE!” During one weird moment she actually takes a framed photo in her hands and looks at it with some apparent longing before returning it to the mantel, hiding it behind other pictures. Very strange. But we never see it.
After a little research I discovered that her photos of the event are available at the Phoenix Lights Network website. They are obvious blurry photos of the flares dropped by planes from Barry Goldwater AF Range, which is an event confirmed by the Air Force and would have appeared as the photos depict if seen from Phoenix. These are photos of the second event, not the V-formation.
This is all so basic it amazes me how these events, which were adequately explained at the time, can get so blown out of proportion. Actually, it doesn’t really. People perpetuate a whole bunch of nonsensical rubbish just because they have a need to believe. It really all boils down to just that. I won’t get into the psychology of it all here, I’m not a psychologist just a simple investigator of the unexplained.
This Phoenix Lights thing has taken on a whole new shape beyond just believing the lights were alien piloted spaceships. Lights, craft and even orbs are terms used to describe the things witnessed on that night in 1997. Orbs hints at the supernatural, ghosts and spirits, so this Phoenix Lights thing has become a kind of spiritual movement.
It reeks of some new age nonsense with sentiments like “Evolution to a New Consciousness,” and claims of a cover up with statements like, “…cover up of what is now being hailed as the largest mass sighting of UFOs in modern times…”
This is a weird amalgamation of UFO lore and spiritual enlightenment with religious overtones, but it’s nothing new. We’ve seen UFO enlightenment movements and “re-awakenings” in the past. In some ways, for some people, UFOs and the idea of aliens from space have replaced a biblical god.
The events known collectively as the Phoenix Lights have been sufficiently and rationally explained. There really is no need to spend any more time on it. The documentary is a rehashing of anecdotes, and the rekindling of a belief, held by some, that the lights were of extraterrestrial origin. It’s also spinning into something far stranger. Good luck to those who wade into the murky waters of some “New Consciousness.”
I have no clue, but I thought that was a good post title.
Many years have I swatted mosquitoes and pinched loafs in the field looking for tracks, listening for wood knocks and sniffing for putrid stinks, other than mine, that are said to accompany these elusive man-beasts. Yet I have found nothing. Nothing!