Friday, May 30, 2014

Bigfoot Research May Be Dangerous To Your Health

There was a rare event this week. A bit of Sasquatch-related gun violence occurred. It may or may not have been consciously directed at an outspoken individual in the Bigfoot community. But the fact is someone apparently conducted a drive-by shooting at the very rural location of Bigfoot Books in Willow Creek, California.

In this photo, the screen lines up with the level of the cab of a pickup or SUV driving by, demonstrating the bullet probably was fired from rural Highway 299.

A bullet broke the double-paned front window and zipped right through the screen. Steven Streufert found "glass strewn all about the inside."

Steven Streufert (name origin, German) is shown in his store. "Streu" means "straw." "Fertig" means dexterous.  Some of his ancestors were shepherds. One was a son born out of wedlock to a duke or baron, the apparent founder of the line. Siegfried Streufert's Arch of Fire discusses his childhood in Nazi Germany. Siegfried's father was a Weimar Republic Social Democrat, hated by Hitler, and died in a concentration camp. Steven's relatives are 100% German, and were Nazi resistors.

Streufert is one of the main organizers of the Bluff Creek Trail Camera Project, which now has 20 working trailcams in place. Photo by Helen Walters.

Streufert, the owner of Bigfoot Books on 40600 Highway 299, Willow Creek, California, is one of the leaders in the Willow Creek and Bluff Creek area, preserving significant pieces of local Bigfoot history. Photo courtesy of Tom Yamarone.

Bigfoot Books, 1.5 miles east of downtown Willow Creek on Highway 299, is a general purpose used book shop, that, as the name implies, specializes in books about Bigfoot. The store, which opened in 2005, is located along the Trinity River in the "Bigfoot Country" of inland Humboldt County, northern California.

The owner, Streufert, is a professional bookman and bookseller, and has worked with books, in brick & mortar stores and in libraries, since the mid-late 1980s. He has been an antiquarian since 1992, and been online since 1999.

Streufert's blog, Bigfoot's Blog, has existed since 2008. His Facebook group, Coalition for Reason, Science, Sanity in Bigfoot Research (with nearly 2000 members) was formed in 2011.

I interviewed Steven about the recent incident, and have extracted, with his permission, additional details he's noted online.

Loren Coleman: You've been challenged about this even really having happened. Did you contact law enforcement?

Steven Streufert: The case number [is] 201402403, Humboldt County Sheriff's office, taken by Deputy Lagarda.

Loren Coleman: This shooting occurred Monday May 26, 2014, to Tuesday May 27, 2014. When?

Steven Streufert: I left the store around 7:00 pm [Monday] and arrived at 11:30 am the following morning [Tuesday]. The dentist next door was there earlier. Hence it should have occurred at night.

Loren Coleman: What, did you get death threats?

Steven Streufert: These weren't death threats. I never said that. They were implied threats of confrontation or possible violence. One was in PM [private messaging], and one was a Facebook comment. I've had a good number of threats in the past, of violence and litigation.

Loren Coleman: Any fires, building graffiti, vandalism?

Steven Streufert: I have had no vandalism or other problems with locals.

Loren Coleman: Your store is isolated. This appears to be a serious matter. What concerns you the most?

Steven Streufert: My daughter is OFTEN here in the shop with me, especially now as school is out for the summer.

The bullet was found. Streufert described it as a larger caliber bullet. It was taken by the Sheriff's Department for the investigation. 

"A hefty copper-jacketed slug," said Streufert. "It was a big, fat slug. It was all smashed, but had glass embedded in the tip, as if it were a hollow pointed kill bullet." 

Hollow-point bullets were first manufactured in the late 19th century to kill humans, and called express bullets. They are literally hollow down the middle. The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibited the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body. Despite the ban on military use, hollow-point bullets are one of the most common types of bullets used by civilians and police, which is due largely to the reduced risk of bystanders being hit by over-penetrating or ricocheted bullets. They are the bullets of choice for targeted assassinations, due to that fact. 

This is a hollow-point 6.5×55mm Swedish before and after expanding. The long base and small expanded diameter show that this is a bullet designed for deep penetration on large game. The bullet in the photo traveled more than halfway through a moose before coming to rest.

The hollow point and soft-nosed bullets are both sometimes also referred to as dum-dums, so named after the British arsenal at Dum Dum, in present north Kolkata (called Calcutta by the English), India, where it is said jacketed, expanding bullets were first developed. Coincidentally, the widespread use of the term "Abominable Snowman" began in 1921 from Calcutta. Henry Newman, a longtime contributor to The Statesman in Calcutta, writing under the pen name "Kim," interviewed members of the "Everest Reconnaissance expedition," and learned about their "Abominable Snowman" track findings. The era of the Yeti was born in the same place as dum-dums. 

In the USA and Canada, "dum-dum" is a term not often heard. American recreational shooters sometimes refer to hollow points as "JHPs," from the common manufacturer's abbreviation for "Jacketed Hollow Point." To be most correct, the term "Dum Dum Bullet" refers only to soft-point bullets, not to hollow points, though it is very common for it to be mistakenly used this way. 

[Needless to say, these kinds of bullets have evolved, through their history, to be used extensively in domestic hunting, and by local law enforcement officers. This article is not about hunting or the responsible use of hollow points or dum dums, but about a shooting by a human into a Bigfoot book store.]


These may be dangerous times for Bigfootery. There certainly is an active camp of "haters" out there who are unaware of their own blindness, words, and effect on others. Some of those haters haunt online Bigfoot forums, and the general Bigfooter may think that those vile people are merely trolling, hidden behind their computers. However, the current climate of violence supported in some of these "online debates" could cause copycat-level events that are at a distance from the original individuals making the forum remarks. 

I wrote an entire book about how this kind of contagion behavior works. The flames of minor hostile acts being fanned by others' aggressive words do result in more violent acts; it is a well-proven, well-researched fact. 

The one location, the epicenter that many Bigfooters seek out is Willow Creek, California. It there where local people like Streufert naturally stand out as a target for some vulnerable, mentally unbalanced person who feels he/she has been hurt by a blog comment or a Facebook remark. Such is the unreal reality of today's social media world. 

The sensational nature of Bigfoot entertainment television series, such as Finding Bigfoot and Bigfoot Bounty, reinforce the notion that infighting, disagreements, and verbal anger are a large part of the Bigfoot search. But these facets of the "research" are over-dramatically increased, via editing, for the benefit of ratings and to obtain more viewers. Bigfooters are not having fist fights at Sasquatch conferences, or yelling matches at Yeti enclaves. 

Photo credit: Rictor Riolo, with permission.

But hominology conferences are not love fests or cult gatherings, either. 

Most are a combination of serious debates of theories, examinations of the evidence, holding of social events, and the collecting of mini-field experiences, parasocial behavior opportunities, and souvenirs. 

The only real dumb-dumbs in all of this are the people shooting at windows. And directing their hatred outward. 

What will the summer of 2014 bring forth?

Leave your guns at home, if you plan to go visiting or camping in Willow Creek and Bluff Creek, folks.

Humans and Bigfoot, alike, will be a lot safer.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Isla Vista and Brussels Shootings

Drive-by shootings in a college town in Southern California the Friday night (at 9:34 pm) of May 23, 2014, left seven people dead, says Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

Brown said the suspected gunman was among the seven people killed in the incident, which occurred in Isla Vista (University of California-Santa Barbara). He said seven others suffered "gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries." One of those victims is said to have "life-threatening injuries." 

The sheriff reported nine different crime scenes.

Eyewitnesses described seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets, spraying bullets at people and various targets. 
A black BMW driven by 22-year-old SBCC student Elliot Rodger slammed into two other vehicles.

Witnesses identified the gunman as Elliot Rodger. Sheriff's department personnel are investigating a video in which a man identified as Rodger details plans for "retribution" and "revenge against humanity" prior to the shooting. Rodger had left a now-infamous youtube video recorded a few days before his rampage blaming young women who had apparently rejected his advances. Rodger took his own life with a bullet to the head as Sheriff's deputies closed in on his crashed car.

Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger (July 24, 1991 – May 23, 2014) was confirmed by police to be the sole perpetrator of the killings.

Rodger was born in London, England, and moved to the United States when he was five years old. He was raised in Los Angeles. His mother is Li-Chin Rodger, a Malaysian research assistant for a film company, and his father is British filmmaker Peter Rodger, whose credits include working as a second unit assistant director for The Hunger Games. His stepmother is Moroccan actress Soumaya Akaaboune. His paternal grandfather was photojournalist George Rodger. He had a younger sister and a younger half-brother.

Rodger attended Crespi Carmelite High School, an all-male Catholic school in Encino, Los Angeles, and then Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. He graduated from Independence Continuation High School in Lake Balboa, Los Angeles, in 2010. He attended Santa Barbara City College, writing in his manifesto that he dropped out of all his classes in February 2012. The school said he was no longer taking classes.
The first Isla Vista massacre on record occurred when UCSB freshman David Attias killed four students on the night of February 23, 2001 by slamming his car into several parked cars and pedestrians on the 6500 block of Sabado Tarde Road. Although initially charged with four counts of murder, four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and five counts of felony driving under the influence, Attias was later found to be legally insane. 


Meanwhile, Belgian officials say that at least three people have been killed in gunfire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. (Update: A fourth person died in connection with the May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, the Belgian interior ministry said Friday, June 6, 2014.)

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, said he was "shocked by the murders committed at the Jewish Museum" on Saturday afternoon. He said he had seen the bodies of the victims.
Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said at least three were killed in the incident, and a Brussels fire department spokesman said one person was wounded.
No details were immediately available, but according to RTBF, a Belgian broadcasting company, a person with a backpack opened fire then fled.
Police have closed off the area around the museum, near the center of Brussels, and numerous ambulances were at the scene.

During the first week of June 2014, a suspect, Mehdi Nemmouche, was arrested in France. Nemmouche recently spent a year in Syria and is a radicalized Islamist, French officials said.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Are You Still Alive? UFO Deaths, Revisited

Do ufologists die in more strange circumstances than most people?

Roger K. Leir, D.P.M., 79, passed away on March 14, 2014. Leir was a podiatric surgeon and author, but he is best known for his work investigating alleged extraterrestrial implants.

As if stepping from an episode of The X-Files, Leir and his work gained worldwide attention due to his interests in the phenomenon of supposed alien implants and his alleged removal of several such objects from the bodies of abductees. He also investigated the 1996 Varginha, Brazil case and the 2007-2009 UFO sightings in Kumburgaz, Turkey. Leir became well-known in the field from his appearances on television documentaries and radio programs, as well as a speaker at multiple international conferences and symposiums.

Leir's cause of death is uncertain. Some have said he died from complications of shingles. According to Fortean author Christopher O’Brien, Leir was in the hospital on March 14, 2014, awaiting surgery on his own foot that had been injured in a 2010 automobile accident. Leir reportedly left to use the restroom, but never came out.

Due to Leir's age, he could be called part of the "old guard." Younger ufologists have died in recent years too. People die all the time, of course. But of late, there has been increased talk of ufologists being murdered or dying mysteriously.

John Mack and Budd Hopkins, UFO Congress awards ceremony; Photo Stuart Conway, 2002.

Another strange death remains that of Harvard psychiatrist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994), Dr. John E. Mack, who died on Monday, September 27, 2004, while in London to lecture. Mack was killed by a drunken driver heading west on Totteridge Lane. He was walking home alone, after a dinner with friends, when he was struck at 11:25 p.m. near the junction of Totteridge Lane and Longland Drive. He lost consciousness at the scene of the accident and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The driver was arrested at the scene, and was later convicted and jailed for the offense, though there was very little media coverage of this. There are still those who believe that his death was suspicious as it appeared to be far too "convenient."

Mac Tonnies, 34, a rising intellectual presence in Fortean thought and the "Posthuman Blues" blogger, was found dead in his apartment on October 22, 2009. His book The Cryptoterrestrials (Anomalist Books, 2010), published after his death, extended the thoughts of John Keel's ultraterrestrials. Tonnies' death, allegedly, may have been tied to one of several causes, but certainly it was one surrounded by quiet confusing details. (Please refer to Mike Clelland's statement in the comment section below for more on this.)

RRR's "Death List"

Strangely, Mac's name appeared at the end of the "death list" of people that a group of youthful ufologists placed in their infamous posting of March 22, 2008, 19 months or so, before Tonnies' passing. The so-called "RRRGroup," in their "UFO PROVOCATEUR(S)" blog entry entitled "Death(s) will clean the UFO palate," listed the names of people whom they almost seemed to be wishing would die more quickly so the "future" of the field could dawn more quickly.

They wrote:
When ufology’s old-guard passes on – Dick Hall, Stan Friedman, Kevin Randall, John Schuessler, and even the 60ish Jerry Clark to name a few – taking hangers-on and sycophants with them (and you know who they are), the UFO palate will be cleansed.

That is, the mummified concepts of ufology will be washed away, and new paradigms will be allowed to flourish.

Standing in the wings already is a group of middle-agers who, while not particularly astute about the UFO history and inclined to be cavalier with their observations and characterizations of ufology and UFOs themselves, think they are the news faces of ufology, which is a mantle they hope to change.

Those people include Paul Kimball, Nick Redfern, Greg Bishop, and Mac Tonnies.

...Once the old-guard is gone, and the mid-lifers dismissed because of their foolishness, the young crop of UFO mavens’ newer ideas will hold sway with the public and media....
Blood mixed with ink. After the above was written, Richard H. Hall died on July 17, 2009. Mac Tonnies died on October 22, 2009. Stan Friedman, Kevin Randle, John Schuessler, and Jerry Clark are still alive.

Former Socorro, New Mexico police officer and close encounter eyewitness to one of the most well-known UFO cases in history, Lonnie Zamora died on November 2, 2009, of heart failure.

C. D. B. Bryan also died in 2009, and Wendelle Stevens in 2010. The Year of 2011 saw a number of important ufologists die, including Budd HopkinsIon Hobana, and several others.

Well-known 1896-1897 Airship historian and Fortean archivist Lou Farish, 74, passed away on January 26, 2012. Fortean friend, ufology humorist, and writer James W. Moseley, 81, died November 16, 2012. He passed away at a Key West, Florida, hospital, several months after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.
Ten days after Moseley died, on Monday, November 26, 2012, the RRRGroup posted again on this topic, in "Ufology is dying and ufologists with it."

The RRR blogger wrote:
The death of “prominent” UFO mavens this year -- with more to come by years end -- will decimate the moribund UFO topic....The aging UFO researchers are either ill or near-death, many divorced and struggling to maintain a UFO identity, but without cachet any longer or credibility.
One comment maker, Michael D Swords, first author of the UFO History Group's UFOs and Government, wrote in, leaving the following on November 28, 2012:

Hello. I woke up this morning and found that I was alive. This did not surprise me. I also found that Patrick Huyghe was putting together a UFO research panel for the Society for Scientific Exploration meeting in June, including Eddie Bullard, Mark Rodeghier, and myself. Both of them were alive and healthy when I checked.
When I returned to Kalamazoo last evening, there was my young friend, in his thirties, who is writing a comprehensive study of the Hillsdale-Dexter Swamp Gas fiasco. He was alive and healthy and gave me a ride home. A young man came from Western Michigan University the month of August --- writing a Master's thesis involving a UFO connection. An art show on campus was rather good and the artist was inspired by UFOs in her work.
I am surprised to discover that we are all dead or hospitalized, or that some people want us to be so they can move on.

The Death of Ufologists & June 24th

On June 24, 1908, Grover Cleveland, the 22nd & 24th US President (1885-89, 93-97), died at the age of 71. On June 30, 1908, the Tunguska event, a large aerial explosion of unknown origins, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, Russia, occurred. The UFO wave of 1909 in New Zealand followed sightings in the Southland in June 1908. But no one was thinking about deaths and strange shapes in the skies in 1908.

The topic of the death of ufologists is a modern but old one in the field. In 1971, UFO author Otto Binder claimed that at least 137 UFO investigators had died under mysterious circumstances during the 1960s. Binder's 1971 Saga article, "Liquidation of the UFO Investigators," summarized his findings.
Otto Binder (1911-1975), as well as John Keel (1930-2009), noticed a number of “seemingly coincidental deaths in the UFO field on 24 June.” These included in 1964 Frank Scully, author of one of the first crashed-saucer books; British contactees Arthur Bryant and Richard Church in 1967; and Willy Ley in 1969. Frank Edwards, popular UFO author and radio personality in the 1950s, died a few hours before Bryant. News of the sudden death of Frank Edwards stunned delegates assembled for the 1967 Congress of Scientific Ufologists in New York City’s Hotel Commodore on June 24th.

I have continued to track June 24th UFO-related deaths since Binder's time.

One person that has been overlooked is Robert Charroux, the best-known pen-name of Robert Joseph Grugeau (born April 7, 1909 - died June 24, 1978). He was a French author known for his ancient astronaut theories and writings in other Fortean subjects. Charroux's books include: Treasures Of The World (1967); The Mysterious Unknown (1972); Forgotten Worlds: Scientific Secrets of The Ancients and Their Warning For Our Time (1973); The Mysterious Past (1974); Legacy Of The Gods (1974); The Mysteries Of The Andes (1977); Masters Of The World: Groundbreaking New Revelations About The Ancient Astronauts (1979); and One Hundred Thousand Years Of Man’s Unknown History (1981).

Others have died on June 24th. An early advocate of flying saucer research, Jackie Gleason, died June 24, 1987. UFO writer Frank Edwards’ publisher, the maverick Lyle Stuart, died of a heart attack on June 24, 2006.

On June 24, 2013, former rocket scientist, computer scientist, and author of After the Internet: Alien Intelligence (2000), James Martin, 79, was found floating dead in the waters off Agar's Island. Dr. Martin bought Agar’s Island in 1977 and made his home in Bermuda. The multi-millionaire kept a relatively low profile in Bermuda.

For ufologists this date is of critical importance. On June 24, 1947 the modern era of UFOs began with Kenneth Arnold’s dramatic sighting of “saucers” flying between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in Washington. The primary significance of this particular date, St. John’s Day, cannot be diminished within ufology.

Nick Redfern: Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind
Author Nick Redfern has a new book about UFO-related deaths that is being released on June 23, 2014. While it might have been more appropriate for his publisher to use the pub date of June 24, it does seem to be an intriguing coincidence. 

On May 16th, I asked Redfern a few questions about this subject as it relates to the RRR Group's writings. Here are his responses, which I appreciate Nick sharing with me.


Twilight Language: Do you feel that the field of Ufology is positively or negatively impacted when older, mature researchers die?
Nick Redfern: I think the field of Ufology can only be impacted negatively when a respected researcher dies. In simple terms, that person - presuming they were still actively doing research - is no longer able to offer anything else of value to the subject, so that's why I view such a passing as a negative event. If their files and archives are preserved, that's very good, since it allows us to ensure what they left behind doesn't disappear. It's like with John Keel: we have his legacy, his works. That's great. But it would be even greater still if he was still writing. Of course, if the researcher was an outright hoaxer, liar or criminal, then the scene is better off without them.

Twilight Language: Younger ufologists die too. How do you feel the field is altered when someone like Mac Tonnies dies, when his output is hardly known yet?
Nick Redfern: When a younger UFO researcher dies, I think that - first and foremost - it's a tragedy for the family. No child should die before his or her parents. So, realizing someone is a human being before a UFO researcher - and the effects that an early death leaves behind for the family and friends - is the main and most important thing. But, in terms of research and written output, it's always unfortunate if a young researcher has a great deal of potential and dies before their time. Who knows what they might have done in the decades ahead? It could have been groundbreaking. But, in such cases, we'll never, ever know. You mention Mac Tonnies. Mac died in his mid-30s, and only had a couple of books published. Potentially, he could have been writing for another 40 years. I only ever met Mac once (for a weekend conference in Canada 7 or 8 years ago), but there's no doubt he was a man who had a lot to offer the field of Ufology and the wider issue of Forteana in general.

Twilight Language: Do you think young ufologists in the RRR Group truly want the "old guard" to depart so the RRR folks and younger UFO theorists will be heard more clearly?
Nick Redfern: No, I don't think anyone in the RRR actually wants any of the old guard to die. What I think they do want, and what I think is very important too, is to encourage the next generation of researchers, and the one after that. Not at the expense of the old guard, but to ensure the subject continues to get an injection of new blood, new energy, new thought processes, and new research. The major problem I have with much of the old guard is they are very much stuck in the ETH mode. Now, yes, that may well be the right path to follow. But, on the other hand, it may not. But, I think a lot of people, as they get older, they get into a comfortable, safe zone. And, when it comes to Ufology, I don't think research should be comfortable or safe, at all. It should be challenging, and filled with people not afraid to rock the boat and question accepted beliefs. That's why I think new blood is vital, and I think that's what the RRR people are saying.
Twilight Language: Thank you, Nick.

In 2008, I left the following comment at the RRR site. I haven't changed my mind too greatly on these final thoughts.

It seems incredible to really read these words: "...the young crop of UFO mavens’ newer ideas will hold sway with the public and media, because this new generation isn’t conscripted by former old-think about UFOs, presenting instead original thought and pursuit of the UFO mystery..."
Being a radical Fortean observer watching the coming and going of all matter of writers, researchers, and theorists in the last four decades, you have given me a good chuckle.
Every "new" generation sees themselves as having the "real" solutions or the next best outside-the-box suggestions. Of course, it will only be something you will reflect upon when the next generation after you, the new group of "Young Ones" start nibbling at your aging heels, [and] says something similar to you.

It's always been that way, and it will continue so into the future.

Monday, May 12, 2014

President Garfield's Monument Breached

Police in Ohio say thieves have broken into the monument of President James A. Garfield and stolen a set of commemorative spoons. The vandals shattered a window to get inside the 180-foot-tall monument at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights. A cemetery worker discovered the theft on May 7, 2014, it was announced on May 11. Police reports say cigarette butts, a T-shirt and a whiskey bottle were recovered.

President Garfield is the only president to have his casket on full display. His casket is located near the glass case from which the spoons were stolen. His wife's casket is next to his.

Another assassinated president's tomb had also once been breached. In November 1876, Irish crime boss James "Big Jim" Kennally, who ran a counterfeiting ring in Chicago, decided on a plan for the release of their engraver, Benjamin Boyd, who'd been arrested and sentenced to ten years at the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet. The plan was to steal Abraham Lincoln's body from its tomb, bury it in the Indiana Dunes along Lake Michigan to cover their tracks, and hold it for ransom, in exchange for a full pardon for Boyd and $200,000 (over four million dollars in today's dollars) in cash. The thieves opened the sarcophagus, but were unable to move the 500-pound, lead-lined cedar coffin more than a few inches. Instead, the plot was revealed to law enforcers and the theft never occurred. The plotters were arrested.

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881) served as the 20th President of the United States (1881). Garfield, the nation's 20th president, was born in the Cleveland suburb of Moreland Hills. He was assassinated and served just 200 days in office.

On the morning of July 2, 1881, President Garfield was on his way to his alma mater, Williams College, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. Garfield was accompanied by James G. Blaine, Robert Todd Lincoln, and his two sons, James and Harry. As the President was walking through the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington at 9:30 a.m., he was shot twice from behind, once across the arm and once in the back, by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, a rejected and disillusioned Federal office seeker. Garfield exclaimed immediately after he was shot, "My God, what is this?" One bullet grazed Garfield's arm; the second bullet was thought later to have possibly lodged near his liver but could not be found; and upon autopsy was located behind the pancreas.

On Monday, September 19, 1881, at 10:20 p.m. President Garfield suffered a massive heart attack and a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia. Garfield was pronounced dead at10:35 p.m. by Dr. D. W. Bliss in the Elberon section of Long Branch, New Jersey.

Guiteau was formally indicted on October 14, 1881, for the murder of the President. Although Guiteau's counsel argued the insanity defense, due to his odd character, the jury found him guilty on January 5, 1882, and he was sentenced to death. Guiteau may have had syphilis, a disease that causes physiological mental impairment. Guiteau was executed on June 30, 1882. He was also heard to claim that important men in Europe put him up to the task, and had promised to protect him if he were caught.

The story of the building of the Monument is as follows:
In June, 1882, the Garfield National Monument Association was incorporated, under the laws of Ohio. It was composed of the following prominent Ohioans: Governor Charles B. Foster, ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes, Senator Henry B. Payne, J. H. Wade, Joseph Perkins, T. P. Handy, D. P. Eells, W. S. Streator, J. H. Devereux, Selah Chamberlain, John D. Rockefeller, John Hay, and J. H. Rhodes. On July 6, 1882, an executive committee, with J. H. Rhodes as its secretary, was formed. Active measures were at once taken, and soon the sum of $150,000 was at the disposal of the association. Of this, Cleveland contributed $75,000; Ohio, $14,000; New York, $14,000; Illinois, $5,500; Iowa, $3,000; Pennsylvania, $1,800; Wisconsin,, $2,000; Maine, $1,600; Kansas, $1,500; Indiana, $1,400; Connecticut, $1,000; Montana, $1,900. The rest came, in varying sums, from the other States and Territories. In June, 1883, a committee composed of Joseph Perkins, H. B. Hurlburt and John Hay, issued an invitation to architects and artist to submit plans for the monument. Prizes of $1,000, $750 and $500 would be awarded. More than fifty designs were submitted. They were examined by Henry Van Brunt, of Boston, and Calvert Vaux, of New York, the most eminent architects in the country. Each made a separate trip to Cleveland, and an individual decision, but both selected the design of George Keller, of Hartford, Connecticut, and on July 21, 1883, it was formally accepted. In October, 1885, the contract for masonry was given to Thomas Simmons. Work was started, in due season, but a rumor was soon current that the foundations were insecure. Finally, the local Civil Engineer’s Club made an examination, and reported that all was safe. A like report was also made by General W. J. McAlpine, of New York, a national authority on foundations. Notwithstanding this, the committee, at its annual meeting in 1886, changed the design, reducing the height of the tower from 225 feet to 165 feet, and supplanting the castellated form with a conical roof.
May 30, 1890, the monument was formally dedicated. President Benjamin Harrison, Vice-President L. P. Morton, and a host of other celebrities, were present. The ceremonies wee held in Lake View Cemetery. They were simple, but impressive. Ex-President Hayes presided, the opening prayer was made by Bishop Leonard, and ex-Governor Jacob D. Cox, the orator of the day, made an eloquent address. Brief speeches were also made by Vice President Morton, Governor J. D. Campbell, General William T. Sherman, Secretary William Windom, Attorney-General Miller, Secretary Rusk, Bishop Gilmour, General Schofield, and Hon. William McKinley. Then the Knights Templar, of the Grand Commandery, concluded the ceremonies, with their impressive service. There were over 5,000 men in line for the procession.
The monument is erected in the loftiest and most beautiful spot in Lake View Cemetery. Its shape, for the most part, is that of a tower, fifty feet in diameter. Steps lead to the landing, which is constructed about the base of the building. A romanesque porch supports the tower. Below the porch railing, there is an external decoration, a frieze of historical character, showing in its five panels characteristic scenes from Garfield’s life. The great doors of oak open in a vestibule vaulted in stone, and paved with mosaic. From this, spiral staircases ascent the tower, and descend to the crypt. In this crypt is the casket containing the coffin. Opening from this vestibule, is the chamber where the statue, by Alexander Doyle of New York, stands. It shows Garfield in the House of Representatives. Over the statue, supported by granite columns, is a dome twenty-two feet in diameter, which is decorated with a marvelous frieze of Venetian glass, showing an allegorical funeral procession of the dead President. The tower has thirteen magnificent memorial windows, from the original thirteen States. The monument is built of native sandstone.





Editor of "The Magazine of Western History;"
Author of "The Early Days of Mormonism;"
"The American Railroad;" "Three Witnesses
of the Book of Mormon;" "The Bench and Bar
of Cleveland," etc. Corresponding Member of the
Western Reserve Historical Society, etc., etc.
Illustrated with Maps, Portraits and Views.
CLEVELAND: The Imperial Press.

Copyright 1896
No. 185

Attending the "impressive" dedication ceremonies were former President Rutherford B. Hayes, then current President Benjamin Harrison, and future President William McKinley. Garfield's Secretary of the Treasury, William Windom, also attended the ceremony. President Harrison stated that Garfield was always a "student and instructor" and that his life works and death would "continue to be instructive and inspiring incidents in American history". Five panels on the monument display Garfield as a teacher, Union major general, an orator, taking the Presidential oath, and his body lying in state at the Capitol rotunda in Washington D.C. from September 21, 1881 – September 23, 1881. The U.S. has twice had three presidents in the same year. The first such year was 1841. Martin Van Buren ended his single term, William Henry Harrison was inaugurated and died a month later, and then Vice President John Tyler stepped into the vacant office. The second occurrence was in 1881. Rutherford B. Hayes relinquished the office to James A. Garfield. Upon Garfield's death, Chester A. Arthur became president.

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without benefit of financial gain. 
This is applicable throughout 
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Trailers, Twisters, and Twilight Language

Is the chaos of Pan organized?

Folk wisdom says that tornadoes and trailers do not mix well. Some traditions even point to data that "trailers attract tornadoes."

The latter thought is said to be a myth. Or so we have been told.

As general sources like Wikipedia note, the idea that manufactured housing units, or mobile homes/trailers, attract tornadoes has been around for decades. This may appear to be true at first from looking at tornado fatality statistics: from 2000 to 2008, 539 people were killed by tornadoes in the US, with more than half (282) of those deaths in mobile homes. Only around 6.8% of homes in the US are "manufactured/mobile homes."

The skeptics say that it is highly unlikely that single-story structures such as mobile homes can have a substantial effect on tornado development or evolution. More people are killed in trailer parks because mobile homes are less able to withstand high winds than permanent structures, the debunkers remark. Winds which can demolish or roll a mobile home may only cause roof damage to a typical one- or two-family permanent residence. Another likely contributing factor to the continued propagation of this myth is confirmation bias: whenever a new instance of a tornado hitting a mobile home park occurs, media outlets report on it more extensively, ignoring damage to the surrounding area which may not have produced as many casualties, this according to Thomas P. Grazulis (2001: p. 12), "Tornado Myths" in The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm. University of Oklahoma Press.

But among Forteans, tornadoes and trailers (a/k/a mobile homes) have been openly discussed since the 1970s.

Through indirect examples in Weird America (New York: EP Dutton, 1978) and then more directly in The Rebirth of Pan (Dunlap, Illinois: Firebird Press, 1983), Jim Brandon discusses the concept that trailers and tornadoes appeared to be tied together in the history of America.

"One of the most obvious and at the same time puzzling occurrences that must be grappled with by the Fortean anomalist are the recurrent outburst of hostile force that seem directed toward mobile homes." ~ Jim Brandon, The Rebirth of Pan, p. 123.

"Incidents of tornado devastation to house a factor to be considered....I cannot avoid the feeling that there is a selectivity at work." ~
 Jim Brandon, The Rebirth of Pan, p. 134.

Now comes confirmation that the "myth" may not be a folktale, after all, and the Forteans were correct.

The study, entitled "Land-surface Heterogeneity Signature in Tornado Climatology? An Illustrative Analysis over Indiana 1950-2012," appeared on December 2, 2013, in Earth Interactions, a journal published by the American Metrological Society.

Researchers at an important research university think they have pinpointed areas where tornadoes are more likely to hit, said press accounts.  

Here lies the foundation of a mobile home destroyed in northeast Fayette County, Alabama, by a tornado on November 24, 2001.

Researchers looked at 60 years worth of climatological data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, and found tornadoes touch down most often in “transition zones” – areas where a dramatic change in landscape takes place. In other words, where tall buildings end and farmlands begin, or where a forest stops and the plains start.

Indiana state climatologist Dev Niyogi, who co-authored the study, said the data might explain why mobile home parks are often called tornado magnets, as they are typically located just outside city limits in open fields.

“That essentially goes to the heart of it,” he said. “How do we make settlements or landscape more resilient, and clearly there might be ways that we can make our livelihoods and lives safer.”

The study found tornado touchdowns in urban areas occur approximately 1 to 10 miles from the city center.

Mobile homes were hit hard in Belmont, Fayette County, 
Tennessee on Saturday, April 27, 2013.

“From an average person’s perspective, what the study looks into is what the future cities would look like, in terms of trying to avoid larger high-impact weather,” Niyogi said.

He said city planners might need to pay closer attention to the so-called transition zones when laying out large-scale construction plans in the future.

In an effort to better grasp where exactly tornadoes tend to touch down, the researchers concluded that twisters have a statistical preference for causing the most damage in so-called “transition zones” — geographic areas where two distinct types of landscapes meet and dramatically change. Examples include the fringe areas that fall between built-up suburban sprawl and rural farmland, dense forests and rolling plains. More often than not, these sparsely developed, lowly populated outskirts are where mobile home communities can be found in the greatest numbers.

According to the team's findings, between 1950 and 2012, 61 percent of tornado touchdowns in Indiana occurred within 1 kilometer of built-up urban areas. Forty-three percent of twisters touchdowns fell within a kilometer of heavily forested areas. In other words, primo areas for mobile home settlements.

This is not to say that tornadoes never strike cities and heavily populated urban centers (on occasion, they do) and that trailer parks are always located in transition zones. But the trend does shed light on why when many tornadoes strike, a trailer park or two on the far edge of town always seems to get hit and hit badly (the severity of damage has more to do with the construction of mobile homes and the fact they aren't anchored to the ground than geographic locale).

What university site would we find this research being conducted? In correspondence with Jim Brandon about this, he would write me:
What made me chuckle, though, is the little name game played on these explaining academics. Purdue (Fr. perdue = “lost”) University is located where? Why, West Lafayette, Indiana, of course.
That's right. The study occurred at Purdue University, Indiana State Climate Office, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

See also, The Fayette Factor.

History of tornadoes in West Lafayette/Lafayette, Indiana.

At top:
An ithyphallic (“with erect penis”) Pan pursues a shepherd. Behind Pan the ithyphallic herm refers to Pan’s parentage from Hermes, and also to the rural setting. Red-figured vase, c. 470 BC, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Coded Messages: 88, 18, Hitler, Neo-Nazis, and Soap

Skepticism that twilight language exists is low in Germany this week. Among Neo-Nazis there is a long history of a hidden code used via the numbers "18" and "88." "H'' is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and thus "88" represents the phrase "Heil Hitler." Similarly, "18" is used to stand for "A.H." or Adolf Hitler.

Procter & Gamble has apologized for "any false connotations" after stirring anger in Germany for unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on promotional packages for its Ariel laundry detergent.

Outraged shoppers had posted pictures online of Ariel powder boxes featuring a white soccer jersey with a large number "88." The number is sensitive because far-right extremists in Germany often use it as a code to skirt a ban on the use of Nazi slogans in public.

Procter & Gamble acknowledged on 5-9-2014 that their use of the numbers was "unintentionally ambiguous."

"We very much regret if there are any false associations and distance ourselves clearly from any far-right ideology," company spokeswoman Gabi Hassig said in a statement. The number "88" was intended to show how many loads of laundry buyers would be able to do with one package.

Haessig said the company has stopped shipping the offending powder, as well as a liquid detergent that was being promoted as "Ariel 18." The number also represented the number of loads that could be done, the company said.

The number 88 is also associated with the number 14, e.g. 14/88, 14-88, or 1488; this number symbolizes the Fourteen Words coined by David Lane, a prominent white nationalist. Example uses of 88 include the song "88 Rock 'n' Roll Band" by Landser, and the organizations Barselc88, Column 88, Unit 88, and White Legion 88. Gunman and author James von Brunn signed his works as "JVB-88." Currently, the Michigan-based ANP uses 14 in its domain name and 88 as part of a radio sign-off.

It is to be noted that the name Ariel is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Ariel is Sprite, "lion of God." It is a Biblical alternate name for Jerusalem. It also is a name of a prankish spirit in Shakespeare's The Tempest.

This is not the first time that Procter & Gamble has run into problems with "hidden messages" in their ads. Certainly, a large outcry was raised when a new logo was introduced a few years ago.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Aurora Name Game & FedEx

Aurora, again?

The Rambo-style shooting at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Georgia, Cobb County, made news on April 29, 2014, leaving one dead and six injured.

That called forth this summary from correspondent Robert Sullivan:
March 21st, a FedEx triple tractor trailer seemingly loses control and crashes. Killing 2 people.
7 days later, March 28th a FedEx employee in Nevada, is fatally shot making deliveries.
13 days later, April 10th a FedEx tractor trailer seemingly loses control and crashes into a bus full of high school seniors, killing 10 people.
19 days later, April 29th 19 year old package handler at FedEx arms himself "like Rambo" and shoots 6 people. Injuring 2 critically.

39 days, 13 deaths, one company, FedEx.
The Christian Science Monitor also noted, when the California bus was hit by the FedEx truck, that...
In mid-February, a FedEx truck making a pick up in Sweetwater, Texas, caught fire. Later that month, a FedEx tractor trailer caught fire and was totally destroyed along I-81 near Roanoke, Virginia. In March, a FedEx truck fire shut down a portion of I-80 near Park City, Utah.
Now comes another one for the FedEx file from RS:

On Wednesday morning, April 30, 2014, two Oklahomans were identified as those killed in a traffic accident that involved a FedEx semi-trailer truck (pictured at top) a mile west of Greensburg.

Aurora Diane Balch, 35, and Donald Anthony Barrs, 27, both of Weatherford, Oklahoma, were killed in an accident shortly after 3:30 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 54 and U.S. 183 in Kiowa County, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report.

Balch was driving a 2006 Chrysler north on U.S. 183 when she failed to yield the right of way at the intersection. There is a sign at that location that requires U.S. 183 traffic to stop.

The westbound semi struck the Chrysler on the passenger side, where Barrs was sitting. The impact sent both vehicles in a ditch north of U.S. 54.

The semi was operated by FedEx, a highway patrol dispatcher said. The FedEx driver, Anibal Ruiz-Figueroa, 58, of Stratford, Texas, had "possible injuries."

Please note that the driver killed was yet another Aurora. I have written extensively about the moniker Aurora, see, for example, another 2014 incident and from 2012, "Understanding Aurora." The Aurora twilight name game has been on many of our minds since The Dark Knight Rises killings at Aurora, Colorado.

Kiowa County was named after the group of individuals who used the name as a self-referencing term Ka'igwu, meaning "Principal People." Another explanation of their name "Kiowa" originated after their migration through what the Kiowa refer to as "The Mountains of the Kiowa" (Kaui-kope) in the present eastern edge of Glacier National Park, Montana. In Oklahoma, in 1892, the Jerome Commission began enrolling the Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches to prepare for the opening of their reservation to settlement by whites. Kiowa County was formed in 1907. The name shows up, in good twilight lexilinking fashion, via Kiowa Gordon, an actor in three of The Twilight Saga movies.

The City of Aurora, Colorado, is in Arapahoe County, and the suspect, James Holmes, was held in the Arapahoe County detention center.

FedEx trucks and planes are involved in several relatively 
underpublicized crashes, of course.

This FedEx semi truck caught fire after a crash August 29, 2012, in Aurora, Indiana. The crash occurred just after 11 a.m. in front of the Taco Bell on U.S. 50. The Taco Bell was briefly evacuated while crews put out the semi truck fire. (This is not the first time we've seen this combination of names. See "La Belle Aurore: Casablanca & Looper.")


On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, a FedEx employee riding a golf cart in the FedEx facility at Shawnee, Kansas, died when he fell off the cart.

Tuesday's accident is the third fatal incident at this same FedEx Ground sorting facility since March 2013. Links to previous reports can be found below.

March 23, 2013 - Tractor trailer kills FedEx security guard in Shawnee
Nov. 20, 2013 - FedEx employee killed after being pinned between loading dock and trailer

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Loren Coleman On The Paracast

There is a new online chat with Gene Steinberg and Christopher O’Brien, 
which was conducted on May 1, 2014.

I agreed to do various interviews during what I think will become known as my quiet winter-spring of 2014. One that is out already is now on the Paracast.

Here is their site's description:
The Paracast is brought to you weekly on GCN Radio. Click here to get the exclusive GCN app for your iPhone or Android smartphone!
May 4, 2014 (DOWNLOAD!): The Paracast is a paranormal radio show that takes you on a journey to a world beyond science, where UFOs, poltergeists and strange phenomena of all kinds have been reported by millions. The Paracast seeks to shed light on the mysteries and complexities of our Universe and the secrets that surround us in our everyday lives.
Join long-time paranormal researcher Gene Steinberg, co-host Christopher O’Brien, a seasoned field investigator, and a panel of special guest experts and experiencers, as they explore the realms of the known and unknown. Listen each week to the great stories of the history of the paranormal field in the 20th and 21st centuries.
On this week's show: Gene and Chris welcome pioneer cryptozoologist Loren Coleman back to The Paracast with an update of ongoing research into the field, including a global call for DNA evidence. You'll hear about case histories, including recent reports, along with a dose of myth busting. According to his bio: "Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say 'the' leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries."


I discuss a wide variety of topics including cryptozoology, Bigfoot, and new species. But the hosts of the show certainly wanted to begin with the Twilight Language, the Copycat Effect, and the Fortean end of things - and that's where we went.

Besides briefly mentioning the legacy of the Museum, I can't recall actually talking about my published works, per se, resulting in my books, now or in the future. Listener questions were intriguing, interesting, and broadbased.

This Paracast is a rather casual, all-encompassing conversation that hits a lot of the landscape of my recent intellectual life. You might want to go watch a baseball game, instead, or read a good book. Cheers.

The 1983 cover of the first edition of Mysterious America.