Sunday, June 28, 2015

UFO Digest's Dirk Vander Ploeg Dies

Dirk Vander Ploeg, editor/publisher of UFO Digest, has died.

His daughter, Anna Van Der Ploeg, on June 27, 2015, announced the following on Facebook:
It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my father, Dirk Vander Ploeg yesterday [June 26, 2015] in his sleep. I can't find the words at the moment, but I love him and miss him very much. He was wacky, opinionated and full of ideas. I'll miss our movie dates. I am overseas at the moment, and being away is very hard right now. Dad didn't want a fuss but we will have a celebration of his life. RIP Daddy.
She posted the following photograph of her father:

Dirk Vander Ploeg studied Communication Arts at Mohawk College, Hamilton, and lived in Hamilton, Ontario.

At Machu Picchu, in Peru on October 13, 2012.

Dirk's book, Quest for Middle-earth.

Carolyn and Dirk, 2009.

Friday, June 26, 2015

UFO Death on June 24: Former Congressman Mario Biaggi Dies

I mentioned earlier that due to the Anniversary Syndrome, ufo-related deaths do infrequently occur on June 24ths.

In 2015, another one was added to the list.

Former Congressman Mario Biaggi, 97, has died. He was involved in the "UFO disclosure" movement, and was once pictured on the cover of Ideal's UFO MAGAZINE, December 1978, Number 4. 

Within the periodical, there appeared the following, "Interview: Mario Biaggi 'There Is A UFO Cover-Up By The Government.'"

On the cover, an image of Biaggi was shown with President Jimmy Carter. 

Who was Mario Biaggi?

Mario Biaggi (October 26, 1917 – June 24, 2015) was a U.S. Representative from New York (serving from 1969 to 1988) and former New York City police officer. He was elected as a Democrat from The Bronx in New York City. In 1987 and 1988, he was convicted in two separate corruption trials, and he resigned from Congress in 1988. Was he driven from office because he knew too much?

He was born in East Harlem, New York, on 26 October 1917, to poor Italian immigrants. His father, Salvatore Biaggi, was a marble setter. His mother, Mary, worked as a charwoman.In 1942, Biaggi joined the New York City Police Department.

His police career spanned 23 years. He retired from the Department in 1965, with the rank of Detective Lieutenant. Among his many exploits as one of the NYPD's most decorated officers, was the rescue of a woman on a runaway horse, which injured him, causing a permanent limp.

In 1968, the 24th District seat in the U.S. House became open when 8-term Republican incumbent Paul Fino resigned to become a New York Supreme Court Justice. Biaggi ran as a Democrat, and won easily, with 60.5% of the vote in what had been a traditional Bronx Republican stronghold. He was easily re-elected in 1970. From 1972 onward, he was nominated by the Republicans as well, and was effectively unopposed. In 1968, 1970, and 1972, he also got the Conservative nomination, but this support ended after his abortive run for mayor in 1973. From 1978 onward he got the Liberal nomination. In the redistricting after the 1970 census, Biaggi's district was renumbered the 10th, and included part of Queens. In the redistricting after the 1980 census, his district was renumbered the 19th, and included part of suburban Westchester County. In 1975 Biaggi introduced a joint resolution of Congress, Public Law 94-479, to posthumously promote George Washington to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States and restore Washington's position as the highest-ranking military officer in U.S. history. This was passed on January 19, 1976, approved by President Gerald Ford on October 11, 1976, and formalized in Department of the Army Order 31-3 of March 13, 1978, with an effective appointment date of July 4, 1976, the United States Bicentennial.

Biaggi died at his home in The Bronx, New York on June 24, 2015, at the age of 97.

For more biographical details, please see Mario Biaggi's New York Times obituary.

French Factory Beheading, St. Bartholomew, and His 9/11 Martyrdom

The Apostle of Jesus, Bartholomew, being beheaded and flayed. A new beheading has occurred in an area of France associated historically with the Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy/St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Is it a coincidence that St. Bartholomew's martyrdom is commemorated every September 11th?

Individuals with an ISIS flag attacked a French factory and have beheaded one person. Late reports say the ISIS flag was raised over the factory.

According to the Associated Press, an official said two attackers arrived by car at the factory, bearing banners written in Arabic, set off an explosion, and then one attacker was arrested.

There are reports of several more victims.
One man died and around a dozen are thought to have been injured at the scene in the town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, around 20 miles from the city of Lyon.

An attack at a US gas factory, Air Products, which produce air canisters, in France has left one decapitated in a possible terrorist attack, with the victim's head found impaled on a fence nearby, according to locals.

French authorities have launched a terrorism investigation after the beheaded body was found at the factory, along with a flag bearing Islamist inscriptions. One person was taken into custody, and there are reports a search is on for more.

It is claimed that Arabic writing was found on the head, and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is now heading to the site.

The men entered the factory area disguised as deliverymen.

Is the French beheading one of a series of attacks for June 26? Twitter is exploding with such news:

Two tourist hotels in the Tunisian town of Sousse have been attacked on June 26, 2015, and 38 people (30 British nationals) were killed, the Interior Ministry said. Tunisia has been on high alert since March when Islamist militant gunmen attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing a group of foreign tourists in one of the worst attacks in a decade in the North African country. One gunman was responsible.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed on Friday, June 26, 2015, the deadly bombing on a Kuwaiti mosque, which left at least 25 people killed. An ISIS statement posted on social media identified the bomber as Abu Suleiman al-Muwahed and said the target was a “temple of the rejectionists” - a term used by the Islamist militant group to refer to Shiite Muslims - and said dozens were killed or wounded...ISIS has claimed responsibility for bombings at two different Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks. However, Friday’s attack is the first such bombing targeting Kuwaiti Shiites, who make up around one-third of the country’s native population of 1.3 million people. A witness said the bombing happened when the mosque was packed with some 2,000 worshippers during Friday prayers.

French Attack Background:

Saint-Quentin-Fallavier is a commune in the Isère department in southeastern France. It is located about 51 km from Grenoble, so it is rather strange that this event is being characterized as the "Grenoble Beheading" by some media outlets. Grenoble is often called the "Capital of the Alps," and relatively far away from Saint-Quentin-Fallavier.

Saint-Quentin-Fallavier is only miles/kilometers away from Lyons, and on the outskirts of that city.

According to the historian Dio Cassius, in 43 BC, the Roman Senate ordered Munatius Plancus and Lepidus, lieutenants of the assassinated Julius Caesar and governors of central and Transalpine Gaul respectively, to found a city for a group of Roman refugees. These refugees had been expelled from Vienne (a town about 30 km to the south) by the Allobroges and were now encamped at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. Dio Cassius says this task was to keep the two men from joining Mark Antony and bringing their armies into the developing conflict. The Roman foundation was at Fourvière hill and was officially called Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum (and occasionally Lugudunum). The earliest translation of this Gaulish place-name as "Desired Mountain" is offered by the 9th-century Endlicher Glossary. In contrast, some modern scholars have proposed a Gaulish hill-fort named Lug[o]dunon, after the Celtic god Lugus ('Light', cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish ) and dúnon (hill-fort).

In 1572, Lyon was a scene of mass violence by Catholics against Protestant Huguenots in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres.

Talk about a Red Wedding...

The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy in French) in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of Catholic mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants), during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Catherine de' Medici, the mother of King Charles IX, the massacre took place five days after the wedding of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry III of Navarre (the future Henry IV of France). This marriage was an occasion for which many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris.

The massacre began in the night of 23–24 August 1572 (the eve of the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle), two days after the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the military and political leader of the Huguenots. The king ordered the killing of a group of Huguenot leaders, including Coligny, and the slaughter spread throughout Paris. Lasting several weeks, the massacre expanded outward to other urban centres and the countryside. Modern estimates for the number of dead across France vary widely, from 5,000 to 30,000. 

Among the slain were the philosopher Petrus Ramus, and in Lyon the composer Claude Goudimel. The corpses floating down the Rhone from Lyons are said to have put the people of Arles off drinking the water for three months.

The Politiques were horrified but many Catholics inside and outside France regarded the massacres, at least initially, as deliverance from an imminent Huguenot coup d'etat. The severed head of Coligny was apparently dispatched to Pope Gregory XIII, though it got no further than Lyons, and Pope Gregory XIII sent the king a Golden Rose.

Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος Bartholomaíos, Latin: Bartholomaus) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathanael (alternatively spelled Nathaniel), who appears in the Gospel according to John as being introduced to Christ by Philip (who would also become an apostle), [Jn 1:43-51] although most modern commentators reject the identification of Nathanael with Bartholomew.

Bartholomew beheaded and flayed....

Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew's death: "One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown. Another account states that he was crucified upside down, and another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis", near Başkale, Turkey.

It is intriguing to note that in Islamic literature, the Qur'an mentions Jesus's disciples but does not give their names, referring to them as "helpers to the work of God." Muslim exegesis and Qur'an commentary, however, names them and includes Bartholomew amongst the disciples.

9/11 again...

According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his martyrdom is commemorated on the 1st day of the Coptic Calendar (1st day of the month of "Thout"), which currently falls on September 11 (corresponding to August 29 in the Gregorian Calendar). His feast is June 11 in Eastern Christianity and August 24 in the Anglican Communion and both forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.


At top: Miniature accompanying the text of the Vies des saints, showing a man with a sword beheading St Bartholomew, while another flays him with a knife. From f.102v of MS B.9, a collection of French works (France, second quarter of the 14th century).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Charleston Massacre and the Name Game

The name game and twilight language have been visible to readers of this blog for years. In the wake of the June 17, 2015, killing of nine in Charleston, South Carolina, the rest of the world seems to have been awakened to the symbols in their midst.

Dylann Storm Roof is the root of this awareness, in many ways, due to his overwhelming employment of overt items like the Confederate flags, Nazi-employed numbers (14, 88, 1488), and even the Othala rune.

Roof was apprehended on June 18, 2015, after a motorist spotted his black Hyundai Elantra, which displays an apartheid “Confederate States of America” license plate on the front bumper, while driving near Shelby, North Carolina.

On June 24, 2015, in a flash fire across the South, of breaking news alerts, one state after another, one business after another, talked of removing Confederate flags, directly due to them being used as symbols of racist and hate.

Dylann Storm Roof, alleged Charleston gunman

Adam Lanza, Newtown gunman

James Holmes, Aurora gunman

Jared Loughner, Tuscon gunman

Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood gunman

Symbols. Eyes of hate. Now names too are being mined for significance in the aftermath of the massacre. We have mentioned the names of streets for a long time. Now others are noticing, and it is enlightening to see how far afield this is going.

John C. Calhoun, 1849
In all the news coverage of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church, it’s rarely been mentioned* that it’s located at 110 Calhoun, a street named after John C. Calhoun.
That’s right: family members of those killed have to go to memorial services at Emanuel AME and look at street signs honoring one of the most rabid supporters of slavery in American history.
Calhoun was vice president from 1825 to 1832, during the administrations of John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and then became a powerful U.S. senator from South Carolina. Calhoun himself owned a plantation and lots of people. He pushed not just for the preservation of slavery but its expansion into new territories to the west. And he was a major advocate of 1850’s Fugitive Slave Act. Source.

*"Rarely mentioned": In actual fact, several news sites have mentioned the address and talked about the unfortunate reality of the address for the Mother Emanuel Church being on Calhoun Street.

The examination of the use of the name even spread to a debate regarding Lake Calhoun in Minnesota, noted on June 23, 2015, in the Star-Tribune.
The perennial question of renaming Lake Calhoun has been revived with a new directive to Park Board staff to look into the issue again as an online petition against the name topped 1,700 signatures.
Park Board President Liz Wielinski announced at a special board meeting Monday that staff had been directed to report back to the board by its first September meeting on the issue on the naming process....
The petition was launched by Mike Spangenberg of Minneapolis after last week's killings of nine people at a Charleston, S.C., church, He said the petition represents confronting the nation's past and addressing systemic racism. Park Commissioner Brad Bourn also has advocated for a name change.
During his 30 years on the national stage as a lawmaker, vice president and secretary of war, John C. Calhoun argued that slavery was a positive good for those enslaved, and espoused such states rights doctrines as the ability of a state to nullify federal acts with which it disagreed.
His tie to the area now known as Minneapolis comes from his action as secretary of war to President James Monroe to establish Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. Source.
Calhoun is also linked to an early "going postal" event. On December 2, 1983, in Calhoun County, Alabama, James Brooks, 53, entered the Anniston, Alabama, post office with a .38 caliber pistol, killing the postmaster, and injuring his immediate supervisor. Subsequent to killing the postmaster, James Brooks ran up the stairs of the building pursuing his supervisor and shooting him twice.

Meanwhile, the bust of a Confederate general and leading figure in the early days of the Ku Klux Klan - Nathan Bedford Forrest - was being being proposed to be removed from the Tennessee statehouse, top Tennessee Democrats and the state Republican Party chairman said on June 23rd.

Some of the discussion has been extreme, such as CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield questioning whether the Jefferson Memorial should be taken down because Jefferson owned slaves. "There is a monument to him in the capital city of the United States. No one ever asks for that to come down," Banfield said.

Infowars blogger Paul Joseph Watson compared taking down the Jefferson Memorial to the logic of Islamic State terrorists "who have spent the last year tearing down historical statues and monuments because they offend their radical belief system."

Anything taken out of context can be questioned. George Washington, Andrew Jackson and James Madison also owned slaves.
At the University of Texas, Austin, a public statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was reportedly vandalized this week with the words "Black Lives Matter" and "Bump the Chumps." Another Davis statue at the Statehouse in Frankfort, Ky., has come under scrutiny, with some calling for the work of art to be taken down.
One of those advocating for its removal is Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, who was quoted in the Hill newspaper as saying, "It is important never to forget our history, but parts of our history are more appropriately displayed in museums, not on government property."
Statues on the Austin campus of Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederate army, and Albert Sidney Johnston, a Confederate general who died during the Civil War, were also vandalized in recent days, according to reports. Source.
Are Jefferson, Madison, Forrest, and Lee some of the names we need to follow? Why haven't we paid more attention to Calhoun?

The idea of the "name game" became very formalized with "the Fayette Factor?" It was first discovered by researcher William (Bill) Grimstad (a/k/a Jim Brandon), back in 1977, and written about in "Fateful Fayette," Fortean Times, No. 25, Spring 1978.

Since Grimstad's discovery, several items on this lexilink between Fayette (as well as its related forms - Lafayette, La Fayette, Fayetteville, Lafayetteville) and high strangeness have been published. In his book, Weird America (New York: EP Dutton, 1978), Grimstad mentions several "power name" hot spots but did not dwell on them.

Concurrently, I was writing of other name games. In 1978, I wrote and had published afterward, in Fortean Times, no. 29, Summer 1979, my "Devil Names and Fortean Places."

The Rebirth of Pan (1st edition, Firebird Press, 1983)

Mysterious America (1st edition, Faber & Faber, 1983).

In exchanges with Bill, a small group of Forteans discussed the Fayette Factor and name game privately throughout the late 1970s. It was not until Grimstad's (now extremely rare) The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit (Firebird Press, 1983) and Mysterious America (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1983) that more in-depth analyses of the name game "coincidences" seriously occurred. These examinations were followed by updates and other comments in Mysterious America (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2006), and another book of mine (NY: Paraview, 2002). Furthermore, the appearance of widely available material on the name game (including from John A. Keel) started routinely being posted online during the 1990s-2010s, including in this blog.

The idea was to raise awareness for the "twilight language" behind names - for example of the town you lived in, the street on which you lived, and those names heard on the news.

In The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit, Grimstad writes, regarding the "name game":
I'm not talking here of such spooky tongue-twisters as H.P. Lovecraft's Yog-Sothoth or Arthur Machen's Ishakshar, but of quite ordinary names like Bell, Beall and variants, Crowley, Francis, Grafton, Grubb, Magee/McGee, Mason, McKinney, Montpelier, Parsons, Pike, Shelby, Vernon, Watson/Watt, Williams/Williamson. I have others on file, but these are the ones which I have accumulated the most instances. 
In my 1983 Mysterious America, I wrote:
Cryptologic or coincidence? Jim Brandon [Bill Grimstad] should be credited with calling attention to the name Watts/Watkins/Watson, and its entanglement with inexplicable things. Some other names involved in mysterious events pinpointed by Brandon are Bell, Mason, Parsons, Pike, Vernon, and Warren. The influence of such names as Mason, Pike, Warren, and Lafayette, for example, issues, in some cryptopolitical and occult way, from their ties to the Masonic tradition.

One of the missions of the abolitionist and Freemason John Brown during his raid of Harper's Ferry, was the capturing of a Masonic sword. In 1859 he led a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry. During the raid, he seized the armory; seven people were killed, and ten or more were injured. He intended to arm slaves with weapons from the arsenal, but the attack failed. Within 36 hours, Brown's men had fled or been killed or captured by local pro-slavery farmers, militiamen, and U.S. Marines led by Robert E. Lee. 

A concentration of attention in the past has been on the names of the Founding Fathers and their friends - Washington and Lafayette coming to the top of the list. Other names from the 1812 era, for example, like Stephen Decatur, surface too (see here).  

Perhaps some attention will now be given to Civil War and Confederate names - like Calhoun, Albert Pike, and others - in the "name game."

Painting at top: 
John Brown in Tragic Prelude (1938-40) by John Steuart Curry (1897-1946)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dick Van Patten Dies, Had Appeared on Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Dick Van Patten as Alfred Brindle

Actor Dick Van Patten, 86, died on June 23, 2015 (St. John's Eve), in Santa Monica, California. Most of the roles he played were of a wholesome, family man. There is one, however, that links him to aliens and a precursor X-Files-like aura.

Van Patten played Alfred Brindle, an upset homeowner, in the television series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1, Episode 3, "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...", first broadcast on September 27, 1974.

The episode had a unique storyline with regard to alien visitors, what their reasons are for visiting Earth, and Kolchak's discovery of them and their motivations.

From the IMDb, this is a detailed overview of the plot:
An alien visitor with a taste for human bone marrow is stealing a strange list of seemingly unconnected items.
On his way to see the first game of the World Series, Kolchak can't pass up looking into the mysterious deaths of a security guard and several animals at the zoo. While there, he learns that the guard had been drained of all his bone marrow. 
During his travels, Kolchak witnesses the wall at an electronics factory being blown out by an invisible force that also makes a huge shipment of lead ingots vanish before his eyes. He later visits a neighbourhood, the scene of a rash of thefts of electronics equipment, where a mysterious black substance has been found- the same substance discovered at the scene of the incidents at the zoo.
Also strange, Kolchak and everyone else who'd witnessed the incident at the electronics factory finds that their watch has stopped due to exposure to electro magnetic radiation. 
As Kolchak begins to form a theory about what may be behind all this bizarre phenomena, he discovers his investigation has attracted the attention of "men in black" who visit the newsroom and confiscate his photos of the incident at the electronics plant. Carl soon puts the rest of the pieces together when the invisible force enters a local planetarium and begins scanning star maps. When the entity later exits the premises, Carl tracks it with a compass that reacts to it's electro magnetic emanations. 
In a wooded area near yet another body, Kolchak discovers that this invisible creature has been using all the electronic equipment to repair it's spaceship. The alien then moves in to attack Kolchak, but he is able to repel it with the sound vibrations from his camera. The reporter then watches as the saucer-shaped craft simply disappears into thin air.
Though burdened with a rather awkward title, "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be..." definitely has its merits. The alien's attacks, for example, are shot effectively using subjective camera angles that close in tight on the faces of its victims. Since the unseen being moves with the force of a small cyclone, the musical arrangement employs the frenzied strains of a violin to neatly approximate the sound of a tumultuous wind. 
Though not as frightening as some of Kolchak's other adversaries, the alien's habit of sucking the marrow from its victims bones is certainly a unique method of murder. This also leads to the episode's funniest scene in which Carl relates all the ghoulish details of the alien's rampage to Vincenzo who is trying to enjoy a gourmet meal. As he describes it, "at the scene of each of these deaths is a puddle, a pile of this gooey, greenish, black bile. It really stinks, Tony." Naturally, Vincenzo loses his appetite entirely when the next course on the menu turns out to be brains. 
There's some excellent guest-star work here, too from Dick Van Patten as an irate homeowner, John Fielder, back as "Gordie the Ghoul", and Mary Wickes as a zoo coroner. The obligatory "Get outta' here, Kolchak!"-type police nemesis is played by familiar character actor, James Gregory.
While we never actually see the alien, director Allen Baron does give us a sense of its size by casting a vaguely defined silhouette of it on the planetarium wall. Unfortunately, the departure of the U.F.O. is not so effective. To indicate that it has taken off, the lights on the craft simply go out, but you can clearly make out that the saucer is still sitting there in the dark. 
The pace during the planetarium sequence does drag a bit, and the horror element in this one is left a bit too much to the imagination. Still, it appears "They Have Been.." may have impressed someone out there as it does bear quite a resemblance to a 1996 X-Files episode, the plot of which had unseen extraterrestrials attacking humans and rendering zoo animals invisible before confiscating them. Perhaps it was meant to be The X-File's tribute to this flawed, but still quite interesting, imaginative episode. Source.

Monday, June 22, 2015

MLB's Darryl Hamilton Killed In Murder-Suicide

Former MLB player Darryl Hamilton was identified by police in Pearland, Texas, as one of two victims in a murder-suicide. During his career, Hamilton was an outfielder for five teams over 13 major league seasons.

Officers responding to a disturbance call Sunday, June 21, 2015, found Hamilton’s body near the front entrance. Monica Jordan, 44, was found dead in another part of the home. Hamilton and Jordan's 14-month-old child was also in the house unharmed.

Hamilton was shot more than once and Jordan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to investigators.

Hamilton, 50, hit .291 during 13 season in the major leagues. He finished his career with the Mets, playing parts of three seasons from 1999-2001 and contributing to the squad that reached the World Series in 2000.

A Mets for 3 seasons at the end of his career, a Brewers outfielder for seven seasons when he became a professional, Darryl Hamilton played in 1988, then from 1990 to 2001.

Darryl Hamilton made appearances as a broadcaster over the past few years, most notably with MLB Network and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Murder-suicides are part of the history of baseball. One of the most significant of these occurred on July 18, 1989, in Anaheim, California, when former All-Star relief pitcher Donnie Moore drew a gun, shot and critically wounded his wife, Tonya, with whom police say he had been arguing. Moore then shot and killed himself.
Baseball player suicides are not as rare as one assumes, and my study of them in the mid-1980s predicted a wave of self-deaths in 1989 (beginning that year with the Moore murder-suicide).

Half of the MLB suicide victims were pitchers, and all of those during the 20th century were right-handed.

The Copycat Effect, pages 208, 212-216.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Doubleday, Baseball, Charleston, Charles Manson, and Twilight Links

In an early Father's Day celebration, on Sunday, June 14, my son Malcolm took me to a Mets game. I had a wonderful time. Baseball is special.
America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. ~ Field of Dreams
Three days later, on June 17, the Mets were in the news, although events on the same day would overshadow the New York baseball-aligned obituary of the day.

The New York Times' opening paragraphs of the death news told quickly about the connections the deceased had to money, publishing, and baseball:

Nelson Doubleday Jr., who shortly after taking over his family’s publishing business used it in 1980 to buy the lowly New York Mets and put the team on course to win the World Series in 1986, died on Wednesday [June 17,2015] at his home in Locust Valley, N.Y. He was 81.
The cause was pneumonia, his son-in-law John Havens said.
Books and baseball defined Mr. Doubleday’s life. He was the grandson of Frank Nelson Doubleday, who founded the publishing company bearing his name in 1896, and the son of Nelson Doubleday, who built the business into a mass-market powerhouse.
Another Doubleday ancestor was Abner, a great-great-granduncle long credited (erroneously) with inventing the game of baseball. Growing up on the family’s Long Island estate, in Oyster Bay, Nelson Jr. was a passionate baseball fan, following the fortunes of the Brooklyn Dodgers on the radio. Source.
As you know, another incident occurred on Wednesday, June 17. That was the attack on African-Americans in Charleston. We don't need to go into details here, but if you want a refresher, see "There's A Storm Coming: Dylann Storm Roof."

Dylann Storm Roof clearly used highly significant symbols in the digital trail he left investigators to find, including the numbers 4:44, 88, and 23; Nazi imagery (such as the Othala rune - shown below); the Confederate flag; and so forth.

Roof left a ranting, racist manifesto on the internet calling for a new civil war in America before staging his massacre in a church.

But as S.J. Reidhead commented on my earlier Charleston posting, "Abner Doubleday was responsible for the first shot being fired from Fort Sumter."

That's correct, from the Union side, Abner Doubleday was responsible for beginning the Civil War or the War Between the States in response to the Southern forces firing first.

Abner Doubleday (June 26, 1819 – January 26, 1893)...
initially served in coastal garrisons and then in the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848 and the Seminole Wars from 1856 to 1858. In 1858 he was transferred to Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor serving under Colonel John L. Gardner. By the start of the Civil War, he was a captain and second in command in the garrison at Fort Sumter, under Major Robert Anderson. He aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment on April 12, 1861. He subsequently referred to himself as the "hero of Sumter" for this role.
I've been to Cooperstown with my son's youth baseball championship team, seeing the fame Doubleday has brought to that town, although it is viewed as all myth today.
Although Doubleday achieved minor fame as a competent combat general with experience in many important Civil War battles, he is more widely remembered as the supposed inventor of the game of baseball, in Elihu Phinney's cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839.
The Mills Commission, chaired by Abraham G. Mills, the fourth president of the National League, was appointed in 1905 to determine the origin of baseball. The committee's final report, on December 30, 1907, stated, in part, that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839." It concluded by saying, "in the years to come, in the view of the hundreds of thousands of people who are devoted to baseball, and the millions who will be, Abner Doubleday's fame will rest evenly, if not quite as much, upon the fact that he was its inventor ... as upon his brilliant and distinguished career as an officer in the Federal Army."
However, there is considerable evidence to dispute this claim. Baseball historian George B. Kirsch has described the results of the Mills Commission as a "myth". He wrote, "Robert Henderson, Harold Seymour, and other scholars have since debunked the Doubleday-Cooperstown myth, which nonetheless remains powerful in the American imagination because of the efforts of Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown." At his death, Doubleday left many letters and papers, none of which describe baseball, or give any suggestion that he considered himself a prominent person in the evolution of the game. Chairman Mills himself, who had been a Civil War colleague of Doubleday and a member of the honor guard for Doubleday's body as it lay in state in New York City, never recalled hearing Doubleday describe his role as the inventor. Doubleday was a cadet at West Point in the year of the alleged invention and his family had moved away from Cooperstown the prior year. Furthermore, the primary testimony to the commission that connected baseball to Doubleday was that of Abner Graves, whose credibility is questionable; a few years later, he shot his wife to death and was committed to an institution for the criminally insane for the rest of his life. Part of the confusion could stem from there being another man by the same name in Cooperstown in 1839.
Despite the lack of solid evidence linking Doubleday to the origins of baseball, Cooperstown, New York became the new home of what is today the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1937. See also here.

Besides the baseball links, Doubleday also was involved in the twilight world of Theosophy. In the summer of 1878, Doubleday lived in Mendham Township, New Jersey, and became a prominent member of the Theosophical Society. When two of the founders of that society, Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, moved to India at the end of that year, he was constituted as the president of the American body. Another prominent member was Thomas A. Edison.

There's another bizarre name game thread going through this Charleston event. 

The shooting of Walter L. Scott (February 9, 1965 – April 4, 2015), a 50-year-old black man, occurred on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, following a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light. Scott, a black man, was fatally shot by Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer. Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced contradicting his earlier police report. The video showed him shooting the unarmed Scott from behind while Scott was fleeing. In the wake of shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore and other locations, Scott's killing further fueled a national conversation around race and policing.

Cory Panshin added:
I am becoming caught up in recurrences of the name Walter Scott. This started when I went looking in genealogy listings for members of the Roof family in the Columbia or Lexington area (because someone had written online that Dylann Roof's family was Afrikaans, which doesn't seem to be the case.) I found a fair number of them, going back into the early 1800s, including a Walter Scott Roof who was born in 1875. I don't know if he was Dylann's direct ancestor, but he seems pretty likely he was some kind of relative. That one name caught my eye in particular because I've read that the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott had a strong influence on Southern concepts of honor and chivalry and on the founding of the Ku Klux Klan. It made me wonder if the Roof family had a long-standing streak of Confederate romanticization.
I also find this New Yorker article noting the coincidence of names between Walter Scott and Sir Walter Scott.
South Carolina is not Missouri—its racial past, in fact, is more violent, but its attempts to move away from that history, while less known, have been more bold. The state’s history of violence against black men and women is excruciating to know, or to read. If you are unfamiliar, then Google “George Junius Stinney, Jr.,” “Julia and Frazier Baker,” the Hamburg massacre, or the Orangeburg massacre. That is South Carolina at its worst. But there is a streak of fair-mindedness in the state’s history—an ancient ideal that Mark Twain parodied as coming straight out of the chivalric fiction of Sir Walter Scott’s mist-filled novels of courtly knights. While reserved exclusively for whites for most of its history, this tendency appears from time to time and is always surprising, especially to outsiders. . . .

Admittedly, it may be hard to make a case, any case, for a South Carolina tradition of fair play. But, as inchoate or feeble as it may be, it is there, and we may be seeing a little bit of South Carolina’s almost romantic longing for true justice in the reaction to this murder victim—whose name, historians of cosmic coincidence should note, is Walter Scott.

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, FRSE (August 15, 1771 - September 21, 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet.

In line with the "race war" motivation behind Dylann Storm Roof's shooting of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the name of Charles Manson and his similar reasons surfaced in some reports.

Charles Manson, 2014

Charles Milles Manson (born Charles Milles Maddox, November 12, 1934) is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in the California desert in the late 1960s. In 1971 he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of a total of nine individuals, including seven people: actress Sharon Tate and four other people at Tate's home; and the next day, a married couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca; all carried out by members of the group at his instruction.

Charles Manson's biological father apparently was Colonel Walker Scott (born Pike County, Kentucky, May 11, 1910 – December 30, 1954) against whom Kathleen Maddox filed a paternity suit that resulted in an agreed judgment in 1937.

The official records by attorney Vincent Bugliosi in 1971 (who died June 6, 2015) declared that Manson's father, a cook named Scott, was African American. But Manson has emphatically denied that his biological father had African American ancestry.

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 24: A "Hot" Date in 2015?

What is that firestorm coming?

Looking at the event-filled and politically-heated days leading up to the summer of 2015, I must predict that it appears something "hot" is going to happen on June 24th. Maybe even beginning on its eve, June 23rd?

Not sure if it is a fire, a ufologist's death, an assassination, another church shooting, a form of mass violence or what, but something is in the air.

This will mark yet another anniversary of the beginning of the era of "flying saucers" - 68 years, to be sure. But more than UFOs have happened on past June 24ths.

June 24th is St. John’s Day. 

The modern era of "flying saucers" did begin with Kenneth Arnold's 1947 sighting on this date. Unidentified flying objects seen flying at supersonic speeds between his plane and Mt. Rainier, Washington. Arnold reported that nine discs flew off towards Mt. Adams, in the distance.

Some previous events on this day include:

Knights Templars displayed “Mysterious Head” at Poitiers (1308). Founding of the Order of the Garter (1348). A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance (1374) caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations, and jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion. John Cabot discovered North America (1497). Lucrezia Borgia (1439) died. Samuel de Champlain discovered (1603) the mouth of the Saint John River, in New Brunswick, Canada. Galileo released (1633). “Woman of the Wilderness” utopian community arrived in America (1694). “Woman of the Wilderness” angelic visions (1701). Grand Lodge of Freemasons inaugurated (1717) in London. Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed (1812) the Neman River beginning the invasion of Russia. Ambrose Bierce born (1842). Red rain, Italy (1877). Ice fall, Ft. Lyon, Colorado (1877). Fall of jelly-like mass, Eton (1911). Fred Hoyle born (1915).

Pieces of a meteor, estimated to have weighed 450 metric tons when it hit the Earth's atmosphere and exploded, landed (1938) near Chicora, Pennsylvania.



June 24ths have often had a "fiery" theme.

Arthur Brown ("Fire," 1942 or 1944, both are reported) is born. Jeff Beck (Yardbirds, 1944), Charlie Whitney (Family, 1944), and Chris Wood (Traffic, 1944), all born. Colin Blunstone (The Zombies, 1945) born. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac, 1947) born.

Filmstock fire killed seventeen people, Brussels (1947). Movie theaters evaluated during huge fire, Perth Amboy, New Jersey (1947). United Airlines plane struck by lightning over Cleveland. Ohio (1947). Invasion of grasshoppers battled with flame-throwers, Guatemala/El Salvador (1947). Woman attacked and killed by bees or wasps, Seattle (1947).

More births of future musicians. Patrick Moraz (Yes, 1948), John Illsley (Dire Straits, 1949), Astro (UB40, 1957), Dennis Danell (Social Distortion, 1961), Curt Smith (Tears for Fears, 1961), and Richard Z. Kruspe (Rammstein, 1967) were all born on June 24ths.

Bizarre aerial sightings near Daggett, California (1950) and on Iwo Jima (1953). The Angora Fire (2007) started near South Lake Tahoe, California, destroying over 200 structures in its first 48 hours.

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.

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.

Additionally, tied to a specific date, 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 the following:

June 24, 1964, Frank Scully, author of one of the first crashed-saucer books;

June 24, 1967, both British UFO contactees Arthur Bryant and Richard Church; and

June 24, 1969, Willy Ley, the rocket scientist and Fortean author.

Furthermore, on June 23, 1967, Frank Edwards, popular UFO author and radio personality in the 1950s, died a few hours before Bryant. James Moseley stunned the delegates assembled for the 1967 Congress of Scientific Ufologists at New York City’s Hotel Commodore on June 24th, with the news of the sudden death of Frank Edwards.

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

One person's June 24th death I found seems to have been underreported. That individual is Robert Charroux, the best-known pen-name of Robert Joseph Grugeau (born April 7, 1909). He died June 24, 1978. Charroux was a French author known for his ancient astronaut theories and writings on 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).

Still others have died on June 24th since then.

An early advocate of flying saucer research, Jackie Gleason, died June 24, 1987.

June 24, 2006 saw the death of renegade publisher Lyle Stuart, who published anomalist writer Frank Edwards’ Fortean book, in 1959, Stranger than Science, a paperbook full of information on ufology and other unexplained accounts.

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.

Alan Myers was a member of Devo, seen here on their Freedom of Choice album cover.
On June 24, 2013, the most prominent drummer (1976-1987) of the band Devo, Alan Myers, died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles. Devo played punk, art rock, post-punk and new wave music, and performed stage shows that mingled kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary. Devo recorded at their own UFO Studios.

Alan Myers

Mystery deaths are thus often associated with St. John's Day.

The day is named after John the Baptist, in celebration of his birth date. The feast day of his birth (June 24) became celebrated more solemnly than that marking his martyrdom by beheading (August 29). This is unusual but then "strange" and June 24th go hand and hand.

Other facts about the day's events respect the wonder of the 24th of June.

Bonfires and burning of witches are associated with the day.

Throughout Europe, and via the United Kingdom, St. John's Day's symbolism spread to the USA. In the UK, and especially, Scotland, bonfires are a key. Should we be surprised to find it so in North America too?

St. John’s Day (”Jaanipäev”) is a major traditional holiday in Estonia, celebrated by singing around bonfires, in Estonian communities in the United States and Canada as well as in Estonia itself. The glow-worm, because it usually starts appearing around St. John’s Day, is called Jaaniuss – "St. John’s Worm" – in Estonian.

In France, the Fête de la Saint-Jean (Feast of St John), traditionally celebrated with bonfires (le feu de la Saint-Jean) that are reminiscent of Midsummer's pagan rituals, is a catholic festivity in celebration of Saint John the Baptist. It takes place on June 24, on Midsummer day (St. John's day). In certain French towns, a tall bonfire is built by the inhabitants in order to be lit on St. John's Day. In medieval times, this festival was celebrated with cat-burning rituals.

Of course, there will be no cat burnings during most American or other worldwide celebrations. But a bonfire might be in order. Fire in the sky is a major underlying theme of this day.

St. John's Eve and St. John's Day are powerful, in the minds of humans.

The iPhone 4 was first placed for sale on June 24, 2010.

Some people even create their own special events to be specifically associated with the day...

Monroeville is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Happy Birthday to Arthur Brown on June 24.

Now for a few cryptid events...

Photo archive: Strange Ark

Two Inuits killed a huge, yellow-furred bear at Rendezvous Lake, Barren Ground, Canada, on June 24, 1864. The bear was similar to Arctodus simus, which died out in the Pleistocene. Naturalist Robert MacFarlane acquired the bear’s skin and skull, and shipped the remains to the Smithsonian Institution, where they were placed in storage and soon forgotten. Eventually, Dr. Clinton Hart Merriam uncovered the remains, and in 1918, he described the specimen as a new species and genus, calling it the “patriarchal bear,” with the scientific name Vetularctos inopinatus. Today, it is often recognized as a new species, Ursus inopinatus. Later thoughts have called into question the uniqueness of this species. (For more, see Matt Bille's contribution.)

On other June 24th, locals have had Bigfoot sightings, in Logan and Union counties, Ohio (1980). A Chupacabras was encountered outside a disco, at Maria Elena, Argentina (2000). Moose hunters saw a Bigfoot, near Fort Simpson, NWT, Canada (2002). A mysterious fire erupted in Mothman country, in a Gallipolis, Ohio resident’s car on a bridge from Ohio to Point Pleasant, West Virginia (2003). Massive unusual aerial phenomena (winged weirdies?) were viewed at Xalapa, Mexico (2005). “Aren’t You Chupacabra to See Me?” aired for the first time on Cartoon Network (2005). Nestle used Bigfoot-costumed marchers to launch Kit Kat Limited Edition – Cappuccino at the Giant Mahkota Parade, Malacca, and Jusco Tebrau City, Johor (2005).

What will happen in 2015?

Please see also