Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Invasion on Chestnut Ridge: Spooky, Scary, A Cocktail of Weirdness

Invasion on Chestnut Ridge is a bit of a departure for Seth Breedlove and Small Town Monsters films.

Spooky, at times scary, and often a cocktail of weirdness, the documentary projects a Twilight Zone feel. Not strictly about monsters and cryptids, one gets the sense we are peeking in on a secret region of the country - Chestnut Ridge at the edgy corner of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

What is seen as normal there by the locals - where UFOs, Bigfoot, Black Panthers, Dogmen, and Glowing Orbs haunt the area and coexist - is beyond bizarre elsewhere. Breedlove captures it all well, although it is hard to say any of it really has anything to do with each of the other phenomena being reported.

Driven by the testimony and gathering of incidents by a handful of investigators, we are asked to buy into the strange notion of the connectedness of this window area. If anything, we should look back and appreciate Breedlove for documenting how very isolated and unusual this story is - thank goodness.

Invasion of Chestnut Ridge is due Halloween 2017, and you may pre-order it via Small Town Monsters, along with their other movies, together or separately.  Director Seth Breedlove was named The Cryptozoologist of The Year 2017, due to his growing body of cryptozoology documentary work. Pick up some of his films, and view them for yourself.

(For more remarks, in my extended comments on this documentary, see below.)
Seth Breedlove's and his Small Town Monsters crew's on-site location interviews of eyewitnesses adds a texture to the film not found in merely reading or hearing about the cases. The viewer is able to "see" where these incidents happened, and experience these remarkable events in an unforgettable fashion.
 Stan Gordon was a focus of the Invasion on Chestnut Ridge interviews, as the primary historical investigator in the area, creating a thread throughout the documentary. Gordon's open-minded theorizing that connects UFOs to the creature accounts is the paintbrush that colors the documentary. 

This is not to say this is an incorrect notion about the world of Chestnut Ridge, but a critical thinking audience may wish to examine the cases outside Gordon's worldview. Breedlove's film gives plenty of opportunities to merely listen and look at the weirdness, and separate the data from the theorizing. Certainly, there is a great deal occurring in this specific region that defies explanation.

Chestnut Ridge is what must be considered one of the classic "window areas" mentioned by John A. Keel and other UFO investigators in the 1960s-1970s. The documentary begins with notes on how these special locations are a concentration of intrigue and interest. But the "celebrity sites," such as the Bermuda Triangle and Stonehenge get all the attention. Other ones, off the beaten track of visitors and media attention, include places like Chestnut Ridge. There is a need for more documentaries like this one.

Invasion on Chestnut Ridge shines a spotlight on Westmoreland County (where Stan Gordon lives).

Around the edges, we do note that the "Fayette Factor" is part of the picture.

Fayette County is known for Falling Water and Frank Lloyd Wright (see here).

Invasion of Chestnut Ridge mentions, besides its focus on Westmoreland County, that Fayette County is not to be ignored. I wrote of "Frank Lloyd Wright and Synchromysticism" in 2012. I've been writing about Fayette County for decades.

High strangeness in Fayette County, Pennsylvania is a long documented reality. (See here.) In 1978, my and Jerry Clark's Creatures of the Outer Edge dealt with the bizarre Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, case involving Bigfoot and globes of light and more. It is a different kind of county.

Anyone familiar with my writings, as well as Jim Brandon's, know I put stock in the Fayette Factor as a lens to Fortean weirdness awareness.

Watch Invasion of Chestnut Ridge with a view to looking deeper than any cryptozoologist or ufologist ever did. You may see things never observed before, synchromystically speaking, through your 2017 eyes.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Antioch Again: Church Shooting 2017

There's been a church shooting in Antioch.

The shooter was wearing a clown mask, according to some, or a "a neoprene ski mask," in another report. A 911 caller said it was a "clown mask." Police said rumors the gunman was wearing a clown mask do not appear to be true; the mask was “more like what you would see on a skier.”

At least one person, a woman, was killed and seven others have been injured at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ shooting in Antioch, Tennessee. The shooter shot himself and is being treated at the hospital. Another person was pistol whipped and has been taken to the hospital.

All of the wounded have been taken to area hospitals, the fire department says. The majority are older adults. "All of the wounded except for one is over the age of 60," the Nashville Fire Department said.

The suspect, 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, immigrated from Sudan two decades ago, police said. He's suspected of bringing two pistols and a mask to the predominantly white Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, southeast of Nashville, before opening fire just after 11 a.m.

The church, which has a weekly service at 10 a.m., is located at 3890 Pin Hook Road.

It is not clear what kind of mask he wore. All kinds of "neoprene" masks exist.

The shooting in Rockford, Washington State, on September 13, 2017, at the Freedom High School was allegedly done by Caleb Sharpe, who portrayed himself on Facebook as The Joker.


It will be recalled that church shootings left ten injured in one bloody weekend in July 2008, in Toronto and Tennessee. See here.

Antioch has come to the fore in past incidents.

On Monday, March 28, 2016, at about 2:39 p.m. ET, an armed man was fired upon by U.S. Capitol Police when he arrived at the Capitol Visitor Center carrying a weapon, which reportedly discharged, wounding one female bystander. That female civilian was injured by shrapnel. No U.S. Capitol Police officers were injured, despite early reports they were. The suspect has been identified as Larry Russell Dawson from Antioch, Tennessee, who called himself a pastor but who was identified at the time as a licensed funeral director and embalmer.

Antioch, Tennessee was the site of a predicted theater incident that occurred on August 5, 2015, exactly two weeks after a shooting at a showing of Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana.

[Please recall that the Lafayette shooter shares the same middle name as the D.C. suspect. The Capitol gunmen is allegedly Larry Russell Dawson. Lafayette's was John Russell Houser. Origin of the name Russell is from the transferred use of the surname derived from the Old French roussell (red-haired), from rous (red). The name, which arose as a nickname for someone with red hair, or even "little red one," was brought to England by the Normans.]

The Antioch hatchet attack and air pistol shooting resulted in the death of the attacker, Vincente David Montano, and the injury of three patrons of the theater.

The 2015 event took place at the Carmike Hickory 8 Cinema in Antioch, Tennessee, around 1:15 p.m. The gunman at the Hickory Hollow Cinema, Montano was allegedly armed with a hatchet, pepper spray, an Airsoft gun, and a fake bomb. He reportedly was wearing a surgical mask. He was shot dead by a SWAT team as he exited through the theater's rear door. The Carmike Hickory 8 Cinema and Hickory Hollow Cinema are references to Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson. See more here.

The movie playing at the Carmike Hickory 8 Cinema was Mad Max: Fury Road. The Dark Knight Rises' Bane (Tom Hardy) plays Mad Max's Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy).


Antioch is a community in southeast Nashville, Tennessee.

The community takes its name from Antioch, Turkey, an ancient city in Anatolia. As recently as the 1960s Antioch was a small community catering to the needs of area farmers with amenities such as a feed mill. Adjacent to Bakertown (a similar small community) it was located on the banks of Mill Creek, a minor tributary of the Cumberland River that rises near Nolensville, several miles to the southeast. This area has become less important over time as zoning restrictions forbidding further development on a floodplain have limited the construction of more businesses in this area, which had started to become congested.

Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lends the modern city its name.

Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. This and more historical notes can be found via the summary on Wikipedia.

Especially noteworthy is that Seleucus founded Antioch on a site chosen through ritual means. An eagle, the bird of Zeus, had been given a piece of sacrificial meat and the city was founded on the site to which the eagle carried the offering. Seleucus did this on the 22nd day of the month of Artemisios in the twelfth year of his reign (equivalent to May 300 BC). Antioch soon rose above Seleucia Pieria to become the Syrian capital.

Agrippa and Tiberius enlarged the theatre, and Trajan finished their work. Antoninus Pius paved the great east to west artery with granite. A circus, other colonnades and great numbers of baths were built, and new aqueducts to supply them bore the names of Caesars, the finest being the work of Hadrian. The Roman client, King Herod (most likely the great builder Herod the Great), erected a long stoa on the east, and Agrippa (c.63 BC – 12 BC) encouraged the growth of a new suburb south of this.

The Greek hippodrome was the basic model for both the Roman stadium and the Roman circus. It will be recalled that the term "stadium seating" comes from the Ancient Greek "circuses" (like Antioch) and evolved into theater seating (like in modern movie theaters and sports stadiums).

Correspondent Travis Vaughn made the observation that in 256, Antioch was suddenly raided by the Persians, who slew many in the theatre.

Outside Antioch, Greece, on October 22, 362, a mysterious fire destroyed the Temple of Apollo at Daphne.

There have been other modern incidents of violence at Antiochs. See here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Wave of September Shootings

Several people were shot, with one dying, in a school shooting as the 2017 school year went into its first month.

On the morning of Wednesday, September 13, 2017, a school shooting occurred at Freeman High School in the tiny town of Rockford, about 26 miles south of Spokane near the Idaho border. The address is 14626 South Jackson Road, about 12 miles south of the Spokane Valley.

Rockford is a town in Spokane County, Washington, United States. The population was 470 at the 2010 census. Rockford was first settled in 1878 by D.C. Farnsworth. The town took its name from a rocky ford on Rock Creek. Rockford was incorporated as a town in 1890.

"I was putting my backpack away and I heard a loud pop, and I turned around. He was walking around," Elisa Vigil, a 14-year-old freshman, told the Spokesman-Review.

"He had his pistol. His face was completely passive. He shot someone in the head. I crouched down in the hall. I looked up and a girl screamed, 'Help me, help me, help me.' The hall was empty. She was shot in the back. I looked to my right, and there was a boy and he was shot in the head."

One student who had engaged the shooter in a struggle died at the scene and three others were taken to a local hospital and were expected to survive. The shooter was reported to be armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.

Sam Strahan pictured with his late father, Scott, and his sister, Emily.

The Spokesman was the first to name the fatal victim as Sam Strahan.

The suspect, Caleb Sharpe, named as the alleged shooter, was said to be "nice and funny and weird." He was apprehended and remained in custody.

A sophomore, Michael Harper, 15, at Freeman High School told the Associated Press that Sharpe “had long been obsessed with past school shootings.”

Michael Harper told the Spokesman that Sharpe was “weird. And he loved the show Breaking Bad.”

On Instagram, Sharpe goes by the moniker Walrus Meat. On June 21, 2017, Sharpe wrote that Netflix’s controversial series about suicide, 13 Reasons Why was the “Best show on Netflix.”

Recently, the suspect had shared a note with some friends saying that he "was going to do something stupid."


The Dawson College shooting occurred on September 13, 2006 at Dawson College, located in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The shooter, Kimveer Gill, began shooting outside the de Maisonneuve Boulevard entrance to the school, and moved towards the atrium by the cafeteria on the main floor. One victim died at the scene, while another 19 were injured, eight of whom were listed in critical condition, with six requiring surgery. The shooter later died by suicide, by shooting himself in the head, after being shot in the arm by a police officer. He appeared to be targeting female students.


Wednesday's school shooting in Washington State followed an intense few days of shootings.

On Tuesday, on September 12, 2017, a middle aged son of his mother who was in the ICU at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, breached security, walked in and allegedly shot her four times, killing her.

Travis Frink, of Warwick, Rhode Island, stands with his attorney, Public Defender Rebecca McKinnon, during his arraignment in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, on Sept. 13, 2017. Frink, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 70-year-old mother, Pamela Ferriere, on Tuesday in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Football Sunday was the time frame for another mass shooting.

Meredith Hight

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Meredith Hight, 27, invited a group of friends over to her house in Plano, Texas, to watch football and grill. Meredith Hight hosted a party to watch her favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, play Sunday afternoon, and then the local team, the Dallas Cowboys, play Sunday night.

“She was a cook, and a quite fine one, and she loved hosting friends and families,” her mother, Debbie Lane, told Dallas-based WFAA. “This was her first opportunity to do it after the divorce, and he didn’t take it well.”

The shooter

The victims

According to the Plano Police Department, Hight’s estranged husband, Spencer Hight, opened fire on Hight and her friends around 8 p.m. When officers arrived at the residence after reports of gunshots, they found seven people fatally shot and two others injured. One person died later in the hospital. Hight’s husband was killed by an officer at the scene, bringing the death toll to nine. All the victims were in their mid-20s to early 30s.

The shooting happened about 8 p.m. Sunday in the 1700 block of West Spring Creek Parkway, near Custer Road.

The Plano incident ranks as the deadliest mass shooting of the year, matched only by another domestic violence shooting that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend. Neither crime received sustained media attention, despite the death tolls.

On Saturday, May 27, 2017, Sheena Godbolt was at her mother’s house in Brookhaven, rural Mississippi, also having a cookout and enjoying time with her family. She had left her husband, Willie Cory Godbolt, a few weeks earlier. He showed up at the house, and allegedly opened fire, killing her mother, her older sister and aunt, and a deputy who responded to the scene. 

Godbolt (pictured above) then drove to two other houses where he allegedly killed other members of his wife’s family. By the end of the night, eight people were dead. He is currently awaiting trial.

The Mississippi spree shootings ended with the death of Lincoln County Sheriffs' Deputy William Durr who was killed in the line of duty on May 28, 2017.

In Texas and Mississippi, in both incidents, eight people were killed. In Texas, the final death toll was to nine when the police killed the gunman.

h/t to SL

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Another Musician Dies By Hanging

Ian Curtis/Joy Division/1960. Stuart Adams/Big Country/2001. Chris Cornell/Soundgarden/2017. Chester Bennington/Linkin Park/2017. Todd Honeycutt/Enfold Darkness/2017.

No human is less important than any other. All are equal. Another musician has died by self-inflicted hanging.

Enfold Darkness bassist Todd Honeycutt has tragically hanged himself on August 31, 2017, at the age of 30. 

From the tweet from his bandmate, it is known that Honeycutt took his own life in the garage of Enfold Darkness guitarist Elijah Whitehead.

Speaking on the situation as well is The Artisan Era owner, the band's label, Malcolm Pugh, who had some touching words about getting help and life itself.

You breathe borrowed air and you live in borrowed flesh. The other side is an unknown experience, void of realistic conception despite science and myth. We sit here and read each other's fake lives on a screen while we lose touch with one another in such away that most of us feel as if we are alone sitting next to other people. Embrace your neighbor while you can. This goes for the people that struggle and the ones that watch.

Honeycutt played bass on Enfold Darkness’s most recent album, Adversary Omnipotent, released earlier in 2017, and on “The Dirge of the Surrogate Invictus” single from 2015, although James Turk had been playing bass with the band at recent live appearances. Honeycutt also played in the band Garotte.

Enfold Darkness was formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2005. It is described as Black/Death Metal. Their current label is The Artisan Era.

Burning Man 2017: Fire Suicide

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, died on at 6:30 am, Sunday, September 3, 2017, after running through two levels of a safety perimeter and into a set fire on Saturday night at Burning Man, Nevada. 

Mitchell ran into “the Burning Man festival’s signature burning of a towering effigy,” reported SFGate. He was pulled back out of the fire, and was airlifted to a hospital, where he later died.

His mother told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Mitchell, who was usually called by his middle name “Joel,” “grew up in McAlester, Oklahoma but was living in Switzerland.”

As Red Dirt Report has been reporting, McAlester, Oklahoma, is infamously known for overpopulation problems, a botched execution, and a veil of secrecy at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary there.

McAlester, Oklahoma, is home to many of the employees of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Wikipedia rather casually notes, "This facility makes essentially all of the bombs used by the United States military."

McAlester was the site of the 2004 trial of Terry Nichols on Oklahoma state charges related to the Oklahoma City bombing (1995).

He was married, had no children, and was employed in construction. This was the first time he attended Burning Man.

The moment of his self-immolation was captured in graphic photographs by several attendees at the event.

According to SFGate, “The nine-day festival in northern Nevada was briefly hampered when a lightning-sparked wildfire temporarily shut down Burning Man’s main travel route last week.”

This is not the first suicide at Burning Man.

See also: