; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Stanford, Kentucky Abductions

The three women who were abducted near Stanford, Kentucky. Left to right: Louise Smith, Elaine Thomas, Mona Stafford. (credit: Jerome Clark)
Summary: On January 6, 1976, three women were abducted near Stanford, Kentucky. As they were driving together to have dinner, a bright red object appeared in the sky, which Mona Stafford at first thought was an airplane on fire. As the object descended from the right side of the road to a point ahead of them, they could see that it was not an airplane, but a huge object bigger than "two houses."

Original Report: January 6, 1976 was Mona Stafford's 36th birthday. To celebrate, she and her friends Louise Smith and Elaine Thomas decided to drive thirty-five miles from their home in Liberty, Kentucky, to have dinner at the Redwoods Restaurant, between Stanford and Lancaster, Kentucky. Louise Smith was driving them in her '67 Chevy Nova.

The three women had an enjoyable dinner together. None of them drank any alcoholic beverages with their meal. At about 11:15, the trio headed back home, expecting to be home by midnight. At Stanford, Kentucky, nine miles from Lancaster, they turned off Highway 27 and onto Highway 78 towards Hustonville.

Just outside Stanford, a curious thing happened. A bright red object appeared in the sky, which Mona Stafford at first thought was an airplane on fire. As the object descended from the right side of the road to a point ahead of them, they could see that it was not an airplane, but a huge object bigger than "two houses." The object stopped about a hundred yards ahead of them, stretching across the road on both sides. It rocked back and forth for a couple of seconds, and then moved off to the left.

They kept driving, and assumed that whatever it was had kept going. However, after they had been about a quarter of a mile, a blue light appeared through the rear window of the car. At first they thought it was a highway patrol car with its lights flashing, but soon they realized that the flying object had circled around and had come up behind them. Suddenly, something wrested control of the car away from Louise Smith. The car accelerated even though Mrs. Smith took her foot off the accelerator, and the speedometer was soon on 85 mph. Mona Stafford, in the front passenger seat, tried to help Louise regain control of the car, but it was not possible. The women began to feel a burning sensation in their eyes. The ignition lights lit up on the instrument panel, an indication that the car's engine was stalled, but they were still speeding along. They saw a wide, brightly lit road ahead of them, and then, seconds later, the scene became Highway 78 and they recognized they were on the outskirts of Hustonville, a full eight miles from where they had just been. Checking the time, they found that, incredibly, an hour and twenty minutes had passed.

They arrived at Louise Smith's trailer in Liberty at 1:25 am, almost an hour and a half late. They went inside to collect themselves and found that they each had a red mark like a burn on the backs of their necks, and they all had burning, irritated eyes. Louise Smith went into the bathroom and removed her watch to wash her face. She saw that the hands of her watch were spinning at a much higher than normal speed. When she splashed water on her face, she found that contact with water caused pain in her hands and face.

They went next door, to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what had happened. He had them separately sketch the object they had seen. The sketches were extremely similar, if not identical. They called the police and the local navy office, but neither showed any interest in their story.

In the days that followed, Mona Stafford had more problems with her eyes than did the other two women, and she sought medical help for severe conjunctivitis. Louise Smith's pet parakeet was now inexplicably terrified of her and the bird died a couple of months later. Smith's car also began to develop mysterious electrical problems.

The navy office reportedly gave information about the story to the news media, and the story was soon in the newspapers. Hearing of the case, Jerry Black of MUFON set up an interview with the three women. J. Allen Hynek of CUFOS and Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO also investigated the case. The investigators found that other individuals had independently reported sightings of a UFO in the Casey and Lincoln counties that same night. Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle of the University of Wyoming heard of the case and flew in, and on March 7, 1976, he performed a preliminary hypnotic regression of the women.

In July of 1976, Lexington Police Department detective James Young separately gave the three women lie detector tests regarding their experience. They all passed with no problems. Later that evening and continuing into the next day, extensive hypnotic regression of the women was performed by R. Leo Sprinkle. These sessions were similar to the story of Betty and Barney Hill in that they revealed that during the period of missing time the three women were taken on board the object they had seen. While there they were medically examined by shadowy beings that they later identified as being similar to depictions of aliens. - www.ufoevidence.org

Drawing of the UFO by Mona Stafford

The Kentucky Abduction
- APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 (Oct 1976)

The February first issue of the Kentucky Advocate, published at Danville, Kentucky, carried an article pertaining to UFO sightings in that general area, among which was the story told by Ms. Louise Smith, Ms. Mona Stafford and Mrs. Elaine Thomas about their drive home to Liberty from a late dinner at the Redwoods restaurant located five miles north of Stanford. The ladies said that at a point about one mile south of Stanford, they saw a huge disc-shaped object which was metallic gray with a white glowing dome. A row of red lights rotated around the middle and underneath were three or four red and yellow lights that burned steadily. A bluish beam of light issued from the bottom.

The newspaper did not carry a lot of detail but it was mentioned that when the women arrived home in Liberty, it was 1:25 a.m. Having left the restaurant at 11:15 p.m., they should have arrived home by midnight, indicating that there was a time loss of about one hour and 25 minutes.

The Kentucky Advocate article was forwarded to APRO by Field Investigator Bill Terry but meanwhile he put in a telephone call and asked if we felt the case was good enough for him to make the necessary 60 mile trip to talk to the ladies. After he had read the pertinent information, Mrs. Lorenzen said she thought it would be well worth the trip. A few days later he called back and told Headquarters he thought it was a case of abduction, and that the usual hypnosis procedures should be utilized.

A call was put in to Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, APRO's consultant in psychology and he was asked to travel to Liberty to interview the women and possibly use hypnotic procedures to relieve their anxiety and obtain any repressed information. Headquarters learned that his first free weekend for the trip would be the weekend of the 6th and 7th of March.

We will here relate the information obtained by our investigation and later explain why this report has not been published until now.

It is important to note that although Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Thomas had known each other for many years, and Mrs. Stafford had known Mrs. Thomas for some time, Mrs. Smith had only gotten acquainted with Mona a few weeks previously.

On the evening in question, Mrs. Smith left work at the usual time and went home. She is employed as an extension assistant for the Casey County Extension Office where her duties consist of visiting families in the county, counseling them in food perparation and preservation, nutrition and gardening. She fixed herself a sandwich and soup, which she ate, then got into her 1967 Chevrolet which she had just purchased that day and drove to a service station to get gas in preparation for the next day.

While at the service station, Mona Stafford, who was driving by, spotted Louise's car, pulled her car into the station, whereupon Mrs. Smith asked her if she would come home with her and help her put the collar on a jacket she was making, as she was having trouble fitting it. The two ladies, each in her own car, drove to the Smith trailer home and set about the task. At about 8 p.m., Mrs. Thomas dropped by and the three lapsed into conversation about their favorite subject: art. Mrs. Stafford had planned to go to her sister's home to have her hair done and at about 9 p.m. said she'd better call her sister because it was getting late and besides, it was her (Mona's) birthday.

When Mrs. Smith learned about the birthday, she suggested that they al! go over to the Redwoods for a late dinner and a sort of birthday celebration. Also, there was a painting on the wall of the restaurant which she had wanted to sketch. The restaurant, incidentally, is the only restaurant open at that time of night in that area.

The three drove the 29 miles to the restaurant, had their dinner and then pulled out sketch pads and went to work. A man at the restaurant asked Mrs. Smith to sketch him, which she did, and then she realized it was getting late, so the three paid their checks and left. Mrs. Smith drove, Mona sat in the middle of the front seat, with Mrs. Thomas on her right by the passenger window.

After Mona spotted the object, which was descending from their right to the left, she asked Louise to speed up as she thought it was a plane about to crash and she wanted to help any survivors. Mrs. Smith saw it clearly, but Mrs. Thomas didn't see it until it had stopped at treetop level at what they estimated to be one hundred yards ahead of them. All of the women said the object was huge, Louise describing it as "as big as a football field," while Mrs. Stafford said it was at least as large as two houses.

Mrs. Smith said that the object rocked gently for perhaps two seconds, at which time she estimated its size, for it extended beyond the edges of the road and over the fields on both sides. Then the thing moved across the road to their left, circling behind and above some houses, and then apparently came back to the highway and swung in behind the car.

At a point in their journey about a quarter of a mile beyond the houses, the inside of the car was lit up with a bluish light which came from behind. Mrs. Smith said that at first she thought it was a state trooper approaching from behind, but realized almost immediately that it wasn't. At this point Louise and Mona were near panic. The car began to pull to the left and Louise screamed at Mona to help her control it. The speedometer was registering 85 miles per hour and both Mona and Mrs. Thomas shouted at Mrs. Smith to slow down. Louise held her foot in the air to show them and said,"I don't have my foot on the accelerator and I can't stop it!" Mona reached over and grabbed the wheel and they fought the force together. Then, quite suddenly, the women experienced a burning sensation in their eyes and Louise later described an additional pain which seemed to "go right through the top of my head! It was almost unbearable!"

The next sensation was that of some force pulling the car backward. Also, they got the feeling that the car was going over a series of "speed bumps" (raised ridges in a road which are meant to keep the speed of automobiles to a minimum). Mrs. Thomas began urging Louise to stop so that she could get a good look at the object, but Mona and Louise were too terrified. Elaine had only had a glimpse of the object as it had circled to their left and around behind him and was later to comment about the object's beauty. "I can't describe it," she said, "I've never seen red that beautiful. 1 wanted to get out and look at it."

Then, the women said, they saw a strange, wide, lighted road stretching as far as they could see ahead of them. At the same moment Mona noted a red light come on on the instrument panel which indicated that the engine had stalled, despite the sensation that they were moving very fast.

At what seemed to be a split second later the women saw a street light ahead and realized that they were coming into HustonviHe, a full eight miles beyond where they had encountered the strange aircraft. They wondered among themselves how they had gotten there so fast, then became quiet while they proceeded on into Liberty.

When they arrived at Mrs. Smith's trailer, they ail went inside. Mrs. Smith went into the bathroom, took off her glasses and splashed water on her face, whereupon her hands and face began to burn with searing pain. All three had a red mark on the backs of their necks, measuring about three inches long and one inch wide, with clearly defined edges, giving the appearance of a new burn before it blisters. Louise and Elaine's marks were centrally located between the bases of their skulls and the top of the back, whereas Mona's was located to the ieft, behind her ear. They could not account for the marks, which disappeared two days later. All three were experiencing burning and tearing of their eyes, but Mona Stafford had a much more severe case of conjunctiveitis (an inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane of the eyes).

Prior to washing her hands, Louise had taken off her watch and was startled to see that the hands of her watch were moving at an accelerated rate of speed, the minute hand moving at the speed of a second hand, and the hour hand was moving also. Upon experiencing the pain of the water on her hands and face she forgot about the phenomena of the watch and does not recall when it returned to normal or when she reset it.

Concluding that something was wrong, the three ladies went next door to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what they had seen. He asked them to go into separate rooms and sketch the object and when finished, he found the resulting sketches to be almost identical.

Although all the women had trouble with their eyes, only Mona Stafford sought medical help, as her problem was so severe. The doctor who examined her found no explanation for the pain and tearing but gave her some eye drops which helped very little.

Bill Terry found out that all three of the women enjoy good reputations. Mrs. Smith, 44, is a tall, thin woman of 44 years who was widowed when a young woman and brought up her son and daughter by herself. She has two grandchildren and busies herself in her spare time with painting and sketching and gospel singing. She performs around Casey county with the Jubilee Echoes, consisting of herself, a 14-year-old boy singer and a bassist who is a police lieutenant in Danville. She is a lifelong member of the Baptist church and attends services regularly at the Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Liberty. Inquiries to such people as police personnel, her minister and employer, elicited only good comments. Several weeks after her experience she had lost 28Vi of her normal weight of 125Vi pounds.

Mona Stafford is 35, the former owner of an arts and crafts shop in Liberty and currently unumployed except for secretarial work which she does for her father, who owns a mobile trailer park. She was once married but has been divorced since 1970 and lives in a trailer home parked near her parents' home. She is a devout Christian, a member of the Hilltop Church of Christ near Liberty. She also lost weight amounting to 17 pounds but at this writing had regained 7.

Elaine Thomas is a 48 year-old-housewife who has lived in Casey County, Kentucky all of her life. She and her husband Otis live several miles out of Liberty. They have a grown daughter and three grandchildren. Mrs. Thomas is also a lifelong churchgoer and is a member of the Contown Church of Christ.

The foregoing information indicated to APRO's staff that the women were of good reputation, sincere, honest, and had no motivation to concoct a story so we proceeded with the investigation. It is at this juncture that we will explain the tardiness of the publication of this case. Bill Terry met Dr. Sprinkle upon his arrival and the two proceeded to Mrs. Smith's home. They were met with a conglommeration of investigators from CUFOS and MUFON, who felt that they were "first" on the case and that APRO should not be allowed to enter. (They had preceded Mr. Terry to the Liberty site by only one day). Sprinkle, being a gentleman and a scholar did not want to intrude, and it was finally decided to call APRO Headquarters for an opinion. Mr. Lorenzen talked to Len Stringfield of CUFOS and MUFON who wanted to use the services of Dr. Sprinkle but did not want the report to be sent to APRO. Mrs. Lorenzen pointed out that she had written a book (Encounters with UFO Occupants) specifically so that the proceeds would furnish APRO with the wherewithal to conduct such investigations, and that not only was APRO's money (air fare and expenses for Dr. Sprinkle) wasted, but Dr. Sprinkle's time away from his family was wasted as well.

It was finally decided that Dr. Sprinkle would conduct the hypnotic sessions but that there would have to be a mutual agreement concerning the release of the story. Also, during meetings before Sprinkle's arrival, some representative of MUFON or CUFOS had told Mrs. Smith (she doesn't recall who) that the ladies should be careful about having anything to do with APRO because "they would call in the National Enquirer" and they would receive much unwanted publicity. Later, in a letter from Jerry Black, a MUFON investigator and, consequently, a CUFOS investigator, suggested that the ladies contact the National Enquirer about their experience, which was a surprise considering their reluctance to have anything to do with that paper if APRO was on the case.


At any rate, it was for this reason, after the waste of several huhdred dollars, APRO was unable to complete the case. Then, after the National Enquirer contacted the ladies, Dr. Sprinkle, because of his participation in the "Blue Ribbon Panel" of National Enquirer experts, was called upon to go back to Liberty and regress the women.

His report of the weekend of March 6 and 7 is quite sketchy except for his characterization of the three women as reliable, sincere, etc., because Saturday was largely wasted in quibbling about who should have "control of the case." Incidentally, the MUFON people wanted to make use of Sprinkle's expertise, "as long as he was there." But they admitted they neither had the consultants nor the funds to send in someone expert in hypnotic techniques to carry out the trance sessions.

On the 23rd of July, under the National Enquirer's aegis, a polygraph test was conducted on the three ladies, and James C. Young reported, in each case, that it was his opinion, based upon the polygraph examinations, thai: the ladies believed they were telling the truth to the listed questions.

In his report, Mr. Young made the following pertinent observation: "Prior to the examination of these three persons it was determined by the polygraphist that these persons had been previously interviewed by Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle and the above-mentioned members of the Mutual UFO Network. How much or how little these previous interviews played a part upon what these persons now believe about this alleged encounter cannot be determined by the polygraphist. I cannot discount the fact that previous interviews with these persons could influence their personal beliefs as to whether or not this alleged encounter did or did not occur."

Mr. Young makes a very good point, that being that interviewers showing sketches of UFO types to a witness before they make their own renderings of what they saw, is highly suggestive, as is the display of any drawings of occupants. This apparently was done by MUFON representatives prior to the polygraph test or the trance hypnosis carried out by Dr. Sprinkle on the next day, the 24th of July. APRO has a complete transcript of the trance sessions which have been examined by the staff. While Robert Pratt of the Enquirer, and Dr. Sprinkle, who has had extensive experience in this phase of UFO research, were careful not to lead the subjects, some very suggestive or leading questions were asked by Mr. Stringfield and Mr. Black of MUFON. It is just such errors that the skeptics will leap upon in attempts to discredit the investigative procedures or reliability of witness testimony in such cases.

We would like very much to quote in polygraph tests and the hypnotic trance sessions, but space will not allow us to do so. Therefore, we summarize Dr. Sprinkle's findings from the hypnotic sessions.

". . .Mrs. Smith suffered much as she relived the experience. The behaviors, e.g., weeping, moaning, tossing her head, shuddering, and shaking, etc., were evident to those of us who observed her. especially as she seemed to "relive" an experience of a fluid material covering her face. Her smile, and evident relief in "seeing the street light" at the end of her hour and one-half loss-of-time experience was dramatic and indicated that she was "safe" in the car, once again, and returning home with her friends." Sprinkle then goes on to recount Louise's claim that her pet parakeet, who, according to her claims and the claims of others who observed the bird, refused to have anything to do with her after the UFO experience. Others could approach the bird and it would not react wildly; however, whenever Louise came close to the bird, the bird would flutter and move away from her. The bird died within weeks after the UFO experience.

Mona Stafford. . ."responded well to the hypnotic suggestions and she was able to describe impressions which led her to believe that she had been taken out of the car, and that she was alone on a white table or bed. she saw a large "eye" which seemed to be observing her. She felt as if a bright white light was shining on her and that there was "power" or energy which transfixed her and held her to the table or bed. She experienced a variety of physiological reactions, including the impressions that her right arm was pinned or fastened; her left leg forced back under her, with pain to the ankle and foot; pressure on the fingers of the left hand, as if they were forced or squeezed in some way; a feeling of being examined by four or five short humanoids who sat around in "surgical masks" and "surgical garments" while observing her. At one point, she sensed that she was either experiencing out-of-the body travel, or else she was waiting outside of a large room in which she could view another person, probably a woman, lying on a white bed or observation table. She perceived a long tunnel, or a view of the sky, as if she had been transported to an area inside a large mountain or volcano. Although, she wept and moaned and experienced a great deal of fatigue as a result of the "reliving" of the experience, she felt better the next day; she expressed the belief to me that she now had a better understanding of what happened during the loss-of-time experience.

. . . "Mrs. Thomas had been rather quiet during the initial interview in March, 1976, although it was obvious that she is perceptive and aware of other people's attitudes and feelings. Like the

others, she has lost weight, but she has also experienced some personality changes. She dresses a bit more colorfully now, and she is more willing to talk and to share her ideas with others. She, too, experienced a similar reaction during the hypnotic techniques: she apparently was responding well to suggestions to go deeper; when she "relived" the UFO experience, she experienced a great deal of emotional reaction. Her main impression was that she was taken away from her two friends, and that she was placed in a "chamber" with a window on the side. She seemed to recall figures which moved back and forth in front of the window of the chamber as if she were being observed. Her impression was that the observers were four-foot-tall humanoids, with dark eyes, and grey skin. One disturbing aspect of the experience was the memory that she had some kind of contraption or "covering" that was placed around her neck; whenever she tried to speak, or think, the contraption or "covering" was tightened, and she experienced a choking sensation during these moments. At first, Mrs. Thomas interpreted the memories as indication that she was being choked by hands or that she was being prevented from calling out to her friends; later, however, she came to the tentative conclusion that an experiment was being conducted, and the experiment was to learn more about her intellectual and emotional processes. She recalled a "bullet-shaped" object, about an inch and one haif in diameter, being placed on her left chest; she previously had experienced pain and a red spot at that location.

". . .During the polygraph examination, and during the initial hypnotic sessions, each UFO witness was interviewed separately from the other witnesses. After the initial description of impressions, the women were invited to attend the additional hypnosis sessions, so thai each woman could observe the reaction of the other two women. During these sessions, there was much emotional reaction, which seemed to arise from two conditions: the compassion of the witnesses for their friend, who was "reliving" the experience and releasing emotional reactions to the experience; also, it seems as if the description by one witness would "trigger" a memory on the part of another witness, even if the experiences seemed to be "similar" or "different."

"Certain similarities were observed: a feeling of anxiety on the part of each witness regarding a specific aspect of the experience. For Ms. Smith, it was the "wall" and the "gate" beyond which she was afraid to "move psychologically"; for

Ms. Stafford it was the "eye" which she observed and the impression that something evil or bad would be learned if she allowed the eye to "control" her; for Ms. Thomas, it was the "blackness" which seemed to be the feared condition or cause for anxiety. Each woman seemed to experience the impression that she had been taken out of the car and placed elsewhere without her friends and without verbal communication. For Ms. Smith, the lack of verbal communication was most distressing; although she had the feeling of "mental communication" that she would be returned after the "experiment."

"Differences were noted in that each woman seemed to have a somewhat different kind of "examination," and in a different "location." Ms. Smith did not have a clear impression of the location, although she did recall a feeling of lying down and being examined; Ms. Stafford had the impression of being in a "volcano or mountainside," with a room in which a bright Sight was shining on a white table with white clothed persons or humanoids sitting around and observing her; Mrs. Thomas recalled impressions of being in the dark chamber with grey light permitting a view of the humanoids who were apparently observing her."

In his conclusive paragraphs Dr. Sprinkle reports:

"In my opinion, each woman is describing a "real" experience, and they are using their intelligence and perceptivity as accurately as possible in order to describe the impressions which they obtained during the hypnotic regressions session. Although there is uncertainty about their impressions, especially in regard to how each person could be transported out of the car and relocated in the car, the im pressions during the "loss of time" experience are similar to those of other UFO witnesses who apparently have experienced an abduction and examination during their UFO sighting.

"Although it is not possible to claim absolutely that a physical examination and abduction has taken place, I believe that the tentative hypothesis of abduction and examination is the best hypothesis to explain the apparent loss-of-time experience, the apparent physical and emotional reactions of the witnesses to the UFO sighting: the anxiety and the reactions of the witnesses to their experiences which have occurred after their UFO sighting. An interesting subsequent event is the concern of the women that they were "re-experiencing" the physical symptoms which had been experienced for several days following the January 1976 sightings. . . .When I called them on July 26th, the women said that they were re-experiencing some of the same kinds of symptoms, e.g., fatigue, listlessness, sensitivity to skin, burning feeling on the face and eyes, fluid discharge, etc.

"I tried to reassure the ladies that it is not an uncommon experience in hypnotic regression that persons — after "reliving" earlier emotional experiences — may re-experience some of the symptoms which accompany those emotional reactions.

"In my opinion, the UFO experiences of these women are a good example of the type of apparent abduction and examination which seems to be occurring to more UFO witnesses. I believe that the investigation could be continued with the hopes of obtaining further information about their experiences. However, the present evidence suggests to me that the women have cooperated sincerely and openly in describing their reactions to their UFO sighting and loss-of-time experience, and the polygraph examination and hypnotic regression sessions have been useful in uncovering their impressions of the UFO sighting and subsequent events.

"I believe the case is a good example of UFO experiences, because of the number and character of the witnesses. . . and because of the results of further investigation through polygraph examinations and hypnotic regression sessions."

Dr. Sprinkle alludes to "subsequent events." Conversations with Mrs. Smith since the regressive hypnotic sessions took place yielded two very interesting bits of information: Mrs. Stafford had been having trouble sleeping, would not stay home, and would go to her parents' home or that of a friend, and curl up on the floor to sleep. She also has said repeatedly that she would not live "to see another birthday." Hopefully this is only a fear and not a portent of things to come.

Also, in the fall of 1976, Mrs. Smith was overcome by an inexplicable urge to go back to the scene of the original sighting. On August 1 she did return to ihfi.site-, got out of her tar, and "heard" the words: "feel of your hands."When she did so, she realized that three rings, which she habitually wore, a small gold ring, a pearl ring, and a gold ring with onyx and a small diamond, were gone. On the 26th of September, Mrs. Smith walked out onto the stoop of her trailer home and found the onyx and diamond ring lying there. For some inexplicable reason, she scooped up the ring, walked to the creek which runs by her home, and threw it into the water.

This, then, is the entire story of the Kentucky abduction. At last contact with Mrs. Lorenzen by telephone, Mrs. Smith intimated that she was beginning to have recall of the whole experience, and asked that Mrs. Lorenzen not divulge the details as she was writing a book about the experience. We appreciate Mrs. Smith's desires, and will not comment on further information learned from her until such time as the book is published.

However, we laud these ladies for their bravery; theirs is a very interesting and hair-raising experience and we feel sympathy for them in that their greatest ordeal may well still lie ahead: the attacks of the skeptics. - APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976

"The Kentucky Abduction." International UFO Reporter - March 1977
APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thylacine: Making a Comeback?

donnybrookmail - A local man believes the fabled “Nannup tiger” lurks in the South West forests of the night— and true big cats too.

THYLACINES and big cats still lurk in the South West forests, according to Alan Troode of Nannup.

He collects and collates stories of both big cat and “Nannup tiger” (thylacine) sightings, concentrating on reports from around Nannup .

Alan first became interested in the thylacine when reading newspaper articles published in the early 1980s.

He was intrigued by the thought that the South West forests might harbour such fabulous animals and his interest was reignited when he moved to Nannup in the late 1990s.

Work and family commitments allowed him limited time to pursue the stories but conversations with locals fortified his interest.

He quickly came to the conclusion that he was not only looking at stories and descriptions of the Thylacine but also large predatory cats, not wild feral domestic cats but an animal the size of the mountain lion, cougar or puma , Felis Concolor .

He reckons he has an unbiased point of view when taking down thylacine stories and he soon realised that anything that moved in the bush that was not easily identified was claimed to be the Nannup tiger.

Some incidents contributing to the Nannup tiger legend showed traits and characteristics that Alan can only describe as speculative. Still he came to the conclusion that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor — two distinct predatory animals — roam the South West.

Two distinct animals give rise to two distinct animal hunters, he said. Information about both animals has been diverse, controversial and stories have been at odds with each other at times.

There is very little information about the thylacine and some reported characteristics cloud the issue further.

Reports have the tiger ranging in colour from light yellow to fawn, light brown to dark biscuit and all black — and with or without stripes.

Vocalisations have been described as hissing, coughing, snarling, growling and snapping.

During mating the mysterious beast is said to have a blood-curdling scream.

Often caught in car headlights at night, the blue eyes are believed to be the black tiger and the amber eyes belonging to the yellow chocolate tiger, he said.

Habits such as scratching sticks and dirt over carcases, multiple kills and the size of some animals killed brings into question the weight to kill ratio.

On some occasions the animal is described as being rather inquisitive and in no hurry to move and other reports have the animal taking flight and gone in a flash.

All this conflicting information has led Alan to believe that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor are still at large in the South West.

“I am only starting to scratch the tip of the iceberg so to speak and have a lot of further work to do on correlating both types of sightings,” he said.

“There are sightings of both animals in many areas claiming both tiger and cat occurrences.

“It is my hope to be able to engage believers of both animals in a more comprehensive look at the predatory animals that roam the forests with an open unbiased approach — to give validity and authenticity, to clear up some of the speculation and misinformation.”

Alan believes this can only help to strengthen belief in the presence of both the big cat and the Nannup tiger.

Over the years Alan has logged many reports on sightings of both animals.

He not only records an audio report but he then makes a hard copy which he gets authenticated by having the person reporting the sighting, sign and date.

Alan is a true believer in the existence of both animals in our South West forests.

The following video is a bit hokie because of the dramatics....but it's not a bad production overall:

Click for video


Chasing the Thylacine

independent - On a bright summer morning in the back end of Tasmania's north-west, I wandered into an office of Forestry Tasmania for advice about a forest dirt road. The sketch map the official offered was expected; not so his story. On that same track a decade or so ago, he had seen a creature that was not supposed to exist. And not just him; loggers and surveyors, an old-timer shacked up in the bush, all had glimpsed the animal before it slipped away into one of the most ancient rainforests on Earth.

Foresters are generally a practical bunch who measure life by certainties such as sawlogs and stray limbs lost to heavy machinery. When they swear to a sighting, you begin to wonder if there's truth after all to the Tasmanian tiger.

There are really only two things you need to know about the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. The first is that it looks nothing like its namesake except for the sandy orange coat and stripes that extend down to a stiff tail. The tiger – or thylacine as it is usually known because of its scientific name, Thylacinus cynocephalus, which means "pouched dog with a wolf's head" – is an evolutionary concept-creature that bolts the back half of a kangaroo on to a rangy dog the size of an Alsatian. The second is that it has been extinct for seven decades. Or it has unless you ask around. Then it turns out they're everywhere.

The first one I saw was in Hobart, the state capital. In the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, a small crowd gathered around footage of a restless creature in the city zoo with a slender snout that opened to a snake's gape and a stiff gait that another believer later compared to a dairy cow. When "Benjamin" became history one chilly September night in 1936, he is thought to have taken the species with him.

Start to look, however, and a tiger will be there staring back at you. It gazed coolly from the label on my bottle of Cascade beer. It slinked into grass on the number plate of every car in front. And tigers rampant flanked the heraldic crest on state buildings – who needs unicorns when you have a home-grown fabulous beast?

No wonder tiger-hunters become obsessed. To the newcomer, Tasmania is the surprise of Australia. It is an island of hidden secrets in a nation of infinite space; a place where real-life devils utter banshee wails and moss-bearded giants stand silently in forests that predate mankind. In this Middle Earth of lost myths, a legendary tiger is just part of the scenery, and there's a lot of that to cover in a state that's one-quarter wilderness.

Many otherwise eminent people have suffered ridicule and nights cooped up in a chicken shed with a camera in their pursuit. The government's Parks and Wildlife Service mounted its own two-year hunt in 1984 before it pronounced the species extinct and devoted its energies to finding feral foxes instead. That only upped the ante.

"Parks don't want to say anything publicly to attract attention," Ned Terry confided. We were drinking coffee in Deloraine in the state's north, where farming villages were scattered over my map like seed and the landscapes are so vivid that the first pioneers christened their settlements Eden, Paradise and Promised Land. Hard to believe that the Alpine wilderness of Cradle Mountain lay an hour's drive south. "The bush was full of tourists after a national park fellow reported a thylacine on the central east coast a few years ago. But those blokes got a lot of cameras out there to look for foxes. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some skulduggery going on."

In this zoological X-Files, the 80-year-old bushman plays Mulder. Every couple of months he listens patiently to an excited witness, asks a few questions to weed out the fakers, then follows up whoever is left. His latest credible lead in half a lifetime's tiger-chasing came from Lake Peddar in the south-west wilderness.

"Fellow camped out there says he heard one for three weekends in a row; that yapping noise they make when hunting. Says it ran so close he could smell it."

Many witnesses mention the smell – a sharp, hot, animal stink that electrifies the air. "Smelled it myself once," Terry said. "Makes the hairs on your neck stand on end, I can tell you."

The truth is out there, somewhere. Probably (I dragged out of Terry) in the remote northern corners of the state. So, in the late afternoon I rolled east over swells of grass bound for Scottsdale. Every so often a timber farmhouse heaved aloft on a crest then vanished into the rear-view mirror. Beyond lay the high country of the north-east.

Around seven thylacine sightings a year, more than anywhere else in Tasmania, were made up there in the half-century after Hobart Zoo lost its star attraction. A few tiger-hunters still came to shoot blurry images, stalking the edge of old-growth rainforest that had barely changed since Tasmania ripped away from the global supercontinent of Gondwanaland.

In the pub I met a farmer who yarned about a wolfish head that had poked through the bracken fern. "When he comes out he sits up like a kangaroo, then starts sniffing the air like one. I thought: 'What the hell's that?'" A stray dog, perhaps, I suggested. "No dogs up there," he bristled.

It turned out the area was swarming with rumours. Craig Williams, Tasmania's premier wildlife guide and a fourth-generation bushman, kept up a rumble of anecdote and oath as we skirted the forest, stopping occasionally to practise an arcane element of bushcraft or stare after a furry backside that disappeared into the scrub. He indicated a farmstead as we swerved around one corner. "You know the last thylacine died in 1936? An old bloke shot one there in 1946. Said it was killing his chooks [chickens]."

Later, after a meal that belonged to a Sydney restaurant rather than a remote mountain shack, Craig told tiger tales around the campfire. There was the thylacine witnessed by four people on a logging road just over that ridge, and the waxy scat found late last year by the manager of a wilderness lodge. Or there was his mate whose car had broken down up here one night: "He said he heard these high-pitched yaps following him as he walked."

Apparently Craig's grandfather and great-grandfather used to trap thylacine on the mountain behind us. I tried and failed to reconcile the mysterious thylacine with the plantation forest that now striated its flanks. Could it really survive here?

As the sky deepened to a velvety black, Craig strobed the treeline with a torch. There were secrets as well as possum eyes in the dark spaces between eucalyptus trunks. Suddenly, at the edge of our clearing, something twitched. A stoat-like animal froze in the torch's beam then skittered into the bush – a spotted-tailed quoll.

"Amazing killing machines; the ultimate predators," Craig said with admiration. "They're only a few kilos, but they can pull down a wallaby." With jaws that opened to 90 degrees and overlapping teeth, it was a distant relation of the thylacine colloquially known as a tiger quoll. "Been quite a few tiger sightings by quite a few people made around here."

I'd lost my bearings way back on the unmarked dirt roads. "Good," said Craig. "I don't want loads of people running around with traps and cameras. If the tiger's up here, let him be. That's what I reckon." Another Tasmanian secret was safe.
Originally posted 7/4/07

Tasmanian Tiger: Not Extinct!

Australian wildlife scientists have re-opened the cryptic case of the Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial carnivore that resembled a striped coyote and which was last seen alive more than 70 years ago.

Scientists think chances are slim that Thylacinus cynocephalus still roams remote areas of Tasmania, the large island just south of Australia, but they can't help but turn over every possible leaf for evidence.

The last wild Tasmanian tiger was killed by a farmer around 1930, and the last captive died in 1936 at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania's capital. Fifty years later, the species was declared extinct.

The extinction marked the end of the family Thylacinidae, and of the world's largest marsupial carnivore. The Tasmanian tiger weighed about 65 pounds, had a nose-to-tail length of six feet and had several vertical stripes running across its lower back and tail.

Despite the official extinction, rumored sightings of the creature have continued to emerge from Tasmania's temperate forests.

Zoologist Jeremy Austin of the Australian Center for Ancient DNA and his colleagues are examining DNA from animal droppings, or scats, found in Tasmania in the late 1950s and 1960s, which have been preserved in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Eric Guiler, a thylacine expert who found the scats, told Austin the droppings probably came from a Tasmanian tiger rather than a dog or two common related marsupial carnivores — the well-known wolverine-like Tasmanian devil and the cat-like spotted quoll.

"If we find thylacine DNA from the 1950s scats it will be significant," Austin said. "This would prove that either the thylacine produced the scat or a [Tasmanian] devil ate a thylacine and dropped the scat. Either way, that is proof that the thylacine was there at the time."

If they were to find evidence the Tasmanian tiger was still extant in the 1950s, that would mean the beast was able to stay hidden from humans for at least 20 or 30 years.

"If they could survive this long with no real physical proof, then it does add a little more hope to the possibility that they could survive another 50 years without ever being caught, killed [or] hit by a car," Austin told LiveScience. "This chance is of course not great, but the glimmer of hope is ever so slightly brighter."

NOTE: Here are a few links to other postings...Lon

On the Hunt for the Elusive Tasmanian Tiger

Are There Thylacines In Victoria?

Nick Mooney: We Still Receive at Least Two Credible Thylacine Sightings a Year

Thylacine DNA Restored To Life

New High-Tech Search For Thylacine, Large Cats After Recent Sheep Maulings

Resurrecting the Thylacine: Does it Exist or Will Science Help?

New Tasmanian Tiger Sighting Reported

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Aokigahara Forest: Death Be Not Proud or Honorable

“The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

mentalfloss - It’s perhaps the most obvious setting for a horror movie imaginable — and it’s real. And incredibly grim. There is a thick, in places nearly impenetrable forest around Mt. Fuji, and it’s the most popular place for suicide in Japan. It’s the second most popular spot in the world behind the Golden Gate Bridge. From Vice, who sent a video crew there:

The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai [The Black Forest, written by Seichō Matsumoto in 1960] was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.

If you’re sensitive, you might want to skip this fascinating but hugely morbid video. VBS.tv’s crew follows a geologist through the forest, and they find a number of grisly surprises.

From October 2008:

The most haunted location in Japan is believed to be a dark, dense forest which lies at the base of Mt. Fuji called Aokigahara. Aokigahara is an infamous place for suicides and many feel that it is a sinister place. "The perfect place to die." That's how Aokigahara was described in Wataru Tsurumui's bestselling book The Complete Manual of Suicide. In 2002, 78 bodies were found within it, replacing the previous record of 73 in 1998. More than a few of them were even carrying copies of Tsurumui's book. No one knows how many bodies go undiscovered."

Locals and scavengers occasionally look for the bodies of those who have commited suicide. When they search, they tie some tape to a tree near the path and then let it out as they go into the forest so they won't get lost. This tape is all over the forest around the path.


CNN - Aokigahara Forest is known for two things in Japan: breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and suicides. Also called the Sea of Trees, this destination for the desperate is a place where the suicidal disappear, often never to be found in the dense forest.

Taro, a 46-year-old man fired from his job at an iron manufacturing company, hoped to fade into the blackness. "My will to live disappeared," said Taro. "I'd lost my identity, so I didn't want to live on this earth. That's why I went there."

Taro, who did not want to be identified fully, was swimming in debt and had been evicted from his company apartment.

He lost financial control, which he believes to be the foundation of any stable life, he said. "You need money to survive. If you have a girlfriend, you need money. If you want to get married, you need it for your life. Money is always necessary for your life."

Taro bought a one-way ticket to the forest, west of Tokyo, Japan. When he got there, he slashed his wrists, though the cut wasn't enough to kill him quickly.

He started to wander, he said. He collapsed after days and lay in the bushes, nearly dead from dehydration, starvation and frostbite. He would lose his toes on his right foot from the frostbite. But he didn't lose his life, because a hiker stumbled upon his nearly dead body and raised the alarm.

Taro's story is just one of hundreds logged at Aokigahara Forest every year, a place known throughout Japan as the "suicide forest." The area is home to the highest number of suicides in the entire country.

Japan's suicide rate, already one of the world's highest, has increased with the recent economic downturn.

There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15 percent increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to the Japanese government.

The Japanese government said suicide rates are a priority and pledged to cut the number of suicides by more than 20 percent by 2016. It plans to improve suicide awareness in schools and workplaces. But officials fear the toll will rise with unemployment and bankruptcies, matching suicide spikes in earlier tough economic times.

"Unemployment is leading to this," said Toyoki Yoshida, a suicide and credit counselor.

"Society and the government need to establish immediate countermeasures to prevent suicides. There should be more places where they can come and seek help."

Yoshida and his fellow volunteer, Norio Sawaguchi, posted signs in Aokigahara Forest urging suicidal visitors to call their organization, a credit counseling service. Both men say Japanese society too often turns a cold shoulder to the unemployed and bankrupt, and breeds a culture where suicide is still seen as an honorable option.

Local authorities, saying they are the last resort to stop people from killing themselves in the forest, have posted security cameras at the entrances of the forest.

The goal, said Imasa Watanabe of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government is to track the people who walk into the forest. Watanabe fears more suicidal visitors will arrive in the coming weeks.

"Especially in March, the end of the fiscal year, more suicidal people will come here because of the bad economy," he said. "It's my dream to stop suicides in this forest, but to be honest, it would be difficult to prevent all the cases here."

One year after his suicide attempt, Taro is volunteering with the credit counseling agency that helped him get back on his feet. He's still living in a shelter and looking for a job. He's ashamed, he said, that he still thinks about suicide.

"I try not to think about it, but I can't say never. For now, the will to live is stronger."


"To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill." - Aristotle

Suicides Cost Japan Economy $32BN

BBC - The government in Japan says suicides and depression cost its economy almost 2.7tn yen ($32bn; £21bn) last year.

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.

Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates, with more than 32,000 people killing themselves last year. PM Naoto Kan sees it as proof of an economic and emotional downturn.

The government is setting up a task force to try to reduce the rate.

"Given that the number of suicides in Japan has been over 30,000 for 12 straight years, this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the entire nation," a health, labour and welfare ministry official said.

"We hope this study triggers stronger prevention measures."

The study showed that those who took their lives last year - 26,500 people in 2009 - when they were aged 15 to 69 would have earned 1.9tn yen had they worked until retirement.

Mr Kan has pointed to the suicide numbers as proof of what he believes is wrong with the country, with too many people suffering economically and emotionally.

"There are many causes of suicides. Decreasing them would be one way to build a society with a minimum level of unhappiness," he said.

But attitudes to depression in Japan arguably demand equally urgent scrutiny, correspondents say.

In a country in which stoicism and consensus are highly valued, many older people in particular view mental illness as a stigma that can be overcome simply by trying harder, they say.

The use of psychotherapy to treat depression has lagged behind North America and Europe, with Japanese doctors often viewing medication as the sole answer, they add.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Legend of Patty Cannon

Patty Cannon's skull - currently held at the Dover Public Library.
delmarvanow - By Michael Morgan - In a scene worthy of a Hollywood horror picture, an unsuspecting tenant farmer in southwestern Sussex County was calmly plowing a field when the earth opened up and swallowed his horse. Fortunately, the animal sank only belly deep, and after some work, the farmer was able to extricate the animal from the mysterious hole. Intrigued by the sudden appearance of the ragged hollow, the farmer cleared away the loose dirt and discovered a blue chest. After the odd box was brought to the surface and pried open, the farmer looked upon the jumbled bones of a dead man.

The farm was owned by Patty Cannon, who had long been suspected of a number of unsavory activities, and news of the grizzly discovery spread quickly. A horde of neighbors descended on the farm, and after uncovering several other skeletons, the mob broke into Cannon's house, where they discovered a hidden trapdoor in the ceiling of a closet. The frenzied searchers climbed through the secret door of the garret, where they discovered a windowless room constructed of heavy planks and equipped with leg irons. Here, the throng believed, was the answer to the mysterious disappearances of travelers that had plagued Sussex County for years.

During the first quarter of the 19th century, Cannon, who lived south of Seaford, had several brushes with the law, but she was always able to avoid serious consequences. In 1813, a warrant was issued for her arrest for trespassing and assault, but the charges were dropped. In 1816, her husband, Jesse, was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 39 lashes and a stay in the pillory. For years, there had been rumors about Cannon, but it was not until the crude graves and home were searched that the dark secrets of her shadowy life were exposed to the bright light of justice. After her arrest, she was hustled off to the Georgetown jail; Cannon hardly looked like a serial killer. According to a contemporary newspaper account: "This woman is now between 60 and 70 years of age, and looks more like a man than a women, but old as she is, she is believed to be as heedless and heartless as the most abandoned wretch that breathes."

Cannon confirmed the lurid rumors about her and confessed to killing 11 people, helping to murder a dozen others, and kidnapping blacks who were sold to slave catchers as runaway slaves. Within weeks, she was catapulted from being a cantankerous old woman who haunted the back trails of southern Delaware to becoming a nationally-known symbol of ruthless depravity. While awaiting trial, she was found dead in her cell. The wicked fiend had apparently cheated the hangman's noose by taking poison.

The infamy of Cannon grew after her death, and by the middle of the 20th century, some writers turned her into an attractive, but hard-hearted woman. In the 1950s, William Hartley published a sensational account of her crimes that included drawings that modeled her after Hollywood starlets. More accurate was the image of the drawing on the cover of "The Narrative and Confessions of Lucretia P. Cannon," which was published just a dozen years after her death. The illustration depicted a shapely woman standing with her upper body tilted provocatively to one side. With her back to the viewer and her face toward a blazing fireplace, her right hand kept her long hair in place. As she stood in her "come hither" pose, the woman's left hand was demurely tossing a small child into the roaring fireplace. Such wanton depravity sent chills down the spines of Sussex County residents for generations, and for many years, parents told children, "Be home before dark or Patty Cannon will get you!"



Patty Cannon and her husband Joe Johnson ran a slave sale trade. No one really knows where Patty Cannon came from, although some believe Canada, but all historians agree that she began her life of crime in the early 1800's as the leader of a gang that was organized to kidnap free blacks and sell them into black market slavery. When they brought them back to the house they would hide them in the basement, hidden rooms in the house and in the attic. They would take the slaves in covered wagons to Johnson's Ferry (now Woodland's Ferry). At the ferry they would sometimes meet a schooner which would take them down the Nanticoke River to the Chesapeake Bay and onto Georgia slave markets. This went on for many years with no one willing to turn them in to the police.

When they were caught in May, 1822 it took some coordination. It seems that when Patty Cannon knew the police were coming she would slip across state lines and away from that police force. Upon capture Joe Johnson was sentenced to 39 lashes which was carried out. Patty Cannon was charged with murder which she confessed to and while she was in her cell in Georgetown, Delaware she killed herself. What did Patty Cannon have to do with Maryland history?

When my husband and I were building a house we wanted to sell our trailer to get the money for building materials. When we had sold the trailer a friend called and told us that the bank was looking for someone to housesit the Patty Cannon house. A friend asked if we were interested and would we be scared because of all the ghost stories that were linked to this house.

We moved in December to discover that in the attic there was a straw mattress and chains. When the last owners were there they had decorated the house to give the feeling of the time when Patty Cannon lived there. We searched the house for hidden rooms and at one point crawled underneath the house where supposedly there was a basement. There were signs of what could have been a ladder leading to a hidden room in one of the closets. But our strangest sight was the two mannequins standing in the sliding glass doors. These mannequins were colored with black and wore clothing that had been torn and ripped so that they looked like slaves. When you drove past the house you would look into the sliding glass doors and think that there were two people staring at you. We heard sounds that could not be explained easily and sleeping under the door to the attic was eerie. The students I teach do not believe that I could live in this house and want to know what the sounds were and if there was a basement.

Since we lived there we have moved to a new house which is near what was an old hotel. In the basement of the Waterview Hotel is a bar and behind the bar is an opening that leads out into the Nanticoke River and to an island that no longer exists. Supposedly Patty Cannon used this tunnel to transport slaves to a ship that met them on the island. The Woodland Ferry is also on the Nanticoke River outside of Seaford, Delaware. Try to locate the Nanticoke River and Seaford, Delaware. - www.globalclassroom.org

NOTE: Thanks to the PBS television show "History Detectives", the current Patty Cannon house was not actually her house. The structure on the site was built after her death...Lon



castleofspirits - Jack Purnell was an associate of Patty Cannon's and was also a free slave at the time. Purnell was responsible for kidnapping dozens of other "Free Slaves" and selling them to plantations in the south, as well as to Patty Cannon to help work her criminal web. Rumor has it that he would kidnap a slave or two and would row his boat out into the Nanticoke river and shackle these free slaves to a few trees on a tiny Island in the middle of one of the many backwater lagoons. This Island was far from regular river travel at the time and was well concealed by bushes, and protected by underwater hazards such as sunken logs. Purnell would then return to town to sell his new captures, and after a day or so would return to the Island with a potential buyer to make the "sale".

One especially hot summer Purnell returned to the Island after two days of absence only to find that two out of the three slaves he had shackled there had died from heat exhaustion, and the third slave, (barely alive at this point) was dangling by his wrists from his chains. Purnell pulled out his lantern as night was encroaching on him, and began the task of removing the dead slaves from their shackles and after a few minutes of checking for other boats in the area, he dumped the bodies into the lagoon (the tiny Island was too full of roots from its dozen or so trees to dig graves). This is where the legend of Shackle Island ends, no one knows exactly where the Island is but, many locals including myself have claimed to have found it. It is no longer an island however as a hundred and eighty-six years of changing environments and seasons have reshaped the outline and path of the river, this shallow lagoon is now a mini swamp, and the Island is just a tiny hill with 3 large trees dominating the top of it.

It was a cold gray day in November and a buddy of mine and I went hunting and camping in the large woods that envelops the river down by a park, and boat dock named Phillip's Landing. After walking most of the day looking for terrain features that would be suitable for hunting deer, we decided it would be best to establish a "camp" and get a small fire going to cook dinner on, and dry out our wet socks, since the days are much shorter than in the summer.

While my friend pitched the tent, and began digging the fire pit I began to look for stones for a "draft wall" to put around the fire pit, and then finally to find some dry firewood. I must have walked further than I thought because suddenly I was lost and darkness was setting in. I began to scan for smoke in the sky or even the faint flicker of fire reflecting off the snow at the bases of the trees. There was no snow on the wet ground under my feet, so I could not retrace my steps back to camp.

My hunting partner had not been able to get a fire started as darkness settled in and he feared suffering the same fate as myself should he venture out for wood also. Luckily we had some 2-way radios, and after 10 minutes of discussing coordinates based on our individual compasses and maps we decided I was only about 30 yards from the river, and if I could find it and follow it back south a ways, I would be within 10 yards of the camp, and my buddy could use his whistle, or flashlight to signal me.

We kept up our communications as I began my trek to the river, when all of the sudden there in my path loomed a fairly large (15 foot) rotten boat. The boat was partially buried in the muddy ground, and was covered with moss, and small patches of snow clung to the moss here and there. An old oar broken in half, dangled over the edge of the boat, paddle half buried in the ground, and the handle buried in the mud in the bottom of the boat looked as if someone rowed this boat inland about 20 yards from the river. "There's a boat in the middle of the woods here," I said into the radio as I passed by it along the river. All I heard in return was static, no one answered my radio calls for the next ten minutes. I wondered if his radio had malfunctioned, or if he maybe had set out on his own to find me. Suddenly I heard a crackle on the radio and stopped to try and get the signal, but to no avail. Wait! Light! My mind raced, finally warm food and a nice warm tent, the only problem was the light was a little northwest of me and looked like it was from one of our coleman lanterns. He did try to find me I said to myself as I hollered to him and ran toward the lantern light. As I did my radio began screeching static at me, so I turned it down a little and as I neared closer to the light, I came across the boat again. Wow, I said you are out here a ways too, huh? And with that the light went out. Looking around I found myself on the side of a mossy hill, and decided to walk to the top to get a better view, maybe my buddy was just on the other side trying to relight the lantern. At the top of the hill stood three massive Cypress trees, and protruding out of one was what looked like an open wrist shackle and two links of chain, (the rest had been grown over by the tree) Suddenly I saw the light again at the boat, and I ran towards it as fast as I could, but as I neared the rotten hulk I saw the light move to the river's edge, and then out on the river itself.

By then I was spooked pretty bad, and suddenly my radio came to life, "Tyler!, where are you? I just saw your flashlight, about 10 minutes ago, and then you took off hollering in the other direction. Whats going on?" My blood ran cold and I raced through the brush and trees along the river south to camp, all the while that light followed me from out in the river.

After I got back and told him about what happened we packed up and left that camp at first light. Never to return there again.

I learned the Patty Cannon, and Jack Purnell History from my local library, and after reading about "Shackle Island" I was convinced I had been there, and that I would never go back. - Tyler from Delaware

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Delphos, Kansas UFO Landing Ring

SUMMARY: On 11/2/1971 in Delphos, Kansas, 16 year old Ronald Johnson was tending the sheep, accompanies by his dog, when the sighting happened. What he suddenly saw was a mushroom shaped object, illuminated by multicolored lights over its entire surface and hovering 25 yards away. Johnson and his family went around the house to the site of the near landing and were surprised to observe a glowing ring in the ground. This is considered as one of the very best physical trace cases involving a UFO landing.

ORIGINAL REPORT and DISCLOSURE: On the evening of November 2, 1971 sixteen-year-old Ronald Johnson was tending the sheep on his father's farm ear the small town of Delphos, Kansas. At about 7:00 p.m. Ronald and his dog Snowball were suddenly surprised to see an object hovering about two feet off the ground in a grove of trees some twenty-five yards from where he stood. The object, which he later estimated to be about nine feet in diameter and ten feet tall, was shaped like a mushroom with a short stem and was covered with multi-colored lights. It made a sound that Ronald described as like that of an old washing machine which vibrates. As he watched, it suddenly became very bright at the base and then it took off at an angle, temporarily blinding him. Ronald would later say that the dog was noticeably "very quiet", but that the sheep were bleating nervously.

Some minutes later, as Ronald's eyes once more adjusted to the light, he went into the house and told his parents, Durel and Erma Johnson, what he had seen. They got outside in time to see the object, which was now about half the full moon in size, before it vanished into the sky to the south.

Ronald and his parents then went to examine the place at which the object had been first seen. They were astonished to find a glowing ring on the ground, and some sort of glowing material on nearby trees. When Mrs. Johnson touched the glowing area, which had a crust-like texture, she found that her fingers went numb. She tried to wipe the substance off onto her leg, and her leg became numb where the material touched it. Her fingers reportedly remained slightly numb for about two weeks, although she never sought medical attention for the problem. Mr. Johnson fetched his camera and took a photo of the ring and then phoned the local newspaper, The Delphos Republican.

The next day, Durel and Ronald drove into town and spoke to a Delphos Republican reporter, Thaddia Smith. Mrs. Smith, her husband, and her son-in-law then accompanied the Johnsons back to their farm, where she found:

The circle was still very distinct and plain to see. the soil was dried and crusted. The circle or ring was approximately 8 feet across, the center of the ring and the outside area were still muddy from recent rains. The area of the ring that was dried was about a foot across and was very light in color.

MUFON sketch showing sideview of the encounter. (credit: MUFON / Connelly)
The object had crushed a dead tree to the ground either when it landed or took off, and from appearance had broken a limb of a live tree when it landed. the broken limb was most unusual, it would snap and break as though it had been dead for quite some time, yet it was green under the bark, and the upper area still had green leaves clinging to its branches. However the lower area looked as though it had been blistered and had a whitish cast.

That afternoon, Sheriff Enlow, Undersheriff Harlan Enlow, and Kansas State Highway Patrolman Kenneth Yager investigated the ring after being called by Thaddia Smith. Harlan Enlow's report of the investigation stated:

...we observed a ring shaped somewhat like a doughnut with a hole in the middle. The ring was completely dry with a hole in the middle and outside of the ring mud. There were limbs broken from a tree and a dead tree broken off, there. There was a slight discoloration on the trees.

The soil sample taken was almost white in color and very dry.

Enlow's report also stated that:

On 11-03-71 Mr. Lester Ensbarger of 416 Argyle St. in Minneapolis advised Deputy Sheriff Leonard Simpson that at approx. 7:30 p.m. 11-02-71 he had observed a bright light descending in the sky in the Delphos area.

The ring was still clearly visible thirty-two days later when examined by a UFO investigator named Ted Phillips, who specializes in physical-trace cases. The soil in the ring itself was still dry to a depth of at least twelve inches even though at this time it was covered by snow, whereas the soil outside the ring was wet and black. Phillips took several photos of the ring and collected soil samples from the ring and from the ground outside the ring.

A number of analyses were done of soil samples taken from the ring and from the surrounding soil. The ring soil was found to be resistant to water, to contain more calcium and more soluble salts, and to be more acidic than soil from outside the ring. In addition, the soil from the ring was found to contain an unidentified hydrocarbon and an organic material composed of white, crystal-like fibers.

According to Jacques Vallee, in his book Dimensions, a French biologist identified the white fibers as a fungus-like organism of the order Actinomycetales, whose growth can cause a circular pattern to form on the ground. In addition, this biologist, who asked not to be identified, stated that this fungus is often found growing with another fungus of the order Basidiomysetes, which may fluoresce under some conditions.

So...does that wrap the Delphos Ring up in a neat little package labeled "solved?"

Only if you're one of those debunkers who thinks that if you find an explanation for part of an incident, then you have "debunked" the entire incident. Remember, three witnesses saw a UFO, not just the ring, and their sighting was at least partly corroborated by a fourth witness eleven miles away in Minneapolis. The ring itself may not be directly related to the UFO sighting, and the presence of a fungus in the soil does not explain how the fluorescent material got onto the surrounding trees, nor how the branches got broken and the dead Chinese elm tree knocked down.

Both Thaddia Smith and Sheriff Enlow told Ted Phillips in 1972 that the Johnsons were well respected in the area and that they did not believe that it was possible that the family could be perpetrating a hoax.

The dog would furiously try to get into the house at nightfall.

The day after the incident, Ronald's eyes became red and watered as though from irritation. For a week after the incident he had nightmares from which he awoke screaming.

Even the animals were traumatized by the sighting. Vallee says:

For about two weeks, every evening at sunset, the sheep would jump out of the pen and run wildly. The dog would furiously try to get into the house at nightfall. He practically destroyed the screen door, and the only way to keep him outside was to replace it with a stronger metal door.

An adequate explanation for the Delphos incident has never been found.

Photograph of the landing ring left by the object
SOIL ANALYSIS: The famous Delphos, Kansas CE2 encounter occurred at approximately 7:00 in the evening on November 2, 1971. 16 year-old Ron Johnson was tending sheep when he saw a mushroom-shaped object approximately nine feet in diameter with multicolored lights covering its surface. The object, about 25 yards away, was hovering about two feet off the ground. The UFO sounded like "an old washing machine which vibrates." When it took off it temporarily blinded Ronald with a bright light from its base. Ron went to get his family, and when they returned the entire family saw the object in the sky.

At the site where the UFO had hovered witnesses saw "a glowing ring on the ground" and luminescence on nearby trees. Ron’s parents experienced numbing effects on touching the ring. One investigator said that the soil "felt strange, like a slick crust, as if the soil was crystallized." On examination the soil was found to be impermeable to water and "dry to a depth of at least one foot". A foul odor has also been reported by some investigators .

The objective of this analysis was to build on the initial analysis done by Erol Faruk on the Delphos ring soils in the 1970s . At the very least it is hoped this investigation will be a base case for reference to future analyses. Erol Faruk developed his analytical approach based on his experience as an Organic Chemist. He analyzed these materials using 1970’s technology which has advanced dramatically in 20 years. Computerization, new techniques, and instrumentation have advanced the field of analytical sciences to previously unachievable heights. Yet, Faruk’s work was outstanding and provided preliminary observations and conjectures regarding unknown residues extracted from the ring soils. My approach to the analysis, as an Analytical Chemist, is different; and there is nothing to contradict his initial observations.

Both ring and control soil samples from this event were located on Thanksgiving Day 1998, and received for analyses on December 7th. Thanks to the wisdom of John Timmerman, the samples were preserved in his attic for many years after closure of the CUFOS Chicago office. Documentation/sample labeling existed attesting to their authenticity, and they were encased in their original tightly closed film containers with no sign of tampering. - Analysis of Soil Samples Related to the Delphos, Kansas November 2, 1971 CE2 Event - PDF

Delphos, Kansas (1971) trace case: (from top to bottom) The glowing ring taken 10 minutes after ascent, the site as it was photographed 16 hours after the event by Sheriff, the site as it appeared 3 years, 6 months after the event. - Coast to Coast AM Archive

Philips, Ted. "Delphos, A Close Encounter of the Second Kind." UFO Coalition
Swords, Michael D. "Soil Analysis Results." Journal of UFO Studies - 1991
Phyllis A. Budinger, Delphos Soil Analysed, "MUFON UFO Journal", Number 427, 11/03
Rutkowski, Chris A. "I Saw It Too!: Real UFO Sightings" - 2009

Friday, October 22, 2010

'The Underground' Reptilian Encounter - Carthage, Missouri

When the following story first broke, most people just blew it off. I'll admit, I was one of the naysayers. Since that time, my opinions have changed and I feel that some of these reports need to be highlighted.

Location/Date: Near Carthage, Missouri - March 7, 2004 - afternoon: The two witnesses had gone ATV riding in a area referred to as "The Underground" which is a public and private storage facility near the town. The facility is miles and miles of carved out caves and also stores thousands of dehydrated food containers for the Navy. It is also a fallout shelter and can hold up to 40,000 to 50,000 people. They had gone about 8 miles deep into the caves when they turned into an area that was marked, "Naval Authoritative Zone." The walls had become more polished or finished, which was striking because this was supposed to be a newly blasted area. Both witnesses just kept on going, increasing their speed since the floor was paved now.

They came upon an unusual painted pattern on the floor, which they thought it was graffiti. The road then dipped down and took a 90-degree turn to the left. They were going too fast and knew they were going to hit the wall but, instead, they passed through some kind of holographic projection of the cave wall. Now they had come upon a whole new road system, this one large and much older than the one they had come from.

They began to notice a musty and damp odor that intensified as they went deeper into the area. The lighting had changed as well. It was now much darker than the other area from which they had come. They turned on their headlights and slowed down also noticing that it was starting to get cooler. They made a right turn and started to come up on what they thought was a rest area about 40 ft away. One of the witnesses then saw something that at first he thought were a pair of fountains until the objects moved. They both stopped immediately. About 30 ft away they saw two creatures, one was very tall (at least 7 ft, maybe more) and very powerfully built and reddish in color. The other was smaller (about 6 ft tall) and was a pale, almost albino color. This one was not as powerfully built as the other. Both beings resembled large reptiles. The beings said nothing but the witnesses did get a strong malevolent feeling, an evil presence of some kind from the taller one. One of the witnesses screamed and they immediately turned and started back. As they looked back they noticed the taller entity was following them. One witness had an overwhelming feeling that if it caught them, harm would come to them. They passed through the wall projection again, looked back and saw the tall entity raise it's arm holding a weapon of some sort. It fired and hit one of the ATVs, which apparently killed the engine causing it to stop. The rider ran to the other ATV and jumped on it. They drove away and looked back to see that the tall reptilian had now stopped at the graffiti area on the cave floor. It seemed that the creature would not cross the strange marked area...some type of barrier for the creature.

The witnesses now slowed down and were about 75 ft away from the creature. The two men and the reptilian stared at each other for about 15 seconds and then they left. The creature remained standing without moving. One of the witnesses called the police on his cell phone but he was told that the security at the facility would handle the matter. Indeed security waited for the men and threatened to arrest them if they did not leave.

NOTE: Above was the initial report of the incident posted on the UFO.About.com forum. Below is the statement given by one of the witnesses, Pat Garrett, on his reptilian experience as reported to Mary Sutherland, BUFO Paranormal and UFO Radio...Lon

This past Sunday...the 7th. A friend and I were riding two ATVs in a place called, "The Underground" it is a public and private storage facility in Carthage, Mo. What makes this place such a desirable storage facility is that it is all underground...hence the name. They are constantly expanding this place and there are miles and miles of carved out caves in there...and it goes pretty deep. This facility stores thousands and thousands of food containers, all dehydrated for the Navy...I have seen them and it is public knowledge around here. It is also a fall out shelter able to hold some 40,000 to 50,000 people. I tell you this to give some sense of the vastness of the place. I worked there as a subcontractor some 9 years ago...I helped build the office spaces up on top. I started to explore then...about once a month and did so all the way until this past Sunday. However, I never went as far or as deep before either.

It was fun to take the ATVs and cruise underground...no rain or weather problems...ever. We were approx 8 miles in and I'd say maybe 500 feet deep when we took a turn down an area that was marked "Naval Authoritative Zone" I remember making a comment about the Navy getting a ship down there and said that was an easy posting. The walls became more defined, as in polished or finished and this was striking because this was supposed to be a newly blasted area...totally backward I would think...still thinking nothing was wrong we kept going, actually increasing speed because the floor was paved now and we could go faster. We came up on an unusual painted pattern on the floor and I thought, "cool graffiti...kids have been down here...we're safe...won't get into any trouble." The road dipped down and then it took a 90' turn to the left...we had no warning and we were going too fast. I knew we were going to hit the wall. BUT we DIDN'T...we passed through some kind of projection of the cave siding...although I don't know how it was done...it was real looking. We passed into a whole new road system...this one was large, and much older than where we came from. We started to smell an odor...musty,damp, growing stronger as we went deeper on smell. The lighting decreased as well probably 60% less than the other area's...we turned on our headlights. We continued on at about 5 to 7 miles an hour for about 5 min and we noticed it was getting cooler...which was to me, very strange...since once inside a cave a certain distance...the temp says the same. We made a right turn and started to come up on what I thought was a rest area on the side...about 40 feet away. I thought it looked like a pair of fountains until they moved. We both stopped immediately. We were approx. 30' feet away now and what we saw were two creatures, one was very tall at least 7' feet maybe more and very powerfully built...reddish in color and the other was smaller about 6' feet but it was not red in color but pale, like an albino and it was not as powerfully built as the other. They looked like REPTILES...living, walking, intelligent beings...not human...not warm blooded. Reptiles! I know it sounds crazy but it is true. They said nothing but I did get a strong sense from the big one. A malevolence, evil presence of some kind. My friend screamed and we turned around...a power turn. We started to go back out when my friend said, "the big one" was after us. I looked back and it was following us. I had the overwhelming feeling that if it caught us that harm would come to us. We passed through the wall projection and I looked back and saw the thing raise it's arm and it had a weapon of some sorts. It fired and hit the ATV my friend was on. The engine died and he stopped. I told him to jump on...and he did. I gunned it and then my friend said, "STOP!" I slowed down and he he said, "LOOK!". I looked back and the thing had stopped at the graffiti on the cave floor/road. The ATV was on it's side of the graffiti/symbol. It was obvious the thing would not cross the marking. I slowed more...we were now about 75' feet away. I stopped and the three of us...Me, my friend and the creature/reptile/man thing just looked at each other...for about 15 sec. And let me tell you...that is a long time. Then I started to leave...It stayed there waiting and not moving until we were out of sight. As soon as we cleared the cave I got on my cell phone and called the Sheriff's Dept. I was told that they would not come out and that "Underground Security" would handle it. Then they hung up! By law they are not to do that...We can hang up on anyone...but a government office, be it City or Federal can not hang up on you. Anyway, I was shocked and scared and we took off across the outside of the underground over to my truck and sure enough...Underground Security was waiting for us. We were told to leave, not to tell anybody about this...that if I come back...The Navy would press charges. I was also told that I had 10 min to leave or I would be taken in. What can I say...we left. It has been 3 days since this has happened and I am still shaken. I am a powerful person, 6'4" and 265 lbs and I have never in my life be afraid for my life...until this past Sunday. I lost my one of my two ATV's. Vin#5y4Ag0o1y61a071120. As far as I know...it is still down there. My friend will not talk about it and I have not heard anything from anyone about it. I did call the Sheriff's Dept. and they said they never got a call from me. Well, that is my story...I have never had anything strange happen in my life and I am very very concerned about this. I can tell you this...I had an urge to kill the things I saw down there...I don't know if that is a natural reaction as most people have a natural revulsion towards reptiles or because of my faith and the feeling of evil I had...or what. All I know is that they are real...and I wish I could do something...anything to combat or help against these things. Take care all and thank you again for letting me write this and share this experience.

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