; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, May 17, 2013

Just the Facts?: Stone Age Zombie Apocalypse -- World's Oldest Flowing Water -- Jefferson Parish Werewolf

Stone Age people may have battled against a zombie apocalypse

The zombie apocalypse may be much more than a plot device exploited by modern horror movies. In fact, fears about the walking dead may go back all the way to the Stone Age.

Archaeologists working in Europe and the Middle East have recently unearthed evidence of a mysterious Stone Age "skull-smashing" culture, according to New Scientist. Human skulls buried underneath an ancient settlement in Syria were found detached from their bodies with their faces smashed in. Eerily, it appears that the skulls were exhumed and detached from their bodies several years after originally being buried. It was then that they were smashed in and reburied separate from their bodies.

According to Juan José Ibañez of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona, the finding could suggest that these Stone Age "skull-smashers" believed the living were under some kind of threat from the dead. Perhaps they believed that the only way of protecting themselves was to smash in the corpses' faces, detach their heads and rebury them apart from their bodies.

But here's the creepy thing: many of the 10,000-year-old skulls appear to have been separated from their spines long after their bodies had already begun to decompose. Why would this skull-smashing ritual be performed so long after individuals had died? Did they only pose a threat to the living long after their original burial and death?

If it was a ritualistic exercise, it also raises questions about why only select corpses were chosen. All of the smashed skulls were from adult males between the ages of 18 and 30. Furthermore, there was no trace of delicate cutting. It appears that the skulls' faces were simply smashed in using brute force with a stone tool.

Of course, there's almost certain to be a rational explanation for all of this. Then again, it's also fun to consider the possibility that these findings represent evidence for a Stone Age zombie uprising.

Let's consider a few key facets of zombie mythology. Zombies, as we know, are hungry for the flesh of the living, and the only way to stop them is with a head shot. In many zombie movies, this involves shooting them in the cranium. One might surmise that the Stone Age equivalent of this would be to instead smash in their faces with a big rock. Perhaps the lopping off of their heads was then performed to ensure that the job was done.

Perhaps the reason the original dead bodies seemed to be exhumed before their heads were properly smashed in was because the dead had risen from their own graves, under their own power.

Maybe, just maybe, Stone Age Syrians battled against and saved the world from an imminent zombie apocalypse some 10,000 years ago. The theory may not make great fodder for a scientific thesis, but it sets up the plotline for a B-grade horror movie to perfection.

Ibañez, not biting, operates with a cooler head. Being ever the sound researcher, he has proposed more tempered theories to explain the findings. For instance, it's possible that Stone Age people simply believed that they could absorb the strength of the dead young men by performing the ritual. This would help explain why all the skulls were from young men. It would also help to explain why the heads were buried directly underneath a thriving settlement. He also suggested the head-smashing could have been an act of revenge or spite.

Liv Nilsson Stutz at Emory University in Atlanta suggested the act could also have been a way of dealing with grief: "Taking away facial identity could be a way of separating the dead from the living," she said. - MNN


World's Oldest Flowing Water Discovered

Water found in a deep, isolated reservoir in Timmins, Ont., has been trapped there for 1.5 billion to 2.64 billion years — since around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet — Canadian and British scientists say.

The water pouring out of boreholes 2.4 kilometres below the surface in the northern Ontario copper and zinc mine is older than any other free-flowing water ever discovered. It is rich in dissolved gases such as hydrogen and methane that could theoretically provide support for microbial life, the researchers report in a paper published Wednesday online in the journal Nature.

"What we can be sure of is that we have identified a way in which planets can create and preserve an environment friendly to microbial life for billions of years," said a statement from Greg Holland, the Lancaster University geochemist who is the lead author of the study.

"This is regardless of how inhospitable the surface might be, opening up the possibility of similar environments in the subsurface of Mars."

His Canadian co-authors included Barbara Sherwood Lollar and Georges Lacrampe-Couloume at the University of Toronto; Greg Slater at McMaster University in Hamilton; and Long Li, who is currently an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, but worked on the project while at the University of Toronto.

Some Canadian members of the team are currently testing the water to see if it contains microbial life — if they exist, those microbes may have been isolated from the sun and the Earth's surface for billions of years and may reveal how microbes evolve in isolation.

Microbes that have been isolated for tens of millions of years have been found in water with similar chemistry at even slightly deeper depths below the surface in a South African gold mine, using hydrogen gas as an energy source, the researchers noted.

The researchers estimated how old the water was based on an analysis of the xenon gas dissolved in it. Like many other elements, xenon comes in forms with different masses, known as isotopes. The water in the Timmins mine contained an unusually high level of lighter isotopes of xenon that are thought to have come from the Earth's atmosphere at the time it became trapped.

The Earth's atmosphere used to contain a lot more of the lighter xenon, but it is thought to have been destroyed by the high levels of ultraviolet radiation and the bombardment of asteroids on the surface of the Earth during the planet's first few hundred million years. Geological evidence from air trapped in ancient rocks has helped map the relationship between the amount of lighter xenon in the atmosphere and the age of the Earth at the time.

The study was funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Natural Environment Research Council in the U.K., and the Deep Carbon Observatory.

Although the water found in the Timmins mine is older than any other known reservoir of flowing water, it is not the oldest water ever found. Water trapped inside tiny bubbles within rocks has been dated to be billions of years old. However, tiny droplets completely encased in rock can't support life. - CBC


Cooking with Cicadas

Soft-Shelled Cicadas

1 cup Worcestershire sauce
60 freshly emerged 17 year cicadas
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
Salt and pepper to season flour
1 cup corn oil or slightly salted butter

Marinate cicadas, alive in a sealed container, in Worcestershire sauce for
several hours.*
Dip them, in beaten egg, roll them in the seasoned flour and then gently
saute them until they are golden brown.

4 main dish servings

*this step may be skipped and you may go directly to the egg step

Find more tasty Maryland cicada recipes at CICADA-LICIOUS: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas


Print....Black Bear or Bigfoot?

Pennsylvania Bigfoot Shooting Dispatcher Call

The dispatcher's call has been placed on YouTube. There are other recordings which may be released later. Here's the summary from PBS that I posted Thursday night.

Audio - Pennsylvania Bigfoot Shooting 911 Call

The transcription from the recording is as follows:

Begin Transmission: “Dispatcher: Did you have a Mr. ###### at ## Spruce Street?” Police officer: “Negative.” Dispatcher: “He called the 911 call center advising he called the state game commission and no one has returned his calls and he is requesting an officer to his house as he has proof of Bigfoot.” Police Officer: “Bigfoot, Right?” Dispatcher: “Affirmative, he wants an officer to come to his residence.” “Apparently he has proof of Bigfoot.” Police Officer: reply was unintelligible.

End of Transmission.

Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook

Really Mysterious Pennsylvania: UFOs, Bigfoot & Other Weird Encounters Casebook One


Jefferson Parish Werewolf

The following anecdote was forwarded by a reader:

I have been reading about your wolf man sightings from people. I think I wrote you about this but I am going to write it again in case it didn't get to you. It happen a few months ago. Me and my dog were walking a levee around this big tower, looking for wild pigs in lower Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. While almost to the tower where it opens up my dog stopped and growled. I heard a low growl back and when I shined my light, it lit up what I can only describe as a werewolf. Dark black hair looked exactly like the werewolves from the movie 'Howling.' It started moving toward me about 30 to 40 feet away then I drew my pistol and shot. By this time my dog was already running and I followed. I can hear it as I'm running back to my truck about 500 yards away from the sighting. I can hear it stalking us through the woods as I neared my truck. It came out again I shined my light on it. My light was a bright head lamp that runs to a battery. But anyways, as I shined the light on it this time I pulled my pistol and shot straight for it. I do believe I hit it because it stumbled, let out a growl/howl and disappeared back into the woods. I was close to my vehicle, got to it and got out of there. When I was a little kid my grandpaw told me a story about when he was young he heard something howl in the same area I was. It stalked him through the woods, but he never saw it. Have you ever gotten any stories similar to this in this area?

NOTE: there have been wolfman stories throughout the Louisiana bayou since the time native people were dominate...Loup Garou, Rougarou (Rugaru), the Cajun Wolfman, etc. Lon

Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America

Hunting the American Werewolf

Werewolves: Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena