“Animal Apocalypse” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

Posted September 27, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: animals, anomalies, environmental, events involving animals, furry, species survival, speculation, television

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Episode 10, Season 1 of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved looked  at a global increase in animal die-offs, a phenomena referred to as the “Animal Apocalypse.”  Several examples of this were then investigated.

On New Year’s Eve 2010 in Beebe, Arkansas, blackbirds swarmed all over the town, impacting with buildings and other objects, and dropping dead on lawns and streets.  The next morning, residents found 5,000 dead birds in the city.  In a scene reminiscent of The X-Files, crews in Hazmat suits were called in, collecting the birds and taking them to a wildlife health center in Madison, Wisconsin where experts examined the bodies and found that birds were not ill but had impact injuries, dying from blunt force trauma.  The question was why had blackbirds bruised and battered their bodies in Beebe; nothing like a little alliteration to liven things up!  The best answer was that New Year’s Eve fireworks displays had scared hundreds of thousands of birds, forcing them into flight at night when the species couldn’t see, causing them to simply fly into things, which did not go well for them.  

Elsewhere in Ozark, Arkansas 80,000 drum fish were found dead along the Arkansas River. No abnormal toxins were found in the water, but examination of the fish revealed that they had over-inflated swim bladders, a condition referred to as gas bubble disease.  This condition was felt to have been caused by an abnormally high number of gate openings at a dam on the river.

Some entire species of bees are disappearing at a furious rate in a phenomena referred to as “Colony Collapse Disorder .”  Such things could pose a direct threat to the world food supply of fruits, nuts, and vegetables where pollination by bees is critical.  The mystery of the vanishing bees remains unsolved.  “White Nose Syndrome” has also ravaged bat populations in the eastern U.S., causing strange behavior such as bats flying out during the day and in winter.  Five to seven million bats were lost during the winter of 2008, with the afflicted bats showing a fungus which eroded through tissues and made them thirsty during normal hibernation times.

Time was given to a Pastor Wohlberg, who felt that species die-offs were part of Biblical end times prophesy.  By this viewpoint, it’s all a reflection of corruption of the Earth due to human immorality…

Wildlife die-offs have been noted globally, in countries that have included England, Brazil, Italy, the Philippines, and Peru.  Pandemics are likely to happen as animal diseases jump to human populations.  This occurred with the Black Death that ravaged medieval Europe, as well as with the 1918 Influenza epidemic, the West Nile virus, the Swine Flu, and others.  Pathogens getting into the human population increases every year, so we can reasonably expect more of the same in the future, with animal populations providing an advance warning.  

“Bermuda Triangle” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

Posted September 18, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: anomalies, environmental, speculation, television, unexplained

 

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Ships go missing!- – Planes vanish without a trace! – – Are strange forces at work, or is the Bermuda Triangle just a myth?  In another episode focusing on the paranormal and mysteries rather than cryptozoology, Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved on their S1/Ep09 installment dealt with such questions.  Most of the segments again covered familiar territory and occurrences in an uneven fashion.

There was pilot Bruce Gernon, who in 1970 while flying from Palm Beach to the Bahamas encountered a lenticular cloud which ascended and expanded, trapping him.  A kind of tunnel with strange lines formed, his instruments went haywire, and the pilot could not ascertain his position, but reported the sensation of zero-gravity and hydroplaning.  He arrived at his destination earlier than otherwise would have been possible given the capabilities of his small plane.  At least this pilot had a positive outcome…

…not so the legendary Flight 19, a group of five American Navy Avenger bombers which a quarter century earlier disappeared while on a training flight out of Ft. Lauderdale.  Compass deviations were reported, with the final squadron transmission occurring two hours into the flight.  Despite a massive search, no trace of the planes or their occupants were ever found.  The ill-fated Fight 19 was termed the single most important event perpetuating the myth of the Bermuda Triangle.

On the sea itself, the USS Cyclops disappeared in 1918 on route to Baltimore out of Barbados.  A massive ship for its day, no wreckage, oil slick, or any trace of the vessel was ever found.  The ship went down over the Puerto Rico Trench, a deep part of the ocean.  A rogue wave was advanced as the leading theory for the disappearance.  Other oceanic disasters have included the sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil rig in 1982.

These are but a few of the best known Bermuda Triangle disappearances, with author/researcher Michael Preisinger reporting over fifty unsolved cases.  Even Christopher Columbus reported compass malfunctions.  David Pares believes that bad weather accounts for most of the disappearances, noting that converging storms can form a hole between them, possibly like that experienced by pilot Gernon in 1970.  Efforts to recreate his experience, however, have not been successful.  Other explanations briefly and weakly advanced included the possible association of gamma rays with thunderstorms, and the weakening of Earth’s magnetic fields, especially in association with an area called “the South Atlantic Anomaly.”  Ultimately, the show concluded that the Bermuda Triangle is felt to be founded more on myth than on facts…

 

“The Haunted” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

Posted September 14, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: mysteries, paranormal, speculation, television, unexplained

Tags: , , ,


Ghosts and hauntings are not my usual stomping ground in this blog, and I have no intention of making such topics a routine consideration…but Halloween came a bit early to Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep08 installment called “The Haunted,” an investigation of ghostly phenomena that likely comes under the broad category of mysteries, so we’ll cover it as we have other considerations of the series.  I’ll try to organize the key segments presented, as the series usually bounces back and forth between one incident and another without presenting each to conclusion in a linear fashion, which I find frustrating.
A cornerstone of the hour was an investigation of a haunting in Mansfield, Connecticut where a woman called Amy Moore in 1989 got a bargain buy on a run-down house.  It turned out not to be such a bargain as there were reports of the walls vibrating, doors slamming, unexplained footsteps, and a door with a hook and latch leading to a third floor opening by itself.  House guests also reported unexplained sights and sounds such as growling and a flying water bottle.  When these incidents intensified over time, paranormal investigator Joe Gallant was called in.  Using multiple cameras and an EVP detector, the investigating team captured some EVP’s, but they were of poor quality.  

A second segment involved an investigation of a supposedly haunted “island of the dolls” in Xochimilco, Mexico.  The original owner of the island collected dolls to ward off spirits.  Following the drowning of a girl there, the haunting is said to have started with the dolls moving and emanating sounds.  An investigation was made by paranormal researchers, with their EMF detector showing that some of the dolls registered magnetism. While the dolls hanging everywhere were creepy, it was felt that their movements were more due to thermal changes and changes in water and moisture.  Beyond that, the power of suggestion takes over.  Sounds could come from intermittent battery operation of voice units still operative in the dolls, or be misinterpreted cries of passing cats and other animals in the environment.

England is reputed to have considerable hauntings, and so Muncaster Castle was profiled, reputed to be known for door handles inexplicably turning, and the cries of unseen children audible.  A team led by cognitive psychologist Dr. Jason Braithwaite positioned volunteers for a night in separate bedrooms of the castle, only one of which was reputedly haunted.  The volunteers, however, didn’t know which of their number was assigned to the “haunted” bedroom.  Only a third of the sample subjects reported feeling uneasy during their nocturnal stay.  Dr. Braithwaite expressed his belief that haunted experiences are all in the mind, and that the physical environment can trigger bodily reactions.

The overall tone taken by the hour was skeptical, with researcher Dr. Christopher French offering scientific explanations of paranormal experiences.  According to Dr. French, expectation is all, and ghostly experiences are essentially hallucinations, although they appear real to people having them.  The perspectives of Dr. Braithwaite were similar to this, holding that the power of suggestion can predispose haunting or ghostly experiences in the susceptible.

So there you have it…but you may want to keep the Ghostbusters in mind, just in case…

Kraft’s “Assume Nothing” Lobster Commercial

Posted September 11, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, animal presence, anthropomorphic, Brilliant but twisted, furry, furry commercials, Invertebrates, strange, television

Tags: ,

 

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In a brief surreal commercial for Kraft Foods, we are introduced to Bill, who assumed that an event was a costume party, attending it in a full lobster suit. – – Don’t you hate it when that happens?!  Hapless Bill even inadvertently clouts a woman with a claw when he turns; wouldn’t that make for an interesting lawsuit?  Like Bill, I can relate to social embarrassments, being a fox out of the woodlands myself; the faux pas is my life.

Bill also assumed that his mayo was the best, when Kraft olive oil mayo delivers the taste with half the calories of the competition.  “Assume Nothing!,” we are counseled by the advertiser.  While these are words to live by, this is not to advocate unconditional buying into conspiracy theories despite the fact that it’s an election year…

“Chupacabra” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

Posted September 6, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: animals, anomalies, controversial, cryptozoology, speculation, television, unidentified

 

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A number of series have previously dealt with the subject of the Chupacabra, and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep07 episode also gave the topic a go.   Attacks of the “goat sucker” reportedly first started in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990’s.  Since that time, reports of the creature have come from Cuero, Texas where rancher Phyllis Canion found exsanguinated chickens and reported sighting a hairless animal with a long snout and a strange gait.  An area sheriff in August of 2008 also recorded a strange creature on his dash cam that matched that description.  Other ranchers have found dead cattle on their ranches, and one had a video of a canid-like animal with short front legs, a long snout, and gray hairless skin.

Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard has interviewed eyewitnesses of the creature, and examined the rotting remains of an unidentified animal hit by a car; some people seem to have all of the fun at their jobs!  This corpse was taken to Texas Tech, where it was examined by anthropologist Eileen Johnson, who pronounced it neither a wolf nor a dog, and found it to be more like a coyote.  

In that a living specimen can yield better and more complete information, a group assisted by a vet was covered in their efforts to hunt and trap a Chupacabra at night.  They set up motion camera traps baited with rotted deer meat and a hapless living chicken.  The motion detector camera detected nothing unknown, and even the chicken survived to see the morning.  

Now a neighbor of the previously mentioned rancher Phyllis Canion conveniently had another carcass of an unidentified canid, and part of its tongue was sent in for DNA testing while the bulk of the carcass was taken to a vet.  The biologist who tested the sample’s DNA found that the animal was a coyote/wolf hybrid.  

Other far out theories were also touched on, including the legend as mentioned by writer Nick Redfern that the Chupacabra was some kind of alien creature.  A supposed connection between the Chupacabra and UFO sightings was brought up.  A more mundane explanation was also offered that the Chupacabra was actually a case of mistaken identify, with a Rhesus monkey on the lam thought to be the cryptid.  Dr. Robert Baker, a wildlife geneticist, seemed skeptical of the notion that the Chupacabra was capable of living on blood, saying that they would have to have specialized organs to accomplish this.  

As with other unidentified and sought after but elusive creatures, people want to believe in them.  For some, the mystery lives on…

 

 

“Monsters of the Deep” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

Posted August 30, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: aquatic, controversial, cryptozoology, speculation, television, unexplained, unidentified

Tags: ,

 

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The S1/Ep06 episode of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved focused on unidentified and unconfirmed aquatic cryptids reported in Loch Ness, Scotland; Lake Champlain, Vermont; and Vancouver Island, Canada.  Reports of creatures in all three locations were largely based on eyewitness observations, occasionally accompanied by a blurry photograph taken at some distance.  

Sightings of the celebrated Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century, and the series touched upon two recent observations reported in 2003 and 2010.  Both were of course inconclusive, with one recent image discounted by experts as likely light reflections on the water.  The notion that the Loch Ness creature was a plesiosaur was also briefly considered, but dismissed by experts as being very unlikely.

Acoustics were used by a vessel profiled in the Lake Champlain segments that hoped to capture echolocation sounds.  While a couple of rapping sounds were heard, they were not thought to be bioacoustic in origin.  Likewise no confirming evidence was found of the creature reported to frequent the waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. 

As it was pointed out, any reported site of a water monster would not be comprised of a single individual, but rather have to have a breeding population of perhaps fifty or more specimens for a population to be viable and capable of continuing its existence.  Investigations will continue at all three sites profiled, likely for the foreseeable future…

“Doomsday Prophecies” on “Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved”

Posted August 9, 2016 by vulpesffb
Categories: speculation, television

Tags: ,

 

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The Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved series to date has been big on mysteries, but not so much on monsters.  I find this disappointing, as I can best find fulfillment with monsters! Having said that, I’ll again dutifully review yet another meandering episode on mysteries that again covered well-worn and familiar territory, namely “Doomsday Prophecies.”

The show began with a consideration of “Doomsday Preppers” in rural Texas.   Such people hardly qualify as prophets, beyond gut sentiments that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and nukes or multiple calamities are about to fly.  When it does, they feel that they’ll be ready with their guns, crops, livestock, and fenced-in defended perimeters. “Bug out” drills are even practiced in case flight from a homestead becomes necessary.

For simple name recognition and as the gold standard in prophesy, it’s hard to beat Nostradamus, the 16th century French physician and astrologer. The death of his family from plague in 1538 may have given birth to Nostradamus’ prophetic gifts, with his predicted details of the then-future said to include the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the 9/11 attacks on the United States.  Critics, however, contend that prophecies derived from the cryptic writings of Nostradamus have fitted an event to a verse after they have happened.  

Codes in the Torah have also been decoded with computer-assisted cryptography, and are said to contain allusions to historic events.  Here again critics say that predictions are retrofitted to an event, and that such predictions gleaned are a product of chance, not divine design.  Similar “predictions” and prophecies can be obtained when the techniques are applied to other works, including such titles as Moby Dick.  

Also touched upon were Mayan prophesies, with the Dresden Codex said to predict the end of the world.  The Mayans found prophesies in the stars, demonstrating an advanced understanding of astronomy, and seeing world experiences as being great cycles of time.  

What conclusions were drawn out of the hour’s wandering investigations?  Namely, that people tend to read into data whatever they want to, bending it into a conclusion that often is predetermined. Prophecies in this light are dark delusions that never really come true…