Wednesday, January 16, 2019

IN MEMORIAM: AALIYAH, QUEEN OF THE DAMNED


Aaliyah Dana Haughton (1979-2001) - from Queen of Star Search to Queen of the Damned, we lost her too soon.



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WEIRD, WEIRD WORLD


Odd 'Mystery Creature' Attacks Dog
June 12, 2018



A bizarre piece of footage that appeared online this week shows a monstrous-looking creature of some kind lunging at a man's dog. The video was purportedly recorded back in 2015, but only popped up on YouTube yesterday. Little is known about the nature of the footage, only that it was allegedly shot somewhere in the United States. Who filmed the video and where, specifically, it took place remain a mystery.

Despite the lack of clarity surrounding the origin of the footage, what is shows is pretty remarkable. In the video, a dog can be heard barking in the background as the camera focuses on a dark mass among some trees. Suddenly, the anomaly springs up from the ground and is revealed to be an enormous animal. And, making matters all the more unsettling, the creature is headed straight for the dog that disturbed it.

The two animals briefly keep their distance from each other until the encounter culminates with a confrontation. Fortunately, that moment is not featured on the video, so those worried about seeing such a scene can rest easy. That said, the man's shouting and the dog's yelping seem to suggest that things did not go well for his pet when it met the beast.

As to what the creature could have been, there are a few schools of thought on that matter. Much like the weird wolf killed in Montana last month, some imaginative observers have theorized that the animal is either a dog-man or a not-quite-extinct dire wolf. More skeptical viewers argue that it is simply a normal, albeit incredibly large, wolf. And a handful of people have actually proposed that the mystery beast might actually be a pony!

[SOURCE: Coast 2 Coast AM.]

Mysterious Mummified Monkey Found in Minneapolis
April 10, 2018


A construction crew renovating a 116-year-old building in Minneapolis unearthed the mummified remains of a monkey and no one has any idea how it wound up there.

The strange discovery was made by workers at the site of what was once the flagship location of the Dayton's department store chain in the city's downtown.

A person involved with the project subsequently passed along an image of the oddity to a Facebook group devoted to celebrating Minnesota's history.

The weird find has left many wondering what the monkey's origin story may have been and what circumstances led to its untimely demise in the ceiling of a pretty massive department store.

The two more prevalent theories are that the creature escaped from an exotic pet sale that was held at the store in 1963 or possibly a pet shop once located on the premises.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the tale may be that this might just be an urban legend, of sorts, come true.

That's because a maintenance worker who spent five decades at Dayton's once told a fellow employee that, indeed, a monkey had managed to find a way out of the pet store and wound up in the ducts of the building before falling victim to an exhaust fan blade.

While we're guessing that the person who had been told the story had a good chuckle about the unbelievable nature of the tale at the time, it seems that it's the maintenance worker who is getting the last laugh.

[SOURCE: Fox9 Minneapolis.]

Water Study Inadvertently Solves Easter Island Moai Mystery?
October 10, 2018


An intriguing new theory suggests that the legendary statues found on Easter Island, known as 'moai,' may have had a less mystical purpose than previously imagined. As part of his decades-long study of the original inhabitants of the tiny island, anthropologist Carl Lipo believes that he may have inadvertently solved the longstanding mystery. This occurred as a result of the researcher's curiosity about how the Rapa Nui people were able to survive in light of the scarcity of freshwater on the island.

According to a newly published paper by Lipo, field studies on the island found that there were "abundant locations of brackish but potable water along the coastline." The anthropologist concluded that this was likely where the Rapa Nui civilization got much of its drinking water. While the solution to that particular mystery may sound a bit mundane to some, it very well may have resulted in a rather remarkable breakthrough when it comes to questions surrounding the iconic moai on the island.

That's because, much to Lipo's surprise, when he looked at where the freshwater sources were found on the island, they just so happened to line up with locations that also feature the moai. "The more we looked, the more consistently we saw this pattern," he told Newsweek, noting that areas where there were no statues also had no nearby sources of freshwater. He also argued that this theory seems to explain why the moai were placed in areas on the island which appear to be incongruous to the idea that they were monuments of some kind.

On the contrary, Lipo posits, the massive statues served the utilitarian purpose of pointing out freshwater sources. Why, exactly, the Rapa Nui people would choose to erect enormous statues in such locations rather than devising a different method for marking where one could find drinkable water is, of course, still a mystery.

[SOURCE: Coast 2 Coast AM.]

Voynich Manuscript Solved Via AI?
January 26, 2018


A computer scientist in Canada says that he has cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript using artificial intelligence.

The infamous indecipherable text found in the book believed to be from the 1400's has baffled researchers since it was found in 1912.

In the ensuing years, countless researchers and cryptographers have exhaustively studied the book hoping to unravel the riddle that is the Voynich Manuscript.

And it seems that not a year goes by without someone declaring that they have finally done it, yet the mystery has endured as Voynich-ologists can never quite agree on a specific solution.

The latest entry into the fray is Greg Kondrak, a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence from the University of Alberta.

According to Kondrak, he and a colleague devised a method to apply their AI work to the coded text and the results were rather astounding.

They began by creating a massive data set comprised of the UN Bill of Rights translated into a whopping 380 languages.

The researchers then developed a way in which a computer could process the Voynich Manuscript and determine its core language.

Amazingly, they say, the project proved successful with the AI picking out Hebrew as the root language a jaw-dropping 97 percent of the time.

The program ultimately was able to reassemble the scrambled, vowel-less words into Hebrew text which seemed to fit together perfectly when put into a sentence with similarly-deciphered words.

For example, Kondrak claims, they were able to actually solve the first sentence of the notorious tome and say that it reads, "she made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people."

A cursory look at some of the other words they've found in the book suggest that theories suggesting that it is some kind of health or medicine text appear to be on the right track.

But what may be even more remarkable is that the AI analysis is perfectly in line with a study of the book's illustrations that made headlines last year by indicating that the author was a Jewish doctor.

That these two studies coming from dramatically different perspectives could come to the same relative conclusion is particularly tantalizing.

Nonetheless, Kondrak's work is presumably now being parsed over by the fastidious Voynich research and, no doubt, adopted by those who see it fitting with their theories and discarded by those who don't.

[SOURCE: CBS News.]

Forensic Linguist Solves Jack the Ripper Letter Mystery?
January 29, 2018


A longstanding mystery surrounding letters purportedly penned by infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper may have been solved by a forensic linguist in England.

The notorious miscreant of Whitechapel literally made a name for himself after sending a handful of letters to newspapers detailing his crimes and calling himself 'Jack the Ripper.'

Publication of the unsettling missives, in turn, spawned a series of hoaxes and fake Ripper letters that eventually numbered over two hundred.

As one can imagine, this has caused considerable controversy in the Ripper research community when it comes to which letters may have been genuine.

And now, it seems, one aspect of this mystery may have finally been solved thanks to the work of forensic linguist Dr. Andrea Nini of the University of Manchester.

Taking a look at two of the earliest letters written at the time, including the first missive to contain the Ripper name, Nini determined that they were written by the same person.

This conclusion was derived from a number of subtle similarities found in the texts of the two pieces of writing.

Nini also raised the intriguing possibility that a third letter, previously dismissed as a publicity stunt from an English newspaper, may have also been penned by the same author.

While the findings may not answer to the question of who Jack the Ripper was, the study seems to, at least, clear up some confusion surrounding one of the more vexing clues to the case.

The research also shows that there are possible breakthroughs to be found in classic mysteries should one apply modern methods as was also seen last week with the AI study of the Voynich Manuscript.

Source: University of Manchester

Monday, January 14, 2019

DR. WHO ADVENTURES FOR KIDS


It's Monday -- blecchh! Let's have a little fun, shall we? This is a magazine aimed at kids and is published by the same outfit that publishes the regular BBC DR. WHO magazine. Complete with character profiles, activities, puzzles and a comic story, DR. WHO ADVENTURES is a lively 'zine for kids. . . and for the kid in all of us. Have fun!







































Sunday, January 13, 2019

PUTTING A HEX ON HITLER


As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here is a related story from LIFE magazine, this time from the wartime America of 1941, that involves a group of "voodoo practitioner's" attempting to create an egregore (a collective group thought) to kill off Adolph Hitler. The event seemed like more of a staged publicity stunt than the earlier, more serious effort by occultist Dion Fortune to visualize angels to guard the coast of England against Hitler's bombing of London in 1939 (which was considerably more desperate than trying to block an appointment to the US Supreme Court).

The "hex party" was attended by William Seabrook, who had gained notoriety for chronicling his experiences among the Haitian practitioners of voodoo in his book, The Magic Island. The world would have to wait another four years for the death of Hitler (if we are to believe of his suicide in the Fuhrerbunker). Nevertheless, Seabrook's celebrity bid was a complete success.

NOTE: The accompanying photos are from the article as it was originally published in LIFE.

Putting a Hex on Hitler: LIFE Goes to a 'Black Magic' Party
Ben Cosgrove
Mar 04, 2014
"On the wet windy evening of January 22, a youthful band of idealists went to a lonely cabin in the Maryland woods."

Thus begins one of the odder stories LIFE magazine ever published—a straightforward, tongue-nowhere-near-cheek account of a 1941 "hex party" convened with one aim in mind: "to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation." According to LIFE magazine, the party featured "a dressmaker's dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum," and was inspired by a book by occultist and writer William Seabrook that was popular at the time: Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

Witchcraft or no witchcraft, these Nazi-haters knew how to party.

"For an hour after their arrival," LIFE drily noted in its February 10, 1941, issue, "the young sorcerers bedeviled themselves with rum." Inspired by his writings, they had also asked Seabrook to join them at the cabin. "He readily accepted, seeing in the event a chance not only to test his theories, but also to render a service to mankind."

Seabrook was something of a high-profile wild man during his brief career as a best-selling author, hanging out with the likes of Aleister Crowley and famously chronicling his travel adventures—as, for example, when he dined with West African cannibals. "It was like good, fully developed veal," he wrote of his first taste of human flesh, "not young, but not yet beef . . . and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted."

The tom-tom drums were borrowed, LIFE wrote, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. "No cultists, [the hexers] were respectable residents of Washington, D.C.," while the Maryland cabin where the hexing took place belonged to one Charles Tupper, who worked in a Naval factory.

"The ritual," LIFE told its readers, "prepared by Mr. Seabrook, began with the naming of the image: 'You are Hitler; Hitler is you!' Next the chief hexer intoned: 'The woes that come to you, let it come to him!'"

"The chief hexer again intoned: 'Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you,'" LIFE continued. "'We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow. We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you!' After each line the entire group responded: 'We curse you!'"

"The occult ceremony climaxes as hexers hammer nails into the heart and throat of the image of Hitler," LIFE reported. "The hexers called on the pagan deity, Istan, to transmit the image's wounds to the flesh of the living Hitler . . . chanting in unison: 'We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler's heart!'"

Decapitation, LIFE noted, ended "the brief life span of Adolf Hitler's dummy."

"Hitler is buried in deep pine woods to be devoured by worms," wrote LIFE at the end of the article. "After burial, hexers were exhausted by compounded impact of drums, ritual, emotion."

And booze. Don't forget the booze.

NOTE: William Seabrook—who struggled with alcoholism and at one point was committed, by his own request, to a mental hospital outside of New York City—committed suicide in September, 1945.













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