Saturday, May 22, 2010

FeeJee Mermaid: Teaser from the UCM Museum

I'll try to have a couple of posts springing from this. Until then, enjoy this little video teaser

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Explosion at the Mothman's Hunting Grounds

Excerpt below. Loren Coleman is invoking his Mothman curse in relation to a recent SyFy movie on the legend.

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A powerful explosion rocked the night sky over Mason County early Monday morning -- powerful because it was fueled by ammunition.

We’re talking about an underground bunker at what's commonly known as the old TNT site near Point Pleasant.

That area is famous for another reason -- it's where the legendary Mothman was supposedly spotted. But, while the circumstances surrounding this event are still puzzling, investigators are confident they'll solve this mystery sooner rather than later.

"It was so bright it turned night into day," Adam Frazier said. "I didn’t hear an explosion, but I saw the light."

He said he shot a light about a mile away from his home around 1 a.m. Monday.

"I shot it with my cell phone because I knew no one would believe me,” Frazier said.

An underground storage bunker was the source of the blast. Empty barrels and metal storage boxes were thrown everywhere, some landing as far as 100 feet away in a nearby swamp.

"The steel doors were thrown off, and the ceiling is made of 6-inch concrete that lifted up and then caved in," Gary Sharp with the Division of Natural Resources said. "The blast was pretty extensive."


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Creationism, Hidden Codes, Reptilian UFOs, and the Texas School Standards

One of the major players in the recent and ongoing Texas educational standards saga is Don McLeroy, the outgoing Chair of the Texas State Board of Education. He endorses this book

Sowing Atheism: The National Academy of Sciences’ Sinister Scheme to Teach Our Children They’re Descended from Reptiles, by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.

You can download the book here

McElroy endorses the book here

In this book, Johnson lays out his belief that Greek myth and art are intertwined with the Book of Genesis, and in fact, require (as stated in this article), Genesis in order to understand them. And that all of this is encoded in the sculptures of the Parthenon and other Greek Art, to the point that Johnson specifically contrasts The DaVinci Code (fictional) and The Bible Code (bogus) with his The Parthenon Code.

I'm not the only one to notice the obsession with reptiles (an evolutionary biologist doesn't see what's so bad about reptiles, see also several of the comments at Dispatches from the Culture Wars). This mention of reptiles and serpents again and again got me wondering if there was any tie here to Reptilian UFO beliefs, such as David Icke's ideas about shapeshifting lizard people who secretly rule the Earth. While Mr. Johnson has done interviews on paranormal radio shows including Coast to Coast AM (August 11, 2004), I see nothing in Mr. Johnson's writings to suggest he is interested in or supports UFO Reptilian beliefs.

This has not stopped Reptilian believers from embracing these ideas, however.

This isn't surprising. As Michael Barkun in his excellent A Culture of Conspiracy, or Christopher Partridge in his article "Alien demonology: the Christian roots of the malevolent extraterrestrial in UFO religions and abduction spiritualities" (available here), point out, even though the Reptilian has its roots in the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, this figure has flowed through both more "occult" writings as well as some versions of Christian theology, with the obvious parallels to the Garden of Eden and the Serpent. Barkun calls this improvisational millennialism, a theme throughout his book that fringe ideas cross-pollinate and show up in the most unexpected places, including regular fact-fiction boundary transgressions, where ideas from fiction become evidence for conspiracy theories or even the theories themselves.

There is no direct tie between any of these beliefs. Alternative art history need not be tied in with religious or conspiracy or UFO beliefs (despite von Daniken). Creationism is a widely held belief, whereas belief in Reptilian aliens or demons is not. And as Barkun notes in his book, while David Icke does court some from the extreme right in his writings and presentations, his larger spiritual message would probably not be very well-received by many Creationist Christians. But by being outside the mainstream (either in general numbers or in terms of institutions), we can see how these ideas flow from one genre to the next, often in less than predictable ways.

Crystal Head Vodka Update: Quest for the Bottle Banned in Ontario!

As you may remember, I was stunned by the ad campaign for this vodka, and blogged about it two years ago. ("Dan Ackroyd and the Kingdom of the Booze Bottles")

Since then, two updates, first the bad, then the good

The first is recent news. Ontario has banned Crystal Head Vodka. Why?

“The image of the human skull is the thing that’s really problematic for us,” said LCBO spokesman Chris Layton. “That’s an image that’s commonly associated with death. It’s especially problematic at a time when there are concerns around binge drinking by younger adults, which in some cases unfortunately has resulted in alcohol poisoning.”

So, I don't know if this is overzealous "what about the children" nanny state-ing, or if it is part of a Canadian version of Satanic Panic. But it is depressing.

So, lets talk the good. Last year, I was able to get my hands on a bottle. Since then, it's been relatively easy to find. But a year ago, when I was living in rural southern Illinois, I couldn't find it. I looked for months. Until I got a tip that some was in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. So off I went on a quest for the Crystal Skull ... liquor bottle.

I did obtain a copy, and it was pretty good stuff. I'm no expert, but to myself and those I shared it with at my going away party in Illinois last year, it was fairly smooth and tasty. So, for all those in Ontario, here's what you're missing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

UK Royal Navy: No Sea Serpent X-Files

Amazing Stories Volume 1, No. 3, June 1926. Source: Wikicommons

An unnamed marine biologist has requested the United Kingdom's Royal Navy provide documentation on

"abnormally large or dangerous sea monsters hundreds of metres under the sea"

but apparently the MoD doesn't centralize such reports, and the Freedom of Information office isn't going to seek out all such reports, for logistical reasons. (UK Press Association).

The real question is, who made the request, and what are they looking for? It's the Bloop, isn't it?

The contrast with the case of Loch Ness is notable. We have records of government discussions over how to protect Nessie legally, and that in the early years of the Nessie craze, local police believed in the existence of the creature, and worked with the national government to protect it.