Changing the Course of the World

Sometimes, the history of the world is changed in just a matter of moments or by the actions of a single person. I was given to think about this one New Year’s Eve when I played a trivia game with some friends. A strange occurrence that lasted only minutes nearly condemned famed explorer Christopher Columbus to death at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. Some of his crew were not as lucky as he was and were put to death or tortured to death.

Columbus sailed west from Spain in 1492 and ended up taking the most direct route to the Caribbean that he could have. This is not a well traveled route these days because there is an impediment that lays in the way. The Sargasso Sea is the only sea in the world bordered not by land, but by water only. It sits in the Atlantic Ocean near the Caribbean. It is bordered by strong jet streams and currents and is the habitat of many animals because of its unique feature. It is so named because sargassum seaweed free floats in mass quantities in the Sargasso Sea. There is so much there that ships get stranded there.

All three of Columbus’ ships became mired in the seaweed of the Sargasso Sea for several days. They were at the mercy of the sea and the winds. On the second or third night that they were stuck in the Sargasso a curious thing happened. A glowing object shaped like a menorah rushed out of the water and hovered over the sea for a handful of minutes. It was such a startling happening, that Columbus put it in his captain’s log as did the captains of his other ships.

Upon returning to Spain, some of Columbus’ men told people about the flying menorah and Columbus’ log book was confiscated. And he was dragged in front of the Spanish Inquisition. Records of his questioning can still be found in the files of the Spanish Inquisition.

Eventually, a well respected monk that had traveled with the ships came to Columbus’ aid. He went before the Inquisition and supported Columbus’ statement of the facts. Unfortunately, the testimony of the monk was not enough to save all the members of the crew that were brought before the Inquisition.

Columbus was eventually given the chance to redeem himself by giving money to the Church. The problem was not that Columbus saw a UFO but that he described it as shaped like a menorah.

And so, Columbus was nearly executed for heresy because he described a UFO as a menorah. One has to wonder what we would be taught about Columbus if things had not turned out in his favor.

Not Getting Easier

The evolution of technology should make it easier to solve crimes, but the reality is a bit different. Even when fingerprints, DNA, and a witness or victim gets a photo or video of the criminal, there has to be something to compare and match it to, which can be difficult even when the criminal is a repeat offender.

I know that sounds nearly impossible, but with fingerprints, it’s quite easy. Some years ago, I accidentally cut off the pad of my ring finger with scissors. When the skin grew back, it was missing part of the finger print. The main part with the biggest grouping of loops and whirls. It doesn’t look like a scar exactly, it isn’t raised or anything, it’s just a section of my finger where when you look at it it’s completely smooth. However, a doctor told me even if it hadn’t grown back smooth, there’s no guarantee it would have grown back with the exact same pattern on it had before I accidentally cut it off.

Even security videos aren’t without faults. In Boston some years ago, a man in his 20s went missing from a bar. He was seen on video surveillance in the bar, but at the end of the night, he was gone and never heard from again, yet the cameras didn’t see him leave. CCTV in London followed a man for several blocks, he stepped out of view of the cameras in one area and just never reappeared. A decade later and no one has ever heard from him again either. Then there’s the bizarre Elisa Lam surveillance video footage of her in the elevator, right before she disappeared only to be found several weeks later in the water tanks on the roof of the hotel she had disappeared from, but without any evidence or ideas on how she got there.

In 2016, between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Brazil there were 2 different days when it rained blood and what appeared to be meat. There are lots of pictures and videos of the event taken by people with cell phones, but no adequate explanation has been found for the events.

The disappearing men were eventually chalked up to being murdered, but their bodies haven’t been found and I’m not convinced murder covers it, healthy male 20-somethings are not the preferred victim pool of killers. Did they have a break from reality and disappear of their own accord then? It sounds fantastic, but it does happen.

Or does something happen to them to cause amnesia like the guy in California who appeared on several episodes of Unsolved Mysteries in the 1980s and 1990s whose identity was eventually discovered and he was returned to his family in Canada still without memory of who he was or what had happened to him?

And technology didn’t help solve the mystery of the possessed family in Indiana a few years ago that made national news. As a matter of fact, it deepened it. Someone once commented to me that they wished the Dyatlov Pass victims had been in possession of video cameras so we would know what made them flee their tent to their deaths. Except, I’m not sure it would have solved the mystery. Even if they had captured video of a yeti stalking them or a mysterious alien craft landing near their tent, would we believe it?

The Most Destabilizing Mass Disappearance Ever

Recently, I posted about Hadrian’s Wall, Antoine’s Wall and the fall of Rome. When I was trying to figure out how much manganese was being carried on the USS Cyclops these 4 things collided. One of the sites I pulled up had the story of the 9th Legion, which is part of the reason Rome fell.

The 9th Legion of the Roman Army was the best funded and best trained soldiers to exist in Roman history. Made up of soldiers from all over the Roman Empire, the 9th Legion was instrumental in keeping the empire secure as well as expanding it.

When a Roman Emperor needed to brutally crush an opponent, the 9th Legion was sent and so it was sent into Britain to deal with the Picts of Scotland. Other legions had been sent before Emperor Antoine sent the 9th Legion, but most had done the unforgivable and retreated.

The fierceness of the Pict warriors was quickly becoming legendary among those in the Roman Empire. They were considered undefeatable, which is why Hadrian built a wall. Which was followed by Antoine. However, Antoine also decided to crush the Picts and sent the 9th legion.

To understand why the 9th Legion was sent into Scotland, one has to know a bit about the Picts. The Picts really were fierce warriors. They were trained in combat much like Spartans trained, from the time they were toddlers. They fought nude or wearing the pelts of wolves and bears. And killing a wolf or bear was one of the rites of passage for Pict males. Even their women were warriors. Men and women were both heavily tattooed, scars were status symbols to be shown off and a scar that couldn’t be seen was worthless. They used war drums, huge war drums that were beaten in a steady rhythm by teen boys and girls. Shamans stood on the battlefield and chanted prayers despite the fighting going on around them. They were intimidating and the Legions of Rome were just the first in a long line of ambitious conquerors who turned tail and ran from them. Most history books call them Celts, but they were actually Picts, which is slightly different ethnically speaking than a Celt (Ireland was Celtic).

As the 9th Legion pushed into Scotland the blood flowed from both sides of the conflict and then the 9th Legion disappeared, all 5,000 men were never heard from again. Considering they were battling Picts as they moved further north into Scotland, one can safely assume they were slaughtered by the Picts…

Or can they?

Therein lies the mystery. If they were being defeated by the Picts, why didn’t they send a messenger back to let the Roman Empire know they were facing defeat? Or several messengers; as a precaution in case a single messenger was captured. Theories suggest the 9th Legion was so confident, it didn’t realize it was losing and was about to be slaughtered and therefore didn’t know they needed to let the empire know.

Which isn’t implausible, right? I’m not a huge supporter of this idea simply because 5,000 men slain in battle is a lot, it isn’t exactly idea for an ambush situation. Of course, some of those 5,000 were dead on the southern battlefields, but I would think as well trained as the 9th Legion was, that they would have known their losses were too heavy to sustain a push north without reinforcements coming up behind them to help clear the path back to conquered Roman lands.

The disappearance of the 9th Legion greatly changed the abilities of the Roman Empire’s army. As a matter of fact, before the Vandals attacked Rome directly, Rome did send a legion of soldiers out to deal with them. They were unsuccessful. Had the Empire still had the training that was given to the 9th Legion accessible to other legions, it is possible that the Vandals would have been defeated before they made it to Rome and therefore changed all of western history.

Alas, it was not to be, whether slaughtered by the Picts in Scotland or swallowed by a portal, is unknown, but it was a contributing factor to the fall of Rome.

Mass Disappearances

Growing up in the US, you are taught about the disappearance of the colony at Roanoke. We we really aren’t taught is that this wasn’t the first and it wouldn’t be the last. From little green men to portals that lead to different times and places, the theories for these mass disappearances in North America run the gamut. And it doesn’t take long to figure out why people’s imaginations run wild when a mass disappearance happens.

  1. The Anasazi – About the time Hatshepsut was coming to the throne in Ancient Egypt a civilization in North America were carving cities out of cliffs in what is modern day Utah. We actually know very little about the Anasazi, although they are a favorite topic among ancient alien theorists because they believed in gods that came from other solar systems and they disappeared in a flash. Even legends of Native Americans native to the region don’t tell what happened to them. Although, at least one tribal nation believes they were taken by their gods to a different star to live. Interestingly, the name Anasazi means “ancient enemy” and most Native American nations now call them Ancient Puebloans.
  2. The Lost Viking Raiders – Vessels go missing at sea fairly often, especially in the time of the Vikings. What makes this one interesting is that one ship landed and then the people disappeared. By 1066, the date of the Norman conquest of Britain, the Vikings were sending raiding parties to North America fairly regularly by way of Iceland, Greenland, and then into Canada. Two vessels were sent together, one was delayed by a day for some reason. When it arrived, it found its sister ship and anchored nearby. The launch boats (shore boats) were already on the shore, pulled up and away from the high tide. Later in the day, the second ship sent its crew to shore. The second crew found no signs of the missing raiders. It rejoined its vessel and the two ships drew close together for protection reasons in the bay where they had sent their crews to shore. They waited as long as they could, a period of days and then weeks passed before the two vessels decided they had to make the return trip home. None of the men that had landed earlier were ever seen again.
  3. Lake Anjikuni Village – In the 1930s a trader in northern Canada entered an Inuit village that sat upon the shore of Lake Anjikuni. The village was a bustling place with over 1,200 villagers living and working in the frigid climate. On that day though, there wasn’t a soul to be found. Food stocks were prepared for the winter. Clothing remained in the huts. Everything was normal except that there were no people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were eventually contacted and they investigated, but found no trace of the villagers. The RCMP still considers it an unsolved disappearance.
  4. Gold Rush Goners – When gold was found in the desert region of Arizona, people headed west across the US. It was not a journey for the weak, the terrain was rough, climate unfavorable, and the Natives were hostile (for good reason). Thousands of people though sold everything and set off to make their fortunes. Sometimes they went in small groups of men and sometimes they went in large groups, numbering as many as 100 men. Imagine how unsettling it would be to find one of these large encampments abandoned. Near the border of modern day Northern Texas and New Mexico, a large encampment was found, tents were set up, livestock was still hitched to the wagons, including horses, food, weapons, clothing, all of it still in place, but no people. Most surmised they had been ambushed by Native Americans, but that didn’t explain why the guns and livestock were left untouched. And there should have been blood on at least a few items, but none was ever found. The men were just gone, none ever returned home and no letters from them were ever reported to be received.
  5. The USS Cyclops – I added this one because the USS Cyclops disappeared with 300 men aboard and none were ever heard from again. It was 1918, the war in Europe was wrapping up when the USS Cyclops left Brazil headed back to the US. It’s last confirmed sighting was off the coast of Barbados. Once the USS Cyclops sailed north of the small island nation it disappeared into the history books. Search crews were sent out, but nothing was recovered, and even modern day treasure hunters that scour the Caribbean have found no trace of the USS Cyclops. At 542 feet long, it is the largest vessel to ever go missing without a trace. After the war ended, the German Navy swore they had never seen the Cyclops on it’s journey from Brazil to the US, which at that point it had no reason to deny seeing, so it probably wasn’t sunk by the Germans. As I said earlier, ships go missing at sea often. The reason the USS Cyclops made the list is because it produced one of the largest searches for a missing vessel in the history of the US. The cargo of the USS Cyclops was worth millions of dollars and still would be because it carried over 5 tons of manganese ore, which is part of the reason it is still a highly sought after ship by treasure hunters.

If I had done the world over, this list would be a whole lot longer and probably start with the disappearance of those that built the Moai of Easter Island. No one knows when the natives of Easter Island disappeared, but it was uninhabited when Europeans finally landed on its shores. An explorer once joked that Easter Island was barren of people and trees (there are no trees on Easter Island and most scientists believe it was deforested to create rolling logs to move the Moai – the stone statues that proliferate Easter Island). I only focused on North American disappearances because I’m more familiar with them.

WWII UFO Moments

As some of you may remember, my history degree is actually in the cultural and political history of WWII Europe. This means I can tell you what the average German thought of WWII as well as what the British and French were doing to combat Nazism and add a dash of what the Soviets thought of Hitler and Germans as a whole, and on a good day, I can remember details about the Battle of Stalingrad and other important battles. Which is why I didn’t get a career related to my degree… I didn’t want to teach and I couldn’t figure out what else to do with said history degree.

Writing novels is more in line with my passions anyway and it allows me to disseminate a little history to the masses who read my books and blog posts. WWII is generally thought of only in terms of Nazis. Don’t get me wrong, Nazis and the Holocaust were the most important parts of it, but it was also filled with head scratching moments for various reasons. This post will touch on some of those head scratching moments.

We’ll start with pre-War moments. In 1937, a UFO reportedly crashed in northern Germany and the wreckage was recovered by the Nazi government. This would lead to two things during the war, A) the funnelling of money into a top secret project called Die Glocke and B) Nazis developing the jet engine.

Hitler got the plans for Die Glocke from a medium involved in the Vril Society, a secret society that concentrated on spiritualism. Hitler himself was very interested in the paranormal and his right hand man, Himmler married a woman who proclaimed to be a medium. Despite massive funding and having the top scientists of Nazi Germany working on Die Glocke, the project would ultimately fail and the weapon to end the war would never take shape. Some think the weapon was a flying saucer, others think it had something to do with radioactivity.

However, it was while working on Die Glocke that Nazi Germany perfected the jet engine and by the final years of the war, Nazi Germany had the most advanced air force on the planet. Despite these advancements in aeronautics, ultimately, even the jet planes of Nazi Germany were no match for the tenacity of certain members of the US and Royal Air Force and experienced daredevil pilots would ultimately decide air combat battles in the favor of the Allied Forces in the European theater. So, the jet engine was created thanks to a theoretical UFO crash, Hitler and Himmler’s interest in the paranormal, and accident.

However, this would not be the only UFO encounter during WWII that would gain some notoriety. Foo Fighters would quickly join the lexicon of WWII. Seen by hundreds of air servicemen during WWII from every country to put up an airplane during it, they were either described as metal balls or glowing balls of light that often shadowed aircraft. There are dozens of photos taken from planes of Foo Fighters. Although, that hasn’t helped us figure out what they are and we haven’t had sightings of them since the end of WWII. One reportedly shadowed the Enola Gay for a short time on it’s fated flight to Japan.

The final one happened in the US. After the massacre at Pearl Harbor, many cities on the Pacific Coast had huge military installations put near them. The goal was to not be hit by another Pearl Harbor. Several of these installations even noticed the horrible balloon bombs Japan tried to send to the US (only one actually arrived on the mainland and while it did kill 2, it wasn’t very effective). A few things collided to make the perfect storm that would become known as the Battle of Los Angeles.

The first attack of the mainland US took place the day before the Battle of Los Angeles. February 22, 1942 (two and a half months after Pearl Harbor) a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of Santa Barbara, California and proceeded to launch artillery shells at the US. Unfortunately for the Japanese, they didn’t have their location correct and they ended up firing hundreds of shells on an oil field and refinery. There were no casualties and only minimal damage done.

Los Angeles was on the brink of panic, because it was obvious a Japanese submarine was just off the coast and it had disappeared from radar and it had attempted to bomb LA and failed. Records show the submarine did think it was bombing LA when it bombed the oil field in Santa Barbara. So in that respect, the panic of the Angelenos was justified. On the night of February 23, 1942 a contact did appear on radar that appeared to be a plane nearing Los Angeles. Battle stations were put on alert. People began reporting to emergency services they could see strange lights over the ocean heading towards the city. It didn’t take long for the radar contact to disappear, as it flew over Los Angeles air space. More people began to call emergency services about the lights that they reported had now disappeared.

The order was given to fire at the unknown craft. And all Hell broke loose. Military installations around Los Angeles fired hundreds of thousands of rounds. There is a famous photo of search lights scanning the black sky as heavy artillery rounds can be seen exploding in the area search lights are aimed at. Angelenos were told to head inside, pull down their curtains, and snuggle with loved ones. It is the only time a blackout order has been issued in the US.

The following morning, Angelenos could pick up the spent casings from the artillery rounds from their yards and streets. In the days and weeks that followed, the army stated several times that the alert was real and not a drill or the invention of an overactive imagination. If there was a craft, it either wasn’t hit by any of the rounds or it wasn’t reported as downed. And it holds the record for the only air battle to happen over mainland US. More shells were fired in the Battle of Los Angeles than by US forces in Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Los Angeles would actually lead the US to invest significant resources into research of radar technology to improve it. Germany and the US weren’t the only places where UFOs played a role in WWII, there was one report that surfaced in 1995 (after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991) that claimed several members of the Soviet army’s upper echelon took note of a UFO a few days before they recaptured the city of Stalingrad and that they found the weakness in the German defenses of the city, as a result of their encounter with the UFO.

As a side note, these all predate Roswell (1947) and the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting (also 1947) both of which “started the UFOlogy movement.”

Instances of Mothman not connected to the Silver Bridge

I spoke earlier this week about Mothman and that he is not native to Point Pleasant, nor is that the only place he’s been seen.  He appeared off and on to residents of Point Pleasant, WV in the year preceding the collapse of the Silver Bridge.  The Silver Bridge had passed its last inspection when it suffered a structural failure in December 1967 , killing 46 people.  I also mentioned that as of 2017, there have been more than 100 sightings of him in Chicago, many coming in 2018.  Finally, I mentioned he is thought to foretell disasters and that there were reports of him around Pripyat, Ukraine in 1985, the year before the meltdown at Chernobyl.  Here’s some other post 1968 sightings of Mothman.

Between September 6 and 10, 2001, there were two dozen reports of Mothman being seen around the campus of the World Trade Center in New York City.  At least seven of those reports exist within the files of the NYPD, proving two things; they truly did exist before the attacks on September 11, 2001 and that at least some people who saw the creature were concerned enough to alert the New York City Police Department.  

For a month in 2007, a Mothman like creature was reported to be hanging out near 1-35 in Minneapolis.  Reports were prolific enough that it made the news in late July.  As a matter of fact, there were so many reports, that the Minnesota Conservation department put out a reward for a crane or heron of abnormally large size, deciding that the creature had to be a heron or a crane that was being misidentified possibly due to a deformity.  On August 1, 2007 a bridge on I-35 collapsed killing 13 and injuring more than 130 others.  

Now, for the largest mass sighting.  In August 1985, in a single day, more than 50 citizens of Pripyat, Ukraine reported to their Soviet leaders in Pripyat that a large bat like creature had been seen near Chernobyl, a nuclear power plant run by the Soviet Union.  The group made up of both private citizens and members of the Soviet government had been attending some sort of event near Chernobyl although the Russian and Ukrainian governments did not say what sort of event when they released the papers.  Less than a year later, on April 16, 1986 reactor 4 at the nuclear power plant would suffer a catastrophic failure during a safety test that would lead to one of the worst nuclear disasters ever.

Finally, in April 2009 multiple people reported seeing Mothman in Mexico.  He was witnessed by nearly every resident of a village in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.  And by the end of 2009, La Junta was a terribly hard hit village by the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009.  The first cases of the highly virulent and mutated strain of H1N1 flu virus were found in Veracruz, Mexico.  There is 900 miles between Veracruz a wealthy state in the Southern Gulf Region of Mexico and the state of Chihuahua which borders the US.  When the first sightings of Mothman came in, Swine Flu had not yet reached Chihuahua.  Perhaps it is telling however, that his first appearance was in a cemetery in La Junta, Mexico.

A bonus piece of information, in 1931 a human-batlike creature (this predates tales of Batman, just FYI) was seen in Oświęcim, Poland.  Sightings were infrequent and only a few accounts still exist.  Loren Coleman who has extensively researched the subject believes sightings ended in March 1939, after the start of WWII.  In the last months of 1939, construction would begin on the most diabolical concentration camp built by the Nazis – Auschwitz-Birkenau.  The location is just south of the Polish city of Oświęcim.  

And now, he’s been reported by 100s of people in Chicago, IL since 2017.  As a harbinger of doom, it makes one wonder about traveling to Chicago anytime soon.  I will report on the first apparent sighting.  In July 2017, a bouncer working a club reported that he stepped away from the buildings because a large plane was going overhead at what he thought was a considerably low altitude.  He said that underneath it, he saw a winged batlike human flying.  It startled him so much that he reported it to the security guard on duty, who was an off duty Chicago police officer and the security guard managed to come out in time to corroborate his story.  Most reports seem to come from the areas around Lake Michigan and Navy Pier, although some have come in from downtown and a few neighborhoods located in downtown Chicago.  

Skeptics are blaming the film industry, as the Dark Knight trilogy sets Gotham in Chicago, not New York as traditionally portrayed (although Gotham is a fictional place created by DC comics that was an amalgam of New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh).  

Another source says he’s been chronicling flying mothman like hominids in Chicago for more than a decade and they don’t mean anything except there is something weird going on in Chicago.  

Technology Moving Faster Than Humans

Until about ten years I was all about technology.  In my head, I imagined it saving mankind from itself.  Now that I’m a bit older and wiser, I worry we are entering Jurassic Park territory.  For those that haven’t seen the movies or read the book, it’s hard to explain that concept.  One of the characters, Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Goldblum) and says quite bitterly to John Hammond “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”  

I don’t remember the line in the book, but it was a very poignant line in the movie.  We’ve reached this stage with human DNA.  I’m not talking about things like catching The Golden State Rapist/Killer, well, yeah, a little bit…  

In the last decade we have begun to perfect technology called “touch DNA”.  I’m not real keen on “touch DNA” sampling, I think it leaves too many things to chance.  Touch DNA can pull your genetic code from something as small as a single touch.  It’s been used to investigate the Zodiac killings as well as several other serial killer cases.

Then we had the case of the Golden State Killer where one of his relatives sent DNA to one of the phenotyping companies and police were able to submit a sample of the Golden Sate Killer’s DNA to see if they found any matches or relatives and low and behold, they did.

Last week, I was introduced to “Snapshot DNA analysis.”  Basically, a sample of a suspect’s DNA is entered into a computer and it can generate a probably sketch of you.  It was used to develop a sketch in a 19 year old murder case that had gone cold.  The sketch produced matched the likeness of someone associated with the victim that was never a suspect.  

Here’s where I start to have issues with grey areas of what we should and shouldn’t be allowed to do with DNA.  Let’s say the DNA was recovered using “touch DNA sampling.”  Touch DNA requires such a small sample that the store clerk who hung something up that was used in a murder, may leave a large enough DNA sample on it that it can be found using Touch DNA sampling.  

The article went on with how it was being considered as a possible tool to use in the case of the Long Island Serial killer.  Now, I totally agree that if you leave your DNA in the commission of a crime, you have no right to privacy of your DNA.  However, what if your DNA is there not because you are the killer, but because you sold the rope to the killer found with the body….  You weren’t a possible suspect.  You haven’t got any real ties to the victim.  But serial killers are scary because they are usually perpetrated by strangers.

Now suddenly, a sketch of you can be created by a computer to implicate you in the murders.  I’ve already had one person tell me, it couldn’t happen that way, your DNA wouldn’t be at a crime scene unless you were involved, but every skin cell shed contains your entire genetic code in it.  And each and every one of us shed’s billions of skin cells every week.  

As far as I am aware, the Long Island Serial Killer isn’t also a rapist and he preys on prostitutes.  Is any DNA evidence gathered in connection with his crimes absolutely guaranteed to have come directly from him and not from someone else?

Even finding a repeating sample on the the LISK’s victims could be meer coincidence.  Studies of men who frequent prostitutes have found that they overlap.  So Murry might have sex with Jenny, Michelle, and Naomi one week and Fred might have sex with Rachel, Madison, and Naomi.  Then Naomi turns up dead on the day when Murry and Fred both spent time with her.  Who killed her?  I don’t know that a lot of street hookers take showers between customers, meaning DNA from both men might still be viable from Naomi’s dead body.    I’ve only ever known one prostitute in my life and she worked out of a massage parlor, but she once told me she could see as many as twelve customers in a single day.  

So, yes we can do it, but should we?  After all, the FBI and DOJ are now looking at thousands of cases where the suspect was convicted based on bite mark evidence, which has been disproven as an identification technique. especially not a foolproof 1 in a million identifier like it was touted.

There Be Aliens

In 1986, the world was shown what would happen in the event of a massive failure at a nuclear power plant when Chernobyl suffered a critical failure in Reactor 4 during a safety inspection.  I was 5 and don’t remember it happening.  But it’s terribly hard to get a history degree without learning about it (especially when your degree is 20th century military and political history of Europe).  Chernobyl is located in Pripyat, Ukraine, although it was all part of the USSR when it happened.

One of my history classes was taught by this really amazing professor who was from the Soviet Union originally and moved to the UK as an adult around the time the USSR fell.  One of his classes covered the decade prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.  It was a very interesting class with lots of information I hadn’t learned in any of my other classes.

Interestingly, on the night of the failure, there was an increase in UFO sightings over Chernobyl.  Three or four of the engineers dispatched to examine the problem at Chernobyl reported seeing a UFO hovering over the reactor.  In the days that followed, more than 200 UFO reports were made to the Soviet government by people living near the reactor and people heading to the reactor to see if it could be saved.

The inclusion zone around Chernobyl was 12 miles.  Nuclear scientist in both the USSR and the US later stated that it should have been larger.  Many of the locals surrounding the inclusion zone believe the UFOs kept it from being a much worse disaster.  Now, this isn’t to say that Chernobyl wasn’t a huge disaster anyway, it was.  It took several decades for wildlife to return to the area and there are still genetic defects among people whose parents were exposed to the radiation fall-out of Chernobyl.  And there are still occasionally, genetic defects found in the wildlife around the area.

On another note, Chernobyl ties into a much larger conspiracy theory involving radio waves.  There was an experimental Soviet project called Duga-3.  It’s a giant array of radio towers and wires meant to alert the USSR to incoming missiles.  Duga-3 was more expensive to build than Chernobyl and surprisingly an even bigger failure.  And it sits in the inclusion zone.  Some have speculated that the Soviet Union intentionally destroyed Chernobyl so they wouldn’t have to admit Duga-3 was a disaster.

Also on a related side note, Duga-3 powered up in 1976 and within a short time the entire world knew it existed somewhere behind the Iron Curtain, because Duga-3 sent out a ticking sound that managed to interfere with radio signals around the world.  However, it’s location was kept secret until they razed the forest that surrounded Duga-3 in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

Voter Fraud

I’ve drafted this post about a dozen times and deleted it every time.  But with recounts happening once again in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida, let’s talk about how voter fraud works.  Because it isn’t easy.  And it’s rather illogical.

And there’s only 3 ways it can be done.

Method One:  You steal someone’s identity.  In most states, this requires you to buy a fake picture ID, appropriate someone’s address, because you can’t go vote at your local poll using two different identities, that’s going to arouse suspicion.  Doing this you get to vote twice, maybe.  As long as you don’t screw up.  In some states, not only do you need picture ID but your voter registration card.  This would require you to sit and watch the mail of the appropriated address so that you can surreptitiously pull out the voter registration card that you had sent there.

Method Two: Absentee Ballot, you apply for and get approved to do an absentee ballot.  Then you also go vote at the polls or you once again pay for a fake ID and get hold of a voter registration card that matches said ID.  And like the method above, you are out a some cash (most forgers do not accept debit or credit cards for their services and the price is dependent on what state you want the ID to be from.  Some states are easier to forge than others.  In Columbia, MO a forged picture ID is going to run you around $500 for a Missouri ID.  Plus, you’ve spent this money so you can vote twice.  I know we like to pretend every vote counts, but even if you vote twice, you probably aren’t doing your candidate a huge favor with your two votes.  I have never seen an election won by 2 whole votes.

Method Three: You somehow manage to get hired by the elections office in your county and you throw away or negate votes for the candidates you don’t want.  This requires you to either be slick enough that others in the room where the votes are counted do not notice you pitching votes or no one double checks your work when validating signatures on absentee ballots.

Method one and two aren’t very good.  Those two votes probably aren’t worth the cash you spent to get them.  Method Three would be more effective, but realistically…. How do you get 12 people feeding ballots into machines to miss that you are throwing ballots away or hiding them under the machine?  Because votes are not counted in a vacuum, there are usually multiple people feeding the ballots into the machine.  As well as some supervisors.  And I talked to a volunteer several years ago that said there was always a police officer in the room when they feed the ballots into the machines.

There is a 4th method that gets mentioned when talking about voter fraud, but it’s much like Method 1 and Method 2.  You somehow manage to get people who are not legally allowed to vote (illegal immigrants, convicts who have not applied to have their vote reinstated, etc)  the proper paperwork that allows them to vote.  But this is usually a fake ID.  There was a case in Georgia a few years ago where a woman voted using her friend’s ID because they looked enough alike that no one questioned it.  She had been convicted of DUI and had her right to vote revoked for the felony conviction and hadn’t applied to get her rights back.

This isn’t happening in large numbers though.  If it was, we’d have to redesign our election process from the ground up.  Because if millions of people were pulling this off across the country every election, it would prove our system flawed, even in states where picture ID is required.

The day before this posted, someone gave me a new method… Method 5: Personal belief – Someone pointed out to me that if you want to believe voter fraud is widespread and rampant, then no amount of evidence gathered by bipartisan research groups or critical thinking on the matter is going to convince you it isn’t.  In the same way, no one is ever going to convince Girgio Tsoukalos  that ancient aliens didn’t further the evolution of mankind or help build some of it’s more incredible engineering feats.

The Halloween Post

I spent 2, maybe 4 weeks, trying to come up with the perfect post for today.  Ghosts?  Demons?  Serial killers?  What should it be?  All of these things are scary or can be.  I even did a draft post of deities you wouldn’t want to meet like Lamashtu the Mesopotamian Goddess of stillbirths and miscarriages and by “goddess of” she was thought to cause them, as well as kidnapping infants for the purpose of lunch (or sacrifice) depending on what source you use.

And then I saw a post on a “For Sale” Site and this blog post was born.  The Stardust Ranch is for sale.  If you aren’t up on modern ufology, the Stardust Ranch has gained infamy among Ufologists, because the current occupant and seller swears he’s killed multiple grey aliens on the property over the years.

The Stardust Ranch (also known as the Skinwalker Ranch) has gained its infamy by being featured on shows such as Ghost Adventures.  However, the owner has turned down offers to allow shows such as UFO Hunters and Fact or Faked (both now defunct shows, but highly enjoyable) to film episodes on the property.

And the Stardust Ranch isn’t the only place in the US thought to be infested by aliens.  Nome, Alaska has been dealing with a troubling spate of disappearances for more than forty years.  They’ve got an FBI agent that lives practically on site anymore to assist with missing person’s cases.  The town of just 3,000+ people has been thought to be the home of a serial killer, a Satanic cult, and genetically modified wild life to explain the high number of disappearances there.  Perhaps, it’s not surprising then that residents and Nome, have begun to wonder if the disappearances aren’t actually alien abductions.  Since 1995, the town of 3,800 people has had 24 missing person’s cases.  Which is a higher rate than most towns that size (my town of 120,000 didn’t have 24 missing person’s cases in the same time period and we are a college town with close to 50,000 students that come and go each semester and swell our size closer to 140,000 – some students are full time residents).

For the record, a lot of places in Alaska have a ban on alcohol because people get drunk and wander into places they can’t survive very long especially during the winter.  Nome is not a dry town, it allows alcohol sales.  And while that probably does account for at least some of the disappearances, it doesn’t account for all.  And considering kids as young as just a few years old have gone missing, it seems unlikely they got drunk and wandered into the cold Alaskan wilderness one night after leaving the bar.

Aliens are scary.  Hawking was right about the desire for life to subjugate other life forms they find inferior, look at colonization among humans.  Any alien race capable of reaching Earth is capable of destroying it’s human population.  Or enslaving us.  And if we can’t be shiny, happy people, even among other humans, why should aliens treat us any different?  Not to mention the chaos and panic that would ensue should aliens arrive on Earth en masse.  Remember the scene in Independence Day where they are talking about launching nuclear weapons at the mother ship?  The fictional part of that, is the arrival of the aliens, not our response.