But Something Happened

Most of the time, when someone mentions something paranormal or exterrestrial, we all roll our eyes and have a decent chuckle. We often dismiss the situation completely at that moment and put it out of our minds. However, while these explanations seem ridiculous, we often forget that something did have to happen.

Take for example the 1908 Tunguska event. In 1908, a UFO (by the strictest definition, not necessarily aliens) exploded over a remote region of Siberia. We know of the explosion because it flattened trees and drove wildlife off. The most likely explanation is a meteor. Sometimes, after entering Earth’s atmosphere meteorites do indeed explode.

It’s Siberia so there weren’t a lot of witnesses. However, something obviously happened, trees were uprooted and laid down. Plus, for most of the last 100+ years, wildlife has avoided the area and nothing has really grown there.

So, while it is unlikely that an alien spacecraft exploded, there can be no doubt that something extraordinary happened. And that the something did involve radiation, probably from space. I point this out because we know that extreme radiation poisoning of soil does drive away wildlife. We’ve seen it at both Chernobyl and Two Mile Island.

It is easy to snicker and laugh when someone says “it might have been aliens”… But the possibility is less farfetched than we might think. Since the 1950s, humans have been littering outer space with junk in the form of defunct satellites, expelled rocket jets, and even tools lost during space walks and repairs to the ISS and shuttles.

It is illogical to believe we are the only intelligent life in the universe. And it is within reason to believe that other life is just as advanced, if not more so, than us. Is it not possible then that they also have space junk floating around just outside their atmosphere? And if their space junk was caught in the tail of a passing comet, it is possible it could travel millions of miles away from their own planet. Making it possible that some meteors could indeed be space junk from other advanced civilizations on distant planets.

And while I realize a lost wrench from Sirius B is not exactly a little green alien. It is still extraterrestrial. Essentially, the point is, we dismiss this stuff immediately and politely smile. But we humans only truly know so much about our planet and the universe. There are hundreds of things that could be beyond our current explanation, that eventually we’ll understand. This includes ghosts, aliens, and strange happenings like the Tunguska Event. If you had said 300 years ago, that invisible living things caused illness, you would have been snickered at. But today, we know that is the exact cause of most illnesses. Just something to consider the next time you hear Malachi talk about cattle mutilations.

The First Flood Warnings Issued

When you’ve been experiencing a massive drought (multiple years) and then suddenly have an exceptionally wet winter that leads to a wet spring, you get flash flooding. Most people don’t think of snow as rain, but it is and lots of snow equals lots of rain. How much exactly? For every 1 inch of rain, you get roughly 10 inches of snow.

Between November 2018 and March 14, 2019, my area of mid-Missouri received a total of 35 inches of snow. Or just over 3 inches of rain. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but we’ve been in a drought for the last 8 years or so. Plus, we normally only get 43 inches of rain in a year anyway. I’m fairly sure we got 9+ inches of rain before the snow started to fall.

And since the turn of the year? Just looking at 2019, we’ve had 23 inches of snow, which is just over 2 inches of rain. Then during the day of March 24, we got another inch of rain. So it’s March and we’ve gotten more than 3 inches of rain already and the “wet” season hasn’t even started yet, not really. Normally, April, May, September, and October are our wettest months averaging 5 1/2 inches of rain during each of these months.

That means those 4 months usually account for over half our rainfall in a year. While 3 inches in 3 months doesn’t sound like much, it is. Not to mention the dozen or so states that contribute water to the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. And all those states have gotten the same massive amount of snow that we have and are now getting pummelled with rain (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois for the Mississippi and Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska for the Missouri and the two rivers meet in St. Louis, Missouri). These rivers can’t be understood separately, they are the fourth largest river system in the world and the Missouri River is the longest in North America while the Mississippi is the second longest in North America.

And I’m not sure the drought cycle didn’t begin to end in August 2018. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a year as wet as this one. Not just the snow, but the massive amounts of rain. Even during the winter months, I remember thinking multiple times “at least it’s not so cold it’s snow”…

So why do flood warnings give me pause? Missouri doesn’t go underwater like coastal states such as Louisiana, but we are bisected by the Missouri River. In 1993 (the year of our last major flood) portions of Northern Missouri were cut off from portions of Southern Missouri unless you wanted to drive hundreds of miles out of the way. Even some minor flooding in 2001 created difficulties for me when I was living in Columbia, but working in the state capital of Jefferson City, just 37 miles from my driveway to my office building parking lot and minor flooding prevented me from going to work without driving either east or west 50 miles before heading south.

I don’t live close enough to the Missouri River (it’s 20 miles or so south of my house) to worry about it flooding us out, but I have a lot of friends in Southern Missouri and flooding could mean a separation that results in some changed plans. And we have a lot of friends in St. Louis. Our campground in Northern Missouri is 20 miles from Hannibal, Missouri where the 200th anniversary of the town is being celebrated this year and there is a lot planned for the celebration. Hannibal sits so close to the Mississippi River that the town has flood walls to help try and keep water out of the city. During major floods, the walls are useless.

Furthermore, tourism is a huge industry in Missouri and flooding affects it greatly, because the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are part of it and so are three recreational lakes: Lake of the Ozarks, Mark Twain Lake (where our campground is) along with Table Rock Lake near Branson. Flooding could damage an economy that’s already struggling. Not to mention that we are supposed to be implementing medical marijuana. Jefferson City, our capital where all the paperwork for the medical marijuana industry is being processed, sits on the Missouri River. Massive flooding means lower tourism at towns like Hannibal, St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, and the towns that surround Lake of the Ozarks. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.

Missouri isn’t California, Louisiana, Texas, or South Carolina. When we experience massive flooding, no one really notices the damage left in its wake. And flooding is often followed by more flooding. In 1993 we experienced the worst flood we’d ever had. It was followed up in 1995 by the fourth worst flood we’d ever experienced. However, because we aren’t one of these other massive tourist states, we don’t get federal funds very quickly. The flooding in 1993 was bad enough that it was declared a federal disaster, but it wasn’t until late 1994 that we got our first federal grant for clean-up and repair. The flooding in 1995 set all that back and it was another 2 years before the leevees and things could be rebuilt. Just because the water receded didn’t mean the crisis was over. But it was 1998 before we had a huge release of federal funds to assist with clean-up. I was working for the Missouri Department of Health by then and one of my first non-secretarial assignments was helping collect data on chronic illnesses related to flooding (there are a lot), but it took us that long to get the funding for the study from the CDC and NIH.

So, when the flood warnings start going out, I take a few moments to think about it. And it’s far too early in the year for flood warnings (the first is usually the end of April or first half of May).

Booming Earth Phenomenon

On the morning of March 4th, while I was playing discussing Pablo Picasso via text message with my bestie, there was a loud boom. It was a little after 10 am. I was in the garage and the garage doors shook as did the walls of the house. Now, I live only a couple miles from the trash dump for my city as the crow flies and this wasn’t the first massive unexplained boom I’d heard nearby.

However, my first thought was less about the boom and more about Lola. Lola was outside and she, like most dogs does not handle loud booms very well. I raced upstairs and outside and sure enough, Lola was shaking and ready to come inside. I gave her a trazadone for her fear (she refuses to even try a Thunder Shirt, wearing clothing stresses her out). Then I sat with her, just petting her and letting her know it was okay.

About noon, my local news station popped up a report on the loud boom. It was being investigated because there was no definite cause and it hadn’t been heard just near my house, but in the towns to the north of where I live. My sister on the other side of the city had also experienced it.

I’ve read about booming Earth phenomenon before. This is just what it sounds like, loud booms with no definite source that seem to come from within the Earth. But I’ve never experienced it personally. I live close enough to Whiteman Air Force Base that I grew up with flyovers by Stealth bombers (the B2) and I’ve experienced plenty of sonic booms. It oddly didn’t feel or sound like a sonic boom. It sounded and felt like an explosion. In an ironic twist, the day before at 3:30 am, a natural gas line approximately 30 miles from me did suffer a catastrophic failure and there was an explosion followed by a fire. But I didn’t hear or feel that explosion.

I’ve read books about booming Earth phenomenon and it does appear in history records going as far back as Ancient Egypt. And with no other explanation handy, it was most likely an Earth boom that we all heard. They are becoming more common, but we don’t understand why they happen and we can’t predict them.

There are tons of theories about what causes an Earth boom, but so far, we’ve been unable to prove any of them. And their cause remains a mystery.

The Dopplegänger

Germanic mythology states that every person on the planet has a dopplegänger. However, the purpose of it, depends on which myths you look at. A doppleganger is a double. And there may be some truth to it.

I have some personal experience with a doppleganger. As does my mother. I have not met my doppleganger nor my mom’s, which is probably good because it’s considered bad luck to meet your double. My story:

I was in a restaurant for lunch one day with some coworkers. I was 17 at the time and I was enjoying fajitas. When a woman suddenly came up to our table and said my first name and asked what I was doing there. I had never met this woman in my life, so it was odd that she knew my name. I explained I was having lunch with a coworker and she asked why we had come all the way to Columbia for lunch. Um, we work in the Columbia office of the Missouri Department of Health, it’s really only a couple miles from here to our office. After a few more confused sentences we realized I must not be the woman she thought I was as the woman she thought I was worked for a doctor’s office in a town called Montgomery City.

The woman was insistent that we could pass for twins and it was stranger that we had the same first name. After the woman left my coworker commented that the woman must not spend much time with the girl she mistook me for. I agreed and we continued on with lunch.

Some years later while shopping with a friend, a man came up to me and started talking to me like he had known me my entire life and yet, I had never met him. He asked how Holly was… I asked who was Holly and he got a strange look and said “your mom.” Um, no, my mom’s name is Mollie, not Holly. We realized he was looking for the girl that worked at the doctor’s office in Montgomery City and we went our separate ways.

Total I’ve had five or six of these encounters with people from Montgomery City being surprised by my presence in Columbia. The two places are only 51 miles from each other, really not that far.

Perhaps the oddest part of these encounters though is that my mom apparently has a doppleganger named Holly from Montgomery City and over the years, she’s had a dozen or so encounters with people who have mistaken her for Holly from Montgomery City. Is it possible that my mom’s doppelganger Holly is the mother of my doppelganger that shares my name?

My mom’s maternal side of the family hails from Montgomery City. Meaning it is possible that Holly is a distant cousin of my mother’s. How on earth that lead to my mom’s doppelganger giving birth to a daughter that would share my name and have her genes express in such a way that we can pass as twins, is beyond me. Especially since I have been told all my life how much I look like my father who does not have any distant relations in Montgomery City.

My story is less unique than one might think. If you spend some time on Reddit searching for stories of doppelgangers, you’ll find plenty. And while my doppelganger is apparently a nurse in a much smaller town, some consider doppelgangers to be sinister apparitions. Some stories of doppelgangers make them demonic beings who are trying to steal the lives of their doubles. Others say they’re an omen of death and that meeting your doppelganger foretells that one of you will die soon.

A Weird Facts About The Moon

The moon is a weird and mysterious thing. No other moon discovered in our solar system has as much influence on the planet it orbits as the moon does on Earth. There are lots of conspiracy theories regarding the moon and man’s trips to it. However, truth is often stranger than fiction and there’s a couple of very unusual things going on with our moon.

The orbit of the moon around Earth is nearly perfectly circular. This is interesting because it’s the only non-man-made satellite that has a nearly perfect circular orbit, not just around Earth, but around all the planets in our solar system, the moon is the only one that has an orbit that is nearly perfectly circular.

Because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, it is constantly being bombarded by radiation from our sun. Dust and rocks brought back from the moon are radioactive as a result. Impact craters on the moon are always uniformly circular and have the same depth. This is unusual because impact craters on Earth normally lean to one side a bit, because meteors come in at an angle, but they apparently don’t come in at an angle on the moon. And we aren’t sure why, though most speculate it’s because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to deflect a meteor and make it change its straight downward trajectory.

The side of the moon you see in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a different area than what is seen in Sidney, Australia, because the rotation of the moon on its axis requires nearly the exact same amount of time to complete as it does for the moon to make a complete circle around Earth. However, this also means that the spot on the moon you see in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be nearly the exact same part of the moon you will see every night in Pittsburgh.

Solar radiation isn’t the only problem faced by the moon. Again, a lack of atmosphere means solar winds affect the moon. The moon doesn’t have tectonic plates, which is what causes earthquakes and volcanoes, but for an unknown reason the moon has moonquakes. Most moonquakes are harmless, but one type of moonquake is very shallow and can register up to a 5.5 on the Richter Scale. A 5.5 is big enough to move heavy furniture around a room. Even stranger though, these types of moonquakes cause the moon to ring like a bell.

Remember I said the moon takes a day to orbit Earth? This is incorrect. The moon doesn’t actually orbit Earth. Instead, the Earth and moon orbit a mystical point called the barycenter. The barycenter is located within the Earth’s crust, which is why it looks like the moon orbits Earth. The moon is exactly one-fourth the size of Earth. It is the largest moon to planet ratio in our solar system and if it weren’t for the barycenter located in Earth’s crust, the moon and Earth would be considered twin planets, not planet and satellite.

Part of the reason we see faces in the moon is matrixing, the brain making an image from shadows. And partly because shadows on the moon are much darker. Because there is no atmosphere to help refract the sun’s rays, everything in direct sunlight is visible, but anything in shadow disappears because the lack of refraction makes the area behind a shadow, pitch black. This means the center of craters that enter into shadow are extremely dark compared to the lighter surfaces that the sun is hitting.

Finally, a university in Switzerland has proved that people do not sleep as well on nights of the full moon as they do on other nights. Not only do we get less sleep those nights, but certain nocturnal disorders become bigger problems including nocturnal urination (wetting the bed), restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, and nightmares. It is suspected the gravitational pull that affects tides is to blame. People are very sensitive to a change in gravitational pull, because we feel such a constant and steady gravitational pull from our own planet. When the moon is full, it exerts more gravitational pull than when it is waxing, waning, or a new moon. It is thought that increase is responsible for changes in human sleeping patterns and may be where most legends about the full moon came from, they were trying to explain why we slept less and had more sleeping problems when the moon was full.

The moon is weird and vital to life on Earth. Without our moon, many physicists have theorized that life on Earth would not have started.

A New View on Spiders

I know about a dozen people with arachnophobia. Which I just don’t get, but I’m terrified of wild mice and rats (I’m fine with domesticated rats though, go figure), so I don’t get to throw stones at people who are afraid of spiders. However, I do think it’s time to give spiders a little respect. Some spider species keep really cute pets.

The giant tarantula is the fifth largest spider in the world. Leg span on one of these things from leg tip to leg tip averages 28 cm long (11 inches). And they keep the world’s smallest frogs as pets. Microhylid frogs average just 1.5cm long (less than an inch). Both species are native to Central and South America.

Microhylid frogs are small enough to be eaten by Giant Tarantulas. But instead, the two have formed a mutually beneficial relationship. Scientists have speculated that microhylid frogs taste terrible to Giant Tarantulas, which is why the spiders don’t eat them. And that works out great in the end for both species…

The most common predator of giant tarantulas are ants that eat the eggs of the giant tarantula. The primary food source for microhylid frogs, are ants. And the most common predator of microhylid frogs are small birds. Which is good for the tarantulas. Giant tarantulas are big enough that many species of small birds are on the menu.

Microhylid frogs protect Giant Tarantula eggs and in return, they get to pal around with female Giant Tarantulas who are bigger than the males. And the female spiders provide protection for the microhylid frogs from predators such as birds.

As a matter of fact, the relationship is so common, that scientists have begun searching for Giant Tarantulas using microhylid frogs as indicators a female is near and vice versa – where a female giant tarantula can be found, a microhylid frog can also be found. About the only time microhylid frogs ditch their spider friend is during mating season, when the number of microhylid frogs drop because of predation.