Monday, August 15, 2011

I Miss You

     Up in remote parts of Canada, fur trappers are executing their job duties.  They go head-to-head with unbearable winter conditions to excel in their trade.  This was the life of a certain Joe Labelle in the 1930s. After an excursion into the wilderness, Labelle was looking forward to reaching a town near Lake Anjikuni in northern Canada.  This settlement was a rather large one, with an Eskimo population of one-thousand to two-thousand.  This location was a great place to pass through if you were a fur trapper, and the village usually welcomed such people.  On a November day in 1930, Labelle entered this settlement and found something off about it.  It was eerily quiet as he approached.  This community was big into fishing, yet there was no one out on the water.  As he entered the village, he found it to be seemingly deserted.  Labelle saw smoke coming from one hut, but upon further investigation, he found an empty home with a pot of burned stew.  There was absolutely no one to be found.  Naturally, Labelle totally freaked out and summoned the authorities as quickly as he could.  When the mounted police arrived, they discovered that things were even weirder than anyone initially believed.  There were absolutely no footprints to indicate that the villagers walked out of the town.  Also, when a twelve foot snow drift was searched, there lay all of the settlement’s sled dogs; every one of them died from starvation.  Finally, the strangest part, the ancestral graves of the Eskimos had been dug up, and the bodies were missing.  As sort of an epilogue to the event, there is some talk of the authorities seeing a strange blue light hover, then settle onto the now empty community.
            This has got to be one of the most mysterious incidents in modern history.  Two-thousand people, gone, leaving food and other necessary items behind.  Where did they go?  Why are there no clues to explain this mass exodus?  Is it because this never really happened?  The website of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police certainly denies the incident.  They claim that this whole story was created by an author named Frank Edwards.  He does mention it in his book Stranger Than Science; however, this book is supposed to be a collection of true paranormal events.  While it is true that some authors have probably fabricated information to make their “true” stories more sensational, this story has yet to be seen as completely fictional by the general public.  When the topic of baffling mysteries comes up, in many circles, this incident tops the list.  I don’t think there is a way to authenticate this story one-hundred percent; however, there should be ways to at least show that something strange occurred.  The first step would be actually locating the deserted village; not much of an effort was made, it seems.  The RCMP just claims that the area is too remote for such a large fishing community.  From what I can gather, that seems to be the extent of all investigation.  Surely there would be other ways to verify this story; were there any subsequent interviews of Joe Labelle?  Who were the Mounties who initially investigated the scene, and where did they go when this all became public?  Apparently, there are no records of this event anywhere.  Most people who have studied this incident claim that the whole thing was a hoax.
            This revelation, not surprisingly, makes me very sad.  Of course, two-thousand missing people would be a horrible tragedy, and I really wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to anyone.  I also don’t want the fact that all those dogs died to be true.  I just believe that the world is a magical and mysterious place, and, if this story was even a little bit true, my beliefs would be slightly verified.  How can anything be proven in this case when there is simply no evidence?  Allow me to become a crackpot for a little bit and discuss some far out theories.  Is the Canadian government hiding something?  Do you really think the Canadian government would be capable of anything like that?  I don’t know…maybe.  If a cover up did take place, why?  Why would the public need to be kept from something like this?  My only conclusion would be that aliens were somehow involved.  The village was very remote; a perfect place for a couple thousand people to be abducted without calling too much attention to the situation.  Perhaps the aliens needed a whole bunch of people for something: labor, mates, research.  There could be any reason for these people to be taken.  Why is this a possibility?  Because the RCMP seems to have just brushed the situation off as a silly story.  It may very well be just a silly story.  There is no evidence that anything strange happened.  The witnesses are gone.  There is no real documentation.  It is very likely that a few people disappeared somewhere in the Canadian wilderness.  Somehow, those few missing people became a legion of two-thousand and a legend about a disappearing settlement was born out of exaggeration and a passion for the unknown. 
            The Lake Anjikuni incident isn’t the first story of a population of people simply disappearing.  The Roanoke settlement is a considerably less romantic example of large groups of people going missing.  In 1587, about one hundred and fifteen people were all but forced to create a colony on Roanoke Island.  The colonists were pretty afraid of the surrounding natives, and they persuaded their governor, John White, to return to England and get some help for his people.  England was in a war with Spain and White didn’t return for three years after his departure.  When he finally did get back, everyone appeared to be gone.  There was no sign of a struggle and the buildings looked dismantled, indicating a leisurely departure.  A clue left on a post was the engraved word “Croatoan”.  Before White initially left the colony, he thought ahead enough to instruct his people to carve a cross on a tree if anything bad should happen to them.  White didn’t find a cross anywhere, so he thought they moved to Croatoan Island.  White and the guys with him left before they could research this theory, they departed the next day.  No one really seemed to care that much about these people, because it took twelve years for Sir Walter Raleigh, the true founder of the Colony, to get around to see what happened to the people.  He tried to go look for them, but the weather got bad and they had to return.  Raleigh was later arrested by Kind James I for treason, so he really couldn’t ever find out what happened to the colonists.  What seemed to have happened, is that the colonists simple integrated into a native tribe and spent the rest of their lives in a happy existence.  Though there is no true evidence of this, it probably is what really happened.  Yet, this event is still declared a mystery, the colony dubbed “The Lost Colony”, and people keep trying to make this whole thing more mysterious than it really is.  Though it isn’t fun at all, I guess it technically is unsolved, even though it really is.
            Individual disappearances can get pretty interesting as well.  People go missing all the time for many reasons.  However, some simply vanish in front of witnesses, and all that is left is a mystery.  The problem with these stories is that they all really sound like urban legends.  Take the British diplomat Benjamin Bathurst, for instance.  In 1809 he was hanging out in Germany when he went to dinner with a companion.  After dinner, the pair went to their coach.  Bathurst’s friend looked on as he went to the front of the coach to look at the horses, when he simply disappeared.  He suddenly was nowhere to be found.  Pretty interesting story, but where is the proof?  Is there even a name of Bathurst’s companion somewhere?  What is written on Bathurst’s death certificate?  Does he even have a death certificate?  This is an example of something that is very probably an urban legend.  I suppose I could go to England and search archives to get to the bottom of this, but I neither have the time, nor the resources.  All I have to rely on are the stories on the internet and in books that provide no further evidence that something of this nature occurred.
            In 1975, Jackson Wright and his wife Martha were driving from New Jersey to New York City.  They went through the Lincoln Tunnel, and in this process, the car’s windows got fogged up.  Martha opted to wipe off the back window of the car, and when Jackson turned to look at her, she was gone.  Of course an investigation was held, but the police could find no evidence that anything illegal took place.  The conclusion was that Martha had just vanished.  I don’t know the intimate details of this case either.  But am I supposed to believe that the police just let Wright go, with no further conclusion than that Martha had just disappeared?  There seem to be a lot of holes in this one too.  Something strange may have happened, but it’s been blown out of proportion and made into an urban legend.
            There are disappearance stories that provide a bit more evidence, though the stories themselves seem totally made up.  David Lang, in full view of his wife, children, and a family friend Judge August Peck, disappeared while walking across his pasture in 1880.  It at first seemed as if Lang fell in a hole or something; however, upon inspection, the witnesses could find nothing of the sort.  This story sounds suspiciously like “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field” by Ambrose Bierce.  The exact same thing happens in the story.  In the supposed true life encounter, on the other hand, Lang’s children noticed that the grass in the area where their father had vanished had died, and that patch of dead grass measured about 15 feet in diameter.  Could any of this possible be true?  Especially since it so closely parallels a fictional account?  When I do my research, I keep seeing it pop up as a prime example of a true and strange disappearance.  Maybe there really is something to it.
            In 1971, Stonehenge was not yet off limits to the public.  This being 1971, a group of hippies decided it would be fun to camp out among the stones and maybe get stoned themselves.  I bet it was a really nice night, full of smoking, singing, and other stereotypical hippie behavior; probably bad dancing or something.  Around 2a.m., the festivities were interrupted by a severe thunderstorm.  Lightning shot from the sky, right into the monument.  There were surprisingly witnesses to this event, a farmer and a police man.  They later recounted that the monument began to glow with a strange and intensely bright blue color.  Naturally, the hippie campers were screaming, and the farmer and the police man rushed to the stones.  They expected to find a bunch of injured or dead hippies, instead, they saw no one.  Only a few remnants of their campsite remained.  This story seems real to me.  I mean, it’s modern enough for the facts not to become too muddled.  There were definitely witnesses to this encounter.  Stonehenge is a beacon for paranormal activity.  It is said to be placed on a very important ley line that somehow connects all of the important ancient monuments in the world.  So, of course, weird things are spotted here.  I think, the most common, but still strange, occurrence has to be the crop circles that appear in the fields near Stonehenge.  Yes, crop circles appear everywhere; but there does seem to be a higher concentration around the stones.  Therefore, I am not entirely surprised that such a strange occurrence would happen there.  So, if this really did happen, what became of the hippies?  I think one explanation would be total vaporization.  Maybe some kind of super lightning burned the bodies beyond recognition.  Not a very good theory, but a theory nonetheless.  I’ve never heard of lightning obliterating a group of people before.  So maybe that didn’t happen.  Unless the lightning wasn’t lightning at all, it could have been manufactured somehow.  The brilliant blue light may be a clue.  Perhaps a passing spaceship sided with most of the world with their dislike of hippies and used a death ray to eradicate them all.  If aliens were involved, it could be a classic abduction case.  Why aliens would want hippies is beyond me.  The thing to pay attention to, I think, is the blue glow that the witnesses saw.  Was this similar to the blue glow seen at Lake Anjikuni?  Sounds like similar circumstances to me.  That blue light has to mean something, right?  I think the beginnings of a pattern have emerged here.  If you see a location, besides a disco or something, and it’s glowing blue, I’d quickly get out of there.
            You’d think that mass disappearances would very rarely occur; and they would only take place in remote locations, as mentioned before.  However, a really unusual group vanishing took place in 1915, during World War I.  Fifty years after the incident, three New Zealand soldiers came forward with a very strange tale.  These three men watched a British regiment march up a hillside located in Sulva Bay, Turkey.  Atop the hill was a cloud, just sitting up there; those brave English soldiers marched right into the cloud without a moment’s hesitation.  The problem is, they never came back out.  The witnesses stated that when the entire battalion had entered the cloud, the cloud rose back into the sky.  Of course an investigation was conducted.  The British government naturally blamed Turkey for the disappearance, and made a demand that the regiment be returned.  The Turks were probably baffled by this accusation; they probably had no idea what the British were talking about.  They claimed that they never even made contact with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, much less captured them.  Could Turkey have been lying?  It doesn’t seem like it; some clues about their capture would have surfaced by now.  The three New Zealand witnesses certainly didn’t think that the Turks had anything to do with this; it all seemed to be the work of that danged cloud.  Now this screams UFO to me.  It has been said that UFOs like to conceal themselves in clouds, probably of their own making.  The UFO and its occupants decided one day that they wanted a whole bunch of soldiers, and that’s what they got.
            As mentioned in a previous post, and it may be my ultimate point here if I’m not careful; some people just disappear, with no evidence or logical reasoning.  Are people travelling to alternate dimensions?  Are they being captured by aliens?  Can anyone think of a place where these people would end up after they go missing?  These questions become ever so apparent in the case of Owen Parfitt.  He had a massive stroke at some point in his life, and he became paralyzed; very paralyzed, he couldn’t really move at all.  He was 60 in 1763; he spent his days in Shepton Mallet, England.  I like the name, Shepton Mallet, it sounds pretty sweet.  Anyway, Parfitt’s favorite hobby was sitting outside his sister’s house, looking over the fields.  That was probably his only hobby, since he couldn’t do much else.  On the night in question, Susannah, Parfitt’s sister, took a neighbor with her to bring him in for the evening.  When they went to find him, he was gone; all that was left was his folded coat, upon which he was sitting.  This story strikes me as quite creepy, as there is no way this man could have run off.  Was he kidnapped?  Seems unlikely, as there was no ransom note or even a body found.  The interesting thing about this case was that it was investigated off and on up to 1933!  That’s 170 years of looking for a solution to this one mystery.  Not a single clue was ever found.
            Have you heard of Bennington, Vermont?  I know I haven’t; not until I began my research.  It’s true, I may be geographically challenged; I may not have studied cities in far away states enough in school.  Whatever the case may be, a lot of paranormal enthusiasts and researchers are probably very aware of this place; because strange occurrences happened in this place over a period of time, this whole bevy of events was dubbed the Bennington Triangle.  This city and the surrounding area in Vermont, for a period of time, seemed to suck up people, just like the infamous Bermuda Triangle.  Unlike its more famous counterpart, the Bennington disappearances were much more mysterious, as they occurred on dry land in front of witnesses.  On December 1st, 1946, 18 year old Paula Welden took a walk on the Long Trail that lead to Glastonbury Mountain.  She was not alone on the trail; a couple was about 100 yards behind her and had a clear view of Welden until she reached a turn in the trail behind a rocky outcropping.  When the couple took the turn, they should have seen Welden in front of them, but they didn’t.  She could have left the trail, but no one has heard anything from her since that day.  It could be a simple case of abduction, or a complicated case of abduction, no one really knows.
            The weirdest Bennington account, in my opinion, involves James Tetford.  This event also took place on December 1st, but in 1949.  Tetford was an ex-soldier and he lived in a soldier’s home.  He was heading to this home on a bus with 14 other passengers.  When the bus got to its destination, Tetford was missing.  The other passengers claimed they had all seen him sleeping on the bus, but at the end of the journey, he just wasn’t there; though all of his belongings remained, his luggage on the rack and a bus timetable on his seat.  Tetford was gone.  He has not claimed his possessions or even been sighted since that night.  No one saw him actually disappear; but how could he have departed the bus while it was moving and no one saw him get up?
            In October of 1950 an animal caretaker left her son playing near a pigsty while she looked after some other animals.  Just a little bit later, she returned to her son, named Paul Jepson, only to find he was nowhere to be seen.  Of course, huge searched were conducted, but the child was never found.  This kid was eight, probably a rather small chap; maybe this time, the disappearing person actually did fall into a hole.  Yes, it is weird that absolutely nothing was ever found, but maybe the little bugger ran off somewhere.  However, it still seems odd that there was no trace of him.  Is this part of the country really a hotbed of mysterious disappearances?  There’s a local belief that Native Americans thought the Glastonbury area was cursed.  There is no substantial evidence to prove that claim.  There are also tales of hairy, wild men roaming those parts.  What they have to do with people disappearing under strange conditions is beyond me.  These mysterious “triangles” have a way of making a nice place a magnet of paranormal activity.  The Bridgewater Triangle is another example of an area that just happens to have weird things going on in it.  This triangle and others like it will be discussed at length in a future entry.  I will also discuss why every mysterious location is somehow in the shape of a triangle.
            So what should we make of these reports of people who seemingly fall of the face of the earth?  Rips in time and space could be a possibility.  The phenomena could sometimes be erratic; such could be the case in the few sporadic disappearances.  These rips could also follow some sort of pattern, as in the case of the Bennington Triangle.  What causes these rips, if that is in fact the root of these vanishings?  They could be just random environmental and time shifts, caused by some upset in the universal balance of things.  They could purposely be formed by a higher intelligence.  Or that same higher intelligence may have accidentally created these rifts as a result of tampering with the cosmos.  Can humans of the future travel through time?  Does that cause a dimensional shift that somehow sucks up people from their present time and place?  Maybe these people are intentionally being taken.  Perhaps aliens aren’t confined to abducting and returning people while they are sleeping.  Maybe aliens need a few people to keep for a long time for continuous study.  In the stories I have mentioned, it seems that aliens or whatever pilots UFOs are behind the mass disappearances.  The Lake Anjikuni disappearance is a prime example.  If this story is true, I think something UFO related happened there.  There weren’t even footprints to show that the villagers went anywhere.  If it were a simple rift in time and space, wouldn’t all the living things in that area have been taken?  Why were the dogs left behind?  I think the dog issue is going to bug me forever.  The same thing goes for the hippies and the battalion.  It looks like they were literally taken from earth by something up above.
            Whatever is going on, is it still going on today?  Yes, people go missing; but these days it doesn’t seem to happen as mysteriously as before.  I’m sure there are still rips in time and space, I don’t think they would’ve just gone away.  Will these people ever be found?  So much time has passed, it’s hard to tell.  My thoughts remain on Lake Anjikuni and the village that disappeared.  Did it really happen?  If so, where are they now?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Scary Scary Lake

            So I just learned about another lake monster the other day.  This one is very different from other lake monsters that I have written about.  This one is much more sinister, and, believe it or not, much more mysterious than any other lake monster that I’ve heard about.  The lake in question is called Elizabeth Lake.  This lake is located near Palmdale in LA County.  Some say that this is the oldest lake in the state.  I’m not really a person who studies lake history, so I couldn’t tell you for sure.  This lake has been nicknamed Laguna Del Diablo; and if you look at the history of this lake, it’s easy to see why.
            Elizabeth Lake lies on the San Andreas fault line.  From what I’ve heard, fault lines are scary and interesting places.  There’s an unpredictable nature to them, and they can produce all kinds of odd phenomena.  Could this be the reason that something strange is attributed to the lake?  Perhaps.  Read on and maybe we can figure something out.
            This area, in the 1800s, was inhabited by Spanish settlers.  However, weird things happened in the lake way before the Spanish got there.  Native American legends suggest that a dark force created the lake.  To the Spanish, this dark force translated into the Devil.  A few sightings and the influence from Native American stories became the legend; the monster of Elizabeth Lake.  Tradition states that Satan is indeed the one who created this lake to house one of his favorite pets.  It is also said that the bottom of this lake contains a passage to Hell.  So I suppose the lake serves as some sort of backyard, where the Devil’s pet can get out, get some exercise, and wreak some havoc.
            The monster itself sounds absolutely appalling.  It has bat wings, a giraffe neck, a bulldog face, six legs, it’s about fifty feet long, and of course, it stinks to high heaven.  Apparently, this beast was so fowl and its presence was so greatly felt, that ranchers thought they needed to abandon their land just to escape the monster’s clutches.             
            This horrible creature first really made itself known in the 1830s, and tortured a man named Don Pedro Carillo.  This guy had a ranch built very close to the lake.  One night, not one, not two, but all of his ranch building burned down.  Carillo soon left the place, claiming the disaster was the work of the devil.  Was it really the monster that caused this?  No one saw it actually starting the fire that night; however, the lake was starting to get a pretty bad reputation.
            Later on, in the 1850s, some American settlers who moved in near the lake were terrorized by late night visions, disturbing screams, and other unnatural phenomena.  They too fled from the lake.  It seemed, at this point, that the area was uninhabitable. 
            Another brave soul tried to make the land his home, Don Chico Lopez.  He was lured into a sense of security, as nothing at all happened the first few months after moving in.  Eventually, animals started to go missing.  We’re not talking about an occasional dog running off, we’re talking about giant cows just vanishing.  To make things worse, a giant shadow of a winged entity would cast itself over the house each and every night.  This is when the actual sightings began.  Workers were actually seeing this abomination!  A few of the hands actually took a shot at this thing, and the bullets reportedly bounced right off its hide.  If I were there, I’d definitely quit; apparently, many of the ranch hands felt the same way.  Those animals kept disappearing, the terror was evidently mounting, so Lopez had to give up and sell his property.  Again, the land around the lake was abandoned.
            As if everything wasn’t weird enough, things were about to get decidedly stranger when Miguel Leonis stepped up and purchased the land.  This guy was very tough, so when the monster started picking off his animals, Leonis was certainly not going to turn his tail and run.  Instead, one night he hid and waited for the creature to rear its ugly head.  Of course Leonis shot at it, but when he discovered that this had no effect, he did one of the craziest things I can imagine; he ran right up to it and attacked it with the butt of his gun.  He ended up punching it in the eye; quite an amazing maneuver if this thing was really fifty feet across.  This must have really startled the Elizabeth Lake monster, because after that, it retreated back into the lake.  It turns out that the beast had a much more vicious bark than bite, because the next thing everybody knew, the monster took off, toward Arizona.
            It is here where the Elizabeth Lake monster meets up with another western legend to form one very tall and beastly tale.  It looked like the monster actually made it to Arizona, close to Tombstone to be exact.  In 1890, a large, winged creature appeared in the area.  Some cowboys lured it down and somehow killed it.  There even seemed to be a picture to accompany this wild claim.  A picture allegedly appeared in the Tombstone Epitaph in which a bunch of cowboys are posed with what seems to be a dead pterodactyl.  Some have suggested that the Tombstone pterodactyl and the Elizabeth Lake monster are the same thing.  This could be verified, had not the picture and apparently all copies of the newspaper gone missing; leaving nothing but a couple of crazy Wild West legends.
            So now that you know the history of the Elizabeth Lake monster, let’s try to put some pieces together, shall we?
            As with many lake monsters, this one is very old; Native American legend says so.  Something odd has haunted that lake for a long time.  Could it be the work of the fault line?  I’m sure its presence definitely has something to do with it.  Strange lights, feelings and noises could be associated with the lake for as long as anyone can remember, because of that darned fault line.  Skeptics will probably place all the blame on that lake’s location.  But what of the description of the beast?  It is no simple description; it’s immensely complicated.  With other lake monsters, the animal seems to differ from one sighting to the next.  And, perhaps that’s what happened with the Elizabeth Lake monster; maybe each individual sighting added up to make a very jumbled and disturbing creature.  If we do take it to heart that the chimeric appearance of the beast was actually a true description; what could it possibly be?  In a way, it sounds like some kind of saurpod, with the long neck and such.  But saurpods don’t have six legs, from everything that I know.  Could be an evolutionary deal, but I doubt it.  Perhaps the number of legs is the first of many exaggerations and misidentifications.  Something that fits that monster’s description has to be an exaggeration, right?  There is no way this thing could conceivably be real.  Unless it was, in fact, a true demon.  Really?  I’ve heard of demonic possessions and the occasional sighting of a little demon hiding in someone’s room.  I’ve heard of people being terrorized by demons, plagued by demons, and seduced by demons.  I have absolutely never heard of the Devil swinging by and dropping off a horrible demon off in a lake.  I suppose it could be possible.  The sightings stopped in the 1880s, maybe the Devil was bolder and more invested in terrorizing living people than he is now.  I don’t really know.
            Another theory, and I promise I didn’t make this one up, is that the Elizabeth Lake monster was no kind of living being.  Some say it was an alien spaceship.  No one knew what a spaceship was back then, so it might have been given the characteristics of some kind of living organism.  Underwater UFOs, or USOs, as they are now called, are a pretty common phenomenon these days.  There is all sorts of speculation whirling about that aliens, or whatever inhabits these craft, have set up underwater stations, out of reach of the human eye.  We haven’t been down to the deepest depth of the deepest ocean, so it could be possible.  Was Elizabeth Lake a sort of sea port for flying vessels in the Wild West era?  Some characteristics of this so called monster certainly don’t seem organic; such as the ability to thwart bullets.  Maybe it could be some sort of ship.  Yet I still can’t get over how organic this thing seems.  I imagine a horrible face and head sitting atop a slithering, prowling creature; its muscles undulating beneath its leathery skin.
            The most intriguing part of this story, to me, is the fact that the sighting suddenly stopped.  This creature had seemingly been around for hundreds of years, first making its appearance known through native legends.  It faces one attack, and, at least in California, that’s the last anyone sees or hears of it.  Did Miguel Leonis really fight off a beast from hell?  I’m pretty sure there have been no modern sightings; nothing, not even from a lunatic trying to hold on to some bygone legend.  To me it seems that this was a Wild West legend that died when the west got significantly less wild. 
            And what of the Tombstone event?  Was this really the same horrible creature from the lake?  The real question is what happened to that infamous photograph of the downed monster?  Volumes have been written trying to make sense of this, and I just won’t get into that now.
            What a lot of rambling just to tell you about a simple monster.  It’s a really interesting story, with very strange aspects to it.  Whatever it was, I’m pretty sure it’s gone now.  Maybe it died, maybe it went back to the underworld, and maybe, just maybe, it didn’t exist at all.