So its that time! Time to look at communication, specifically an old over-the-horizon radar system called the Duga from the former Soviet Union (Russia/Ukraine for the purposes of this article.) Over The Horizon (OTH) or Beyond The Horizon (BTH) are radar systems for long range use. Most were used in the 1950’s and 1960’s because they were early warning systems, just think about the Cold War and the idea of it being a necessity; the ones I am looking at here are the Duga system but they were used all over the world and still are, if modern reports online are correct. I am no expert so correct me where you can if I get things wrong.

The system operated from July 1976 up until December 1989, there were two deployed in Chernobyl and Chernihiv. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine and Chernihiv is Siberian. They were powerful and appeared without warning, sounding like a repetitive tapping on 10Hz, they became nicknamed by the listeners as the Russian Woodpecker.

They seemed to pop up pretty randomly and could interrupt legitimate broadcasting and all variations of stations. Complaints were sent in about them but I can’t imagine it being easy to prevent them. Some of the radio and television users began including blockers in the circuit to try and filter out interruption.

The first type of Duga was built in the Ukraine and did successfully detect rocket launchers from 2,500 kilometres. With its success they worked on the larger project. The first signal was picked up in 1976 and amatuer radio users gave it the name woodpecker, some people had reported it as early as 1963. Regardless of the date the Russian Woodpecker was traced back to the Soviet Union. The sources were found in Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel and Chernihiv but eventually narrowed down through speculation has been made that there was more than one transmitter. Wireless World, 1977 muses that along with the OTH system the Russians might be trying to utilise radar returns or another source that worked along side it, or around two or more spots.

I wondered if this was plausible or were we just putting more technical knowledge to that in retrospect or are we accepting that NATO might not have been entirely accurate? The NATO name for DUGA-1 is quoted as STEEL YARD, some sources also use STEELWORK. It is officially recorded name may well be different but not disclosed for security purposes.

Some points of interest are that they realised when listening that it was not used as a form of jamming because Moscow and pro-Soviet Stations were also caught by it, so it couldn’t be reliable enough for that. The signal used three repetition rates of 10Hz, 16Hz and 20Hz, but the most common was 10. They used a fairly wide bandwidth, usually 40Khz.

An attempt to stop the signals causing interruptions came along, one of the ways was tor try and use signals at the same pulsing rate, people formed a club called The Russian Woodpecker Hunting Club. The transmissions slowed down in the 1980’s by 1989 they had disappeared. This slow down and eventual end does coincide with the Cold War closing down, the official end being 8th December 1971 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Another factor in the close would be a further advancement in early warning systems, satellite systems are far more advanced and less likely to be affected by adverse weather.

The original Duga system was experimental and it lies outside of the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. It was restored in 2002 after it was badly damaged by fire. As of October 2013 there is a possibility to visit the Ukrainian site via tour operators for Chernobyl who know how to get the correct paperwork.

For those who like modern reference here are some ways the Duga has been imported into modern media.

If, like me, you enjoy games like Metro Last Light or S.T.A.L.K.E.R then you may already know this… Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a heavy feature in S.T.A.L.K.E.R and specifically around the nuclear accident. The Duga array is in Clear Sky after the main campaign game. It is in the fictional city of Limansk-13 you can see it and visit it in game. The ‘Brain Scorcher’, a military installation, is inspired by the idea that Duga-1 was used for mind-control.

Call of Duty:Black Ops the map ‘Grid’ is placed in Pripyat and the array can be seen in game there too.

A documentary by Chad Garcia looks into the Chernobyl disaster and the potential links to the structure. The documentary interviews people directly involved in the building and operation of the installation.

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I did it! What did I do? Well I took the drive to see the Birmingham UFO group, here in the UK. I had gone with a specific goal in mind, to see a friend who runs a blog HPANWO and alongside does podcasts, writes books and runs his own Youtube channel.

Ben was there to speak about an incident in Nottingham, a Roswell type of affair that happened in 1987 in Nottinghamshire. Now I wouldn’t say I necessarily believe in alien contacts here on Earth in the manner that many may, but I am confident enough that science supports extra-terrestrial life somewhere out there so I would perhaps be a hypocrite to outright deny these things. More to the point this blog would be awfully boring with a NO stamped all over it… besides I think I am on the side of The X-Files here – I WANT TO BELIEVE.

So who better than to give me an interesting, and very interesting case? Well that would be a combination of BUFOG (link) and Ben Emlyn-Jones.

We’ve all heard the rhetoric if we have spent ANY time at all discussing the paranormal, UFO’s or “‘fringe” subjects… Missing your tin foil hat mate? Sounds like a patients got out of the local loony bin etc etc… and yet in a room of perfectly rational men (and yes women!) we were able to openly talk about experiences and beliefs. So have I seen a UFO is probably your first question? Honestly I don’t know is my answer, I know I have seen things in the sky that I couldn’t work out as a plane or helicopter and I know that I haven’t been able to work out how chem-trails do their thing or why – I am no aviation expert and yet I can tell you that I haven’t been convinced, in the slightest, that all things unexplained are weather balloons…

The case presented (link here for the full talk) was about the Nottinghamshire area, encompassing Mansfield down towards Arnold, see the video for the map or simply check it out online if you need the area. Now followers of this blog will no doubt recognise one of the areas in there, Ravenshead where I looked into Newstead’s Sanatorium.

12th November, 1987 is when the event happened and locals in the area remember the noise which came with a giant boom and displaced tiles and chimneys. The reports suggested two points of interest for crash debris, Thieves Woods and a portion of the land where Annesley Hall is located. The part which made me sit up and think about this was when it was mentioned the major road (A60) had been closed off and it was military intervention.

Now I cannot tell the story the way Ben does, he has done some great research, but I can tell you that there was some very interesting points brought up. For instance – why would it be closed in such a vast area for a whole week? Also the top soil was removed from that section which wouldn’t be normal for an average crash surely? And I have to admit I came away with questions, questions about the local area and what effects had come from it.

Is it possible that there was a military test that went wrong and they just needed to remove all evidence of it? After all as a civilian I don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of knowing anything they do and probably rightly so, I mean if I knew then it would mean everyone knew and secrets are sometimes a good thing. What if it was a military test for a nuclear plane/aircraft? Lets be honest modern fossil fuels are going to eventually pose a problem and so what if they were looking at a plan for that and the test didn’t pay off? Well that would still make it a UFO…

Did aliens crash? If so I wonder what did they want and why Nottinghamshire might be of interest? The thing is it has not been the only sighting in Nottingham perhaps there is something here of interest, because arrays of lights and various anomaly’s have been spotted and a quick check online even shows some old articles from the BBC, not that I can always say mainstream media is something without bias but it shows you that there’s interest here at least. Nottingham is pretty central to get to other major routes around the country so perhaps just like us our ET friends just find themselves passing by quite often…

So as you may guess from this article, as well as many others, I write with an air of middle ground, neither committing to nor denying events which I find presented to me.  What I can say with absolute certainty is that the BUFOG and HPANWO gave me an amazingly welcome reception, were open and candid, have a great sense of humour and if anyone could convince you of the reality of these events I’d pin my money on them! Unfortunately for me I missed a wonderful opportunity to meet a abductee who could have told me more but I met people that were able to confirm their sightings and what they felt was at play in this big old world of ours.

I hope they think I have been fair and just in my first review of this kind. I hope that it helps someone skeptical to think about approaching groups like this and to dive into the subject without bias or abuse. Without people like us, and people that go forwards with things you wouldn’t get conspiracy theories to become a matter of conspirifact… 1605 and the Gunpowder plot, 1865 and the Lincoln assassination plot, 1961 Cuban Plot, etc etc.

The name sounds like a fantasy town, unfortunately a town that is no longer there it having been in Ohio, USA. It was a mining community and little remains except for a few foundations, cemetery and an old rail-road tunnel that is the subject of numerous ghost stories.

It was never a big town with a peak population of around 100, the area was fairly isolated in the woods and walking the rail-road tracks was dangerous. One trestle was over Raccoon Creek, 50 metres from the tunnel and by 1920 five or six people had lost their lives.

The decline in use meant that the last family left in 1947, the town was then fully abandoned. By the 1960’s the buildings were gone. In 1981 a signal on the Moonville rail-track was erected, in 1985 the last train took that route in August and the tracks were removed. It is still possible to access that area but there only the abandoned area of the lines.

There is a ghost that appears in the tunnel and swings a lantern, attempting to stop trains that are no longer running. The other ghost walks the tracks near Moonville on the other side of the tunnel. 

B+O Engineers on the line would tell the each other about the ghostly lantern. Sometime in the 1920’s a group of men, some miners, were drinking and playing cards in a shack nearby. Full of moonshine and frivolity one inebriated chap wandered off with a lantern I hand off down the tracks. A train came from the other side and too drunk to think about backing up he waved the lantern, hoping to stop the train most likely. He was hit and killed and buried in the local cemetery, since then his aimlessly wandering ghost has been witnessed.

Another story is about a headless conductor but the details given seem less widely known than the lantern carrier. There are several accounts around a decapitated man who walks the tracks, often with a lantern, so I suspect this might just be an elaboration on the original tale.

The 2013 film is pretty much the found footage type and I don’t review films often. This was one recommended to be watched via Lovecraft E-Zine. It is directed by Karl Mueller and written by him too, it was to DVD 2nd May 2014 and has a fairly simple beginning.

The characters played by Jon Foster and Sarah Jones are a couple that go into the woods to work on a film, but end up locked into a series of very strange events. It was inspired by the memory of a neighbour; the man lived in a cabin with no running water and who trapped animals and hung them up around the woods. They made up scary stories about him to scare themselves at night, helped by the fact he had a lot of old and unusual looking farming equipment.

The movie itself is one of those types that appeals to those with more of a surreal taste, it is also not for those expecting some sort of splatter gore. This is more about the characters and their discoveries than it is about monsters…

Mr Jones is an elusive character in the story; Penny and her boyfriend Scott are the main characters who are off to make a nature documentary. Penny realises that he has not planned it very well and is annoyed, she gave up her job to help him. They find Mr Jones’ place and the artist is an elusive man that was never identified. As they investigate it more he decides to make Mr Jones the subject of his documentary. Despite the people he interviews telling him to stay away it is inevitable that he does not, the story progresses as more events unfurl and I am not going to spoil it by commenting about the end result.

The two characters do not seem unlikeable so that makes the film watchable, unlike Paranormal activity where I positively didn’t care what happened to them. The interaction with them seems more realistic and if you are into one that makes you watch for the story not the free gore porn you will likely enjoy it.

It won’t be the best thing you have ever seen but as it was streaming on Netflix and I was enjoying it I think I’d say, watch it if you like those genres of film. Out of 5 I give it a 3.5 because I think it’s nothing amazingly new but as far as that genre goes it’s far better than many. If you are looking for a comparison then I would say for unusual films I’d put it alongside the 2010 film Yellow Brick Road.

Mr Jones 2013 horror thriller poster.jpg
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link

Like many asylums this Australian institute is reportedly haunted and as of 1999 its closure has brought paranormal adventurers to the sight. It was part of a larger complex known as Mont Park, it had 750 patients at its peak and has housed some of the most mentally ill criminals in Australia.

It was the first treatment centre for Peter Dupras, a serial killer with rape and false imprisonment included in his history. It is also the birthplace of Lithium, used in the treatment of the manic episode of those suffering bi-oplar.

The asylums construction started in 1938 but WWII disrupted it, it formerly opened it’s doors in 1953. The asylum grounds now have 550 residential dwellings and the last remaining wards are due to be redeveloped.

As for ghostly goings on? Expect the usual of banging, children’s laughter and crying. One rumour of a child on the third floor of a building playing a music box kept turning up in my searches. The creepy sounds and music may well be from the local university who intend its use to scare away trespassers. As with all of these glorious old places I can see why, vandalism and graffiti disturb me more than ghosts, because ghosts down show a blatant disregard for property and history.

Atlas Obscura Entry

Wikipedia Entry 

Mont Park.jpg
By MelburnianOwn work (Digital photograph by author), CC BY 2.5, Link