Oak Island, Nova Scotia.

Since the 18th Century many attempts have been made to locate treasure and artefacts on the island. The original shaft that had not been given an official location appears to come from an unknown date, and to date it seems there are six unknown fatalities from people involved in trying to dig up rumoured treasures. There is relatively little known about the early rumours but word of mouth seems to go back to around the 18th Century. What I loved was one of the early stories was about a dying sailor that had washed up from the shore, he claimed to be one of Captain Kidd’s crew and that the pirate had buried 2 million dollars’ worth of treasure on Oak Island.

The most widely accepted account from there is that Daniel McGinnis found a depression in the ground whilst looking for farm and in 1799 he got assistance from two men to go digging. John Smith and Anthony Vaughn found a layer of flagstones, later accounts say oak platforms were found and signs of tool marks around the pit had been unearthed. It’s said that the three men then abandoned their 30-foot-deep excavations due to ‘superstitious dread’, I am ignoring various other deviations to the story to keep the article as short as I can.

1802 Onslow Company allegedly sailed from Nova Scotia to Oak Island to find the rumoured treasure. They went another 90 feet down, finding more signs of works and a large stone that was inscribed but then 60 foot of the shaft flooded with water and abandoned the attempts on a second shaft that also flooded. In 1849 the Truru Company tried as well, yet more shafts, boreholes, and other things to try were utilised and yet again faced more problems from flooding.

I am going to move forwards with some of the more interesting bits and not get into a long-convoluted story, there are novels and many other articles out there that you can have fun diving into after all.

The first death recorded was in 1863, an explosion occurred when a pump boiler burst, the death was mentioned in a novel five years later. 1864 The Oak Island Association tried to intersect the Money Pit and mining engineers declared it unsafe, the money ran out and the efforts were abandoned.

The second death was 26th March 1897 and a worker named Maynard Kaiser fell to his death. There is a memorial for him and the six deaths, an entry of which can be found at Find A Grave.

1909 Old Gold Savage Group took up the challenge. Captain Henry L Bowdoin arrived on the island and ‘The Money Pit’ was cleared out to 113 feet, with divers sent to look down there. Nothing of interest appears to have been found and Bowdoin examined nearby Smith’s Cover and they left in 1909. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), the 32nd US President was curious and for most of his life tried to keep up with he news that came out of the place.

A New York newspaper then published a story in 1928 and William Campbell came to the island. In 1931 he began his search, he found the debris and things from prior attempts but found little more. Gilbert Hedden saw the article and made six trips to the island, he also voyaged to England to consult with Harold T Wilkins who wrote a book, ‘Captain Kidd and His Skeleton’ where he managed to find a link to Oak Island and a map in his book. Hedden purchased the south-eastern part of the island but seems to have been no more successful than his predecessors.

The Restall family came there in 1959, having signed a contract with the owners. In 1965 they tried to seal what they thought was a storm drain at Smith Cove, dug a shaft down 27 feet and 17th August, Robert Restall was overcome by hydrogen sulphur fumes, his son went down to get him and he also lost consciousness so a rescue party was sent down, this party also included a man called Andy Demont. Another visitor to the site called Edward White saw the trouble and he went down to rescue them, he was able to rescue Demont, Restall, his son and a man named Karle Greaser but the others there all perished.

The Triton Alliance was my next moment of interest, they opened a 235-foot shaft known as Borehole 10-X and lowered cameras, it was now 1971 and said it recovered possible chests, human remains and other items. It seems none of those claims had been independently verified and the shaft collapsed, money once again ran out but they did send divers down and they seemed to find nothing more and after this there seemed to be more arguments about ownership and land rights, taking it up to the more modern period.

April 2006 brothers Rick and Morty Lagina from Michigan had purchased 50% of Oak Island for undisclosed amounts. The rest is owned by other parties and July 2010 Oak Island Tours announced they;d been granted a treasure trove license and exploration by the Lagina brothers got its reality television show in 2014, airing on the History Channel.

Time to go into dramatic clips, and finds and evidence?

A coin that was found by the Lagina brothers shows up and I found a nice summary by Men’s Health Magazine about it, the coin could be a metal washer but the team determine that it looks like 1600-1700’s and more exotic than a European coin. It seems a fair few coins have appeared on the island and have been verified, put on display and come from many areas around the world. I liked that I could find something tangible here on other sites and Michael East blogged about this saying that there could be some real archaeological finds to be found.

What I like is that really this isn’t likely to be a massive haul of treasure found in terms of a chest by a pirate, but at least there is chance to find some nice historical items there. I could also be wrong though, as buried treasure is a rare thing for pirates despite the stories we got as kids, however Kidd was the one that was known to have done this. Ralph D Paine, an American writer, attempted to collate these into The Book of Buried Treasure, and found that in most cases the story came from a lone survivor of a piratical crew who would regale their hidden secret but for some reason could not return themselves, then go on to give either a map or location before meeting their death. This would lead the inheritor of the information to go on to try to find it or transfer it on to others.

But there’s a chance still right? Well possibly, after all there is one verified pirate treasure in the United States and was once owned by Thomas Kew, a Rhode Island pirate and his artefacts are at the St Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, there is even a picture there if, like me, you can’t get there to visit. I mean it sounds pretty awesome, they have Blackbeard’s blunderbuss and one of the three remaining authentic Jolly Roger flags. If you ever get to go do let me know how you go on please?

Sources

Wikepedia, Critical Enquiry.org, Web Archive, History.com, Men’s Health, youtube, Google

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/185143018/maynard-kaiser

blog.michealeastwriter, oakislandmoneypit.com, skeptoid, thepiratemuseum.com

The Book of Buried Treasure – Ralph D Paine

Is located at Ballard, Utah, USA. The name skinwalker comes from a Navajo legend and the ranch has borders with the Ute Reservations. It is a site now linked with UFO and paranormal activities. I am going to enter the mix with a tinge of my usual sarcasm but also please don’t take this all as negative or skeptical, I only tend to be a little down on how online/mass media can approach things not necessarily the subject and the long-term readers here already know this, I am sure.

This one got several requests so here goes!

The Navajo belief systems are solid, well handed down and quite frankly deserve more than anything I can write here, I will not insult their entire culture and sincerely believe that the reports pre-modern American media outlets take up to be far more valid in their history so please, I haven’t gone into this on my blog for good reason. I don’t want the two things here to be put into confusion.

The Owners:

1905 – 1916: Monk Savanaugh  (granted land 2-3 homestead)  (only references online seem to come from the same media outlets reporting the same phrases and information)

1914 – 1945: Henry Litster (buys the land and moves into 2-3)  (only references online seem to come from the same media outlets reporting the same phrases and information)

1934-1994: Kenneth and Edith Myers leave a three-room homestead from Henry Lister but the homestead is not listed. (article) (picture below)

1945 – 1961: Benton Locke (only references online seem to come from the same media outlets reporting the same phrases and information)

1994-1996: Terry and Gwen Sherman (an interview they held with desert.com)

1996 – 2016: Robert Bigelow (his Wiki entry for context of who he is)

2016 – Brandon Fungal, via Adamantium Holdings. It seems this is where the roads get blocked off, perimeters are set and guards are all brought in to keep the place off limits. It is also a year later the place gets trademarked and the trademark is issue in 2018.

The main website? I can’t say it’s anything new or dynamic but there was a forum that was active until around 2018 once the gofundme was getting underway and of course the profit on the media really began to kick in. Ebooks, books, TV etc are all taking over but it is a handy resource to start with. The files section is there to support all the evidence for the idea it’s all 100% UFO or paranormal, and the Video section just links you to their youtube. The photo’s section is a broken link alongside many other links. I’d hope that as time goes by their webmaster/editor gets them properly linked up.

The research link basically links yet more books, none of which would be ranked on a sceptic scale that I could see and maybe I am nit picking here but I hate the idea that there is a tab called “Players” as opposed to something that might indicate key individuals involved, and to me makes the researchers seem less validated and more part of some theatre production? I digress…

So I decided lets ignore the timeline (links broken) and we have a base history of the owners so lets get into the nice meaty thing, the weird stuff – its why you are here right?

Entities – now I am being a little contrite here but, it seems like someone there might be into video games or treating this like some sort of dodgy “spot me” bingo with a percentage chance of seeing the thing? I mean do you get a special unlockable achievement for finding them all? And some of the pictures are basically web found pictures, (not to mention if you are taking these images on a commercial website I would dearly like to think you’d at least credit them!).

Look I am going to be even more sarcastic but I am just annoyed by the layout of the website so bear with me as I go full “Role play game” mode and list your NPC entities:

Spotlight – This is listed as a commonly reported phenomena and lasts around 10-15 seconds for the witness; a single light like that of a motorcycle that may even focus back at the witness when it is spotted. The listing puts this as some sort of mechanical or machine-like entity.

Flash Drones – something that can be seen as a light, multiple lights, orbs or even transforming into various animal shaped lights. Now the idea behind this is that they might be some form of transport vehicle, or intelligent drone, but then it also suggests it might be biological so who knows and the event can be anything from a minute to 45 minutes long in duration.

Invisible Chopper – It is more often heard coming from the south and going up towards the north, it sounds like a large helicopter and even in broad daylight seems that you cannot see it in the sky. The noise and supposedly the vehicle then pass over the once and are not seen again, and so it is thought to have stealth technology or something akin to that and is a manned vehicle of some form.

Mini Stealth – described a mini stealth fighter in shape, dynamic movement is involved and it will pass over the observer only once before it is gone. It is something you can only spot, if lucky, for about 5-10 seconds as it whizzes past.

The Controllers – seem to be two individuals that are heard talking above the witness, in a language that is not understood and it sounds like they are communicating by “walkie talkie” or some comms device. They seem to coincide with the Invisible Chopper and may well even be inside them as they go over, if they are aware of witnesses spotting them they promptly disengage their talk.

The Traveller – an ancient looking native man in primitive clothing. The main website states it as fact pretty much that he is and his tribe once lived on the land there and are rumoured to be buried on the site. He is said to have lost his family and tribe to the “Sky Beast”, and apparently this contact has left him there on the area and it an “ethereal ghost-like figure”. It seems that he can be contacted with things like Ouija board if the participant desires contact?

Right so also mentioned –

Little Girl – the disembodied voice of a little girl, origin and background unknown – so vague that I am going to ignore this entry any further, that and the creepy pasta image just made this one seems to erroneous to the theme it’s not going to be helpful for me.

Firefly Sprites – little balls of light that go up and dissipate as they rise up into the air. Now here is a decent entry for a little attempt at reason which is that the area has ground soil with a high concentrate of silica and might be a contributing factor.

Water Babies – they are things that will mimic the cries of babies or children, who are going to then drag the person that goes to help into the water and drown them.

So many other random mentions I am just going to try and work down the main parts that seem to be helpful and honestly try to find something that I can see as independent verification. I have now left the main website so I can try and dig into the meat and bones of some of this without the real pain of the bias of the owners and profit making. Let’s get some meat (or your preference) and potatoes on the plate, right?

Utah is quite a hotspot for the paranormal in the circles that tend to investigate these things, with accounts that relate to odd happenings as far back as human settlements have been recorded. Perhaps it is the geography that assists with this, as in the large basin sits the 480-acre ranch, Skinwalker and this is seemingly the hotspot.

Astrophysicist Dr Travis Taylor (has worked for the Department of Defense and NASA) has taken some interviews and seems politely sceptical but has admitted that during a four-month project at the site he found things he could not currently explain with the modern understanding of science. He explained he feels that paranormal is a term that isn’t helpful, that he has said that things he did experience there had indeed caused him surprise, he has not gone into detail but admitted that there were phenomena there he could not explain with human technology. What I liked about his interviews is his determination to remain rational and show you why he has those five degrees in engineering and science – “It doesn’t mean it can’t be explained by a better or future understanding of physics, but it does mean we can’t explain it with human technology.”

In 1996 Robert Bigelow brought the place after hearing about the goings on, the rumours of poltergeists and other activity. He seemed to be rather interested in the paranormal aspect and whist he was owner the journalist George Knapp teamed up with another scientist, Colm Kelleher to write a book on the matter, bringing more attention to the place. 2007 and agent from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) read the book and wanted to see the place for themselves, and things just kept growing from there.

I started trawling through the videos online to see what I could make of them, I can hardly claim to understand the science so I thought perhaps just watching the visual aids would give me some clues.

The first one I found was not at all convincing, sorry to say, a cow reacting to an object flying overhead could happen if it was a large bird or prey so I moved on. The next was a team using a binary light array to get some contact in the sky, and I was happy that they dismissed and obvious plane at first only see that the light formation changed and was not in a manner a plane would so yes it was a curious watch and it was far more compelling…

And IMMEDIATELY the thing that annoys me is it does not take long to get into the terrible fake reports, poor journalism, misinformation and just  -dare I say it – bullshit.

Allow me – LINK – look at the scary monster spotted on the ranch folks! Report from a NEWS outlet that is determined to show us all how darned creepy it all is, oh wow if that’s a real photo I am staying off the roads! Well it appears proper fact checking and journalism is dead, this is so easy to report as fake it’s pathetic. Why? Any old horror fans would know this is from Xtro (1982)– its about as well used as the minions for horror memes and honestly this is why you have people who either believe or end up 100% on the NO Aliens scale.

History Channel videos just served to annoy me more, I want to believe but I found only terrible examples online and it’s upset me really. I want to see these wonderful UFO’s and evidence but I am on my second solid day of trawling youtube, online and trying to avoid the books already promoted by the main owner and business manager of this seemingly media profit powerhouse.

There is a section where “all the power” and batteries die, the connections and everything are going down around Homestead number 2, so why are the TV crew not affected? Why are their sensitive cameras and microphones clearer than ever? Now I am going to tell you why old ghost hunting shows etc at least did a slightly better job here, if the the camera’s blew or their mic’s went fuzzy they often left this in, now either this happened and the camera’s for commercial purposes were somehow immune OR this happened, they tried to recreate it but had to fake it – if it’s the latter they should have put that on the footage. It looks disingenuous.

The dangerous radiation clip on there immediately had me ranting at my partner (who isn’t into this at all by the way!) as a chamber was opened and it stank. Well that’s what happened when you open old things like that, Travis immediately has a headache “or something” and Zachary Zyla (Resistivity Expert) shows up. I can’t find this chap outside of IMDB and History Channel – what are the qualifications for this position and how can you check his credentials? Hit me up if you can help me?

“Its 120 something” that’s pretty high is apparently all you need to know and that’s where I tapped out folks. I’ve been to Pripyat and Chernobyl, sat through countless talks on how exposure works and what the importance of education on how the ground and radiation works. This 3 minute clip was the end for me, no discussion about what kind of radiation or what these numbers mean and a half baked “5 x-rays you can have a year”waffle has had me tap out. I am sorry… I just can’t watch it.

Now… why do I sound so frustrated and negative when the online world is so very positive? I WANT IT TO BE REAL! I want you to astound me with your evidence… but I am left lacking on this department. All roads lead to profit for the ranch and the owner. All roads lead to the same pubications and TV shows, none of which make me see what real science is going on there, and what’s so irking is that there clearly IS a lot going on but it’s been rapidly overtaken by hokum, poorly labelled non-scientific experiments as science and links to books that feel weighted in bias without return.

I cannot find anything that makes me sit up and go YES! Yes I want to see more. I cannot see anything but clearly ad sensed programs with any sceptics buried into realms I might have to find via the unregistered internet and buying said things via paper bags under a counter in a back trading shop. If there is a series of very good and very interesting footage and information then I am so sad I cannot find it as I think there must be more to it, but I think that American profit has overtaken it just like the wave of ghost shows cemented it as a poor reality TV, I want to be believe… but I want more to help me to do so.

I believe this entire thing fell into media hype and lost focus when the powerhouse of profit took over, Brandon Fungal, via Adamantium Holding saw an opening to use this thing like James Cameron did the Titanic, only James Cameron did at least bring us the footage of that amazing ship and helped digitally preserve it but the effect is a little the same – let me try to explain. The powerhouse of the media and stories, the movies and the over sensationalist view of those things has overtaken what could be an actually genuine amazing series of science and potential contact with another entity or series of them but we won’t get that anytime soon.

Actors, parties interested in making the show’s drama to pull an audience have saturated a beautiful natural area with Navajo history and amazing historical reports being overridden by televised viewing. I want to be wrong, can you show me something new that’s going to help persuade me? I feel like Mulder with his poster and his saying “I want to believe”

Incidentally if you want my recommendation on a truly awesome piece of science fiction that I adore –  Roadside Picnic Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – (Пикник на обочине) can be brought in English, maybe I should do an article about that and the Stalker games? Mmmm

Sources:

https://web.archive.org/web/20210123170916/http://www.skinwalkerranch.org/forum/index.php

https://www.mindsetcentral.com/

Wikipedia

Skinwalkerranch.org (incidentally skinwalkerranch.com is not a secure site so I ignored it) I will refer to as “main website”

Skeptoid (podcast 321)

History.com

Desert.com

Fortean Times

Youtube

Den of Geek.com

bigelowaerospace.com (this is just a cool place linked to the former owner showing you where he is now)

Discovery UK

Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah – George Knapp and Colm Kelleher

Google (various links but feel free to go wild too!)

IMDB (I can’t believe I added that but  I did)

Reddit

Twitter

Vimeo

Hypertrichosis is known as werewolf syndrome but is NOT clinical lycanthropy. Clinical lycanthropy is the defined as the delusion that you are transforming, or has, into a non human and a psychological disorder based around the supernatural creature of legend. Hypertrichosis is an abnormal amount of hair-growth over the body and can be localised to one area or affect the whole body (generalised). This can be congenital and always present at birth or acquired and come after birth, in these cases it can be a side effect of drugs has associations with cancer or has been linked to eating disorders.

It is not something that can be cured in the case of congenital hypertrichosis and instead is often manager. If it has been acquired then finding out the route cause is the way to find a suitable treatment.

Many (both types) cases will result in hair reduction treatment, this however can result in scarring, skin conditions like dermatitis or hypersensitivity. Temporary hair removal may last several hours or weeks, they are purely cosmetic. Permanent hair removal uses either chemical or laser treatment that depends on the type of hair needing treatment.

Congenital versions of hypertrichosis are rare and congenital generalised hypertrichosis has been isolated to one family in Mexico but acquired is more common and not linked particularly to any one familial in particular. Historically some people used this as a way to make money by displaying themselves as a circus or sideshow or barbers.

Annie Jones was an American bearded woman from Virginia and toured with P T Barnum. She was a woman who was well-portraited and photographed. Annie Jones joined the world of P T Barnum at the age of 9 months and died in Brooklyn, in 1902 of tuberculosis. She was 37 years old, divorced from her first husband and widowed from her second.

Alice Elizabeth Doherty was born in Minneapolis and was born with around two-inches of long blonde hair all over her body. None of her known relatives had been recorded with the same or similar condition, she had blue eyes, a lot of hair and was exhibited by her parents as a sideshow attraction from the age of 2 years old. At 5 years of age, she had 5 inch long hair and by the time she was a teenager that hair was 9 inches long and despite not being interested in entertainment she carried on to support her family. She retired in 1915, gladly no doubt, and died in Dallas, Texas on 13th June 1933.

Julia Pastrana was from Sinaloa, Mexico. She was born in 1834 with her face and body covered in black hair, she also had large ears, nose and her teeth were irregular and was a rare disease Eingival hyperplasia. There are variations of what happened to her in her early life, both accounts do say that he line in the home of Pedro Sanchez, and left the home in 1854. She ended up in America, eloped from her performing role with Theadore Lent and marrying him in Baltimore. He took over her management, they routed Europe and America being advertised as a “bear woman”. Pastrana was touring in Moscow when she gave birth to a baby bearing similar features to her own. The child survived only a few days and Pastrana suffered from post-partum depression, dying just five days later. She died 21st March, 1860.

Petrus Gonsalus was born in Tenerife, Spain, in 1537 approximately, sources seemed to vary. “The Man of the Woods”, it is theorised that he was the inspiration for the story of Beauty and the Beast, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve.

He was reportedly a native of the Canary Isles who started life as a slave, at 10 years of age he was gifted to Henry II, France and stayed there for 40 years. Henry gave him an education, taught him as a young nobleman should be for the time and he met and romanced a woman called Catherine. They married and had children, Antionetta, his daughter had the same condition and so did his son. The courts of Italy and France saw the family, who were widely portraited and they were studied by famous physicians. Eventually they retired to a village in Italy and crept quietly into obscurity.

Other notes about it paint a less romantic picture, his wife was set up by Henry II’s wife to get him out of the court, Catherine was kept from seeing the man and that she fainted the first time she saw Petrus. She was still forced to wed him and yet she eventually came to love him.

Catherine was said to have given birth to 7 children, 4 of which had the same disorder as Petrus. In Italy under the care of Duke of Farnese then split the family up by giving the afflicted children away as pets. It is during this period the records became muddy and obscure. They ended up in Capimodonte, Italy and they remained there for about 40 years, married up until his death in 1618.

Perhaps it is suitably fitting that where he was buried did not get recorded, a whole life of being on show to being left alone may well be the peaceful he had hoped for,

Sources:

  • thehumanmarvels.com

  • wikipedia

  • sideshowworld.com

  • New York Times

  • Mutants: On genetic variety and the human body – Armand Marie Leroi

  • Medium.com

Pastrana.JPG
By George Wick – This file was derived from: <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julia_Pastrana,_a_bearded_lady._Reproduction_of_a_photograph_Wellcome_V0007256.jpg” title=”File:Julia Pastrana, a bearded lady. Reproduction of a photograph Wellcome V0007256.jpg”>Julia Pastrana, a bearded lady. Reproduction of a photograph Wellcome V0007256.jpg</a>, Public Domain, Link

Sources:

https://www.gjenvick.com/Passengers/BaltimoreMailLine/CityOfBaltimore-PassengerList-1937-07-24.html

norwayhertiage.com, https://www.thedarkpictures.com/, wikpedia (English and German versions), Fortean Times monthly magazine, Proceedings of the Merchant Maritime Council, The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena by Roy Bainton (2013), Ripleys.com, de173.com, strangeremains.com, skittishlibrary.co.uk

Back in 2014 I visited this mystery with a quick overview. This mystery ship was meant to have burnt down, a fire breaking out on board and the sole witness was there, he took photos and then he and his crew watched from their own ship as it burnt and sank, down into the bottom of the ocean. I thought it would be interesting to revisit this with a little more detail, and an interest revived having skimmed a recent copy of Fortean Times.

January 1948, ‘Mystery Demise of the Ourang Medan’ was an article in the Elseviers Weekblad, a Dutch Weekly newspaper. It had two photographs, a ship on its side and a crewman dead on the floor with no face showing, as the evidence, along with the witness report. The English report was in 1952 as a handed down rumour. The author has claimed, in the Dutch Paper, to have been 400 nautical miles southeast of the Marshall Islands, in mid Jine 1947. The author, Silvio Scherli, said their vessel got a radio message and an SOS Signal from Ourang Medan. The dramatic description says that the morse code seemed very confusing, but they managed to make out “I am dying” from the garbled words and letters.

The next day they got there and the ship was drifting with no signs of life on bard. A small group of sailors boarded and were confronted with dead corpses, fear on their faces from some terror they had witnessed as they died. There were no signs of blood, or any violence and then they located the radio operator, still wearing his headset, the wires moving along with the rocking ship and his fists clenched, all adding to the dramatic tale.

Suddenly, a fire broke out and the crew that had boarded were forced to abandon it. The author says that no one on their ship could sleep that night so they stood and watched the burning ship until it finally sank into the Pacific Ocean.

So after this, two more instalments came, it mentioned a survivor, a Franciscan missionary from Taongi Atoll, reported that a man had washed ashore, dying a few days later, he had apparently relayed to a clergyman his story about the events on the Ourang Medan. He told them about a dodgy port, about mystery cargo and about a Chinese Port. It was sounds very creepy doesn’t it as the monk says that 15 days into the journey the disaster struck and the crew dropped dead in terror.

In the third instalment they gave up more of this odd tale, with 15,000 cases of sulphuric acid, nitro-glycerine in liquid form and other chemicals that had all been stored onboard. The swaying of the vessel has caused ruptures and vapours around the ship. The author said they were not allowed to release the man’s real name, he was a German buried by the old palm in the cemetery at the mission.

After this the story got repeated around, and there were a lot of questions!

Silvio Scherli, in Trieste, persisted in the story’s validity. This seems such a fantastical tale, but the red flags didn’t deter reporters. An American publication “apparently told by an Italian officer, on a ship that had answered the Ourang Medan’s distress call,” said the editor couldn’t help any further, they had brought the story and that was the end of that.

In 1952 the US Coastguard visited the mystery and in 1954 German author, Otto Mielke, published a 32-page booklet on the matter, giving his own retelling of the version. Let’s look at “Das Totenschiff in der Südsee” – The Death Ship of the South Sea. The story as built up from the three-part series in the Dutch Easter Indian Daily, but it relays that the Ourang Medan sent an SOS call and a radio call to a doctor at the same time, the call was relayed by both the City of Baltimore and American steamer, Silver Star, giving co-ordinates and announced their position. The connection to the radio died, they reconnected and that’s where they got “I’m dying”, the City of Baltimore vessel had a doctor onboard and carried on that way also.

28th June 1947 the Ourang Medan was spotted, no flag set and no sign of smoke from her chimney. This is when the Silver Star crew go aboard, and find all the crew to be dead, in Mielke’s version all the bodies were of Asian people. It once again is about the terror of the deceased, visible on their faces and in this re-telling there are several explosives forcing the crew off their mystery find.

12th July, 1947 a lifeboat washed ashore on Taongi Island, where 6 of the 7 passengers had died. The survivor he calls Jerry Rabbit, who goes on to describe various transport information to various places for the dubious cargo. The chemical angle is used once again for the whole thing.

So the booklet became part of the ‘truth’ for information in retelling it all. UFO’s were then also brought forwards for explanation, and CH March Jnr wrote to the CIA in 1959, “something from the unknown” might be involved.

So what can be established?

Roy Banton (The Mammoth book of Unexplained Phenomena, 2013) searched through Llyod’s Shipping Register, he visited the shipping registers in Amsterdam and came up empty handed. He also came across a German researcher, Theodor Siersdorfer, who had found no mention of the vessel in 45 years. Also depending on the source it is either a steamer or a freighter, two very different uses.

This story has been used for varying fictional works, including a Russian version by Lev Skyragin called Voice of the Sea in 1973. So what else? 7 Jours, French magazine, made a conclusion of its own, the death ship was not from 1947 but from a decade before that. 13th November 1939 it was found by an American Destroyer but there seems to still be no mention of the ship’s name there to confirm this.

Another suggestion notes the vessel may have been registered in Sumatra as “man from Medan”, I found nothing concrete about that. The Silver Star is a registered vessel – Grace Line Ship List – Santa Cecilia #3, it was renamed Santa Juana in 1947, then scrapped later.

January 20th, 1855, SS City of Baltimore, Inman Line, was launched and was sold in 1874 and renamed “Fivaller” and scrapped in 1885. City of Baltimore ships after that? I found the SS City of Baltimore and she beached in the Upper Cheapsake Bay on 29th July 1937 but she was later broken up, she had been set on fire a decade before.

Theo Paijman’s, Dutch writer, summarised that it seems more likely Silvio Scherl-Scherli had a template to sell to various newspapers and magazines. The publications and submissions all lasted 8 years and if anyone sounded sceptical, he would just double down with his reassurances. As he rightfully points out the photograph of the dead man could have been easily staged and photos of a listing ship would not be that hard to get hold of during the period.

To support this theory I also think skittish library has found another great point about this, Yorkshire Evening Post 21st November 1940 and other newspapers. If it was 1947 when it happened either everyone was psychic or the original version just didn’t sell well enough? They also list it as Solomon Islands but the same ship name, and then in the newest version the same ship name but at Marshall Islands, quite a way off from one another and in both tales, both era’s the Trieste report came in. So there we have it?

“All officers including captain dead, lying in chartroom and on bridge, probably whole crew.”

Was it inspired by the Mary Celeste? It seems that Paijman’s visit into this matter and the skittish library finds, mean it really is a good and reasonable summary, but it’s a shame as I rather like the mystery going unsolved.

‘The Pyramid’ is a Russian settlement in Svalbard, Norway. It is a three day travel by car from Oslo, three hours plane to Svalbard or five hours by Artic Ship ‘Polar Girl’, it is not mostly abandoned, the last people left around 15 years ago or more, and it is only 1000km from the North Pole. The main inhabitants of the town are now white bears but dedicated explorers still find a way over once in a while.

Founded in 1910 by Sweden, as of 1927 it was sold to the Soviet Union and closed in 1998. The town is abandoned by the Russian mining company trust, Artikugoll, and until 2007 was considered a ghost town, in 2007 renovations began, guided and independent tours can be organised and visitors are not permitted to enter the buildings. Its popularity has invariably grown as a ghost town and with it the usual disrespectful vandals are present. It is no doubt obvious from my blogs that I dislike the practice, the mindless destruction merely stops proper researchers and the serious urban explorers that are being criminalised for sharing their finds with us.

The most recent development is the Tulip Hotel, in 2013 it was opened and whilst there are some tourism plans there is no immediate plan to re-open the settlement.

An episode of the History Channels “Life After People” featured Pyramiden, they predict that the frigid climates contribution to slow decay mean the major buildings would still be visible in 500 years time. In the cultural centre you can look into the interior, there is an auditorium which also has the northernmost grand piano in the world, Red Oktober, unfortunately the poor thing has been rendered unplayable due to neglect and deterioration.

If you have visited or you do, then please tell me about your experience.

https://en.visitsvalbard.com/visitor-information/destinations/pyramiden

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g503714-d1842148-Reviews-Pyramiden-Spitsbergen_Svalbard.html

 

Piramida Svalbard IMG 6283.JPG
By <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bjoertvedt” title=”User:Bjoertvedt”>Bjoertvedt</a> – <span class=”int-own-work” lang=”en”>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link