Archive for October, 2011

Terre Haute in Indiana has a little cemetery, the signs expressly forbid entrance to the Highland Lawn Cemetery during the evening. The caretaker probably has good reason too, there is a chance of a ghostly bulldog and his master are walking around.

The cemetery is the final resting place of John G Heinl, Stiffy Green was his bulldog. The kindly gent and his bulldog went everywhere, the dog would trot obediently behind at his heels and rarely let the master out of his sight.

In 1920 John Heinl passed away and Stiffy Green was inconsolable, the little bulldog would not leave his side even at the funeral and burial service. When someone tried to pull him away he would snap and snarl.

Heinl’s remains were placed in the family vault and Stiffy Green took his vigil outside it by the large bronze doors. No matter the weather the little dog sat there with his bright green eyes on watch, even when the family took the little guy home he would find his way back and carry on his watch.

Now whether or not it’s true, Stiffy was moved to Terre Haut’s Lion’s Club when teenagers no longer content with shining through a torch shot one of the little guy’s eyes out. To keep him safe they moved him.

Terre Hautions grew up with the legend but the Vigo County Historical Society have placed a more realistic slant on it saying that he was a statue built for the Mausoleum.

Either way he makes for a fantastic little story.

Hessdalen is a small valley area in central Norway, between 1981-1984 the local residents were alarmed by a series of strange lights. Hundreds of them were observed, with sometimes up to 20 a week being sighted and reported currently. The peak in 1981 seemed to have a report for 15-20 a day, that’s a lot of light shows, and better than any fireworks in my opinion.

Whilst the phenomena has calmed down there are still reports and where possible data is still collected. There is no suggestion of the Paranormal but there is a lot of interest in them and why they occur.

Got a severe case of insomnia? You could always watch the webcam.

The lights are usually white, yellow or even red as a description. They may be free-standing in the sky or sometimes they hover around, when they do move it is with terrific speed. The lights are part of a series of reports around Norway about unexplained light phenomenon and has tourists that are quite avidly interested in the idea, not to mention you can always book a tour for the Northern Lights whilst on your journey.

So what are they?

They could be minor natural gas explosions, where you get something like a dust cloud that ignites. Some have put forward that it might be some form of plasma ball where a similar thing will occur, the plasma ignites and creates a small explosion.

Some of them have later been identified as car lights, aircraft etc when looked into but none-the-less there are many that are still part of the lights phenomenon and enough interest in it that they have a research station.

Whatever the cause of this there’s definitely some interest in it still and National Geographic have covered it.

article-2632650-1DC58E8E00000578-313_634x425

Today’s find is more historical interest, I don’t find this macabre I find it very poignant.

The invention of photography might well be something we take for granted, after all we can happily wander around with digital cameras, phone camera’s and video cameras, we can snap anything we fancy, we can have a reel of 400 digital images to delete and never think about it…

But I think we should, imagine the age before photography where sketches, memories and sculptures caught the vision of the long deceased? Wouldn’t they marvel at even one small snap we produce?

From 1839 the invention of the daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photography, this meant pictures of the family could be taken however for the most part this was used as a momento for children. It’s worth noting here that the child mortality rate was high and often this would be the only pictorial reference.

http://www.coffinworks.org/I also found this if you are in England, may have to try to take a trip!

Of course it wasn’t restricted to children, originally they pictures might only be portrait shots but later on this adapted to other things, such as the coffin, or perhaps even props. For the children this might be a photo of the babe in the cot with toys, as time went on there was more thought put into the rosy cheeks or other little details.

This was a more popular trend in Europe than it was in the United States. I don’t know why because it’s America that has a Coffin Museum…
Postmortem man

Now DO NOT watch this if you have a weak constitution, you’re very easily upset or you are going to find yourself feeling uneasy about this. I am warning you because I personally love and adore animals but curiosity has got the better of me…

The link will be at the bottom but it’s up to you, please do not say I haven’t warned you.

The main bulk of why I posted this is actually more to do with it being Vintage footage, whilst a little gruesome in nature it also has some very interesting information.

The footage I picked was a particular man, Sergey Sergeyavich Bryukhonenko, he was a Soviet Scientist during the Stalin era. His research was vital to the development of open heart procedures in Russia, but he is primarily remembered for a machine – the autojektor.

Basically it was a primitive heart and lung machine, the device was used with various results on canines and can also be seen in the video below.  He was posthumously awarded the Lenin Prize.

The video is in the public domain and can be downloaded as part of the Prelinger Archives, the version I watched was English dubbed and it’s a very controversial watch.

I think the most poignant part for me would be at what point is a display of science more about the shock value than the actual use? Clearly we’re looking at a very old video, it’s from the 1940’s but you can clearly see that this is something akin to Frankenstein but the reality makes it more shocking, of course that’s if you believe it to be real.

These kind of things can vastly turn into an outcry about the hideous behaviour, how could they! Well lets be honest this isn’t today’s world we’re looking back at people who most likely felt this was the best approach. The only thing I would say is that I am glad it is not something I was part of.

Part One

Part Two

 

Lighthouses fascinate me anyway so finding a fantastic story about them always helps.

The Flannan Isles

December 15th, 1900 there was a steamer known as SS Archer that recognised the Lighthouse did not appear to be operational. It was reported in, alongside other residents noticing it too.

Three men were listed to be working there, James Ducat, Donald McArthur and Thomas Marhsall. Due to the bad weather it took the relief ship 12 days before it could venture out, noticing that the flags were not up and there were no signs of life the captain shot a warning flare. The relief keeper Joseph Moore then took a dinghy and went to shore, Dec 27th 1990.

The lighthouse was silent, the door open and the area perfectly calm. There was a half eaten meal (though this may be an added rumour, the original log suggests the utensils etc were clean and dinner was already eaten), the lamps were ready to be lit, there was an upturned chair alongside the table aside from that the clocks had stopped and the fire was cold. Of the residents there was no sign at all.

Moore then came back with four more people to do an investigation, Ducat and Marshall had apparently left kitted out but McArthur’s oilskins were still hanging on the hook. The west landing had been damaged with the weather and the life buoy was ripped from the mounting. The men were shouting out and all they got was their own voices, there was no response.  They did however find the entries in the log that puzzled them.

Dec 12th: Gale north by northwest. Sea lashed to fury. Never seen such a storm. Waves very high. Tearing at lighthouse. Everything shipshape. James Ducat irritable. (Later): Storm still raging, wind steady. Stormbound. Cannot go out. Ship passing sounding foghorn. Could see lights of cabins. Ducat quiet. McArthur crying.

Dec 13th: Storm continued through night. Wind shifted west by north. Ducat quiet. McArthur praying. (Later:) Noon, grey daylight. Me, Ducat and McArthur prayed.

On December 14th there was no entry and on December 15th there was only this single last line: “Storm ended, sea calm, God is over all.”

The three men were experienced lighthouse attendants, Ducat had over 20 years on the job and this is why it strikes up as a mystery.

There’s a whole bunch of varying theories, the ones I am ignoring are about UFO abductions, it makes little sense to me. The ones that I liked are the ones that refer to the more paranormal aspects.

The Fairwin was another vessel in the area, their crew reported a ghostly longboat rowing away, when the horns were sounded to them, there was no reply.

Another rather interesting part is the mention of the Island the lighthouse was on may have already been reported as haunted. The Flannan Islands might well have the “phantoms of seven hunters” who resent the intrusion of the lighthouse, due to this they lured the men over the cliff to their death.

The lighthouse keepers had marked up conditions, had meals prepared and despite the foul weather would know that it would be unwise to go outside whatever the trouble they might have thought was there. Also why would they close doors behind them if they left in such a hurry.

For another 70 years there was no instance and nothing has been reported since the lighthouse was automated. Perhaps the three men did come across something they should not have but it also sounds like a fantastic story for the likes of horror writers, perhaps Lovecraft really was on to something with the Deep Ones after all! A quick net search will show you that this has been an influence on several mediums so they might be missing but on some strange level the three men may not necessarily be lost.