Archive for the ‘TV or other media’ Category

Discovery Island is an 11.5 acre island at the Walt Disney World attraction, Bay Lake, Florida and was once open for guests from 1974 until April 8th 1999 when it was closed to the public.

From the early 1900’s it was known as Raz Island and Disney brought it in 1965, it opened up as Treasure Island in 1974 as a place to observe wildlife. It was later renamed Discovery Island and was recognized as a zoological park. 8th April, 1999 it closed but was operational until 9th July whilst they relocated the animals into other Disney areas like their Animal Kingdom.

Once closed Disney considered teaming up with Myst game creators to make it into a living game island. It never got past the concept stage, a shame as having played Myst that could have been something pretty awesome.

In 1990 the dusty seaside sparrow was declared extinct as the birds were last recorded on the island in 1987 and they seemingly died off entirely.

Online information states that the power was cut in 2009, but before that the illusion was that it was fully operational. Someone in 2009 on a blog mentioned the eerie sounds of the Disney theme music still playing. From most sources that I could find it seems that it more likely the place is operating with power as security would need it; the island is still patrolled with security so this would make sense.

As of this year it is also reported that the buildings and the attractions are still on the island. It is pretty much a given that they will have suffered through the ages, that hurricanes and weather patterns have meant that the usual toll has been taken and it is possible to see it from the Disney Wilderness lodge, the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and there are boat trips that mean you are likely to spot them as you head around on that trip. If you have been or seen it would you let me know?

disney-world-discovery-island-map.jpg

 

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The village is the only official ghost town in Poland, it is in the voivodeship of West Pomeranian and abandoned, as of 1993. It was originally a German training ground for a branch of Nazi’s and then after World War II, a base for the Red Army, only existing on Russian Military maps thanks to that. Once they withdrew in 1993 it became vacant.

Originally the area was a small settlement, Westfalenhoft, and in the 1930’s the Wehrmacht planners built a large military base. A polish newspaper from the 1939 reported the numbers of personnel at 600,000. In the Autumn of 1939 the German’s then opened a POW camp at the site, by November 1939 there were 6,000 Polish soldiers and 2,300 Polish civlians. It was renamed to Oflag II D Gross-Born in June, 1940 and was used for French Officers and Polish POW’s from the other camps. Westfalenhoft was eventually taken over by the Red Army in January 1945. It was officially Polish territory but it was occupied and held by the Soviet Union. The Polish were not allowed entry, it was renamed Grodek and the village was not named on Polish maps.

The parts of the base not needed were razed by Red Army servicemen, the base had around 6,000 Russian soldiers. The debris from the village was sent back to Warsaw, used to help rebuild the city. When it was vacated as part of the collapse of the Soviet Union the area was handed back to the Polish. It was guarded by the Polish army for a year, after which it was handed over to civilian authorities.

There was an attempt to sell the area for redevelopment but it did not happen, there were other suggestions like turning it into a drug rehabilitation centre, or perhaps a prison but it’s also worth noting anything of monetary value has already been looted. In 2011 I found reference to five residents but there is no bus route there and the nearest shop is 4km away, so it’s not likely to be a cosy place to stay.

I first came across notes about the area on a show called Stupid Man, Smart Phone. Whilst it is a ghost town it is not abandoned and is regularly visited, and seems to be a tourist spot for some. Have you been?

Kłomino.jpg
By RzuwigOwn work, Public Domain, Link

 

I see this one a lot when I am looking for interesting tales, D B Cooper seems to be quite an adventurous tale and so I have included him here. In 1971 he hijacked an airliner and threatened to blow it up, he extorted $200,000 from the owner, Northwest Orient, and then leapt from the airborne 747 with 21 lbs worth of $20 bills strapped to his torso.

The fact he has never been caught means he either pulled off the perfect crime or died trying. Either way he makes for a fantastic story! And one for armchair enthusiasts to really get their teeth into, with pages of information and lots of speculation.

Perhaps what I love most about this, no bystanders were injured although law enforcement argues that he did put several dozen lives at risk. The FBI’s ego was probably pretty damaged though, and not long after he had disappeared FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover, died knowing that they had not yet got their man. His crime seemed to help with things like passenger security screening and other regulations to try and prevent further troubles but ultimately he was able to walk around the jet carrying a bomb.

For some reason this chap just incites smiles rather than outrage, most likely because of the buccaneer type style under which this crazy stunt was performed.

Flight 305 was a Boeing 747 that started the day before in Washington DC for its flight path, DB cooper boarded at the Portland International Airport with a ticket to Seattle-Tacoma and gave them the name Dan Cooper. He was nondescript and no one took particular notice of him, again this all went in his favour.

Moments after the jet was airborn he passed a note to Flo Schaffner, as an air hostess she was used to come ons and pocketed it. He then waited until she passed and whispered to her she should read it, he had a bomb. Her and another attendant, Tina Mucklow, then went to the Captain and told him about the whole thing. The FBU placed a call to the Donald Nyrop, the president of Northwest Orient, they complied with the monetary demand, probably as it was a smaller price to pay than the disaster and media fall out that could have occurred.

The precise wording of his note cannot be found as it was lost, he said he wanted it back and took it with him, there was an agreement it had something like ‘no funny business’ on it however. Cooper told Schaffner that he was to stay aloft until the money and chutes were ready in Seattle, he showed her wire and cylinders that might have been dynamite and she dutifully relayed the message.

Captain Scott told passengers it was a mechanical problem and they had to circle around before landing, all but a few passengers were aware of the situation. He had calculated how they had to be weighted so they were hoping that he would make his skydive safely on that basis. The notes were hurriedly copied on to microfilm to try and make a way to track them and he wanted two chutes. They got what he demanded and then aboard the jet Cooper had a bourbon and water, he then oddly offered to pay for it!

Mucklow said his behaviour was curious, that he was not cruel or nasty and seemed very calm. The FBI however said he was boozy, raunchy and obscene compared to the person that was with him most. Mucklow said it was not the case and she said that he requested the meals for the crew be brought on board once the place was on the ground in Seattle.

Cooper seemed to be at least familiar with Seattle and was well acquainted with skydiving and schooling in jet aerodynamics. With cash and parachutes ready they were able to land just 30 minutes behind schedule. Captain Scott was sent to get the money and chutes, the 36 passengers and Schaffner were allowed to disembark but he kept Tina Mucklow, and the three men from the cockpit. Through the Captain and FAA official asked to come aboard, presumably to tell him the consequences of his actions but Cooper denied that request.

Cooper then had those left on the plain fly up to an altitude no higher than 10,000 feet. The wing flaps set at 15 degrees and the airspeed of no more than 150 knots. He said he was wearing a wrist altimeter to monitor it. Cooper knew that the plane was capable of it, unlike larger types. Cooper ordered a full refuelling at Seattle and then they negotiated the flight plan he wanted, and Scott was told that the cabin should not be pressurised so that it would minimise the potential violent surge of air when he dropped the aft stairs. With this done they headed off… two hours and six minutes after the plane had arrived in Seattle.

Somewhere around Lewis River, north of Portland, the aft stairs appeared to have been lowered, they thought he may well have jumped then but they were not going to risk their lives assuming it and flew to Reno where they were to touch down. Once they landed they gave it five minutes and left the cockpit, the hijacker was gone, even his hat and coat had been taken. The cash and one set of parachutes was also taken too.

February 10th, 1980 an 8 year-old boy was digging along the sand of the Columbia River bank, he found three bundles of bills all were $20’s and matched the numbers of Coopers loot. Some say that this was the evidence of his demise, more was found deposited further up and this led to more searches, but others suggest he may have realised the numbers on the notes would be trashed and he got rid pretty fast. So far the money that hasn’t been discovered has not been used or found so there’s nothing to suggest he did get around to spending it.

Whatever the end result this has been used for stories and even a comic book called Dan Cooper! If he is alive he’s in his 70’s probably and keeping the story to himself.

DBCooper.jpg
By U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. – http://www.coasttocoastam.com/cimages/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/coast-to-coast/repository/thumbnails/d.b.-cooper-sketches/913568-1-eng-US/D.B.-Cooper-Sketches.jpg, http://www.coasttocoastam.com/article/fbi-ends-d-b-cooper-investigation, Public Domain, Link

 

It’s a famous media broadcast now, it’s also a very gripping thing to listen to as well. The original book is a work by H G Wells that started life as a serialisation by the English author.

The Martians have been plotting an invasion to Earth that’s to their own diminishing resources. In the book the events of the invasion are set in motion in Woking, Surrey but Orson Welles transfers them to America. Wells no doubt picked his location as it was local and he knew how to describe things with familiarity and if you pop over to Woking at any point you can locate a 23 feet high sculpture of a tripod fighting machine, ‘The Martian’ near the local railway station.

I’m not going into the plot, the reviews or such like but it is worthy of note because of films and of course the above-mentioned broadcast. That’s the bit I am going to look at it here for now.

George Orson Welles, 6th May 1915 to 10th October 1985 was involved in the business of entertainment and is famous for the film Citizen Kane, 1941 amongst other things but this is a blog for weird and interesting things, and I’ve picked out the 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds which, supposedly, sent thousands of American people into a mass panic about the alien invasions in their home states…

CBS radio invited Orson Welles to create a summer show that would last 13 weeks, the series began 11th July 1938 and the adaptation for H G Wells book aired 30th October 1938. It brought Orson Welles instant fame, the broadcast itself really is worth a listen to and you can sit back and appreciate it yourself if you wish.

There was supposedly a mass panic from people convinced of its validity, that aliens truly landed and it’s this bit I am looking at, were people really panicking so much that they would run from their homes in masses?

1.7 million listened to the broadcast and polls calculated that 1.2 million ‘were excited’ and mostly the reports seem to have been anecdotal. Cantril interviewed 135 people who cited some colourful claims about grabbing guns or packing up in a panic. It would hardly have been unusual for a busy area to have fast moving traffic and other rambunctious behaviours at the time so this was not entirely unexpected. Grovers Mill, New Jersey was not blasted by alien lasers or any such thing but the media took the story of the panic and without looking at data it might even be assumed claims of heart attacks and suicides were another effect but again, there was not noticeable shows in the data to support this. Miller countered Cantril’s claims and just did not seem to match up to the 1 million plus listeners.

American Telephone Company figures suggested a 40% rise in calls, again however, they did not lead to anything specific and it was just a higher record in some parts of New Jersey.

He also mentions that there is a notable other broadcast with the results of frightening some listeners, 31st October 1974 at Rhode Island, and one in Northern Portugal 1988 but they were not reported to on the same level. The same sort of thing appears in a 2010 publication by W Joseph Campbell and Slate.com, they in turn also look at media myths or fake news and include the press reports of the panic-stricken US citizens.

31st October, 1938 Daily News of New York’s front page encapsulates the news with the title “FAKE RADIO ‘WAR’ STIRS TERROR THROUGH U.S’. The New York Times gave us ‘Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact.’  The Detroit News went with ‘War Skit on Radio Terrifies Nation’ and The Boston Daily Globes ran with ‘RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION’.

But was all of this remotely correct or fake news? Well in short, no, CE Hopper Company did the 2% response to people listening to it because most people were listening to NBC. The poll was conducted for 5000 people, so 100 people of 5000 were listening? Frank Stanton of CBS also said they were never censored for it because most people hadn’t even heard the show.

6 weeks after the broadcast it was admitted to, the figures were largely skewed and descriptions like disturbed or excited were inflated to ‘panic’. It did get enough hype that Adolf Hitler cited the panic as ‘evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy’.

So why?

Well in short radio was being seen as a threat to newspapers, they could use a few isolated cases as a way to make it sounds like these types of shows were an example of this terrible new media being irresponsible and untrustworthy. The Telegraph (UK paper) says that a woman tried to sue CBS for $50,000 thank to nervous shock but it was dismissed and a man tried to claim for shows as he’d spent that money on a train ticket, Welles was said to have paid for those.

There was indeed action taken that night, the police came to the station and one minute from the end of the show they were trying to shut it down. It played out and as a result Paul White, the head of CBS News, was summoned over. Welles found out later and was convinced it would end his career, but it didn’t.

Some listeners had turned in part way through and this seems to be where the reports started. Again, though it was very much a case of over-exaggeration and it does also seem that the repeated broadcasts about it being fictional could have fallen to few ears, a case of a small audience from the previous show affecting it too.

Let’s also put this into context, at the time a German Invasion was a possibility, rumblings of the inevitable war were a reality and was it so hard to imagine those who were affected and lured in part way through might have thought it was something to do with that?

Hadley Cantril calculated a 6 million strong audience, but it was then 1.7 million later on and yet this calculation seems flawed. He had doubled the usual audience and had tried to work on the idea not ever listener had a phone too. He summarised many reactions into panicked and yet quite a number had thought it was more of a prank than a reality.

No admissions for shock were made at Newark Hospital at that time, and there were no spikes in admission at New York either. Washington Post claimed a man died from a heart attack but the claim was not verified and Snopes also places this as mostly false.

So here is my summary – firstly its put Grovers Mill on the map for tourists like me who enjoy a bit of quirky history, radio hasn’t been stopped by the papers and vice-versa. I am quite sure we can safely say the average U.S citizen would have noticed laser space blasting Martians at the time and I, for one, love the broadcast. Thank you, H G Wells and Orson Welles, you gave me a great piece of history to look back on (and no I don’t rate the latest War of the Worlds film if you were wondering.)

Refs:

Robert E Bartholomew, Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics

Snopes

Wikipedia

Telegraph.co.uk

Google Books

Project Gutenburg

Slate.com

It is a cemetery in the Gorbal’s district, Glasgow, Scotland and was opened in 1840 to provide more affordable burials; there are over 250,000 burials there on various layers of the place. The Old Gorbals cemetery was vastly overcrowded, this is not unusual for the time period, London and many major cities around the UK were opening more graveyards to compensate for the lack of space in those already established.

The proposals for a new cemetery started in 1839 and the following year the land was purchased and the first burial commenced. The first soul laid to rest there was 16-month old and occurred 21st July 1840. The three sections opened as follows: Central in 1840, Eastern in 1846 and Western in 1850. In 1954 the cemetery suffered from a large group of children who were committed to hunting down a vampire that they believed was buried in the cemetery. The incident sparked it’s own urban legend, a vampire had killed two children. The influence for this was blamed on American horror comics like Tales from the Crypt, despite no evidence for the reason being the comics the moral outrage led to an increased comic censorship.

23rd September 1954 PC Alex Deeprose was called out and expected to deal with a case of vandalism, instead he was met with hundreds of children from around 4 years old up to 14. They were armed with sticks and knives and were patrolling around inside the cemetery. They told the constable that they were looking for a 7 foot tall vampire, with iron teeth and had that he had kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

The rumours started in the playground, and there was a Chinese whisper emerging that they were going to head out there after school. At three o’clock that day the school emptied and children headed to the graveyard, gathering around the walls. Some were too scared to go in and stayed outside. There were no records of missing children at the time and the only blame they could come up with – comics.

Newspapers at the time took the tale and ran with it, the children turned up a second evening running and the headmaster of a local school had told them it was a ridiculous tale and eventually had the crowd dispersed.

Some of the other people in the area pointed out that they had got little reason to blame comics, after all the children were taught the bible. Daniel 7.7 specifically mentions a monster with iron teeth in it. The political frenzy however meant blaming comics was far more convenient. A local man explained that they would threaten the local children with the Iron Man before then, it was meant to be a sort of bogeyman affair but the political agenda against the comics made a better fit for the reason.

The cemetery is now operated by Glasgow City Council and is protected as a listed Category B building with the entrance listed as Category A. The cemetery also has 11 Commonwealth burials.

Glasgow. Southern Necropolis. Thomas Lipton's grave