Posts Tagged ‘American’

Tea Break Reading!

It is also known as Truk Lagoon, it is part of a protected reed and in 1944 the Americans launched an early morning attack on 17th February. The Japanese intelligence had picked upon it and removed their largest war ships but Operation Hailstorm lasted for three days. It resulted in them sinking 12 warships, 32 merchant ships and destroyed 275 aircraft.

In 1969 the lagoon was explored and it is now a popular diving spot, it’s referred to as a Ghost Fleet and the ocean floor and sunken vehicles are gas masks, depth charges, human remains and many artefacts of interest. Alongside this is a wonderful variety of marine biology such as manta rays, turtles, sharks and corals. All of these sights, sand and life are part of what is classified as a Japanese Graveyard. Its eventual clean up for any fuel or environment threats will require the involvement of the Japanese Government.

Paranormal divers are a group that investigated it, they checked it out as other divers reported hearing the sounds of engines turning and starting up. Other mentions were of voices and the sounds like idling machines. There has even been an account of investigators picking up a human-like heat signature.

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Barbara Ann (Hackman) Taylor, ‘Bobbie’ was initially an unknown American woman who was referred to as Tent Girl.

Wilbur Riddle was out in Georgetown, Kentucky, on 17th May 1968 searching for glass insulators at the side of U.S Route 25. He was there to work as a water well-driller and was handed a note to pass some time until his boss arrived, he spotted some telephone workers and they were discarding the glass insulators as part of an upgrade program. He knew they would be useful for a friend so went to collect them.

He was on his way back from his collecting when something caught his eye as he headed back up the dirt track. The smell alone gave away there was nothing good to be found, he nudged a wrapped up green canvas and the body rolled down the slope. It exposed the body of a decomposing woman wrapped up in a heavy green tarpaulin. The material was the type of thing used in the manufacturing of tents, hence the identification.

Riddle immediately drove two miles down the road to alert the Scott County Sheriff, Bob Vance. Vance and his team then came to see and looked into the matter further, her eyes had already rotted away and her flesh was mottled, the poor woman was too decomposed to get a full fingerprint and they had to take one and rehydrate it with chemicals to attempt to gain anything at all.

They were unable to fully establish a cause of death, the best theory to date is that Bobbie was somehow knocked unconscious and rolled up and confined, eventually dying of asphyxiation. There was a section of white towelling and the green canvas sent over to the FBI laboratories in Washington for further analysis but at that point there was not very much more they felt they could do.

A lead came up about her in June, 1968 when her description matched enough features to show up missing Pasadena girl, Debbie Krane, who was last seen getting into the car of her 17 year-old boyfriend, Carl Colby. The 15 year old had gone missing March 3rd, 1968 and with the period of her death being loose enough they decided to ask her parents to come to see if they were able to identify her.

Debbie Krane’s dental records loosely matched that of the girl and at that point the police must have felt they were on track to finding her identity, then an anonymous call came in that said she was alive and well in Bradford, Pennsylvania. A long drive out to Bradford found Krane was alive and well, living with her boyfriend and that she had absconded from her home but was not deceased. They were then stumped once more.

There was another lead for the identification, a somewhat similar case that was linked up, this time from Northampton, Pennsylvania. Candace Clothier was found 13th April, 1968 and had last been seen 9th March, 1968 until her body was found. Two fishermen discovered the young lady decomposed and floating in the creek, she was found in a black cloth bag. Similarities in the case led to a question about them being linked, there is no more on her case, her case has been closed as it was felt that due to no leads and the chances of her murderer already being dead there was nothing more they could do.

‘Tent Girl’ was then a feature in American magazine, Master Detective, in the hopes that it might bring even more to the case and perhaps lead to her identification. She was eventually buried in an unmarked grave, No 90. She was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone and along with the police sketch of her, based on reconstructions from her body, there was also an inscription.

TENT GIRL

FOUND MAY 17 1968

ON U.S HIGHWAY 25,N.

DIED AB OUT APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 1968

AGE ABOUT 16-19 YEARS

HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH

WEIGHT 110 TO 115LBS.

REDDISH BROWN HAIR

UNIDENTIFIED

She was identified in 1998, it was a result of the efforts of Todd Matthews. He was the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle and having found out about the story he invested in a PC and got a website up and running. He had combed through lists of missing people online. He has since founded The Doe Network, an online database to identify missing people and unidentified descendants.

He got an e-mail from her sister, Rosemary Westbrook, about a young woman who had gone missing from nearby Lexington. It transpires that the family were told by her husband, George Earl Taylor, that she had run off with another man. It seems that this never rested well with Rosemary and she extended her contact to Todd Matthews, Matthews and the family were convinced enough that it led to the exhumation of her body and DNA testing. Cells from Rosemary’s teeth were compared to that of the unidentified woman and they matched up, she was finally identified. Her body was re-interred at the cemetery with her full headstone placed under the original. There is no mention of her marital name on the headstone.

The prime suspect in her murder is Barbara’s husband, George Earl Taylor, and he died of cancer in 1987. This is mentioned on Wikipedia but I have to admit I found no other source about this, given this I am not going to surmise he was involved, there is no evidence she ran away with another man but then again there is no evidence to say she did not.

What we do know is that she was finally identified and given a proper burial based on who she was, her sister was able to learn her fate and mourn properly and Todd Matthews has founded something wonderful to help as many as he can who might be sadly facing that sort of tragedy.

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One of my favourite subjects is vampires. I have tried to hold off from making this yet another vampire blog but I can hardly ignore them now can I?

I’ll try to keep this set of posts to a minimum, there is so much to cover but I will just go through the bits I love the most and hope to get it out of my system and on to other weird, wacky or strange finds.

Vampires are recorded through many cultures and seem to have various  claimed roots. Romania is probably one of the most famous thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula but that’s not the only book, I would of course advise any enthusiast of non-sparkling vampires to get their fangs into it. Some of the most heightened panics of vampire hysteria led to beheaded corpses and staked bodies.

The romanticised version can most likely be traced back to John Polidori, The Vampyre, 1819 who gave the vampire a charismatic and sophisticated overhaul, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel secured the vampire’s literary romance and passion creating a genre of horror that has brought the nightmares to many modern formats including gaming and television series.

A noted first appearance of the word vampire comes from the Oxford English Dictionary, 1734. They reported about a local practice in Europe of exhuming bodies and “killing vampires.” Quite often a trait of the vampire is that are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, witches, or a possessed malevolent spirit in a corpse or by being bitten.

It is hard to make a single definition of what a vampire actually is but the biggest thing that seems to have followed them around is the desire to drink the life fluid, blood. Without blood the vampire cannot feed correctly and will whither away, though not necessarily die. Common denominators in the vampire’s appearance are a healthy, perhaps bloated, corpse that show recent blood drinking. Perhaps there was even blood escaping when the body was later exhumed, the teeth had developed to be sharper or even fangs (see previous posts about fangs) and the nails and hair had grown. It is worth noting that in many tales of this undead creature there are not always mentions of fangs.

Finding the vampire might lead you to need a virgin stallion (black or white depending on the area) to lead around the graveyard. If it shies you know you are on the right spot. Hole around a grave might show signs of a vampire (or mole infestation in my view), perhaps the livestock keep dying off and if you are not in goatsucker territory you might consider a vampire. Oh and if your vampire is of the fanged variety I would suggest a regular check for bite marks.

Creating a vampire.

Again there seems to be no generic way, which is probably a good thing for any writers out there. Perhaps an animal jumped over the corpse, a body was left along with untreated wounds, people who have come back from beyond and taken a new body (I’d prefer a living sample to possess thanks). Another is that the vampire forces it’s blood into a living victim (and of course it’s bound to be a sexy virgin).

There are of course attempts that can be made to prevent the terrible curse of blood drinking immortality, ranging from burying someone upside down to pre-staking them just in case. Earthly objects can be put into the mouth, though I suspect that would be better placed with the idea of paying to cross the River Styx than to worry about vampires.

One I do like is the idea that a vampire is suddenly imbued with a supernatural OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) so putting rice or poppy seeds on the floor would force them to be distracted into counting them until they could be despatched after the confirmation of their being. This one seems more common place in Indian, Southern American and Chinese myths.