Stanger than fiction
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Mulder: Do you believe in the existence of extra terrestrials?
Scully: Logically, I'd have to say no. Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space the energy requirement would exceed a space craft's capabilities...
Mulder: Conventional wisdom, though when convention, and science offer us no answer might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?
Scully: What I find fantastic is the notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there, you just have to know where to look.
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Daniel Brigham 1735-1759 was drafted into the French-Indian War. In those days if you were drafted you could send someone else in your place. His family tried but was unsuccessful in finding such a replacement. Shortly before he was to go he headed up the road late in the afternoon to tend to the cattle.
Lost in his own thoughts he was startled when he came upon a man wrapped in an Indian blanket. The horror only grew when he realized he was looking at himself! Before he could take any action the figure vanished! It couldn't have been his imagination as his brother standing in the doorway of their house saw the figure too.
Dan went to war believing he would never return.
A few weeks later at Fort Crown Point he became very ill and had a serious fever. He was tended to by an English man with a friendly Indian assistant. His assistant wrapped him in an Indian blanket...
It could have been a episode of the X Files but it was published over a century and a quarter ago in the book: The Hundredth Town, Glimpses of life in Westborough 1717-1817. This book which I HIGHLY recommend is available under the media attached to Daniel's page.
1952 seems to have been the peak of terrestrial UFO sightings. On March 29th at 11:20am U.S. Air Force pilot LT David C. Brigham was on a training exercise in the skies of northern Japan when had a UFO which came within 50 feet of his aircraft. It was easily able to fly faster that the jet fighters that were accompanying him with no visible means of propulsion. If there were any little green men aboard they were very little as the object was only 8 inches in diameter and very thin!
Me: Excuse me?
Mulder: "Grey. You said little green men. A Reticulan skin tone is actually grey. They're notorious for their extraction of terrestrial human livers due to iron depletion in the Reticulum galaxy."
Me: "You can't be serious."
Mulder: "Do you have any idea what liver and onions go for on Reticula?"
In any case the Project Blue Book investigation states "CONCLUSION: UNSOLVED". Available in the media attached to David's page are newspaper accounts of the incident as well as government documents related to the investigation.
||Brigham Young's Cursed Gold|
There was to be an episode of X Files that involved a monster in a gold mine. Somehow before it was made it morphed into an episode in which our heroes were trapped in a Florida apartment building during a hurricane. The monster stalking them now was a water monster.
Within our family we have the unsolved mystery of Brigham Young's cursed gold. In the early days of the Mormon church Brigham Young was seeking to make a self sufficient society. He discouraged mining because of the outside influence and money such and operation would normally require.
One day in the area now known as Tooele County near Lake Point and Stansbury Park, Mormon Convert and sheepherder, Jack Croslin was tending his flock in one of the areas many canyons. Eventually some of the sheep wandered higher in the canyon. As he followed the wondering animals he happened upon an outcropping of milky quartz richly streaked with gold.
He knew Brigham Young's view on the matter, but surly he couldn’t just leave all of that money lay there. He met with his local bishop who only confirmed Young's views on the matter. He then made the trip to Salt lake and met with Brigham Young himself. Legend has it that during that meeting that Brigham told Croslin that anyone who attempted to retrieve that gold would be cursed.
In small communities secrets don't exist. Soon everyone knew why he had ventured to Salt Lake. He was pressed for more information, but he let only small clues slip and kept the exact location to himself.
A few years latter Croslin's brother in law began selling pieces of raw gold. People assumed that Croslin was either mining the gold himself or had revealed the exact location to his brother in law. Croslin denied this. It's possible the brother in law stumbled across the find on his own but no one will ever know because soon after he was found dead in the Oquirrh Range foothills with no apparent cause of death!
The locals assumed it was the result of Brigham Young's curse. Shortly after that when Croslin himself died in a sawmill accident it was assumed it happened because he had revealed the location of the gold.
It wasn't long after that the curse claimed it's next victim. Two brothers, Croslin's nephews, were rumored to be in possession of a map with the location of the mine. For some reason the brothers began to argue. Perhaps greed was in full affect and they couldn't decide how to split the gold. Perhaps it was simply the curse because one brother shot and killed the other. He then ran away never to be heard from again.
Depending on who's telling the story the next chapter occurs when Wild Bill Hickman, excommunicated Mormon, disgraced former bodyguard and spy for Brigham Young and alleged assassin befriended the Widow Croslin in an attempt to get his hands on the gold. Since federal marshals were on his trail and he was about to be arrested he fled to Wyoming territory where he died in poverty. The widow became an outcast because of her association with Hickman.
No one dared search for the gold again until after Brigham Young's death in 1877. As far as is known the gold is still out there. Elements of the story are certainly true, however you'll have to decide if the curse is reality.
In the episode “Firewalker” Mulder and Scully investigate strange occurrences at a volcano where at least one scientist has died. In the real world Naturalist William Tufts Brigham combined a volcano and fierwalking and seemingly encountered a supernatural mystery. In 1936 Max Freedom Long wrote the book “Recovering the Ancient Magic". In this book he recounted Brigham's words:
The kahunas took off their sandals and tied ti leaves around their feet, about three leaves to the foot. I sat down and began tying my ti leaves on outside my big hob-nailed boots. I wasn't taking any chances. But that wouldn't do at all—I must take off my boots and my two pairs of socks. The goddess Pele hadn’t agreed to keep boots from burning and it might be an insult to her if I wore them.
I argued hotly—and I say ‘hotly’ because we were all but roasted. I knew that Pele wasn't the one who made fire-magic possible, and I did my best to find out what or who was. As usual they grinned and said that of course the ‘white’ kahuna knew the trick of getting mana (power of some kind known to kahunas) out of air and water to use in kahuna work, and that we were wasting time talking about the thing no kahuna ever put into words—the secret handed down only from father to son.
The upshot of the matter was that I sat tight and refused to take off my boots. In the back of my mind I figured that if the Hawaiians could walk over hot lava with bare callused feet, I could do it with my heavy leather soles to protect me. Remember that this happened at a time when I still had an idea that there was some physical explanation for the thing.
The kahunas got to considering my boots a great joke. If I wanted to offer them as a sacrifice to the gods, it might be a good idea. They grinned at each other and left me to tie on my leaves while they began their chants.
“The chants were in an archaic Hawaiian which I could not follow. It was the usual ‘god-talk’ handed down word for word for countless generations. All I could make of it was that it consisted of simple little mentions of legendary history and was peppered with praise of some god or gods.
I almost roasted alive before the kahunas had finished their chanting, although it could not have taken more than a few minutes. Suddenly the time was at hand. One of the kahunas beat at the shimmering surface of the lava with a bunch of ti leaves and then offered me the honor of crossing first. Instantly I remembered my manners; I was all for age before beauty.
The matter was settled at once by deciding that the oldest kahuna should go first, I second and the others side by side. Without a moment of hesitation the oldest man trotted out on that terrifically hot surface. I was watching him with my mouth open and he was nearly across—a distance of about a hundred and fifty feet—when someone gave me a shove that resulted in my having my choice of falling on my face on the lava or catching a running stride.
I still do not know what madness seized me, but I ran. The heat was unbelievable. I held my breath and my mind seemed to stop functioning. I was young then and could do my hundred-yard dash with the best. Did I run! I flew! I would have broken all records, but with my first few steps the soles of my boots began to burn. They curled and shrank, clamping down on my feet like a vice. The seams gave way and I found myself with one sole gone and the other flapping behind me from the leather strap at the heel.
That flapping sole was almost the death of me. It tripped me repeatedly and slowed me down. Finally, after what seemed minutes, but could not have been more than a few seconds, I leaped off to safety.
I looked down at my feet and found my socks burning at the edges of the curled leather uppers of my boots. I beat out the smoldering fire in the cotton fabric and looked up to find my three kahunas rocking with laughter as they pointed to the heel and sole of my left boot which lay smoking and burned to a crisp on the lava.
I laughed too. I was never so relieved in my life as I was to find that I was safe and that there was not a blister on my feet—not even where I had beaten out the fire in the socks.
“There is little more that I can tell of this experience. I had a sensation of intense heat on my face and body, but almost no sensation in my feet. When I touched them with my hands they were hot on the bottoms, but they did not feel so except to my hands. None of the kahunas had a blister, although the ti leaves had burned off their soles.
Of course another reoccurring X Files theme was the perpetration of fraud in an ongoing attempt to discredit agent Mulder. Agent Scully was there to keep him grounded and to apply critical thinking. In this case she found that Long was a charlatan that took Hawaiian traditions and mixed them with new age, wicca, Freudian psychology, or anything else that would sell a book.
Presently it cannot be independently verified that Long ever met Brigham as he claimed. In his unpublished manuscript “The Ancient Worship of the Hawaiian Islanders, With References to That of Other Polynesians” Brigham wrote of an attempt to walk on lava that was “recently cooled crust although the edges were still incandescent”. Not only were there no ti leaves there were no natives casting magic spells. In fact he chose a moment to do this when no one was there to tell him that it was a dumb idea! While he describes ruining his shoes they didn't fall apart or burn through as in long's version.
Mulder countered with the fact that Brigham was a man of science and therefore he couldn't do anything to associate himself with magic.
Scully had the answer there as well. While he was known as Doctor Brigham it was a honorary degree. In 1887 he was arrested for embezzlement. While he was never convicted it left him broke and the shadow of the problem left little opportunity. He moved to Hawaii where a friend made him the first curator of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Mulder again countered; The Hawaiian lobelioid genus Brighamia was named in his honor.
In the episode “Small Potatoes” Scully is seen examining at a tabloid with the lead story about monkey babies. Monkey babies were probably not the explanation for this true life unsolved crime....
Evanston Illinois 1913, Irene Grosvenor Wheelock, respected and well published ornithologist was startled awake one night by a rattling noise. She was lying in bed and sprung up to hear a chattering noise and see an animal dive out the open window! The Wheelock's servant, Rose had a similar experience. Irene woke her husband Harry Bergen Wheelock. When they investigated they found her Jewelry tray had been moved from the dresser to the window sill.
There was little doubt that the Wheelocks were almost the victim of a monkey filling the role of cat burglar! There was no word if the monkey was dressed in people's clothes. Mrs. Wheelock's waking when she did is the only explanation for the failing to grab the loot that had been so deftly piled upon the windowsill.
X-Files often dealt with the subject of witchcraft. In one episode "Sanguinarium", there was even a character named "Nurse Rebecca". Clearly a play off Rebecca Nurse who was hanged as a result of the Salem Witch Trials. This is certainty a case where truth was not only stranger but more tragic than fiction.
Many people don't realize it but, before the madness came to an end it was beginning to spread. Unfortunately a couple of my cousins were responsible for this. Joseph Ballard Sr. was responsible for bringing witch trials to Andover Massachusetts.
During the Salem witch trials in 1692, Elizabeth (Phelps) Ballard fell Ill. Joseph Ballard Sr. asked for help from several girls who were already accusing people of witchcraft in nearby Salem MA. The girls claimed that several people in Andover had bewitched Elizabeth. More than 40 Andover citizens, mostly women and their children, were accused of having made a covenant with the Devil. After his brother Joseph obtained accusations, as constable, his brother, John William Ballard obtained the arrest warrants.
Three Andover residents, Martha Carrier, Mary Parker, and Samuel Wardwell, were found guilty and hanged. Five others either plead guilty or were convicted but escaped execution, The hysteria was eventually brought to order and those who were not executed were granted reprieves by Massachusetts Governor William Phips, The convictions remained on their records until 1713, when in response to petitions, Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley reversed the convictions.
||The Bermuda Triangle|
No TV show about the unexplained would be complete without a trip to the Bermuda Triangle. In season six Fox Mulder found himself in the Bermuda Triangle, traveling back in time to battle “dream Nazis”. In January of 1955 my 7th cousin 4 times removed, (Louis) Ward Wheelock, one of his sons and his wife vanished in the Bermuda Triangle along with four others and his 60ft yacht leaving no trace.
Scully was quick to point out that the Coast Guard had issued storm warnings and one of the Air Force pilots involved in the search pointed out that a wooden hulled boat lost in shallow water would be difficult to find because radar would be of little to no help.
Mulder countered that the crew was experienced and, had reported by radio that in spite of the bad weather they were doing fine. His main interest in this case came because of a mysterious newspaper clipping found in project “Blue Book” files.
The clipping, in poor condition, unfortunately did not identify the publication name or date. The only clue was a hand written “1955”. The article mentioned the search for an “unidentified object”. It states that after sighting the object the Air Force plane suffered “navigational difficulties” and lost the object. No other documents relating to this have been found in project Blue Book files.
Even without the disappearance of a wooden hulled boat that left no wreckage there is a mystery here. The article did not say unidentified “flying” object. Why was an Air Force unit tasked with investigating UFOs interested enough in this missing boat to save this clipping? Search pilots normally have the experience to recognize wreckage. What was this item that was reported as “unidentified”? What forces were at work that caused the “navigational difficulties”.