Friday, February 1, 2013

Paranormal Investigations

This week after searching for the Legend of the Black Dog, I found a paranormal investigations website called soulsearchers.  The company is composed of both skeptics and believers.  The relevant article for me was written by a genuine believer.  She shared a story of her personal encounter with the Black Dog.  It occurred at a mansion that is said to be one of the most haunted places in Britain.  She talks about how the Black Dog protected her.  While the article was interesting, I don't believe it to be a good account of a hell hound because the author says that the Black Dog appeared with an angel and was acting as a guardian, as well as the angel, protecting her from unseen malevolent forces.

Squiddo on Griffin for kids.

Third Blog today I stumbled across another website called that gives an outline of the griffin beast. This website is useful in showing the different interpretations of the griffin. The page starts off with understanding the Ancient Egyptian and Persian era of people. This article web page gives the historical context of what the griffin symbolized to the Egyptians. One thing that I was able to take away from this website is the comparison of the dragon and the griffin in how they appeared to be the same kind of threat since they both had wings and were relatively large in size.
This website is great for school children. I would strongly recommend this page to someone in the middle school because of the information it offers to the readers in very simplistic terminologies.  It contains a lot pictures perfect for a younger student who is trying to understand what the griffin is. This webpage, otherwise lacks citations, and  needs information from a scholar’s view.This web page would be beneficial to anyone trying to figure out what was the griffin used for, symbolized as and where has it been seen around. Majority of the things that I read on this page were facts that I already knew and have background because of encyclopedia’s and articles informing me.
Squiddo is pretty cool in outlining important facts about the Griffin from the past to present day interpretations of what it means.

Hunting the Jersey Devil

This week I did some exploration of the website of The Devil Hunters, who bill themselves as the official researchers of the Jersey Devil. Their page is the first result if you Google "jersey devil."

The devil hunters have conducted 41 hunts, their most recent on March 14, 2009.

This most recent hunt was unsuccessful all around. For one, the hunters had only until dusk to get out of the park. The most they were able to do was make a cast of some "unusual footprints," but they weren't able to retrieve them, because a state trooper ordered them to leave the park. When they returned to retrieve the plaster cast in the morning, it was nowhere to be found. The hunters speculated that perhaps an animal had made off with it, or perhaps the state trooper who told them to clear out. On the margins is the suggestion that the Jersey Devil itself took the cast of its footprints...however, nothing is certain.

In other news, there is a season one episode of The X-Files about the Jersey Devil. I have not yet watched it, but it received mostly mediocre reviews.

I still await the book that I ordered on the Jersey Devil, which has been described in reviews as the "definitive source" on the creature.

Impossible Visits

I've started reading a few sections of the book Impossible Visits by Christopher Noel. It is a chronicle of a few different families' first hand accounts with Sasquatch habituation sites. What I like about this book is that it is from the perspective of people who are just generally interested in the species. They are not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather just discuss what they know. In my opinion, this gives the source more credibility. They are genuinely interested in forming a relationship and cohabiting with them, rather than getting rich off of their discoveries.

Given that, a lot of the information is a bit choppy. It is vague and leaves me wanting more information. They discuss so many things that could be better documented, it is a bit frustrating as a reader. Out of all of the encounters, there is still no concrete proof.

"This Article has Multiple Issues" [Phantom Cats]

Since our assignment to contribute to Wikipedia is due on February 25th (which happens to be my birthday), I decided to read the article on Phantom Cats more critically than I did originally. What I found: I have a lot of work to do.

Having read it, I can see why the article has been tagged as unbalanced. Even though it's an overview of phantom cats, highlighting ones that have been sighted multiple times and have their own names, most of the cited resources are about the Australian big cats (even though, perhaps, Britain is more famous for big cat sightings). Yes, the phantom cats in Britain have their own article (one that's free of warnings), but it doesn't change the imbalance of the main article, particularly when, of the five named phantom cats in Australia, two of them have their own articles. Personally, I don't think they're necessary, since they're very short. A third leads to a more general article about cougars in Western Australia. Closer to home, in the U.S., seven states are listed as having sighted alien big cats - but none of them have their own article.

On the warning of inadequate citations, I looked through the article and noted that the claims of big cat sightings in Australia were cited, but others weren't: more evidence of the article's imbalance.

Looking at the edit history of the article, I notice that there have been fairly continual edits to the article over the years, and yet the warnings from 2008 and 2009 remain. So I have my work cut out for me.

The Loch Ness Salamander?

I decided to take a look at what Cryptomundo had to say about Nessie, since most of my other research prior to now has been fairly objective-explaining what the legends are and what the theories are in basic terms, without much argument for either side. I wanted to find some true believers, so to speak.

In just the last month there have been several posts on Cryptomundo about the monster, linking to the Loch Ness Mystery blog, which aims to "[reclaim] the Loch Ness Monster from the current tide of debunking and skepticism", supporting the 'monster' theories over the 'natural' theories when possible. Crypotmundo also linked to the Loch Ness Giant Salamander blog, which takes the 'natural' stance compared to the LNMB, positing that there is a creature in Loch Ness, it's just a giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) rather than a plesiosaur or other giant/extinct monster.

I think these two sources are trying really hard to be as reliable as possible-from the posts I read both cite sources pretty extensively, especially on the LNMB, where they're actively trying to separate out the misidentification and hoaxes from actual information. Although the giant salamander blog is less extensive and newer (first posts were made in August 2012), I think the information is a valid argument and is certainly more explicative on the giant salamander theory than wikipedia or anything else I've read so far. 

In my other research I also discovered (via the Encyclopedia Americana in WWU's reference collection) that Loch Ness was a fairly isolated area until 1933, when they built a road along the loch, and after that the Nessie sightings start. I was surprised that I'd never come across that before, but it makes total sense-you can't report sightings on a road when the road isn't there! Also, Loch Ness is much bigger than I thought-1.5 miles wide, 22 miles long and up to 755ft deep-which is a pretty large area for a cryptid to be hiding in. 

What the NOAA says about the existence of mermaids

This week, I decided to investigate Animal Planet's “documentary” The Body Found since there is a lot of information about it online.  I have watched a couple shows and I can see why people are totally into it because the information seems pretty legit, however I don’t think that The Body Found is a good source to reference. The program prompted public inquiries to NOAA, (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) which more commonly deals with questions about weather, water and solar storms. "But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers and anthropologists."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

catty crptozoologists

I browsed Cryptomundo for information about Chupa, my monster's abbreviation, and found that there is quite a small circle with alot of information floating around in it involving cryptids. One article I found very interesting  has a couple cryptid experts and their opinions on what the Chupa is like a porcupine, result of pop culture, and a mongoose. This article also introduced me to Neil Arnold, who believes that the Chupacabra is not a cryptid at all but a zooform, I hope to research this this claim and a general knowledge of zooform this week.

Cryptomundo also lead to a passionate denouncement of Ben Radford's expedition looking for the Nicaraguan Chupacabra, written by his colleague Loren Coleman. Neither the article nor the bashing proved to valuable to my research; however, it was quite amusing and gave me an idea of how few people there are doing legitimate research on monsters. 

After the seminar with Kate I reserved a documentary, from 1996, on hunting the Chupacabra as well as a book titled Hidden Animals, I'm hoping they both don't take too long because I'm excited to get some new sources!


While searching through the encyclopedia Americana I saw that not only were humans turning into wolfs (werewolves), but were turning into the scarier animals in the general area. I also decided to peek into the Britannica encyclopedia and it said I could also search for Loup-Garou which I thought was interesting. Apparently, the Loup-Garou is the french version of the werewolf, loup meaning wolf and garou meaning man who turns into animal. The main difference between the loup-garou and the common werewolf is that the Loup-Garou has complete conscienceness when in wolf form. Basically it's a human mind in a wolf's body.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Hunt for the Mothman

My research on West Virginia's favourite cryptid has been a mixed bag of success and failure. I started by searching the library for related books to the monster, and I found two books and one movie. Upon disregarding the movie, I began my quest to the mentioned sections of the library to find the two books. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the book The Mothman Prophecies, although it was apparently available. I did however find It Came from Ohio... by James Renner. The book may be of use but I am skeptical.

On the bright side of the dark side I was able to find thousands of newspaper articles that relate to the Mothman. I have good faith that there will be at least a couple of useful articles.

And finally, I was unable to find the Mothman in the americana encyclopedias or the specific encyclopedias, although I may have missed it. Wikipedia has a decent article on the monster with references I will continue to look through for useful information.

That brings me up to today and the hunt continues on!

Things in the Dark

While reading the encyclopedias yesterday, the small section on werewolves I found said that most often werecreatures were based upon what people were most afraid of at that time, and in that area. It made me a little curious as to why Wisconsonites and others in that area are seeing a beast that they describe as a wolfman. Why the wolf, in particular? My goal for this week is to try and figure out the why if I can.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Go T-Birds!

I chose the Thunderbird for my monster honestly for two reasons.
One – I’m soon to be an animal science major, and I really wanted to do some sort of distinct animal.
And two -- My high school mascot just so happened to be the Thunderbirds.  Don’t judge me, yes I am a bit nostalgic. 
In starting my research, I have encountered a few problems.   The most predominant of these issues is the fact that probably around 90% of the topics I am finding are about cars. Go figure.
The bits of information about the thunderbirds that I have been able to find have primarily been few and far between, and generally I am getting the same information – Repetition of the fact that it’s Native American, and it is a large bird.
I have only just begun my research, and I am hopeful that I will eventually find results that are pleasing.

More Questions

So far in my research of the Loch Ness Monster I am unable to come to any conclusions for myself about whether or not this monster actually exists. Many sources have given good reasons for why a monster living in this lake does not make sense, however, other sources have noted that there has been no evidence found to disprove Nessie's existence. It seams at this point all I have are more questions and I am skeptical about finding any solid evidence either supporting or disproving this monster.

Mermaids are my monster

In my research for mermaids I decided to start with Cryptomundo. It is a reliable source and has several accounts of merpeople sightings. This article is about an Indonesian island that is reported to have orang ikan which translated means man fish. In 1943 during World War II, the natives found a carcass and allowed a Japanese sergeant to see the body.

The theory of this article is that merbeing sightings all over the world could very well be explained that humans or human like creatures simply evolved to suit the aquatic environment. I  find that to be an interesting concept. Mermaids aren't necessarily an old species and the different cases world wide might not even be related. Each area would have a different subspecies of merbeings.

I am very excited to research this topic further. I think I will find lots of information and accounts and be able to collect them from several types of sources.

Calls in Umatilla

Recently there's been a recording released out of the Umatilla Indian Reservation reported to be a Sasquatch. People have heard howls around the 178,000 acre reservation in the Blue Mountains of Oregon over the last few months. For more on that:

Other than that, Tribal Bigfoot, a book Michael is loaning me, gives first hand accounts by natives that have seen the creatures for hundreds of years.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bigfoot Anatomy

I found an interesting article about Jeffrey Meldrum, a professor at Idaho State University. The article is titled "Bigfoot Anatomy" from Scientific American. Originally, Meldrum traveled to Walla Walla in order to disprove the Sasquatch legends, yet what he found there was instead evidence he believes would be incredibly hard to fake and turned Meldrum's attention toward further investigation. From the article:

"He reviews that evidence in Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (Forge, 2006). 'My book is not an attempt to convince people of the existence of Sasquatch,' the 49-year-old Meldrum says emphatically; rather it argues that 'the evidence that exists fully justifies the investigation and the pursuit of this question.'"

After reading the article, I will have to look into seeing if I can find that book. It would be interesting to read an in depth scientific analysis on Bigfoot.