Sorry, It’s Not Alty or Nessie or Any Other Mythical Creature

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Sorry, It’s Not Alty or Nessie or Any Other Mythical Creature

Georgia’s version of “Nessie” may have beached itself along the Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge. Or so the news media reports. Although it is easy to claim it was “Alty,” the bloated remains were probably something more common.

Last Friday, March 16th, boater Jeff Warren spotted a decomposing sea creature along the beach. He snapped a picture and took some video showing a long-necked, flippered grey dead animal. The only sure thing was that the animal was dead. He left the carcass and headed inland, sharing his tale with locals, who wondered if Warren had indeed witnessed “Alty,” the mythical Altamaha-ha creature reported to be haunting the Altamaha River since the 1830s.

He did not. According to Dan Ashe, former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and current President and CEO of the Association of zoos and Aquariums, Warren probably spotted a marine animal whose shape was altered during the decomposition process. [Multiple media outlets keep reporting that Ashe is the current Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He isn’t.] Ashe went on to theorize that the altered shape made the creature appear to be the prehistoric Plesiosaur, a creature common in the Jurassic Period that was located all over the globe. The Plesiosauria measured between 5-49 feet and had a broad, flat body, 2 sets of flipper-like limbs, and a tail. It died off some 200 million years ago. A full-sized preserved body of a Plesiosaur has never washed onto a beach.

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Fig. 2. Heinrich Harder’s illustration of a Plesiosauria from the Jurassic Period.

Other marine scientists opined that the creature was possibly a juvenile frilled shark, an elusive “elongated deep-sea shark with prominent gill covers that give the appearance of a frill around the neck.” Seems the easier and more logical explanation. However, some people of Georgia hope it is “Alty.”

The river monster is a popular North American legend. It was first documented when on April 22, 1830, when Captain Delano of the schooner Eagle spotted her. Witnesses included 5 men on the vessel and people on St. Simons Island. For more information on “Alty,” read my upcoming blog. Suffice it to say, Warren’s creature isn’t “Alty” either.

However, there is a lesson here. When out exploring and you come across a strange dead creature, take the initiative and bag it for future identification. Who knows! Maybe next time it may be a prehistoric creature.

For Sale: Zombie-Free Lakefront Home in Canada

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Paranormal News for the Week of March 19, 2018

ParaNews for the Week of March 19, 2018

For Sale: Zombie-Free Lakefront Home in Canada

Travel agent and real estate owner Matthew Swan is offering a 30-day guarantee that his 3,100 square foot island getaway is free of zombies. Swan secured the domain name zombiefree.ca for the purpose of selling the 5 bedroom/2 bath cottage. Swan also advertises the home on a billboard on a highway nearby. Originally built in 1965, the home underwent a large expansion in 2007. The home reportedly sleeps 26 and sits on Lindhill Island in Kahshe Lake, an hour and a half north of Toronto. It is listed for $869,000 Canadian dollars.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) is a Kiwi Delight

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What We Do in the Shadows (2014) is a Kiwi Delight

The BBC created a listing of the top 100 greatest comedies of all time. They polled 253 film critics from 52 countries compiling a comprehensive international list. What We Do in the Shadows came in at #62. Not too shabby for a low budget New Zealand production. This kiwi vampire mockumentary entertains and delights.

A film crew follows three vampires as they adjust to modern living with roommates, assign chores from the chore wheel, and navigate the singles scene in Wellington, New Zealand. Filmed for $1.6 million dollars, the film grossed over $6.9 million in the United States alone. The film is probably one of the most financially successful horror/comedy films Americans haven’t heard of. That is until now. Amazon Prime is streaming the film for free.

The three lead actors are large stars already. Taika Waititi, “Viago,” recently directed Thor: Ragnarok. Jemaine Clement, “Vladislav,” is the writer/actor responsible for Flight of the Conchords (TV series 2007-2009 and now a major motion picture opening in 2018). Jonny Brugh, “Deacon,” is a series regular on 800 Words, playing on US PBS stations, as “Monty.”

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A mockumentary is “a motion picture or television program that takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject.” Rob Reiner coined the term during press junkets for the film This Is Spinal Tap (1984), probably the most successful mockumentary film produced. Other examples are Best in Show (2000) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999). They are also called fake documentaries. Comedy is a key genre to a mockumentary films success.

Critics enjoyed the movie. Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars. It has a 7.6/10 rating on IMDb and a 96% Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. Rolling Stone Magazine’s Peter Travers says it best: “But when the vamps hit the town to party with werewolves, zombies and the strangest creatures of all, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face. A good sign.” Actually, it’s a fantastic sign for the B-movie.

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Taiki and Jemaine secured $1.4 million dollars for a spin-off of this film. It will be a 6-episode 30-minute situation comedy (sitcom) tentatively titled Wellington Paranormal. It follows police detectives Mike Minogue and Karen O’Leary reprising their roles in What We Do in the Shadows as they investigate paranormal phenomena. The website Gizmodo calls it “like the X-Files­ but with zombies and werewolves.” Stay tuned for US access.

5 Paranormal/Horror Movies You Can Binge on Amazon Prime

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5 Paranormal/Horror Movies You Can Binge on Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime has added 100 new movies to their streaming service. Here are 5 binge-worthy horror/paranormal films to watch—or even re-watch.

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968);

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  1. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1947);

 

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  1. What We Do in the Shadows (2014);

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  1. The Witch (2015); and

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  1. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015).

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5 Best Stephen Hawking Quotes:

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5 Best Stephen Hawking Quotes:

Professor Stephen Hawking (01.08.1942-03.14.2018) died at the age of 76 years old this past week. After earning his Ph.D. in 1965, Hawking went on to author many academic papers and books. He was a cosmologist armchair space traveler who enjoyed being lost in space. Although confined to a wheelchair since his ALS diagnosis in 1963, Hawking remained active and researching up until the end.

Below are 5 of his best quotes about the universe, extraterrestrial life, and the future of the human race. R.I.P. Professor. May your journey be filled with stars.

  1. “Hawking described Homer Simpson approvingly as a guy who ‘is always trying to get something for nothing.’ That’s the universe in a nutshell.”
  2. “I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”
  3. “I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space. I, therefore, want to encourage public interest in space.”
  4. “I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low”
    • In Naked Science: Alien Contact, the National Geographic Channel, 2004
  5. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate… Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded”
    • Interview, BBC, December 2014

 

ParaNews for March 12, 2018

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ParaNews for March 12, 2018

Paranormal News for the Week of March 12, 2018:

  • Media outlets seized on the Amelia Earhart disappearance by covering Dr. Richard Jantz’s overhyped article in Forensic Anthropology To be clear: Jantz does not proffer any new evidence or even support his theory that the infamous Nikumaroro Bones found in 1941 belong to the aviatrix. Read my blog titled “The Nikumaroro Bones Have Not Been Proven to be Amelia Earhart” detailing the serious flaws in his “research.”

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  • The sequel in The Strangers franchise debuted on March 9th. The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) garnered poor reviews despite landing the talent of Christina Hendricks and Bailee Madison. The US gross totaled $10.4 million. Part 2 takes Bryan Bertino’s 2008 film The Strangers and places the unsuspecting family in a mobile home. Both were “based off a true story.” Unfortunately, it seems that it’s the same story—a fairly common one where kids reported strangers knocking on doors. Bertino also cited the Manson Family murders. Neither theme is supported in the scripts. The film is rated R and runs 85 minutes.

MichioKaku

  • My copy of Dr. Michio Kaku’s new book The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond arrived last week. Give me a few days to read; however, I will leave you with the alarm that Dr. Kaku recommends to humans interacting with extraterrestrials: RUN!

4 Horror Movie Links with Iconic Dazed and Confused (1993)

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PosterL-R, T-B: Jason London, Sasha Jenson, Rory Cochrane, and Milla Jovovich.

4 Horror Movie Links with Iconic Dazed and Confused (1993)

The 1993 coming-of-age teen flick Dazed and Confused shows the last day of school in 1976. Set in Austin, Texas, the film was written and directed by Richard Linklater, who loosely based the film on his own high school experience. Initially a box office flop (filmed on a budget of $6.9 million yet earning less than $8 million in the US), the film has secured its spot in numerous top charts and is a cable TV staple. The film also boasts one of the best soundtracks; Paste Magazine ranks it #17 on the “Top 50 Best Movie Soundtrack” list. In addition, four of the actors in the large ensemble cast have links to horror movies.

  1. Sasha Jenson starred in two horror films before landing the role of “Don.” He appeared as “Teddy” in Ghoulies II (1988) and as “Brady” in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).

Rory--SashaL-R: Rory Cochrane, Jason London, and Sasha Jenson.

  1. Christine Harnos, “Kaye,” appeared as “Rimmer” in Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996).
  2. Rory Cochrane played “Slater” in Dazed and Confused. His role of the goofy stoner boy required him to wear a hat wig since his hair was not that long. He played the clean-shaven father, “Alan Russell,” in the 2013 film Oculus.
  3. Milla Jovovich found great success in horror movies. She appears as the lead actress in the fantastically profitable Resident Evil franchise. Although her husband, Paul W. S. Anderson (the writer/creator of the franchise), claims she is finished starring in the RE movies, he expects her to take on roles behind the camera. In Dazed and Confused, she played “Michelle” and even wrote the song “The Alien Song” that her character plays.

Milla

Dazed and Confused is a seminal film that every film aficionado should view. The movie is rated R for mature audiences and runs one hour and 42 minutes.

The Nikumaroro Bones Have Not Been Proven to be Amelia Earhart

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The Nikumaroro Bones Have Not Been Proven to be Amelia Earhart

Eighty years after her disappearance, Amelia Earhart is in the news again. Researcher Dr. Richard Jantz, University of Tennessee, believes 13 bones discovered in 1940 belong to Amelia Earhart. The bones are known collectively as “The Nikumaroro Bones” and were discovered on the remote coral atoll Nikumaroro 3 years after Earhart disappeared. Unfortunately, Jantz uses a rhetorical fallacy to support his claims. He states that “until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers.” No credible researcher says this.

Amelia Earhart is a mystery that needs to be solved. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were attempting to fly around the world when Earhart’s plane disappeared on July 2, 1937. Researchers and enthusiasts have sought to find them ever since. Richard Jantz desperately wants to solve this mystery. His paper “Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones: A 1941 Analysis versus Modern Quantitative Techniques” has been published in the journal Forensic Anthropology this month.

  1. However, Jantz’s newly published study has several flaws. The 13 bones that were found in 1937 were examined by Dr. D.W. Hoodless in 1941. At that time, Hoodless determined the bones were of a 5’5” European male. Conveniently, the bones were lost, with some reports that Hoodless disposed of them. Jantz did not examine the bones. He examined the measurements Hoodless took.
  2. Earhart was a very tall woman. She stood anywhere between 5’7” to 5’9”. Hardly close to the measurement determined by Hoodless. However, Jantz uses the inconsistencies of her height as supporting that she was in fact shorter than she appeared. In the picture below, Earhart is standing with (L-R) Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, President of the National Geographic Society; President Herbert Hoover; and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. President Hoover stood 6 feet tall. Earhart appears to be in 2-inch heels. She would appear to be 5 feet 9-10 inches tall.

AMELIA EARHART HONORED

  1. Next, Jantz relies on computer technology to support his claim. He analyzed the measurements using ForDisc, a computer program used by forensic anthropologists. Jantz co-created the program. Further, the program documentation states that it “should not be used for classification of archaeological remains.” In addition, at least one research study shows the program as flawed.
  2. Using the computer program he co-created, Jantz formulated a conclusion (that the bones belong to Amelia Earhart) and then worked backwards to prove his claim. This is not how scientific experiments work. In fact, this is not the acceptable practice in science and is highly unethical.
  3. Finally, Jantz boldly stated, “The only documented person to whom they may belong is Amelia Earhart.” He declared that the he is “99% sure” the bones are Earhart’s. The word “documented” is troublesome. Jantz presumes (incorrectly) that every ancestry attribution is included in the program. As Marina Elliott and Mark Collard concluded in 2009: “Fordisc will only return a correct ancestry attribution when an unidentified specimen is more or less complete and belongs to one of the populations represented in the program’s reference samples.” But most importantly, ForDisc is only intended to identify sex and ancestry. It is not intended to identify people.

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance remains a mystery. However, the mystery will not be solved when people use dubious evidence to support a conclusion they have already made. Jantz wants to be the one to solve the mystery. Unfortunately, he has gone about it all wrong.

Paranormal News for the Week of March 5th, 2018

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Paranormal News for the Week of March 5th, 2018

ParaNews:

  1. The paranormal community lost an important member last week when Dr. John “Doc” K. Head, co-founder of the paranormal investigation team ESP—Explorers of Spirit Phenomena unexpectedly died. Doc formed ESP in 2009 with a group of friends who possessed a genuine interest in the paranormal. Over the years, Doc and his team have made friends with experts in the community, as well as, those who have a part-time interest in knowing more. Please visit the ESP page, http://www.espexplorers.com/, to learn more about Doc. He will be missed. THL sends healing energy and loads of love to Terri and Tracy.

Dr.JKHead

  1. Jordan Peele made Oscar history—twice—last night by winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his hit movie Get Out (2017). It has taken 90 years for an African-American male to win in this category. However, more importantly, Peele won the Academy Award for a Horror film. This is the first time a screenwriter for a Horror film has taken home an Oscar. The Exorcist (1973) won in the category: Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; The Silence of the Lambs (1991) won for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. Huge win for the Horror Genre! And also for Jordan!

 

  1. I will leave you with a teaser to a longer article I am writing. Theoretical physicist Rockstar Michio Kaku, Ph.D. has proffered an answer for when extraterrestrials land on earth. Dr. Kaku was asked what he suggested humans do if they encounter aliens. He said, “If you’re in the forest, do you go around talking to squirrel?” He likened humans to the squirrels. When aliens arrive, they will not be interested in meaningful conversations. No, Dr. Kaku warns, humans should “RUN!”

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Longer article is forthcoming.