Archive for the 'Unexplained weirdness' Category

Dyatlov Pass

I stumbled across this story last week – the Dyatlov Pass Accident. Reading like a cross between The Blair Witch Project and The Thing, this story would have made an excellent backstory for an X-Files episode:

The nutshell: In 1959, nine experienced Russian cross-country skiers — seven men and two women, led by a man named Igor Dyatlov — headed to the Ural Mountains, to a slope called Kholat Syakhl (Mansi language for “Mountain of the Dead,” ahem) for a rugged, wintry trek. On their way up, they are apparently hit by inclement weather and veer off course and decide to set up camp and wait it out. All is calm. All is fine and good. They even take pictures of camp, the scenery, each other. The weather is not so bad. They go to sleep.

Then, something happens. In the middle of the night all nine suddenly leap out of their tents as fast as possible, ripping them open from the inside (not even enough time to untie the doors) and race out into the sub-zero temps, without coats or boots or skis, most in their underwear, some even barefoot or with a single sock or boot. It is 30 degrees below zero, Celsius. A few make it as far as a kilometer and a half down the slope. All nine, as you might expect, quickly die.

And so it begins.

Why did they rush out, unable to even grab a coat or blanket? What came at them? The three-month investigation revealed that five of the trekkers died from simple hypothermia, with no apparent trauma at all, no signs of attack, struggle, no outward injuries of any kind. However, two of the other four apparently suffered massive internal traumas to the chest, like you would if you were hit by a car. One’s skull was crushed. All four of these were found far from the other five. But still, no signs of external injuries.

Not good enough? How about this: One of the women was missing her tongue.

Oh, it gets better. And weirder.

It truly does… Read the whole thing, as they say. (There’s more to be found here and here.

It’s not just home prices that are scary

Sometimes it’s the home itself.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Every neighborhood has one. A house the kids are certain is haunted. Where I grew up, it was the monastery on top of the hill, only we didn’t realize at the time that it was a religious place. We just thought it was spooky.

People have always loved a good ghost story, especially when it comes to haunted houses. And there are untold numbers of places supposedly occupied by spooks and specters or that were the site of acts so heinous that houses themselves have become part of the folklore.

..But in the spirit of Halloween, here’s a look at some of the country’s spookiest haunts:

Winchester Mystery House ..One account has it that Sarah was told by a medium to build a house for herself and to never stop construction or she would die. Another account has it that she believed the only way she could repent for the thousands of people killed by her family’s rifles was to keep building. Either way, she built and then built some more, from 1884, when she purchased the house under construction, until her death 38 years later.The place started out as a six-bedroom house. But Sarah turned it into a eerie mansion with 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 47 fireplaces and 1,257 windows.

Grant-Humphreys MansionBuilt by Colorado’s third governor, James Grant, this Denver house at 770 Pennsylvania St. lays claim to five ghosts, including that of Albert Humphreys, a subsequent owner who died of a suspicious shooting accident on the third floor, according to HauntedHouse.com.

The others are said to be disrupted souls from the old cemetery that lies beneath what is now Cheesman Park. They’ve been flying about since 1873, when the cemetery was closed and the city hired an incompetent undertaker to move some graves. Showing little respect for the unearthed dead, he broke up bodies to fit them into small boxes, mixing up parts as he worked.

Whaley House...Few houses in San Diego are as historically important as this one, or as haunted. It made the list of the Travel Channel’s most haunted destinations. Every day, visitors from throughout the world tour the place in the city’s Old Town section, and numerous manifestations have been reported since the house reopened as a museum in 1960.

Reed House...This Asheville, N.C., house was built in 1892 by Samuel Reed. Although Reed was a lawyer for tycoon George Vanderbilt, his life was “full of loss,” according to the local paranormal society. Five of his children died young. Then his wife passed away, and he followed her into the great beyond six months later.

The house was abandoned for a time, and then was purchased in 1973 and turned into a bed and breakfast. Now, it is known as the Biltmore Village Inn, a place where the sound of heavy boots can sometimes be heard, or a spectral game of pool takes place. Bedroom doors open and close by themselves, and the lights sometimes go on and off for no reason.

Franklin Castle.There are ghosts aplenty at Cleveland’s Franklin Castle, which is known as Ohio’s most haunted house. And no wonder: Among other things, a pile of baby skeletons was discovered in a small room at the rear of the house, the victim of some inept doctor, according to Forgotten Ohio.com, and a group of Nazis was gunned down in a political dispute. Today, babies can still be heard crying, the German Socialists’ conversation continues.

AMNewYork highlights some grizzly real estate in Gotham, including one Starbucks that was once the scene of a famous mob hit.

Lost and found

From the Suffolk Free Press in England:

A father searching for his long-lost daughter was just yards away from her as he made an appeal in the Free Press.

Londoner Michael Dick travelled to Sudbury to find his daughter Lisa whom he had not seen for over 10 years.

After a fruitless search, Mr Dick turned to the Free Press for help, asking us to put an appeal in the paper.

And within hours of the paper hitting the streets, Michael’s search was over when Lisa spotted her dad in the paper.

Then, incredibly, on closer inspection she spotted herself in the picture, too.

Lisa, 31, said: “I was just completely shocked. Me and my mum had been standing in that exact place where the picture was taken about a minute earlier, and you can see us in the picture walking away. It is incredible.”

A secret, underground city under Tokyo

From The Japan Times:

During the Gulf War in 1991, Shun Akiba was one of only two foreign journalists reporting from Baghdad, along with Peter Arnett of CNN. With such experience and expertise, it would be reasonable to imagine him in great demand right now. Wrong.

Shun Akiba, a former high-level foreign reporter, has identified hundreds of kilometers of Tokyo tunnels whose purpose is unknown and whose very existence is denied.

Shun is on some kind of invisible blacklist. His book “Teito Tokyo Kakusareta Chikamono Himitsu” (“Imperial City Tokyo: Secret of a Hidden Underground Network”), published by Yosensha in late 2002, is already in its fifth edition. Yet Shun has found it impossible to get the media to take serious note, write reviews or offer interviews.

This is very strange because he has a great story — evidence of a network of tunnels and possibly an underground city beneath Tokyo that the public is totally unaware of. “Why am I ignored? Can I be on to something, and there is a conspiracy to silence me? I believe so.”

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What changed his life was finding an old map in a secondhand bookstore. Comparing it to a contemporary map, he found significant variations. “Close to the Diet in Nagata-cho, current maps show two subways crossing. In the old map, they are parallel.”

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Shun claims to have uncovered a secret code that links a complex network of tunnels unknown to the general public. “Every city with a historic subterranean transport system has secrets,” he says. “In London, for example, some lines are near the surface and others very deep, for no obvious reason.”

Sitting on the Ginza subway from Suehirocho to Kanda, he says, you can see many mysterious tunnels leading off from the main track. “No such routes are shown on maps.” Traveling from Kasumigaseki to Kokkai-gijidomae, there is a line off to the left that is not shown on any map. Nor is it indicated in subway construction records.

At Tameike-sanno on the Ginza Line, the first basement level is closed off, for official use only. “Go to the toilet on B2 and there is a door to B1, but locked.”

Also he investigates three large buildings in Hibiya that share an enormous underground car park. “This space was there before the buildings were independently constructed. What was it for?”

As for the Diet Library, this runs to eight floors underground, all closed to the public. A magazine that asks repeatedly to look around is always denied access.

Entire story well worth a read, but I thought I’d give the highlights for those in a hurry.

Did you catch the one about the fisherman…

…who netted the skull of a friend who was lost at sea?

LONDON – A North Sea fisherman has netted a gruesome catch: a piece of skull belonging to his missing friend.

Barry Hunter picked the skull fragment out of his net in December while trawling near the mouth of the River Tyne, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) north of London, Northumbria police said in a statement.

Hunter turned the bone over to authorities, and forensic tests confirmed that it belonged to Brian Allison, one of two fellow fishermen who disappeared when their trawler sank during rough weather in the area on Nov. 17, 2004.

There’s a story idea in there someplace…

A race to solve an underground mystery

From The New York Times:

It started with an ever-expanding sinkhole at the entrance of the Mystic Pointe condominiums here and led to an excavation this spring that revealed an underground complex of brick chambers with vaulted ceilings.

Now the subterranean structure, believed to date to the mid-19th century, is a mystery just begging to be solved. Is it as pedestrian as a root cellar? Or as storied as a stop on the Underground Railroad? Does it stretch beyond the cluster of at least nine known rooms to connect to tunnels elsewhere?

An ad-hoc group of residents, local historians and archaeologists in this Westchester County suburb is racing to figure it out before road repairs that could lead to the destruction of the rooms, which sit under a wooded area that had been part of a Victorian estate and once was owned by a Catholic church.

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Ms. Leone, for example, has spent many an evening since the discovery this spring poring over maps and doing research about former owners. But while she can tell you all about Orlando B. Potter, who bought the property as a summer residence about 1870, and a fair amount about bricks found there, she has yet to find anything that even makes note of the structures.

Lucille Lewis Johnson, an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, said that when she recently viewed the site, she found a network of about 12 rooms, some running north-south, others east-west. The common thinking is that the rooms were some kind of storage facility, but the size of the structure and the craftsmanship of the brickwork indicate that it might have been more than that.

The rooms are larger and higher — with ceilings estimated to be as high as 15 feet — than would be common in a typical root cellar. Several of the doorways have metal fixtures on the outside, an indication that there were once doors there, and it appears that there was more than one entrance to the network.

Exciting story full of unexplored imaginings.

Man flies in lawn chair

When I want to go flying in a lawn chair, I’ll stick with Crown Royal Special Reserve. An Oregon man has his own way:

Bend gas station owner Kent Couch spent last weekend as many do in Central Oregon – gazing at massive mountains, allowing nature to offer solitude and pretty much taking it easy.

It’s just that Couch decided to spend his free time in a flying lawn chair dangling at more than 11,000 feet off the ground.

Supported by balloons, yes balloons, Couch carried a global positioning system device, a two-way radio, a digital camcorder and a cell phone on his mission. He also had an altimeter, speed gauge and about four plastic bags holding five gallons of water each to act as a balancing system. Essentially, Couch’s aircraft was a homemade hot-air balloon.

Hat tip to mcjoan.

Rare crystals grow in ancient corpses

It does not get more morbid or beautiful than this. From the Xinhua (China) news service:

JING’AN — Chinese archaeologists exploring a 2,500-year-old tomb in east China’s Jiangxi province that contained 47 coffins in a remarkable state of preservation were stunned to discover several pieces of green crystal lodged in the bones of the skeletons in the coffins.

One of the diamond-shaped crystals was 8.5 centimeters long.

The coffins also contained bronze, gold, silk, porcelain and jade items and even body tissue.

Archaeologists said the crystals appeared to have “grown” in the bones. They pointed out that the coffins were made from halved nanmu, a rare and extremely durable wood, and covered in white plaster and a layer of loess.

The fact that the coffins were fire-heated to make them waterproof and airtight may be a factor in the creation of the crystals. Classically, crystals are formed when rocks are heated and then cool slowly over time.

Archaeologists said there were no previous records of green-colored crystals being found in tombs and said they would help scientists understand changes to the human body in different conditions.

snip

The main coffin, weighing more than a ton, was opened at about 10 a.m. Monday. Archaeologists found a round, exquisitely-made piece of gold foil as well as a jade pendant in the shape of a dragon. Experts believe the two treasured decorative items could be symbols of the dead person’s social status or political power.

In another coffin, archaeologists found a beautifully-preserved skeleton lying on its right side.

“The coffins were tightly sealed and there was very little oxygen in there for bacteria to reproduce. This may explain why most of the skeletons are intact,” said Zhu.

The discovery will provide valuable clues to the study of social customs, funeral rites and lifestyles in the area 2,500 years ago, experts said.

No pictures, unfortunately. Meanwhile, how long do you think it’ll be until the people of Earth discover to our misfortune that the crystals are the remnants of Lovecraftian species that grafted itself onto the human hosts and that is why such elaborate steps were taken with the 47 coffins? I’m not saying that the planet is doomed by this discovery, I’m just saying if it does happen, remember you read about it here first.

Incan skeleton found in Norway

From Norway’s Aftenposten:

Archeologists in Sarpsborg have found one thousand year old skeletal remains that appear to be Incan.

The skeletal remains were found during conservations work at St. Nicolas church in Sarpsborg, a city 73 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Oslo, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reports.

When archeologists were to move some rose bushes they made the surprising discovery of the remains of two older men and a baby.

“When we were about to take hold under the rose bush the skeletal remains slid out. It was quite surprising,” Mona Beate Buckholm, archeologist at the Borgarsyssel Museum, told NRK.

One of the skulls had characteristics that indicate he was an Inca, the South American people centered in Peru.

snip

The archeologists now plan to try and find out what the man was doing in Østfold, and how he came there.

Kidnapped by Vikings? Incan vacation travel package to Scandinavia?

UFO fest in Roswell

Associated Press covers the 60th anniversary of UFO crash:

ROSWELL, N.M. – Is “The Truth” located in this remote city in New Mexico? Driving alone down a stretch of desolate highway en route to Roswell, I begin to understand why conspiracy buffs have long argued that aliens crash-landed in the desert here a half-century ago. Darkness engulfs desert fields. A misshapen yellow moon hangs in the sky. Husks of abandoned buildings litter the roadside. Has an alien invasion already taken place? I notice a blinking light in the sky — but quickly discern it’s an airplane. Being out here by yourself is enough to make you think twice.

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