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The Montauk Project

I believe it’s most definitely an understatement to say that conspiracy theories about secret government projects are abundant. This is even more true considering that the Internet exists and spreads a lot of these theories and rumors through blogs, emails, and other outlets every day.

But it certainly is fun to think about the possibilities, and even consider the possibilities that something very interesting indeed might have been going on.

Headed to Long Island this week for the interesting, possibly fictional, story of the Montauk Project.

Montauk Air Force Base is abandoned and has not been used for quite some time now, since 1981. This may sound quite mysterious unless you know that it’s now known as Camp Hero State Park and seems to be quite lovely.

Its past remains, however, in this structure still remaining there.

 

Nice, isn’t it?

According to the story, now widely spread but possibly originating from a Mr. Preston Nichols, the Montauk Project focused on psychological warfare and time travel. (See Wikipedia.) He even wrote a book about it, connecting the Montauk Project to the Philadelphia Experiment. It’s fairly easy to believe that he made up a fantastic story. The government’s tendency to keep things classified (and Montauk’s radar role in the Cold War) means that we aren’t likely to get the real story any time soon, if at all.

So the theories take prominence, mostly out of not knowing. That Montauk Air Force Base was sort of like an East Coast Area 51, with lots of stuff going on, just hidden.1

The more rational folks writing about this theory do bring up the point that there’s just no proof or logic behind the theories as to how things are hidden.2

So. Could the government have had a secret project going on in Montauk, all those years ago? Possibly. Certainly, if you start with the fact that the government just simply keeps things classified anyway. That fact, however, doesn’t stop the theories and stories and the inventions of our very imaginative human minds.

 

 

Sources

1. Oliver Peterson, “Camp Hero and the Montauk Mystery,” Dan’s Papers, June 5, 2014, http://www.danspapers.com/2014/06/camp-hero-and-the-montauk-project-mystery/.

2. Aaron Sakulich, “The Montauk Project,” The Iron Skeptic, accessed February 6, 2016, http://www.theironskeptic.com/articles/montauk/montauk.htm.


I’m Taking a Break

Just a short update today. Since it’s the end of December, I’ve decided to take a break until after Christmas and New Year’s are over. I’ll be back in January!


Our Weird World: Dinosaurs

A spiked, breathing, living thing you didn’t expect to ever see is glimpsed for a moment in the foliage…

We’re branching out this post with accounts of creatures thought long dead.

I’ll admit, my title is misleading. Dinosaurs are hardly cryptids. We know they were alive at some point in the past. We find bones and nests and plenty of evidence that dinosaurs were animals that once walked the earth and have long been gone.

Maybe.

Dinosaurs, probably because we don’t see them anymore, offer a chance to imagine a different world than the one here. While most predators (bears, big cats, wolves, etc.) can certainly be quite fearsome, dinosaurs seem to be on another level. Traditionally, they’ve been depicted as completely reptilian creatures with claws and teeth and massive feet and tough, leathery hides. Somehow, in not being able to be photographed, dinosaurs seem tougher, something just a little bit alien.

So what if you saw one, or thought you did?

This appears to be the case in parts of Africa.

Sightings of Mokele-Mbembe (which is herbivorous), Kongamato (something like a pterosaur), and other unexpected creatures invite speculation and legends. It’s exciting to imagine that something we thought we might not get the opportunity to see might still be alive.

Except for the difficult part.

Not being able to find these dinosaurs and conclusively prove that they are hanging out in different parts of the world, left alone and simply undiscovered. Maybe they were seen at one time. Maybe now they’re really gone.

Could they have simply died out? Possibly, since being so rarely sighted might mean that numbers are few and not rising.

Could Mokele-Mbembe be real, or real at one time recently?

Maybe.

But where are these creatures? Are they in hiding? Is there someone hiding them? Maybe they’re just shy.

Maybe they’re just legends.

But it’s awfully fun to think they’re real.


Black Creek and the Mysterious Light

A light on the tracks, where there shouldn’t be one…

Staying local this week with a tale straight from the town of Black Creek, North Carolina.

When I was a child, my dad told me the spooky story of a mysterious light that seemed to haunt the train tracks in the small town of Black Creek, in Wilson County. As the story goes, a man met with an unfortunate end on those tracks. The culprit?

A train, of course.

In the story my dad told me, the owner of the head still wanders the tracks, looking for his lost head, armed with a lantern, the only evidence that observers can see. I’ve never seen the sight myself.

The Maco Light in Wilmington is another tale of a tragic railroad death, and the never-ending unrest of the victim. I first read of the Maco Light in a book by Nancy Roberts, but the location was wrong. The Black Creek version, of course, had to come from somewhere. Recently, an article appeared in the Wilson Times (the Wilson NC newspaper) featuring some residents recounting the legend.

Are there really ghosts? I’ve shared some of my thoughts on haunted places before, more than once. I still hold that view.

I think that for every ghost light we see, there are many perfectly logical explanations. Of course, logical does not have to mean anything less than extraordinary. There are reasons for things, but those reasons might catch us off guard. How much of the unexplained is just stuff that’s always been there, just without us knowing?

What would happen if we got a full explanation that we weren’t prepared for?

Certainly something to think about.


Southern Weird: Altamaha-ha

The more you look, the more it appears that good old Nessie seems to have a very large family.

Headed south this time to the waterways of southern Georgia.

It might be the fact that people tend to find dinosaurs fascinating that leads to the numerous sightings of lake and water monsters around the world. Ultimately, dinosaurs are mysterious. We don’t know exactly what they looked like, so it would be pretty cool to see one, for instance, a Tyrannosaurus Rex still around. At least I think so.

Perhaps that’s why people are eager to claim that something unexpected might be living in the waters, shy and only glimpsed by the locals, never seen up close or clearly. Altamaha-ha, Georgia’s own mysterious aquatic inhabitant, is no different.

Altie, as it’s also called, sounds like what might be called a sea serpent, one that only lets a little of itself be seen, if at all, and maybe that’s by accident. It makes its home in McIntosh County, Georgia. Altie is said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 feet long, though some reports do allow for a shorter distance. If Altie is prowling around in the waters of Georgia, a green hide might let it stay hidden.

What might Altamaha-ha be? Is it an alligator? Is it, perhaps, an alligator gar, as Hank Bart of Tulane University believes? The possibility always exists that it’s a known animal, but how would that account for the size?

Are the dinosaurs of our imaginations just shy, and is Altamaha-ha one of them?

Could there be more than one of Altie?

And, if there is, where did they come from?


A New Feature: Cryptids

Just a short announcement here. Every so often, I’m going to have a post featuring a different cryptid.

Bigfoot, Nessie, Mokele-Mbembe…I’m gonna do my best to feature these legends and profile some others. Trust me. There are plenty.

Look for the new feature in my next post!


Southern Weird: Wakulla Volcano

What’s that smoke rising above the swamp? Has the peat caught fire, or is something very strange going on here?

We’re heading down to Florida with the tale of the Wakulla Volcano.

Florida is a pretty cool place. It contains the oldest city in America, offers a lot of vacation options, and has a climate that allows people to take advantage of those vacations pretty much year-round.

It also has no shortage of swampland.

Swamps are fascinating. They’re deep and dim and mysterious. Swamps capture the imagination, because they are places where interesting things can hide.

And Florida’s swamps may have once hidden something very interesting indeed.

Smoke and what might have been flame were being seen in Wacissa Swamp, but in 1840, it was no new thing. Legend says the Seminole people had seen it for years, this smoke that seemed to have some mysterious source. What could have been burning this much to be visible from Tallahassee and even the Gulf of Mexico? A camp, maybe, inhabited by anyone from pirates to escaped slaves?

It was 1865 before the mysterious sight was called a volcano.

And from what I can tell, it did indeed appear to be one. What else would smoke and a bright glow be, to be seen that far away without being a widespread and deadly fire? And it isn’t as if Florida is a dry part of the country. A little later, in the 1870s, the theory that it might simply be a geyser or hot spring came about, but those would not negate the possibility of a volcano.

A New York Herald expedition sent to find it was unsuccessful, to say the least, because the volcano was never found and the man sent from the paper died.

It probably seemed that this phenomenon would be a part of life in Florida for a while.

Until August 31, 1886, the day an earthquake hit Charleston SC.

An interesting thing about earthquakes on the east coast is that, for geological reasons, the tremors are felt quite far away. In this case, Lake Jackson in Florida drained (which isn’t unusual for that particular lake). After the earthquake, according to the story, the Wakulla Volcano disappeared.

Of course, there are reports at this point that conflict. Other accounts say that the smoke returned in the 1890s.

And then come the later stories, of evidence that could only have been left by a volcano. Of course, there is also the possibility that this was all very simply a peat fire.

But what if it wasn’t something so simple? Why would an earthquake have shut it off, only for it to reappear a few years later? Was a peat fire burning, or was it being maintained?

Could the Wakulla Volcano have a perfectly rational explanation that is still different from the current theories?

I encourage you to look into the Wakulla Volcano. I got this idea from Weird US, but there are plenty of sources out there.

The Wakulla Volcano seems to have been certainly something to see, and the true explanation might be something we never expected.