412 E 6TH STREET, AUSTIN, TX 78701 / (512)-476-5493 / info@museumoftheweird.com

Archive for January, 2016

New hiding place for Nessie…

Photo of the Loch Ness MonsterLast week we introduced a report about the search for Bigfoot that resulted from four years of study. While it doesn’t have the indisputable evidence that we crave, it brought up a number of ideas about why we could look and look and look for something and still not be able to find it.

This week brings us another case where we thought we knew something and there’s more to find. People have been searching for Nessie (the mysterious Loch Ness creature) since 1933. Even though there have been numerous sightings, photos and even video to support the idea that something is in the Loch, no one has been able to locate the creature. How is that possible? Loch Ness only covers about 22 square miles. Yes, it’s a lot of space, but it’s all boxed in. With all of the sophisticated sonar equipment we have along with satellites and everything else that we use to explore we must be able to see everything in there, right?

You would think so, but even with all that a new discovery was made about Loch Ness, a discovery which could make all the difference. There are parts of the Loch that we haven’t yet seen! According to this article from the Daily Record, Keith Stewart, captain of a tourist sightseeing boat, did some new soundings and found an area that is 76 feet deeper than anything that has been measured before. This newly discovered trench could certainly be a hiding place for Nessie and other similar creatures. Here is video of Captain Stewart as they made their historic find.

This discovery calls much into question. Is this the only such trench in the Loch? Could there be other such hiding places? Does this give more credence to the idea some have had that there may be hidden channels between Loch Ness and other bodies of water, allowing creatures to move between others?

Also, it is reasonable that whatever this creature is that it could prefer living at depths. This National Geographic gallery shows a number of creatures that are rarely encountered because they stay deep beneath the surface. We just don’t know!

Perhaps this discovery will lead to a different picture of Loch Ness and different approaches to searching for Nessie.

Saul Ravencraft's signature

 


Report released from 4-year Bigfoot search

bigfootWhy don’t we have Bigfoot in a cage yet? Why hasn’t he been captured? When do we get definitive proof? How hard can it be?

As it turns out it’s harder than we might imagine. Few of us are actually privy to the painful process of discovery. We find out the results, the path that worked out. We usually aren’t told about the failed theories, the false trails, the dead ends. So, when we look at things like finding Bigfoot it’s easy to get discouraged.

This video, courtesy of KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma, outlines the findings of some dedicated Bigfoot after four years of looking. Some of their observations are pretty interesting. They’ve found signs of primate activity. They’ve also found some logic to why it’s difficult to capture the creatures on camera. This video leads you briefly through everything. The full report is available in PDF format.

Does this get us closer? Maybe. They certainly provide some food for thought that other Bigfoot searchers might consider, especially when it comes to technologies. They might even be on the track to get us the proof that we crave. Time will tell, as it always does. We’ll keep watching and waiting.

Saul Ravencraft's signature


What’s better than finding a skeleton under the schoolyard?

Facial reconstruction by forensic archaeologist, Hayley Fisher, shows what the man might have looked like. See the original article from Herald Scotland.

What’s better than finding a skeleton under the schoolyard? How about finding that skeleton might be an executed pirate?!

As part of excavating a playground last year at the Victoria Primary School in Edinburgh the AOC Archaeology Group performed an archaeological survey. This is a common practice, especially in historical areas like where the school resides. Researchers anticipated finding remnants of the Newhaven dockyards, an old harbor and shipbuilding facility from the reign of King James IV. Instead they found the skeletal remains, which were not in good condition.

Around the skeleton they also found shards of 4,000-year-old Bronze Age pottery. They naturally assumed that everything was from the same era until radiocarbon dating showed the skeleton to actually be from the 16th or 17th century. They estimated that the individual was about 50 years old at the time of death and did not die peacefully.

Hanging of William Kidd

Captain Kidd, who was tried and executed for piracy, hanging in chains

Further research into the history of the area showed that there was a gibbet on the Newhaven dockyards. This is reserved for the really bad guys that need to be an example to others. Pirates often fell into this category. It was a sort of cage or other display where an executed pirate would be hung, usually until their body fell apart. The smell must have been lovely.

What do the kids think of this gruesome discovery in their playground?Laura Thompson, Head Teacher at Victoria Primary School, said:

“The pupils think it’s fantastic that a skeleton was found deep underneath their playground. The archaeologists will hold a special lesson with some of the children about how they have used science to analyse the remains and it will be a good learning opportunity for them.”

The video at the end covers a little more detail. Be sure to visit the Museum of the Weird and learn about our own pirate connection.

Saul Ravencraft's signature


Weird New Year Traditions

In an earlier entry I shared some bizarre December traditions around the world. Of course there are some strange choices to ring in the New Year. It may be too late for you to try some of these, but there’s always next year (unless those doomsday guys are finally right this time).

To help you choose I’ve put everything in convenient categories.

Burning things

Stonehaven fireballs 2003

Scots parade through the street swinging fireballs
Photo by MrPurple at English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fire is always festive. You could go with the fireworks, but there are so many more interesting things to burn! In Scotland they have the fireball ceremony—the best one is in Stonehaven—where local people of all ages walk through the streets spinning flaming wire cages around their heads. The cages are designed to keep the spinners safe but the onlookers may be vulnerable! The purpose is to burn off the bad spirits from last year and bring the new spirits in clean and fresh.
NYE-burning viejo in Ecuador

Effigy burning in Ecuador
Photo by Carlos Adampol Galindo from DF, México (Fiesta de año nuevo, Vilcabamba, Ecuador) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In Ecuador and Panama they celebrate the New Year by burning scarecrows and effigies of famous people. Ecuadorians also burn photographs from last year. (Unfortunately those embarrassing ones you posted to social media are there forever.)

Wearing things

new-year-red_underwear

Red underwear is a popular item around Christmas in Turkey.

You’ve probably packed that Santa hat away, but there are fun things to wear for the New Year. In South America colorful underwear is encouraged. (Here’s a guide to help you pick the right one.) In Turkey, red is the preferred color and it’s very common for women to receive red panties as a Christmas gift to help them prepare.

In Mexico it’s traditional to wear white for good luck. In Chile they put money in their shoes. Of course, the silly hat is always an option.

Throwing things

3936422_20130102031524

The street is littered with furniture tossed from windows in South Africa as people clear for the new year

What could start the new year better than a little healthy flinging things about. You might follow the lead of the Romanians who toss coins into the river to bring prosperity into the new year. You might bang the walls and doors with Christmas bread like they do in Ireland.

People in Denmark smash old plates on people’s doorsteps. The more broken plates you find on your doorstep the more friends you are seen to have. People actually save dishes throughout the year to have a good stash of ammunition come December.

If you live in an apartment overlooking the street you could delight the neighbors with the Puerto Rican tradition of throwing a bucket of water out the window to drive away evil spirits.

The big winners of the throwing-things competition have to be in Johannesburg, South Africa. They don’t mess around on New Years! They throw old furniture out the windows to make way for new things in the new year!

Eating things

pancakes-with-butter-and-maple-syrup

Enjoy a plate of pancakes as they do in France

You may demand your black eyed peas or tamales on New Year’s eve, but have you thought of eating twelve grapes like they do in Spain (and Puerto Rico). Hungarians enjoy kocsonya (a cold pork aspic) but no fish or chicken, which might cause luck to fly (or swim) away.

Bolivia has a fun tradition of baking coins into cakes and other sweets. If you find one in your sweet you get good luck in the coming year.

If all that sounds too complicated, join the French and just enjoy some pancakes to bring in the new year.

Other things

Need more? Japan really rings in the new year with a ceremony where they ring bells 108 times to correspond to the number of evil desires that need to be cleansed. In Venice they enjoy fireworks over the Piazza San Marco, and a bit of snogging, as many gather to kiss in the new year!. (You can probably try this out at home as well.)

Romanian_bear_dance

Revelers don bear skins for the traditional Romanian bear dance

Animals play a big part in new year traditions around the world. Romanians dance with bears. (I know one that might dance with me if I bought him a drink.) Belgians try to talk to their cows and Romanians talk to other animals. Success means good luck for the year. The people in Brasstown, NC do an “opossum-drop” where an opossum in a transparent box is lowered over a crowd of revelers. (Perhaps this is a new adventure for your cat.)

A Latin tradition is walking your suitcase around the block to encourage travel. What could it hurt?

My favorite tradition, though, is from central Chile. Apparently they have a sort of campout in the graveyard. It apparently all started with a family who broke into the cemetery to be near their dead father. The mayor now opens the yard for a vigil where many gather to remember loved ones.

However you choose to celebrate this new year I hope it is truly prosperous and joyful for you all. Keep it weird!

Saul Ravencraft's signature