Friday, July 27, 2012

The Monster Dash - Oct. 6th

Even though the Missouri Department of Conservation has classified zombies as an invasive species we remain skeptical as to whether or not they actually exist. Whatever the case, it appears that some believers have actually planned a race through a supposedly zombie infested area, where each runner or bicyclist will risk being caught by the mutated walking dead! The Monster Dash will be held at Ritter Springs Park north of Springfield Missouri on October 6th at 1pm. You can preregister for the event on Active.com. We plan to be on hand to see if any actual zombies are prowling the area.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Springfield's Pythian Castle

As we have continued to explore potential cryptid movement trails related to waterways through the city, we have noticed that many of these areas are also relatively poorly lit at night, making these pathways even more potentially attractive as corridors for nocturnal animal movement.
One night, while following the north branch of the Jordan Creek drainage system, I spotted a particularly dark area within the residential neighborhood on the nearby plateau, not far from the well lit campus of Evangel University. This darkened area turned out to be the grounds of the National Guard Armory. Following the darkened driveway into the Armory grounds, I came upon the pitch black silhouette of Pythian Castle.

Back in 1913 the Pythian Castle was built by the Knights of Pythias to be an orphanage and retirement home. During the Second World War it was acquired by the military and at one time (supposedly) housed a few German prisoners of war.  According to some, it is haunted to this day.

We have no idea why it wasn't lit this night (perhaps the ghosts like it that way!) but it is often the scene of special events.  For more on the Castle today, see
http://www.pythiancastle.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Lost World of Jordan Creek


Ranger E.C. begins her investigation of the Ruins
Since our last entry describing the general location of the underground portion of Jordan Creek, we have been able to identify the full 0.65 mile course of the underground portion of the river, running through the center of Springfield Missouri, from the intersection of Washington and Phelps on the east end to the intersection of Main and Water at the west end - a buried channel approximately 30 feet in width and 9 feet in depth from channel floor to ceiling. Tests show the water quality to be surprisingly good, and we have begun our investigation of its animal life within the reparian zone. In spite of our current drought conditions we have been able to find plentiful examples, including darters and crayfish of the types normally associated with clear springs.  We have also seen the remains of where some crayfish have been eaten, most likely by a raccoon.

As seen in this photo, the stream continues its flow out of the underground tunnel exit beneath Main Avenue and continues straight west past these remarkable ruins, all within a long, deep open canal recessed over 8 feet into the earth (ground level is near the tops of the pictured monoliths).  We are amazed that such a lush hidden world exists within an industrial area - proof that a creature such as the Urban Skunk Ape could easily exist and thrive among us without our ever noticing him!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Springfield's Underground River

Most citizens of Springfield Missouri have visited Water Street, but few are aware of the reason for Water Street's name - an underground river flowing beneath their feet!

Originally, Jordan Creek ran along the bottom of Booneville Hill, fed by a natural spring located near present day Founders Park.  Nearby homes and businesses would sometimes be flooded by Jordan Creek during wet weather.  To remedy this, the spring and creek were redirected into an east to west culvert and buried under arches and asphalt, creating an underground river running well over half of a mile under the center of the city.  Even during our current drought conditions the spring and creek continue their steady flow.  It is unclear if this river has any connection to the tunnels known to exist under the square, but we believe that the river tunnel is very likely being used at times by the Elusive Skunk Ape.  In fact, it appears that the Skunk Ape is using much of the city's drainage system to travel unnoticed.

As seen in this photo, the river exits the underground tunnel at the coordinates listed below.  It would be very interesting to see how the flora and fauna of the creek have adapted to underground life, but the underground portions of Jordan Creek are currently off limits.   Some intrepid explorers have documented their investigations, though...