Saturday, December 14, 2013

Corporate Sasquatch Sightings

This week I was sent this document from one of this blog's anonymous readers.  It is a statement from the offices of one of the largest employers in southwest Missouri regarding the reporting of Sasquatch sightings (I have blacked out the letterhead and contact information).  Since receiving this document I have contacted a number of people within the organization for more information, but none have admitted any knowledge of the mentioned office, and my own attempts to reach this "Sasquatch Affairs" office by phone have only resulted in answering machine messages.  Do any other readers know anything about cryptid related policies within other organizations?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Skunk Ape Revelations II

Photocopy from the SRA archives in Canada
Of course, if you haven't been keeping up with my efforts to gain information regarding Missouri cryptids from the Supernatural Registration Authority, you'll want to read last week's revelations.

The strangest item among the documents I received from the Supernatural Registration Authority was the last page, a blurry black and white photocopy of some kind of identification card.  The photo appears to be a portrait of the Skunk Ape himself!  But how?

I then remembered an incident from 2011.  It was in the autumn of that year that I lost my smart phone at Sequiota Park in Springfield Missouri, not far from the original stomping grounds of the Skunk Ape himself.  When I again found the phone, the camera memory contained photos that appeared to be attempts by the creature to use the camera to take a portrait of himself.  I now realize that the Skunk Ape was not just playing with the camera - he was using it to register himself with the Authority!

As interesting as this all is, it is also somewhat disturbing,  Most cryptozoologists normally assume that these creatures are avoiding civilization, though it has been my theory that some are living in rather close proximity with humans.  I'm now wondering how well integrated with humanity they really are.  Could it be that creatures like the Skunk Ape are actually living among us, perhaps in disguise?  Could we be regularly encountering cryptids on the street and never realizing it?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Skunk Ape Revelations!

As I mentioned last June, the Supernatural Registration Authority was an attempt by the Canadians to identify non-human intelligent entities and give them an international legal identity.  This effort was shut down due to budget cuts in 2012, but a substantial database was said to remain. Since this summer I have petitioned these authorities for information regarding any such entities residing in Missouri.  After months of waiting, I received a stack of photocopied documents.

The "Missouri Skunk Ape" document
The first page, strangely, was a map of magnetite deposits in the state.  Another makes mention of a cryptid living in Pike County, Missouri (the infamous MOMO?).  There is no mention of the Goat Man of Bethesda (much to my disappointment).  It was the last two pages that contained stunning revelations.

In the second to last page, a certain creature living in Missouri is classified as a "Sasquatch Yeti" and is given the name "S***ky (blurred) the Skunk Ape".  No specific residence or location is listed. Certain rights and legal obligations are listed. Amazingly, a birth date in 1812 is given, making the creature, if still alive, 201 years old!

As astounding as this was, it was the last page that held the most remarkable revelation ...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lights in the Sky near Hopkinsville

Original news photo of the witnesses 
Those of you who follow this Blog closely will have noticed that I have not posted since October 19th, very out of the ordinary for me.  This is because I have purposely waited exactly one month to continue my story, as I have come to an unnerving realization that I only now feel that I can share.  Before I begin, you may wish to refresh yourself on the facts of the infamous Kelly-Hopkinsville Incident of 1955.

Arriving at a suitable area near Hopkinsville Kentucky, I pitched my tent and prepared myself for three nights of observing the skies.  I had brought my trusty camera and special laser/prism equipment of my own design intended to reveal not only the slight refraction exhibited by transparent objects and entities, but also to indicate the activity of creatures that might be present through the dualistic particle/wave nature of light and the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena.

Unfortunately, I was unable to observe or record anything out of the ordinary due to three main complicating factors:

  1. On the way to Hopkinsville, I stopped and ate lunch at a delightful mexican restaurant in Charleston Missouri.  Though the huge serving of Pork Carnitas was absolutely delicious, digestive issues made careful observation impossible during the first night.
  2. Hopkinsville is very near Fort Campbell Army Base, and the constant loud roar of brightly lit helicopters made careful observation of the night sky practically impossible.
  3. Mosquitoes.
Changing my plans, I spent the third night driving back to Missouri.

Original eyewitness description
This would seem to be the end of the story for this failed adventure if not for one strange postscript:
During my return trip, about the time I was nearing the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, I began noticing a strange metallic noise coming from the back of my vehicle, something like a metal bucket intermittently vibrating and moving.  I stopped to reposition the load twice, but the sound continued all the way home.  When I arrived in Springfield I went straight to bed without unloading my equipment.  Only when I began unloading the next morning did I come to a startling realization - None of my equipment was stored in a metal container, and none of it was capable of making the noises I heard on the trip home.  I then remembered the metallic "bucket" noises reported by the Sutton family during the original encounter incident.

I have come to the frightening conclusion that a metallic entity or creature much like those described by those eyewitnesses was able to invisibly stow away in my car and is now present in the Springfield area.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Hopkinsville Goblins

As I mentioned in my last post, I have received a packet of paperwork from the offices of the now mothballed Supernatural Registration Authority in Canada that appear to pertain to our favorite cryptid, the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape of Springfield Missouri.  A cursory examination implies that the SRA may have had access to surprising information regarding the creature, but the implications are hard to believe.  Just as I began to attempt to verify this information, another unrelated case came to my attention.

Near Hopkinsville KY
Perhaps you have heard of the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter.  If not, this might be a good time to click here to learn more.  This event has long been of interest to the UFO crowd, yet I suspect that this was in fact an indigenous cryptozoological encounter, as the only indication that the creatures were from outer space was the presence of rainbow colored light.  Perhaps this was actually a case of normally invisible creatures that became visible due to unusual optical conditions.  I probably would never have had the chance to test this theory if not for an unexpected opportunity to travel to the area to investigate reports of recent odd lights in the area.  So, I packed up my optical equipment and special laser and made the seven hour drive to Hopkinsville Kentucky.

Next week:  Strange lights near Hopkinsville!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Secret of Pedestal Rocks

Last week I told you how certain cosmically minded individuals in Jasper Arkansas had directed me to explore the mysterious caves and formations of Pedestal Rocks - there, they said, I would discover a profound truth regarding the Cryptids.

After a 40 mile drive and a 3 mile hike through the forest I found the strange cave I was seeking - a perfect lair for any hominid.  It was dry, comfortable, and I was even able to find evidence that a small fire had been tended at some time in the past.  And so, having come all this way, I sat down and waited.

And then, while sitting and waiting, a question occurred to me - Were some Cryptids just as interested in humans as I was in them?  If so, wouldn't they just move into the towns and cities to be closer to us?  Wouldn't their dens and lairs hidden in urban areas be even more comfortable than this cave (as cozy and dry as it was)?  And then, my final realization - Those wise folks in Jasper had sent me into the forest with a secret purpose.  For all I knew, there might be a Cryptid living among the people of the town, well known to the locals but protected from the prying eyes of strangers.

Wiser for my journey, I returned to Springfield, and by the strangest of coincidences found a document in my mailbox pertaining to our city's most famous Cryptid - one containing startling information!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Back!

Almost a month has passed, and I'm sure everyone has been wondering where I've been... right?   No?  Well, anyway...

I've been out of town on a mission searching for evidence of Cryptid activity in other cities that share qualities with Springfield Missouri.  The most promising were the communities of Harrison and Jasper Arkansas.

Though much smaller than Springfield, Harrison has an uncommonly high Tree to Parking Lot Ratio and is only a short distance north of the Buffalo River Valley, a place where hikers and canoeists have sighted many strange creatures over the years.  When I asked the citizens of Harrison for leads on Cryptid activity, they recommended that I travel south to Jasper, a mecca for strangeness in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Jasper is a town of about 500 deep in the forests near the Buffalo River.   The townspeople were remarkably friendly and I had a delicious breakfast at the Ozark Cafe, a restaurant that has been open for 104 years!.  When I inquired whether anyone had spotted strange creatures in the area they recommended that I speak to the local historians at Emma's Museum of Junk.  From there I was directed to discuss the matter with the cosmically enlightened folks at The Freckled Frog (also known as The Funky Frog), a lovely little store that smelled strangely of Patchouli oil.  Here, I was wisely instructed to travel deep into the forest to the otherworldly stone pillars and grottos of Pedestal Rocks.

Next week:  The Secret of Pedestal Rocks!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rooftop Scouting

Regular readers will remember that rainy conditions during the first two weeks of August thwarted our plans to map and explore the full length of the Jordan/Fassnight/Wilson's Creek system running through downtown Springfield Missouri.  Since it is well known that unusually wet conditions can lead to creatures exhibiting extraordinary behaviors, such as these spiders in Australia and Pakistan, I decided to take the search to the high ground and begin scouting Springfield's natural and man-made Canopy Layer.

Springfield is blessed with a remarkable combination of wooded and urban environment, recently fostered in large part by the efforts of City Utilities of Springfield and Missouri State University.  This leads to many areas where the natural Canopy Layer of mature hardwoods exists in close proximity with the rooftops of two and three story buildings, creating a remarkable artificial extension of the area's natural wooded Karst conditions. Many animals take advantage of these conditions, most notably squirrels, allowing them to travel significant distances without needing to return to ground level (streets and parking lots being the major impediment to this kind of movement).
Observing this, I realized that more unusual creatures such as psychic White Squirrels and, perhaps, the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape, might be traveling these elevated artificial pathways without being observed, perhaps even into the non-wooded center city "urban glade" areas (as seen in this photograph).

Gaining necessary permission, where available, to access these areas, I have been monitoring a number of potential elevated pathways for the last two weeks.  I am optimistic that these new efforts will result in important observations in the coming months.  One such observation has been the apparent existence of transient magnetic anomalies in the area, which I hope to discuss in greater detail in a future post.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Expedition Ends in Failure

Our late summer attempt at complete navigation and inspection of the Jordan/Fassnight/Wilson's Creek waterway within the city of Springfield Missouri has ended in disappointment, as we were unable to complete our objectives within the allotted two week window.  We now will examine the events that led to its failure in hopes of greater success in the future:

On Monday, July 29th Ranger E and myself began our urban exploration of the first three miles of Jordan Creek in downtown Springfield, starting at its underground headwaters at Main and Water Street. Our goal that day was to reach the the Bennet Street bridge less than 400 meters from the confluence of Jordan and Fassnight Creek at the head of Wilson's Creek, but unforeseen complications delayed our start until late that afternoon.  Despite a late start we were able to reach Bridge number K420 near the intersection of College Street and Kansas Expressway by 5:30 pm.  

Unfortunately, it was there that we encountered our second complication.  We had planned to resupply at Hillbilly Bill's Trading post, but discovered that it was closed on Mondays. Deciding to continue, we were able to quickly reach the Catalpa Street bridge by 6 pm.  It was near this time that we received our third, most perilous development - a call to return to base.  Weather reports indicated  approaching storms and we were well aware of the potential for these waterways to experience dangerous flash floods.  Due to these concerns, we returned to the Catalpa bridge and ended our journey for the day.  This proved to be a wise decision, as Springfield has experienced steady rain and flash flooding in the days since. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Great Center City Waterway

Wilson's Creek hidden under Scenic Avenue

We have already established that numerous waterways in the city of Springfield are being used as avenues for cryptid activity. It should come as no surprise that rarely seen creatures can easily find egress in and out of the city - The great majority of Springfieldians have no idea that such wild corridors exist.

Perhaps the largest is the Jordan Creek/ Wilson's Creek system that runs from its 0.6 mile subterranean path through the center of the city, under the Grant Street Viaduct, and on to the southwest, joining Fassnight Creek downstream of Elfindale (a neighborhood with its own strangely mythical history) and onward toward the town of Battlefield.  Jordan Creek meets Wilson's Creek within an industrial district, yet, as pictured here, we see that the system provides ample seclusion and resources for wildlife.  Cursory examination at various trail accesses uncovers ample signs of wildlife, but so far little evidence for the presence of the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape or the previously reported giant catfish has been uncovered. 

On Monday we will begin a planned two week excursion of the waterway via foot and kayak to more accurately map and detail the corridor.  We will be posting our findings, so stay tuned...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Giving Meters are on the loose!

Sharp eyed Springfieldians should be on the lookout for mutants in our midst:  Various parking meters in the downtown area have been spotted exhibiting remarkable adaptations!  These are the "Giving Meters", their beneficial mutations allowing them to collect money for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Friday, July 5, 2013

PechaKucha Night is Coming! July 6th at 8:30pm

PechaKuchaX-poster-lowresWhen word was leaked that PechaKucha Night was coming I was initially rather concerned and quickly did some research to find out what kind of creature the PechaKucha was and what precautions Springfieldians needed to take.  Thankfully, it turns out that the PechaKucha is in no way related to the ChupaCabra - "PechaKucha" is a Japanese term for "Conversation", and PechaKucha Night at the IdeaXfactory at 531 N. Booneville is an opportunity for local artists, architects and designers to present their ideas.  Each presenter is allowed 20 slides with 20 seconds for each slide - that's 6 minutes and 40 seconds of high energy artistic PowerPoint, all taking place during the Contemporary Art Street Jam on Booneville.  I'll be sure to attend!

I wonder if they'll let me take 6:40 to spread the word about Urban Cryptids?

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Power Washer Eliminates Evidence

One of the most important activities related to the Science of Cryptozoology is the meticulous gathering of physical evidence - that is, the collection of spoor (hair, fecal matter, etc.)  Unfortunately, the Downtown Springfield Community Improvement District may have made our job even more difficult.  They have recently purchased a brand new high pressure power washer that has the capability to remove all trace of the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape from the city's sidewalks!  Though this development may make the elusive creature even more elusive, we are glad that the people of Springfield are working so hard to improve our downtown environment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hidden Archives in Canada?

Those of you who are acquainted with the weird are probably aware, in one way or another, of the Supernatural Registration Authority.  This was an attempt by the Canadians to offer national and international legal status to supernatural creatures and entities from around the world.  This also included naturally occurring non-human individuals such as intelligent cryptids.  According to those involved, a substantial database of these creatures was compiled before budget cuts forced the shutdown of the department and its efforts last year. 

Recently, I have been attempting to gain access to this mothballed database in hopes of finding information on some of the cryptids we have investigated.  For example, is there any information linking the Goatman of the Bethesda Lodge (pictured on left) with the later Goatmen of Maryland and Texas?  Is there any relationship between the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape of Springfield and MOMO, the shaggy cryptid (right) who frightened many in eastern Missouri in the '70s?  Hopefully, I'll be able to persuade the Canadian authorities to release some amount of pertinent data.  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cage near Jordan Valley

As mentioned earlier, the City of Springfield Missouri has major plans to renovate the West Meadows area of the Jordan Creek Valley in the center of the city.  As this is a known habitat for cryptids such as the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape we have been concerned that increased human use of the area may lead to more frequent human/cryptid encounters.  It appears that the City may be already making plans regarding this issue - A giant cage has been built and is being kept nearby!  Does the city government actually plan on trying to capture the Skunk Ape?  What will this mean to human/cryptid relations in the area?  We ask all concerned citizens to keep an eye on this developing issue.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

More Info on the Goatman

Since presenting this anonymously donated picture in last week's post we have received numerous leads regarding the the mysterious Goatman of Bethesda Missouri.  According to one Springfield native who has contacted us, this particular Goatman was his great grand uncle Mortimer! (last name withheld)

While we attempt to acquire genealogical records to back his remarkable claim, feel free to check out the website of the Lake Worth Goatman of Texas.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mysterious Goat Man

Since revealing the story of the lost town of Bethesda Missouri and the secretive lodge of the Fraternal Order of the Seekers we have received a number of possible leads to more information, but none so strange as this antique photograph sent to us by an anonymous source.

The photo shows no evidence of trickery or manipulation.  In the photo, which appears to date from approximately 1910, we see three men sitting in front of a rustic lodge, perhaps the famous Seekers lodge in Bethesda.  Standing behind them in a stance of obvious camaraderie is an inhuman creature smoking a pipe!

The creature appears to resemble the legendary Goat Man of Maryland, or the Goat Man of Pope Lick Kentucky, or the Goat Man of Lake Worth Texas, though the photo predates any of these more modern legends by at least 50 years.  Fortunately, the creature (who probably normally went naked as most cryptids) has covered himself with a blanket for the sake of propriety.

The photograph begs far more questions than it answers.  Is this truly the only known photograph of the lodge at Bethesda Missouri, or is it from another, similar lodge in some other place?  What was the relationship between these men, the Goat Man, and other cryptids?  Were there, or are there today, people who have secretly befriended such legendary creatures?  We ask anyone with any pertinent information to please contact us!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Mystery of the Lost Week

While going over website statistics this weekend I came upon a shocking observation:  Somehow, an entire week has disappeared from my timeline.  No, not just on the website, but from my personal time experience!  For the first time since the beginning of this blog I have missed a weekly entry.  What could have possibly caused such an interruption in the flow of time?

Apparently, some very odd things have happened while I was missing from the time flow.  According to my fellow Cryptid Rangers, Springfield experienced a strange warm weather snowstorm during that week, as seen in this photograph.  As we all know, cryptozoological entities tend to be more active during unseasonal weather.  I should have been out doing double duty during the storm, and yet something (or someone) has erased all of my memory of the event.  It is also strange that the snow then disappeared immediately before Springfield's ArtsFest (according to Ranger E who was witness to the event).

This has led me to a disturbing theory:  Perhaps I WAS present during that week, and at some time during or after the storm I discovered something so important, so salient, and so amazing that something HAD to erase my memory to keep me from reporting the Truth!

In spite of the trepidation this has caused me, you can be sure that I will continue my endeavours and will continue to bring you information on the world of Urban Cryptids.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Springfield!

This weekend was the official birthday party of Springfield Missouri, which begs the question - exactly how old is Springfield?

We thought that the city was officially 175 years old, until we found this mysterious pictogram near Millie's on Jefferson Avenue. Do we need to adjust the date by 65 million years?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

More on the Springfield Yarn Invaders

photographer unknown
A few weeks ago we covered the seasonal turning of the Tumbler on Park Central Square.  As we mentioned before, this action is believed to be an important part of bringing the Square and Springfield Missouri back into alignment with the Cosmos.  Yet, an even stranger event occurred earlier this February.  A remarkable construction of yarn appeared on the sculpture, baffling many in the community.  But now - the truth can be told!  A video has been posted on YouTube by the mysterious group responsible for this act of random beauty:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spiders and Snakes on Booneville?

Readers may remember the immense spiderwebs that appeared near Booneville Avenue last New Years Eve. Thankfully, they were not traps created by giant spiders but were instead part of a new art installation at the IdeaXFactory.

But now, even more creepy crawly creatures are appearing on the street, thanks to the efforts of Springfield's "yarn-bombers". Who are these mysterious individuals? We'll have more on them next week.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Aliens on the move?

You may remember our post from over a year ago detailing the appearance of alien pictographs behind the Landers Theater. It appears that this phenomena is spreading down Walnut street, as indicated by the presence of this image of a contemplative alien on a lightpost near Swagbot.  Are our little friends from outer space trying to tell us something?  I think that the message may be "Chill Out".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Spring is here, and hopefully more cryptid sightings will be on their way.  Until then, we'll continue to work on our Human/Ferret telepathy experiments at our new underground midtown laboratory.

In the meantime, here's a nice little Easter egg for all of you readers - Check out the FBI's own webpages on Unexplained Phenomena at:

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Tumbler Tumbles

If you were at Park Central Square at 7:30 AM last Tuesday, the morning before the Spring Equinox, you would have seen an uncommon sight:  A small crew from Springfield Public Works using heavy machinery to lift a huge steel sculpture, roll it over, then set it back onto the ground.  Why was this happening, and what was its significance?

It all started in 1971 when the City of Springfield Missouri received a gift of $15,000 for a new sculpture, the first modern sculpture to be displayed by the city, designed and built by an aspiring artist named Aris Demetrios.  Though some in the community didn't think highly of modern art, the sculpture was soon accepted by the public in its new home at Park Central Square.

Then, 41 years later, the Public Works Department realized that they did not know the name of the sculpture or what it was intended to represent.  That's when Public Works Director Jonathan Gano sought out the artist for the answers.  Fortunately, Mr. Demetrios has done very well for himself since 1971 and was more than happy to give the answers.

It turns out that the name of the sculpture is "The Tumbler", and it had a purpose that no one had guessed.  It has a clever polygonal structure that is not obvious at first sight, and has no official top, bottom, or sides.  It was intended to be turned over, or "tumbled" once a season so that it would be a sculpture that changed and moved over time.

And so, last year, the city began to tumble the Tumbler at the beginning of each season, at each Equinox and Solstice.  This, strangely, appears to have had some kind of Feng Shui like effect on Park Central Square, experienced by the scores of peaceful, happy people who visit the Square, especially on weekends.  So, next time you get a chance, you may want to thank the staff of Springfield Public Works for understanding the importance of an artist's remarkable vision (and for helping to keep our good city in alignment with the Cosmos!)

For more info and to see a neat video interview with the artist go to:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Part 3: Bramwell's Final Notes

Bramwell, his Ephemerozoa, and a modern depiction
As mentioned in two previous posts (Part 1 & Part 2), Thomas Atherton Bramwell had resettled near the town of Springfield Missouri in January of 1898 in hopes of making contact with the occupants of the Martian Airship seen by W. H. Hopkins in that same location the previous year.  Suspecting that the Martians used unknown invisible rays to propel their craft and for communication, he continued to experiment with and modify his own version of Nikola Tesla's High-Intensity Discharge Lamp in hopes of creating new invisible rays and eventually contacting the Martians and emulating their remarkable flying machine.  It was during these experiments that a peculiar and unexpected effect was noticed:  Floating globular organisms, otherwise invisible, could be viewed during certain unpredictable and temporary modulations in the Discharge Lamp's radiance.   Bramwell was never able to purposely bring about their appearance for other witnesses, nor was he able to photograph them due to the limitations of his camera equipment, but these accidental events were frequent enough during the summer and autumn of 1898 that he could make a number of observations regarding the creatures.

During one event lasting a full five minutes he discovered that the organisms had remarkably short lifespans, leading him to name them "Ephemerozoa":
"The creatures, when visible, appear to live only a minute or little more before disintegrating into droplets resembling fine mist, then ceasing to exist altogether.  Just as quickly, new creatures coalesce to replace them." 
Bramwell also noted that the creatures appeared in various colors and sizes, but otherwise had the same basic shape and features.  They had no mouths or limbs, only delicate sensory tendrils hanging from their outer surfaces and one or more deep, eye-like organs.  They did not interact with each other, even when in groups.  Their only activity was to watch Bramwell as intently as he watched them.

Eventually, these observations led to his recognizing even more remarkable aspects of the globes:
"No means of reproduction...  These creatures neither produce nor consume, they simply form without ancestry out of the chaos of the elements, coldly observe us, then dissipate without progeny."
This implied that these were not creatures resulting from the pressures of natural selection.  Instead, some form of spontaneous generation was at work.

At this point Bramwell's notes become very confusing, and in the last three months of his experiments he appears to have made no attempt to leave any useful information for posterity, only nonsensical electrical schematics and cryptic statements such as:
"von Hohenheim is vindicated!  Sylphestri, Gnomi, Volcani - All these intelligences existing as complex standing waves of Radiopotentiality in the Aether"
"Sylphestre Globus... Each an ephemeral ocular aquastor of the mind of Nature, and in this way Creation's curiosity is satisfied and its knowledge made complete!"
From this it may be suspected that he had been influenced by the writings of the 16th century physician Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, more commonly known as Paracelcus, believed to be the author of Liber de Nymphis, Sylphis, Pygmaeis et Salamandris et de Caeteris Spiritibus.

Finally, in November of 1898, Bramwell's mad flurry of scientific inquiry came to a puzzling end.  On the 12th of that month visitors to his home and laboratory found that Bramwell was missing.  His dynamo was still, though the steam engine driving it was still hot.  No evidence was ever found explaining his disappearance.  A few joked that he had been devoured by his "invisible monsters", though there were no signs of violence.  With no known relatives or will ever found his property was auctioned to pay outstanding debts.  Many items of lab equipment and paraphernalia, including the contents of several darkened glass jars, were purchased by Ben Meyer and moved to the Lodge at Bethesda.  It is with these sad details that we end the story of T. Atherton Bramwell, as nothing further pertaining to his life or work is recorded in history.

Well, there is one odd footnote found in the writings of Nikola Tesla, the man whose demonstrations of electrical wonders in St Louis first inspired Bramwell...

On one clear night in 1899, while working on an improved radio device at his laboratory in Colorado Springs, Tesla began to receive extraordinary radio signals of mathematical progressions. Two years later in 1901 he shared this news to the world in an interview with Collier's Weekly and was heavily criticized, but he maintained until his death in 1943 that the messages had come from someone on the planet Mars.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it was proof that T. Atherton Bramwell truly had disappeared from the face of the Earth, having traveled to that planet in the Martian Airship whose occupants he had worked so hard to contact.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Part 2: The Serendipitous Apparitions of 1898

When Thomas Atherton Bramwell left St. Louis in January 1898 to resettle in the little town of Springfield Missouri he brought with him much of the remarkable equipment that he had accumulated in his previous 4 years of research into the creation and identification of "invisible rays", an effort begun in earnest following his witnessing Nikola Tesla's historic St. Louis demonstration of 1893.  Bramwell established his new laboratory on high ground north of town on the road to Kansas City near the location where W.H. Hopkins had reported contacting the occupants of a Martian Airship the previous year.  Interestingly, this spot was only a few miles east of the village of Bethesda and its secretive Lodge frequented by a number of Springfield's notable citizens.  Before long, Bramwell became a favored guest of businessman and future city mayor Benjamin Meyer who appears to have tolerated the scientist's more irritating personality traits, referring to him as "a latter day Paracelsus".  It appears that it was Meyer who introduced Bramwell to the Fraternal Order of the Seekers after Bramwell's first reporting his discovery of the "Ephemerozoa".

As mentioned before, Bramwell had come to Southwest Missouri in hopes of witnessing a hoped-for return of the Martian Airship.  He believed that invisible rays, similar to those discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen earlier in the decade, were responsible for the vessel's flight.  He also suspected that these rays were being used by the Martians for communication in the manner of a radiotelegraph.  As he waited for the return of the Martians he continued his efforts to replicate and prove the existence of the rays.

Bramwell, 1898
One night, as he worked to focus the radiation created by his High Frequency Discharge Lamp onto a target screen of barium platinocyanide, he became aware that he was not alone in the room, as he noted:
"Several small undulating globes... floating in the still air... faintly phosphorescent... similar to the animalcules seen under a microscope"
Unfortunately, the images disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.  Many of Bramwell's contemporaries would have judged these apparitions to be of the realm of Spiritualism, but he instantly realized that he had seen naturally invisible organisms becoming visible in the strange light of his apparatus.  Only an accidental modulation in frequency had brought them into view.  He could now claim the greatest biological discovery since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek - If only he could replicate the specific frequency that allowed them to be seen!

NEXT WEEKEND - The Strange Disappearance of T. A. Bramwell

Friday, March 1, 2013

Part 1: Bramwell's Ephemerozoa

Verifiable facts regarding the life and work of Thomas Atherton Bramwell are nigh nonexistent.  Any attempt at biography would be made up of mostly rumor, speculation and third hand information, but the contemporary interest in photographic anomalies such as "orbs" and "rods", plus Bramwell's links to the history of Springfield, Missouri and the recent appearance of ephemerozoic imagery in the street art of the Springfield area lead me to make an attempt at a reexamination of his efforts.

Thomas Atherton Bramwell
If one looks hard enough at the histories of the greatest technical minds of the Victorian era one may find, in the dusty margins, the name of one Thomas Atherton Bramwell, photographer, failed electrical engineer and self proclaimed expert in the field of Ephemerobiology.  Due to his secretive nature he wrote nothing of his own life - only a few letters and his drawings of perceived creatures and planned designs for electrical apparatus remain. We have no date of birth, and only the notion that he was born in Britain, perhaps Devonshire (though some say that he was an American who copped a British accent in a feeble attempt to impress his peers and hide his own background).

Strangely, the story of Bramwell and the Ephemerozoa begins with an event that would at first appear to be entirely unrelated but would have profound repercussions   On April 10, 1897 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a story reporting that a Mr. W. H. Hopkins (Kansas City resident and member of the Missouri Horticultural Society) encountered an airship and its occupants, thought to be from the planet Mars, about 20 feet in length and 8 feet in diameter near the outskirts of Springfield, Missouri.  Bramwell, at that time living in St. Louis and reading of the event, quickly began a correspondence with Hopkins in hopes of gaining some insight into the workings of the craft.  Bramwell suspected that certain invisible rays emanating from the vessel were responsible for its powers of levitation and flight, and he had already begun experiments with a machine patterned after Nikola Tesla's High-Intensity Discharge Lamp design of 1894 in hopes of creating such rays.  Eventually, Hopkins tired of Bramwell's confusingly technical questions (and perhaps sensed Bramwell's abrasive personality) and brusquely began ignoring his letters later that year. Undaunted, Bramwell speculated that the extraterrestrial visitors had some reason to visit Southwest Missouri and, perhaps, would return.  Packing his electrical equipment and a newly purchased camera, Bramwell moved to the little town of Springfield in January of 1898 in hopes of photographing the airship.  What he instead discovered were creatures that were, though terrestrial, far stranger!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Ephemerozoa

This example of contemporary primitive artwork was found by Ranger E.C. late last year in a secluded area near the intersection of Jefferson and Walnut streets in Springfield, Missouri. Upon viewing this photograph I was immediately struck by the appearance of the floating blue/white/pink objects and their uncanny resemblance to the more complex species of Ephemerozoa described by T. Atherton Bramwell over a century ago. If you have never heard of Bramwell and his speculations on the nature of the Ephemerozoa don't be surprised - only now are his theories being reexamined by serious researchers in regards to more recent photographic and video evidence of what are now called "rods" and "orbs". In the weeks to come we will take a closer look at the concept of Ephemerozoa and the work of T. Atherton Bramwell.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Mean Monster in Michigan

While we continue to set up our new Midtown laboratory and prepare for new experiments (such as our human/ferret telepathy studies), we'll stop to take a look at another rare item in the collection of the UCC.

From the UCC Document Collection
When studying specific cryptid cases it's always best to go back to the original reports and documentation. To the right is another valuable document from the Urban Cryptid Conservancy collection: The rare, original August 18th, 1965 wire photo distributed by the Associated Press regarding the terrifying encounter reported by the Van Acker family of Monroe, Michigan. The original accompanying wire service message read as follows:
"Christine Van Acker, 17, sports a black left eye after an encounter with what was described as a huge hairy monster who jumped on the side of her car and beat her head against the door until she fainted. State police said that 16 persons have reported sighting the monster in the last two months. One witness drew the drawing at left. Hundreds of rain soaked hunters tramped the woods and fields Monday near Monroe, Mich., in search of the 'beast'."
Coincidentally, this was not long after persons in Springfield, Missouri began reporting that the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape was leaving flowers on doorsteps.  Obviously, some cryptids are nicer than others.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mail-Order Monsters

As we prepare to move the collection of the Urban Cryptid Conservancy to our new secret laboratory in Midtown Springfield Missouri we'll take a look at a nearly forgotten item in the collection.

From the Media Collection of the UCC
Perhaps you'll remember this advertisement that ran in comic books decades ago. What happened to the creatures that were sold to children through advertisements like these has been a troubling question. Sea-Monkeys have never become an invasive species, while "Chameleons", otherwise known as Anoles, can be found throughout California. A far more dangerous example would be the Baby Alligators that grew up to infest so many of the city sewers in the United States. And let us not forget the mail-order Cobras that led to the infamous Springfield Cobra Scare of 1953. Fortunately or unfortunately, no feral population of these strange "botanical" creatures has been reported. In fact, we know very little about these particular mail-order monsters. If you have any information regarding this advertisement and the creatures described therein please contact me!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Monster Catfish of 1907 - the final chapter

 - Before reading this week's post make sure you have read the first and second post regarding the entirely true story of Springfield Missouri's Monster Catfish of 1907! -

Following ex-mayor Ben Meyer's announcement of a $100 reward for the capture of the Monster Catfish of Doling Park Lake a number of local fishermen took up the challenge.  According to the August 29th 1907 edition of the Springfield Leader, "Many and varied have been the contrivances and schemes tried in an effort to capture the monster fish with the mouth which would make a hippopotamus blush with modesty", but of all these only one appeared close to bringing him in.

Page 2, Springfield Leader, August 29th 1907
After the failure of both trot lines and traps, a few Springfieldians devised a more ambitious plan.  They commissioned a local blacksmith to make a giant hook out of a foot of 1/2 inch steel bar, tied it to 75 feet of 1/2 inch rope and baited the hook with five pounds of liver.  On the night of August 28th they threw the baited line into the lake, securing it to one of the willow trees on the south side of the lake, and camped for the night.  At about 2:30 am:
"... they were awakened by the tearing and crashing of the willow tree and the creaking rope as it was drawn taut.  Rushing to the end of the tree they grasped hold of the rope, but they were too late.  The tree, almost bent to the ground, suddenly sprang back.  The large steel hook, having proved too weak for the mighty strength of the finny monster, was straightened out as though it had been hammered on the blacksmith's anvil."
As plans were already underway for an all city free fish fry on Labor Day, September 2nd, a decision was made to seine the lake to catch as many fish as possible for the citizens of Springfield, and Ben Meyer realized that this might be the best opportunity to get near the Monster Catfish.  The lake's dam was opened to reduce the lake to about shoulder depth and a small army of 50 men were employed to drag a seine net down the entire length of the lake.

Page 1, Springfield Leader, September 1st 1907
The results of this last confrontation with the beast were recorded in the September 1st 1907 edition of the Springfield Leader:
 "Ben Meyer, the jolly ex-mayor of Springfield, Lee Savage and Frank Rosback, hearing that the monster catfish had at last been drawn within the meshes of the great drag net, and desiring to be of assistance in landing the monster, procured a canoe, and paddled out to where the seine was being dragged.  Myers immediately grabbed hold to the top of the net. About this time the monster catfish spied him, and recognizing the ex-mayor as his sworn enemy, gave a big flop, cleared the top of the net which was over two feet out of the water and landed broadside against the canoe, upsetting it and the party in the cold and chilly lake."
Meyer went head first into the lake, with only his feet visible at the surface.  Seeing his foot:
"... the awful monster grabbed it and shook his victim, just as a rat terrier hangs on to a rat. His friends immediately went to his rescue and helped him to regain his feet. About this time the fish returned to the attack and all three men went down before his fierce onslaught. The seiners, about fifty in number, rushed and splashed to the rescue with the big drag net.  At this onslaught the monster disappeared and was seen no more during the afternoon."
Even though Meyer increased his reward for its capture the Catfish was never caught.  One local proposed that the lake be drained entirely and the Catfish be dug out of the mud with a steam shovel, but this was never done.

So, were there ever any more sightings of the Monster Catfish?  Is there any connection between it and the Giant Catfish currently living in Lake Springfield?  And do the underground rivers from whence the monster came hold any more secrets?  You can be sure that we will continue to search for the answers!

Friday, January 25, 2013

More on the Monster Catfish!

Page 7, Springfield Leader, August 25th 1907
By diligently searching through historical documents we have been able to uncover much more information regarding the entirely true story of the Monster Catfish of Doling Park Lake, one of Springfield Missouri's earliest known Urban Cryptids.  With so much new information becoming available, we will examine the newspaper reports leading up to the infamous battle of August 31st, 1907.

According to the August 18th, 1907 edition of the Springfield Leader, the authorities in Springfield first became aware of the monstrous fish when Duff, beloved dog and mascot of the Springfield Police Department had his tail bitten off while swimming in the lake.  By August 21st, the newspaper had uncovered the truth:  Some time before, two workers at the park had seen the creature appear from the underground lake at nearby Giboney Cave.  Recent torrential rains had swelled the stream leading out of the cave, allowing it to escape.  According to these witnesses:
"The mouth resembled more the picture of the mouth of the hippopotamus on a circus billboard, and his teeth were fully six inches long.  Large horns over a foot long graced the head of the huge monster, while the fish was literally covered with long wiry whiskers, which gave the fish the appearance of a huge sea monster rather than that of a fresh water fish."
Geologists speculated that the creature had originally come from the Mississippi River and somehow entered a vast underground waterway through the White River system.

While a few workers at Doling Park kept the creature a secret, the monstrous fish made itself at home in the lake, befriending the local swans.  When some of the swans were eaten by two small alligators (kept in a nearby menagerie pond) the Catfish burrowed into the pond and devoured the alligators in revenge.

In the August 25rd edition, the Springfield Leader reported that former mayor Ben Meyer had an earlier encounter with the beast.  Meyer had been fishing in the lake, and while reeling in a prize bass the Monster Catfish came up and devoured Meyer's trophy.  Few believed his story, fueling his animosity toward the Catfish and prompting the former mayor to announce a $100 reward for the capture of the monster.

NEXT WEEKEND - More encounters with the monster, including the final battle!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The True Story of the Doling Park Catfish: Prelude

Next week we will be taking a closer look at the facts regarding Springfield Missouri's infamous Doling Lake Monster Catfish attack of 1907, but first we will give a little background to the incident.

Giboney Cave today
The area surrounding Doling Lake first comes into the historical record when it was acquired in a homesteading grant by Alexander Giboney in 1852. Later, his son sold the land in 1882 to a successful businessman named James Marshall Doling, owner of the Doling Dry Goods store on Commercial Street. It was Doling that dammed the twisting stream flowing from Giboney Cave, forming the lake that bears his name. By the turn of the century, Doling had developed the land surrounding the cave and the lake into a popular amusement park. A common rumor of the time held that passages of Giboney cave led to caverns beneath the city square (a rumor that we will explore in a later article). Three Springfield entrepreneurs - W.H. Jezzard, Charles E. Brooks and former Springfield mayor Ben Meyer - formed the "Springfield Amusement Company" and purchased the park from Doling for $50,000.

Today, the lake is only a pond, but at that time it was many times larger and well stocked with catfish. Ben Meyer was aware of one particular fish in the lake, a gigantic catfish that had been sighted but had never been successfully caught. Like Captain Ahab in the book Moby Dick, "Benny" Meyer was determined to catch this fish, an obsession that led to his great battle with the beast in the Autumn of 1907.

NEXT WEEK:  We examine the original September 1, 1907 Springfield Leader account of Meyer's Battle with the Catfish!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Eve Surprise

One would normally expect to find at least a few remarkable happenings at Springfield Missouri's First Night celebration, but this New Year's Eve we got quite a shock as we were walking down Booneville Avenue, mere yards from where Jordan Creek runs beneath the street.  Here, we beheld an alarming sight:  Innocent citizens appeared to be entrapped inside a gigantic spider web!  Fearing the worst, we rushed inside to see if anyone could be rescued.

Fortunately, it was not a spider web at all!  We had stumbled into the ideaXfactory, and the colossal web had been designed and knitted out of plastic sheeting by members of Art of Space.  This is all part of the IDEA Commons (Innovation Design Entrepreneurship Art) a collaborative initiative of the City of Springfield and Missouri State University to create a 88 acre center city urban research park.  We expect to see big things come out of these projects, and it will be interesting to see how they will effect center city cryptid activity.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year

Last week we looked back at some of last year's remarkable discoveries and achievements. Now let's look ahead at some our plans for 2013:
  • We'll let you know the truth about these startling spiderwebs found on Booneville Avenue  (seen here at right)
  • We'll take a closer look at the historical records regarding the 1907 Maneating Catfish attack at Doling Lake
  • We'll keep you informed regarding our plans to explore and document all 0.6 miles of Springfield Missouri's hidden underground river, Jordan Creek
  • And, of course, we'll keep you informed on our never-ending search for the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape!
So stay tuned - More Urban Cryptids are on the way!