Onza

The onza was Mexico’s most famous mystery feline, reported for centuries in the remote Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain range in the northwestern part of the country. To the Aztecs the onza (or, as they called it, cuitlamiztli) was an animal distinct from the two other large cats, the puma and the jaguar, with which they shared an environment. After the Spanish conquerors arrived, they called on the emperor Montezuma,who showed them his great zoo. In it, Bernal Diaz del Castillo observed, were “tigers [jaguars] and lions [pumas] of two kinds, one of which resembled the wolf.” The later Spanish settlers of northwestern Mexico noted the presence in the wild of a wolflike cat — with long ears, a long, narrow body, and long, thin legs — and gave it the name onza, from the Latin uncia, referring to the cheetah of Asia and Africa. They also remarked on its fierceness.

According to Father Johann Jakob Baegert, who worked with the Guaricura Indians in Baja California in the mid-eighteenth century, “One onza dared to invade my neighbor’s mission while I was visiting, and attacked a 14-year-old boy in broad daylight and practically in full view of all the people; and a few years ago another killed the strongest and most respected soldier” in the area.

Front cover of Robert Marshall’s The Onza (1961)
Yet outside its range the onza was virtually unknown. The occasional published references to it made no impression, and zoologists continued to assume that only pumas and jaguars lived there. No serious scientific field expeditions into the rugged terrain, inaccessible in many places even to horses, were ever mounted to investigate the question. According to eyewitnesses Onza's physical description very similar to a puma but thinner with weight around 60–70 pounds. It has tawnycolored fur, with gray on the legs and shoulders. Also said to have faint stripes on the shoulders and a long, dark stripe down the back. Ears longer than a puma’s. Spots or stripes on the inside of the legs, longer legs than a puma’s.

Then in the 1930s two experienced mountain hunting guides, Dale and Clell Lee, were working in the mountains of Sonora when they heard for the first time of the onza. In time they moved their operation 500 miles to the south, to Sinaloa, where they took Indiana banker Joseph H. Shirk to hunt jaguars on the wildlife-rich La Silla Mountain. There they treed and killed a strange cat that they immediately concluded was something other than a puma. In fact, it looked exactly like the onzas that locals said lived in the region.After measuring and photographing it, they butchered the animal. Shirk kept the skull and skin. Their present whereabouts are unknown.

Certain they had found something of importance, the Lees described the animals to American zoologists. They were stunned when both the scientists and the newspapers ridiculed their story. Conservative and cautious by nature, unused to having their word questioned, the brothers withdrew and ceased discussing the experience — until the 1950s, when an Arizona man, Robert Marshall, befriended Dale Lee and sympathetically recorded his testimony.Marshall even went down to Mexico to conduct further investigations, the results of which he recounted in a 1961 book, The Onza, which, aside from a single (unfavorable) review in a scientific journal, attracted no attention whatever.

At 10:30 on the evening of January 1, 1986, two deer hunters in the San Ignacio District of Sinaloa shot and killed a large cat. It clearly was not a jaguar, and they had no idea what it was. They alerted Manuel Vega, who recognized the creature as an onza as soon as he saw it.Vega’s father, in fact, had once shot an onza.J. Richard Greenwell and Troy L. Best examined the animal in February and preserved the skull, leg bones, and tissue samples for further analysis. Electrophoresis and mitochondrial DNA testing on the tissue samples have shown them to be identical to North American puma samples.

Many Mexican hunters believe it is a jaguar x puma hybrid, although the animal has few jaguarlike characteristics. However, there is no evidence that such hybrids occur.

Sources:
Mysterious Creatures: “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart;
Unexplained! “Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark

Pic Sources:
Unexplained! “Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark page 327
06:23 | 0 komentar

Hanno the Navigator

Hanno the Navigator was a citizen of Carthage (an ancient city-state in northern Africa near modern Tunis, founded in 814–813 B.C.). The dates of his birth and death are obscure, but he is known to have flourished about 500 B.C. Around that time Hanno, with some sixty galleys filled with settlers, voyaged down the west coast of Africa to explore and set up a colony. Hanno sailed out beyond the Pillars of Hercules and established many African colonies along the western coast. However what Hanno did there, and whether or not steps were taken to establish a colony, appears to be lost to history, how and when Africa swallowed these settlers is hidden by the mists of time.

Some two thousand years before the epic voyage of Bartolomeu Dias, who rounded the southern extremity of the African continent in 1488, Hanno the Navigator sailed out of the Mediterranean and beyond the Pillars of Hercules—an astonishing and extraordinary act of faith and courage at a time when nothing was known about the world beyond the immediate horizon except that it was flat and that it was therefore exceedingly dangerous to venture to the edge. It was also known that the seas were inhabited throughout by the most terrifying monsters.

Exploration Map of Hanno 

The expedition, if it kept the coast in sight, would have passed with the Canary Islands off to starboard, though not necessarily in sight, the nearest of these islands being some 70 miles offshore. He seems to have reached at least as far as present-day Sierra Leone, a voyage of almost 3,000 miles from the entrance to the Mediterranean.

Hanno wrote an account of this voyage, inscribed on a clay tablet in the Phoenician language; he reported seeing crocodiles, hippopotamuses, and men dressed in animal skins. The tablet was hung in the temple of Bel (Ba’al Hammon) at Carthage on his return. Oskar Seyffert states that a Greek translation of this account, known as Hannonis Periplus, still survives, one of the oldest examples of geographical science available to us.

The full title translated from Greek is The Voyage of Hanno, commander of the Carthaginians, round the parts of Libya beyond the Pillars of Heracles, which he deposited in the Temple of Kronos. This was known to Pliny the Elder and Arrian, who mentions it at the end of his Anabasis of Alexander VIII (Indica):

"Moreover, Hanno the Libyan started out from Carthage and passed the Pillars of Heracles and sailed into the outer Ocean, with Libya on his port side, and he sailed on towards the east, five-and-thirty days all told. But when at last he turned southward, he fell in with every sort of difficulty, want of water, blazing heat, and fiery streams running into the sea."

This report was the object of criticism by some ancient writers, including the Pliny the Elder, and in modern times a whole literature of scholarship has grown up around it. The account is incoherent and at times certainly incorrect, and attempts to identify the various places mentioned on the basis of the sailing directions and distances almost all fail.

Some scholars resort to textual emendations, justified in some cases; but it is probable that what we have before us is a report deliberately edited so that the places could not be identified by the competitors of Carthage. From everything we know about Carthaginian practice, the resolute determination to keep all knowledge of and access to the western markets from the Greeks, it is incredible that they would have allowed the publication of an accurate description of the voyage for all to read. What we have is an official version of the real report made by Hanno which conceals or falsifies vital information while at the same time gratifying the pride of the Carthaginians in their achievements. The very purpose of the voyage, the consolidation of the route to the gold market, is not even mentioned.

Sources:
Seafaring Lore & Legend by Peter D. Jeans;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanno_the_Navigator

Pic Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hannon_map-fr.svg
05:29 | 0 komentar

Kenneth Arnold's UFO Sighting

The modern UFO era began on June 24, 1947, when Kenneth Arnold sighted nine objects in the sky near Mount Rainier,Washington. Arnold was a 32-year-old businessman and pilot who at the time was searching for a downed transport plane. He initially thought the objects were jets but was unable to discern any tails at the ends of what he at the time thought were airplane fuselages. Looking more closely, he noted that all but one of the objects looked like flat disks. The story of Arnold’s sighting was reported in newspaper articles almost immediately and then the term “flying saucers” was first coined by headline writers for this story.

On Tuesday, June 24, 1947, Arnold told the East Oregonian reporters that he had observed, during a trip in his own plane between Chehalis and Yakima, a chain of nine peculiar-looking aircraft in the region around Mt. Rainier, each one about the size of a C-54. “They flew close to the mountaintops, in a diagonal chainlike line,” he said later. “It was as if they were linked together.” The disks appeared to be twenty to twenty-five miles away and moving at fantastic speed. Arnold’s estimate was twelve hundred miles an hour. “I watched them about three minutes,” he said. They were swerving in and out around the high mountain peaks. They like a pie pan, and so shiny they reflected the sun like a mirror. I never saw anything so flat.” Their fronts were circular, and their backs were triangular in the rear—but one of them looked crescent- shaped. They were traveling at least twice the speed of sound, Arnold guessed.

In the last days of June 1947, breaking the sound barrier was still a dream and the subject of much speculation and discussion among pilots. Arnold’s first thought was that they were some kind of new secret jets or guided missiles. But there was also another possibility that came to his mind after a moment: Soviet aircraft, as 1947 was a threshold year in the developing Cold War.

At Yakima, he told his story to pilots who remarked that the craft were bound to have been guided missiles from Moses Lake, Washington. Arnold recalled that “I felt satisfied that that’s probably what they were. However, I had never heard of a missile base at Moses Lake.” When he landed at Pendleton, Arnold learned that his story had arrived ahead of him. The Yakima pilots had telephoned Pendleton to notify them of Arnold’s arrival and had related his adventure. (Contrary to what has often been written in UFO books, there were no reporters among these people). After discussing this with them and reaching the conclusion that these missiles were something out of the ordinary, Arnold—“armed” with his maps and calculations so as to give “the best description I could”—repaired to the local FBI office. He found the office shut.

Not having any luck with the FBI, Arnold decided to look up the journalists from the East Oregonian. One consideration in particular seems to have pushed him. As he explained to them, he had met, probably at the Hotel Pendleton where he was staying, a man from Ukiah, Oregon, who had said that he had seen a similar formation of craft there.

Before leaving Pendleton, then, he went to the offices of the East Oregonian. He told Nolan Skiff and Bill Bequette about his adventure. Arnold described them as moving “like a saucer if you skipped it across the water.” Skiff, skeptical to begin with, was rapidly convinced of Arnold’s honesty. So was Bequette. The latter sent off, as he always did with local news, an Associated Press dispatch.

As soon as Arnold’s story became known, sightings of flying disks proliferated. Starting from June 26 and over the days following, there were hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of newspaper articles devoted to flying disks. Most of the time saucers were explained away by scientists and military experts who asserted that “the observers just imagined they saw something, or there is some meteorological explanation for the phenomenon.” Statements quoted in these stories are filled with expressions like “mass hypnosis” and “foolish things.”Saucers were compared to the Loch Ness Monster.

The saucer craze created such a turmoil that the U.S. Army Air Force began an investigation in the early days of July. At the request of the Air Materiel Command, Arnold produced a written report detailing his sighting that he sent to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. A few days later, Arnold received a visit from two members of the military, Lieutenant Frank M. Brown and Captain William Davidson, who came from Hamilton Field in California. Brown and Davidson’s aim was to bring back an account from—as well as an opinion about—Arnold.

To this end, the enquirers, upon returning to their base, composed a report on what they had gathered. This report consists primarily of the details of the sightings and their impressions of the personalities of the witnesses.

In 1948 Arnold’s report landed on J. A. Hynek’s desk. Hynek was an astronomer the Air Force had asked to study the reports so as to avoid any possible confusion with astronomical phenomena. Hynek’s conclusion was that Arnold had seen some kind of aircraft. But Arnold heard nothing back about the eventual whereabouts of his report. He had to try other strategies to find a solution to his sighting.

He accepted an invitation from a Chicago editor named Ray Palmer to go to Tacoma, Washington, and investigated another sighting. Ray Palmer was the editor of a pulp magazine called Amazing Stories. The case Arnold investigated turned out to be a crude hoax, at least from the point of view of the FBI investigators.

Arnold called in the two military investigators who had interviewed him earlier (they asked him to contact them if he heard anything interesting). Afterward, Brown and Davidson died in an airplane crash. From then on, the saucer story followed different paths.

In January 1948 the newly formed U.S. Air Force launched Project Sign to investigate the sightings. This project, located in the Technical Intelligence Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was classified as secret, and the public had access only to the press reports.

The Kenneth Arnold affair is a challenge for social history and sociology. Unfortunately, it has been only randomly studied by historians. Most historiographical works on UFOs, even if they are more sophisticated, have been conducted by amateurs who are not connected with the academic world.

Sources:
The Flying Saucers Are Real by Donald Keyhoe;
UFOs and Popular Culture: “An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth” by James R. Lewis

Pic Source:
UFOs and Popular Culture: “An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth” by James R. Lewis page 21
07:09 | 1 komentar

Malden Island

On the barren Pacific islet of Malden lie the remains of a mysterious megalithic culture, the island completely uninhabited by native islanders since first discovered by European explorers in the early 1800s. From several temple complexes near the center of the island radiates an ancient highway system that spans across the island like a giant spider web. An ancient high­way system composed of large basalt slabs fitted tightly together runs across the island, crosses the beach and disappears under the waves of the Pacific. The ancient highways on Malden Island, better described as “paved ways,” are very similar to the Ara Metua, a paved road on Rarotonga Island, 1,000 miles (1,610 km) to the south of Malden. The Ara Metua road on Rarotonga is essentially an island circuit road that goes around the island. Rarotonga, like Malden Island and many others in the Pacific, has a number of pyramid-platforms connected by the megalithic roads.

Aerial View of Malden Island

Malden was discovered on 30 July 1825 by Captain The 7th Lord Byron. He commanding the British warship HMS Blonde, was returning to London from a special mission to Honolulu. However the island was named for Lt. Charles Robert Malden, navigator of the Blonde, who sighted the island and briefly explored it, its former use as the site of the first British H-bomb tests (Operation Grapple, 1957), and its current importance as a protected area for breeding seabirds.

At the time of its discovery, Malden was found to be unoccupied, but the remains of ruined temples and other structures indicated that the island had at one time been inhabited. Several step-pyramids, platforms, megaliths, and strange stacks of stones are scattered across Malden Island. Stepped and truncated pyramids measure in the range of 30 feet (9 m) in height, 20 to 60 feet (6-18 m) in width, and 90 to 200 feet (27-60 m) in length. The pyramids are approached by paved ways from the sea and are capped with dolmens or “compass stones.” These 40 stone temples on Malden Island are described as similar in design to the buildings of Nan Madol on Pohnpei, some 3,400 miles (5,475 km) away.

What was the purpose of all these platforms? Were they part of an ancient sun-worshipping cult, altars for Polynesian chiefs, or a “crossroad” meeting place for a seafaring nation? And what of the paved ways leading into the sea? Evidence for the lost Pacific continent of Mu, or Lemuria? In 1924, the Malden ruins were examined by an archaeologist from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Kenneth Emory, who concluded that they were the creation of a small Polynesian population which had resided there for perhaps several generations some centuries earlier. Speculation also suggests that Malden Island is positioned on a spe­cial power point upon the Earth Grid, acknowledged and venerated by the ancients.

Malden island may have been an important stopover place on trans-Pacific voyages, but the reality is that no one really knows. One thing is for certain; some mysterious group put a large amount of effort into building megalithic monuments on an island that could hardly support even a small population.

Sources:
Sacred Places Around The World: “108 Destinations” by Brad Olsen;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malden_Island

Pic Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NASA-MaldenIsland.jpg
06:18 | 1 komentar

Recent Post

Recent Posts Widget

Chapters

Popular Posts