Monday, July 22, 2013

Plum Island and The Montauk Monster

Plum Island is unlike any island anywhere else in the world. Located right off the coast of New York City, it is the country's only Animal Disease Center. Owned by the U.S. government and run by Homeland Security, much of what occurs on the 3-mile island is a mystery. What isn't a mystery are the creatures that wash up on the shore of New York from the island. The mutated experiments are hardly identifiable.  Some hairless, some skinless, some with parts seemingly belonging to other animals, the creatures are disgusting and frightening.  One, in particular, was named the Montauk Monster.  Its carcass caused a stir in the community as to what is going on behind the fences and laboratory doors.  As of yesterday, Plum Island is still under contract to be sold.  Despite the efforts of many, Plum Island may soon be privately owned.

The Animal Disease Center on Plum Island began as a biological warfare lab in 1954 run by former Nazi scientists.  These scientists traded prison sentences for aprons and test subjects.  The island is 840 acres, consisting mostly of abandoned buildings that once belonged to the military base dating back to the 1800's.  It has plenty of room for the livestock, various disease and chemical agents and for residency. The original purpose of the facility was the creation and study of biological diseases used for weaponry against livestock and human targets in times of war.  The experiments on the island have been credited for the spreading of African swine flu, West Nile, Dutch Duck Flu and Lyme disease.

On July 12, 2008, a creature washed up onto the shore of across from Plum Island near Montauk, New York. The beast had four legs, little hair and odd figures unlike any other animal.  People under salary to the U.S. government claim it is just a raccoon. A raccoon? Raccoons do not have beaks, limbs like this creature, nor any other resembling feature.  See for yourself, does this look like a raccoon?

The hideous beast seems to be the result of some experiment gone wrong or a biological weapon gone right.  If the scientists could do this to an animal, what could they do to a person?

Even scarier than the disfigured beasts that wash ashore was the appearance of a human body in January of 2010. The clothed male, approximately six feet tall, was found partially decomposed on the shore of the island by one of the facility's armed security guards. Little was found during the investigation tying the death to foul play or to the island itself. No arrests were made, no cause of death ever found. Coincidence or conspiracy?

Plum Island’s strange and morbid history may soon come to a close. Due to budget cuts, the island may soon be going up for auction. A bill has been sent to Congress today in attempt to block the sale of the island.  That bill will likely not pass due to budget cuts and the necessity to fill in some of the gaps.  A certain group of people hope to keep the secrets of the island concealed forever.  Most people do not realize the secrets of the island.  Most people only see the $80 million asking price.  The proceeds of the auction will go to the construction and running of the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, the Disease Center's new home. Since May of 2011, the EPA worked on determining if 60 years of animal testing would constitute a threat to public health preventing the sale of the island. Apparently it is safe for sale and ready to change hands.  One potential buyer, Davey Andrews, hopes to purchase the island for under $30 million and construct up to 300 luxury homes, creating a new suburb of New York City.  Will the island then be at peace or will new horrors arise from the ashes of the former masters? Will the experiments, the danger, the fear ever end? In the end, nothing ends.  Nothing ever ends.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Moon Landing Hoax

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong did what no one had ever done. He was the first man to walk on the moon. After spending four days in space as a part of Apollo 11, the lunar module touched down onto the surface of the moon in the Sea of Tranquility with only a few seconds left of fuel. Upon touching his feet onto the moon’s rocky soil, Neil proclaimed, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 Man has looked into the sky for thousands of years. The moon, glaring back, was a symbol of allure and mystery. It looks so close and, yet, it is so far away. What was up there? How could we ever get there? Could we ever get there? Is it made of cheese? To one day walk on the moon was a feat few thought would be possible. That is why many believe the first walk on the moon was a hoax.

The 1960’s were a time of turmoil in the U.S. Racial riots and desegregation, issues with Cuba and Russia, fear over nuclear holocaust, Vietnam and invading communists were just some of the issues on the minds of the American people. Americans needed a sign of hope, an issue to concentrate on instead of all the political and social unrest in the world. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. The United States found themselves behind in the race to space. President John F. Kennedy added to the desperation and, at the same time, gave inspiration to the American people in his speech to Congress on May 25, 1961. He vowed that man would walk on the moon before the end of the decade. That man would be an American. To further the necessity for the U.S. to make it to the moon was the assassination of JFK in 1963. Six years…The U.S. had six more years to make due on a promise. Would NASA succeed or would America be caught with egg on their face?

The U.S. was at least 4 years behind the Russians. Something needed to be done. JFK promised the U.S. would have a man on the moon before 1970. Several attempts at a trial run of the moon landing failed. The clock was ticking down. The U.S. needed this lunar landing to happen and fast. This is how the conspiracy began. Some say a secret production studio in Nevada filmed all the footage used to mock up images of space, the moon and the landing site. All the details of the possible conspiracy are easily accessible online. The list of possible fabrications is quite lengthy. Everything from the dozen people killed or murdered from 1959-1967 involved in the space program to the inaccuracies in the photographs of the landing are out there for the public to see. Significant evidence points to the notion that the landing could have been faked. Those, along with the motives for the hoax are enough to keep people wondering nearly 50 years later.

 Did Armstrong ever really make it to the moon? A better question would be, “Does it really matter?” Man has undoubtedly been on the moon since. It would be impossible for all the nations that claimed to have landed on the moon to all tell the same exact lie over and over again. The craters left by Apollo 15 have been reported from future landings. Debris from previous landing has been captured on satellites from a number of sources. But where is the proof that Apollo 11 was the first? Armstrong will always be a symbol of man accomplishing the impossible and achieving what many have doubted for generations. Even if the original moon landing was a hoax, the effort put into the fabrication gave forth a new era in the world. The technological age soared, the U.S. became the world’s leader, other countries took to space, Mars became a new target and the American people joined in unison over accomplishment and commonality. Sometimes an action, even a hoax is necessary to bring together a nation. What happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Demon Of Dover

John Baxter, a 15 year-old walking home from his girlfriend’s house at 12:30a, saw movement on the road ahead of him. It was short, large-headed, and thin, thus he assumed it was a child. He approached the being to see what he or she was up to. When the two were looking directly at each other, the being took off. Baxter realized something was wrong with it, as if it was deformed or had some sort of abnormality. Being concerned of his/her welfare, Baxter chased the being down into the woods, over a stream and stopped by a drop-off. It was then that he got a good look of the creature. This was no child. This was unlike anyone or anything Baxter had ever seen before or since. Baxter took off running the same direction in which he came. He ran for his life. He ran to get away from something so disturbing that it frightens him even 30 years later. He ran home, called the cops and drew an image of the beast that was used to create the image below.

It goes by many names. It has been seen in many places by many different people. In this case, the people of Dover, Massachusetts called it, “The Dover Demon.” This strange creature has fascinated investigators since 1977, when, in just two days, at least six eyewitnesses claimed to have come across this mysterious beast.

“It was not a dog or a cat. It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head. It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped. The color of it was… the color of people in the Sunday comics,” Billy Barlett told police.
This story originates at approximately 10:30 p.m. on that same night of April 21, 1977.  Billy Barlett and two friends were driving down Farm St. near Dover, Massachusetts. Barlett noticed some movement in the road in front of him. According to Barlett, the creature was described just as Baxtor would describe it two hours later. It had large, orange eyes. It was completely hairless with textured skin around its abdominals. It had large hands and feet, extremely long fingers and toes that were able to grip like fingers. It let out a screm comparable to a hawk's screech combined with a snake's hiss. 

The next night was the last sighting of the being. Abby Brabham and Will Taintor (15 and 18, respectively) saw a creature they described to be thin and sitting on hands and feet near the edge of a bridge.

 “It kind of looked a minute like an ape. And then I looked at the head and the head was very big and it was a very weird head It had bright green eyes and the eyes just glowed like, they were just looking exactly at me.” Except for the color of the eyes, the descriptions matched amazingly. They, too, drew the beast. The resemblence was outstanding.

After the news broke, the people of Dover were in a frenzy.  Even so, only one other person came out and said he had seen something.  He clamed to see a strange beast in the woods a few days earlier, but he did not get a good look at it. Despite an extensive investigation and a wide search, no other people have claimed to see the beast since. It simply appeared and disappeared as mysteriously as it arrived. 

What was this strange occurrence? Was it an alien? Why was it here? Was it a mutated experiment? Where did it go? Was it an ancient earthly beast? How did it survive? Things have their forms not only in space, but also in time. We may never know what the Dover Demon really was.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Disappearance of Shergar

On a foggy evening, February 8, 1983, a group of at least six men wearing balaclavas and armed with guns appeared at the Ballymany Stud Farm in Co Kildare, Ireland owned by James Fitzgerald. At 8:30p, James thought he heard a car in the yard. He listened, heard nothing more, and forgot about it. Ten minutes later the men barged into the house, pointed guns at the family and held them in the kitchen. They only wanted one of them. "We've come for Shergar," they said. "We want £2m for him." Shergar was the retired racehorse in the stable outside.

It is now 30 years after he was kidnapped from Ballymany and what happened to him after he was kidnapped is still a mystery. There are a number of theories involving the IRA, Colonel Gadaffi and the Mafia being among the most lurid. One story suggests that the IRA kidnapped the horse for Gadaffi in return for weapons. Another suggests that the New Orleans mafia took him.

Shergar was arguably the greatest racehorse ever. He was an Irish racehorse born in 1978. He was the winner of the 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the 226-year race history. The Observer newspaper placed the win in its 100 Most Memorable Sporting Moments of the Twentieth Century. Shergar was named European Horse of the Year in 1981 and retired from racing that September.  Only two years later, he was stolen. The incident has been the inspiration for several books, documentaries and a film.

Shergar dominated his first four races, winning at least above four lengths, as much as twelve. The fourth race Shergar won was the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. After that came his only failure as a three year old. For some reason he did not run anywhere near his best. He only managed fourth place in the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster. Shergar finished behind Cut Above, a horse he had beaten decisively in the Irish Derby. Shergar's racing career was over. His six wins had earned £436,000.

In October 1981 Shergar arrived in Newbridge. Greeted by the town band and the cheers of schoolchildren waving flags in the Aga Khan's green and red racing colors, he was paraded up the main street. The Aga Khan decided to keep Shergar in Ireland. It defied those who had expected his removal to the United States.

During his retirement and his new life as a breeding horse, Shergar produced 35 foals from his first and only season. The best of the offspring went on to be 1986 Irish St. Leger winner Authaal. The syndicate was able to charge a stud fee of £50,000 - £80,000 for Shergar and if his offspring did well on the track the fee would have doubled. But, despite the thoroughbred’s value, the Ballymany Stud was poorly protected and the criminal gang had little difficulty in gaining access. The theft was the first of its kind in Ireland.

The investigation faced difficulty due to planning by the gang, which had selected the crime on the day of the biggest horse sales in the country. Horseboxes had passed along every road in Ireland. Leading the investigation was Chief Superintendent Jim "Spud" Murphy, who told reporters, “A clue... that is what we haven’t got.

Despite numerous reported sightings and rumors of secret negotiations in the days following the theft there was little new information. However, the thieves made their presence known, and a price. Initially, they requested negotiations with three racing journalists, John Oaksey and Derek Thompson both working for ITV and Peter Campling working for the Sun. On Thursday morning he received a call telling him that the horse "had an accident" and was "dead". Someone else claiming to be representing the thieves said that the horse was alive and well. Four days after the abduction, the thieves made their last call. The syndicate issued a statement blaming the IRA for the crime. The thieves have yet to be brought to justice. Several theories as to their identity and motives have been put forward.

The strongest suspect for the theft is the Provisional Irish Republican Army, whose motive was to raise money for arms. This theory was further supported by Sean O'Callaghan in his book The Informer. He claims that the whole scheme was masterminded by Kevin Mallon and when Shergar panicked, so did the team, resulting in the horse being shot. He also claimed that Shergar was probably shot within hours of being snatched. The thieves, who had no prior experience with the nervous, highly-strung nature of a thoroughbred stallion, were unable to handle him. It was as if the horse said, “I'm not locked up in here with YOU. You're locked up in here with ME.”

A pit was allegedly dug in the desolate mountains near Ballinamore, County Leitrim. The body was dragged into it and quickly covered over. No markers were left at the grave. O’Callaghan alleged the gang was part of the IRA's special operations unit, formed with the aim of raising funds through crime. Shergar was to be its first victim, selected because of the wealth of his assumed owner, and the misapprehension that theft of a horse would cause less public outcry than kidnapping a person. The IRA have never officially claimed responsibility for stealing Shergar.

Shergar's remains have never been found and the thieves have never been officially identified. The Sunday Telegraph reported that four days after Shergar was seized, the Army Council realized they would never collect a ransom. They decided to release the horse, but due to heavy surveillance on Mallon and under the eyes of the entire Irish public, the thieves felt it was impossible to move Shergar or free the horse near where he was held. Mallon thought the horse to be injured, and ordered his execution.

The two thieves, inexperienced in handling racehorses and with no prior knowledge of humane euthanization techniques, went to the remote stable where Shergar was being held and opened fire with a machine gun. A former IRA member involved described the scene to The Sunday Telegraph: "Shergar was machine gunned to death. There was blood everywhere and the horse even slipped on his own blood. There was lots of cussin' and swearin' because the horse wouldn't die. It was a very bloody death." Shergar slowly bled to death.

The disappearance of Shergar was made into a Hollywood film, Shergar, starring Ian Holm and Mickey Rourke, and directed by Dennis Lewiston.

What ever happened to Shergar? Was he, in fact, gunned down? Maybe he died dying the escape? Maybe he went on to procreate several more champion racehorses? Maybe he was just made into glue… We may never know what happened to Shergar. All we know is that is in a conspiracy that will never be uncovered.