Holzer Files on Surratt’s Tavern

Surratt Tavern

DATELINE:  Travel Channel Excellence

A recent 2020 series on Travel Channel presents a sobering look at spirits and hauntings in historical settings. For the second season, the show visited the Surratt Tavern and its alleged hauntings related to the Lincoln Assassination. You may want to look for the Holzer Files.

The show’s premise is based on investigations in the 1960s by a man named Hans Holzer and his psychic medium Sybil Leek. Their encounters were taped on audio with the primitive tools of the era. Today, a modern team re-opens the cases with Holzer’s daughter to bring full new technology to bear.

According to old accounts, the Surratt tavern was once the home of Mary Surratt and her family. Reports of paranormal incidents go back to before 1900, but stronger accounts appear regularly in the 1940s. When the tavern became a museum in the 1960s, witnesses saw all kinds of disturbing activity.

Hans Holzer believed that John Wilkes Booth haunted the place, though he came here on his escape hours after shooting Lincoln. He thought Leek was in contact with Edwin Booth at the house—but the 2020 investigation seems to think the “John” at the house may be John Surratt, son of Mary who was hanged. They also believe Mary’s daughter Anna may also be present.

The audio and video activity is startling as the group tries to find out what is going on. One psychic, Cindy Kaza, suffers from headaches and another Shane Pittman feels he is being told to leave the spirits alone. Cindy receives a comparable message that the haunters of the tavern want quiet and to be left alone.

The show presents a voice of a woman who speaks, “Mother,” while video shows a hoop skirt peeking around the room’s doorway. The investigators conclude that mother and daughter Surratt are at the tavern.

Multiple seances over the years may have added problems to the spiritual energies at the museum. The latest director is sympathetic to the situation and may be channeling activity.

The episode becomes a coda that proves the story is endless.

 

 

Not Beyond Gary Drayton

Butch Cassidy

DATELINE: Beyond Oak Island

The second episode of the Beyond Oak Island commercial for Curse of Oak Island may turn out to be a community audition for Gary Drayton’s own series. We hope so.

If not for Gary, we’d probably skip this show. He makes an entrance and tries to minimize the Laginas with his understanding of the Robber’s Roost and Butch Cassidy, despite being British.

The show is given over then to three re-enactments of famous robbers and their lost or buried booty. Only the first one deals with Butch and Sundance. Word from the Cassidy family is that Butch returned to the United States in 1925—and was not killed, as legend claims.

Meanwhile, the Lagina brothers reminisce about Westerns on TV in the 1950s for ten minutes. We see some stories about the Dalton Gang and Juan Murieta, irrelevant to the point of the show, except as examples of buried loot.

When finally Gary is able to escape Oak Island for his adventure, we realize it will be a short visit. He travels with the great grandnephew of Butch out into the Badlands of Utah. It is clearly a place where stolen loot is as lost as a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Gary’s not going to be able to find much unless he devotes great time—but he quickly assesses the HQ rubble and notes he will look here. He finds a Winchester cartridge, which tells him searchers have missed plenty. There is still ill-gotten gains somewhere in this vast area.

Alas, Gary’s trip is short and he will return to his main task at Oak Island, though if you want a pilot for a new series, Drayton after Cassidy’s double-eagles would be a treasure indeed.

Oxen Free on Oak Island

Chinese Coin

 DATELINE: SEASON 8, E3

A couple of mysteries seem to be reluctantly and obliquely revealed on the Curse of Oak Island by the Lagina brothers.

The one most people have asked about is whatever has happened to Dave Blankenship, the unfunny curmudgeon son of Dan who died a few seasons ago.

Dave has gone MIA, and no one at History is telling anything directly. However, in the first episode, there was mention that researchers suddenly had complete access to Dan Blankenship’s fifty years of archival material.

This week the throwaway line mentions that the Lagina Brothers have purchased all of Dan Blankenship’s island property and materials. Oh, that? 

It means they also bought Dave lock, stock, and barrel. Whether he has moved off island with the loot is unclear so far, but his father’s house had been occupied by a daughter last season. No mention this year.

If Dave has taken the Lagina money and is on the run, you won’t see him again. We doubt that his name will pass the lips of any Lagina.

Once again, too, we note that Alex Lagina, son of millionaire Marty, has again taken the cushy duty. He is the one to deal with educated researchers and stays away from mud and digs.

So, he meets with another expert to show the Chinese coin Gary Drayton located. It is never explained how or why a coin from China happens to be on Oak Island. Who knows?

Gary and Jack Begley are the new dig team with results. And, this time they find a pathway strewn with oxen shoes. It was an industrial moving site from swamp to money pit.

Alex goes to Carmen Legge, their blacksmithy expert who reveals the oxen shoes are from different seasons and likely are 100 years before the money pit discovery. He also tells Alex that the oxen shoes are British military issue.

In other news, we are going to have more draining of the swamp over the next few weeks. This time it will be big time with metal dams installed.

 

 

Brady the Sore Loser Meets Trump the Sore Loser!

DATELINE: Great in Eye of Beholder

After Tom Brady’s loss on Monday Night Football, he was largely castigated for being a “sore loser.” It seems he left the playing field without shaking the hand of the opposing and winning quarterback’s hand.

Immediately a hue and cry from those conservative fans came about a bad image for children to see, and how Brady was not a GOAT in a country of MAGA.

You have to know Tom from 20 years in New England to understand his attitude. This man is acting out the same way his candidate for president has. Trump is Brady’s friend and president.

What’s good for the QB is good for the POTUS. You don’t hear these anti-Kaepernick fans castigating Trump for being a sore loser, for claiming his victory was stolen, for demanding that the whole game is rigged.

Like his mentor president, Brady left liberal New England with its social conscience and high taxes for a land of warmth and no taxes. He even brags he never wears a hoodie any more…take that, Belichick.

Bad losers are endemic to Brady and Trump. They are birds of a losing feather, just think of Deflategate and Mail-ballot-gate.

The tantrums you see from Trump and Brady are part of what you see as greatness in sports and politics, small-minded losers!

 

Kubrick Monolith Inspires Monkeys Everywhere!

DATELINE:  Ape Uses Bonehead?

With the news that the late Stanley Kubrick has sent a monolith to Utah, we have had flashbacks about the meaning for humankind.

In Kubrick’s movie, this led to rediscoveries on the Moon and on an orb going around Jupiter.

The heavy footed plodding of officials have muffed all chance of finding footprints or other characteristics of a forensic nature. We have some reports that the metal object is made with screws: no word on whether they are Phillips head.

It is interesting that the item is in a remote and difficult to reach place, presumably dropped there by chopper or UFO. We would have been much more impressed if the item had been found at the White House Rose Garden, or even in Joe Biden’s basement.

There is no word if this indicates we will have a cure for coronavirus soon, or whether it means the Dow will hit 30,000 for the first time.

We feel that it supersedes having Xmas decorations needed during a national crisis. The government should send everyone in the United States, who is eligible, a postcard photo of the monolith. It will replace stimulus checks.

The strange object is illegal, of course, but the meter maids have yet to stick a parking ticket on the shiny silver object.

We think someone has usurped the season’s findings at Oak Island. This monolith was supposed to be found by Gary Drayton’s metal detector next to Captain Kidd’s treasure.

The real impact of the monolith has been dulled because we do not hear the Gregorian chants emanating from its radio dial.

 

Shocking Titanic Info in Forgotten Journal

 

The show is called “Lost Evidence,” but it really is “Ignored Evidence.”

When History Channel presents Laurence Fishburne to narrate another Titanic documentary, you might be skeptical about what more can be said. You’d be surprised almost immediately by the high quality of this production. IN fact, it may be instantly one of the best of all Titanic documentaries.

The premise is snide: there was far less heroism and good behavior than you have been led to believe, and the key is in the British investigation of 1912 that was led by Lord Mersey. He was likely the spearhead of a coverup, or at least whitewash.

In his private red journal, however, unread for 100 years, were his observations never published. His GGG grandson, the new Viscount of Mersey, appears and allows information to be released.

Some is surprising, but the most visual is a spectacular collection of film clips and photos, not necessarily from Titanic, but of the White Star liners.

The grand tragic ship itself was not at capacity, despite legends to the contrary. Indeed, young Richard White, traveling with his father in first-class D deck, moved across the hall to an empty cabin a day into the voyage.

Mersey notes that the crew was the same bunch of incompetents under Captain Smith that were involved in several crashes on the Olympic. And, buried headlines indicate survivors denounced the officers of Titanic.

Smith was old-fashioned—and a 20thcentury technophobe, disdaining Marconi-grams on icebergs and refusing to hold new system lifeboat drills. Who knows what else contributed to the “millionaires’ captain” and his failures? A few experts suggest that Smith deep-sixed the ship’s log because it would make him look bad.

Marconi operators actually told other ships to “Shut Up!” about ice warnings. Lord Mersey notes all this in his journal.

Of twenty lifeboats, only two bothered to pick up floundering passengers in the water. Others had seats and left them empty. One British aristocrat paid cash bribes to lifeboat crewnotto turn back to help others.

Ismay and crew were trapped by the American investigation that started almost immediately. Ismay was labeled a “coward” and “murderer.” Yet, the British inquiry with Lord Mersey was meant to be fairer and restore integrity to the shipping industry.

Mersey came to conclude Californian was most at fault and might have saved many, if not all, victims. Yet, years later, it was discovered Titanic was 13 miles off-course, allegedly too far from Californian to rescue them. It’s a stretch.

It seems excuses still abound 108 years later.

 

Top of the World, Ma!

Madame Blavatsky

DATELINE: Mahatmas & Other Spirits

For the 16thseason of Ancient Aliens we are going sky-high in Tibet, the ceiling of the planet where you are closer to the unknown fly-bys that have christened the population.

The location of a Shangri-La city high up on the roof of the world brings together many legends: physical and non-physical beings who lived for hundreds of years and live with little oxygen.

Of course, this series always goes for the jugular of most outrage: such as the Yeti Snowmen are magical extra-terrestrials. And those who live in that spot where Mount Everest reaches over five miles high are somehow more enlightened than the rest of us. This place is an airport of UFOs from all parts of the universe.

The series offered an insight into Madame Blavatsky, the theosophist who had befriended Mahatma Gandhi. She believed she was in contact with a spiritual creature that she called a Mahatma, or ancient alien being from another dimension.

Her circle included young artist Nicholas Roerich who worked with the Diaghilev ballet around 1910 in Paris. He worked on designs for Nijinsky ballets. He later moved to New York and conducted research in India and Tibet.

The Nazi research connection to Tibet in the 1930s included finding an old iron statue with a swastika on the figure depicted, a Mahatma. In the 21st century, tests on the figure indicated he was sculpted out of a meteorite that likely landed in Tibet.

Experts on the episode revealed a new word, Ultra-terrestrial to describe these travelers of the universe who use Yeti as the guardians to protect their secret base beneath the Himalayan Mountains

 Nicholas Roerich

Simultaneous Plots to Kill JFK

Dealey Plaza, Grassy Knoll

DATELINE: Anniversary 57 Years  Nov. 22, 1963

 Having put together a book and collection of movie, documentary, and docudrama reviews of an odd bunch of film, we have come up with an unusual theory about the JFK killing in Dallas in 1963.

Kennedy & Oswald According to Movies and TV  takes the usual suspects—the mob, the CIA, Hoover, LBJ, Oswald, Edgar Hoover, the Cubans, Castro, and even UFOs—and puts them all together to see how it holds. You have some theorists who even place Marilyn Monroe in the dead center of the conspiracies.

In fact, JFK had more enemies coming at him from so many different directions that it is likely that he was the victim of several plots and plotters all converging in Dallas on that fateful date of November 22.

Working independently and discretely, these killers may have found the time and place to their liking, which made JFK the unluckiest man in America. Without knowing of other plots and plotters, one group would target the President successfully. If they failed, they had the likelihood (knowingly or not) of having someone else do the dirty work.

Conspiracy theorists are all correct: their particular conspiracy idea was merely one of several, all occurring at the same time.

If one of the rival conspiracies, whether it was Oswald, Giancana’s men, or Angleton’s agents, would have a built-in fall guy and cover to escape.

Dealey Plaza offered multiple sniper nests and chances to shoot the POTUS, and they did not need to be in coordination with the others. So, quite by accident, JFK was doomed by multiple enemies all gathered in one location.

No one is innocent, as they all had the plan to kill a president. Afterward, Oswald may have wondered who knew what he was up to—especially if he did not accomplish the murder. He surely knew he was now a fall guy.  

This would explain why some minor Mafia hood like James Files could confess years later that he fired the fatal bullet—and know he was living in prison for some other crime.

If the CIA or FBI had set multiple plotters up and let them work in a state of ignorance, they had a solution and could turn away from guilt and point a finger at one of their set-ups.

Dr. William Russo’s new collection of reviews of JFK/Oswald films concludes that multiple plots against Kennedy unfolded simultaneously. Kennedy & Oswald According to Movies and TV is available on Amazon.

 

Death in Venice Part 2

Death in Venice and Washington?

DATELINE: Drips for Drips

Not since Death in Venice when Dirk Bogarde’s bad dye job melted during a pandemic have we seen such a just dessert.

Yes, that’s Rudi Giuliani playing the role of a lifetime: the man who catches the coronavirus while chasing young electoral college voters! In the famous Visconti movie, Von Aschenbach loses his youth to bad makeup under the unrelenting conditions of Venice at its worst.

Now, Rudi loses his cool to bad mascara dripping off his sideburns under the unrelenting conditions of Trump at its worst.

We did not realize that Rudi had been cast in a remake of the great classic tale of unremitting moral decay in the face of losing an election.

Trump has simply drained his hair of all color, and Rudi has not taken the cues properly. His master will not be pleased to turn his press conferences into streaming jokes with streaming bad dye dripping.

The other case of drips came when the Wicked Witch of the West stole Toto and was pressed by the Electoral College to return the mutt to a Kansas voting booth. 

All bad taste aside, when you’re paid $20,000 a day to represent the POTUS, you likely don’t have a potus to put hair dye in.

 

Beyond Oak Island, Beyond Belief

Jean-Boy

DATELINE:  More Oak Island Spin-offs

 Well, here’s another Oak Island series with the Lagina Brothers. If there is one thing you can count on, they do not share the limelight or the revenue. Anyone could have hosted this new series, but no.

Beyond Oak Island, a Lagina production could have become more than a commercial for their hit series, the Curse of Oak Island.

No, the Lagina brothers are interested in making another series that is merely a commercial and advertising for their brand.

So, as useless as it is, each show will start with the Laginas in their “War Room,” setting up some other international search for treasure.

Another callow hotshot pays homage to the Lagina team and explains he is after one billion dollars in gold from the lost Jean Lafitte treasure. It makes Oak Island look like a pittance, though the Oak Island case has far more interesting historical implications, whether you are talking Knights Templar, or Ark of the Covenant, or Shakespeare’s manuscripts.

This new series will have a strong overdose of Lagina-itus. But, our mission is to stick with it so you don’t have to. When Lagina water boy Matty Blake shows up, late to the party, we know what we’re up against.

The story of Jean Lafitte is compelling, and he was a faithful ally of the United States during the War of 1812. Rather than run afoul of America, he moved his pirate operation to Galveston and disappeared from history with a cool billion in booty. Pirates are also celebrated here as multi-cultural, politically correct people. Hunh?

The show actually improves when it moves into history of pirates and away from the Laginas. Voice-over Robert Clotworthy is perfect here. Alas, one segment does not a series make. If you think they find silver ingots at the end of the hour, you are the audience they play to.

Repeated Discoveries on Oak Island S8

Where’s Waldo?

 DATELINE:  MIA

 With the second episode of season 8, it is clear that regular and original treasure hunter Dave Blankenship has been either evicted, fired, or otherwise removed from the series. He was a figure head “producer,” for years, meaning his father owned a better part of the Island for years. It now rings hollow when members of the team refer to a re-assembly of the “fellowship.”

At least one jolly good fellow has been eliminated. You could say that Dave Blankenship’s comic relief had run its course, finally and unfunnily.

We have seen this pattern in other History shows, and Dave has been on borrowed time since the death of his father—and he has added little to the show development for many years.

In the meantime, we have two couples in quarantine: Rick and nephew Peter in one house, and Alex and father Marty in another, receiving video call updates from the workers in the field. The real treasure hunters did find a surveyor’s mark in a flat stone, one of many found in 200 years, but the first by this team.

The most curious discovery is to see inside Rick Lagina’s Oak Island home, which he shares with his puppy nephew.

However, the series continues to read like a repeat of itself. Once again, we have some small discoveries that echo past findings. Gary Drayton, as usual, is the main explorer with a touch of near-non-ferrous. He locates another broken pickaxe.

There is also a button and piece of leather. Laird Niven disagrees that it is book-binding and immediately says, “shoe leather.”

Yet, the big news of the night is Gary’s withholding of a rare coin until the Laginas can show up after quarantine. They agree it needs more expertise analysis, but Gary’s sense is always prescient. He claims it is quite old, well before the hunting for treasure and perhaps one of the original diggers.

In all gatherings, the absence of a Blankenship is notable, and even the newly discovered map in an archive is credited to Dan Blankenship’s work in the 1980s in passing.

Classic Game Show

Your New York Panelists

DATELINE: Whose Line?

If you want to see what high-powered cerebral entertainment appeared on Sunday nights in 1955 on your television, you can look up What’s My Line?  It is in glorious black and white, which is a shame, but technically that was its limit.

The show’s title has lived on longer than the show, as a punchline and as part of cultural heritage. We tuned in to a random episode from the first season to see what this upper-crust New York game show was all about. It was not for kids even back then.

We were not surprised in many ways. The panel is decked out in dress clothes, obviously out on the town in Manhattan earlier for dinner. They are also not your usual young, demographic and telegenic pretty airheads.

You have a fairly high-powered group: Bennett Cerf, a publisher, and Dorothy Kilgallen, a Broadway muckraking journalist. The other woman on the panel was Arlene Francis, whose career as a singer was long gone. They were joined by satirical Fred Allen. The show’s host was another journalist, John Daly.

The money given to guests is downright insulting. If the panel tries to guess the occupation, each “no” answer wins $5. Maybe it was worth more back then.

This is middle-aged fun for late on the weekend on your TV back then. The so-called lines of the guests are odd, always, and the highlight is a special celebrity guest who must use a fake voice as the panel wears masks.

This is not a dumb group, and they know how to frame a question and narrow done the selection of jobs. We cringe at what a modern version of this might be like! Back then, audiences were literate, older, more inclined to modest humor and good-natured ribbing. It’s a long-gone America.

It’s worth looking at if you’re a senior citizen wanting to have a nostalgic moment. Otherwise, you will be horrified and bored.

 

 

Hair Today: Marilyn Monroe and Trump

 DATELINE: A Shock of Color

Color them platinum. Marilyn Monroe and Donald Trump share the sudden whiteness of hair in shocking pix after and before a life crisis.

 A week after Trump lost but refused to concede the presidency, his hair turned whiter than Caspar the Friendly Ghost. The week before her death, movie icon Marilyn’s hair was a whiter shade of pale than ever before. 

You might suggest that the pressures of life took a toll of both these leaders of a failing popular business endeavor. Marilyn had just been fired off her movie, “Somethings Gotta Give,” and Trump had just been fired from his daily soap opera, “Trumpworld” by another oldster named Biden.

Marilyn tried to call the President of the United States shortly before her death. And, Donald Trump refused to call the President-Elect of the United States as he sulked in his TV pajamas.

When it came to their ultimate and penultimate hair color, only their hairdressers knew for sure. Both Marilyn and Trump were blondes gone bad. White may be the hair color of stress, old age, and kicking the can down the road, but they both wanted to exude youth and vitality.

Alas, Marilyn did not live to make another movie, and Trump may not be out of jail when it comes to the next presidential election.

It all goes to prove those who live by show business, for show business, and in show business, shall not perish from the Earth in a normal fashion. 

Blonde hair today, gone white tomorrow.

D.B. Cooper 50 Years Ago?

FBI Handiwork

DATELINE: Another Investigation

When History Channel boosts a new series, hosted not by the ponderous tones of Robert Clotworthy, but by the ponderous tones of Laurence Fishburne, you know they have bet the reward money on a hit.

History’s’ Greatest Mysteries is ambitious, if nothing else, offering to solve the grand case of the only successful and unsolved hijacking in American aviation. Someone using the fake name D.B. Cooper took the country for a ride.

We were left, however, thinking, this is not the first show on History to claim resolution and more. Back a few years ago when we can barely remember, another series on History called Decoded did the same thing. So now History is plagiarizing from itself.

Eric Ulis is the main investigator whose man credential seems to be his obsession and telegenic detective skills. He must use various experts to gain permission to look at lands the FBI never searched.

Air controller and pilot from 1971 admit that the jump occurred far west of where police searched. Within protected lands, Ulis thinks evidence may still be there, like parachutes. A flood in 1996 may have swept much away, and buried money found in 1979 by a boy was not far from this search area..

Conditions are wet and cold—and a man in a suit and loafers jumping here in thick brush would not have an easy time. The case points to a coy octogenarian who seems to revel in the infamy of being a suspect. It is dubious at best.

The most interesting finding in an inconclusive episode is the titanium elements on Cooper’s clip-on tie. That stuff was found in few places in 1971—but prominently at the Boeing company where jet engines were made.

 

Isn’t Your Number Divine?

William Sidis-zen

DATELINE:  Baker’s Dozen

Can it really be the sixteenth season of Ancient Aliens?  With the first episode of the new series, we half-expected the Divine Number to be more than twelve. We have come to expect too much too soon.

Yes, they take on the theoretical work of William Sidis, genius from Cambridge and Harvard in 1914, who used a 12-number cycle for his physics. He saw that there were twelve dimensions in the universe, not three.

Even more impressive, there are apparently twelve vortexes around the world, not merely the Bermuda Triangle.

We knew about the 12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel, but we did not know there were 12 chakras. Call us a day late and a dollar short of twelve hours on the clock.

Whether you go by the shopping dictum of the twelve days of Christmas, or the Twelvth of Never, you may be outnumbered. Move over, Johnny Mathis, it’s not going to happen.

Being contrarian, we waited for the inevitable discussion of a dozen eggs and a dozen donuts. We knew that a baker’s dozen is 13, but not in the world of Ancient Aliens.It is 12 plus one.

You can eliminate all those clunky ten-counts that lead to too many decimals. When he was arrested at a peace rally in 1919, Sidis was sentenced to 12 plus 6 months in a Massachusetts jail, mostly for being flippant with the judge. The jury is still 12 peers who are out for deliberations, but there is only one judge.

Modern science now suggests that the universe is twelve-sided as cosmic significance. It doesn’t take long for Ancient Aliensto note that the United States’ UFO secret body is called Majestic-12, notables secretly in contact with space civilizations. The show hints that Harry Truman deliberately chose 12 members (we theorize because he had a dozen donuts for breakfast).

From DNA to musical notes, we are suffused with twelve ding dongs of knowledge. The series claims that the Mayan calendar predicted FRB (fast radio bursts) and the 12thparticle of physics all in 2012. You had better be able to understand the Book of Revelations to figure out this dipsy-doodle episode.