DATELINE: Papua Horror!
No, it’s not what you think! Someone gave this sober documentary a title right out of the worst tabloid movie horror. This is an hour-long episode about the Bismarck Archipelago in New Guinea.
However, the sensational title is not far off the mark. The masks made by the descendants of families of former cannibals are practically copyrighted. They are singular and unique horrific expressions of spiritual power. Ghosts of Cannibal Islands is a rather surprising little documentary.
The islands were under German control until after World War I, and many of their missionaries were eaten by the natives. The German hosts of the show are quick to explain the blond haired natives as not the result of the German influence, but some unknown group from the continent. Yeah, right.
However, that good German engineering is evident when they must drive over 100 year old wood bridges, built by the colonials. These marvels will last for another hundred years.
The islands are volcanic and still spewing from a major eruption 30 years ago. Little streams are boiling, and the ground is warm. If you go into caves, you will roast from the underground vents of heat.
The natives have abandoned the major city that is now under ash, and the dust makes the place look apocalyptic. Yet, there are still animals in the jungle.
One of the most dangerous is a form of ostrich that is a man killer, standing nearly as tall as a man, and with claws that are like spikes if you are kicked.
There is an isolated group of men who lived apart and are considered “taboo.” Women are not allowed to look upon them when they sail past the community, and their lives are highly secret. Men can join if they want.
What we have here is a jaw-dropping look at a place where extinction seems around the corner, and the flora, fauna, and surviving creatures are something out of science fiction.
This film is utterly intriguing and mind-blowing.
DATELINE: Halos For All?
Stars Jonathan Frid & Joan Bennett
Perhaps it is more than amusing that the production company of Dan Stevens actually produced a documentary about Dan Stevens and his ground-breaking soap opera, the gothic Dark Shadows.
We expected that you’d have full participation of the original cast and crew—and the treat, or horror, is to see these young actors in their twilight years. Yet, it is fun too.
Many are gone of course: like Frid, Joan Bennett, and the marvelous Grayson Hall (barely mentioned).
Stevens himself was an ad-man who went to producing a golf show—and had a dream for a gothic serial. Never did he expect it to be a daytime hit for kids with sympathetic vampires, tormented governesses, and cross-time crossover storylines.
Who really made Dark Shadows a hit? Was it the producer with the classic hard edge or the gaunt actor who played the reluctant vampire? Well, you know who produced the show and produced the documentary. Frid did not join the cast until nearly a year had passed, but with him it zoomed to cult status.
There was recently a fiftieth anniversary shindig with survivors like David Selby, Lara Parker, John Karlen, Jerry Lacy, and so many other favorites. They all grew up as actors on that show as much as their audience grew up. The show had bad sets, primitive special effects, and sometimes awful plots badly acted. It was of no consequence to fans.
Frid and Stevens ultimately came to loggerheads, and Stevens was better able to move on to Winds of Warand other films. It is a trip down memory lane.
DATELINE: Past is Prologue
Of all the horrid discoveries one can make on any of those DNA-test sites, and we have had more than a few shocks, here is a bizarre and amusing detail we can share with only a tad of embarrassment.
It is always difficult to realize that your ability to trace ancestors has its limits: after all, most people were illiterate hundreds of years ago—and if the local church did not keep records, you had to be some kind of royal figure with historical clerks at the ready.
On mother’s side of the family, going back to Scotland, the Livingston clan is easily traced back to the 1300s, with some kind of baronage and hermitage at their beck and call.
The paternal side proved more elusive. However, we recently found that one direct ancestor goes back to his birth in 1738 in Castellaneta, Italy. Where the hell is that?
Thank heavens for Wikipedia, where all secrets are revealed (thanks to the Wiki police who make sure you scam artists and fraudsters don’t pollute the Internet).
It seems this city is on the arch of the boot of Italy.
It seemed appropriate that our ancestor came from the heel of geography, likely being a man with a sole, if not a complete sandal in his flip-flop past.
No, the big draw of Castellaneta is its hometown hero: Rudolph Valentino. It seems here, around the time that grand-dad (going back 3 generations) was born, so was Rudy. Not in the same place, not even remotely related to the family.
However, if there is a lady in black still dropping rose petals at Rudy’s Beverly Hills mausoleum, we now discover there is a city offering a flower to his memory: a museum, complete with costumes, posters, and a recreation of his Sheik tent.
We do not have plans to fly out there to visit either the mauso or the museo,not in a black dress, not in kicks. We were, however, greatly amused at the connection.
DATELINE: O’er the Seas, Let’s Go Men!
Young Privateer Henry Morgan circa 1660.
A preliminary archaeological dive team visitsIle a Vacheoff the southern coast of Haiti to locate HMS Oxford, the flagsthip of privateer or pirate Henry Morgan. The Australian film is called Henry Morgan’s Mystery Ships.
Though it might seem a pleasure cruise, there are more than usual diving perils: Haiti is in full-scale chaos in Port-au-Prince and security guards are needed even in the remote area far from the city strife.
There are dangerous waves and currents that can pull divers off to the “Madness Reef,” yes, its name. And they have no idea really where the Oxford sank in mid-1600s.
The magazines of the royal ship blew up (maybe even taking down a few other nearby ships) while at anchor in one of the bays. By scouting the area and reading old maps, they come up with a few possible places to dive.
Local residents belong to the state-sanctioned Voodoo religion, and they kindly sacrifice a white goat and a black goat for the prayers of the divers. The team is grateful for all augurs on their behalf.
Morgan may have hidden more treasure on Ile a Vache than there is on Oak Island—and he retired to nearby Jamaica as a governor where he lived until 1688. He survived a sham trial as a pirate in England—after all, a huge bounty of riches was paid to the Crown. And, a larger share was kept for Morgan and his men. He had sacked Panama City for its gold and gave the Spanish and French their most difficult time, preventing the future United States from becoming a Spanish-speaking nation.
What they uncover is stunning—and will benefit archaeologists for decades to come. They hope there will be a museum or tourist haven made on Ile de Vacheto help the residents who live in relative isolation and poverty.
DATELINE: End of an Era?
Football fans of the New England Patriots have asked what’s going on! Is it the zombie apocalypse? We have bad news beyond two feet of snow burying us.
After seeing Zachary Quinto discuss the fall of civilization and the end of empires on In Search of, has it come to the Patriots like the Rapa Nui and Mayans?
We can only add two cents, after ten books of blogs on the Patriots. No, it is not the apocalypse. It is more like the inevitable enemy of mankind: a bad case of the flu.
No expert dared to cite that nearly half of the team came down with the flu this week. The miracles of IV drips and antibiotics, and the prodding of Captain Bligh Belichick, made no man look at illness as an excuse.
There were two planes: one for the lepers who needed to avoid being cast out and cast off at 37,000 feet without a parachute. We can only imagine the Belichick cure-all.
We now have a view of the bleak future: based on the fact that on top of the plague, the Patriots have sent every decent receiver reeling out of Foxboro in a uniform of tar and feathers, with better contracts elsewhere.
Tom Brady is adrift and out to sea like the victim of an iceberg hitting the unsinkable Patriots. There was no room in the lifeboat for such a thing as Tom’s receiving corps.
Like the band on Titanic, the team played on while sinking with the franchise.
Can the Patriots recover? Not this year, and maybe not for another decade. This loss will hasten Tom’s departure to another team next year: one that will give him joy of playing for the few years he has left in this world of football.
As for the Patriots, the zombie apocalypse may be settling in at Foxboro. Remember the good old days when the Pats stunk up a storm? NO? Well, history is about to show you what it was like back before six Super Bowls, Brady & Belichick. Return with us now for the Keystone Kops aka Patriots.
It happened to the New York Yankees of the 1950s & 1960s, and now it is the Patriot turn of events.
DATELINE: NBA Twits
File Under Inept Waiters!
Now and then we follow NBA nitwits on and off the court. We seldom follow Miami Heat anywhere, but when Dion Waiters criticized coach Spoelstra and ingested designer drugs making for a panic attack whilst flying with the team, we took notice.
He’s coming to Boston to play after a suspension worth a couple of million bucks. Maybe he can earn the money back by waiting on tables and receiving tips. We offer our tip right here.
Dion sang an apology to teammates and coaching brain-trust that sounds all the world like a statement from his agent/attorney axis. After all, fines and suspension took money and food out of their wallets and open mouths.
We know from the spellcheck that Dion Waiters never wrote that apology. Some low-paid minion earned his keep.
No one wants to provide real details about imbeciles, lest they be accused of discriminating against drug users and people with bad judgment. We are fearless in that regard.
When we meet a body walking through the rye, we know it’s a kind of Scottish whiskey on his breath.
We doubt that Waiters would be a winner on a team that contained players Bron, Wade, and Bosh. When you put a fly in the oinment, you mainly change the chemistry.
The rain in Spain does not always fall on the plain, no matter what apology/tune Dion sings, and we think as an ordinary waiter Waiters would spill our wry rye all over our spellcheck. Especially at 37,000 feet above the court at American Airlines Arena. It’s no slam dunk from outside the arc/ark.
DATELINE: Not Again?
Jerry Lacy as Bogey
We went back in our time machine to the time machine of 1972 who brought us back to 1942. It is Play It Again, Sam,which features Humphrey Bogart advising Woody Allen.
No, Sam never appears once yet again, even in the actual film clips from the movie Casablanca. Dooley Wilson seems to be discriminated against. He sings part of “As Time Goes By,” at film’s end.
This astral route brought us face to face with legendary tough-guy star, Humphrey Bogart. He returned in 1972 in the guise of Jerry Lacy, an impersonator who had a decade of roles as the iconic man in trench coat with Borsalino.
Alas, to see Bogart’s best scenes in Casablanca, you had to endure Woody Allen as Allen Felix, movie critic before the Internet and blogs, who adores Bogie and has an apartment decorated like a 1942 teenage boy. Those collectibles are worth big bucks today.
Though Allen wrote and starred in this vehicle, it was directed by Herbert Ross which gives it some grounding as a ghost story.
The appearances of Bogart dispensing advice to nudnik Allen is appalling, as he speaks sexist and violent attitudes that he never expressed in his movies or real life a generation earlier. If you see this film as homage to Bogart’s Rick and his romance with Ilsa, you have been sold a bill of goods by shyster Allen.
The film comes alive when Bogart and/or Lacy appear, and the film goes down the chute when Allen’s nutcase New Yorker takes center screen.
The Sam “again” part has more to do with Allen re-enacting the Rick role with Bergman in a climactic scene. This was before Allen became Bergman (Ingmar, not Ingrid).
Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts take on thankless roles in Allen’s world, which Keaton was able to transcend by slipping over to The Godfather at the same time she did this film. Roberts and Lacy were not as lucky.
Though the Bogey ghost appears with more frequency in the final 30 minutes, it is not enough to save the story from itself.
Whether Bogey conjures his personality as a dream, an hallucination, or the actual spirit of a movie icon, may be in the eyes of the beholder. We like to think Lacy channeled the real star, but taking it in again decades later, we see this is not a ghost, but a frightful excuse for Allen to behave badly and perform even worsely.
DATELINE: But Never Really Lost!
Titanic Survivor Millvina in 1998.
A little, literally only 30 minutes, film from 1998, we found it interesting and intriguing on several levels that might pique your attention.
It is really about a little old lady of 90 years living in England whose husband was a silent film projectionist in 1913. One of his favorite Pathe news reels was the limited footage of Titanic and the rescue of passengers. He kept a copy in a rusty old canister.
After his passing, his wife sent her son out to the garden shed to retrieve it, but he told her it was not there—and the old man likely tossed it away years ago. His wife simply disbelieved that.
Early in the morning on a Sunday, she was awakened by his deceased husband telling her that the film was in their shed under a bench behind some junk. First thing she did was go out there on Sunday at 6am on her hands and knees to find it.
The footage itself is not new: yet this copy was pristine. Most of the copies available were old and grainy. It featured a stand-in that the media often employed: film of Olympic was usually substituted for Titanic in news photos and reels.
The building of Olympic proves historical, but it is merely a stand-in for the more famous ship. Yet, many think it was Olympic that was conspiratorially used to replace the real Titanic for insurance fraud.
There are moving pictures of survivors, crew members, and of rescue people from Carpathia that picked up over 700 shivering survivors. There are also photos, grisly, of newly hewn coffins going out to retrieve bodies on the Mackay-Bennett.
One of the highlights is a chat with Millvina Dean, who in 1998, was the only survivor still living. She died in 2009, and she offers a few poignant memories of the ordeal—as related to her by her mother. She was only 2-months old when rescued from Titanic.
Only available apparently on videotape from Amazon, it is a collector’s treasure—and with only a few minutes of actual Titanic footage, it may be meant only for true devotees of the topic.
DATELINE: Ghost Hunters
If you saw New York Jest Quarterback Sam Darnold, of mono fame, on Monday Night Football, you saw a man spooked.
Yes, the young and callow big QB was mic’d up as they say for the cameras. He did not disappoint. When all the cursing is done, and whitewashed out, you had the tall drink of water having the worst night of his life. If you dismiss the night he caught mono…
He ended up with a QB rating of 6.5, which sounds nearly as abysmal as anything this season by anyone.
That conjurer of ancient gridiron spirits, Merlin Bill Belichick, apparently sent Macbeth’s witches to bubble up some trouble for young Darnold. Too damn young for being darn old.
The Jets main man said on the bench after one appalling interception that he was seeing ghosts out there on the field.
We, of course, believe him, as we have seen the power of orbs flying by at breakneck speed. These little photons of light are really the spirits of past football for Darnold, and they are making mischief that would do poltergeists proud.
Marley’s Ghost might have offered him some sound advice on how to deal with the Patriots defense that was fired up to deny the existence of ghosts.
Perhaps Hamlet’s fatherly ghost might have warned him of a coach would pour poison in his ear. That Jets coach was heard to tell him that he knew what to do. Apparently the coach did not know or have the number of an exorcist on his speed dial.
You can scare children with ghost stories, or conversely you can scare QBs like Josh Allen and Sam Darnold who look like giant kids playing a game of chess with the Grim Reaper. Shades of Shades.
DATELINE: A Dark & Stormy Movie
Polidori, Shelley, and Byron, aka Spall, Sands, and Byrne
If you want to learn about the dark and stormy night in 1816 that resulted in the creation of Frankenstein and Dracula by Lord Byron’s pals, you might look elsewhere.
Ken Russell’s hothouse and nuthouse movie about Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron is pure Gothicnonsense. As was the style of Russell back in 1987, you had a psychedelic version of biography and history. It is not satisfactory.
The cast is somewhat exemplary: Gabriel Byrne as lame Byron, Julian Sands as pretty Shelley, Timothy Spall as off-putting Dr. Polidori, and Natasha Richardson as demure Mary! Wow, you almost expect the acting alone will carry the film.
However, the director hijacks every moment and even has cast members chewing on rats. We thought the film turned into that rat-festival moviel, Willard.And, inexplicable pythons wrap around suits of armor. Yep, it’s Ken Russell.
Instead of a dark and stormy night where these highly creative people choose to write great books, we have a literal ghost story. The demons are really around every corner. You almost feel sorry for the servants who basically take a powder during the latter part of the movie to avoid these koo-koo birds.
The summer without sun inspired the writing of Frankenstein and Dracula. Byron took credit for Polidori’s work, and Byron couldn’t write prose. The stepsister of Mary is around for crazy moments in which the sexual peccadilloes of the characters is tested.
We have more than your usual homoerotic connections between the men, including some fairly passionate kisses, but Julian Sands was never prettier. Gabriel Byrne seems to have bigger breasts than the women stars. Timothy Spall is actually slim.
The film becomes increasingly erratic and difficult to watch, as befits what did in the style of Ken Russell ultimately. We had hoped to see something truly fascinating, but not quite on the level of a train wreck.
DATELINE: Ghost of Ethel Meets Ghoul of Cohn
Streep & Pacino
The third episode of the miniseries Angels in America takes us to the hallucinogenic, paranormal world where Louis (Ben Shenkman) insists in his liberal way that there are no angels in America.
On the other hand, the evil Roy Cohn is the devil in America, dying of AIDS like the saintly Prior whose survival seems preordained by some supernatural force. He is to “Prepare” for an event of monumental proportions: this is foreshadowed when two ancestor ghosts show up in his bedroom to give him a Dickensian warning.
Emma Thompson is his down to earth nurse, but she speaks in tongues (only to the ears of Prior (Justin Kirk). He is also seeing Talmudic eruptions of Torah as he prepares for the descent (or is it an ascent?).
If you have held on to this point, you will be hooked by the mixed metaphors of paranormal and political messages in crossover.
The episode builds to one of the most astounding special effects dramas and ghost stories in American literature. And, however uncomfortable the sexual situations are, they are part of the political whirlwind of America. Roy Cohn was a hypocritical gay man who worked with Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, associated with Edgar Hoover socially, and was responsible for the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg…
With Prior Walter ghosts from the Mayflower setting the stage, we are also about to see an Angel in America. Yet, for our money, the highlight of any film has to be a confrontation between Pacino’s Cohn and Streep’s Ethel Rosenberg. It is hilarious and horrifying—as ghost and her ghoul banter nastily. An extraordinary moment in movie history.
DATELINE: Titanic Spirits Beckon Us!
Five Who Dared!
Apparently, we are the first ones to hold a séance at Spring Village since the Titanic sank.
You would think that someone around here might have done conducted some kind of paranormal event—considering that two of the residents died on Titanic. And, also, considering that the neighborhood has been rife with ghost tales for nearly two-hundred years, we are ripe for supernatural activity.
Good heavens, even those two who perished on that ill-fated voyage of 1912 were well-aware they lived in a haunted house. It’s a point hard to ignore when orbs and bumps in the night are everywhere.
It seems to us that what goes around comes around.
If you live over a natural mineral spring that Native Americans felt was some kind of ancient vortex and miracle cure for what ails you, you may have a good site for reaching other dimensions.
Since the Titanic went down in the frigid Atlantic, Albert Einstein theorized that wormholes and other tunnels warped time and space, making it even more likely that beings from another time and place might go wherever they wished.
And, wouldn’t two who died on Titanic make an appearance at the ancestral home?
Since moving here, I have been an advocate that something odd and decidedly paranormal has been taking place in the vicinity. It became more imperative when the activity seemed to center on me personally, as if one spirit wanted me to write his life story. Well, I did: it’s called Tales of a Titanic Family, and then I followed it up with something more about his life and death, entitled Chess-Mate from Titanic.
Perhaps even that has not been enough. So, we have arranged a séance here in the house where a library is dedicated to Richard White, a college student whose graduation gift was a first-class ticket to oblivion and infamy on Titanic.
Oh, he has been hanging around me for decades, but I never paid it no mind until something brought me to a place that I learned was his home. No, I had no idea when first I came here.
Recently, we had a group of ghost hunters, led by Susan Allen and Eric Metzler, and capped off with a special assistance from Kadrolsha Ona, the celebrity Queen of Paranormal.
Unlike Houdini, and his 100+ seances that he usually debunked, we had two video cameras and a plethora of audio tape recorders for the standard EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon to you novices).
Call us ready or not. The séance went off with plenty of hitches: It was not what I expected—we developed sea sickness, mal de mer on the deck of Titanic, and one spirit went hysterical on us, looking for her husband who was not allowed on a lifeboat with her.
Have we learned a lesson from this tampering with the unknown? Not really, as we plan to do a follow-up in September.
Dr. Russo’s books on Titanic are all available in print and e-book formats. The latest is Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle. A book on the seance will be available before the 2020 New Year.
DATELINE: Orbs of Travel
One of the post-séance images in the library. A white smudge, quite large, likely a sphere with a diameter of several feet sat atop a cushion on the bench next to the chess table.
If there is any new scientific breakthroughs, it is in the field of quantum physics that have direct bearing on the issues of ghosts, orbs, divining rods, and electro-magnetic energy of light.
What is happening in this field may revolutionize the superstitious concepts around the idea that people who have died are in another dimension—or some kind of creature that represents them are.
Quantum physics may be about to take the para out of paranormal and remove the super from supernatural. Already the concept of a séance has been called “remote viewing,” and may also be regulated by laws of relativity only hinted at by visionary scientists like Einstein.
Government and private groups studying “remote viewing” have already discerned that orbs seem to be devices that travel around dimensions of the universe, including crossovers from a parallel time and place. They have called the creatures or beings within orbs “Pp” or a designation abbreviation for para-people.
One basis for the science now proposed is a principle that is called quantum “entanglement.” This condition indicates that two particles can be linked—regardless of their position in the universe or out of it. This is a connection between two items that illustrates a change in one particle in the universe may be seen in another no matter how far away it stays or goes.
This entangled pair makes it possible to know a great deal about the unseen particle from the one that is visible and within observable universe. If it sounds like a medium and the connected spirit, there is surely more than metaphor at work.
As a result of this pairing, a quantum radar device may be able to see what is happening out of sight by watching the captive item. This will provide radar with new, richer, deeper information. In some ways, the notion of such radar can be seen in the parallel of a remote viewer watching an event in the distant past, or in the distance of geography.
This new quantum radar in development will focus on photons—electro-magnetic light energy. The result of this new process can reveal much more knowledge about the unseen than all other radars have provided.
In today’s radar process, the targets are blobs, masses, or ill-defined orbs. Quantum radar will be able to see altitudes, conditions, and even passengers, and other physical aspects in what is a featureless blob of energy. It can be applied to technological mysteries like UFOs, or even to supernatural mysteries like spirit orbs.
The purpose of quantum radar will be to identify signals and other electro-magnetic characteristics that emanate from the orb target.
If the science of sighting orbs is applied to quantum physics, will there be an admission that these are actual objects that can be studied as part of the laws of the universe?
In some ways, we have already proven today with sensitive infrared cameras and electronic audio devices that something is afoot in the universe, perhaps from another “fifth” dimension, not a fantasy of “sixth” sense.
Since studying this phenomenon, the author in his contact with orbs has become more convinced that conscious orbs are an actual and natural situation outside our limited and primitive explanations of the cosmos.
DATELINE: Psychics as Remote Viewers
Para-People (new terms for Ghosts?)
Tracking orbs and their passengers (Pp) aka para-people?
Not one week after holding a séance to try to connect with spiritual beings in another dimension, we were shocked that Ancient Aliens TV series released a new episode that detailed the notion that light energy is “Trans-Dimensional”.
In fact, they tied together the notion that extra-terrestrials and space craft was a misnomer for trans-dimensional craft and beings. The séance we held to talk to orbs that appear in my home was, rather, according to CIA experiments, a form of “remote viewing.”
They identify psychics as “remote viewers” who are able to see into orb craft and noted that the Pp (a designation for Para-Person was an angelic creature). This roughly corresponded with the message from a spirit that informed me that orbs were transportation devices.
The headquarters of a private group called ECTI tried to discern orbs in nightsky as a travel group, also designated as a dimensional highway through which beings from another parallel universe, or multiverse, were reaching Earth.
They had transcended time, offered communication to receptive humans—and were actually beings who may or may not be ghosts (or what we call ghosts). It was an interesting combination of religious and paranormal experts paired with astrobiologists and UFOlogists.
The notion that throughout the Bible and other religious documents that there are “seven levels” of heaven indicated that these were dimensions in which angels and spirits (by human designation) were Pp, visitors from another realm, according to remote viewers (psychics hired by government investigators).
Citations were made to Einstein and quantum physics as proof that other realms exist and have been identified as spiritual by religious leaders for centuries and time infinitum.
Another peculiar discussion centered on DMT, a minor chemical in the body, often replicated as a psychedelic drug, that floods the pineal gland upon death, making people have post-life dreams, or feeling that they have been abducted by aliens who are “angelic beings” by another nomenclature.
It would seem that vocabulary and concepts have been in consort between science and metaphysics, but that these are not apples and oranges, but fruit of an trans-terrestrial existence.
It was an eye-opening and intriguing examination of visitors from another “world” crossing a barrier through a vortex to offer us guidance, miracles of information, and protection for our own souls that may be sent into another dimension when we pass through a mysterious energy barrier we call death.