Dive Bomber Alert on Mill Circle!

DATELINE: Robin Bobbin’ on Squirrel

When a plethora of robins showed up this spring in my yard near the big tree, I thought—there goes the neighborhood. However, they started rummaging through last year’s flower stems. Each one was yanked out and taken to some unknown spot for a nest.

That’s when the first wave of bombers hit.

Under the eaves of my side-door porch, I saw birds flying toward the storm door. They never hit because they were building a nest, which I promptly discouraged.

So, the freeloaders went to the big tree not far from the dining room picture window. There, for the first time, they started their architectural work. As if for good measure, they regularly cleaned out the yard of ants and other crawling insects.

 

The good neighbor policy continued until I saw the squirrels and chipmunks arrive.

It was war.

A half-dozen robins attacked with all the ferocity of kamikaze flights. They chased the squirrels out of the tree and around the yard. I had never seen such nimble flight—and they worked often in pairs till the squirrels ran for cover.

Then, they began chasing the chipmunks out of the yard. Less inclined to climb the tree, the chipmunks were nonetheless not welcome in this yard anymore. They were attacked with zooming claws outstretched.

I thought I watched out-takes from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

You may have thought the hawk patrol had been replaced.

Regular bombing runs can be seen during morning coffee break whilst sitting at the window. Warfare never looked so natural.

Afraid of Nothing or Nothingness?

DATELINE:  Paranormal in Salem, MA!

 Director Robert Heske.

Bob Heske is a writer/director of low-budget stories, and his major documentary film is called Afraid of Nothing.Its appeal on some levels is all the small businesses associated with spirit life and death (from Ouija board historians and prosthetic mask shops to healers of all stripes who meet people for various paranormal purposes.

The film spent considerable time in Salem, Massachusetts, which is a hotbed of witchcraft and afterlife experts. Also included in the visits are East Bridgewater, Mass., and Gardner, Mass. All three locations are adjacent and contiguous owns where this writer lived.

As someone who lives in a haunted house, we are always curious about others and what they experience: to that end we meet regression specialists, healers and teachers of how to deal with death. The big wheel involved here is Jeff Belanger who created the Ghost AdventuresTV series and has cornered the market on paranormal topics in New England.

An actor from Los Angeles is at the crux of people here, as he lived a previous life in Salem—and has been drawn to return to the area of Salem Willows, an old haunt.

All these many individuals have achieved some level of connection to the great beyond—and all seem to have multiple talents to connect with both positive and negative forces. It astounds us—as we have only one spirit in the house, though he is a big one, a victim of Titanic.

We have learned late in life that we have some still unknown connection to this guide and mentor who is a guardian spirit. So, we hardly disparage all the kind souls who show up in Bob Heske’s little film. It is not frightful or horrific, but it is informative and fascinating for those with an interest in the hereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

Secret Tapes Spur Lost Gold of World War II

 DATELINE: Look Out Below!

 You Got Bingo.

Having been given secret and allegedly dangerous tapes about the Marcos search for the stolen gold of the Japanese, the series seems impervious to any dangers. Lost Gold of World War II  may have danger lurking everywhere from anti-American haters to Japanese booby traps.

Not only that, we have the usual idiocy by the gold hunters:  they dig at a waterfall tunnel during a monsoon—and are surprised their equipment becomes mud-bound.

The solution to the search will be to do a certain kind of excavation, but John Casey rejects this because the technique will poison the town water supply for the locals. Yes, that would be bad public relations for foreign visitors, digging up the local area on an obsessive quest.

Talk about Ugly Americans: the new team seems a step down from last year’s older, but wiser crew.

Thankfully, there is Bingo Minerva back in the United States, consulting with real academic experts and learning what’s back in Luzon. He reports via Skype that only 20% of the stolen artifacts were recovered and that the treasure could be a compendium of diamonds and other precious stones,, all encased in metal tubes.

As for the so-called experts consulted in the area, they call themselves “historians” but never give degrees, titles, or university associations. These self-anointed experts throw out years of experience as Marines or other para-military soldiers. It is dubious to say the least. Their expert dismisses the idea that a discovered knife is from World War II. He places it from the 1980s. These treasure hunters are so off that we begin to wonder what else they have wrong.

Moreover, the tech team of twin bearded young men, Colin and Max, complain about the weather and terrain, while the father and son miners seem to revel in their condition.

An unusual expert, a woman tractor excavator, named Michelle, is one tough bird, but manages to become stuck in the mud. Only after a day of crisis management, ineptly by Casey’s younger brother, does she manage to wiggle the expensive equipment out of danger. No jokes about women drivers, please, because there is a dearth of women on these “boys’ adventures series.”

The series seems to hang on man-made error as the cliff-hanging routine of the season. Not a good start to a once promising series.

 

 

 

Mysteries of the Holy Sepulchre!

DATELINE:  Jesus as Shapeshifter?

 

Shroud Face with Jerusalem  Pollen 

Oh, no, not another Shroud of Turin documentary? Yes, and this one is from Italy. We were worried at first that it was taking an evangelical position, not a scientific one, but how wrong we were. This film provided information and new science that we had not seen applied to the mysterious shroud.

This has a misleading title called Mysteries of the Holy Sepulchre, but it is really about new scientific experiments on the shroud of Turin.

It is alleged to have been debunked as the shroud of Jesus years ago, but new pollen science from forensic criminal investigators have taken the information about pollen on the shroud to stunning levels.

It seems there are three kinds of pollen from plants that can only be found in the area of Jerusalem and Hebron.

Scientists of all persuasions from Italian universities weigh in on the subject. They even find dirt rubbed onto the shroud from knees and feet, and that too is native to Jerusalem.

One botanist notes that the blooming flowers placed on a body during burial in that culture only bloomed in March and April. By tying together with historical information, they conclude the victim died the first week of April during the middle years of Pilate’s reign.

Going back to the gospels to tightly parse the wordage, they glean that the description of the shroud was that it was in two pieces, found still tied together, but missing the body that had apparently evaporated. In fact, all the signs of what now is called shapeshifting are present: he left one form and took on another that removed his physical presence from the shroud. By leaving the shroud in a flash, he changed shape or morphed into something else. He may have become an orb.

It begs the question why these rather ordinary people in a backward country suddenly went out of their way to tell this story and keep it alive. It shocked them. The earliest surviving fragments of the New Testament are then traced to about 50 A.D. or about twenty years after the events explained.

As to resurrection and transfiguration, science now can replicate the coloration on the shroud through a combination of radon gas and radioactive UV light in a sudden burst. There are no machines now in existence that are powerful enough to put an image on cloth, but it is feasible theoretically.

So, did we come away from this documentary better educated and taken aback? You better believe it.

 

Oak Island Ends 7th Season with $ Whimper

DATELINE: The Price is not Right.

 Star is born.

When Gary Drayton is doing the History Channel promos for the last episode of the season, you know they have a new star on their hands.

It’s raw November as the season ends, and the digging time is over. The so-called Fellowship’s final dig becomes too dangerous and is curtailed because of collapsing tunnels. It is the worst news of the season.

Attention immediately shifted to the swamp. It was a docking area and a man-made site, and Dr. Ian Spooner brings the most interesting news. He dated tree branches and rushed to give them the dates of his findings.

The swamp was created in 1200 A.D. which seems to be Templar. It is a stunning historical event, though this is secondary to finding gold in most eyes.

Marty Lagina resisted any idea of the swamp being important, but now he has found that answers are there. If the swamp was made in 1200, you have something momentous, far earlier than the Columbus discovering America notion.

Human activity could include tunneling 800 years ago. There is a stronger sense that there were several treasure burials. A second group may have taken advantage of their knowledge about the early excavations.

If there is cold water, Marty Lagina has the right to throw it on this exploration. He now states that additional digging for the Money Pit may now tally into the tens of millions. At what point does the treasure wash out by the cost of retrieving it?

Should they dig down 250 feet and create a concrete circle in which you may find the treasure?  It seems beyond feasible. How much profit can you dig out of this series?

A memorial to honor Dan Blankenship was created immediately, no matter what else happens. Dan’s not able to be there, but his presence will remain.

 

Shatner & Shakespeare on Oak Island

DATELINE: Shatner Returns to Treasure Hunt

 Cold Day in November!

We know how much everyone enjoyed William Shatner on Oak Island, but he must have also enjoyed it because he has come back for the final night of season 7.

His theory is worthy of the UnXplained,and we fully concur with him.

There is a fairly sharp start that indicates that Shakespeare may have been borderline literate: his father and mother were illiterate and only middle-class. His own education was fair, not royal and not comprehensive.

So, Shatner takes some relish in debunking the Bard and suggesting the real writer was a man with credentials, like Sir Francis Bacon, member of the Elizabethan court. There may even be several authors, as Shatner hints.

Cyphers in the original folio have intrigued researchers that there is something that matches Nolan’s Cross on Oak Island. In fact, Bacon was connected to Knights Templar through Rosiecrucians—and he may have known of the secret vaults on Oak Island—and chose to bury his Shakespeare originals there.

One can find that The Tempest may be confessional in terms of Bacon burying “my booke.”  If overlaid on the final page of The Tempest, you find a spot that would correspond to the Eye of the Swamp on the Island.

We were amused when Rick Lagina called Bacon the Michelangelo of his day: if history is correct, they were almost contemporaries as Michelangelo’s death crossed the date of Bacon’s birth. Technically, he was right.

Parchment was found over 160 feet below the earth. Bookbinding material was found near the Money Pit deep down.

Even the Laginas seemed intrigued that Shakespeare’s first folio is there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eero Saarinen: More than a Crossword Name

 DATELINE:  Gateway to Modern Architecture

   Eero-port Terminal.

 American Masters did a one-hour biography of the notable architect whose name dominates New York Timescrossword puzzles. Of course, he is one of the most modern of all kinds of American architects (by way of Finland as a boy).

Saarinen is best known as the man who designed the St. Louis Gateway Arch, iconic like the Pyramid of Giza. He wanted something to last 1000 years—and his arch may well reach that grandeur.

This documentary is mostly narrated by his son Eric who is a noted film cinematographer—not following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. He was alienated from his pater, but this film (he confesses) has changed him by seeing what marvels his father created: from a John Deere office building to Kresge Auditorium at MIT, or even a hockey rink at Yale.

His aides told him all hockey rinks were barns, so he designed one at Yale that is staggering in its Norse winter sports notions.

His father was hard to eclipse. Eero grew up with his father’s friends Gustav Mahler and Sibelius hanging around the house. He was bounced on Frank Lloyd Wright’s knee. Heavens, he was destined to create great buildings.

He made only one house—a glass marvel with stunning modern light. He is airier and brighter than Wright.

Yet, we must admit that these creative geniuses are not particularly good at being a family man. Eero was not an exception, but his second wife got him on the cover of Time—and the rest is history.

Shatner’s UnXplained recently claimed his great Arch is meant as a weather control system to deflect thunder and lightning. No such grandiose claims are made here—only breathtaking buildings and grounds, not to mention furniture.

He worked 60 years ago, but looks more modern than anything done today. This film also collects the withering criticism he took over his designs—by those who felt he pandered to 1950s American commerce. How wrong can they be?

We once heard an architectural critique as “nobody wants to live in someone else’s head.” Alas, most heads are devoid of creativity, individuality, or good taste. Thank heavens for Saarinen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for Food in the New Age

DATELINE: Shopping as the Microbe Hunter!

 Deadly bug lurking in supermarket!

After weeks of being hunkered down with food deliveries from hapless UPS and Fed-ex drivers, we decided to brave the new world and go to the local supermarket chain during Senior Hour.

Yes, for three days a week, they have set aside one hour in the pre-dawn darkness for the old vampires to go out and do their shopping. Apparently, the belief among CDC fanatics is that people under 60 won’t be up yet.

No one checked ID cards on the way in—and we suspected a few of the spry ones were under 60.

Marketers are apparently correct. We went out in the dark, and were shocked to see the parking lot full. Not auspicious for recluses who want to avoid people. However, we were delighted to find that shelves were stocked with our favorite junk foods and comfort snacks. We passed on those, and they tend to take years off at one end of the scale.

We grabbed a couple of disinfectant wipes to use to open freezer doors to find the necessities to keep us away from this place for two or three weeks. Welcome to a new cultural phenomenon.

As we traversed the aisles, only one person wore a mask, and nary an oldster blinked. He wasn’t there to rob the joint, only looking for bargains.

We must say that we have not seen so many seniors gathered in one spot since they discontinued Bingo Night at the nursing home.

We wondered how many of these old folks were as terrified as we: worried that some unknown microbe was ready to leap into our nostril and kill us within days. Thanks, corona corona believers who say that it’s the fake flu. Oh, they tell me Trump’s ratings are improving—because lies are always sweeter than the truth, and old bears are never stung until election day.

Oak Island’s Swampy Roots

DATELINE: Swamp Thing

Another discovery now puts the wood dated at 1741, decades before the original slipway and when no one was actuallyliving on Oak Island.

 

No loading docks were needed unles they were unloading and burying something on the island.

 

In 1741 a French fort may have moved a massive gold reserve to Oak Island to keep out of British hands.

 

A visit to Fort Louisbourg 300 miles from Oak Island shows tunnels, walls, and structures built by French engineers. The same work there and Oak Island matches. A 97 ship fleet, led by a descendant of the Knights Templar, went on a mission to Oak Island, but the entire operation failed. Nothing was recovered.

 

Gary Drayton goes out and finds a musketball, which confirms that military people were on the island. They also take in the beach exposed by Dorian. He finds a rigging axe that could be from the early 1700s.

 

Rick Lagina and Doug Crowell show up at the fort and are stunned by the size and complexity of the military outpost. They are particularly interested in the tunnel system. They find a stone drain system similar to the water flow at Smith’s Cove. It’s a French drain.

 

They also find counter-mines, networks of booby traps.

 

There are images of a cross shaped tunnel that mirrors Nolan cross.

 

The entire crew shows up at the swamp to find some unusual rock formations, manmade. The only absentee is Marty Lagina, and son Alex stands in.

 

Dr. Ian Spooner assesses it. He thinks it is a manipulated work area to off-load and hide evidence.

Merlin Among the Stars!

DATELINE: Jan Merlin’s Final Book!

Hand-made card drawn by Jan at Kilimanjaro during film Woman & the Hunter.

My dear friend and coauthor Jan Merlin died a few months ago. He lived a long and creative life. That does not lessen the effect of a hard loss, and I have managed to complete something that was brewing for decades.

Jan knew that I kept all his letters, copies of his emails, and took notes on many of our conversations over the course of thirty years. He steadfastly said he did not want a biography in any traditional sense. But, as the years passed, he often gave me a flood of memories about his years on Broadway, in early TV, and later in movies. I have completed a memoir in his own words.

He worked with so many famous—and he was one of them, knew their foibles and secrets. If I learned anything, it was a secret society—and they all kept their privilege sacred. Yet, he provided me with anecdotes with people from stage like Josh Logan, from movies such as Marlon Brando, from literature like Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, from TV like every Western TV star over 15 years (from Chuck Connors to Michael Landon).

So, I have compiled his memories to provide some amazing insights into the profession of acting and the business of movies. It did not take long to do—as I had been adding bits and pieces after each chat or text.

Now, I have for you a record of an era: the star of two TV series, Tom Corbett and Rough Riders,who played mostly the bad guy on TV westerns, committing every dastardly act and finding come-uppance weekly in a variety of ways.

His voice is clear and direct on every page; he never pulled punches, never played the social game, and he felt he damaged his career with projects like The List of Adrian Messengerwith Kirk Douglas, and he felt John Huston misused him. Even today, he is the man under the masks—but Douglas takes credit for the performance (even in an Oscar compilation clip!).

He gave me a title:  We Were All Six Feet Tall,which I have kept with the main focus, Merlin Among the Stars.It is now available on Kindle as an ebook and the paperback will soon be out for his fans and friends.

When I re-read his letters, there was so much I had forgotten—and never followed up. One example was his friendship with noted crypto-scientist Willy Ley who was tech advisor on his show Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

There are gems from the era—and can only be appreciated by those with a grand sense of the past.

 

 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0831S1RVZ

 

Henry Morgan’s Mystery Ships

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.

 

 

 

Miguel Dieppo: Memoirs of a Penitent Heart

DATELINE: A Lost Generation  

You may never find a more flattering sense of duty and obligation than to have a niece who barely remembered you as a child make a documentary of your life 30 years later. The little documentary is called Memoirs of a Penitent Heart.

Cecilia Aldarnondo was on a mission. Only after making her film did she seem to have second thoughts about letting the dead stay dead. She uncovered more than the tragic death of an uncle who passed away from AIDS during the height of the epidemic.

She tracked down his lover, a former priest who spent twelve years with the young Puerto Rican transplant to New York. They might have been an odd couple, but the family of Michael had no use for him, never followed up on his whereabouts, or even his name. It was for a niece to dredge it all up: to discover an old man who still carried the flame for his lost lover.

Father Bob had saved everything; the love of one’s life is like that.

 

What Cecilia discovers is the fanaticism of religion and how it set up terrible and irreconcilable conflicts between mother and son’s lover. She even tells him on his death bed to remove the friendship ring or he will be denied entrance to heaven.

The director sticks it to her own mother for abandoning her brother Miguel. No one is spared from the hook.

This is a personal film, showing conflicts between gay and straight, between living la vida locain Puerto Rican and immigrating to New York. It shows the genetic horror of learning about a parent’s own sexual secrets.

The film may seem irrelevant if you are not a Catholic, a Puerto Rican, gay, or even promiscuous. Yet, it is relevant and it is moving. The past is always with us, ever changing—and the future is immutable. It’s called irony.

 

Swamp Thing on Oak Island

 DATELINE: Progress on Oak Island

 Treasure Map?

Something is bogged down on Oak Island, under the swamp that is. We do have to admit this season of Curse of Oak Island is the best one so far.

Marty Lagina seems finally to be convinced that there is something in the swamp, though he is one to admit that the rocky side of Oak Island really has never been explored for tunnels. That remains the truly amazing detail.

Once again, academic experts are the real stars of this show. Dr. Ian Spooner provides a perspective of a scientist looking at the swamp—and only when he tells them it is man-made do they feel some vindication. The real question is why it took seven years to confirm a theory that the Nolan-Blankenship diggers postulated decades ago.

Heartthrob Alex Lagina is given a larger role, and lets his younger nephew Peter Fornetti tag along with historian Charles Barkhouse, as they visit Dr. Christa Brosseau at St. Mary’s College in Halifax.

She seems non-plussed at meeting yet another group of visitors from Oak Island. She tells them what Gary Drayton has claimed all along: those swages found were tools that go back to the original searchers, at the latest.

Why haven’t they invited her to the Island? Women are always an afterthought on Oak Island.

The multiple searches also pay off location of remnants of dynamite that was used around 1900 to try to shut off the flood mechanisms that have ruined many a search. Whenever these primitive technological devices were created on Oak Island, they garner respect for those under-educated pirates or knights who buried the whole shebang.

Once again, folkhero Gary Drayton takes on the unenviable task of diving into the swamp to locate iron in a perimeter area that is now called the all-seeing “Eye of the Swamp.”

Don’t let your pineal gland go to your head, but this indicates that there may be a gateway to treasure awaiting us.

 

 

 

 

Errol Flynn & First Bounty Movie

DATELINE: Mr. Christian Goes to Pitcairn

 Errol in 1932

Though most film adventure fans know the story of The Mutiny on the Bounty as a great sea saga starring Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, or Mel Gibson, the first movie version of the historic event came out of New Zealand in 1933. The short film brought Errol Flynn, living legend, to the attention of Hollywood.

The rest as they say is history.

In the Wake of the Bounty is an intriguing docudrama and investigative documentary combined. The first half hour details the offenses of “Lt. Bligh” and the low-minded first officer played by Flynn.

The film hardly makes Flynn heroic or dashing like Captain Blood. That would come later. Here, the movie takes the position that the mutineers were part and parcel of a ragtag drunken group which they call “dark pagans and white fools.”

Flynn’s role, only a few intriguing scenes, shows a man overwhelmed by guilt—taking his wanton crew and their women to some godforsaken island where they will never be discovered.

A silly context of story-telling reveals the first half: the documentary kicks in during 1932 when the director and his crew go looking for the descendants of the actual Bounty and where the wreck may be located.

That part of the movie is by far the most interesting for history buffs.

If you want to see the first motion pictures ever taken of Pitcairn Island, here they are: even in black and white, the rocky island is beautiful, yet intimidating. Christian chose it well as an impossible landing site.

The mutineers died by their own hands, in feuds and rivalries, and Fletcher Christian was killed by the last survivor of the original ship. Yet, we will see the living great grandson of Christian at work, living in the communal society.

The filmmakers fret about in-breeding of the 50 odd families that lived there in 1932. Bounty Bay was visited rarely by ships that brought supplies distributed equally among the residents who know they must band together against adversity.

This is a strange, fascinating documentary and docudrama, notable for more than the discovery of Errol Flynn: it even features underwater photos of the wreckage of Bounty.

 

 

Part Two of Nessie, In Search Of…

DATELINE: Sticking Your Neck Out?

 No Pencil Neck Geeks!

 All wrong, Nessie!

When you have a good one, you beat that horse to death—again. Or, in this case, that Nessie. In Search of…continues its highly impressive probe into the depths of an idyllic loch of Scotland.

Again, Zachary Quinto is around as a narrator, but does no visit to the site.

However, there is now no doubt after the second part that this may be the best, most revealing documentary ever made on the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, the careful building of a profile, in an FBI mode, turns out to show the creature does not have a long neck and may have gills, accounting for so few sightings.

On top of that, they find a similar creature washed up on an island near Scotland in 1808—around the time a canal was built alongside a shallow riverway leading to the Loch. This means the creature had now a highway to follow salmon into the loch.

A scientist disproves the notion that this monster has a neck that can break the surface: it may be more akin to a sturgeon or shark in shape.

It means the migratory pattern of going from Sweden to Scotland is enhanced. It also indicates the creature’s cyclical appearances mean it is not thee annually but may come with a decade lapse.

They have visited the loch in a good year—and armed with new information, go under the frigid surface, 150 feet below to meet up fleetingly with something.

If you are curious or are a Nessie fan, there can be no more heavenly dive than Quinto’s two-part show.