Dark Side of DNA Test Kits

DATELINE:  DNA Results You Don’t Want

Brass Spittoon Like Grandpa Used!

For all those dozens of heartwarming stories about family reunions owing to genetic testing, there is a cautionary side that is quite ugly. And, I have found it in my DNA.

Spit in a tube may be the truest metaphor for some genetic results. Before you swab your inside cheek for the holiday result, let me give you some advice.

I have dozens of people now on my “cousin” list, some of whom have asked me what I know about my grandfather on my mother’s side. I tell them nothing. When I do tell them what I know, they never again bother me. They are as horrified as I.

It seems this man who is now my genetic and biological grandfather is an anonymous fiend who raped my grandmother over 90 years ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was one of several victims in North Cambridge.

Dutiful woman, my biological grandmother did not abort the child that was the result of a rape assault. She gave up my mother for adoption instead. She thought she knew who the rapist was because police later arrested a man named Farrell.

Several Cambridge woman identified him, and he went to prison for life. It now appears his life was ruined and reputation in tatters unfairly and unjustly. He was indeed innocent. He fought his conviction for fifty years, but died in a Massachusetts prison, convicted as a rapist.

Now, I am the living DNA  proof this man was innocent.

It is an appalling burden. Names cannot be changed to protect the innocent, but the hundreds of new-found cousins are actually daily reminders that they are living in a fantasy world: one of their blood relatives was a sexual predator who escaped punishment for more than a few rapes.

Oh, like in a good James Cain novel, he went to prison for something else. He was called the Moonlight Bandit, a cretin who police could identify as a robber of small businesses because he was seen in bright moonlight.

Two issues jump out at me every day: the notion of not having an abortion means that generations down the line will now face unpleasant family ancestors. And second, that I am nothing like this man: yet,  how much genetic code is in me?  I think how little I resemble these new “family” members. Thank heavens.

If you want a cautionary tale about illegitimate children being foisted on others as theirs, you will find it sadly enough in your DNA testing kit. Beware.

Rudolph Valentino’s Hometown

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.

Roanoke: Where Did All the Flowers Go?

DATELINE: Closer than an Old Map

Zachary Quinto tackles the lost settlement of Virginia in Colonial times.  It’s like Plymouth decided to pull up stakes and not have Thanksgiving. Roanoke was the first real town in the new world of English outgrowth:  and they bailed.

In Search of….turns it high sonar spotlight on an entire community in the middle of a hostile wilderness that disappeared because there was no mass communication, no way of keeping in touch.

It’s not the biggest mystery in the pantheon, nor the most important, but it holds tight to a small corner of the “lost” market. Once again, owing to production timetables and in an effort to afford Quinto, he is absent from the episode, short of standing before a screen image.

His compelling narration remains the key to the show. He delineates theories about how the problem of 1587 started and grew into a catastrophe in the making: colonists were stranded in a location that never intended to settle, and they were not sufficiently supplied. Hostile natives also seemed a problem. Over 100 people simply vanished, but coastal erosion may have erased their original fort home.

Three years later, a supply mission found them all gone, their settlement dismantled, and one cryptic message carved into a tree: letters CRO hinted at another location, as if they left a roadmap to their move.

It appears the inhabitants for unknown reasons may have moved to an earlier sieged fortress called Site X, or southward to more friendly natives at Cape Hattaras. As real historical research is depicted, we continue to have one of the brightest of all TV documentaries in this series.

The oldest missing persons cold case turns ultimately to DNA technology to discover there are descendants of English and native bloodlines who still live in that area. Case almost closed?

 

 

 

 

 

Aliens & Your DNA

DATELINE:  Latest Ancient Aliens Horror!

Nick Redferne Nick Redferne

There’s a whole lot of blood-letting going on in the latest episode of Ancient Aliens on season 14 when it comes to your blood type and those space creatures messing with your genetic code..

Those pesky aliens appear to be planning to create a hybrid race.  It’s like a bad flight out of that old chestnut movie Mars Needs Women.  Except there won’t be any marriages, just some splicing of your DNA .

The latest episode hits on familiar themes of animal mutilation, interfering in the family tree, and alien abduction to take your precious bodily fluids.

We see the catalogue and history of images of animals with human heads .  According to the shows experts, this is the work of experimentation thousands of years ago by nefarious space creatures. For good measure, they show presents evidence of Russian experiments  in the 1950s when they put two heads on one dog.

Yes, they have the hideous photos to prove this contention.

All this goes to show that those little gray men are green with jealousy over human evolutionary jumps. We may still be in the middle of a great experiment.

Heaven help you if you are RH Negative As they seem to be targeting your blood type. The experts seem positive about this.  Perhaps 50% of all kidnapped victims by aliens have that blood type. And nearly all of those seem to be Basque descendants.

Nick Redferne and Linda Moulton Howe are ringing alarms, like hero Paul Revere. Only they are coming by air!

Two Hitlers for the Price of One

DATELINE: Ancestry.DNA

Son & Hitler?.jpeg Son & Father?

Because we keep our Adolf Hitler dollops in one-hour documentary chunks, we are lumping two films into one review for your edification.

Hitler of the Andes and Hitler’s Secret Son share the bizarre fascination with the worst mass murdering dictator of the Reich. Both seem to deal with highly unlikely scenarios that have more than a little credibility.

Did Hitler live and survive the end of World War II, escaping to the Argentine to live in lavish seclusion? And did the man father a son in France during the first World War? The documentaries give us a resounding “yes!” for an answer.

The recent History series on Hunting Hitler has traced the path of this earlier documentary. However, it seems so unlikely that Hitler would subject himself to the claustrophobic suffering of a U-boat trip across the Atlantic. We prefer Bob Baer’s theory that the U-boats were gas stations along the route of seaplanes that landed, refueled, and gave Hitler a more comfortable ride.

If he made to the rural lands of Argentina, he would find Germanic friends and the lap of luxury. In the second film, we deal with the modern crisis brought on by DNA tracking.

In France, you need a court order for paternity DNA—and 40 years ago, a benighted man learned from his dying mother that he was Hitler’s son. In the 1970s Jean-Marie Lorret was another with 15-minutes of fame and celebrity.

His children, Hitler’s grandkids, alive today, have genetic testing to confirm or deny the connection that few people would want to publicize.

Indeed, some American-born Hitler relations have deliberately sworn to not having children to end the line once and for all time.

It is a horror story to put oneself in the shoes of learning that your father really is the worst human being in modern history. It makes for hypnotic and fascinating viewing, and the results are both a surprise and a cruel fate.

 

 

DNA in Unlikely Places, like Burial Shroud of Jesus

DATELINE:   Scoffers, Begone!

Jesus dna      Shroud of Turin image

Leave it to the History Channel to come up with a quest with two millennial kids who look like they have been given a banana split at the local ice cream parlor. Nonetheless, The Jesus Strand: A Search for DNA is fascinating.

In all fairness, the researchers are George Busby who is a geneticist from Oxford, and his partner is Pastor Joe Basile, with credentials in Bible Studies. They are young and exuberant.

Together they decide with the upgrade in DNA research to see if there is a strand that identifies Jesus of Nazareth and his bloodline. So, before you can hop and skip over 2000 years, they are finding the DNA results from the Shroud of Turin, and the Sudarium of Oviedo in Spain, both purported to be two cloths mentioned in the New Testament.

The jet-setting research is intriguing, and our boyish scientists only betray their preconceived notions when they reject testing bones from a Jewish ossuary that could be confirmation, or denial of a connection.

Some archeological research is new as well, like the bones found ten years ago that are 2000 years old, testing from the 1st century and called the bones of John the Baptist.

They even look at nails, less likely to maintain DNA and a dead end.

Their startling results show how much can still be learned. The blood, on the two cloths, is from the same man who died in crucifixion. With rare AB bloodtype, most prevalent in Middle Eastern people, the man thought to be Jesus shows a connection to the Druze religious sect that has kept its purity for a thousand years.

Someone in his family intermarried with Druze people, likely his mother’s side. The descendants come down from the unnamed sisters of Jesus in the gospels.

Non-believers may scoff, but still find the result not inconsistent with identifying the man of the shroud. Believers may be more inclined to reject the findings that go against their dogma.

All in all, it is a whirlwind of discovery that makes for what passes for revelations in our cynical age.