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Showing posts from February, 2014

Victorian Era UFOs

Although the term "UFO" wasn't coined until 1956 (by Edward J. Ruppelt, of Project Blue Book fame), Americans have spotted unidentified flying objects in the sky since the earliest days of our nation's history. Today, we bring you some interesting historical accounts of UFO sightings which took place in America long before words like "flying saucers" and "alien spacecraft" entered the lexicon.  The following accounts appeared in reputable newspapers across the United States during the late 19th century.

Date: November, 1893 
Location: Fairfax County, Virginia

Numbers of colored people living in lower Fairfax county, on the line of the Mount Vernon Railway, are considerably exercised over strange lights which they allege they beheld in the sky last night. The exact description of the pictures they gazed on is not given, but the more antiquated "uncles" and "aunts" among them declare they were similar to those visible in the early…

How Israel Nearly Ended Up In Kenya

Before the establishment of Israel in 1948, the world's Jewish population had no place to permanently call home. In the early 20th century, a Zionist leader named Theodor Herzl led the crusade for the establishment of a Jewish state and, today, many Jewish scholars refer to Dr. Herzl as the father of modern Israel. What many people don't know, however, is just how close this Jewish state came to being located in eastern Africa. That's right; if not for a series unusual events (and perhaps some Divine intervention), the Holy Land very well might have been populated with Jews... as well as wildebeests, giraffes, and rhinoceroses.

Dr. Herzl began his crusade in 1895, when he wrote Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), a book which recommended that Europe's Jewish population re-settle in another location. As for the location of this Jewish state, Herzl pushed for the site of modern-day Israel, but was also willing to settle for Argentina. Herzl's book spurred the Zionist…

Haunted History: Marin County Jail

The Ghost of William Argo

Although Marin County, California, is home to San Quentin- one of the world's most notorious prisons- in the late 19th century it was the tiny county jail in San Rafael which Californians feared the most... on account of a frightening apparition of a man named Argo, who committed suicide inside his cell. Argo's ghost was witnessed by dozens of inmates for a period of several years, and the spirit was so terrifying that some inmates threatened to take their own lives unless they were moved to a different part of the jail.

One of the most interesting stories of the haunted jail comes from 1897, when an inmate named Annie Kehoe vividly described the ghost who visited her in her cell to the deputy sheriff and the county treasurer.
From the April 13, 1897, edition of the San Francisco Call:

Annie Kehoe's Night of Terror in the Haunted Cell at San Rafael

San Rafael, Cal., April 12.-- Once again has the ghost of Argo made its appearance in Marin's count…

Hector Davis: The Man Without Bones

From bearded women to conjoined twins, mankind has always been fascinated by human abnormalities.  While the traveling freak show may have gone the way of the dodo, we can still marvel at Mother Nature's oddities through historical documents and old newspaper clippings.  Unfortunately, no photographs were ever taken of Hector Davis- perhaps the oddest oddity ever created by Mother Nature- but that does not make his life story any less spectacular.

Known as the "boneless man", Hector Davis never became a sideshow attraction; instead, he lived his life content in the remote mountains of eastern Kentucky.  In 1884, he was "discovered" by a U.S. marshal who had gone to Barbourville to track down whiskey moonshiners, and thus the story of Hector Davis came to light.  Newspapers throughout the world ran the story, with a headline proclaiming:

A strange discovery in the Kentucky mountains- a man who can be flattened like a pancake and rolled up like a carpet!

Below is t…

Ghosts of Ancient Giants

One of our favorite topics of research on Journal of the Bizarre is the theory that an ancient tribe of giants once roamed the untamed wilderness of North America.  There is ample historic documentation of giants in America, such as the journal of Captain John Smith, which tells us of his 1608 encounter with 60 eight-foot-tall giants of the Susquehannock tribe which populated much of Pennsylvania (before their mass extinction in the 18th century).  Another topic we find interesting, of course, is paranormal activity.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we absolutely love coming across newspaper articles which blur the boundaries of both.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when vast networks of roads and highways were being built across America, it seemed that construction crews were always turning up the bones of ancient giants.  Farmers, while tilling their fields, would dig up their enormous bones.  Archaelogists would frequently encounter giant skeletons in b…