Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Those Scary Little Christmas Characters

I just love this time of year.  The weather in Phoenix is fantastic and the smell of fireplaces burning is in the air.  The holiday season is in full bloom, with lights going up on the houses, people in the stores shopping for family and friends and many fun holiday events are going on all over the place.  Getting together with family, some you might not have seen in months or years is the best.  Then there are those holiday specials with their cute little characters that you just love.   You watch these movies over and over like many of the other holiday traditions you might have.  But amongst the cute little characters are those scary, creepy characters that frightened you when you was a little kid.  Here are just some of them:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Grinch


Abominable Snowman - Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Snow Miser and Heat Miser - The Year Without a Santa Claus

Burgeomeister and
Winter Warlock - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Uncle Frank - Home Alone

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gremlins: Those Pesty Littly Creatures

 In the 1984 movie “Gremlins”, a young man named Billy was given a unusual gift from his father for Christmas. This very cute creature was a Mogwai which Billy named Gizmo. Most Mogwai are mean spirited and mischievous but not Gizmo. The father was told by the creepy old man that sold him Gizmo, there were three very important things he must follow when owning a Mogwai. 1. Never expose a Mogwai to bright light, especially sunlight. Bright lights will hurt it and the sunlight will kill it.
2. Never feed it after midnight. (I have often wondered, from midnight to when in the morning can you feed it?) It creates a cocoon and what comes out is a fierce little monster called a Gremlin.
3. Never get it wet. If they get wet it will reproduces another which pops from its back.

The father didn’t question these three details that the old man stressed to him, but he did let Billy know what the rules were.

So wouldn’t you know it, Billy’s little friend spilled water on Gizmo and it spawned more Mogwais. However, these creatures appeared to be more deveaous and less sweet than Gizmo. They chewed through Billy’s clock/radio cord so he wasn’t aware that they were given food after midnight. This transformed these Mogwaias into little, evil, destructive monsters known as Gremlins. The Gremilins set out to destroy the town after the leader, Stripes, jump into a pool and spawned hundreds more of them. Basically, Billy saves the day by killing off all the Gremlins but it was not an easy task.

This wasn’t the end. In 1990, “Gremlins 2: the New Batch”, Billy and Gizmo are reunited in NY and it starts all over again…..

Are gremlins real? Wikipedi calls a “Gremlin as an English folkloric creature, commonly depicted as mishcievous and mechannically oriented, with a specific interest in aircraft. Although their origin is found in myths among airmen, claiming that the gremlins were responsible for sabotaging aircraft. Since World War II, different fantastical creatures have been referred to a gremlins, bearing varing degrees of resemblance to the originals.”

Deep in the jungles of Peru sightings have been reported of a creature, Chullachaqui, is demonic and looks like a gremlin. There have been many recent sightings in the rainforest near the Madre De Dios River, with many local tribesmen in fear of coming face to face with the Chullachaqui. This creature seems to be different from any other creature that lives in the forest. Usually there is a strange whistling sound right before it is seen in the thick Peruvian jungles. It is very fast, between 3 and 4 feet tall, has sharp fang teeth, pointy ears, and fur, with a three-toed footprint and is a night-dweller.

Josh Gates and the Destination Truth team recently went looking for this gremlin-like creature. Check out my recap.  The evidence they collected did not find proof that this creature was real, but for the people of Peru, they believe that gremlins exist.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interesting Rock and Mountain Shapes

Thumb Butte, Prescott, AZ
Bell Mountain, Sedona AZ
Camel Rock
Elephant Rock
Elephant Foot Rock
Sleeping Cat
Old Man, New Hamshire
Penguin Rock
Wave Rock

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DT: Bhutan Yeti

In Season 2, Josh took the DT team to the Himalayas in search of the Bhutan Yeti. During the investigation, he and his team came across footprints near a river. They saw one perfect and two partial footprints near each other. They took castings and measured the distance between impressions. They figured that the creature who made the impressions was over six feet tall and weighed between 300 and 400 pounds. They also ruled out a hoax and a bear given the shape and size of the prints, and distance between them. It was concluded that the impressions were made by a creature of unknown origin, possibly a Sasquatch, which thrilled Josh.

The Yeti, by DT:
“First reported in 1832 in Nepal, the large, bipedal, shaggy yet manlike creature has been sighted ever since. Much as Sasquatch was seen around North America, his Asian "cousin" has been suspected to be wandering all across the land. The frequency of his sightings increased as more and more people scaled the Himalayan Mountains, notably Mount Everest.
While never quite captured on camera, people have spotted his shape and even what they believe to be footprints. Researchers have studied the reports for years and years, and several have recently begun to suspect that the Yeti might actually be a more familiar animal. Their principal argument on that point is that "yeti" seems to be a mistranslation of the word "meti" from a local dialect that means "bear".

In this season 3 finale, (already?), he takes the new DT team back to the Himalayas in search of the Bhutan Yeti once more. This 10 day expedition will follow sightings of the Yeti. These sightings have occurred in the remote areas surrounding Bhutan, with most occurring in the warmer months.

They flew first to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to Paro, Bhutan. With Mt. Everest in the background, their plane landed in the most remote airport in the world nestled between the mountains. Their translator, Karma, gave each team member a traditional scarf and then they were on their way. They headed to the capital city where televisions did not exist there until 1999. Setting out through this country is by invitation only and Josh felt honored to be able to explore there. They walked around and ended up at the Nature Conservation Division where Dr. Sangay Wangchuk tells them that the area is full of wilderness and the entire country is dedicated to the national parks. The majority of its citizens believes in the yeti and are afraid of it. Before leaving he shows Josh his collection of Yeti footprints he proudly displays on the wall. They next met up with a local author, Kunzang Choden, who collected various stories about the Yeti. She tells Josh that the Yeti lives at the very high altitude. From Thimpau, Bhutan they travel 17 hours across curvy mountain roads to Trashigang. From there they would have a two day hike to they Yeti preserve to Sakteng where they would set up camp and investigate. Along the way they stop at a monastery to speak with a monk, Zacco Tashy, who claims to have heard the creatures call. Before arriving at their finally destination, they are met by a roving ceremony to ward of evil spirits and creatures. They join in on the roadside ritual, and then in the morning the owner of the lodging showed them vertebra bones she claimed was from a Yeti. As they take off further down the road, it was washed out so they pumped up the rafts and headed down stream. Poor Bicha almost fell over board.

After hiking a few more miles they finally arrived at an open field and set up base camp. The cameras were all set up and Josh, Mike and Evan did a sweep of the perimeter, while Jael, Bicha and Gabe explored the area adjacent to camp. Josh picked up something on the flir on the other side of the river and needed to cross an old wood bridge to get there. While crossing Josh slipped and busted a hole in the bridge under his foot. Meanwhile, Jael and Bicha hear growling and branches breaking. Bicha saw something run past and they found hair on a tree. They also found scratch marks on a tree near where the hairs were found. They collected the evidence.

Josh, Mike and Evan find a cave with many spiders. They head up the mountain further and can't get a hold of base camp. Above them on the trail they hear a noise and saw something move. The thickets were too heavy to continue up. They head back down to try and find the wood bridge and found another one in even worst conditions than the first one. They head back to base camp to regroup. Jael, Josh, Mike and Evan head back to the area where they found the hair and claw marks. Josh gets a hit on the flir, an animal behind the trees walking away. They keep moving when Josh spots an animal and they hear a strange noise. They follow the where the noise came from but found nothing.

Back to base camp to rest before another day of investigation. The next day they continued to hike east at higher altitudes to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, the heart of Yeti territory. More eyewitness sightings have been reported there. They meet up with a farmer, Leki, who tells them that a Yeti ransacked his village and took some of the kids away. He told them to continue to travel east near a river where the Yeti is usually seen. They came to an area where they needed their climbing gear to get down to where they needed to be. Safely on the ground they continued until they found the area that the farmer told them to go. After setting up base camp, Josh, Jael, Mike and Evan headed downstream where they discover a big cave. Josh uses the thermal camera and they noticed branches set up like a nest and they even found hair samples. After bagging the samples, Josh heads inside the cave with Evan while Jael and Mike hang outside and investigate. Jael squeezes inside a small chamber and finds nothing while Josh explores the cave. Finding nothing they head out and continue searching.

Meanwhile Gabe and Bicha are doing another investigation and see eyes off in the distance and something moving up the cliff. They come across a cave where Gabe checks it out and sees scratches on the rocks while in there. They head down river but get stopped by a cliff.

Back with Josh and team he sees an animal on the flir, big and it was moving. He sees it again and they give chase to whatever it was. They find a leg of a deer that looked like it was just bitten off. They decide to head back to the river and hear rocks moving. There is a steep drop to get to the river. They capture the heat signature again. They find a bridge with a bucket to get across and Josh talks Jael into getting in with him. She did not want to go and tells him that he is crazy. They stopped in the middle where Josh pulls them to the other side. After jumping out, they run to the area where the thermal hit was caught. No way to get around and finding a dead end, they headed back to base camp. They let the cameras roll all night while sleeping. They headed out the next day for the four day journey back to western Bhutan.

Back in Los Angeles, Josh took the vertebra photo evidence to Dr. Jim Dines to find out the origin of the bones. He told Josh that they were probably a lower vertebra from a mammal and it matched the vertebra of a black bear. Next Josh heads to Houston Texas to see the results from the hair samples. He arrives at the diagnostic lab in Timpson. He sat down with Dr. Melba Ketchum, an experienced forensic analysis. She told Josh that she usually wasn't too excited about getting the samples because she has seen many like it. However, after running the samples through the database she determined that the hairs tested high on the human panels, is from a primate and is from an unknown species because it didn't match any known primate samples. Josh scores again!