Live Animals Entombed in Wood and Stone

It is one of the strangest phenomena reported. Something that can’t happen, but stories saying it does turn up again and again anyway. Stories of animals found alive locked deep within stone or wood, with no observable way they could have entered. This is the mystery of entombed animals:

Reports of entombed animals found inside stones (reputedly sometimes still alive) date back to the 15th century and have occurred as recently as the 1980s. For example, in a letter to Julian Huxley, an Eric G. Mackley claimed to have freed twenty three frogs from concrete in Devonshire and in 1876 sixty-three small toads were reportedly found in the middle of a five meter wide tree trunk in South Africa.

Scientists have paid little serious attention to the phenomenon since the nineteenth century and most specimens were destroyed after the Victorian era, the world’s only remaining entombed toad resides at the Booth Museum of Natural History in Brighton, was found by two workmen in Lewes in 1898 and donated by Charles Dawson in 1901. It consists of an oval, hollow flint nodule millions of years old containing a mummified toad. The toad apparently was quite famous in it’s hey-day, featured on cigarette cards and in paranormal magazines`and it still tours the globe. Dawson’s explanation is that the toad crawled through a small hole in the rock when it was very small, managed to find enough food to grow but then became too large to escape it’s little prison and eventually died of either old age or starvation. He speculated that if the workmen had split the stone before the animal had died, it would have joined the ranks of the living toads-in-the-hole and suggested that this theory could be provide a tentative answer to the hundreds of findings.

However, Dawson cannot be viewed as an entirely reliable source being blamed now for various ‘imaginative frauds’, most infamously for his involvement in the Piltdown scandal, where a faked anthropoid skull was claimed to be Darwin’s ‘missing link’ between human and ape. Sadly, taking this into consideration along with the fact that the toad has visibly shrunk since it’s original discovery (indicating it was not very old to begin with) it is likely that it could be another faked natural spectacle.

Being at my seat near the village of Meudon, and overlooking a quarryman whom I had set to break some very large and hard stones, in the middle of one we found a huge toad, full of life and without any visible aperture by which it could get there…The laborer told me it was not the first time he had met with a toad and the like creatures within huge blocks of stone…

This account, which appeared in the 1761 edition of Annual Register, was attributed to Ambroise Pare, the chief surgeon of Henry III of France in the 16th century. It is an early example of phenomenon. Logically this report is impossible. The stone had to be thousands, if not millions of years old. The toad shouldn’t have a lifetime of more than a few years. If it was really sealed in the stone, how did it get there? Or if it was entombed when the stone was made, how did it survive?

Perhaps one such story over a period of hundreds of years can just be dismissed as a folktale or a hoax, but there are others. Workers doing an excavation in Hartlepool, England, on April 7, 1865, split open a block of magnesium limestone to discover a living toad. The Hartlepool Free Press reported, “The cavity was no larger than its body, and presented the appearance of being cast for it. The toad’s eyes shone with unusual brilliancy, and it was full of vivacity on its liberation.” The animal was very pale when first discovered with a color similar to that of the rock that had encased it, but later the toad turned to an olive-brown. “It appeared,” the Free Press continued, “when first discovered, desirous to perform the process of respiration, but evidently experienced some difficulty, and the only sign of success consisted of a ‘barking’ noise, which it continues to make invariably at present on being touched. The toad is in the possession of Mr. S. Horner, the president of the Natural Historical Society, and continues in as lively a state as when found. On a minute examination of its mouth it is found to be completely closed, and the barking noise it makes proceeds from its nostrils. The claws of its fore feet are turned inwards, and its hind ones are of extraordinary length and unlike the present English toad.”

We can also see an example of a wood entombment by looking at a story from South Africa. In 1876 the Uitenhage Times printed an article reporting that a timberman who was cutting a tree into planks came across a cache of 69 tiny toads, each the size of a grape. The toads were confined to a hole in the tree. “They were of a light brown, almost yellow color, and perfectly happy, hopping about and away as if nothing had happened. All about them was solid yellow wood, with nothing to indicate how they could have got there, how long they had been there, or how they could have lived without food, drink or air.”

According to the Michigan Argus of December 1st, 1871, one man was so curious about these stories he tried his own experiment to see if such things were possible.. M. Herissan, a French savant enclosed three live toads in separate cases of plaster in February of 1771. In April of 1784 Herissan opened the cases, which were still whole, and found two of the toads still alive, though the third was “a martyr to science.” The article continued saying that the animals were handed over to the Academy of Science and a careful examination showed that “the animals had no communication with the external air, and must have existed without the least nourishment.”

Toads aren’t the only subject of these stories. An 1821 edition of Tilloch’s Philosophical Magazine reported a stone mason named David Virture discovered a “lizard imbedded in the stone. It was about an inch and a quarter long, of a brownish-yellow color, and had a round head, with bright sparkling projecting eyes. It was apparently dead, but after being about five minutes exposed to the air it showed signs of life.” The rock the lizard had been found within had been some 22 feet underground. “It was coiled up in a round cavity of its own form, being an exact impression of the animal,” the article continues, “This stone is naturally a little damp; and about half an inch around the lizard was soft sand, the same color as the animal…The stone had no fissure, was quite hard, and one of the best to be got from the quarry of Cullaloe…”

Turtles have also gotten this treatment. In August 1975 construction workers in Fort Worth, Texas, were breaking up concrete that had been laid down more than a year before when they came across a living green turtle. The animal must have been caught in the concrete as it had been poured because the body-shaped hole in which it had stayed during that time was clearly visible.

Sometimes two different types of animals have been found together as the account from a World War II British soldier reported in Jerome Clark’s book Unexplained shows:

In Algeria in the early part of 1943, I was working with a team whose job it was to quarry stone that was then used for making roads and filling bomb craters…One morning, we had set off the charges as usual and I started to prise away the rock from the quarry face when I saw in a pocket in the rock a large toad, and beside it a lizard at least nine inches long. Both these animals were alive, and the amazing thing was that the cavity they were in was at least 20 feet from the top of the quarry face. Try as we might, we couldn’t find how it was possible for the two creatures to be where they were – there were no inlets, cracks or fissures leading to the cavity…

Parts of the scientific establishment have taken both an interest in the phenomena, while other members scoff at it. In an article in an 1890 Scientific American a writer declared “Many well authenticated stories of the finding of live toads and frogs in solid rock are on record.” While a few years later the editor for the magazine Nature argued, “It matters little to tell the reporters of such occurrences that the thing is absolutely impossible, and that our believing it would involve the conclusion that the whole science of geology (not to speak of biology also) is a mass of nonsense.”

Most explanations for these events depend on the reporters being hoaxers or bad observers. “The true interpretation of these alleged occurrences appears to be simply this – a frog or toad is hopping about while a stone is being broken, and the nonscientific observer immediately rushes to the conclusion that he has seen the creature dropping out of the stone itself,” says a writer in Nature. This explanation runs in the face of many of the reports where the animal was found in a cavity shaped like the animal itself.

Cases of entombed animals remain a mystery. Clearly the Scientific American writer is correct in saying that there seems to be no answer to this puzzle unless we are willing to rewrite the science of geology or biology. Still, it seems the phenomena exists. Undoubtedly some of the reports are hoaxes, others are errors, but many remain a true mystery for a future scientist to resolve.

Via: UnMuseum and TheOddmentEmporium

The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

Diving Horses were an attraction that was popular in the mid 1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 60 feet. William “Doc” Carver “invented” the idea of horse diving exhibitions.

Allegedly, in 1881 Carver was crossing a bridge over Platte River (Nebraska) which partially collapsed. His horse fell/dived into the waters below, inspiring Carver to develop the diving horse act. Carver trained various animals and went on tour. His partner, Al Floyd Carver constructed the ramp and tower and his rider Lorena Carver was the first rider. Sonora Webster joined the show in 1924. She later married Al Floyd Carver.

The show became a permanent fixture at Atlantic City’s very popular venue, Steel Pier. There, Sonora, Al and Lorena continued the show following his death. In 1931, Sonora and her horse “Red Lips” lost their balance on the platform. Sonora survived the fall, but was blinded (caused by detached retinas in both eyes).

Via: TheOddmentEmporium

Cattle Mutilations

On October 9, 1967, the Associated Press carried an item that told of the possible role of UFOs in the killing of Snippy, a three-year-old gelding. The carcass was discovered about a quarter of a mile from the ranch house of Harry King in the desolate mountain country near Alamosa, Colorado. King notified the horse’s owners, Mr. and Mrs. Burl Lewis, who were disturbed by the condition of the carcass, which suggested that something out of the ordinary had been responsible for their horse’s demise.

A pathologist admitted bewilderment when he found the horse’s abdominal, brain, and spinal cavities to be empty. All flesh had been stripped from the horse’s head and neck, but the rest of the animal was untouched except for the openings left by the mysterious surgery. Although the carcass had lain exposed for several days, it was not unduly decomposed, nor had it begun to smell. Even more unusual is the fact that no predators, vultures, or buzzards had approached the carcass.

UFO investigators stated that they had noted a high radiation count around Snippy’s remains and reported finding areas where the Chico Brush had been squashed to within 10 inches of the ground. Fifteen circular exhaust marks were found 100 yards from the carcass of the horse. Six identical holes, each two inches wide and four inches deep, were found in a nearby area. In addition, the investigators said that they found the imprint of a circle 75 feet in diameter, and a number of smaller areas where the Chico Brush had been flattened in circles 15 feet in diameter.

Reports of Snippy’s supposed death at the hands of alien specimen collectors received elaborate play and bold headlines across the nation. The official word was that Snippy had been killed by lightning, but UFO investigators quickly denounced such an analysis and the enigma of animal mutilations has continued into the twenty-first century.

Cattle are the most frequent victims of these mysterious mutilations, and according to forensic pathologists who have examined many of these animals, traditional surgical instruments were not used—but the incisions appear to be the result of an advanced laser technology. Most investigators have eliminated the possibility that predators or scavengers could so neatly incise and remove select organs from their victims. And the obvious problem with blaming predators and scavengers is the fact that all the rest of the animal remains intact. A number of veterinarians and forensic scientists who have investigated the mysterious mutilations have described the blood as appearing to have been drained with no resultant vascular collapse. The known technology that could process such an accomplishment does not exist, and if it did, it would seem to have to be big and heavy to manipulate some animals weighing well over 1,500 pounds.

According to most accounts, tracks or markings of a conventional nature, such as tire imprints or human or animal tracks, have never been found near a mutilated carcass, but many farmers and ranchers have reported the indentations of a tripod nearby. And there have been numerous reports of UFOs seen in the area and in the immediate vicinity of a cattle mutilation.

Many investigators are openly skeptical about blaming cattle mutilations on aliens. In the opinion of many veterinarians, livestock association officials, forensic pathologists, chemists, and a host of county, state, and federal officers and agents, such alleged mutilations are simply the result of Mother Nature fulfilling one of her primary responsibilities of keeping the countryside clean. The true perpetrators of the mystery of animal mutilations, according to these investigators, are predators and scavengers. All the tales of bloodless carcasses, organs removed with surgical precision, and so forth, are the work of sensationalist journalists, excitable ranchers, and paranoid UFO conspiracy theorists.

Regardless of a great deal of official skepticism toward the subject of cattle mutilations, it does appear to comprise a genuine mystery. And every time that a mutilated cow is found with its tongue, eyes, ears, anus, udder, and genitalia removed without apparently shedding a drop of blood and without the culprits leaving any tracks whatsoever, aliens, satanic cultists, and crews of unmarked black helicopters are named as the suspects. One of the favorite theories of the alien/government conspiracy buffs is that a branch of the secret government made a deal with the aliens that would enable them to sustain themselves on Earth by ingesting a particular enzyme, or hormonal secretion, most readily obtained from the tongues and throats of cattle. Further, it seems that this same type of animal mutilation occurs worldwide with the same kinds of animals every time.

Reports from Argentina in July 2002, stated that beginning with the first detected mutilation in April, more than 200 cattle had been found with their blood drained, their tongues, organs, flesh, and skin removed by angular, nearly curved, cuts. Although the official explanation centered on a carnivorous mouse, no one, from ranchers and veterinarians to biologists specializing in rodents have ever seen mice feed upon cow carcasses. Crews from UFOs were most often named by ranchers as the most likely mutilators of their cattle herds.

The most prominent researcher in the bizarre field of animal mutilations is Linda Moulton Howe, author of Glimpses of Other Realities (1998). Howe has documented hundreds of abnormal, inexplicable deaths of animals, mostly cattle and horses on the open range—all of which died because of bloodless excisions and the removal of eyes, organs, and genitals.

When she began her intensive research in the fall of 1979, Howe suspected that there was some sort of contamination in the environment, and that some government agency was secretly harvesting tissue and fluids for examination. But she could not fathom why any government agency working in secrecy would be so careless as to leave the carcasses of the cattle lying in the fields or ranges, thereby creating alarm and anger among the owners of the animals. Howe’s early interviews were with ranchers and law enforcement officers, who reluctantly informed her of the sightings of glowing disks in the vicinity of the cattle mutilations. Some witnesses even told her of having seen nonhuman entities at the scene. Her continuing research has convinced her that something very strange is going on, which may, indeed, involve alien experimentation with Earth’s animals.

Via: UnexplainedStuff

Mike the Headless Chicken

Have you ever heard the expression, “Running around like headless chicken”? How ’bout “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off for 18 months”?

Since the early days of industrialism, farmers have been preparing their meals in typically the same fashion: the cows are milked, the crops are grown, and the livestock is slaughtered. However, on September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado found the process to be a bit trickier than usual.

Lloyd’s mother-in-law was over for supper, and so Mrs Olsen decided she’d prepare a chicken for dinner. Lloyd made his way to the yard and chose his victim: A 5-month old rooster by the name of Mike. However, when Lloyd took aim and swung his axe at the bird’s jugular, the blade missed the target. The head was severed and the only remains intact were one of Mike’s ears and most of his brain stem. Who knew that this is all it took for Mike to continue living a somewhat healthy life?

As it turned out, Mike could still balance on a perch and even walk clumsily after the botched decapitation. His attempts to crow were a different story, however. All that he was capable of were gurgling sounds from his neck. Mr Olsen decided he would continue to care for Mike, and was able to feed Mike a mixture of milk, water and ground up corn through his neckhole with an eye-dropper.

Here’s a video excerpt of a documentary featuring Mike, which aired on PBS:

When word caught on of farmer Olsen and his peculiar chicken, crowds began to gather to witness Mike firsthand. It wasn’t long before the bird was recruited to tour with a sideshow of animal oddities, and even ended up on the cover of Time and Life magazines. During the height of Mike’s popularity, he ended up taking in more than $4,500 a month with admission prices, which would equal roughly $50,000 today.

It all ended in March of 1947, when Mike started choking in the middle of the night. The Olsens could not save him in time because they had mistakenly left their cleaning and feeding syringes at the sideshow the previous day. Theories were stated that Mike’s severed trachea was unable to take in air properly, and he choked as a result.

After Mike’s death, it was revealed that he was capable of living after his life-changing accident due to a clot that prevented him from bleeding to death. And since most of his brain stem was still intact, controlling basic functions such as breathing, heart-rate and reflexes, he was able to live a miraculous life.

To this day, the legend of Mike the Headless Chicken still lives on. The annual “Mike the Headless Chicken Day” is still held in Fruita, Colorado on the third weekend of May. Such events as “Pin the head on the chicken” and the “5K run like a headless chicken race” are held to commemorate a bird who truly made an impact in the bizarre and twisted subculture of sideshow animals. And to think how different the world would be if Mrs Olsen decided to make lambchops for dinner instead…

You can find out more about Mike on his official website miketheheadlesschicken.org, including photos, video and more information.

Via: EnvironmentalGraffiti

Image Dump: 021511

Austria’s Green Lake

A rare natural phenomenon turns one of Austria’s most beautiful hiking trails into a 10 meter-deep lake, for half the year.

Located at the foot of the Hochschwab Mountains, in Tragoess, Styria, Green Lake is one of the most bizarre natural phenomena in the world. During the cold winter months, this place is almost completely dry, and used as a country park where hikers love to come and spend some time away from urban chaos. But as soon as temperatures rise, the snow and ice covering the mountaintops begin to melt, and the water pours down, filling the basin below with crystal-clear water.

Water levels go from one-two meters at most, to over 10 meters, in the early summer. The waters of Green Lake are highest in June, when this extraordinary place is invaded by divers, curious to see what a mountain park looks like underwater. Fish swimming over wooden benches, a grass-covered bottom, trees, roads, roads and even bridges create a surreal setting that feels like it belongs on dry ground. That’s because for half of the year, that’s exactly where it’s at.

Via: OddityCentral

Execution By Elephant

An unusual form of capital punishment used throughout history.

Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The animals were trained and versatile, both able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly over a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were used to signify both the ruler’s absolute power and his ability to control wild animals.

The sight of elephants executing captives attracted the interest of usually horrified European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.