The Number Stations

Numbers stations are mysterious shortwave radio channels of indiscernible origin that exist in countries all across the world and have been reported since World War 1. They are identifiable by the unusual contents of their broadcasts: seemingly random sequences of numbers, words, letters, tunes, and Morse code, usually spoken by artificially generated voices of women and children.

The most common theory regarding the purpose of these bizarre stations is that they’re used by governments the world over to secretly transmit encrypted commands and messages to spies. That said, even though numbers stations have been discovered all over the globe and in any number of different languages, no government has ever officially acknowledged their existence. While the espionage theory is a logical one, with no official confirmation of their purpose the jury is still out.

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One particularly odd station, UVB-76, has existed since the late 1970s and has broadcast a simple, repetitive buzzing tone 24 hours a day ever since. On very rare occasions, however, listeners have reported a Russian voice interrupting the buzz to read out sequences of numbers and words, always in a consistent format — this happened once in 1997, once in 2002, once in 2006, 56 times in 2010, and 14 in 2011. As with all numbers stations, its true purpose is and will probably remain unknown, but the increase in frequency of whatever it’s doing is certainly odd.

You can listen to well over 100 recordings of numbers stations for free on archive.org but be forewarned that they’re all kind of, well, eerie. They feel like something you shouldn’t be listening to, which stands to reason since apparently you’re not supposed to know they exist.

Via: NowYourAfraidoftheDark

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Arthur Furguson, The Monumental Confidence Man

Retired Glasgow-born actor Arthur Furguson was a terrific salesperson. However, like many other such people, he was unaware of his talent until one inspiring day when the perfect opportunity presented itself to him. His moment happened in Trafalgar Square, one bright and sunny morning in 1923. The source of his revelation was a rich American from Iowa, who he found staring reverently at Nelson’s Column.

Furguson decided to appoint himself as the official guide to the Square. Speaking to the American, he explained that the statue atop the column was of Admiral Lord Nelson, one of Britain’s most famous seafarers and naval heroes. He had died in during the Battle of Trafalgar, after which the square was named. Such a terrible shame, he sighed. The square wouldn’t feel the same without it. However, it all had to go, lions and fountains included. Britain’s debts were sky-high, and the government had decided to sell off the landmark to the highest bidder.

The American was interested and inquired as to the price. Furguson mused and explained that it was to be sold for just £6000. Obviously, it would have to go to the right buyer: someone who would protect and appreciate a monument of this scale.

Furguson, amazed at his own cunning, immediately went off and cashed the cheque while his customer got in touch with some contractors. They were extremely reluctant to accept the job and told him why. It was not until he received an official assurance from Scotland Yard that he would believe that he had been conned. That summer was a good one as far as Arthur Furguson was concerned. The police however, were far from happy. Another American complained that he had paid £1000 for Big Ben, and another had made a £2000 downpayment on Buckingham Palace.By a curious coincidence, it was Furguson himself who had been entrusted by the government with the task of organising the sale, which had to be kept top-secret. The American pleaded with Furguson to allow him to jump the queue. At last he relented and telephoned his employers for instructions. He returned within a matter of minutes. It was decided that Britain was prepared to accept a cheque right away, to complete the deal as soon as possible.

While visiting Paris, he managed to sell the Eiffel Tower for scrap at an unknown price to yet another American. Since Americans had all been his best customers, he decided to continue his work in their country. In 1925, he leased the White House to a Texan cattle-rancher for 99 years at $100,000 a year, with the first year’s rent payable in advance. Furguson’s bank balance was now sufficiently large for him to consider retiring. His vanity got the better of him however, and he wanted to end his career with a grand finale. Whilst in New York, he found the perfect victim, an Australian from Sydney. Furguson told him that the entrance to New York harbour was to be widened and unfortunately, the Statue of Liberty was in the way. However, sentimental attachments was not going to stop the path of progress, and the US State Department was prepared to sell it to anyone who would to take it away.

The Australian attempted to raise the £100,000 deposit over the next couple of days. Furguson was practically glued to his side, carefully steering him away from anyone with whom he might be tempted to boast about his venture. Furguson kindly allowed himself to be photographed with his buyer, arm in arm in front of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, there was a delay in getting the money through. Furguson grew impatient, and the Australian was suspicious. He took the photograph of himself and Furguson to the police. It was exactly the breakthrough the police wanted. They already knew about the salesman of monuments, but he had always managed to escape them. The Australian led them straight to Furguson, who was promptly arrested.

Furguson was jailed for five years, a rather small price to pay for the fortune he had made. He was released in 1930, and moved to Los Angeles where he lived in a lap of luxury (paid for by a few more convenient tricks) until he died in 1938.

Via: Dark-Stories

His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States

Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco, California, who in 1859 proclaimed himself “Emperor of these United States.”

Born in England, Norton immigrated to San Francisco in 1849 after receiving a bequest of $40,000 from his father’s estate. He lost his fortune investing in Peruvian rice. After losing a lawsuit in which he tried to void his rice contract, Norton left San Francisco.

He returned a few years later, apparently mentally unbalanced, claiming to be the Emperor of the United States. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented.

Norton spent his days inspecting San Francisco’s streets in an elaborate blue uniform with gold-plated epaulets. Although penniless, he regularly ate at the finest restaurants in San Francisco; restaurateurs took it upon themselves to add brass plaques in their entrances declaring “by Appointment to his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States.” Such “Imperial seals of approval” were prized and a substantial boost to trade. No play or musical performance in San Francisco would dare to open without reserving balcony seats for Norton.

On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at a street corner, and died before he could be given medical treatment. The following day, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage to Norton.

Via: TheOddmentEmporium

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz, also referred to as “The Rock,” is rich in American history, more so than most people realize. It is the home of the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast, a Civil War fortress that served as the San Francisco Arsenal, the infamous federal prison, the beginning of the American Indian Red Power movement, and also a bird sanctuary.

In 1775, Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala named the island “La Isla de los Alcatraces” which translates into “The Island of the Pelicans.” Since then, the earliest recorded owner of the island is Julian Workman, who was assigned by Mexican governor Pio Pico to build a lighthouse on it in June 1846. In 1850, President Millard Fillmore claimed Alcatraz Island for military use only after America gained California in the Mexican-American War. As the American Civil War broke out in the early 1860s, Alcatraz was loaded up with cannons and served as storage and protection of firearms for the San Francisco Arsenal. During the war it was also used to imprison Confederate sympathizers. In 1868, after the building of a brick jailhouse, it was officially designated a long-term facility for military prisoners.

The main cellblock was constructed between 1909, and 1912, and an excavated pit was created as a dry moat to increase defensive efforts. The fortress was deactivated as a military prison in 1933, and opened as a federal prison in August of 1934. Through 1963, the prison held many notable criminals like Al Capone, Bumpy Johnson, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz). However, in all of the 29 years it was in operation, no prisoners ever successfully escaped, or at least none that they have found alive.

Fourteen escape attempts were made by thirty six different Alcatraz inmates over the years and though almost all were captured or killed in the process, in two escapes in 1937, and June 1962, the inmates disappeared without a trace. The prison assumes they all drowned, (quite likely correct in the 1937, case) but over the years there have been sightings of the escapees, leading to much speculation has been made about their possible successful escape. The 1962, escape from Alcatraz inspired a book and movie of the same name which brought the prison to national fame.

The penitentiary was closed in 1963, due to the high costs of operation in comparison with other prisons as well as the severe eroding of the building due to the salt water. In 1976, Alcatraz Island became part of the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986, it became a National Historic Landmark.

Via: AtlasBbscura.com

Unit 731

During the second Sino-Japanese War and World War II the Japanese military formed an infamous secret squadron whose goal was to research and develop biological and chemical warfare. This unit showed no remorse and carried out some of the most heinous experiments in human history on men, women, children, and infants. Thousands of civilian and military personnel were subjected to human experimentation.

Ping Fang was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731. Often refered to as the “Asian Auschwitz” the facility had an airport, railway, dungeons medical facilities and an incinerator where the bodies of the victims were disposed of. The Japanese burnt most of Ping Fang to destroy the evidence of their crimes but the incinerator remains and is still used by a local factory that has taken over the complex.

In 1942, Shiro Ishii, began field tests of the germ warfare agents developed by Unit 731, He also began testing various methods of dispersion (i.e. via firearms, bombs, gas, clothing, etc.) on both Chinese prisoners of war as well as, operationally on battlefields and against civilians in Chinese cities. Some historians estimate that as many as, 200,000+ died as a result of the bio-weapons that were deployed. His unit also conducted physiological experiments on human subjects, including vivisections, forced abortions, simulated strokes, heart attacks, frostbite and hypothermia.

Arrested by the American authorities at the end of World War II, Ishii and Unit 731 leaders received immunity in 1946 from war-crimes prosecution before the Tokyo tribunal in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. Many of the scientists involved in Unit 731 went on to prominent careers in post-war politics, academia, business, and medicine. Ishii never spent any time in jail for his crimes and died at the age of 67 of throat cancer.

Initially set up under the Empire of Japan’s Kempeitai military police to develop weapons of mass destruction for potential use against Chinese, and Soviet forces. Unit 731, was officially disbanded in August of 1945, when the Russian’s invaded Manchukuo and discovered another of the highly secret Japanese programs. Unit 200 was researching bio warfare.

Unit 731 was divided into eight divisions:
Division 1: Research on bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax, typhoid and tuberculosis using live human subjects. For this purpose, a prison was constructed to contain around three to four hundred people.
Division 2: Research for biological weapons used in the field, in particular the production of devices to spread germs and parasites.
Division 3: Production of shells containing biological agents. Stationed in Harbin.
Division 4: Production of other miscellaneous agents.
Division 5: Training of personnel.
Divisions 6–8: Equipment, medical and administrative units.

Some of the experiments conducted by Unit 731 and its subsidiary units included:

Vivisection, victims were subjected to live autopsy without anesthesia whereupon they were purposefully infected with diseases (including pregnant women who were impregnated by doctors). The reasons for this was to study the effect on human organs and avoid decomposition from affecting results, amputate limbs to study blood loss and the effects of rotting and gangrene (some limbs were later attached to the other side of the body), parts of the stomach, liver, brains and lungs were often removed to observe the effects.

Weapons testing, grenades, mortars and other explosive devices were detonated near living targets to determine the effects with regards to different distances and angles. So they could determine how long victims could survive with their sustained injuries while others were tied to stakes and were subject to the use of biological bombs, chemical weapons, and other explosive material.

Germ warfare, male and female prisoners were injected with venereal diseases in the disguise of inoculations (or sometimes infected via rape) to determine the viability of germ warfare, victims were infested with fleas in order to communicate the disease to an organism which could be later dropped onto a populace. Fleas themselves were also tainted with cholera, anthrax, and the bubonic plague, as well as, other plagues. These were later dropped in the guise of clothing and supplies which resulted in the estimated death of another 400,000 Chinese civilians. This was the origin of the “flea bomb” which infected large geographic areas and polluted land and water.

In other experiments victims were hung upside down to observe how long it took for one to die due to choking and the length of time until the onset of embolism occurred after inserting air into ones blood stream.

Many think these atrocities were overlooked because The United States feared that the Soviet Union might acquire Ishii’s expertise and records through a secret deal. Allied POWs had a lot of stories to tell about biological experimentation on humans. Prosecutors at the Tokyo War Crimes trials were warned not to investigate the specific crimes and by 1948, all Unit 731 members were offered immunity in exchange for data and co-operation.

The discovery of the bodies beneath Tokyo, broke a cover-up which lasted for more than four decades. Suddenly, allied servicemen started telling about their ordeals. Joseph Gozzo, a former aviation engineer, had glass rods inserted in his rectum during his internment. He said “Damn right I remember; I can’t believe our government let them get away with it”.

Ex-POW, Frank James, shared his memories with a US House of Representatives sub-committee in 1986: “We were just pawns. We Always knew there was a cover-up”. The House of Representatives hearing lasted just half a day and only one of 200 US survivors was permitted to testify in front of the chief archivist for the US Army. The official report said that files provided by Ishii were returned to Japan in the 1950s and copies had not been made.

Initially, the US and Japanese governments denied that atrocities had occurred but when official information was made public from General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters that stated that the investigation of Unit 731 was “under the direct supervision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The utmost secrecy was essential in order to protect the interests of the United States and to guard against embarrassment.” Finally, in 1993, US Defence Secretary William Perry declassified records of WWII biological experiments.

For more information on Unit 731 there is also a documentary titled “Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria” and a graphic movie titled “Man Behind the Sun“.

Via in Part by: AboveTopSecret and DawnOfDarkness

Happy 4th of July

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. Take some time and remember what the holiday truly stands for then celebrate the anniversary of our independence the best way you know how. I’ll be enjoying family, friends, fireworks, fermented beverages and fantastic food! Oh yea and don’t forget to cheer on the contestants of Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, Sunday July 4th from noon till 1pm on ESPN!

Cheers,
-Circa71