A recent YouTube video purports to show the San Francisco area being “fried” by radiation, radiation which the videographer somehow knows just had to come from Fukushima. That’s hitting close to home, as I live near San Francisco and really don’t want to sizzle. The “shocking” video is accompanied by all kinds of links, most of which are irrelevant to the claim that he found dangerous radiation. A few, though, were quite helpful.
Regular readers of the blog should have already read Mike Rothschild’s excellent posts on Fukushima scare-mongering. If you haven’t yet, please do so now. He covers the science well and I won’t be adding anything new on the Fukushima radiation itself.
The emailer who alerted Skeptoid to the video pointed out one of the first red flags: Someone who can’t focus a camera on a Geiger counter might not be operating the counter itself correctly. As a thread I found on Slashdot points out, these are instruments that need calibration and training just to be able to interpret. They aren’t like light meters.
I decided to first see if what this fellow was measuring was real. Before doing that, I had to investigate the instrument he was using. Following his helpful link took me to a web page describing this particular counter. Then I found Amazon storefront of General Electromagnetics and the red flags started really piling up. (Note that they also supply hardware for all your ghost-hunting needs.) The store was started ”out of personal interest and concern for the possible dangers associated with overhead power lines, cellular phones, microwave ovens, police radar and all the electronic radiation which increasingly pollutes our modern environment…” Brian has covered these concerns well already, such as here and here.
That led me to Less EMF, where you can find, uh, you guessed it. At least it’s “sophisticated Polyester/Cotton blended with micro-fine stainless steel fibers for excellent radiation protection” rather than just tin foil.
Admit it, you still get a chill when you think back to the urban legends of your youth. Every child hears the stories: masked maniacs, ghosts, alien abductions. And they all must be true, because they totally happened to a friend of a friend’s cousin’s girlfriend. Why would you need more proof than that?
10 • The Suscan Screamer
Is there anything creepier than a dead bride? Apparently not, because stories of these tragic ladies crop up all over the world. On Suscan Road in Pennsylvania, under what used to be called the Susquehanna Railroad Bridge, yet another of these legends has taken hold. According to many locals, if you drive onto the bridge, turn off your car, put the keys on the roof, and wait, you will be able to see the Suscan Screamer in your rearview mirror.
Most stories agree that she is the ghost of a woman who hung herself on the bridge after being dumped at the altar. She was supposed to have screamed loudly as as jumped to her death. But there are other stories from the same area, including a creature that had “webbed feet with long claws and had a huge head.”
Bigfoot-like encounters are also allegedly common in the region. Maybe someone should ask the dead bride if she’s seen anything suspicious the next time she pops into their backseat.
9 • Lillian Gray
This legend all started thanks to a tombstone located in the middle of a cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah. It belongs to a woman named Lillian E. Gray, who died in the 1950s at the age of 77. At first glance, it doesn’t look any different from the other graves surrounding it. Nothing catches the eye until you see the inscription written underneath: “Victim of the Beast 666.”
Now that is a bit unusual.
What could this enigmatic statement mean? Is it some kind of accusation, made by the believers in one of the most religious cities in the nation? Could she have been sacrificed by a Satanic cult? Was she a devil worshiper herself? An innocent woman punished in a Salem-style witch hunt? Those are only some of the rumors intrigued citizens have come up with to explain it.
Of course, there are always those who have to come along and ruin the fun. It looks like the inscription was commissioned by the woman’s paranoid, anti-government husband, who blamed the police for her death. It is hard to say whether that makes the whole thing less creepy, or more so.
8 • The Ghost Of Stow Lake
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California is pretty well-known for its paranormal stories. If you believe locals, it is so full of spirits that you run the risk of crashing straight into one while jogging. They might as well rename it “No One Is Alive Here Park.” But one ghost story has been the most popular and circulated, ever since it appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on January 6, 1908. That’s the story of the Ghost of Stow Lake.
The newspaper piece starts with a man named Arthur Pigeon. He was going just a bit too fast in his car when he was pulled over by police. But he told the officers it wasn’t his fault, as he was trying to get away! He claimed to have seen the ghost of a woman at Stow Lake. She had “long, fair hair and was barefooted.”
The legends always claim this woman was a mother who lost a child, or else killed her child and then herself. America seems to be full of women offing themselves and their offspring.
7 • Bobby Mackey’s Hell Portal
Bobby Mackey’s Music World is a popular honky-tonk bar in Wilder, Kentucky, owned by country singer Bobby Mackey. There are three associated urban legends that have become so popular they are now considered a selling point for the establishment.
The first is that there is an actual portal to Hell located in the Well Room, which allows demons to come into our realm. It isn’t clear why they would want to. Maybe they are really into country ballads and overpriced beer.
As for the two other stories, they are more traditional hauntings. First, you have Pearl Bryan, a real pregnant woman who was found decapitated in the late 19th century. Her lover Scott Jackson and his friend Alonzo Walling were hanged for her murder. Second is the legend of a woman named Johanna, who is said to have fallen in love with a singer at a club that used to exist behind Music World. Her angry father supposedly hanged her lover in his dressing room, leading her to poison herself in retribution. Bobby Mackey wrote a song about the incident, which strongly suggests she is still haunting his bar.
6 • Patterson Road
In Houston, Texas, cultural memories of the Civil War have sparked numerous urban legends. One of the creepiest is centered around Patterson Road, located near Highway Six.
The claims here tend to differ, depending on whom you ask. However, everyone agrees that the ghosts involved were Civil War soldiers. Because, as we all know, every bit of land someone from that period walked across has become a ghostly hot spot by default.
Believers say that if you go onto the Langham Creek Bridge on Patterson at night and park your car with the lights off, you will hear tapping or see a mist surround your car. More skeptical locals will point out that parking your car with your lights off on a busy bridge is a good way to become a ghost yourself.
- 10 Creepy Urban Legends From Around The USA (listverse.com)
- Haunted History: Bobby Mackey’s Music World (weird.answers.com)
- Legend Tripping (ghoststoriesinc.wordpress.com)
- What is an Urban Legend? (myths.answers.com)
- 10 Creepy And Fascinating Videos You Should Watch If You Don’t Want To Get Any Sleep (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Urban Legends & Myths Explained (costumesupercenter.com)
- From Urban Legend to Reality (gnosticbent.wordpress.com)
- Urban Legends Debunked (eteamjournal.wordpress.com)
- 10 Frightfully Creepy Places That Will Give You Goosebumps (addictinginfo.org)
- What was that?? *peers down the basement stairs* (reddit.com)
It was a foggy Sunday morning in San Francisco, in August of 1942. The United States was at war with Japan, and coastal defenses along the western coast of the US remained on high alert for prowling Japanese submarines. A daily chore in San Francisco was a sortie by a naval blimp to look for subs outside San Francisco Bay. Today’s flight of the L-8 started no differently, but the way it ended has kept people talking for more than 70 years.
Unlike a rigid airship, a blimp is just an inflated bag with no structure to help it keeps its shape. Only a few hours after it left, the craft was seen drifting in from the ocean, sagging terribly into a V-shape. Some swimmers at the beach tried to grab it by its hanging control lines but failed. It bounced up the cliff side — dangerously dislodging one of its depth charges and stopping both its engines in the process — and continued its aimless drifting over the San Francisco peninsula. Soon it became entangled in some power lines and finally came to rest in the middle of an intersection in Daly City. As bystanders ran to help, the mystery became immediately evident: there was nobody on board.
The obvious suggestions came right away. Perhaps the men fell out. Perhaps they jumped out, either to commit suicide or to go AWOL. Maybe they got in a fight and threw each other out. Maybe one fell, and the other also lost his grip trying to help him. Maybe they had found a Japanese sub, and were forced to jump out at gunpoint. Nobody could really come up with any better guesses than these, and still to this day, the Navy hasn’t either.
- Skeptoid #380: The Riddle of the L-8 Blimp (skeptoid.com)
Contrary to rampant speculation, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has not made an earth-shaking find just a few months into its Red Planet mission, agency officials said today (Nov. 29).
Rumors of a big discovery began swirling earlier this month, after an NPR story quoted Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger as saying that the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument had recently gathered data “for the history books.”
SAM is capable of identifying organic compounds, the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it. So many people assumed that Curiosity had detected organic compounds in the Martian soil.
But that’s not the case, officials said.
“Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect,” officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., which manages Curiosity’s mission, wrote in a mission update today. “At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.”
Grotzinger, who is a geologist at Caltech in Pasadena, and several other members of the Curiosity team will hold a press conference Monday (Dec. 3) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Don’t expect a bombshell announcement.
“The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil,” JPL officials wrote.
MORE . . .
- Curiosity has “not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics” (jpl.nasa.gov)
- Mars Rover’s Big Discovery is a Big Misunderstanding (newsy.com)
- What’s NASA Found on Mars? (foxnews.com)
- Scientists Speculate on Top-Secret Mars Rover Discovery (space.com)
- Update Set in San Francisco About Curiosity Mars Rover (jpl.nasa.gov)
Nothing mystical or magical here, just sheer awesomeness! Check it out 🙂
via Discovery News
Gymkhana is a timed motorsport involving the memorization of a track with obstacles. DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block is also an expert at rally driving. He took to the streets of San Francisco in his 650 horsepower Ford Fiesta to drive a crazy complex course as fast as possible. Don’t miss it! via Today Show
Click here for more Gotta-See Videos From Discovery
- San Francisco: Ultimate Urban Playground (ritholtz.com)
- Insane Car Video Caught Tearing Through San Francisco (video) (gadgetreview.com)