In its mysterious pages, you will find Redfern's personal top 25 paranormal-themed locales, and the strange, amazing, and diabolical things that lurk within them.
From the legendary Loch Ness, Scotland, to the slopes of Mount Shasta, California; from the dark depths of the Solomon Islands to the heart of the Kremlin; and from the magical landscape of Sedona, Arizona, to the turbulent waters of the Devil's Sea of Japan, The World's Weirdest Places reveals the sheer astonishing scale of strangeness that dominates our planet.
Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, vampires, UFOs, lake monsters, strange energies, enigmatic vortexes, werewolves, and terrifying demons are just some of the bizarre things that populate these parts of our planet, which provoke as much fascination and intrigue as they do fear and horror.
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About the Author
Nick Redfern is an author, lecturer, and journalist who writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. His previous books include The Pyramids and the Pentagon; Keep Out!; The Real Men in Black; The NASA Conspiracies; Contactees; and Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, all published by New Page Books. He writes for many publications, including UFO Magazine, Fate, and Fortean Times, and has appeared on numerous television shows, including the History Channel's Ancient Aliens,Monster Quest, and UFO Hunters; National Geographic Channel's The Truth about UFOs, and Paranatural; and SyFy Channel's Proof Positive. He can be contacted at nickredfernsbooks.blogspot.com.
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Bermuda Triangle, North Atlantic Ocean
Extending from Bermuda in the north to southern Florida, and then east to a point through the Bahamas past Puerto Rico and then back again to Bermuda, is a truly ominous realm of wild, churning, and turbulent waters known infamously as the Bermuda Triangle, a permanent fixture in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, and one that has become renowned for the hundreds of aircraft, ships, boats, and unfortunate souls who have disappeared in the area without trace. Down-to-earth explanations for such vanishings most certainly proliferate. Compass malfunctions, disorientation, sudden and violent bouts of severe weather, mechanical and electrical failure, and pilot error are just some of the conventional theories that have been offered as answers relative to why there have been so many disappearances in such a clearly delineated area. But not everyone is quite so sure that those particular theories provide all the clues to solving the maritime mystery.
On numerous occasions, UFOs have been seen in the area. There is talk of high-level government conspiracies to hide the truth of alien kidnappings in the Triangle. Some researchers of the conundrum suspect the still-working remains of fantastic technologies that the people of the fabled land of Atlantis managed to successfully harness, before their violent destruction, are squarely to blame. The predations of Godzilla-sized sea-serpents and the effects of strange electromagnetic disturbances are also all among the many and varied controversial candidates for the disappearances. And with the theories outlined, let's take a look at some of the more intriguing and hard-to-reconcile cases.
In terms of boats, ships, and their crews disappearing in the area, the list is impressive; far too impressive to list in total, but three choice accounts will provide a good indication of what one might expect to encounter on a journey into those ominous waters. On March 14, 1918, the USS Cyclops was Baltimore-bound from Barbados, when it disappeared into complete oblivion. With the loss of more than 300 lives, ostensibly as a result of structural failure, many have quietly pointed fingers in the direction of the Triangle and its attendant puzzles. Two years later, a schooner, the Carroll A. Deering, became a victim of that cursed area of ocean while en-route to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from its starting point at Norfolk, Virginia. What made this affair particularly notable is that although the ship was found, the crew was not. Each and every one had vanished forever.
Moving on, in early February 1963, after setting off from Beaumont, Texas, the SS Marine Sulphur Queen and its nearly 40 crew members took their very last breaths while negotiating those harsh, uninviting seas. All was well for a few days, as the craft headed toward Norfolk, Virginia. But by February 6th, the ship was a day overdue. The Coast Guard quickly swung into action, but despite extensive, two-week searches in the Florida Straits, only a small amount of debris and a single life jacket were found. The SS Marine Sulphur Queen and its men were gone — the result of poor structural issues, or the mysterious might of the Bermuda Triangle? Decades later, the question still remains unanswered.
Having looked at the waters below the Bermuda Triangle, what about the skies above it? They, too, have come face to face with the wrath of the deadly phenomenon.
It is an inevitable fact of life that in a carnage-filled conflict such as that of World War II, fatalities are going to be huge. It is also a fact that of the many who lost their lives during the war, some who died in battle were gone forever — their bodies never located or identified. However, there occurred during World War II a host of perplexing disappearances of military personnel that cannot be explained quite so easily. And guess where some of those more profound disappearances occurred? Moreover, there are those that, in the same time frame, almost became victims of the Bermuda Triangle but at the very last moment, were bafflingly spared a deadly fate. Let us take a look at a few such cases from this war-torn era.
One of those who luckily survived a dicey flight through the Bermuda Triangle in World War II was Lieutenant Robert Ulmer, who, in November 1943, was flying over the area in a Boeing B-24, at a height of 9,000 feet on a clear and bright day. Suddenly, Ulmer noticed with horror that his on-board instrumentation was malfunctioning wildly — something that has been recorded on numerous occasions in this most perplexing part of the world. More alarmingly, the plane shook violently and plummeted a stomach-churning 4,000 feet.
Realizing that the B-24 was utterly out of control, Ulmer knew he had only one option available to him: The crew was ordered to immediately bail out. Curiously, however, after the men parachuted from the aircraft, it then righted itself and proceeded to stay in the air for a startling 1,500 miles and even crossed the Gulf of Mexico before finally slamming into a mountain. It is also important to note that the crew was of the opinion that the area where their mysterious encounter occurred was one of undeniable weirdness. In 1976, Dr. Robert Rigby, who had been the navigator on that very flight, went public, and offered his firm opinion that mysterious forces dominate the area and that, as far his November 1943 experience was concerned, no regular answer to explain the near-catastrophic event would ever satisfy him.
Not everyone who dared cross the Bermuda Triangle during World War II was quite as fortunate as Rigby and Ulmer, however. In December 1944, a group of seven U.S. bombers stopped off at Kindley Field, Bermuda, while flying to Italy to act as replacements for the battle-scarred 15th Air Force. With refueling complete and the crews fully rested, the aircraft then took to the skies once more. The Bermuda Triangle lay only a few miles ahead.
Without warning, on entering the treacherous realm, the flight encountered a series of strange and terrifying weather phenomena that literally appeared out of nowhere. Panic-stricken and unable to fully comprehend what was going on, the crews could only fight valiantly to control their aircraft as a mysterious and violent turbulence buffeted them high into the skies and then plunged them hundreds of feet in mere seconds. So devastating was the experience that five of the aircraft vanished into oblivion. The Triangle had coldly claimed yet more lives, and it displayed no signs of stopping.
Whether by chance or design, such incidents proliferated in the post-1944 era. In January 1945, a B-25 bomber was lost between Bermuda and the Azores with a crew of nine; in March of that same year, a Commander Billson dared to take on the might of the Triangle. Interestingly, but highly disturbing for Billson, both the radio compass and the magnetic compass of his aircraft began to spin wildly until he was finally out of the Bermuda Triangle and normality quickly returned.
But what of more modern-day encounters in the Bermuda Triangle? Do they exist? Most certainly. Since 1991, numerous airliners — hit by sudden, out of the blue aerial turbulence and severe electronic interference — have been forced to make emergency landings in the very area over which the Bermuda Triangle is claimed to hold supernatural sway. An American Airlines Airbus in 1991, another in 1993, a Continental Airlines plane two years later, and an additional Airbus in 1996, were all such victims. And, in 2008, the crew and 10 passengers of a Trislander aircraft all met mysterious and never-resolved ends when they placed a mayday call while Bahamas-bound. But, why should such there have been so many vanishings and mechanical malfunctions, and in such strange fashions, at all? Let's take a deeper look at those theories outlined at the start of this chapter. We begin by taking careful and cautious steps into the cosmic domain of Unidentified Flying Objects.
One famous case that many researchers have placed firmly in a UFO setting was the vanishing of five U.S. Navy Avenger aircraft known as Flight 19 on the afternoon of December 5, 1945. No prizes for guessing the name of the strange region that the 14 men of Flight 19 were passing through at the time of the large-scale disappearance. No provable explanation as to why all five aircraft should have seemingly departed this world without a trace was ever forthcoming. However, the official transcript of the conversation between Flight 19 and base personnel at the Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that appears in the U.S. Navy's official report on the case, strongly suggests there was profound weirdness afoot on that deadly day when the entire flight became totally lost and disoriented.
As the official record makes abundantly clear, at around 3:45 p.m., the flight leader radioed a panicky message to Fort Lauderdale that the whole squadron appeared to be off-course and had totally lost sight of land. In response to a request for his position, the leader made a chilling comment: his voice now bordering on hysteria, he admitted that he had no idea of his position — at all. And, incredibly, neither did any of the additional crew members. Each and every one of them was in a state of confusion and calamity above waters that they should easily have recognized, but, clearly did not. Then the conversation turned downright ominous and bizarre.
The flight leader claimed not only to be unable to find west — which would have taken his team back to the safety and shores of the U.S. main-land — but stated that the ocean looked strange and not as it should, words that are admittedly wide open to interpretation but intriguing, nevertheless. And, as the disastrous situation continued, so the crews became more and more confused. Flight 19's last officially recorded words before they were gone forever: "We are completely lost" (Berlitz).
They were never heard from again; any of them. Case closed. Or is it? I use the term "last, officially recorded words" with very good reason. Unofficially, these were not the last words of the crew. In the late 1960s, when Bermuda Triangle-based research was reaching new heights, rumors began to circulate suggesting that a ham radio operator in the area had picked up a final few words from one of the disoriented crew on that strange afternoon in December 1945. His alleged screamed message, suggesting a potential UFO link to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, is forever etched in sensational legend: "Don't come after me! They look like they are from outer space! Don't come after me" (Bateman)!
And there's one final matter to consider, too, on this unsettling incident: When it became apparent that Flight 19 was in trouble, a number of aircraft quickly took to the skies in hopes of finding the crews and successfully guiding them back to base. One of those same aircraft was a Martin PBM 5 Mariner plane from Banana River Naval Air Station. Its 13-man crew, acutely aware of what was at stake, were fired up and ready to help in any way they could. Unfortunately, they did not. What they did do, however, was vanish forever, just like the doomed pilots for whom they were searching. Two disappearances, both in one day, and neither ever solved. When it comes to the Bermuda Triangle and the attendant stories that surround it, there can be no doubt that the saga of Flight 19 is one that made many a soul a firm believer. And the potential UFO links to the Bermuda Triangle continued.
Oceanographer Dr. Manson Valentine, who deeply studied the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle, as well as numerous UFO encounters within its very borders, had a notable answer to why there seemed to be such a proliferation of flying saucer-type reports in the area. His response: intelligent creatures from a planet, or even planets, far away were not only stealthily checking out our world and our scientific progress, but were possibly callously kidnapping unsuspecting humans, too, and very possibly from within the depths of the Bermuda Triangle. Interestingly, Valentine was also of the opinion that what he described as energy-centers built in the fog-shrouded past by advanced civilizations — human, extraterrestrial, or a combination of both — existed far below the waters of the Triangle and that these same energy-centers, to which we shall return shortly, were still operating and directly responsible for at least some of the disastrous effects on the navigation equipment of both aircraft and ships.
One particularly significant case involving a craft of unknown origin occurred in April 1973 when a Captain Dan Delmonico, a calm and collected character with a fine reputation for being grounded and logical, had an encounter that could be considered anything but grounded and logical. It was around 4 p.m., while negotiating the waters of the Gulf Stream, specifically between Great Isaac Light, north of Bimini, and Miami, when Delmonico was amazed by the sight of a large cigar-shaped object — nearly 200 feet in length, gray in color, and with rounded ends — which shot through the water. Who, or what, piloted the strange submersible remains unknown.
Unidentified craft of the skies and seas aside, let us now take a trip back in time and to a legendary and ancient body of people whose lasting legacies may offer a wildly alternative answer to the puzzle.
Born in 1877, Edgar Cayce was, without doubt, one of the United States' most famous of all psychics. He still retains a massive and faithful following long after his death in 1945 at the age of 67. One of Cayce's favorite subjects just happened to be that of the renowned land of Atlantis, and its equally renowned people — first referred to in the writings of Plato around 360 BC. According to Cayce's beliefs, in the very distant past, a series of catastrophic events — including one akin to a land-engulfing biblical flood — irreversibly decimated the Atlantean society, wherever it might have been situated. And, numerous parts of the world have been suggested as viable candidates for Atlantis, including the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, the Azores, and many more. Notably, Cayce came to accept that Atlantis existed somewhere off the coast of Florida. Or, Bermuda Triangle territory. Cayce was also sure of the outcome of the disaster that fell upon the people of Atlantis: The survivors were forced to start anew in parts foreign and exotic. One of those locations, maintained Cayce, was Egypt. Thus, in Cayce's mind, it was the Atlanteans who brought the astonishing technology to early Egypt that eventually allowed for the creation of the Sphinx and the pyramids.
Cayce also believed that the Atlanteans possessed what he referred to as Fire Crystals — unimaginably powerful crystals that could be harnessed as a form of destructive energy. When that energy was directed, controlled, and used in the right way — just like atomic energy and electricity — it proved to be a godsend for the Atlanteans. But, said Cayce, after the destruction of Atlantis, the old energy-driven technologies survived, and occasionally, their mighty powers are still unleashed to this day, thus wreaking havoc on whatever happens to be in their way — a ship sailing the sea or an aircraft in the sky. This sounds uncannily like the conclusions of oceanographer Dr. Manson Valentine, who referred to the possible existence of ancient centers of energy within the Bermuda Triangle.
As for the admittedly ingenious sea-serpent suggestion, such beasts would have to be truly immense to sink the USS Cyclops in 1918 or bring down something such as Flight 19 in 1945. But maybe we should not rush to judgment quite so fast. On this very matter, it is worth noting that, as now-declassified official British Admiralty files reveal, in December 1857, the crew of the 1,063-ton ship the Castilan, sighted near the Atlantic island of St. Helena what was described by the ship's captain, George Henry Harrington, and his crew as a leviathan of the deep in excess of an amazing 500 feet in length! A sea-serpent-type beast of such mammoth proportions could, most would probably agree, wreak untold havoc, death, and destruction on a crew of terrified sailors and their puny ship.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The World's Weirdest Places"
Copyright © 2012 Nick Redfern.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Bermuda Triangle, North Atlantic Ocean 9
Chapter 2 Berwyn Mountains, Wales 17
Chapter 3 Bhangarh, India 25
Chapter 4 Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales 31
Chapter 5 Caucasus Mountains, Eurasia 37
Chapter 6 Death Valley, California, USA 45
Chapter 7 Devil's Gate Dam, California, USA 53
Chapter 8 Devil's Sea, Japan 61
Chapter 9 German Cemetery, Cannock Chase, England 67
Chapter 10 Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Oceania 75
Chapter 11 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 81
Chapter 12 Han River, Vietnam 89
Chapter 13 Jefferson, Texas, USA 97
Chapter 14 Kremlin, Moscow, Russia 103
Chapter 15 Laguna, Philippines, Southeast Asia 111
Chapter 16 Loch Ness, Scotland 117
Chapter 17 Mount Shasta, California, USA 127
Chapter 18 New York City Subway, New York, USA 135
Chapter 19 Panteon de Belen, Guadalajara, Mexico 141
Chapter 20 Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England 149
Chapter 21 Reykjavik, Iceland 159
Chapter 22 Roswell, New Mexico, USA 167
Chapter 23 Sedona, Arizona, USA 173
Chapter 24 Sydney, Australia 181
Chapter 25 Taushida, Guyana 189
About the Author 223
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