Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Martians" Season 1 Episode 9

The episode "Martians" first aired on May 21, 1977 . It was written  and produced by Deborah Blum.

Nimoy's opening here is all about space and the possibility of life on other planets. Its important to remember that the first man on the moon happened less than 9 years before this episode aired. Nimoy hints at something amazing that happened in 1976. Is it the Viking mission to Mars?

Now we are getting a bit of an astronomy lesson on the origins of the sun in our solar system as well as the other right planets.

"The planets were the cinders left by this cosmic holocaust." Pure poetry once again from Nimoy. His point is clear. If life could start on Earth, there are infinite possibilities for life to exist on other planets.

Next we hear about one of my favorite films of all time! "A Trip to the Moon" from filmmaker Georges Méliès was one of the first films ever made in 1902. With it came the birth of science fiction filmmaking. Nimoy discusses how Méliès depicts an encounter with aliens. 

Nimoy's point here is to bring up how humans have wondered about a possible encounter with aliens with hope and fear for a very long time. Will humans ever have such an encounter? Has it already happened?

The film is wonderful, but a curiously long time is spent showing scenes from this film. Nimoy then moves on to Percival Lowell who became famous for pointing out what he thought were canals on Mars. Canals built by aliens perhaps?

(Percival Lowell)

Lowell installed the most advance telescope ever made in 1894 in Arizona and made his observations of Mars. Nimoy tells us the observatory he built is still being used today. It goes without saying, of course, that Lowell's canal theory has been discredited by mainstream astronomy. Turns out Lowell had a bunch of other theories about Mars that we have been able to prove he was likely right about. Things about the oceans being there at one time and the stage Mars was in as a planet. 

In a foreboding tone, Nimoy tells us that Lowell believed the same forces that caused Mars to lose it's "life-giving" oceans were already at work on the Earth. Then Nimoy throws out the weird idea. "Could it be that some Martian scientist was able to warn his people in time?" What if it was a woman scientist?

Now for some modern science. We are introduced to an astronomer named Harold Klein who is studying this very issue. 

(Harold Klein)

Klein lets us know that the theory is that Mars and Earth were created at the same time, and that at one time Mars had water and a very similar land as the Earth. Now we get to hear from Mars Geologist Gerald Soffen. Soffen wants to make it clear to us that water was present on both planets even though there is no water there today.

(Gerald Soffen)

They really want us to think that there was life on Mars at one time. This may very have been true. Nimoy tells us about the Viking mission launched in 1975. This probe was bound for Mars. We are told that this mission has provided men with their first look at the Mars surface close up. 

(image from the Viking mission)
Klein says the soil data indicates that it could be conducive to life. Much time is spent on the technology of how the lander is controlled. I get how big this would have been for folks in 1977, but it seems old hat for us in 2015 after the Mars missions that have taken place since then. With this episode apparently we are back to Junior High Science class. Astronomy 101! Kind of boring. Nimoy moves on the possiblity of the Earth ending up like Mars.

"There are three schools of thought. Some believe I slight tilt in the Earth's axis is bringing on a new ice age. Others feel the Earth 's climate is drying and the deserts are slowly encroaching on population centers. Another view is that men have so altered the natural environment no once can predict the future." Is this about climate change or Martians? Pollution and the advent of nuclear weapons are all talked about as reason why men may alter the Earth. Nimoy points out that Viking has discovered no life or sign of life, but that maybe life was destroyed and the remnants of life are somewhere else on the planet? Nimoy even wonders if Martians figured it out and abandoned their planet. Now we finally get the weird part and its only a tidbit... Nimoy wonders if Martians from Mars came to Earth and that we are all just really Martians. Its an interesting idea and he's not the only one to throw it out there. I find it interesting that he waited until the last 3 minutes to mention it.

"Albert Einstein believed the Universe was shaped like a saddle . By travelling in a straight line, one could eventually wind up where he startted. With the universe, as with life, endings seem to merge with beginnings." 

Nimoy wonders if we might return to Mars and maybe even re-settle it? This episode is "ok". Its not as boring as the killer bees or as crazy as the talking plants. But once again, the lack of creepiness just makes it feel like a science special on PBS or something. 

I will admit, though, Mars was much more unusual and strange to folks watching in 1977.

You can watch this episode "Martians" below.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"The Mummy's Curse" Season 1 Episode 8

The episode "The Mummy's Curse" first aired on May 14, 1977 . It was written by Robert J. Long and produced by J. Francis Hitching.

Nimoy begins with a bizarre little story of a play called Akhenaten, designed to poke fun at the ancient Egyptians' beliefs and actresses from the play who defied ancient Egyptian legend by calling out the name "Akhenaten". According to legend anyone who did would be cursed. That night the women had crazy dreams, and one dreamt of being struck in the face by Akhenaten and awoke in the morning nearly blind. This is either a curse, a great coincidence, or great PR thinking! Nimoy thinks its a curse of course!!

History lesson time. But he's not getting into the Egyptians just yet. Instead he is going to talk about Highclere Castle in England.

(Highclere Castle)

This castle is the ancestral home of the Earl's of Carnarvon. In the early 20th century the Earl of Carnarvon went to Egypt. The current Earl tells the story (though judging by his appearance he is not the current Earl in 2015).

(The Earl of Carnarvon)

The Earl tells the story of his father in a rather creepy Vincent-Price-esque way. We are led to believe that he had been in a car accident and had weak lungs. His doctors told him he needed to go to a warm and dry climate every year. So he decided to travel to Egypt!

(The Earl of Carnarvon who went to Egypt)

The Earl was motivated by others to take up the hobby of "Egyptology". Figuring he would be there with nothing to do, what fun it would be to explore the ruins of ancient Egypt! So friends introduced him to Howard Carter. The Earl was pursuaded to pay for Carter's work in Egypt digging up treasures and artifacts of the Egyptians.
(Howard Carter)

Despite the belief that the area near the pyramids had long since been picked clean by robbers, Carter was looking for the tomb of King Tutankhamun. After 15 years and lots of money, Carter finally found a stairway and a door that was still sealed in 1922.

(Carter' photo of the unbroken seal to Tutankhamun's tomb)
Untouched for over 3,000 years, I'm sure Carter was overrun with excitement. Being the history nerd I am, I'm feeling the excitement too. So I'm not too disappointed to be thinking that this episode is so far lacking in the weird and feels like a nice History Channel program on Ancient Egypt.

Carter sent for Carnarvon and waited patiently (probably impatiently) for his arrival to unseal the door. The room was filled with untouched treasure and the body of old King Tut himself!

The treasures were unlike anything the world had seen, untouched by the outside world for so long. Around Tut's neck was a necklace that was meant to be a warning to intruders. Also a tablet that is now missing supposedly said on it, "Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the rest of the Pharoah". Sounds like Carter and Carnarvon are in trouble! But they go ahead with their plunder, or historical research...

They soon find evidence that someone had been in the to,b after it was sealed and had somehow fled. Maybe robbers had been there after all, but were scared off by the curse?

Some images now of the amazing treasures while Nimoy tells us about Tut's reign as Pharoah.

Carnarvon left for Cairo with some of Tut's treasure. Unfortunately he came down with a fever from a mosquito bite and became very sick. He died there In Cairo. The first victim of the Mummy's curse?

Officially he died of pneumonia. But the Egyptian press decided to focus on the curse. They claimed he died because he disturbed Tut's tomb. Nimoy tells us many others would die shortly after visiting Tut's tomb.

Finally we are into the weird stuff. The Earl's son returned to England alone, but continued to experience strange events. The family dog died at the same exact moment Carnarvon died. Nimoy talks about the others who died after visiting the tomb. 22 deaths have been associated with this curse. Interestingly, Carter himself was spared the curse but no theories as to why are discussed here.

The relics recovered from the tomb were studied in depth at Oxford University. Historian Henry Lincoln talks about the relics while walking among them at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. As of this blog writing, Lincoln is still alive. A quick search, however, indicates he is known more for "pseudo-history" rather than actual history. Apparently his work provided some of the background for Dan Brown's book "The DaVinci Code".

In a sarcastic sneer Lincoln tells us how it easy it is to dismiss the curse of the Mummy. He then goes on to make a case for the legitimacy of the curse based on the Egyptian practice of sun worship.

(Henry Lincoln)
Now Lincoln makes reference to the play we saw at the start of this episode. Apparently the creation of this play was an attempt to lift the curse from Tut's tomb. Apparently when they were rehearsing a massive hail storm broke out and the rehearsal was abandoned. The dreams of the women are recounted. Supposedly one was hit in the face, the other the stomach. We are told every person involved in the play was struck with some sort of ailment. This story is actually a bit creepy and takes me back the earlier vibe from Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle episodes.

"A new chapter to the mystery of the Mummy's curse opened in 1976 at the Paris airport. The occassion was an eerie State visit. The Mummy of King Ramses was arriving with pomp and cirsumstance due a chief of State. Something terrible was happening to the mummy and Egypt wanted France to help." The Ramses mummy was deteriorating and the Egyptologists in France were working to stop it. Some speculate a dangerous bacteria that lay dormant is now alive and at work on the mummy. This is also a creepy little story.

Nimoy next tells us that many of Tut's treasures will be on display in museum throughout the US in 1977 on loan from Egypt.

"If we believe the curse, we must believe something else. We must believe that in the end Tutankhamun triumphed over the priests of Amon."

Good episode! It wasn't as good as Bigfoot or The Bermuda Triangle, but it was much better than the other episodes so far. A little bit creepiness was here, played up nicely by Earl Carnarvon's son who could give Mr. Burns from The Simpson's run for his money and by the strange historian Henry Lincoln. It is odd that so many got sick and died. I like the dormant bacteria theory more than the curse theory though! Either way, its a little creepy and very interesting.

You can watch this episode "The Mummy's Curse" below.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Earthquakes" Season 1 Episode 7

The episode "Earthquakes" first aired on May 7, 1977 . It was written and produced by Barbara J. Wegner.

Nimoy opens with grainy footage of an earthquake from Alaska in 1964. Nimoy explains how Earthquakes have been reported on earth as long as humans have reported anything. We have better science today and yet they can still strike without warning. There is a bit of an emphasis on the without warning part as he is talking, as if he wants us to understand this is the focus of this episode. It makes me nervous because it's starting to feel a bit like the last episode and maybe this will be another nature episode?

Nimoy discusses the famous San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The amount of damage and destruction was tremendous. Cue the shots of lava and related earthquake destruction.

Nimoy next talks about the Geology of the earth. He is basically describing "Plate Tectonics" and he implies it has only recently been discovered in 1977. Ho hum! Once again, I am reliving Junior High Science class.

Am I being harsh? Maybe! This is 1977 and my Junior High Science classes were 1986-1989. So maybe these topics were not well known when Nimoy discussed them? Either way, its a little boring here in 2015.

Now for a discussion of the San Andreas fault, Nimoy talks about how the fault is prone to activity. He even implies the fault is due for action. Predicting the Bay area quake of 1989 perhaps?

Nimoy tells us about an earthquake in the Los Angeles area in 1933. He then transitions to the science being used to detect earthquakes. He introduces us to Dr. Peter Ward who believes there are techniques that can predict a coming quake.

Finally something strange and new! Nimoy talks about the Bulge, or the sudden and moving rise of land that seems to precede some earthquakes. He references a recent bulge in the Mojave Desert. I found an online article discussing this bulge printed in 1978, but it didn't seem to lead to a significant earthquake.

Back to the Alaskan tanker in 1964 and the footage shot by sailors. It is pretty bizarre to see the water appearing to drain away. This earthquake remains the most powerful one recorded on the continent of North America. A scary scene unfolds as part of Alaska weas destroyed by the quake and the ensuing tidal wave. 114 people were killed and Valdez Harbor was destroyed.

All of a sudden Nimoy is talking about Quasars in deep space. I had to rewind this video a few times to make sure I didn't miss something.

Apparently instruments near the San Andreas fault can use signals from the quasar to measure movements in the fault area. The science behind why a signal from a quasar is the only way to do this is not discussed. Even less scientifc, Nimoy quickly moves to the strange beahvior of animals ntoiced just before quakes.

Apparently cockroaches are being studied to see how their changing behavior might predict earthquakes.

"In 1982 a rare, and perhaps, ominous event will take place in our solar system. For the first time in nearly 200 years all nine planets will form a straight line on one side of the sun." Sounds interesting, but so what? Apparently a couple of British scientists think that event will set off a bunch of serious earthquakes. Sure glad that turned out to be a pile of crap!

A lot of attention is then paid to San Francisco and we learn how vulnerable they are to an earthquake. This is another example of Nimoy's prophetic ways as he seems to be predicting the 1989 earthquake. He describes a future scenario earthquake explaining a worst case disaster scenario that is possible for the future of San Francisco. I have been to San Francisco, and I have to admit I thought a lot about the earthquake possibility while I was there. Nimoy believes this super quake is quite possible at some point. He is implying this is why we need to continue to find ways to try and predict earthquakes.

"For over four billion years earthquakes have shaken and reshaped the Earth's surface. They are a violent expression of our planet's continuing evolution."

Important stuff, no doubt! Earthquakes are dangerous and the more we know, the more likely we are to avoid death and destruction. But I'm disappointed again. What is the mystery of the world we are in search of here? Better technology? In that case, they can make a show about anything- obesity, education, gaming, etc. I want to see more of the show I remember that focused on the strange and weird stuff. Hopefully the next episode on the Mummy gets back to that.

You can watch this episode "Earthquakes" below.

"Killer Bees" Season 1 Episode 6

The episode "Killer Bees" first aired on May 1, 1977 . It was written and produced by Alex Pomasanoff.

"The deadly Bee is spreading northward toward the United States. A scientific test of their aggressiveness was attempted in Brazil by expert Dr. Norman Gerry". Nimoy sets the scene we see unfolding before us. Apparently we are about to meet the infamous "Killer Bee".

For a topic I expected to be a little boring, the opening sequence is pretty frightening. The background hum of the bees and the slightly elevated voice of Dr. Norman Gerry describing his own concern with the bees is all a bit unsettling.

Nimoy then tells us about a swarm of Bees that attacked the citizens of Rio De Janeiro in September of 1965. Apparently 60 people were stung during this incident. Nimoy explains that this is a new more fierce honey bee. Nimoy encourages us to not fear this new bee, but instead respect it. As it is a much more efficient bee than any other.

Back to Dr. Gerry to compare the European Honey Bee most commonly found in the US to this new killer bee from South America. With some bizarre pure 70's background music, we are given some basic information about bees. This was a little boring and felt more like an old fashioned National Geographic segment to me.

Nimoy describes the roles bees play and how efficient they are in their work.

We come to understand that the bees work very hard to maintain the hive and the creation of the honey comb. Bees may be the most social of all animals as they truly work together all the time.

The exception, of course, is the queen bee. As mother of the hive, other bees work on her behalf and tend to her every need. She lays up to 1500 eggs every day. Some great shots of bees emerging as fully fledged adults. Feels like Junior High Science class all over again!

On we go learning about how bees know which time of day and which flowers produce certain types of nectar and how they harvest the nectar. Sounds nice, but I'm not watching this show for a nature lesson. Finally Nimoy explains that African Honey Bees are alike the Honey Bees from Europe that live in the US in most ways. Nimoy explains how their different environment has produced an evolutionary change that has resulted in a different temperment. They live on constant alert and so are much more aggressive than the European version.

"A sudden movement, a dark color... even the smell of carbon dioxide from the breath of a predator can send them into a stinging frenzy." Good thing they are only in Africa right? Well unfortunately Dr. Warwick Kerr imported a bunch of these African Bees into Brazil in 1956. He was working at the University of San Paulo and did this in an effort to breed a bee that would be docile like the European Bee, but have the more hardworking and efficent characteristic of the African Bees.

So far so good. Except in 1957 a nameless worker accidentally let some of the bees out. Hundreds of thousands of pure aggressive African Bees were loose. Since then, they have multiplied and driven out the native bees. Good help is hard to find! Thanks a lot Dr. Kerr!!

Nimoy tells of several stories of farmers in Brazil and animals being attacked by the bees. This includes 300 people being attacked at a funeral service, and players in a soccer game coming under attack. Maybe out of guilt or a sense of responsibility, the University of San Paulo is studying genetics today (1977) to try and solve the problem. They are trying to tame to killer bees using genetics. What follows is an artificial insemination sequence. If the experiment succeeds, the hive will become less aggressive. So far, we are told, the experiments have not been successful.

Apparently a movie called The Savage Bees was made and in it Dr. Gerry reenacted a bee attack. Dr. Gerry tells us they are moving northward at about 200 miles a year and could reach the US by 1990. Nimoy points out they could get here sooner if they hitch a ride on a ship.

A little research by me indicates that Killer Bees made their way to California in 1985 via a Venezuelan Oil Tanker. Kudos to Nimoy for this bold prediction! Since then, these bees have been found throughout the Southwestern United States. Southern Utah is as far north that they have been found. There have also been Killer Bees in Georgia and Tennessee.

No doubt that Killer Bees are a dangerous threat, one that I have been hearing about for years. But I'm not really sure what Nimoy is "In Search Of" here? I guess maybe its a way to end their threat? I don't know, this episode just felt different to me. It felt like a PBS nature special. It was kind of boring and not very creepy at all.

"Scientists have suggested various ways to stem the bees' advance. Everything from introducing armies of docile drones that might dilute their aggressiveness to building a giant bee net at the Panama Canal. So far, nothing has been done." Still nothing has been done as the bees are now in the US. I would have liked to see what that giant bee net would have looked like though!

You can watch this episode "Killer Bees" below.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Bigfoot" Season 1 Episode 5

The episode "Bigfoot" first aired on April 28, 1977 . It was written and produced by Larry L. Badger.

"Indians call him Sasquatch... " Nimoy dives right in pulling no punches! He tells the brief story of men working in a mine near Mt. St. Helens in 1924. Miners in  cabin later described the cabin coming under attack from large hairy apes. The reenactment shows men firing multiple gun shots. Too bad one didn't connect and produce a carcass. I was going to wait to bring this up, but its hard! Apparently the area where this incident occurred is known as "Ape Canyon."

Nimoy tells us about the old stories that Indians have about hairy men creatures in the Northwest of the United States. He tries to get us to relate by reminding those of us who live in modern cities that there remain parts of the US that are still relatively isolated. Perhaps this will make the stories of the Bigfoot creature more believable?

We next hear from Dr. Grover Krantz from Washington State University. By putting out the theory that Bigfoot could be descended from a common ancestor of humans, we are seeing some of the science behind the theory of their existence.

But not much time is spent here either. You know Nimoy is itching to get to what is perhaps the most compelling and yet to be disproven piece of "paranormal" footage ever produced. This is of course what is known as "The Patterson Film(Bigfoot appears at the 2:49 mark)". This film is an 8 millimeter home video of what appears to be Bigfoot in Northern California shot by Roger Patterson.

(still image from the Patterson Film)

I have seen this footage many times, and it is quite compelling. With all of the attention and technology of recent years, why is this still the best footage we have? That question is one that runs through my mind in 2015, but this footage was less than 10 years old when Nimoy discusses it here. Nimoy points out that Bigfoot sighting have occurred all over North America, but he keeps his focus on the Pacific Northwest. Once again, personal testimony provides the most compelling evidence. Louis Alway tells his personal story of his Bigfoot encounter in Washington. This is followed by the testimony of a local sheriff. He discussed his own stories of locals reporting these strange sightings and his own discovery of tracks that were much larger than a human's footprints. Just the idea that a currently employed law enforcement officer would go no the record is impressive. Another eyewtiness, Harold Tesky, told of his encounter on the side of a road. He describes the hairy creature is 3-4 feet wide and 6-7 feet tall. He goes on to say, "And the odor of this animal, after i rolled the windah down, was so offensive that I couldn't remian there any longer. And I was scared too... ".

(Harold Tesky)

Next we are introduced to Peter Byrne. He is leading the Bigfoot Investigation Project and Information Center. Byrne describes the process they go through to weed out hoaxes. One of their investigations reveals the story of the sighting by two loggers. The magic of this show is revealed to me here. As they attempt to give imagery to the eyewitness story, the whole scene is reenacted. The spooky music and the jerky motions of the camera all add to the overall creep factor. This is sadly missing from many modern shows that attempt to explore the unexplained. One of the loggers sketched what he saw.

The no nonsense way in which they tell their stories and seem to shun the spotlight all lend credence to the stories they tell. We finally get a glimpse of there the name Bigfoot comes from. Researchers have taken casts of foot prints that were found in connection to sightings. These footprints are of course much to large to be that of a human.

Considering the limited technology of the 70's. The idea that these prints are not faked seems way more believable than it does to us now. We hear from an investigator who believes one will be hunted soon and that will be the evidence we are missing. It makes sense, but he we are almost 40 years later and still there is no carcass. Nimoy points out that one area of tension is around the hunting of Bigfoot. One county in Washington has made it illegal to hunt Bigfoot we are told. So the debate of whether or not a body is needed to prove Bigfoot seems to be a big one in this area.

"While men ponder the dilemma to kill or not to kill, many Indians wonder why this preoccupation with proving Bigfoots exists. To the Indian, there is no doubt." Interesting point here by Nimoy. I'm sure this is just 70's thinking, but why refer to "men" and "Indians" separately as if male Indians aren't men? Any many people wonder where the Native American sentiment about mascots and team names comes from! The quote from the Indian is interesting, but I'm not sure it does much for acceptance of Native Americans. She compares the way some want to capture a Bigfoot to the same way whites wanted to "tame" Indians. Doesn't this just feed into the idea that Native peoples aren't human? Again, I think this is just antiquated thinking here.

"Man with his ingenuity and machinery continues to stalk this creature." Byrne is brought back and he reminds us that the gorilla was written about by the Ancient Greeks, but not discovered by science until the 18th century. He mentions other examples of recently discovered speicies. Even today in the 21st century we are discovering new speices. However, I'm not sure very many of these species have been specifically hunted with the same level of machinery and attention that Bigfoot has. Nimoy paints a pitcure of what he seems to think is an imminent discovery. I wonder what he was thinking on this subject before his death? With countless books, documentaries, and TV series devoted to Bigfoot over the last 35 years, we know no more now and have no better evidence of the existence of Bigfoot. Why?

Another very good episode. Hearing the personal stories told by common people who do not seem like polished speakers seeking attention and accompanied by creepy reenactments lends to the overall creep factor in this episode. I'm sure this would have been even more creepy and authentic when it was first viewed in 1977.

You can watch this episode "Bigfoot" below.

"The Bermuda Triangle" Season 1 Episode 4

The episode "The Bermuda Triangle" first aired on April 27, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark and written and produced by Alan Landsburg.

Back to back good episodes. This is the "In Search Of... " I remember watching in syndication as a child on Saturday or Sunday mornings on cable channel 38 out of Boston. 

"In the open waters of the Atlantic there abides a phenomenon difficult to explain. A danger zone that seems to swallow ships and planes." Once again Nimoy's words are pure poetry.

We are plunged into the work of the Coast Guard 7th District out of Miami, Florida. There is a lot of traffic they monitor and average 25 rescue calls a day. Most are routine. But we learn there are a few that are different. Urgent cries for help that seem to come from nowhere and have no rational explanation. They seem to occur in an area between the Bahamas and Bermuda that Nimoy tells us is known as the Bermuda Triangle.

Nimoy makes reference to some national science organization that made a statement on a televised program that science doesn't need to investigate the Bermuda Triangle. This doesn't surprise me at all, but I'm really curious what program and organization he is referring to. He mentions it was recent so I'm guessing it was televised in 76 or 77.

Nimoy suggests that the personal accounts of eyewitnesses provide evidence that these incidents in the Triangle cannot be explained away as the "national science organization" suggests. And so we hear the personal story from Frank Flynn. Nimoy does a nice job of letting Flynn tell his story and implying that Flynn should be considered believable as he had only one mysterious incident in an otherwise normal and distinguished career in the Coast Guard. Hearing Flynn's own voice tell the story of a strange grey mass is quite compelling.

The man you see above, Elvis aka Bob Spielman, has flown repeatedly in the area of the Triangle with no incidents. However, a plane he owned was involved in a mysterious event. Friends flew his plane in perfect weather conditions into the Triangle and contact was lost. The plane never arrived at its destination. The plane mysteriously crashed. Investigators determined that a wing was torn off the plane with a strange powerful force that didn't effect any other part of the aircraft. Certainly strange things have happened to planes. One has to look no further than the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as an example of strange occurrences with planes.

Radio host Ray Smithers has an interesting story to tell us. Ray has hosted a late night call in talk show dedicated to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. I guess this is an early version of Coast to Coast? Ray was working for WFTL in Fort Lauderdale, Florida one night when, one point, the lines all went dead and jammed, and after trying a number of lines, finally one was open. On the other end there was a male caller who stated the following.

"SMITHERS: "Bermuda Triangle, you're on the air"
CALLER: "There is one of you on this program who will understand what I am going to say. In every living thing on this planet has an aura. It is its communication with the Millionth Counsel who govern this planet. The area that you are discussing now is the aura of this planet. It is the communicative channel through which the Millionth Counsel governs this planet.
SMITHERS: "Which counsel, sir?"
CALLER: "The Millionth Counsel"
SMITHERS: "The Millionth?"
CALLER: "Millionth . . .Anyone going into the area when the communicative channel is open do not disappear, but they are in the timeless void. They are all perfectly alive and well. It is the only area through which the Counsel can communicate with this planet."

So even with my 21st century brain listening to this from the 70's, I have to admit the whole thing is a bit creepy. It doesn't mean it is real, but it succeeded in creeping me out. The Millionth Counsel? WEIRD. A search for this group online finds references to this incident and little else of substance. But this is the kind of thing I remember about this show, and I definitely found myself creeped out. Good entertainment! Smithers concludes that something strange is happening in the Triangle. That is certain, but the caller was probably just a crank call. Probably anyway...


The story of Flight 19 is recounted and described as perhaps the most famous incident in the Bermuda Triangle. This squadron of Navy planes was lost in December of 1945. Carlton Hamilton is interviewed to discuss the incident. He was personally involved in that he was a tower operator in Florida when that flight was lost. His personal recounting of the incident is also quite compelling. 5 planes and 14 men lost without a trace. During the search afterward, one of the rescue planes was also lost. Hamilton says he finds the Triangle compelling because of all the disappearances with no trace ever found. He had his personal incident in which he actually survived. Hamilton reveals what appears to be a pattern in most Bermuda Triangle incidents. Hamilton believes something unknown or mysterious is happening. He thinks it may be some sort of anomaly that lies below the ocean's surface.

"In light of the testimony of four individuals it seems farfetched to presume that the Bermuda Triangle mystery has been solved. To say, in essence, that science need not investigate is to destroy the rationale for any scientific quest. The unknown force, it appears, is there in the Bermuda Triangle begging for investigation." Once again, Nimoy sums up the purpose perfectly.

I'll say it again. Good episode! It included great words from Nimoy, compelling witnesses, and a creepy factor. These are the three ingredients that make this show so good when they are working well together. I was a little disappointed after the first two episodes, but this one has definitely rekindled my excitement for this show.

You can watch this episode "The Bermuda Triangle" below.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Ancient Aviators" Season 1 Episode 3

The episode "Ancient Aviators" first aired on April 24, 1977 . It was written by Robert Long and Deborah Blum and produced by Deborah Blum.

Finally a good episode. I actually remember seeing this episode as young boy. I distinctly remember the scene where someone goes up in a hot air balloon and wondering if ancient people used hot air balloons?

I started out thinking this episode was going to be just about the "Nazca lines". But that's because I forgot the broader theme of the title. I liked the references to ancient civilizations and the stories and legends of early flight by humans.

Nimoy doesn't jump on the ancient aliens bandwagon just yet. He keeps it more real by saying the evidence suggests than ancient people may have known more about flight than we realized. Next there is a cut to a few minutes of  a man in a glider and weird almost video game sounds straight from the 70's that convey the message that something bizarre or unusual is going on. I guess this implies that ancient people may have had gliders?

"Every ancient culture known to us has legends of men who flew." Nimoy reminds of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, implying this story may have some truth to it. From legend to a bit more substance, we next hear about Leonardo Da Vinci and his famous helicopter like machine he designed. Nimoy goes on to show and discuss the "Jantar Mantar" located in India. It is some sort of ancient observatory for the heavens above. The ancient Indians left behind some chants that describe an airborne vehicle called a "Verana" that used as a fuel a form of energy called "Sidley". If you have ever watched "Ancient Aliens" on the history channel, they have also talked about this. These Hindu mantras could just be fantasy of course, but they are interesting nonetheless.

(Jantar Mantar)

Now for the Egyptians! Thanks to the "Stargate" movie and TV series, most people are vaguely aware of some of the depictions of flying in anceint Egypt. Hence the plotline of aliens traveling via a portal to ancient Egypt with advanced technology. As usual, Nimoy casts a wide net. He throws out a bunch of intriguing examples, but doesn't dig very deep with any of them. So with great speed he is on to the Maya who were in modern Mexico. The highly accurate ancient Mayan calendar is mentioned as a possible connection knowledge of the stars.

Mayan Calendar

Now we get closer to modern times with a brief story about the Wright Brothers and their ideas leading up to the first recorded manned flight. Finally back to the "Nazca lines". Nimoy asks the question we all have. Why did the ancinet people in Peru create these designs that can only be seen from the air? There is even one of these images in modern day Barstow, California. In an attempt to recreate a person in flight directing men on the ground, an experiment is conducted with men in a hot air balloon. It seems plausible that men could be directed from a high enough point to see the image. Except of course they didn't have hot air balloons because they weren't nivented until the 1700's!

"Then as now, there is a purity to balloon flight. An exhilaration undampend by the drone of engines or the blur of supersonic travel." A poetic litlel soliloquy from Nimoy. Now we are ready to consider some "other explanations" besides the hot air balloon. Some ancient tribes refer to "Shamans " who could fly. Nimoy is ready to hit us with the big idea here. "Indian Shamans may have been intermediaries who traveled between a primitive culture here on Earth and a more highly one in the sky." BOOM! Ancient Aliens here we come. If not for Erich Von Daniken's famous book Chariots of the Gods, I'm not sure this little piece would have been included. The book was a year old when this episode first aired, so many people will have at least heard this idea before. Thanks to a lot of books, movies, TV shows, and the internet it's become an almost mainstream theory now. But for 1977 it would have still been a bit out there.

But alas, we still haven't seen the best evidence. Nimoy tells us the best evidence is in a museum in Liam, Peru. These are stones found not far from the Nazca lines.They depict drawings of people on flying obejcts. What looks like a bird and possilby a shuttle type of craft.

The message of the stones is controversial as we are told the Government of Peru will not discuss them. Big surpise! Does the U.S. Government discuss UFO's? This seemed a little odd to me, but Nimoy moves on quickly to flying over the Nazca plain showing us the famous lines.

Nimoy tells us about German mathematician Maria Reiche who has been stuyding the lines. We get a nice closeup shot of her. I don't want to mean, but this closeup is the scariest thing we see all epsiode! It seems like they could have gotten a better shot to me. (Of course she has been working under a blistering hot sun!)

She hasn't figured out the lines, but National Geographic research seems to think the lines have some connections to astronomical alignments. "And yet the lines seem to be pointing. Do they point the way to other outposts where ancient aviators once touched ground?" Nimoy seems to think so! Truly fascinating one way or another.

Good solid episode here. I think this is the first one and more representative of the majority of the "In Search Of... " series. There was plenty of images of evidence and solid questions asked.

You can watch this episode "Ancient Aviators" below.