Friday, April 24, 2015

"The Easter Island Massacre" Season 1 Episode 17

The episode "The Easter Island Massacre" first aired on June 15, 1977 . It was direct by H.G. Stark and written and produced by Deborah Blum.

The famous statues on Easter Island have long been a mystery. Not only is it strange how such large statues made their way onto the remote island so long ago, but there is very little tradiaiton or legend known about them.

Nimoy starts by discussing legends of the past around Easter Island. The island is halfway between South America and Tahiti. Nimoy says it may be the loneliest inhabited place on Earth. He tells us about the Dutch traders who first encountered it in the early 1700's. The island has less than 1000 people today and basically one village. Most of the indigenous population was wiped out by disease. It is officially a possession of Chile, but that would be a long trip across the Ocean.

As Nimoy points out, no one today knows why, but the ancient people of Easter Island somehow erected these giant statues that have become very famous.

The only village on the island, Hanga Roa, is where most of the people actually live. There is a small port for ships and a small airport that only provides seasonal service.

Nimoy spends some time discussing the size and aesthetic of the statues. He tells us about the statues, "a small one is equal to weight of a thousand men and stands as tall as a two story house". They cover all the island and each have different personalities on display. Why so many? Why with these appearances and sizes? Also, some seem to have been systematically massacred. Just as with their construction, no one knows why.

We are taken to a quarry that is an extinct volcano on the island. Foremost in the quest to answer the many questions of Easter Island is Dr. Edmundo Edwards, a Chilean Archaeologist. Nimoy tells us that 500 years earlier workers assembled here picking away at the volcanic rock, and then suddenly stopped. Cast off pieces not yet complete are still there in the quarry. Over time, they have even re-merged with the crater. Tools lie in their place, undisturbed. Why did they stop and just leave everything? Bizarre!

We are told that one of the few legends that does exist about the statue is that they were Gods who emerged from the quarry and marched toward the sea, stopping where they currently reside. Then they turned their backs to sea and cast their "mana" or power over the land. They believe that opening the eyes of the statues released the mana. Interestingly enough, not all of the statues have their eye lids "opened". Those that did, were the ones that were massacred.  Its implied that this was invented by the people as the only way to explain how these statues could have gotten into place.

We next meet Mario Alabala who is leading the work to restore the statues. This work is detailed, and is painstaking. One theory is that the stones were rolled over land to get to the sea. Nimoy asks how these people developed such an advanced engineering skill so early? Local engineer Robert Forster has another theory about a type of fulcrum that may have been used.They spend some time conducting an experiment to prove it, and it fails. Nimoy uses this to remind us that if we can't figure out how it was done, how did they figure it out?

We are next told that several written tablets were found on the island. They contain pictograms in a language that is unknown.

Anthropologists believe they tell a dark and bloody tale. We are not told why they believe this if the language is unknown? I guess its because there are stories of a massive civil war on the island in the past. Edmundo believes that over population may have driven the people to cannibalism and civil war. The locals tell of a belief in a bird-like God. Their legend has it that on the first day of Spring, men would swim to a rock offshore and look for the egg of the God. The first man back with the egg in his mouth was proclaimed King for one year. This time is known as the cult of the Birdman.

The oral traditions provide the best clues and so now we hear some of these. There was a war between the "long ears" and the "short ears". The story tells of heroic battles and conquests. The short ears rose from slavery and killed all of the long ears who had enslaved them. A minute or so is spent with the camera shaking violently with images of the statues giving us a sense for this war. Certainly whatever happened and why was bloody and tragic.

"The endless waves, of course, have seen it all. They saw brave people put their hope and faith in mighty Gods carved from stone and they saw the failure of those Gods to protect them. It was that failure that may have lead to the massacre of the stone giants." Nimoy sums it up eloquently as usual.

This was a good episode. Plenty of images from the island, good history and creepy stories. It held my interest and makes me want to read more about Easter Island!

You can watch this episode "The Easter Island Massacre" below.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"Dracula" Season 1 Episode 16

The episode "Dracula" first aired on June 8, 1977 . It was direct by H.G. Stark and written and produced by Jeremy Brink.

Dracula... well I'm a bit skeptical of this one. Will this be an investigation of Vlad the Impaler and how cruel he was, or will it be about vampires?

I like the start. The music is creepy and we are looking at an old art gallery of the bizarre and curious where a portrait hangs of Vlad the Impaler. This gallery is located in Ambras Castle near Innsbruck, Austria. It feels like they are going the historical route, so I'm interested.

(Vlad the Impaler)
Now Nimoy gets into the the pop culture version of Dracula. "Audiences have come to know Dracula well. They've seen him portrayed on the screen for more than 50 years. There's the black cape. The jutting canine teeth. The demonic eyes and the nocturnal lust for blood. But what fo the truth behind the legend?" Nimoy connects us well. He takes us to Romania and tells us that the land has many myths and legends. He mentions a yearly pagan ritual in August to celebrate friendship and love. We are introduced to two men who have climbed the mountain in Romania and the ancient superstitions connected to the mountain.

Legends tell of a 15th century nobleman named "Voodoo(?)" who raised from the dead by a witch. He was turned to stone and locals believe the stone megolith on the mountain is him. Nimoy discusses how hard is to separate fact from fiction when fear is involved. We learn briefly of the book by Bram Stoker, Dracula. Few seem to know it was based on a real person. So Nimoy takes us to Transylvania, located within Romania.

Nimoy tells us how Stoker was influenced by his childhood to write the book. Stoker knew of the legends and myths in Romania. The film Nosferatu, which is a 1920's silent film, comes closest to the story of the book. I would agree, that film is one of my favorites and very creepy!

Nimoy explains how Stoker described a figure who was more dead than alive. A true monster with super human strength. Nimoy discusses an issue I have often wondered about. Why the connection to bats and vampires since the vampire bat is only found in South America? But for the people of Romania, the only Dracula they know is connection to Vlad the Impaler. We next meet a Romainian tourism official who takes us to an island near Bucharest where the body of Vlad was buried. His decapitated body was planted in an unmarked grave. Vlad was known as favoring slow torture for any of those who did agree with his rule. But the truth about Vlad is still somewhat in doubt. It's implied that his enemies may have spread propaganda about him. Nimoy tells us about some of the history of Transylvania region. In many ways this rural area is little changed since the Middle Ages. We are taken to a house where Vlad's son known as "Dracula" or "Son of the Dragon" was born.

His image was a Christian crusader. Over time, "Dragon" would increasingly be interpreted as "Devil". The centuries old monasteries in the region were founded at the time of Dracula. The Eastern Orthodox Church was Dracula's faith, and made for clear and simple teachings. By punishing evil, salvation could be had. Punishing with brutality and blood thirst might be ok. And so we have a history listen on the reign of Dracula. His choice for punishment, was a slow impalement on a spike. He impaled thousands of Turks and left them there to scare away possible invaders. He was betrayed by his brother, but eventually restored to the crown. In 1476, he Dracula was killed in battle.

"If some light has been shed on the truth during this search for Dracula, it doesn't mean that belief in vampires will be dispelled. Bram Stoker's Dracula will always persist in our minds because in him we have found the perfect symbol for unrepetant evil."

This was a good episode. I was worried there would be time spent on people acting strange and maybe they are vampires or something. Instead it was mostly a historical examination of Vlad the Impaler in an attempt to understand where the idea of Dracula the monster may have come from. This may have been the least controversial of any episode so far. Nimoy almost rejects any connection be tween Vlad and Bram Stoker's monster. It was a bit creepy in places, and the history was good. I enjoyed this episode.

You can watch this episode "Dracula" below.

"Amelia Earhart" Season 1 Episode 15

The episode "Amelia Earhart" first aired on June 1, 1977 . It was direct by H.G. Stark and written and produced by Alex Pomasanoff.

I remember seeing this episode at one point as a child. This, along with some books in my school's library, all sparked my initial interest in Amelia Earhart. I always loved the idea of the mystery- what could have happened to her?

Nimoy starts out at the height of Earhart's popularity. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. We quickly get to see some video of her speaking to a crowd just after her record breaking voyage.

Nimoy likes to sing her praises. Her bravery and stamina are not in doubt. Earhart's accomplishments are admirable. Nimoy tells us of her marriage and her successful flight from Hawaii to California in 1935, becoming the first person to do so. After this success Earhart announced her plans to fly around the world. They do a nice job showing some video footage of Earhart, revealing that she hopes her fame and success will encourage other women to fly. In June of 1937, Earhart made final preparations to take off with navigator Fred Noonan in her attempt to fly around the world. We are told that she disappeared without a trace on the final leg of her trip, less than 7,000 miles from the end. Nimoy tells us about the rumors and conspiracy theories  that sprang up in the days and weeks following her disappearance. Of the many theories, the possibility that she was shot down by the Japanese and maybe even an American spy are the most scintillating.

Nimoy tells us about the film Flight for Freedom, that was made just a few years after the disappearance. The film tells of an aviator, just like Earhart, who is recruited by the military to purposely ditch her plane in order to give the US an excuse to send a bunch of ships to that part of the Pacific and scout it out in the event of a potential war with Japan. This film led many to assume this is what happened to Earhart. Now we meet retired Air Force Major Joseph Gervais who has spent a good deal of time investigating what happened to Earhart. It's clear that he believes Earhart was on a mission authorized by FDR to find photographic evidence the Japanese had violated a treaty. He believes she was shot down and ended up landing on Hull Island. Gervais claims to have met a Japanese soldier who told him an American female pilot was interrogated in 1937 and taken to Japan as apolitical prisoner. He claims she was held for 8 years and was secretly taken away before the US occupation of Japan. He believes she was smuggled out as a nun and assumed a new identity in New Jersey.

Gervais believes that Earhart became known as Irene Bolam. He says he met her in 1965. Bolam denies it. We see video of Bolam denying it and she is adamant. Very interesting!

(Irene Bolam)
A little research by e reveals, that Gervais worked with author Joe Klaas to writhe book Amelia Earhart Lives in 1970. In the book, these claims are made. Bolam sued and go the publisher to stop publishing the book. I'm not convinced that Bolam is Earhart.I think Nimoy is skeptical too, as they don't spend much time on this. Nimoy attempts to reconstruct the last moments before Earhart disappeared. A man named Captain Long has done the research for this reconstruction. He concludes a series of small errors caused them to miss the island, forcing them to ditch into the sea. He thinks he knows the exact location where the plane went into the sea. Long believes the plane is on the ocean floor and is hoping to advance technology to find it.

Nimoy goes back to the events that happened after the disappearance and details the search and rescue mission that was employed to find her. Next we are introduced to newsman Fred Goerner. His research is based on the radio communications after her disappearance. Goerner belives she was captured and held on the island of Saipan by the Japanese. Goerner even finds supposed eye witnesses who told him where she was buried. He hasn't been able to find proof.

Unlike Gervais, Goerner believes she died while in custody. "In at least some sense, Amelia Earhart is alive. For in the memory of her courage, her passion, her dedication to an ideal, she still touches many of us." Nimoy concludes reminding us that until proof is found, investigation and speculation will continue. So the search goes on! In 2014 wreckage was found and claimed to be from Earhart's planes, though doubts remain.

Good episode! Just the right amount of history and mystery. I loved the part with Irene Bolam. It was a bit creepy and well done, though I don't believe she is Earhart.

You can watch this episode "Amelia Earhart" below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Nazi Plunder" Season 1 Episode 14

The episode "Nazi Plunder" first aired on May 29, 1977 . It was written and produced by Tyrone Fox.

A history-themed episode. I think the History Channel looked at episodes like this when it decided to start creating some of its programming like Ancient Aliens. Nimoy starts with a review of some history. World War Two is coming to an end, the Germans are ordered to defend Berlin as the Soviets and Americans converge in the spring of 1945. Archival footage from the war dances in the background.

Being Jewish himself, I can't help but think that Nimoy quietly finds a bit of satisfaction in narrating the end of the Third Reich that was supposed to last for a thousand years. We are told that many Nazi's cut out as the end came into sight. Many of them were in disguise and hoping to get away without having to pay for their crimes. Nimoy tells us about the Fall of France earlier in the war and Hitler's desire to remove many important works for art for his own enjoyment. Many pieces of art were brought from other museums in Europe and brought to the Nazi museum in Munich. Hitler had a grand plan to have the best art of the world available for his viewing pleasure.

We are also told that some of the art was taken to the Castle Neuschwanstein. This famous Castle in Germany was home to King Ludwig II in the 15th century. I have visited this Castle, and it is very beautiful!

Nimoy tells us that Americna soldiers were sent to the Castle after the war to seize the works of art and return them to their original location. We are also told that many were held in a massive vault in a salt mine. Much has been written and published about the Nazi treasures, not the least of which is the 2014 film The Monuments Men. Next an interview with art historian Walter Horn. Horn worked with U.S. military intelligence whose task was to retrieve the lost art. Horn tells us about missing gold coins and some missing art that were never found. He implies that Nazi Martin Bormann may have taken the treasure. Bormann escaped Berlin as it fell. According to his driver, Bormann escaped in disguise across the lines. 

(Martin Bormann)

 Bormann made his way to the Alps. After this, Bormann was in Austria. Historian Walter Horn tracked down Bormann to a small cabin in the Alps. A woman there admitted she knew where Bormann had hid the coins. She said she would go and find out where the coins were. She told him the coins were in the hands of authorities, and sure enough they were! I found this story a little bizarre. Where was Bormann? I did some research and found out he committed suciced in the alps to avoid capture and his remains have been found. I wonder how she knew where the coins were?

Nimoy tells us that many other treasures would not be recovered. He goes on a metaphorical connections to the Holocaust. One treasure that was lost never to be regained was humanity. Stock footage from the Holocaust is next. Nimoy details the horrors. The starvation, the work camps, and the gas chambers. "To be anything other than German was inferior. To be Jewish was to be despised. At the end of the line were the concentration camps. They were foul stockyards of humanity stripped of hope". As I said earlier, this has to be a personal thing for Nimoy.

Nimoy discusses the liberation of the camps and the difficulty therein. Fearing they would have to pay for this, many fled. Uncounted millions disappeared with Hitler's henchmen. Nimoy tells us that many are still at large. Of course this is 1977, and 32 years after the way there could be Nazis still alive and still threatening in the world. I think of the film Marathon Man that would have been less than a year old when this show aired. The film featured a villain who was suspected of being a Nazi in hiding. Nimoy says that Bormann is among them. So when this aired, Bormann's remains had not yet been conclusively identified! At Nuremberg, many Nazi's were tried and hanged for war crimes. But still many remain missing. Next we go to Lake Toplitzsee in Austria. Nimoy says that treasure hunters have been looking here for hidden Nazi treasure. In 1957, some treasure was found here.

(Lake Toplitzsee)

We are introduced to some treasure hunters who continue to dive on the lake looking for more treasure. Back to 1945 and the flight out of Berlin of some of the Nazi hierarchy. Nimoy implies they must have hidden treasure on their way out in places it has not yet been discovered. He seems to imply that treasure hunters may have found some things, and paid for it with their lives. He mentions the underground Nazi movement known as Odessa. Its not clear this group ever actually existed, but I find them to be more interesting than the search for treasure!

Nimoy introduces us to art detective Rodolfo Siviero. He has been active from Florence and actually recovered some of the lost treasure. He estimates a third of the art is still missing form Italy. He thinks it is hidden in East Germany. There is an implication that Communists refuse to let it return. I don't remember hearing about any big art recovery after the fall of the Berlin Wall, so I'm not so sure about that.

"It is important for men like Siviero to believe that beauty can endure. It must endure if man is to banish the ugliness of war. Perhaps, if beauty endures, the flaming destruction of the past can finally be cast aside." Pure poetry as usual! No shots of Nimoy in this episode. Is it the sensitive nature and connection to the Holocaust?

This was a good episode. Nazi's are always creepy, but I bet even more so back in the 70's when it was still plausible some could be alive. I liked the historical connections too. Not as mysterious as some, but a decent episode.

You can watch this episode "Nazi Plunder" below.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Learning ESP" Season 1 Episode 13

The episode "Learning ESP" first aired on May 28, 1977 . It was written by Howard Liptsone and Robert L. Long and produced by Deborah Blum.

Ok, so this is genius. They start off by talking about men on the moon. Do I have the right epsiode? Then Nimoy explains that some of the men who went to the moon experineced some sort of extra sensory perception. Apparently Edgar Mitchell tried a secret experiment when he went to the moon in 1971 and tried to send telepathic images to colleagues on Earth. Scientists looked at the results of the experiments and concluded the odds against duplicating the results by chance alone were 3000 to 1. Creepy!

A softer side of Nimoy? We now see him conducting some type of experiment with school children. Nimoy claims that the experiment Mitchell conducted has been repeated an dindicates that most people have some level of ESP. Nimoy seems to believe it is real and can be taught to almost anyone. Nimoy and some children now discuss ESP. How cute!

Nimoy the teacher- they talk about the senses and what ESP might be. Maybe he is doing this with children because adults are cut off to the idea? They are in fourth grade from a Los Angeles area school. Dr. Joseph Rhine from Duke University invented the test they will be using. Nimoy tells us 2 students performed better than chance alone would suggest. Nimoy explains the testing in an attempt to see if the kids improve. One kid appears ot be trying to peek at Nimoy's card to me, but I'm not cure he can see it. I'm also not convinced this proves anything. "Just relax now, this is not hard work. This is not hard work... except for me."

(Dr. Rhine's cards from the experiment)

One boy is Nimoy's experiment guesses correctly 5 times in a row. Nimoy implies that "JJ" is reading his mind. But is this really evidence of ESP? I don' t buy it.

Nimoy compares music ability to ESP ability. Its an interesting idea. With hard work and practice, almost anyone can do it, but not everyone does. Again, I'm not convinced. We are now introduced to Dr. Lawrence Kennedy who is supposedly able to bend a spoon using his mind. Many skeptics have dismissed "spoon bending" as stage magic now. Sad to see Nimoy duped.

Robert Monroe and Nancy Honeycutt are trying to teach people ESP and have set up a laboratory for this purpose. Nancy explains what they are doing and how they are doing it. They measure brain waves and GSR on people who are trying to learn the skill. We meet a man names Alex Tanos at the Institute for Psychical Research in New York. They shows us a test of his ESP abilities. This segment was a little creepy, the way they were all talking an such.

Now across country we go to UC- Davis. They are studying ESP here. Dr. Charles Tart explains their work. He does a nice job pointing out that ESP is really the study of why things happen outside of chance, rather than a belief in mind reading.

He wants to find some college students who seem to have some ESP ability and attempt to train them to improve the ability. Some research shows he was not very successful, and even ridiculed at times over the years for his theories and his work. Ho hum...

But Nimoy seems to shake me awake! We are now in a village in Bolivia looking at strange stone figures. Back to Atlantis? No, there is a psychic here named Karen. She traveled here from the US to try and figure out the mystery of the stone figures. This village of Tiwanaku supposedly had many inhabitants with advanced psychic abilities. Karen feels some "energy" but provides no answers. Its all kind of creepy, but not all that believable. She concludes that they turned their abilities against one another.

"Hopefully, we will not be so foolish." This episode ends rather abruptly.

It was ok, another one that was just ok. There were some creepy moments, but not much was believable. The beginning was intriguing, but they never went back to it. What exactly did the astronauts think they experienced? Hard science is severely lacking here, and not much of the evidence felt very solid. I so badly want Nimoy to rekindle the magic from the Bigfoot and Bermuda Triangle episodes!!

You can watch this episode "Learning ESP" below.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"A Call From Space" Season 1 Episode 12

The episode "A Call From Space" first aired on May 28, 1977 . It was  written and produced by Christine Zurbach Wiser.

Nimoy opens with a monologue that inspires hope that we may make contact with extraterrestrials using radio waves or similar transmissions.

We learn about how scientists are on the search for life somewhere else in the universe. I have an annoying feeling this episode may be about technology and therefore feel "Dated". We are introduced to the folks who started "SETI". This program is still around today in a different form. Though originally connected to NASA, funding for the program has been cut at different times over concerns about the need to spend money on projects that yield results. None of this happened until a few years after this program aired. Dr. Bernard Oliver is interviewed about the program an dhis involvement. They believe intelligent life is out there waiting to make contact.

We are then told that in 1931 ET signals were accidentally discovered by Bell Telephone Engineer Karl Jansky. He detected a hiss that seemed to be coming form the center of the galaxy. Radio emission occur throughout the galaxy, and this led to the search for intentional signals in 1961. Project Cyclops was developed to help make the search for intentional signals much easier. Lots of tech talk, and I'm sure it pales in comparison to what we can do today.

Interestingly there is talk of how the back side of the moon would be a great place for receiving signals since it would be free from all interference from Earth. It is discussed how such a plan might work. Still Science Fiction to this day, but I'm sure humans could do it if they wanted to spend the money on it.

More sci-fi... how great it would be to have space ships and orbiting devices that could collect signals from space. Now we go to the largest radio telescope on earth in Puerto Rico. As of the writing, the Arecibo Obervatory is still the largest in the world. They have sent a message to a star cluster that may have a planet with life on it. It will take 24,000 years to get there.

Pioneer 10 and its trip to Jupiter is discussed next. But even better, Carl Sagan is brought in to talk about it!!Sagan put a message on the probe in case aliens might find it. Nimoy tells us the proble flew past Jupiter in 1973, and will leave the solar system in 1984. It did! In fact humans kept track of it until all communications were lost due to power failure in 2003.

(Carl Sagan)

Dr. Oliver points out that since we only recently have developed this technology, its likely that any alien contact we might make would result in aliens more advanced than humans. Psychologist Dr. Mary Connors is interviewed about what an alien society might be like. She has a basic questions. What can we know about the intelligence we may contact? Nimoy points out Dolphins are quite intelligent, but we have limited understanding of communication with them. Since this show aired in 1977, we have learned more about Dolphin intelligence, but much is still not understood.

This is an interesting science/nature segment on how Dolphins communicate, and I get the connection. But I think its just unnecessary. More speculating about aliens, how similar to humans would they look? Would contact spell the end of humans? Or would contact save humans? Interesting questions.

Dr. John Kraus is an electrical engineer at Ohio State University. He designed a large radio telescope known as "Big Ear". This show aired in May 0f '77. Unbeknownst to them Big Ear would be become famous in August would it would receive the "Wow signal". The signal bore the characteristics of an intentional signal, but was only heard once and the meaning of the signal is unknown. Big Ear was torn down in 1998 and is now a golf course. Maybe the aliens are here in hiding, so no need to keep listening?

"If we are not alone, what will we say to our neighbors? For centuries man that hought that the Earth was the center of the universe. The sun, the moon, the stars were to alight our days and nights. Then Galileo turned his telescope to the sky and we learned that the moon and the planets were worlds beyond dispute. That the stars weren't just ornaments in the sky but represented a cosmos far beyond man's Earthly imagination." Nimoy, poetic as usual, wraps up by taking about how far we have come in space exploration and teasing us with what may come in the future.

This episode was "ok". The technology felt dated, but it was interesting to learn some of the history of our attempts to listen to space. No creepiness here made it a little boring, but at least there was a lot of hard science, just old science.

You can watch this episode "A Call From Space" below.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Psychic Detectives" Season 1 Episode 11

The episode "Psychic Detectives" first aired on May 26, 1977 . It was  written and produced by Deborah Blum.

This may be the episode I have gone into with the most bias so far. I consider myself open-minded, but on this topic 'm not as open as others. Maybe htis episode will change my mind a bit?

Nimoy begins right away with a dramatic reenactment of the way psychic Peter Hurkos learns about things in a trance. Surprisingly Hurkos is able to reveal certain details. A little research by me reveals that skeptics like James Randi believe Hurkos is using cold reading techniques and not actually a psychic. Hurkos died in 1988, still known to be a famous psychic.

(Peter Hurkos)
Nimoy next introduces us to police detective Robert Lowery of St. Louis and the traditional methods he uses. But he also uses some no so traditional methods. In an effort to solve a kidnapping case, Lowery was stymied. He was persuaded to turn to a psychic. He talks about his skepticism, but he felt he had no other options. We are told this psychic had a direct hand in solving the case.

"Extra-Sensory Perception is the power of the mind to reach across time and space in a way that seems impossible." Nimoy claims that scientists recognize this power, but have no idea how to tap into it. Hmmmm...

Back to Hurkos and the work he has done. He has worked on over 800 cases. We also meet psychic Irene Hughes and Bevy Jaegars who have been helping the police in different parts of the US. Jaegars founded a "psychic rescue squad" who meet in the evenings to try and track down missing persons. They were so effective they qualified to be licensed as private detectives.

(Bevy Jaegars)

Next we meet Phyllis Degendorf who is a graduate student at George Washington University. She claims to be able to experience the moment when a crime was committed and describes what she goes through. We also meet Judith Krauss who uses a technique called "psychometry". Psychometry is the supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Her husband, Bob, claims to be able to project himself to the scene of a crime. The use of music and the way this segment is filmed, does contribute to the creepy factor. These people seem like normal and believable people who aren't seeking attention. That may not be true, but the genius of "In Search Of... " is in how they were able to present things in a way that strikes a nerve with creepiness. Unlike many programs and documentaries being made today, it all feels very realistic and not contrived or cartoonish. 

Next we hear about the famous case of Sally Lucas who disappeared in St. Louis. A suburban house wife, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for her disappearance. Police were stymied. Bevy Jaegars contacted a local newspaper with a hunch. She informed the police she saw the car near a large body of water. They found the car near a large body of water and brought Bevy out to sit in the car and see if she learns anything. Much discussion here of how unusual this was. Creepy music and video of Bevy sitting in the car. I have to admit, it was creepy to watch. Bevy wrote down a bunch of things and felt much agony. 

(Sally Lucas)

Bevy describes some of the things she saw that don't seem to make much sense. She said she knew she was still alive when she was taken from the car. Bevy was motivated to take up the search on her own for Lucas. She went to the location that most closely matched her impressions. She started with Babler State Park. We see some video of a reenactment of their trip to the park and the discovery of Lucas' body. The way they present this, it is all pretty creepy. The same things Bevy told police she saw while in the car, were connected to the area where Sally was found. Coincidence?

"If the technique of using ESP to pinpoint crime and ferret out criminals can be developed on a broad and practical scale, it may become a deteerant to anyone contemplating a criminal act. This, it seems, may not be beyond the power of the mind." Brillinat ending.

This was a very good episode! I went in a bit skeptical, but the creepy factor was big here. I'm not saying I believe psychics much more than I did, but nothing here seemed cheesy or overly fake. The way it was filmed made it seem a bit like a scary movie or thriller at times. I was reminded of the old Stephen King book that was made into a move The Dead Zone. Kudos to Nimoy and crew for making this an entertaining episode. I'll take any topic if they can turn it into a creepy episode like this one!

You can watch this episode "Psychic Detectives" below.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Atlantis" Season 1 Episode 10

The episode "Atlantis" first aired on May 22, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark and written and produced by Fred Warshofsky.

Nimoy begins this episode by mentioning some famous carvings of figures made out of materials not native to the area where they exist. He also makes reference to some of the carvings from the earlier episode on Ancient Aviators. He speculates, could these mysterious figures and carvings have originated from the lost city of Atlantis? One that had an advanced technology? "Never before have explorers been so close to finding Atlantis". Really?

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis. According to him, the city sank after volcanoes erupted in 421 B.C. Is Atlantis just a myth, or was it a real city with advanced technology and men "descended from Gods"? Plato wrote that Atlantis had conquered Europe and parts of Africa. Speculation suggesting that the island of Santorini was the inspiration for Plato's Atlantis began with the excavation of Akrotiri in the 1960s, and gained increased currency as reconstructions of the island's pre-eruption shape and landscape frescos located under the ash both strongly resembled Plato's description. Plato called the island, Thera. Nimoy describes these discoveries.

(satellite view of Sanorini)

Nimoy explains how Plato's descriptions bear a striking resemblance to the island, and the evidence is compelling. Then he pulls the rug out from under us! Plato himself seems to suggest Atlantis may be elsewhere. What?? Apparently he wrote that we must search beyond the "pillars of Hercules" which are better known today as the Rock of Gibraltar. Since Santorini is in the other direction, he does seem to be saying its somewhere else, out in the Atlantic Ocean. Nimoy now explains how the Atlantic was not all ocean in the past. Our first expert is introduced. Dr. Maxine Asher is in the old Spanish city of Cadiz doing research on Atlantis.Just a few miles offshore, a diver she is working with found a vase that is indeed very old.

The Spanish Government revoked their permission to dive any further. So while this was an interesting lead, they were stymied. Now this episode has not yet gotten weird. A little unconventional maybe, but very much rooted in history and research. Then we get weird. Nimoy talks about the famous psychic Edgar Cayce.

Cayce had visions that Atlantis was on the ocean floor in the Carribean. Known as the "sleeping prophet" he made many predictions that seem to have come true. According to Nimoy he accurately predicited Wrold War Two, the death of john Kennedy, and his own death. He also predicted that geological activity would result in the rise of Atlanits once again. So far that one hasn;t come true. Or has it? I pilot in the 60's discovered these huge blocks under the ocean in the spot Cayce said Atlantis would be. Does this mean he was right?

Author Peter Tompkins and others conducted some diving expeditions using Cayce's writings to guide them. They made some interesting discoveries. They found the  remains of several ships, one had gone down in 1830. Beneath that was a ship that had sailed 3000 years earlier. This is theorized to be a Phoenician vessel according to Nimoy. Nearby four marble columns were discovered. Perhaps relics from Atlantis? Speculation from Nimoy as he imagines what Atlanits might have looked like. What about the people of Atlantis? Plato says they were warned of disaster and fled. Here, Nimoy revisits his opening. Perhaps they traveled to various parts of the world and the strange statues they brought with them?

"These monoliths may tell us where the refugees, the engineers, the astronomers, and the architects fled carrying the technology and culture of Atlantis". Were the Ancient Egyptians connected to the people of Atlantis? The Mayans? Nimoy tells us of Peruvian artwork that depicted people of different ethnicities form around the world. Were they descendants of Atlantis? Feels like a lot of speculation, and not much substance.

This was an ok episode. There were some interesting ideas, but a lot of it was just imagination of what may be true. No real theories were explored. It just felt a lot like nothing to me. I was actually more interested in the prophecies of Edgar Cayce than Atlantis itself!

You can watch this episode "Atlantis" below.