Sunday 31 May 2009

Vampire Bats , legend and reality.

Vampire bats are not exactly cryptozoological but are creatures of legend and myths from all over the world ,especially Europe. Vampire bats do exist, but only in Central and South America, not in Transylvania . The three species are :the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus, or Desmodus, youngi) and the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata) . So where does the name come from?"Bat" comes from Old Norse "ledhrblaka," or "leather flapper." It became "bakka" and then "bat." "Vampire" comes from Magyar "vampir," meaning "witch" not blood sucker as such. Bats are in the single order, Chiroptera (hand-winged) and are thought to have appeared n the late Palaeocene or early Cretaceous (Altringham 1996). There is poor representation of bats in the fossil record.
The bats have a wingspan of approximately eight inches and a body about three inches long .They tend to feed on the blood of large birds, cattle, horses, and pigs. However, they don’t suck the blood of their prey but use their teeth, to make small cuts in the skin of a sleeping animal. The bats' saliva contains a chemical that keeps the blood from clotting. The bats then lap up the blood that oozes from the wound. Another chemical in their saliva numbs the animal's skin and keeps them from waking up. A vampire bat finds its prey with echolocation( like radar ), smell, and sound. They fly about one meter above the ground. Then they use special heat sensors in their noses to find veins that are close to the skin.

They live in colonies which have quite strong social bonds, grooming each other and recognizing their fellows with voice and smell. The structure is imperative to their survival, as there are many nights when a bat may not find a host to feed on. The hungry bats are fed from others through a process of regurgitation. If vampire bats do not get their share of blood on a regular basis, they rapidly deteriorate. A bat may be close to starvation within 2-3 days (Altringham 1996). . In the wild, vampire bats live to about 9 years old, but can reach 20 years in captivity. Vampire bats mate all year round. The bat may consume up to 60% of its body weight in blood and it only needs the red blood cells, it will begin excreting plasma before its meal is over. With a specialized stomach and kidneys, the vampire rapidly removes the plasma as it may take up to twenty minutes to the bat to finish its meal (Altringham 1996).

Central and South America are alive with superstitions about the vampire bat. It is said that bats are dirty germ carriers feeding on human blood or that they have supernatural powers allowing them to change shapes from man to bat. While these legends may sound strange, there is recorded evidence of human hosts. Glover Allen (1939)wrote about bats feeding on humans, “while travelling down the Amazon valley, he (Dr. William Farabee) awoke one morning to find that a vampire during the night had gouged a small piece of skin from the tip of his nose and had evidently feasted while he slept, for the wound was still bleeding slightly” . Not all tales are negative; bloodletting has traditionally held healing qualities.

Western literature has embraced the vampire bat making it popular in fiction with Dracula stories as they did not appear in early vampire myth. The European folklore of vampires did not incorporate the bat probably because they did not exist in Europe. Apart from the captive animals in zoos, vampire bats have apparently never been found outside of the Americas. See articles below about the vampire bat as disease carrier.

Vampire bats blamed for Venezuela rabies outbreak

By Ian James in Caracas, Venezuela Sunday, 10 August 2008

see :

At least 38 Venezuelans have died as a result of a suspected outbreak of rabies spread by bites from vampire bats. Laboratory tests have yet to confirm the cause, but the symptoms point to rabies, say researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and other medical experts. At least 38 Warao Indians have died since June 2007, 16 of them since the start of June this year, according to a report that the Berkeley researchers, an anthropologist and public health specialist, and indigenous leaders provided to Venezuelan officials last week. All the victims died within two to seven days after the onset of symptoms. One village, Mukuboina, lost eight of its roughly 80 inhabitants – all of them children. Health officials investigating the outbreak are now planning to distribute mosquito nets to prevent bat bites and send a medical boat to provide treatment in the remote villages on the Orinoco river delta.Outbreaks of rabies spread by vampire bats are a problem in various tropical areas of South America, including Brazil and Peru. The common vampire bat, which feeds on mammals' blood, swoops down and generally approaches its sleeping prey on the ground. The bat then makes a small incision with its teeth, and an anticoagulant in its saliva keeps the blood flowing while it drinks the blood. Symptoms of rabies include fever, tingling in the feet followed by paralysis, and an extreme fear of water.

And also this article from 2005:

Excerpt from article :Bites from rabid vampire bats were blamed for 23 deaths in northern Brazil over the past two months, according to local newspaper reports. Many scientists fear such encounters will become more common as the bats' forests homes are destroyed and they are lured towards cattle ranches and farms where livestock and humans make easy prey. A common one is that the bats bite the throats of their human victims. The truth is a little less glamorous."They're more likely to go for a person's big toe," French told LiveScience. "There's a good blood supply there and the bite is usually less noticeable."Also, instead of sucking the blood of their victims as is generally believed, vampire bats make a small tear in their victim's skin and lap at the blood as it oozes out. When the bats have finished their meal, they're often so engorged with blood that they're too heavy to fly. The bats have to crawl off their sleeping victims and go someplace to digest their meal before returning home. A lot of human deaths could be prevented if people take simple precautions, French said.

Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer posted: 04 November 2005

It seems such a shame that these animals could be made extinct by humans destroying their homes and forcing them into a position where their hunting makes them open to being eradicated. They will then be true cryptozoological legends , and I for one hope that doesn’t happen.

Altringham, John D. 1996. Bats, Biology and Behavior Oxford University Press;
University of Leeds, New York.

Allen, Glover Morrill. 1939. Bats Dover Publications; Harvard University, New York.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Bigfoot appearances this week

Bigfoot is in the news this week.

North Carolina’s Bigfoot: More than just a myth?

May/June 2009

Early one morning about two years ago, after 18 years of fruitless camping trips, Michael Greene says he saw Bigfoot.
Greene was camping about an hour outside of Salisbury, where he was visiting his son-in-law. As he scanned the woods around his campsite with a pair of thermal imagers—binoculars that register heat—he saw something that he is sure wasn’t a human or some kind of animal. It was a Sasquatch.“I am six foot five, and I would guess it was seven and a half feet tall and absolutely, unbelievably muscular,” Greene says. “It was a thank-you from God finally rewarding me a little bit.” Greene, who now lives in Salisbury, is one of the many who claim to have seen the mysterious creature that goes by the names Sasquatch, Bigfoot or Yeti, a mythical ape-like creature that roams the wilderness of North America. But unlike the two hunters who gained notoriety several years ago by orchestrating a gigantic Bigfoot hoax, Greene doesn’t want publicity, and he is far more credentialed than many who claim to have seen the elusive beast. Greene now volunteers with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which was founded in 1995 and claims it’s the only scientific organization exploring the Bigfoot/Sasquatch mystery. In early April, he led a group of Bigfoot hunters on a camping trip through Central North Carolina, but they didn’t find anything. Greene’s interest was first piqued by the writings of famed psychiatrist Carl Jung, which he read while researching a graduate studies thesis paper on mass hysteria. Jung’s thesis was that people’s minds trick them into seeing flying saucers because they represent a higher power. Greene said that Bigfoot was listed as an example, but he didn’t think it made sense.“It doesn’t seem that this is the kind of vision the collective unconscious would vomit on us as a representation of a higher power,” he says. Since then, he’s been consumed with Bigfoot research. Now retired, Greene spent most of his professional life as the chief of the Criminal Fraud Bureau for the state of New Jersey. He was an expert in court testimony and forgery. “I come qualified with a master’s degree in psychology and a healthy skepticism of everyone and everything and their motives,” he says. Greene encourages anyone interested in Bigfoot research or exploration to contact the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. “Most people won’t get anything but ridicule, but from us they’ll get understanding,” he says. “I don’t blame (skeptics) one bit, but when you’ve read and seen and heard as much as I have…you realize it’s not nonsense.”

And more news of the big guy:

Researchers believe that a footprint they discovered over the weekend in the Kiamichi Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma is that of the elusive creature Bigfoot.D.W. Lee, global director of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center, said the print was discovered about five miles into the woods. they were able to make a cast of the print, which measured 15 3/4 inches long and 5 inches wide.
"The toes were clearly visible on the cast after it was lifted up," Lee said.
In addition, Lee said they heard "vocalizations" in the woods that they recognize as the tell-tale mocking calls of Bigfoot. Whoop sounds, "attempted imitations" of whippoorwills and mimicking of dove and owl calls were heard, he said. One crew member was hit by a rock during a night hike just moments after two large animals were spied through a night scope walking on two feet across a logging road."A lot of people, it doesn't really dawn on them when rocks land near them" that Bigfoot could be responsible, Lee said. Lee and his crew are evaluating hundreds of photographs and hours of video recordings taken over the weekend by about 30 researchers. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Scott Simmons said he has not been involved in any Bigfoot-seeking expeditions but that people are capable of collecting and analyzing data and have been doing so for years in fascination of the possibility of an unknown apelike species."I'm not going to tell someone they did not see or did see something," he said.

The race to find bigfoot continues. There have been lots of tales of bigfoot throwing rocks and about noises made by said creature. Something is going on in the woods!

Friday 29 May 2009

new sonar reading from Loch Ness Monster:

I was away yesterday. so you may have already seen this. My news is an American Publisher is interested in my novel about Loch Ness and the monster. If it comes off will let you know!

I spotted Nessie on cruise around Loch Ness, says 'Allo 'Allo star Vicki Michelle

'ALLO 'ALLO star Vicki Michelle took a pleasure cruise on Loch Ness and had a close encounter with Nessie herself. Vicki was appearing in the stage version of the classic telly comedy at the Eden Court in Inverness. And she and the rest of the cast got more than they bargained for when they enjoyed a sightseeing trip on the loch's Jacobite Queen cruise ship. The boat was on its way to Urquhart Castle when the crew picked up a strange signal on their sonar. Vicki dashed below decks for a look, and was amazed to see five mysterious "arch shapes" on the screen. The boat's skipper said he'd never seen anything like it in his 15 year on the loch. Monster-hunters plan to investigate the sighting further. Vicki, who plays saucy waitress Yvette in 'Allo 'Allo, said yesterday: "Perhaps Nessie's a fan of the show!"he added: "I caught an arch shape on the monitor, followed by four more."The whole cast had been hoping to see something on the trip. And if it was Nessie, that positive energy probably brought her out."In all seriousness, whether it was Nessie or not, we all definitely saw something on that monitor."Loch Ness researcher Adrian Shine, who has spent years investigating the monster mystery, said: "This has got me puzzled. It has every appearance of a genuine sonar contact."It certainly adds to the Loch Ness mystery and will be the subject of further investigation."The 'Allo 'Allo stage play, starring Vicki and Hi-De-Hi's Jeffrey Holland as Rene, was on in Inverness from May 18 to 23. The cast are now continuing their UK tour.

More on this here:

And more:

CELEBRITY stage stars of the classic TV sitcom 'Allo 'Allo are at the centre of a Nessie mystery.And a leading Loch Ness expert is baffled by one of the most unusual sonar readings recorded on Loch Ness while the cast was on a pleasure cruise. Sonar pictures taken on the voyage revealed five unexplained images which have lead to monster speculation.The mysterious images – which appear to be 200ft apart – have now been sent for scientific analysis.The riddle began on Thursday morning when the cast of the stage adaptation of 'Allo 'Allo – including stars Jeffrey Holland and original TV series sexy favourite Vicki Michelle – were on board the Jacobite Queen taking the opportunity to visit the world famous loch whilst they were in the Highland capital for a week-long run at Eden Court Theatre.The sonar reading, which illustrates five individual characters, was recorded at precisely 11.20am between Dores village and Urquhart Castle.According to Jacobite Queen captain John Askew, it was the first time in his 15 years working on the loch that he successfully picked up images of this kind on any of the Jacobite fleet's sonar screens.The Loch Ness Project's Adrian Shine, an expert in sonar who has been studying the loch since 1973, could not explain the sighting.He said: "This has got me puzzled and has every appearance of a genuine sonar contact. A single object often appears again, as an echo."I would like to see the boat go back to this spot and see if the same thing could be produced again."This certainly adds to the Loch Ness mystery and will be the subject of further investigation."I don't understand five separate images on a sonar reading. It could possibly be a string of targets anchored to the bed of the loch, but that is again not likely, as the targets are 200ft apart exactly, which is why I would like to see the boat go back to that spot. There will be an explanation for this, but at the moment I just don't have one."TV star Vicki Michelle was shocked at what she saw.She explained: "I went down to the boat's cabin and caught an arch shape on the monitor, followed by two more. The whole cast had been hoping to see something on the trip and, if it was Nessie, that positive energy probably brought her out. Or perhaps she's just a fan of the show!"She added: "In all seriousness, whether it was Nessie or not, we all definitely saw something on that monitor."Jeffrey Holland said: "We're all very intrigued by the sonar image and keenly awaiting the results of the analysis."* Recorded sightings of the Loch Ness Monster go back nearly 1,500 years dating to AD565, although many photographs of the legendary Nessie taken in the past century have proved to be either hoaxes or simply optical illusions.

More reports here:

Publicity stunt or genuine? Well if the boat goes back again and comes back with some sonar readings it should be possible to tell. If it is genuine then Nessie is still alive .

P.S. hi to Mick Bordet

Wednesday 27 May 2009

More on the Grey Man ,Fear Liath Mor ,UK's bigfoot?

see previous post on the big grey man here:

I did some more researching on the Big Grey Man and found the following:

In 17th Century, a man of the clan Murray was reported as having captured a wild man in Craigiebarns Rocks and a chained wildman still appears in his family's heraldry /shield.The next mention was in 1791 poet James Hogg, known as the Ettrick Shepherd, described seeing a huge figure on Ben Macdhui whilst tending his sheep. As he watched the halo which had formed around him due to the combination of sunshine and the mist he looked up and saw a huge, looming figure. He fled not stopping until he reached some of his fellow shepherds. Hogg later said he believed that the phenomenon, which had so frightened him , was in fact an uncommon natural phenomena known as the ‘Brocken Spectre’ and was a reflection of himself caused by the weather conditions. So could the grey man be just an effect of climatic conditions?

Hugh Welsh,in 1904,was camping with his brother by the summit cairn of Ben Macdhui .He said he heard the type of footsteps which later others described as being the big grey man. They heard the noise both and night and in daylight describing it as being like ‘....slurring footsteps as if someone was walking through water-saturated gravel.’ Welsh also recalled they were ‘Frequently conscious of ‘something’ near us, an eerie sensation of apprehension, but not of fear as others seem to have experienced’. They talked to the head stalker at Derry Lodge and he said to them, ‘That would have been the Fear Liath Mor you heard.(Fear Liath Mor is Gaelic for ‘Big Grey Man’ ).
Then in the last century George Hall in his book" Leaves From A Rambler’s Diary", told of the experience of an unnamed friend who worked in the Cairngorms. The account was sketchy ,but it seems the friend had an odd experience on Ben Macdhui involving a ‘presence’ which frightened him to such an extent he left the mountain, after which the sensation faded.
The Cairngorm Club Journal for 1921 noted a recent letter to the Aberdeen Free Press in which the writer, ‘....called attention to a myth prevalent in Upper Deeside to the effect that a big spectral figure has been seen at various times during the last five years walking about on the tops of the Cairngorms. When approached, so the story goes, the figure disappears.
Then in 1924 Dr Ernest A Baker’s book" The Highlands With Rope and Rucksack" was published. Baker also related the experience of a friend whose job took him into the mountains. Alone on Ben Macdhui one day he became aware of a terrifying presence which, he said , ‘disturbed him in a manner which was beyond his experience’. Baker’s friend fled Ben Macdhui. Baker also reports how one mountain climber had told him that he would under no circumstances spend any time on Ben Macdhui alone, even in daylight.

More recently there were reports around 1993 /1994 in the area around Torphins, near Aberdeen. Three young men who have not been named,were walking along a wide track through a forestry plantation. One of them saw a dark human-shaped figure run across the track, two hundred yards in front of them. He felt a sense of terror , but his friends saw nothing. They teased him and said he made it up.Then all three saw a face, that they afterwards described as "human... but not human", peering out at them from between the branches of the fir trees. One of them threw a stone in the general direction of this face and whatever it was disappeared. These three youths had a second encounter with a similar creature a few weeks later. One of the three claimed later that a female friend of him, living in a secluded cottage, has twice seen a dark, hairy figure standing in the forest watching her cottage, before slinking away into the undergrowth

Another story was related to the author of 'The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui', a man called Richard Frere. He told of a friend of his who decided to spend a night camping on the top of the mountain. In his tent near the cairn he began to suffer a feeling of morbidity and a sense of unreality but finally fell asleep.
He woke up with moonlight shining through a gap into his tent and suddenly realized that he could see something brownish between himself and the moon. Horrified, he froze, and waited for the thing to move away. When it did, he looked out into the brilliant moonlight and saw a large brown creature 'swaggering' away down the mountain side. He said the creature had 'an air of insolent strength' about it. Incredibly, he estimated the height of the thing to be twenty feet, and described it as having an erect posture, broad shoulders and a tapering waist.
Another author Wendy Wood, author of 'The Secret of Spey' said she was approaching the pass of Lairig Ghru in winter whereupon she heard a voice. She described the voice as being of 'gigantic resonance' and reminiscent of Gaelic. After a brief look around the local area to see if she could find the person she had heard speaking, she realized that she was indeed alone. When she walked away, she could hear footsteps following her as if immediately behind. At first she thought the footfalls to be echoes of her own, but then noticed that they did not coincide or correspond to her own footsteps.
There are other stories from other mountains in the are too. One day during the early 1920s, an experienced mountaineer called Tom Crowley was coming down alone from Braeraich in Glen Eanaich, close to Ben MacDhui, when he was horrified to see a huge grey mist shrouded figure with pointed ears, long legs and finger-like talons on its feet. He did not stay for a closer look . Another Mountaineer Alexander Tewnion wrote an account of his 1943 experience for The Scots Magazine:
‘Of all the experiences that have come my way, one stands out above all others in its strangeness. This was when I shot the Fear Liath Mor, the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdhui. It happened like this. In October 1943 I spent a ten day leave climbing alone in the Cairngorms. Rations were short then, and I carried a revolver and ammunition to shoot any hares or ptarmigan that came my way. One afternoon, just as I reached the summit cairn of Ben Macdhui, mist swirled across the Lairig Ghru and enveloped the mountain. The atmosphere became dark and oppressive, a fierce, bitter wind whisked among the boulders, and, fearing a storm was imminent, I took hurriedly to the Coire Etchachan path. Above Loch Etchachan the path angles easily downhill. I was swinging along at about five miles an hour when an odd sound echoed through the mist - a loud footstep, it seemed. Then another, and another. Spaced at long intervals!’
‘I am not unduly imaginative, but my thoughts flashed instantly to the well-known story of Professor Norman Collie and the Fear Liath Mor. Then I felt the reassuring weight of the loaded revolver in my pocket. Grasping the butt I peered about in the mist, here rent and tattered by eddies of wind. A strange shape loomed up, receded, came charging at me! Without hesitation I whipped out the revolver and fired three times at the figure. When it still came on I turned and hared down the path, reaching Glen Derry in a time I have never bettered since. You may ask, was it really the Fear Liath Mor? Frankly, I think it was. Many times since then I have traversed Macdhui in mist, bivouacked on it in the open, camped near its summit for days on end on different occasions - often alone, and always with an easy mind. For on that day I am convinced I shot the only Fear Liath Mor my imagination will ever see.’

So grey man or mist? Well mist does not make the noise of footfalls.