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Stuff You Should Know Vol. 2

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Stuff You Should Know Vol. 2 - Page Text Content

S: Stuff You Should Know Vol. 2 by Marti Ingram

BC: Never stop learning!

FC: Stuff You Should Know Vol 2. | by Marti Ingram

1: Article 1: Point Pleasant, West Virginia Article 2: Was There a Female Pope? Article 3: Did Genghis Khan really kill 1,748,000 people in one hour? Article 4: Stories of the Berlin Wall Article 5: Five Crazy Government Experiments Article 6: What Happened at Dytlov Pass? | {Page 2 Page 6 Page 15 Page 20 Page 28 Page 44 | Table of Contents

2: ARTICLE 1: What Happened at Point Pleasant, West Virginia?

3: Nowadays, Point Pleasant, West Virginia is a picturesque town of about 5000 people at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers. But for three months between 1966 and 1967, it was ground zero for a series of bizarre and unsettling phenomena culminating in the collapse of the Silver Bridge and the deaths of 46 people. This tragedy and the events preceding it birthed the legendary story of the Mothman. From November 1966 to January 1967 (and indeed, even up to December o f1967), more than 100 people reported seeing a human-sized winged creature with glowing red eyes around Point Pleasant. Alternatively, the creature was also reported to have no head, and its glowing red eyes were instead sunken into its chest cavity. The story received national attention when journalist John Keel published the Mothman Prophecies, an account of his investigation into the legends. But what exactly was it? Biologists are certain an animal of this size couldn’t exist without being discovered centuries ago. Oddly enough, the conspiracy theorists tend to agree. But here’s where it gets crazy: most theorists think that the Mothman wasn’t an animal at all. They believe the “Mothman” was only one of a series of paranormal events that occurred in Point Pleasant during this time period. (UFO sightings were also documented during this time).

4: All records of the Mothman and other events of this time are contingent on eye-witness accounts only; there is no physical evidence, such as footprints or video footage. However, Point Pleasant couldn’t be a more ideal location for a story such as this: in the area there are many rumours of UFO sightings, hauntings, and even a secret military factory, now wide-spread knowledge, used to make TNT during World War II. During his time in the town, journalist Keel encountered more than just Mothman witnesses – he also allegedly received information about an ‘other-worldly’ entity named Indrid Cold. | As the date of the bridge collapse approached, the paranormal activity increased. After the collapse, it ended. Or did it? Theorists believe that the Mothman may be part of a larger extra-terrestrial expedition, or even a warning beyond the grave. Many believe that seeing the Mothman denotes future doom and disaster, and that he is a harbinger of death. After all, he appeared right before the bridge collapse, which to this day, remains the biggest bridge disaster in history. And, although Mothman reports in West Virginia petered out after the bridge collapse, witnesses around the world swear they see a similar creature before major disasters.

5: It is also intriguing to note that the first Mothman sightings occurred near an abandoned TNT plant. Skeptics believe that Mothman witnesses are actually describing a barn owl, distorted in their memory by the gripping fear they experienced during the sighting. An abandoned TNT plant would be an ideal habitat for a barn owl. So what really happened at Point Pleasant? Numerous investigators have visited the area, scouring the rivers and terrain for evidence, and interrogated the witnesses. Every investigative team has the same conclusions: that the witnesses believe their stories, that there is no proof, and that there is, given the evidence, no way to conclusively prove that a Mothman ever existed or that any person ever received an other-worldly warning of the Silver Bridges’ collapse before it occurred.

6: ARTICLE 2: Was There a Female Pope?

7: Near the end of the thirteenth century, a story arose in Christian ‘mythology’ regarding a female pope. Her time of rule was said to be much earlier, probably in the 800s. She was alleged to be German-born but with English lineage, and that sums up most of the details that are agreed upon when it comes to this story. There are many variations of her legend, but in this article the basics will be given. However, any amount of research into this woman will bring the researcher a variety of tales that branch off from these basic facts. | When Joan, who is also known as Agnes, Guilberta, and several other names, was a young woman, she fell in love with a gentleman who was a scholar. Wanting to be with him, she followed him as he furthered his studies in Athens. However, because she was a woman she was prohibited to be in this rarefied atmosphere of learning in a Benedictine monastery. In a story worthy of Shakespeare, she dressed herself as a man and moved up through the ranks at this monastery, proving her brilliance among some of the most intelligent men in Greece. Eventually she reached Rome and the highest position of all in the Roman church: Pope. Supposedly she was Pope for two years, until this shocking scene happens: a scene that might be more comfortable in a daytime soap opera. During a religious procession from St. Peter’s Basilica, she gives birth while on a horse. She is then exposed as a sinner, as a liar, and as a false Pope, which makes it so much more embarrassing.

8: She met her demise in one of two ways. In the first version, she was sent to a convent where the Romans dragged her behind the horse until she died. In the second version, she was immediately stoned to death. Perhaps her baby lived, perhaps he did not, but if he did, the story in this case ascertains that he became a bishop. These are the basics of the medieval legend, and it is one that seems pretty crazy to modern readers. However, during the Middle Ages, people vehemently believed it and were, in fact, encouraged to believe it by the church itself. This tale was considered a very good example of why women needed to remain subordinate to men: clearly, Joan was unfit to be the head of the church. She couldn’t even get through a procession without the natural ‘realities’ of a woman’s body interfering with her job description!

9: Rumours ran rampant in the wake of this story that new popes had to be checked by lower ranking clergymen to confirm they indeed had male genitalia. Supposedly a new papal candidate would have to sit on a chair with a hole cut in it, and a deacon or a cardinal would reach down and check to make sure all necessary parts were in attendance. There is no evidence that this practice was real, although there is an actual chair, used in a ritual to enthrone the new pope, which has a hole cut into it. Another joke during this time pertained to the fact that the Popes had many children, despite their vows of celibacy, making it easy to determine which were true males, without the use of a chair! In the 16th century it was suggested that all Popes have beards to ensure their gender was male at a glance. (Not that women can’t have beards; there are hormonal imbalances such as hirsutism or hypertrichosis that cause facial hair in females.) | A woman with hirsutism | Pope with beard | Pope's Chair

10: Also in the 16th century, the Reformation began. The church position, as a result of the Reformation, changed dramatically because the Protestants started to use the image of Pope Joan as an anti-Catholic propaganda tool to demonstrate the high levels of corruption in the Catholic Church, particularly within the hierarchy. If something this dastardly could happen to a POPE, then corruption must be abundant within the church. Due to this, the Catholic Church did an about-fact and claimed that Pope Joan never existed. They claimed her story was symbolic, used to teach people about morality and virtues, and had no grounding in truth at all. Now in today’s modern era, we must decide the truth to this tale. There are only two sides to chose from: reality or myth. Side One: There was no Pope Joan. This is the church position: as far as papal lineage goes, it has always been men, as far back as St. Peter. Joan is nowhere in the official papal history because there isn’t a reason for her to be there. She didn’t exist. The church makes the point that of all people who would know, it would be them. The church takes pride in amassing and organizing detailed records of church events throughout time, and Pope Joan is not among those events.

11: The other point denying her existence is that the Catholic Church does not deny the existence of bad popes. John the 12th, who was quite the sinner, is still included in official documents kept within the Vatican library: he was a murderer, torturer, and father of many illegitimate children. The church’s argument is that if they don’t deny his existence, why would they deny the existence of a female pope? Another strong point is that there isn’t a single strong story about Pope Joan during her lifetime – her tale only comes into existence 400 years after her alleged death. This seems like a story more of convenience rather than truth. In her timeline, Pope Joan was the pope between Leo the 4th and Benedict the 3rd. But according to church records, that would have made her pope for only a few weeks. (This is basically how long the ceremony to choose a new pope takes, let alone let one rule for long enough to conceive and birth a child!) In another church argument, this story was made up by Protestants to shed bad light upon the Catholic Church: this argument is false, as we’ve already seen that the tale of Pope Joan was around long before the Reformation began and the Protestant Church even existed. | Leo the 4th | Benedict the 3rd

12: Side Two: There was a Pope Joan. Why would there be stories about her if she didn’t ever exist? The stories were probably based on a real person, whether or not that person was indeed a pope. Why did the church itself encourage this story to be shared, spread, and believed as fact for such a long time? Surely that says something – if there’s smoke, there’s fire, as they say. | In answer to the question as to why there are no stories about her from her own time, it is because the church erased them. They did so in the 17th century when the Protestants began to use her story against them. In the 15th century there was a bust of Pope Joan supposedly in the Siena Cathedral in central Italy – the face was later changed to make her look like someone else. Why would the church do that unless they were trying to hide her existence? Also in the 15th century, during the trial of a heretic, which was recorded and documented, he stated, “Many times have the popes fallen into sin and error, for instance, when Joan was elected pope, who was a woman.” Not a single person present contradicted him; they were all clergy. This is a strong point in her favour. Going back to the lack of information and records about her, it must be pointed out that there aren’t that many records from that time anyway. The 9th century is not known for its detailed record-keeping. We barely have any information about any of the popes during that time, let alone one who ruled for such a short period.

13: There is no evidence to say that during that time between Leo the 4th and Benedict the 3rd she did rule, but there is also no evidence to say that she did not. Since there were bad records, it can’t even be conclusively stated that the time between these two male popes was, in fact, a matter of weeks: it could just as easily be two years. Is it so implausible that a woman could disguise herself as a man and do a great job in a man’s role? There is also a third possibility: that Joan was a church figure, not a pope, that had her story entangled with that of someone else, or had her story exaggerated over time. Pope Joan could have been a ‘high priestess’, or even a woman named Guglielma of Bohemia, Milan, also known as the ‘heretic saint’. She wasn’t really a saint, but a 13th century religious woman who did inspire a saint cult devoted to her. Some of her followers are later burned at the stake, and after her death, inquisitors tore apart her tomb, burned her bones, scattered her ashes, and of course, erased every document that had to do with her life. She’s a person of interest in the case of Pope Joan. There are also cases of women who have exerted influence on weaker male popes, more influence than many of the upper clergymen would have liked. Perhaps there wasn’t a Pope Joan, but maybe a mistress Joan.

14: What relevance does that have for us today? Today the role of women in the church is still highly complicated. The church today maintains that women are of equal value as men, but are very different from men, and suited to different roles. The church believes that women need to fulfill to role that nature and God have intended for them, which includes motherhood and raising families. This is why women still cannot be ordained as priests, much less be pope. It is up to the reader to determine what the truth is. However, Pope Joan would make an excellent Halloween costume, as long as you don’t mind explaining who you are all night!

15: ARTICLE 3: Did Genghis Khan really kill 1,748,000 people in one hour?

16: Genghis Khan has been solidified in history as one of the most vicious warriors and prolific lovers, ever. It is estimated that a half percent of the global population are descendants from Genghis Khan, that’s how prolific of a lover he was! On top of these impressive labels, he was also a well-established ruler who introduced to his people the concept of religious tolerance, equal treatment of women, and a peaceful society. They said that his influence and hold on his people was so strong that a virgin could walk from one end of Mongolia to the other, carrying a basket of gold on her head, and she would remain unmolested. | On the other hand, Genghis Khan could be a vicious, brutal killer: he killed a lot of people. If you weren’t a loyal subject, or opposed him, then you would be punished. He had a rule that if you gave up and surrendered to his will, he would allow you to live. Anyone who outright resisted, would be slaughtered. For some background information on Genghis Khan, we know that he was one of the world's great conquerors, and the founder of an enormous empire in Asia and eastern Europe.

17: He was born by the Orhon River, near what is now the Russian-Mongolian border, and was named Temujin. His father was a minor Mongol (Tatar) chieftain. Until middle age, Temujin was occupied with conquering neighboring tribes. In 1206, he convened a council and proclaimed himself Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols. He then began an invasion of China. By 1215 virtually all of China north of the Huang He (Yellow River) belonged to him. Immense booty was seized and taken to his capital at Karakorum in what is now Mongolia. In 1219, Genghis Khan turned southwest and plundered what are now parts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran. The thriving cities of Tashkent, Buxoro, Samarkand, Nishapur, and Herat were sacked and their inhabitants slaughtered. In 1222, the Mongol hordes overran the Caucasus and southern Russian regions. Soon after his death in 1227, Genghis Khan's empire was divided among his descendants.

18: One of the more persistent rumours about Genghis Khan is that he murdered 1,748,000 people in one hour, which seems ludicrous. Is this even possible? Well, the reality of this is that it IS impossible. To kill this many people within a one-hour time span means that 29, 133 people would have had to die each minute under his hand, a feat not even the legendary Genghis Khan could have accomplished. | The 1,748,000 refers to the estimated population in April 1221 of a Persian city called Nishapur. This city, located in what is now Iran, was a bustling cultural center during Khan's time. And during his campaign to the West, following his successful subduing of China, Nishapur was one of the cities his troops sacked. During the sacking of the city, Khan's favorite son-in-law, Toquchar, was killed by an arrow shot by a Nishapuran. Khan's daughter was heartbroken at the news of her husband's death, and requested that every last person in Nishapur be killed. Khan's troops, led by his youngest son, Tolui undertook the gruesome task. Women, children, infants, and even dogs and cats were all murdered. Worried that some of the inhabitants were wounded but still alive, Khan's daughter allegedly asked that each Nishapuran be beheaded, their skulls piled in pyramids. Ten days later, the pyramids were complete.

19: It's unclear why the legends say these events transpired in just one hour. And when the 1.75 million deaths became attributed directly to Khan is equally murky. Even more difficult to understand is how the idea made it on so many lists of amazing statistics. Regardless, a great many people died at the hands of Genghis Khan or his men. But in a strange, roundabout way, he put back more than he took. Thanks to his far-flung travels and his appetite for women, a 2003 study found that as many as 16 million people alive today are descendants of Khan. | Nishapur

20: ARTICLE 4: Stories of the Berlin Wall

21: One summer evening on August 12, 1961, while most Berliners slept peacefully in their beds, one of the most famous walls in human history was erected. A temporary black-out kept the local residents clueless about the construction, and when the sun rose in the morning, the first phase of the Berlin Wall was complete. The wall came with no announcement or forewarning. It did, however, divide a nation, split belief systems, and acted as a symbol of the “iron curtain” of communism.

22: The wall was created to divide Germany, which was actually two countries at the time: East Germany and West Germany. The former was communist and the latter was democratic. Many people viewed East Germany as a place of tyranny due to the communist regime, while West Germany represented freedom with its democratic and liberal lifestyle. To both sides, the wall represented sovereignty over their own country, and the ability to lead the people in their chosen style. To the West Berliners, the Berlin Wall symbolized the Soviet's obsessive need for control, and for the East Berliners it was a barrier they could no longer cross to work in the higher-paying and better living-standards west. Guards at regular posts on the wall prevented people from defecting, and leaving to the other side (typically East Berliners trying to escape to West Berlin). The wall began as a barbed-wire fence, but grew in phases until it was eventually a solid-concrete bastion with checkpoints, soldiers, and machine guns.

23: A concrete tube with barbed wire on the top prevented people from crawling over, and local military patrols prevented others from tunnelling under. By September of 1961, people living near the border were forcibly evacuated from their houses. Citizens living in close proximity to the border had to register themselves with the police. Exactly a year after the division, an 18-year-old boy, Peter Fechter, of East Berlin, was shot down by the East Berlin border patrol when he attempted to escape over the wall. | The border separating West Berlin and East Berlin had a total length of 166 km. It cut through 192 streets, 97 of them leading to East Berlin and 95 into West Berlin. Streets were torn up, and barricades erected. Rail lines and the subway between East and West Berlin was torn up. Many families were separated by the erection of this barricade. Relatives who wanted to see their loved ones in East Berlin had to have a valid permit. For 28 years, the Wall became a physical separator and cloaked the goings on behind Communist Russia and created a figurative Iron curtain.

24: John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States of America, supported West Germany and its democratic ideals, and in a speech delivered in Berlin for an audience of 120,000 people, he offered America’s support. He declared that if anyone were to provoke West Germany, they would also be provoking the U.S.A. However, after a wonderful and impassioned speech, Kennedy seemingly botched it all by stating “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

25: Kennedy decided to say this last minute, and only polished his pronunciation with his translator a mere few moments before delivering the speech itself. What he did not know, and probably would have learned had he researched his statement a bit more, was that he was actually saying “I am a jelly-filled doughnut”, which is known in parts of Germany as a “Berliner”. | Kennedy made this unfortunate error by saying "Ich bin ein Berliner". Kennedy should, supposedly, have said "Ich bin Berliner" to mean "I am a person from Berlin". By adding the “ein” his statement, the President actually implied he was a non-human Berliner, thus "I am a jelly-filled doughnut". In 1988, writer William J. Miller reveled in Kennedy’s errors, stating that it is “worth recalling, again, President John F. Kennedy's use of a German phrase while standing before the Berlin Wall. It would be great, his wordsmiths thought, for him to declare himself a symbolic citizen of Berlin. Hence, Ich bin ein Berliner. What they did not know, but could easily have found out, was that such citizens never refer to themselves as 'Berliners.' They reserve that term for a favorite confection often munched at breakfast. So, while they understood and appreciated the sentiments behind the President's impassioned declaration, the residents tittered among themselves when he exclaimed, literally, 'I am a jelly-filled doughnut' “ (The New York Times April 30, 1988).

26: On the other hand, Kennedy’s defenders state that the indefinite article “ein” is omitted when speaking of an individual's residence, but is necessary when speaking in a figurative sense as Kennedy did. Since the president was not literally from Berlin but only declaring his solidarity with its citizens, "Ich bin Berliner" would not have been correct. He wasn’t REALLY from Berlin, so he would have been lying had he said “Ich bin Berliner”. Basically, Kennedy would have been wrong either way, and should have probably done a bit more research before breaking out the German in one of his more famous speeches. (But would this speech be as famous had he not called himself a jelly-filled doughnut? It is a catch-22!)

27: The East German regime started to falter in May 1989, when the removal of Hungary's border fence opened a hole in the Iron Curtain. It caused an exodus of thousands of East Germans fleeing to West Germany and Austria via Hungary. In that same year, after months of discussion, East Germany decided to tentatively open the barrier. On November 9, Günter Schabowski, leader of East Berlin's communist party, stated that the border would be opened for 'private trips abroad'. That day, the entire world watched some truly amazing scenes on TV as East Berliners poured through the checkpoints to be greeted by West Berliners. | On November 10, demolition work on the wall began with the aim of creating new border crossings. Two days later, a checkpoint at the Potsdamer Platz was opened, and on December 22, a checkpoint for pedestrians was opened at the Brandenburg Gate. Souvenir hunters hammered out pieces of the wall and chunks of the wall were even sold. In 1990, Germany became a reunited and single country, and is formally celebrated on October 3 during German Unity Day.

28: Article 5: Five Crazy Government Experiments

29: Conspiracy theorists around the world love to point to secret government operations as the source of many strange and mysterious events and occurrences. They are often scoffed at for the outrageous notions and accusations, and the average person chalks their claims up to ‘craziness’. But not all conspiracy theorists are insane – the government, over the course of time, has been responsible for many wild and wacky (and sometimes disturbing) experiments. Let’s look at five of them now!

30: The Microwave Oven Back in 1947 a man named Percy Spencer was touring the labs of the Raytheon Corporation when he passed by a magnetron. The magnetron was originally being used as part of a radar-related experiment. As he walked past, he noticed that a chocolate bar that had been in his pocket had melted. Curious, he tried another test, which was to place some un-popped popcorn kernels near the tube, and watched with delight as the kernels cracked and exploded all over his lab. The next day, Spencer showed up to work with an egg, which he planned to put in front of the magnetron. He was joined by a colleague who was intrigued by Spencer’s experiment, and they both watched as the egg rocked back and forth as its internal temperature rose quickly (perhaps too quickly) causing tremendous internal pressure. Just as the colleague moved in to examine the egg closer, it exploded, right into his face!

31: Due to this, Spencer figured out that the magnetron was producing microwaves, and through many more experiments, he managed to contain them in a metal box, now called a microwave oven. Now it is rare to find a household that does not have at least one tiny magnetron under its roof. (And no, Spencer did not die soon after this of cancer – he actually lived to be an old man!) The Raytheon Corporation was the company that supported this experiment, and this company was largely government funded, making the microwave a ‘government-funded invention’. However, this is by far not the craziest government experiment ever done. Not even close. Check out the next set of experiments...

32: Head Transplants One of the more ‘unbelievable but true’ projects that the government has worked on is that of transplanting heads. (It could also be considered a “full body transplant” depending on how you look at it – kind of like the chicken vs. the egg discussion!) This isn’t such a morbid idea, if you look at the possible applications of this medical technology, if it worked. Lives could be saved, if only healthy heads could be removed from unhealthy bodies, and re-attached to stronger ones. The main problem is that of the spinal cord – once severed, it cannot be repaired, causing permanent nerve damage which prevents the movement of muscles. Therefore, any ‘successful’ head transplant would still suffer from being a quadriplegic. This might be fine for someone who simply wants to live, and would rather live as a quadriplegic than die. (Or if you were a quadriplegic to begin with, but were suffering from organ failure, then you wouldn’t even really notice switching bodies!)

33: This idea of ‘full body transplants’ or ‘head transplants’ may sound ridiculous or the stuff of science fiction, but it does have its roots in government experimentation. It goes as far back as 1908, when a U.S. surgeon named Charles Guthrie decided that he wanted to find out if he could put one dog’s head on another dog’s body. He was not replacing one head with that of another, but attaching an extra dog’s head underneath the chin of the other dog, so they were chin to chin. It worked in the simplest of terms, in the respect that the second head did not die immediately. Blood flowed from one head to the other, through the brain and then back out to the rest of the body. On the other hand, it was a failure in that the second head could only ‘loll about’, making normal reflex reactions, and creating sounds, but not classic dog-type sounds. Too much time had passed between the second dog being decapitated, and the head being reattached to the first dog – the dog had been dead for 20 minutes, and in this time, many brain cells had died, rendering the dog mentally incapable of resuming normal dog functioning. It is unrecorded how long this poor creature lived for. If this sounds like animal cruelty, it most certainly was, but this was before the “Not Tested on Animals” movement and the birth of animal rights activist groups. This was the first experiment of its type, but sadly, not the last.

34: The next group of government employees to participate in head transplant procedures were the Soviets, who were very competitive with the Americans. In the 1940s, they undertook similar experiments to the 1908 procedures. The focus was on the ‘revival of dead organisms’, and there was even a documentary / instructional video created on the topic, featuring a Russian scientist named Vladimir Demikhov, which can actually be found on YouTube. It depicts people killing dogs, and then reviving them. | Many people will probably find this video tasteless and cruel, although it is not graphic in a violent sense. The dogs are fed cyanide or other types of poison, and then revived after they pass away. The video also shows a dog’s head, detached, which is moving and responding, but obviously being kept alive by an artificial heart and lung machine. Another project Vladimir piloted was the puppy experiment. In this project, he transplanted 20 puppy heads, with head, shoulders, lungs, forelimbs, and an oesophagus (which emptied untidily outside of the dog) to the bodies of full-grown dogs, just to see what they would do and how long they would last. The poor animals only lived, typically, between two to six days, although one managed to survive twenty-nine days. Deaths were usually caused by immune reactions, with the body rejecting the guest heads.

35: Vladimir and his team kept log notes of the dogs’ behavior while grafted together, with events including: “09:00 - The donor's head eagerly drank water or milk, and tugged as if trying to separate itself from the recipient's body. 22:30 - When the recipient was put to bed, the transplanted head bit the finger of a member of the staff until it bled. February 26, 18:00 - The donor's head bit the recipient behind the ear, so that the latter yelped and shook its head.” (Wikipedia,

36: Strangely enough, the dogs exhibited dog-like behaviors, even puppy-like behaviors, before they eventually died. You may be horrified by this point, but these experiments are not done yet. This wave of cruel experimentation culminated in 1970, when an American neurosurgeon named Robert J. White transplanted the living head of a monkey onto the headless body of another, and it worked. In fact, he was almost bitten by the monkey, which was how they gauged the experiment to be a success. When White dodged the bite, everyone in the lab cheered, not for his safety but for the fact that the monkey was exhibiting normal monkey behavior. After a week, they put the unfortunate animal down. As of today, that is the last official record of head transplant attempts by any country, but sadly not the last tale of government experiments involving animal cruelty.

37: Acoustic Kitty This wacky experiment occurred during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviets were battling each other for strategic position. The C.I.A. spent between 10 and 20 million dollars, all within five years, in an attempt to implant listening devices into a cat, complete with a battery and antennae in its tail. They named their ‘pet project’ Acoustic Kitty. They used only a single cat, and this one animal underwent several surgeries to become outfitted with eavesdropping devices. | They also spent time and money trying to train this cat. It was a logical idea, considering the presence of a cat is not uncommon in most areas – cats wander and go where they want. Apparently the cat was a little too willful for the training to ‘take’. The cat would take off in random directions in search of food when it was hungry, so the scientists tried to surgically manipulate its sense of hunger. They hoped that if the cat didn’t get hungry as much, it would stick to its destination as planned.

38: Finally, the cat threw itself under a cab during its very first test mission. The government had sent the little kitty on its first eavesdropping mission to listen to two Russian men in a public park in Washington, D.C., but when they dropped the cat off to stroll through the park, it darted onto Wisconsin Avenue and was struck by a cab. It is horrible enough to watch an innocent little cat get hit by a car, but imagine watching an innocent little ten million dollar cat get hit by a car, especially while on its very first mission after five years of training and investment. Because of the embarrassing nature of this experiment, it was kept under wraps until 2001, when a lot of government information was declassified. The document, however, is still partially censored, with many names and locations blacked out. One C.I.A. agent’s name is revealed: Victor Marcetti. Marcetti addressed the hunger issue, stating that they inserted a wire to “thwart the hunger”, but never explains how the wire achieved this.

39: Zero Point Energy Zero point energy is something from quantum mechanics. It is not supposed to happen according to classical physics, but works when calculated with quantum physics. It is basically the innate energy that a particle possesses, even after all external energy has been removed, for example in a vacuum. This means that particles have innate energy. One of the more surprising aspects of reducing a particle to zero point energy is that they come in and out of existence randomly, which really isn’t supposed to happen. Particles become most susceptible to this reaction when gravity is removed as well.

40: One group that was very interested in creating zero point energy particles in order to wink items in and out of existence was the Nazis. The Nazis were famous for many odd, unproven, and unsubstantiated experiments that they may or may not have conducted; this one is real. They called it the “Nazi Bell”. Dr. Nick Cook was a respected journalist who became interested in this topic. He researched everything he could about the Nazi Bell, and eventually delved into the realm of conspiracy theory, losing his job and discrediting himself with his wild ideas. However, he did write a very thorough book on the subject of the Nazi Bell called “The Hunt for Zero Point”. He believed that an S.S. officer in charge of the V2 Rocket Program actually traded his knowledge of zero point energy to the United States of America. The V2 Rocket Program eventually got the U.S. to the Moon, using many drafted Nazi S.S. scientists, brought to the States during Operation Paperclip. One of the drafted scientists was Nazi Wernher von Braun, who was the driving force in successfully getting astronauts to the Moon. Other theorists have hypothesized that the U.S. government has tried to replicate the Nazi Bell, which is supposed to create an anti-gravity state within, but these claims have never been substantiated and are most likely conspiracy theories.

41: Psychic Cold War The movie “Men Who Stare at Goats” may seem like a fanciful movie starring George Clooney but lacking in fact, but it is actually a tale based on true government experiments performed during the Cold War. The characters in the movie were even based on real people. Basically, these people were ‘psychic spies’. Both the Americans and the Soviets were engaged in paranormal research; the Soviets since the 1920s, and the States since the 1940s or 50s. The Americans felt as if they were behind in their research as compared to the Soviets, and sought to ‘catch up’. If the Soviets could read the minds of Americans, then the Americans better have the technology to do the same to the Soviets.

42: There would be many military applications for people with this ability: for example, if unable to meet with commanders if trapped, the officer could just send the pertinent information with his mind instead. This would reduce the risk of physical harm or death. Another dream of the American researchers included creating a man/mind meld, in which a person could upload or download data from electronic files (almost like “The Matrix”!) But did any of these dreams come true? Did any of this actually work? Was it real? It was real that they did the research. In 1973, the Rand Corporation was asked to create a brief study on who was doing a better job on conducting the research: the Americans or the Soviets? The Soviets were actually the ones who came out on top, as they were taking a much more scientific route, studying the biological and physiological aspects of the tests, whereas the Americans were committing more to the psychological study.

43: Theory and practice were kept separate in American, while the Soviets would come up with a theory and then test it afterwards using the scientific method. If anybody was going to get anywhere with this study, the Rand Corporation concluded it would be the Soviets. In fact, it is believed that they are still conducting experiments of this type. The United States continued on with some of its psychic experimentation as well, all the way until 1995, when Operation Stargate concluded. This experiment dealt with the theory of remote viewing. At one point, Operation Stargate had 22 active military or private remote viewers on staff. Remote viewing refers to the ability to lay, sleep, or relax in one area, and psychically “view” what is happening in another location. This could also be termed “clairvoyance” or “out-of-body experiences”. By 1995, when the experiment officially closed, there were only 3 people on staff and they were openly mocked by other military and CIA staff.

44: Article 6: What Happened at Dyatlov Pass?

45: On February 26, 1959, a rescue team searching for nine missing hikers in Russia’s Ural mountains stumbled upon an abandoned campsite. The signs did not look good. To begin with, the tent was torn apart. Following footprints in the snow, investigators found two male bodies, clad in their underwear, barefoot, near the remains of a fire. Three more bodies lay in between, as though trying to return to camp. Coroners originally determined the cause of death to be hypothermia. Two months later on May 4, the other four bodies were found about two hundred and fifty feet away, buried under more than thirteen feet of snow. Two bodies had broken ribs, two had crushed skulls: one corpse was missing her tongue. But there were no external wounds, which baffled the investigators. These corpses wore pieces of clothing from the earlier bodies. The nine travelers had all been expert skiers, but the Kholat Syakhl mountain in the winter is harsh terrain. (Indeed, Kohlat Syakhl means “Mountain of the Dead”.)

46: Diaries and cameras found around the deserted camp made it possible to track the group's route up to the day preceding the incident. On January 31, the group arrived at the edge of a highland area of the Urals, and began to prepare for climbing. In a woody valley they cached surplus food and equipment which would be used for the trip back. The following day (February 1), the hikers started to move through the pass. It seems they planned to get over the pass and make camp for the next night on the opposite side, but because of worsening weather conditions, snowstorms and decreasing visibility, they lost their direction and deviated west, upward towards the top of Kholat Syakhl. When they realized their mistake, the group decided to stop and set up camp there on the slope of the mountain.

47: Almost from the beginning, rumours abounded. The clothing of the hikers was said to exhibit high levels of radiation. At the funerals, their flesh reputedly bore a strange, orange cast, and their hair was grey. Another group of hikers about 30 miles south at the time of the incident swear they saw strange glowing orange spheres to the north. Keep in mind, this event occurred in Soviet Russia at the height of the Cold War. When investigators closed the case three months later, the files went into a classified archive, and all other citizens were barred from the area for three years. As rumours grew into legend, the location came to be known as Dyatlov’s Pass, named after the leader of the ill-fated expedition. To some sceptics, this tragedy is the result of a disastrous avalanche, and the eerie details can be attributed to a range of other, more natural phenomena. However, the Soviet investigators weren’t convinced, and in the end, their report famously concluded that these nine unfortunate souls fell victim to “an unknown compelling force”.

48: What could it be? Here’s where it gets crazy. No one knows. While sceptics point out the possibility of an avalanche, it’s difficult to explain the lack of external wounds, and the missing tongue. While some conspiracy theorists may cite a possible attack by extra-terrestrials, there’s still no conclusive proof that such creatures exist. One of the original conspiracy theories, that the young hikers had been attacked by the locals, was debunked early on. Where does this leave us? Some theorists believe an Almasti, or Russian sasquatch, tracked the campers, frightened, and killed them. To support this claim, theorists point to the odd location of the final campsite: out in the open, away from the forest. The campers had made their fire on the very edge of the forest, underneath a pine tree, not within the shelter of the trees. They also allege the ominous phrase, “From now on we know, that snowmen exist” was found scrawled on a nearby scrap of paper. The internal injurious could suggest the embrace of a giant creature.

49: The most compelling conspiracy theory, and in its own way the most terrifying, involves no little green men, and no giant hominids. Instead, some theorists and long-time researchers present at the original rescue party believe the Soviet government is to blame. They believe the campers stumbled across a testing ground for exotic weaponry. That the Soviets would be testing strange weapons is not in itself extraordinary - after all, the same government experimented with psychic power and radiation for decades. High levels of radiation in the area, along with evidence of shrapnel and scrap metal, support this theory. The testimony of the hikers to the south could also correlate with the testing of a thermo-baric bomb, which can cause internal injuries consistent with those found on the corpses. But even this theory is imperfect; consider the missing tongue. Additionally, why would the Soviets test a weapon domestically, when there were already plentiful, more isolated testing areas in central Asia, especially Kazakhstan.

50: The nuclear testing ground theory isn’t the only one with holes in it. How would an avalanche hit the campers hard enough to crush bones, but miraculously leave no external evidence, and leave their footprints intact? Why didn’t the rescuers find traces of an Almasti? In February of 2008, a team of 30 experts gathered with surviving members of the rescue party to evaluate newly disclosed evidence from the former Soviet government. After filtering through the evidence and hearing first-hand accounts, the panel made two intriguing conclusions. First, they concluded that the most probable cause of the disaster was a secret weapons test which, combined with the frigid weather (minus 30 degrees Celsius) killed the campers.

51: Second, and here’s the interesting part, they concluded that evidence was missing from the newly released files. Several documents, and in particular a mysterious envelope referred to in the existing evidence, have simply disappeared. Due to the amount of time that has passed, and the notorious secrecy of the Cold War Soviet Union, we may never learn what actually happened at Dyatlov’s Pass. Read more at:

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Wrabbit 007
  • By: Wrabbit 0.
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Stuff You Should Know Vol. 2
  • Article from the Stuff You Should Know podcasts, transcribed and further researched by Mrs. I.
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  • Published: about 7 years ago