THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#20)

Reenlistment and Furlough

“One most important duty remained to be performed after the three days’ fighting near Chattanooga, before it could safely be said that a complete victory was gained by General Grant and his army. That duty was to send a force to Knoxville to assist General Burnside and compel the rebel General Longstreet to raise the siege of that place. No sooner had we buried our dead, and removed the wounded to where they would receive attention, than orders were issued to march immediately for Knoxville. There have been few instances during the war in which troops were as poorly prepared to undertake such a march as was our command at this time. For months, Chattanooga had been reduced almost to a state of siege, and such a vast amount of rations and forage was required that clothing could not be furnished fast enough to supply the demand.

“On the 28th of November, Sheridan’s division left Chattanooga, and took up the line of march for Knoxville. Three days’ rations were carried in the haversacks, which was to last us to the Hiawasse River, where steamers were to renew the supply. On Sunday, the 29th, we crossed the Chickamauga, near where it empties into the Tennessee, and marched thence by way of Harrison, where we camped for the night. On Tuesday evening we reached the Hiawasse The command succeeded in crossing safely and halted near the river until noon of the following day. At midnight, some rations of crackers and coffee were drawn from the steamer anchored in the river.

“Now commenced scenes of suffering and privation heretofore unknown in our experience. Our chief subsistence was parched corn and beef. Much of the time even that could not be obtained. There were many men whose shoes were so worn that their feet were exposed to the frozen ground. Some used old rages, tied around their feet, as a substitute for shoes. Occasionally a soldier might be seen no longer able to keep up even the appearance of shoes, and would start on the march with bare feet.

“On the 6th of December, after a fatiguing march of one hundred and forty miles in eight days, we reached the vicinity of Knoxville. Longstreet had learned the news of Bragg’s defeat (at Chattanooga); had made a desperate attempt to carry the works around the city, and was now on the retreat toward Bull’s Gap. Our division remained in camp, two miles south of Knoxville until the later part of December. Cold and dreary were the hours we passed as the wintry day wore on, calling to our minds the sufferings and privations endured by Washington’s army at Valley Forge.

“One ax was issued to each regiment at Knoxville, and that was barely sufficient, even when kept constantly in use to keep us in wood for building log-heap fires. All day the axes were ringing through the woods felling the timber with which we replenished our fires to keep from freezing. On the 29th of December, Orderly sergeant W. W. Sims arrived from Chattanooga with a large mail, which had been accumulating one month. In the midst of our comfortless surroundings, our hearts were made glad by the reception of tidings from the loved ones at home. 

“The question of re-enlistment as veterans was thoroughly discussed during our stay. Recruiting officers were appointed and vigorous efforts were made to have three-fourths of the regiment re-enlist. General Wagner addressed the regiment, and, in the course of his remarks, stated that he knew no other way in which the men could get away from Tennessee and from the sufferings which they then endured than by re-enlisting and taking a furlough to Indiana.

“On the 25th of January, the command arrived in London, on the Tennessee River, eighty miles from Chattanooga. Orders were now issued declaring the campaign ended. About the time of our arrival at London, the fever of re-enlistment was raging high, and in a very short time more than three-fourths of the number present with the 57th were again enlisted for ‘three years or during the war.’ On the 28th the regiment, numbering one hundred and twenty-eight men, left the front for Chattanooga, there to be regularly mustered out and receive their furlough of thirty days at home. After almost three years of uninterrupted service in the field, it was with feelings of sorrow that we parted with the old flag that was stained with the smoke of Shiloh, set on fire by the bursting shells at Stones River, and led the advances in the assault at Missionary Ridge.

“Leaving Chattanooga on the 27th, the regiment was transported by rail to Indianapolis where it arrived on the 3rd of March. On the 4th the regiment received a hearty reception by the citizens and was presented to a large audience by Governor Morton in a complimentary address, of which the following was the opening sentence:

‘Fellow citizens of Indianapolis, permit me to introduce to you the 57th Regiment Indiana Volunteers; the men who led the advance of our troops at the storming of Missionary Ridge.’

Colonel Lennard responded on behalf of the regiment. On the following day, the men were furloughed to their homes, there to receive the greetings and congratulations of their relatives and friends.

“Important changes were going on in higher circles during the period over which we passed so rapidly deserves mention here. Our dashing and popular division commander, General Sheridan, received the appointment as Chief of Cavalry in the Union Army, and was succeeded by General John Newton (right), from the Army of the Potomac.
Major General O. O. Howard (right), who by his Christian deportment combined with the duties of a military calling, had been assigned to the command of the 4th Corps, relieving General Gordon Granger. Another important change in commanders had also occurred. Scripturally speaking, ‘the stone which the builders rejected’ was now to become ‘the head of the corner,’ for General W. T. Sherman, having recovered from the condition in which he was reported, assumed command of a large and well-equipped army. and commenced his ‘march to the sea.’

“Extensive preparations were now being made for the approaching campaign. On Monday, April 11th, the 57th left Indianapolis, and proceeded by rail to Nashville, where it arrived on the 14th. It left Nashville on the 16th to march to Chattanooga, where it arrived April 30th, remaining till May 3rd. Then it marched to join the old brigade at Catoosa Springs, Georgia, arriving on the evening of May 5th.

The Atlanta Campaign was about to begin.

(Tennessee and Indiana, December 1863 - April, 1864)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Bonnie Parker died at twenty-three in a storm of bullets fired at the car in which she was riding. She was shot at least 25 times. Her partner and lover, Clyde Barrow, was also killed. In the minds of most people, the names of Bonnie and Clyde are forever entwined together. You can’t hear of one without thinking of the other.

Today, we will try to untangle these two “star crossed lovers” and take a closer look at the life of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker. Why did this sensitive young woman, who loved to read and write poetry, travel down the road to become a heartless killer?

Bonnie was born on October 1, 1910, in the little town of Rowena, Texas. She was the middle child between older brother Hubert and younger sister Billie. Her father Charles was a bricklayer; he died when Bonnie was just four years old. After his death, her mom, Emma, took the children and moved in with her parents in a section of west Dallas called Cement City. Bonnie did well in school; an honor student in writing and public speaking. She specifically loved writing poetry, reading romance novels, and going to the movies.

In 1926, Bonnie and a fellow student, Roy Thornton, dropped out of school and married six days prior to her 16th birthday. The marriage was troubled from the beginning. Roy had repeated run-ins with the law and spent long periods in prison. Bonnie didn’t intend to take him back, but also refused to divorce him. She told her mother that it was unfair to divorce a man in prison. While she was living with her mother, her diary reflects her loneliness and her frustration with her limited opportunities. Bonnie and Roy never met again after 1929, although she was still wearing her wedding ring the day she was killed (and had a tattoo reading “Roy and Bonnie” above her knee).

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in January of 1930. She was out of work and was staying with a girl friend who had broken an arm. Clyde arrived to visit the girl friend while Bonnie was making hot chocolate in the kitchen. It was love at first site, at least for Bonnie. She remained his loyal companion until their deaths four years later.

Clyde was jailed a month after they met. Bonnie wrote to him pleading that he stay out of trouble after his release. It wasn’t to happen. She smuggled a pistol into his cell which he used to escape. Clyde committed another robbery and was recaptured. This time he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Through the pleadings of his mother, Clyde Barrow was released in 1932, more bitter and intent on revenge than ever; and Bonnie was determined to prove her loyalty to him.

Shortly after his release, the two began robbing grocery stores and gas stations. In March of 1932, they failed to pull off a robbery in Texas and Bonnie was taken into custody. Clyde escaped. She served three months in jail. Within a few weeks of her release, she reconnected with him. They killed two police officers in Oklahoma after attending a dance and while being apprehended. They fled across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico killing three more people.

Finally they had to stop running. They moved into a small stone bungalow in Joplin, Missouri, with Clyde’s older brother Buck and his wife Blanche. They were rowdy residents and neighbors complained to the local police. Suspicious that it could be the Barrow gang, the police stormed the building. After a bloody shoot out, Bonnie and Clyde escaped leaving two more dead officers. A newspaper man found six rolls of film they had left in the house. After having them developed, the pictures, showing Bonnie smoking cigars and both of them posing with guns, were published nationwide. Bonnie contacted the newspapers to state that she didn’t smoke cigars but preferred Lucky Strikes.

The public, after hearing of the gang’s exploits, began to see them as folk heroes. The real villains were the banks that had been foreclosing on homes and businesses. Bonnie continued to write poetry that she sent home to her mother. The police found some of her poems and had them published in the newspapers. But this only served to enhance their legend as modern Robin Hoods.

At this point much of the publicity about Bonnie may have been exaggerated. There was some doubt that she ever shot anyone. Former accomplices who had been arrested said that she did shot at the police but the many witnesses never saw it happen. She was of course an accomplice in more than 100 felony crimes.

In June, 1933, while Clyde was driving their stolen car recklessly, it flipped over an embankment in Texas. Bonnie was trapped in the wreckage and sustained serious burns on her legs (she never fully recovered). She was carried to a nearby farmhouse barely able to walk. Officials sent to investigate were shot at then kidnapped, but later released. Again the race was on. Bonnie, Clyde, Buck, and Blanche raced to Missouri where another bloody face-off ensued with police. This time, Buck was killed and Blanche was captured.

The Texas Governor had had enough. He authorized the Texas Rangers under Captain Frank Hamer to track them down. An intense search followed. In November, an ambush was set up in Dallas but failed to stop the pair. Ironically, it was about one mile from where John Kennedy was assassinated almost exactly thirty years later. 

On Easter Sunday, 1934, the couple committed their most blatant murder. On the outskirts of Grapevine, Texas, a Ford V8 (Clyde‘s favorite car) halted alongside the highway. A witness said the people inside were laughing and talking and tossing out whiskey bottles. Two young highway patrolmen stopped their motorcycles to check it out. Inside the stalled car, Bonnie and Clyde leveled their guns at the officers and fired. Other witnesses said that Bonnie walked over to one of the patrolmen and rolled him over with one foot. She fired two more shotgun blasts into his head and remarked, “look-a-there, his head bounced just like a rubber ball.” If the story is true, it shows that her transformation was complete.

At last, public sentiment for Bonnie and Clyde began to turn against them.

Afterward, there was a continuous pursuit which culminated on May 23rd at 9:15 A.M. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow unknowingly drove into an ambush near Black Lake, Louisiana. They were given no chance to surrender. Their car was struck by 167 bullets fired by a posse of Texas and Louisiana troopers. Bonnie’s body was found riddled with bullets, holding a machine gun, a sandwich, and a pack of cigarettes. Thousands of spectators viewed the bodies which were still in the car as it was towed into town. Although Bonnie had left express instructions that she wanted to be buried next to Clyde, her mother would have none of it.

The short and brutal lives of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow became one of the strangest love stories of all time. During the Depression there were numerous all-male criminal gangs, but the public’s imagination was sparked by this attractive young woman, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker.

“Someday they’ll go down together,
they’ll bury them side by side.
To few it’ll be grief, to the law a relief;
but it’s death to Bonnie and Clyde.”

(“The Trail’s End” by Bonnie Parker, 1934)

Friday, May 24, 2013


Most legends take on a life of their own. Even after hundreds of years, people still believe them. This is one such legend. It has to do with Queen Elizabeth I (1533 -1603). Was she the true daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; and was this “Virgin Queen” of England a woman or a man?

Here is the legend. Elizabeth was three years old when her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded. Henry VIII showed little interest in his child. When Lady Elizabeth was 10 years old, a plague was ravishing London. In her father’s absence, it was decided to take her to the country to escape illness. She resided at a hunting lodge at Overcourt near the village of Bisley. About 1544, Henry desired to see his daughter again and planned to visit Elizabeth at Bisley; but tragedy struck before he arrived. The young princess developed a fever and died shortly after. Her closest attendants feared for their own lives. Henry was a man known to fly into a rage upon hearing bad news. The royal caretakers might face time in the Tower of London, or worse. Elizabeth’s governess, Kat Ashley, hid the child’s body.

Then she had an idea, and rushed into the village of Bisley to find a young girl that could play the part of Elizabeth - at least until the crisis passed. They would tell Henry of his daughter’s death at a later time. The plan might just work because Henry had only seen Elizabeth twice and not since she was three years old. But the plan was in jeopardy because no suitable girl could be found. With time running out, Ashley took a risky step. She found a young boy of the same age as Elizabeth and with the same red hair and skin coloring. This child was a school mate and friend of the dead princess as well. As it turned out, the boy was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Richmond (who in turn was the illegitimate son of Henry himself). This made the boy the nephew of the late Elizabeth.

Before Henry arrived, the boy was dressed in girl’s clothing and briefed in royal manners. There was intense pressure when Henry finally appeared; but amazingly the King was pleased to find his “daughter” so pleasant and dutiful. The child was actually his own illegitimate grandson. He was known to have said of the alleged princess, “a wise head on young shoulders.”

But the legend had just begun. The deception lasted beyond Henry’s death in 1547 and the death of Elizabeth’s sister, Queen Mary, after whom the princess (or her imposter) succeeded to the throne. Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth I in 1558 and ruled for almost 45 years. She is considered one of the greatest monarchs in English history. Was Elizabeth a woman or a man? You will have to decide for yourself. There are arguments on both sides. In 1910, Bram Stoker, the Irish novelist and author of Dracula, became fascinated with the Bisley Boy Legend and discussed it in his book “Famous Impostors.” He was convinced it was true. His work shed light on the story of Elizabeth I and added a hint of conspiracy theory to it.

For those who believed Queen Elizabeth I was in fact a MAN, here are the facts most often cited.

1. Elizabeth refused to marry in spite of many suitors, including Robert Dudley with whom she was suspected of having a romance. The Tudor family desperately needed an heir to continue in power but she/he was unable to provide one.

2. Elizabeth had a secret nature; her actions suggested that she had a closely guarded secret (according to Stoker). In 1549, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt wrote, “I do believe that there is a secret promise between my Lady, Kat Ashley and Sir Thomas Parry never to confess unto death.” Ashley was thought to be at the center of the cover up.

3. During her reign, she associated with few of the ladies-in-waiting, but preferred to spend time with seamen and privateers.

4. Elizabeth decreed that after her death no doctors were to examine her body.

5. The portraits of her almost always depict her wearing elaborate gowns, jewels, and heavy makeup. Was this to cover a man’s physique?

6. There were persistent rumors that Elizabeth could not bear children. In 1559, Count de Feria wrote, “If my spies do not lie, and I believe they do not . . . I understand that she will not bear children.”

7. Elizabeth usually wore ruffled collars that extended upward to her chin. Was this to cover up an Adam’s apple? She grew bald in middle age (much more common in men) and used wigs to cover her head.

8. The Rector of the Protestant University wrote in 1550, “The constitution of her mind is exempt from female weakness, and she is endued with a masculine power of application.”

9. In 1588, she led her troops against the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada. She addressed the troops by saying, “I know I have the body of a woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King.”

10. As recently as 50 years ago, requests to exhume her body for examination (as to its sex) have been denied.

11. In 1960, in a small walled garden in Bisley, a stone box in the shape of a coffin was discovered and opened. It revealed the remains of a young girl of about 10 or 12 wearing fine silk garments. The box was found beneath the window of the room that Elizabeth stayed in while in Bisley.

Of course, there are many who believe that Elizabeth I was who we thought she was; and certainly a WOMAN. They state that Henry VIII would certainly have recognized his own daughter (remember, he hadn’t seen her since she was three years old). Some say that she was not bald but only wore wigs to cover her grey hair. There are reports that Elizabeth menstruated regularly; a Spanish emissary bribed a palace laundress for that information. Also, could a teenage boy have hidden all the signs of puberty from people he had contact with on a daily basis? And finally, if there was a conspiracy, it couldn’t have been kept secret for all those years (but if only 3 or 4 people knew the truth, as Bram Stoker concluded, it might have never been revealed).

An interesting final note: for over 300 years, the village of Bisley has celebrated the May Day festival. Their May Queen has always been a young boy dressed in a girl’s Elizabethan costume. The tradition existed until the mid-twentieth century.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


About 750 BCE, Homer wrote the epic poem “The Iliad” about the war between the Greeks and the Trojans; a few years later he wrote “The Odyssey” about the journey home of Odysseus, the Greek nobleman. Together, they represent the first great literature of western civilization. Both works are certainly mythological, incorporating Gods and imaginary characters and places. But, was the Iliad completely mythology or the first detailed account of an historical event? Was the great Trojan War only an expression of Homer’s imagination and never took place, or did it happen perhaps . . . elsewhere.

A small, but vocal, group of historians see Homer’s description of life in the late Bronze Age as having little in common with Greek culture. His descriptions of Ilium, they claim, do not fit the geographic, topographic, or climactic characteristics of the eastern Mediterranean. They believe Homer was not accurately describing the Greek culture. Some even contend that Homer wasn’t even Greek; but maybe Celtic.

Dutch author Iman Wilkens, the late Sir Moses Finley, Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge, and others believe that the evidence shows that Troy and the Trojan War did not occur in the Aegean region as we think, but somewhere else - namely on the plains of southwest England near Cambridge. The conflict did not even involve the Greeks.

Dr. P.H. Damste, Professor at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, wrote, “Valuable knowledge is to be discovered about the people of the Northwest European coast around 1200 BCE; how they navigated the oceans and the great war between the Kings of continental Europe and the Celtic Trojan King in England who held the monopoly for tin mining in today’s Cornwall.” Tin is the critical ingredient in making bronze (after it is combined with copper). Without bronze, many of the ancient cultures would have not been able to evolve.

These academics don’t dispute that a “Trojan War” did take place about 3,200 years ago but at the City of Troy which was located a few kilometers southeast of Cambridge. Remnants of the site, they claim, indicate a city large enough to house 100,000 people. Ancient oral legends also suggest that the ancestors of Priam (the King of Troy in the Iliad) were Celts. In his work, Homer always refers to the invading army as “Achaeans,” never as Greeks. The word Acha means “people of the sea” in ancient Celtic. He also refers to the Greeks as “Danaans,” the ancient name for the people now living in Holland.

After the fall of Troy in England, some of the Celtic survivors left the area and built a new town on the nearby Temese River (called Temes during the Middle Ages and now Thames today). The Celts called their new town Caer Troia (Town of Troy). Years later, the Roman conquerors renamed it Londinium Troia Nova (New Troy) - today it is of course London.

Wilkens and others contend that a majority of the surviving Trojans/Celts migrated to the Mediterranean, and specifically to Greece. They adopted Greek customs and learned the language. After about 400 years in Greece, the oral stories the Celts had brought with them were recorded in writing in Greek. Since no one remembered that the stories originated elsewhere, they were accepted as part of the Greek culture. Numerous details in the stories were not changed to fit the contemporary Greek locale and that gave rise to many inconsistencies.

Below are just some of the incongruities between the generally accepted story of Troy (as set down in the Iliad) and the alternative story put forth by some academics.

Although the Trojan War would have been of great importance in Aegean history, neither Troy nor the war were ever mentioned in any of the thousands of clay tablets found belonging to the Hittite Empire that dominated Turkey at and just after the estimated time of the Trojan War. The names of the military leaders of the war, as well as the city of Athens and the Greek province of Mycenae, are also never mentioned.

Of the forty known characteristics of Aegean Troy and its surrounding area (identified in the Iliad), not one matches the Turkish site. All of them correspond to the Gog Magog Hills area near Cambridge.

Most of the place names in the Iliad, assumed to be Greek, have actually been shown to be Celtic, and many still exist in Western Europe in a very similar form today. Homer refers to 12 rivers flowing in the vicinity of Troy in Turkey, all of which emptied into the sea near the city. Only one exists in the Aegean site of Troy; but all 12 (with similar names to those in the Iliad) existed or still exist in southwest England.

The Turkish coast had no nearby bay or port large enough to disembark the size of the Achaean fleet. This was recognized as an inconsistency by Greek historians 2,000 years ago. In 1200 BCE the Turkish site of Troy would have been very near the water’s edge. There would have been no sizeable plain between the sea and the city large enough for an army of 100,000 Greeks.

The ruins at Troy in northwest Turkey are hardly those of a great city with wide streets and huge buildings. The Iliad indicates that the population of Troy included 50,000 soldiers and another 50,000 civilians. The size of these excavated ruins is suitable for about 5,000 people.

No bronze weapons have been found at the Turkish Troy site. A very large number of bronze weapons dated to 1200 BCE have been found near Cambridge. Homer writes of the “horse-taming Trojans” and of a “Troy rich in horses.” Yet very few horse skeletons have been unearthed at the site in Turkey.

Homer also refers to two large “war dykes.” None have been found at the Turkish site; but two still exist near Cambridge. The two in England, about 25 km northeast of Cambridge, are actually defensive canals built to connect dense forests to fortified hills with the intention of keeping an invading army from approaching the Troy site. There is some indication of a camp (Achaean?) on the plain on water side of the canals. 

There are cultural inconsistencies in the Iliad as well. Homer writes that after the death of Achilles, the Achaean battlefield leader, his body was cremated and his ashes collected in an urn. Cremation was a typical Celtic custom, and not shared by other cultures in Europe. Important Greeks were always buried whole, wearing a golden helmet. Homer also mentions the classic mythological character Galatea (a sea nymph) in the Iliad. Her nephew was Achilles, also considered a semi-god. Yet Galatea is also the legendary mother of the Celts and Gauls.

A final note.

Iman Wilkens’ book “Where Troy Once Stood” was published in 1991 but was revised and expanded in 2009 to include new evidence. It is available on Amazon.com (at a very high price) but excerpts can be found elsewhere on the internet. Much of his evidence is circumstantial of course, but this is common when researching cultures that still depended on an oral tradition. At first, I was highly skeptical of his theory. Then I found some of his explanations somewhat plausible. But after reading on, I found them to be quite compelling. (Robert Thomas for The Unfolding Journey)

Saturday, May 11, 2013


The “Atomic Age” began in earnest after World War II. Popular perception about the atomic bomb has centered on the image of the mushroom cloud, radioactive fallout, and the end of civilization. There are serious dangers indeed, but there are also many myths and half true stories that can cloud people’s perceptions. Here are three such myths. While all are untrue, many continue to believe them.


In 1980, a rumor began circulating that during the 1954 filming of the “The Conqueror,” a movie about Genghis Khan, a larger-than-average percent of the cast and crew developed cancer; and more than half of these had died. The production company of 220 people was on location near St. George, Utah, which is downwind from the U.S. military’s Nevada Test Site that had been conducting above ground nuclear detonations. Many believed that the cast and crew received significant doses of radioactive fallout which was responsible for their demise. By 1980, 91 people had contracted some type of cancer, and 46 died of the disease. Among them were director Dick Powell, John Wayne, Susan Hayward, and Agnes Moorehead.
People Magazine and The Star tabloid first reported on the story, followed closely by newspapers in New York and Los Angeles. An academic here and there also noted that such a thing might be possible but none would attempt to quantify it. Dr. Robert Pendleton of the University of Utah said, “With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic.” The media accounts told the story of 700 lawsuits brought about by residents living around St. George during the 1970’s.
But this is where speculation and hysteria stops and common sense takes over. All of the facts given to date had been true but the conclusions were inaccurate. It was true that the test range was only 137 miles away but no detonations had been performed there for over a year before the film crew arrived. According to the National Cancer Institute, the chances of being diagnosed with cancer are 41% during a lifetime, and mortality is 21.7%. An assessment of the film cast and crew indicated that their disease rate was 41.4% and their mortality was 20.7%. These numbers vary only minimally from the population as a whole. The crew had been on location for just a few weeks whereas most of the locals were lifelong residents.
Upon deeper investigation, details about the crew were found to be unavailable - their age at diagnosis, the type of cancer they developed, their risk factors (such as smoking), and other predictors. And obviously between 1954 and 1980, these people had grown much older. Most forms of cancer are long in developing. Results of later investigation indicated that the cast and crew received no more than 4.0 millirems of radiation which is less than background radiation levels.


By the beginning of WWII, the international scientific community was well aware of the early German lead in nuclear physics, estimated at two years ahead of Britain, France, and the United States. Among the countless stories associated with the NAZI led war machine, one continues to be accepted as true. That Hitler’s operatives had developed an atomic bomb which was just weeks or even day away from being used on the Allies, when the war ended.
Some accounts indicate that they tested three nuclear bombs in late 1944 and early 1945. They were small “dirty” bombs that combined both conventional and nuclear explosives. The detonations produced a blinding light flash and intense heat. Allegedly in one burst, hundreds of Russian POW’s were used as test subjects by being placed near the detonation point. All were killed and their bodies were demolished by the blast. It was believed that Soviet intelligence reported that the Germans detonated large explosions that were called “fission bombs.” They were constructed using uranium 235 and were highly radioactive. One eyewitness said that protective suits had to be worn to avoid exposure. It was also reported that large stores of nuclear waste material were found in German salt mines by the Allies.
But all of this “evidence” was greatly exaggerated. After spectacular early success, the German nuclear research efforts failed miserably. They were never able to get a reactor up and running, and were never able to develop a device to trigger a bomb if one was produced. The German scientists were incorrectly working on the theory that using deuterium oxide (“heavy water”) was the only acceptable control method. Water obtained from Norway was at such a slow rate that there was never enough to allow a large enough chain reaction to be controlled.
American physicist Samuel Goudsmit, thought that sloppy mathematics by German team leader Werner Heisenberg had miscalculated the design of their reactor as well. Some German project scientists thought that the German high command just lacked the motivation to build the bomb. Especially after its budget skyrocketed (they spent 50% more on developing an atomic bomb than the U.S. spent on the Manhattan Project).
One partially completed reactor, located in the cellar of a Catholic Church in Hechingen, Bavaria, was seized in April of 1945 by the American “Alsos Mission” but it was far from being functional. They captured the German scientists at the scene, dismantled the reactor, and removed the low grade uranium blocks at the site. No large store of nuclear material or waste was found.

And finally, 1,402 V2 rockets were launched toward London resulting in 2,754 people killed; against Antwerp, Belgium, 1,664 launches killed 1,736. The average number of deaths per V2 rocket hitting London was 2; the average number of deaths per V2 in Antwerp was 1. In a campaign of terror designed to break the spirit of the British and Belgian people, wouldn’t Hitler have used an atomic bomb, launched aboard a V2, if such a weapon was available?


There is a patch of desert a few miles outside of San Ignacio, Mexico, which many compare to the Bermuda Triangle. Locals call it “La Zona del Silencio” or “Trino Vertex.” The Silent Zone is located along the same parallel as the Bermuda Triangle and has similar legends attached to it.
The primary manifestation in The Silent Zone is the allegation that radios, compasses, and other electronic devices do not work because the area is one of several poles where “Earth energy” is concentrated. The zone is said to attract meteorites (which causes disorientation in visitors). It is also believed by some that one cannot hear the conversation of people only a few feet from them. Plants and animals are claimed to have been mutated. And more to the extreme, light spheres fly over the area and UFO’s have been seen landing here.    
Claims have been made that the first phenomena were reported as early as the 1930’s, but oddly NOTHING ever surfaced until after July 11, 1970, when a specific event occurred. On that day, a military Athena test missile was launched from near Green River, Utah, toward the White Sands Missile Range. Control of it was lost and it accidently crossed into Mexican air space, crashing into the desert, later called The Silent Zone. The missile carried two containers of radioactive material on board. After a three week search by air, the missile was found. U.S. military and scientific personnel descended on the site and prepared to remove the wreckage, as well as some soil made radioactive by the cobalt spilling out. The recovery was done under security which probably added to the rumors surrounding the operation.
Here’s the reality of this alleged phenomena. A local man named Jaime was hired be the U.S. to guard the area during the recovery. After several weeks on duty, he grew kind of fond of the attention and the money he received. Together with local landowners and potential hotel builders, Jaime began to spin some bizarre tales about the area. They claimed that scientists confirmed these events (although none ever came forward). People were only too happy to believe the stories. Visitors began to arrive, and the local economy was benefited. Everything said about The Silent Zone was fabricated by Jaime and his friends. But even Jaime’s plans were cut short when he was killed in bar fight. But the legends that started with him grew and grew.
As more people arrived to “experience” the zone, they had trouble finding any place where the phenomena existed. Guides simply reminded the visitors that the zone shifts some from time to time, and that they just needed to look a little harder. No problem.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


“When she entered the arena, she blew kisses to the audience. The little five-foot tall young lady was being used to warm up the crowd to the sound of gunfire. She was an ambidextrous shot who fired rapidly and with unerring accuracy. On the rare occasion when she missed a shot, she immediately fired again. Sometimes, she intentionally missed and then pretended to become petulant; stamping her foot in frustration and throwing her hat down and walking around it to change her luck. Then, when she did hit the mark, the audience would roar louder than ever. Her act often included hitting targets while riding a bicycle with no hands. She concluded her act with a funny jig and would kick up her heels as she left the arena.”
This little lady was a true star - an international star. Her name was Phoebe Ann Moses, but most of her fans, then and now, just called her “Annie Oakley.” She was the most famous woman in American in the late 19th Century, and the finest woman sharpshooting entertainer of all time. Some think of her as a western legend, but Annie Oakley was not born in the west, and never lived there either.
Annie was born in Darke County, Ohio, on August 13, 1860. She was the fifth of seven children born to Susan and Jacob Moses, Quakers from Pennsylvania. Her father died when Annie was a young child. She inherited his Kentucky rifle, and with it she tried to help her mother feed the other children by hunting and trapping game in the surrounding woods. At age 10, she was sent to live at the county poor farm where she received a little schooling. During her early teen years, Annie divided her time between the institution and living with her mother and new stepfather.
A few years later, an Irishman sharpshooter named Frank Butler arrived in town. He made his living by travelling around accepting shooting challenges from local marksmen. He would put up $500 against the challengers’ $50 entrance fee. One day in Greenville, Ohio, Annie Moses stepped up to shoot against Frank. “I almost dropped dead when a slim girl in a short dress stepped out to the mark with me,” said Frank, “I was a beaten man the moment she appeared.” Annie won, Frank lost. But Frank Butler had fallen in love. He invited her to see his act in Cincinnati where he would shoot an apple off the head of his dog, George; then George would retrieve the apple. The dog began taking the fruit to Annie instead of Frank. A year later, Annie Moses became Annie Butler. The two remained in love for the rest of their lives.
Annie joined her husband’s act under the name Annie Oakley (Oakley was the name of the Cincinnati neighborhood where they lived). Realizing that his wife was the real star, Frank put his own career on hold to manage Annie. He once said, “She outclassed me.” In the early years, Annie Oakley and Frank Butler played small theatres, skating rinks, and circuses. In New Orleans in 1884, they met Buffalo Bill Cody. After a three-day try out, Buffalo Bill hired the pair. They toured with his Wild West Show for 16 seasons; the only contract they ever had was verbal.
Annie had a theatrical flair and the agility of an athlete. She practiced constantly and never relied on trickery. She preferred Lancaster shotguns, Winchester rifles, and both Colt and Smith & Wesson handguns. She was given the nickname “Little Sure Shot” by fellow performer Chief Sitting Bull. Whenever Sitting Bull got cranky, Cody would send for Annie who would talk to the chief for a while then do a little jig. It always made the chief laugh and it lifted his spirits.
In 1887, the Wild West Show sailed to London as part of the U.S. delegation sent for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. After the first show, Prince Albert Edward, a notorious flirt, wanted to meet Annie. When he held out his hand to her, she passed it by and shook his wife’s hand instead. Annie told the Prince, “You’ll have to forgive me. I’m an American, and in America, women come first.” A few days later, Queen Victoria attended the performance. As the American flag entered the arena, she stood up and bowed deeply. Everyone present was shocked. No monarch had ever done that before. Annie curtsied and walked up to the Queen. Then Victoria said to her, “You are a very clever little girl.” Annie’s fame began to spread.
The following year, the western spectacle went to France. At first the French believed the shooting was faked, but when they saw Annie Oakley perform, they were convinced that she, at least, was the real thing. They idolized America’s “Little Sure Shot,” as did people across Europe.
In 1894, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and a group of Indians performed in front of Thomas Edison’s moving picture machine at the inventor’s laboratory in New Jersey. Edison was delighted that his machine could capture the gun smoke and shattering targets. Now the public could go to kinetoscope parlors and, for a nickel, see Annie Oakley in action. She had become the first “cowgirl” in motion pictures.
After another five seasons, Annie and Frank began to think of retirement from the road. The travel was wearing them down. Then in 1901, the unthinkable happened. As the company was travelling by train to their last performance of the season, it ran into an oncoming train. Annie was pinned beneath the rubble for hours. Legend says that just 17 hours later, Annie Oakley’s hair turned from brown to white due to the stress of the crash. She needed five spinal operations and suffered some paralysis. She and Frank decided to leave Buffalo Bill’s show.
They retired to Cambridge, Maryland, where both could hunt and shoot. They had no children. In 1922 at age 62, Annie suffered more injuries in an automobile accident that fractured her hip and ankle. She was forced to wear a steel leg brace from then on; but she kept on shooting. In 1926, Annie and Frank were back in Darke County, Ohio, where it all began. She died from pernicious anemia on November 3rd. Frank stopped eating or caring and died three weeks later. His only wish was to join his wife.