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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gilroy's haunted Mount Madonna County Park

Mount Madonna State Park where the ghost of the daughter of
one of Gilroy's founders is said to haunt.

About 12 miles west of the town of Gilroy is the Mount Madonna County Park. It's said that the ghost of Sarah Miller, the daughter of one of Gilroy's founders Henry Miller, haunts the land that used to be owned by her family.

On June 14, 1879 Sarah Miller was riding her horse on her family's ranch when it stepped in a squirrel hole and lost its footing. Sarah then fell off the horse and broke her neck and was instantly killed.

Stories have persisted for years of seeing a woman riding on horseback late at night by park rangers. Other reports from rangers include hearing a woman screaming, but when they went to investigate no one was found. Lights being seen in buildings even after they were turned off have also been reported. Another witness even reported seeing a woman dressed all in white walking down Pole Line road late one night.

If this is indeed the ghost of Sarah Miller, why does she haunt the land that was formerly her family's ranch? Perhaps she doesn't know she is dead and wanders around aimlessly not knowing of the sad truth. Or perhaps this is where she was happiest in life and continues to stay there even in death. Whatever the case may be, given the numerous sightings at Mount Madonna, something definitely is roaming the grounds late at night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Large bird like creature seen in Fresno skies

Kwakwaka'wakw totem pole depicting
a Thunderbird perched on the top.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Last week while attending the monthly Fresno Filmmakers Alliance mixer, a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I knew of any thunderbird sightings in the Fresno area as his wife and young son had recently spotted a large bird like creature with a wing span estimated to be over 12 feet in width.

For those who don't know what a thunderbird is term used in the cryptozoological world to describe large bird like creatures that are associated with the Thunderbird of Native American mythology. Most thunderbirds sightings are of the feathered type, although some sightings have reported the creatures to have lizard like features similar to a pterosaur.

Modern thunderbird sightings go back over 100 years with one of the first stories reportedly occurring in April 1890 in Arizona where two cowboys killed a giant birdlike creature with a huge wingspan. It was described as having smooth skin, featherless wings similar to that of a bat and a face that looked like an alligator. They are said to have taken the carcass back to town where they pinned it on the outside of barn with it's wings outstretched the entire length.

Sightings continued into the 20th Century when in the 1940's several sightings occurred in Illinois where witnesses at first thought they were seeing a plane flying overhead until they saw the "plane" flapping it's wings. A few weeks later in another part of the state a man and his son saw a large bird creature flying at a height estimated to be around 500 feet and the shadow it cast was the size of a small passenger airplane.

One of the more stranger occurrences, and one I wanted to share, happened on July 25, 1977 in Lawndale, Illinois. A group of boys were playing in their back yard when two large birds approached and chased the boys. Two escaped unharmed, but the third boy, 10 year old Marlon Lowe, did not. One of the birds clamped it's talons around his shoulders and lifted the now terrified boy about two feet off the ground and carried him some distance before Low was able to fight off the bird, getting it to release him.

Most viewed this as some sort of tall tale made up by the boys, but given the description of the birds one has to wonder. The description matched that of an Andean condor; a large back bird with a white ringed neck and a wingspan of 10 feet. There's a problem though, the condor's talons are said to not be strong enough to lift that of a heavy object (i.e. a 10 year old boy). So what then did the boys see?

So this leads me back to the Fresno sighting. What exactly did the two see? Was it just a normal bird (say a hawk or crane) mistaken for something else? Someone mentioned a Californian Condor, but that is highly unlikely as the habitat for this species is in Southern California. Could a large bird like creature, one that was the inspiration for the Native American Thunderbird myth, be in the Fresno area skies? If there have been more sightings, hopefully those witnesses will hear of this article and share their stories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paying your respects from a drive-thru funeral home

I came across a video yesterday while at lunch of something that's a bit different than what I normally see and post here on Weird Fresno. It was an interview of a woman who owned a funeral home in Compton and it had a unique feature of a drive-thru viewing window. One would be able to drive up to the spot where the body was being viewed and you could either stay in your car or step out and view the body and sign the register.

This isn't the only drive-thru funeral home in the country. There is one in Chicago and another in Louisiana. But the owner of Robert L. Adams Mortuary, Peggy Scott Adams, believes her's to be the only one in Southern California.

At first I thought this was a bit weird. But as I watched the video I began to warm up to the idea. There are some people who can't attend the funeral of the person and this gives them a chance to pay their last respects. Another interesting thing I found was that people who were walking by would sometimes go up to the viewing window and pay their respects, even if they didn't know the person.

Now I doubt this concept will catch on everywhere, but it is something unique and not morbid in the least. In a culture that seems to fear death, it's comforting to know that not everyone out there is afraid of it and wants to pay their respects to the dearly departed.

The LA Times did an article on the funeral home and it can be found here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

More strange lights filmed over Oakland.

Looks like there are strange lights flying over Oakland again. Almost a year ago I had reported of a strange object (or objects) being filmed over Oakland, CA with a night vision enabled camera. Well it seems the strange craft (or something similiar) is once again flying over Oakland and YouTube user KevinMC360 was able to get some video of it.

Looking at the video I can't really say what the three objects are. But I feel I can say what I believe them NOT to be. No way they are birds, as some have claimed them to be. Birds do not move that fast nor do they stay in that tight of formation. I read on another site of how someone claimed that you can see the birds flapping their wings on the enlarged portion of the video, well that isn't what you are seeing. Since the video was zoomed in digitally, you get some pixelation and that is what you are seeing here.

Also I doubt they are some form of civilian aircraft. That formation is once again a rather tight one, and three individual ones wouldn't move that fluidly throughtout the sky. Now could it be some sort of military craft? Perhaps. Remember for years the Air Force kept secret the F-117 and B-2 programs. Granted they weren't testing them over heavily populated areas but I digress. As for the possibily of it being extraterresterial, who the hell knows. I'm seeing three objects moving in the sky. They are flying and unidentified. That is the definition of a UFO, which is what we have here.