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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weird Fresno's recap of 2011

Well folks it's that time of year again where I recap the most interesting and/or weird things to happen to Weird Fresno this year. A myriad of things happened this year and here's what I felt were the top five for this year.

Back in January I received an e-mail informing me that one of the famed crystal skulls would be making a brief stop in Fresno. Now I tend to stay away from the whole metaphysical side of the paranormal, but I knew the story of this particular skull, named Max, and had to see it for myself. Even though the lecture where Max was to be at quickly sold out, I was allowed to attend. It was an interesting lecture and even if you don't believe in the whole story, the message of Max's owner of loving everyone and how she wanted to share his message of peace. Plus I got to touch the crystal skull (nothing happened unfortunately). Looking back on this though I wish I had asked Max his opinion of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Supposedly he may make another stop in Fresno in 2012, so I may have to ask him then.

This was an interesting story that I just happened upon by chance. I was at the Fresno Filmmakers Alliance monthly mixer and a friend who shares the same interest in the paranormal as I do asked me if I had heard about any large bird sightings in Fresno. He proceeded to tell me that his wife and son had seen a bird with the wingspan of at least 12 feet fly over their house one day. From what he described it sounded like the Thunderbird of Native American folklore. The Thunderbirds are said to be very large birds, capable of lifting a small child up. What I found interesting about this is that after I posted the story both here and on Fresno Famous, I received several comments from people who had seen the same thing and around the same time. So what exactly was flying over Fresno that day?

One of my more popular stories is the one on the ghosts at Roosevelt High School. When I first heard about the story of Lester, I didn't really believe it and just assumed it was the overactive imagination of a bunch of high school students that made up the story years ago. Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail one day from a person who said her cousin was Lester, or actually named Leslie, and the story of him dying on stage was true. This was one of the first times I was actually able to collaborate a story with facts. She mentioned how she didn't want him known for haunting the auditorium and hoped that the students there would remember him as the loving person he was. Imagine my surprise when one of the students there responded and said that it was tradition to include Leslie in the cast/crew sign in sheets for any performance that is in the auditorium. It seems that Roosevelt High hasn't forgotten him after all.

I love New Orleans. There is no other city like it in this country and has such a rich and wonderful history. Plus it's one of the most haunted towns in America. So when I heard my friend Kimburly was going there for a conference I had to get her to write about her experiences (thankfully the payment wasn't that much, though I still owe her a couple of beers if I remember right). I told her about a couple of spots near where she was staying that were haunted and gave her free reign on what to do. Let's just say I was more than pleased with the results as she didn't just focus on the haunted spots, but the city itself and the feel it has. I miss that town and need to go back soon. And not spend the entire weekend on Bourbon Street like I did when I was there last time (oh to be 18 again).

Though this one wasn't a post I did per say, Chris Dowdy over at the Dirty Dowdy Podcast and I had talked for a while about doing a ghost hunt for his show and bringing along some listeners. Figuring the weekend of Halloween would be best, we decided to drive out to Channel Road in Sanger and see if we could find anything. Was an interesting night to say the least. With Dowdy's car dying near the spot it's said the woman in white drove off the road and died, to people seeing strange shadow figures. My favorite part? We just pulled to the side of the road to get ready when a car full of people pulled up and said they saw the lady in white north of our location. Looks like the Legend of Snake Road is alive and well.

To me this was the best thing to happen this year. I was asked by Central California Paranormal Investigators team leader Jackie Meador to do a live Twitter/Facebook event from their investigation up at the Sky Ranch. It had been a good three years since I had been there and I was more than happy to oblige. Last time I went I was still in the paranormal investigator mindset, but this time I was just there to experience the story and share it with everyone. I had a fantastic time that night, met some new friends who asked me to join their group (I was flattered, but I love doing Weird Fresno so I declined. But I may work as a consultant to them from time to time) and actually pulled an all nighter which I haven't done on an investigation in years. Why is this number one you ask? Because everything I did that night is where I want Weird Fresno to go in the future, to go to a location and just experience the story and be part of it.

So that's my top five. 2011 is going to be over in less than 24 hours. Who knows what 2012 will bring. Did the Mayans actually predict the end of the world as some say? Others claim that they predicted that a new era of enlightenment would occur. Personally I have no idea if anything will happen. All I can say is it's going to be another weird year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dinuba High School rumored to be haunted

In the small town of Dinuba, the local high school is rumored to be host to several hauntings.

Several teachers have reported hearing doors closing on their own late at night, of lights turning on and off by themselves, and a feeling of being watched while walking down the halls. It's said that sometime in the 1970's a janitor was accidentally electrocuted and died from his injuries. Some think that these odd occurrences are the janitor trying to make his presence known.

Another story is that the English Building is haunted by the ghost of a woman who died there years ago. No one knows who she really is, but strange noises in empty classrooms are attested to her. Others have claimed to have heard her either walking down the hall or in one of the restrooms.

And finally there is the legend that surrounds the school's football field. The story goes that years ago a young girl decided to break up with her boyfriend. They met near the bleachers on the football field and in a fit of rage the boyfriend strangled his girlfriend to death. He decided to hide her boy in the back as there was an area that was covered in black plastic that was used to store equipment. Unfortunately the girl's body wasn't found for more than a week as it was hidden with all the equipment. It's said that late at night you can see the girl running across the football field, assuming that she is still trying to escape her boyfriend.

Whether any of these stories are true or not is hard to say. But Dinuba High School, like other high schools in the Central Valley, has its own stories that are passed down from class to class and student to student. These stories add to the history of the school and to the local community.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

UFO seen over Fig Garden

Been wanting to focus more on UFO sightings in the Fresno area lately so when I saw this report on the MUFON site I knew I had to share it. Given the size and location of the object in question, I'm surprised more people haven't reported seeing it. Just to be certain I did cross reference with the National UFO but there was no listing of sightings in Fresno for December yet. I'll continue to check back and if there is anything that resembles this sighting I'll post that as well.

MUFON report: White cigar shape hovering high above NE Fresno.

On Thursday, December 01, 2011 at approximately 1350 hours, I was driving near the intersection of N. Figarden Loop near the European Grove in Northwest Fresno. In my periphery, I noticed a white sliver in the sky. I thought it was an airplane. I looked again but didn't see it. There were trees all around so I assumed it was an airplane flying beyond the trees. I WAS WRONG. I stared into the sky and saw nothing. My lady didn't see anything either. Then, it presented itself in the open sky. I was glad my lady witnessed it too because it's hard to articulate.

It made no sound and seemed to hover above the city at an elevation slightly higher than airplanes. Based on what I saw, I estimate it to be about the size of about two football fields. It first appeared as a white cigar shape then it disappeared. About ten seconds later, it appeared again in the same location, but illuminated. I pulled out my smartphone to film it but before I could, it disappeared and was never seen again. I am also curious if anyone else saw this thing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stanislaus County town plagued with occult activity during the mid 1980's

In the mid 1980's Stanislaus County was witness to several cult related crimes, including Satanic rituals and the desecration of a body at the Denair Cemetery.

In 1985 several Modesto residents received ominous letters signed by a "Natas" (Satan spelled backwards) that said "Watch out for when you hear footsteps at night, and see SHADOWS on the WALL, and then the ghostly sounds of SILENCE as the MIST begins to fall and a scream goes out like THUNDER and SATAN calls this number 666 'AND FOR YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE, FOR HE SAID IT MUST BE DONE." Also scribbled on the type written letters were upside down crosses representing the antichrist and swastikas representing forces turned against nature.

Nearly a year later the small town of Denair was shocked when sheriff's deputies found the town's small cemetery was the site of a satanic ritual that including digging up and desecration of an interned body.

According to deputies the grave robbers left two unmistakable telltale signs that they were practicing some form of devil worship, a fire blackened circle on the ground near where the body was unearthed. The other was that the body was partially dismembered, though details weren't given about the dismemberment besides stating that body parts were missing. Deputies said the markings on the ground were consistent with satanic rituals and that they stand inside the burned circle as part of the ritual to protect them from harm. Evidence at the scene suggested there were at least six people involved.

Local residents were both shocked and outraged at what happened. Though people had their suspicions as to who the culprits were, no one was ever arrested for these crimes. At the time agencies in the area said they were convinced that the incident was part of a growing trend of devil worship.

Despite the fact that the Modesto Bee said this was one of several occurrences of cult activity in the area, I couldn't find anything else mentioned besides some random posts of someone's dad seeing figures in black robes on the side of a road nailing a dead cat to a stop sign, or of a severed goat's head found in Stockton. I do find it funny that the article then goes on to blame heavy metal artists like Ozzy Ozzbourne and Motley Crue (Motley Crue is heavy metal?) for the rise of interest of Satanism in teenagers.

Still it's interesting that there was a rash of cult activity in Stanislaus County. I wonder what happened to the members. Did they just grow out of this phase of their lives? Or did they just disappear into everyday society and took their cult activities underground and are still practicing this day? No one may ever know.