Friday, May 09, 2008

Fortean Three: North Country Odd Events

They say bad things happen in a series of three. Looks like odd events can follow that pattern.

Recently the North Country – the corner of New York State where I live, hinterlands bordered by Canada and Lake Champlain – has popped up in the news of the weird and extraordinary.

Someone saw a black panther in the Lake Placid area. Not an indigenous critter in these parts. According to an article in the Lake Placid News dated 4/24/08, Tsermaa Plumley thought she heard a bear prowling around their property on Schaefer Road in Keene. Her husband Dan investigated to see what kind of animal was in the compost. They were surprised to see a large alien black cat (or ABC to use the Fortean abbreviation). The mysterious black panther left; no one was harmed, just startled. (

The day before (4/23/08) WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh reported that a local student videotaped an UFO at night. Mysterious lights that could be anything, from what I saw of the video.


And on 4/25/08 the Plattsburgh State newspaper ran an article about a college student who photographed a black orb in his dorm room with his camera. He claimed it was some sort of spirit orb. What appears to be a face can be detected inside the orb. All I saw in the printed newspaper edition was a dark spot in one corner that could be a digital defect. (The image wasn’t shown on the website.)

After a long North Country winter, the Cosmic Prankster has awakened from his deep sleep. Time for him to swim around Lake Champlain as the monster nicknamed Champ.


X. Dell said...

(1) I've heard of the Jersey Devil, but not Champ. What kinda critter is this supposed to be?

(2) The black orb article didin't include a picture (I'll find it later), but it wouldn't surprise me that the "face" is simply a photographic distortion. They're quite normal.

I had a friend who used to get those all the time, and for years I asked a number of professional photographers what caused them. None of them could give me a straight answer. I later found that, depending on the grade of camera one used, distortions can be perceived in all sorts of patterns, including orbs, and human faces. My unexamined first guess is that this is a twofer.

(3) The lights shown on the news footage look like they're in the shape of stealth bomber. Problem is, they're not supposed to be that color. Once again, there could be possible image distortion of a distant object that might confuse the camera.

On the other hand, the witness described what the lights looked like independently of the lens. And craft like this has been around your area for awhile now.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

(1) It's our local Loch Ness Monster. Champ or Champy was supposedly seen by explorer Samual de Champlain. He also heard legends about the critter from native Americans.

(2) For some reason the orb photo was only included in the print version, but not the online one. It shows two guys sitting in a dorm room with strong light coming in behind them from a window. In the right hand corner is a black spot. I suspect the spot is caused by a stain or smudge on the lens combined with the camera's imaging sensor inability to repoduce the spot as a bright white light.

(3) I've seen how people can overreact to lights in the sky. One time in college someone saw two planets twinkling on the horizon on a winter evening. He thought they were UFOs, alien craft.

Another time, during a lunar eclipse, I pointed out the belt of Orion to someone. He acted weird, nervous. "Are you sure those three stars always look like that?" he asked.

So the average person can be fooled by the night sky, particularly when he usually pays little attention to it or never reads astronomy books. That said, there are still a few puzzling UFO cases out there, especially the ones with both visual and radar confirmation.


X. Dell said...

I was gabbing with a friend outdoors one night, when he began to get agitated about forty-five minutes into the conversation. He told me that he had seen a UFO.

I asked him where, and went to stand behind where he sat (he was facing me at the time). He said, "You know how you told me that UFOs can move real slow, in addition to moving real fast?"


"I've been watching that light in the tree." He pointed to this tree, the top branches were forked. He described the movement of the light from one branch to the next, during the course of our conversation.

Of course, i'd seen UFOs, and I've seen many things in the night sky. So, I recognized it right away as the planet Mars, and had to explain that what he just witnessed was the rotation of the Earth.

Doug said...

Not to quibble, but at any given time couldn't there be three oddities occurring around the same time. Might this not be the whole perceiving-patterns thing you've mentioned before?

I'm just sayin'.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

In certain cases you have to consider the rotation of the observer. [G] (Not to disparage your friend; I'm thinking about the people I've mentioned before.)


Gee, you mean the Bible Code is hooey and you could do the same thing with a Sears catlog?

Good catch. Sometimes my posts should be taken en masse to reveal themes. But beware: don't blow your mind, man!


Doug said...

Sears? No. JCPenney.

JC. Where have I seen those initials?

Lynn said...

This idea that areas with recurring strangeness are connected to these "vortex points" seems to be spreading.

I myself don't honestly know a lot of about strange phenomena, I don't rule things out but I don't accept much either without some substantial support.

Nice to meet you Ray.

Ray said...


Good to met you. I was wondering how you came across my blog. A personal recommendation by a MIB? [G]

Like you, I don't automatically rule out something extraordinary because it's unusual or uncommon. But at the same time, I don't rule it in without some sort of evidence or reason to believe.