Category Archive 'Mysteries'
26 Oct 2021

Gerrish Family Believed Killed by Heatstroke

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Remember this item from August 22nd?

Daily Mail:

The mysterious deaths of a British Google engineer and his family on a hiking trail were not a case of homicide, police say.

The bodies of Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen Chung and their daughter Muji – along with their dog Oski – were found by search teams on Tuesday in an area of the Sierra National Forest known as Devil’s Gulch. …

The Marisopa County Sheriff’s Office is now ruling out homicide in the hiking trail deaths, Fox News reports. Spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said: ‘Initially, yes, when we come across a family with no apparent cause of death, there’s no smoking gun, there’s no suicide note, there’s nothing like that, we have to consider all options.

‘Now that we’re five days in, no, we’re no longer considering homicide as a cause of death.’

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Outside magazine:

On October 21, 2021, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office announced its long-awaited conclusions about what had killed an active, outdoorsy family and their dog on a hiking trail in California’s Sierra National Forest on August 15. They determined that the family died of “hyperthermia and probable dehydration” on a day when temperatures hit 109 degrees. The cause of death of Oski, an eight-year-old Aussie-Akita mix, remains undetermined. Based on a veterinary examination of the dog’s remains and other evidence on the scene, Sheriff Jeremy Briese said Oski probably also died of heat-related issues. …

The mystery surrounding the family’s death both saddened and captivated people worldwide. Speculation flew on social media, where armchair sleuths hypothesized about everything from poisoning by drug cartels, to a hit by Garrish’s one-time employer, Google. A more promising hypothesis, reported in September by the San Francisco Chronicle, was that the family had been exposed to dangerous anatoxins from algae blooms in the nearby South Fork Merced River (the Sierra National Forest closed the surrounding area as a precaution). The investigation’s toxicology report proved otherwise.

In a press conference, Briese said 30 different agencies aided his office’s investigation, including the FBI. “This is an unfortunate and tragic event due to the weather,” Briese said.

The trail where the Chung-Gerrish family died is an approximately eight-mile loop with more than 4,000 feet of elevation change. It starts at 3,880 feet of elevation, drops down to a river valley at 1,800 feet, and then climbs back out. Hikers typically access it from a dirt road called Hites Cove Road, about 18 miles northeast of Mariposa, at a rudimentary trailhead. There is no cell phone service in the area. Leak Pen, an assistant recreation officer at the Bass Lake Ranger District, which oversees that portion of the Sierra National Forest, described the loop as “steep and challenging and mostly popular during the cooler spring months.”

When the family began their hike at 8:00 A.M. on Sunday, August 15, it was about 75 degrees. The investigation noted that Gerrish’s cell phone showed he had researched the trail the day before using an app, charting out the family’s route. They probably expected to be on the trail for four or five hours, back home in time for a late lunch. They’d packed some snacks, a bottle with baby formula, and an 85-ounce bladder full of water. A common guideline for adult hikers is to drink 16 ounces of water per hour under normal circumstances. Following that math, two people hiking for four hours need 128 total ounces of water. Add in extra for the dog, and to contend with the hot temperatures forecast that day, and Chung and Gerrish probably should have been carrying two 85-ounce bladders. They did not bring a water purifier or a portable dog bowl.

Their hike began with a steep, yet scenic 2.2-mile descent down to the South Fork Merced River, by which time temperatures would have risen by at least 15 degrees, into the 90s. From there, the family trekked parallel to the river for just under two miles. During that time, it’s easy to imagine Oski romping along the riverbank and getting a drink. Perhaps Chung and Gerrish began to worry about their own dwindling water supply. It was searingly hot, over 100 degrees when they reached the hike’s halfway point at the intersection with the Savage-Lundy Trail, which would bring them back to their car.

The app that Gerrish had used to plan their outing wouldn’t have told him that the Ferguson Fire of 2018 had incinerated all the California incense-cedars and pines that used to shade the trail. The tourism site Yosemite.com calls the Savage-Lundy “the most difficult trail in the area.” It gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation in its three-mile ascent, on a south/southeast facing slope exposed to constant sunlight. The Chung-Gerrish family only made it up the first two miles. Temperatures for that section of the trail, from 12:50 P.M. to 2:50 P.M., topped out at 109 F. When local authorities found their bodies two days later, the bladder was empty, save for small traces of water.

10 Oct 2021

Bah! Humbug! The Answer is Obvious

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Atlas Obscura:

If you sail to the island of Sanday in the Orkney archipelago in northern Scotland, you’ll see the silhouettes of neighboring islands on the horizon. Upon arrival you’ll see white, sandy beaches that trail into rough, once-agricultural terrain, and experience its erratic weather—sun then fog then rain then clear skies all in the same day. Nestled there, on a shallow cliff, is a mound of earth and rocks: a prehistoric tomb dating to around 3500 B.C.

The tomb sits on a low-lying peninsula, where growing storms and agitated seas are eroding it away. So, in August and September 2021, a group of archaeologists made their way there, to Tresness, the site of that lone Neolithic tomb, with their sights set on excavation. The research team was anxious to study the tomb before it was lost; it contains a single chamber, presumably for someone important.

“What we discovered was an exceptionally well-preserved monument,” says Hugo Anderson-Whymark, a curator of prehistory at National Museums Scotland who co-led the research. There were no remains, but inside the monument were a couple rare finds: two polished stone balls, each about the size of a tennis ball.

The other leading archaeologist of the excavations, Vicki Cummings of the University of Central Lancashire, unearthed both of the orbs herself. With the first, she remembers pulling her trowel back and immediately noticing that something was different. “It was really exciting,” she says. “I said after the first one, ‘I’ll never find anything like that ever again in my career,’ and then I found another one. It’s very rare that you would find two such amazing objects, it was incredible.”

But these two balls aren’t exactly a unique find—they’re part of a widely distributed mystery left by the Neolithic inhabitants of the British Isles. More than 500 stone balls like them have been discovered to date. For centuries, no one paid them much attention. Farmers or builders would randomly discover them in fields, and then either keep them or donate them without another thought. It wasn’t until archaeologist Sir Daniel Wilson published illustrations of the orbs in 1851 that people began to take notice. “Suddenly you saw, from 1850 onwards, lots of them coming out the woodwork,” says Anderson-Whymark. “There were about 100 known by the early 20th century.” But because of the way that many of them were found—without archaeological context—scholars didn’t know where most came from. That’s why Cummings was so floored by what she found. Discovering not one but two, in their original location in a tomb, is incredible—only a few have ever been found in their original context. Also, most of the 20 balls that have been found in the Orkney Islands are carved and etched with patterns and designs. These, on the other hand, were polished smooth.

RTWT

Clearly, those Neolithic fellows played some game of the Boules family resembling Lawn Bowls, Raffe, Boules, Bocce, or Péntaque.

16 Sep 2021

Emily Dickinson’s Hair

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Two locks of hair, one blond, one brown, allegedly from the head of Emily Dickinson are being offered for sale on Ebay for $450,000.

Were they stolen decades ago from The Evergreens by the poet James Merrill? See LithHub.

[A] bit of questionably obtained Dickinson memorabilia has been quietly traded among a group of literary men for years: locks alleged to be the poet’s hair (some of which are now for sale on eBay for the astronomical sum of $450,000).

How the poet—who chose to cloister her living body from all but a few visitors—would feel about pieces of it making the rounds is anybody’s guess. The dead cannot give consent. But the alleged Dickinson hair may have arrived on the market by a type of violation: theft. That’s the theory of Mark Gallagher, the English faculty member at UCLA who’s trying to sell the hair on eBay.

The story goes like this: While an undergraduate at Amherst College in the 1940s, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill broke into the home (aka The Evergreens) of Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi. Merrill and two friends absconded with personal effects, including a small mirror, “tiny wine glass,” and a manuscript sheet—written by whom, it is unclear. The caper was recounted by Stephen Yenser in a 1995 issue of Poetry magazine dedicated to Merrill, who had died earlier that year. Yenser, Merrill’s literary executor and the now-retired founder of UCLA’s creative writing program, said he heard the tale from Merrill himself. In Poetry, he euphemized what was essentially burglary with terms like “borrowed” and “rescued,” writing that the trio “gained clandestine entry.”

The anecdote has been whispered among Dickinson scholars for years, according to University of Maryland English Prof. Martha Nell Smith, one of the nation’s foremost experts on Dickinson.

“I’ve long been convinced James Merrill did wander off with (steal?) some Dickinson items from the Evergreens, Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s home,” Smith wrote in an email.

Gallagher believes that Merrill must have also taken the hair during the alleged break-in at The Evergreens. Gallagher got his hands on the hair by way of the poet J.D. McClatchy, who, until his death in 2018, shared Merrill’s literary executorship with Yenser. McClatchy’s estate sale, where Gallagher purchased the hair, listed Merrill as the original owner.

Yenser, for his part, denies any nefarious origin for the locks. He says the hair came from an envelope found inside an 1890 edition of Poems by Emily Dickinson that belonged to Merrill, likely purchased from a rare book dealer.

Yet the envelope was labeled in cursive “For Mrs. Dickinson,” and the book in which it was found includes notes from Susan Gilbert Dickinson, according to Yale University, which now holds the volume and provided photos of the artifacts (below). Susan was Martha’s mother, and she and her husband Austin, Emily’s brother, lived at The Evergreens until their respective deaths in 1895 and 1913. Their daughter Martha then moved into the property and “preserved it without change, until her own death in 1943,” according to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, which controls The Evergreens. As far as Gallagher is concerned it’s quite possible Merrill took the book when he broke into the property.

RTWT

12 Sep 2021

Unknown Alligator ? — 2021

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WGNO:

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Earlier this week the “dumpster gator” became a sensation in Uptown New Orleans on Perrier Street and Upperline Street.

The “dumpster gator” shocked neighbors who wondered how the dead alligator ended up in a Demo Diva dumpster.

As to how the alligator ended up in the dumpster is still a mystery?
Large dead alligator discovered in New Orleans Dumpster

WGNO’s Kenny Lopez contacted Demo Diva and the owner Simone Bruni went by to check out the “dumpster gator.”

Bruni told Lopez that the alligator would be going to the landfill along with the other debris and trash in the dumpster.

But before doing so, she put a flower on the gator’s body as a sign of respect for the animal.

22 Aug 2021

Mysterious Deaths of Google Engineer, Wife, Baby, & Dog

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Daily Mail:

The mysterious deaths of a British Google engineer and his family on a hiking trail were not a case of homicide, police say.

The bodies of Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen Chung and their daughter Muji – along with their dog Oski – were found by search teams on Tuesday in an area of the Sierra National Forest known as Devil’s Gulch. …

The Marisopa County Sheriff’s Office is now ruling out homicide in the hiking trail deaths, Fox News reports. Spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said: ‘Initially, yes, when we come across a family with no apparent cause of death, there’s no smoking gun, there’s no suicide note, there’s nothing like that, we have to consider all options.

‘Now that we’re five days in, no, we’re no longer considering homicide as a cause of death.’

Mr Gerrish, originally from Lancashire, had been a software developer for Snapchat and previously worked for Google. …

The couple were last heard from early on Sunday when they uploaded a photo of a backpack. Searchers began looking for the family on Monday after they were reported missing by friends when they did not report to work.

County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said: ‘I’ve been here for 20 years, and I’ve never seen a death-related case like this.

‘There’s no obvious indicators of how it occurred.’

Briese said there was no obvious cause of death and that he had not dealt with a case like this in his 20 years in the area.

‘You have two healthy adults, you have a healthy child and what appears to be a healthy canine all within a general same area,’ the sheriff explained.

‘So right now, we’re treating the coroner investigation as a homicide until we can establish the cause.’

RTWT

21 Jun 2021

Voynich Manuscript Deciphered?

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Gerard E. Cheshire, in a new paper on Academia.edu: “Voicing the Voynich: The Pronuncial Writing System and Graeco-Iberian Language of MS408 (Ischia/Voynich),” claims to have identified the language Yale’s Voynich Manuscript is written in, and proposes a methodology for readers to employ and join in to help compete its decipherment.

This paper provides more precise guidance and instruction with regard to the palaeographic method in translating manuscript MS408 (Ischia, Voynich). Manuscripts of antiquity typically require palaeographic interpretive techniques for the purpose of translation, because they include idiomatic abbreviations, unusual calligraphy, exotic language, unique letter symbols and so on, making them a challenge to read. Therefore, it is necessary to learn and understand the associated peculiarities of the MS408 language and writing system in order to arrive at reasonable translations.

This process requires historical and linguistic research, so that initial translation possibilities can be progressively honed by a process of elimination until the semantics and syntax are workable. This scientific approach ensures that the emergent translations are sufficiently refined to be as close a match as possible to the intended meaning of the text. Due to the mutable nature of palaeographic analysis, there is often room for continued adjustment in translation, so accuracy relies on reprocessing the text time and time again, until new passes offer no further improvement. Thus, by repetition of the procedure the translation becomes more and more precise by degrees: i.e. as near to 100% accuracy as possible.

Initially the language was thought to be an anachronistic or outdated form of proto-Romance, but further research has revealed the language to be the Medieval Iberian variant of Romance known as Galician-Portuguese (G-P), with the inclusion of some Latin, Greek and occasional Arabic. The writing system is phonetic but is heavily abbreviated with enclitics, clitics and plosives, so that silent and junctural consonants and vowels have often become omitted altogether. Thus, the text was written in direct imitation of speech rather than obeying rules of
spelling, grammar and punctuation – thus, it is a pronuncial writing system. In addition, Latin stock words and phrases are abbreviated to initial letters.

As the writing system is pronuncial the consistency seen in its idiosyncratic spelling, from one page to the next, suggests that all of the text was written by the same hand, simply because two or more authors would have arrived at two or more spelling methods, unless there was some agreement, or the scribes were being dictated to. As the text does seem to differ in style, this is a possible explanation, although individuals can and do vary in their handwriting from day to day.

Whichever explanation is correct, the author, or authors, of the manuscript evidently devised a unique writing system, which may have been due to absence of formal education, due to cultural isolation, or it may have been deliberate to keep the information away from male eyes, as it would have been deemed embarrassing due to courtly etiquette, because the contents largely refer to private womanly matters relating to seduction, impregnation, gestation, contraception, abortion, childbirth, gynaecology, paediatrics, medicines, astrology, supernatural beliefs, treatments, therapies, ageing, beautification, illness and death.

Ischia was home to a Greek diaspora population with its own Basilian Orthodox monastery and nunnery in the early 15th century, when the island and its citadel, Castello Aragonese, were appropriated by Alfonso V, of the Crown of Aragon, during his campaign to conquer nearby Naples. Thus, the Iberian language of the newcomers was mixed with the Graeco language of the islanders, resulting in the manuscript language, best described as Graeco-Iberian Romance.

Despite its close geographical proximity to Italy, the island of Ischia had been culturally discrete for centuries when the manuscript was written, and therefore had little linguistic commonality with the contemporaneous Neapolitan culture. The manuscript dates quite precisely because a narrative map within the manuscript describes and illustrates the rescue of islanders from Vulcano and Lipari, with a flotilla of ships from Ischia, following a volcanic eruption that began on the February 4th, 1444, and created the Vulcanello peninsula. The map lies between
Portfolios 86 and 87. …

This paper presents reworked and updated translations of the first lines of the manuscript plant pages 1-10 (Portfolios 2a-6b), so that the reader can see how the translation process is conducted and to encourage the reader to continue translating the pages, by employing deeper knowledge of the writing system, the language and historical botanical information, to arrive at the most cogent translations, based on semantics (meaning) and syntax (structure).

An algorithmic approach is first employed, whereby possible words are listed according to the priority array queue of Galician-Portuguese, Latin, Greek, Arabic. Due to their linguistic stem and cultural assimilation, similar words are also often found in other Iberian Romance languages: Valencian, Catalan, Occitan, Asturian, Aragonese. Many variants are also found in other Romance languages: Italian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Corsican, Sardinian, Istriot, Ladin, Venetian,
Friulian, French, Romanian, Aromanian.

Cross-reference with historical botanical and medicinal information is then employed to arrive at the most logical semantics and syntax, so that the most likely translations are preserved, and the least likely translations are eliminated. By running sentences through this process a number of times, the translations are gradually perfected.

I’m not at all certain that he’s right, but his paper is intriguing.

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Older description from Yale’s Beinecke Library:

Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript –named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912– are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page contains botanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character, drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red.

Based on the subject matter of the drawings, the contents of the manuscript falls into six sections: 1) botanicals containing drawings of 113 unidentified plant species; 2) astronomical and astrological drawings including astral charts with radiating circles, suns and moons, Zodiac symbols such as fish (Pisces), a bull (Taurus), and an archer (Sagittarius), nude females emerging from pipes or chimneys, and courtly figures; 3) a biological section containing a myriad of drawings of miniature female nudes, most with swelled abdomens, immersed or wading in fluids and oddly interacting with interconnecting tubes and capsules; 4) an elaborate array of nine cosmological medallions, many drawn across several folded folios and depicting possible geographical forms; 5) pharmaceutical drawings of over 100 different species of medicinal herbs and roots portrayed with jars or vessels in red, blue, or green, oand 6) continuous pages of text, possibly recipes, with star-like flowers marking each entry in the margins.

30 Nov 2020

Iowahawk on the Missing Utah Monument

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29 Nov 2020

Loads of Reasons For Suspicion

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Patrick Basham, in the Spectator, does an excellent job of listing the very many reasons that the alleged result of the 2020 Presidential Election vote tally does not make sense.

To say out-loud that you find the results of the 2020 presidential election odd is to invite derision. You must be a crank or a conspiracy theorist. Mark me down as a crank, then. I am a pollster and I find this election to be deeply puzzling. I also think that the Trump campaign is still well within its rights to contest the tabulations. Something very strange happened in America’s democracy in the early hours of Wednesday November 4 and the days that followed. It’s reasonable for a lot of Americans to want to find out exactly what.

First, consider some facts. President Trump received more votes than any previous incumbent seeking reelection. He got 11 million more votes than in 2016, the third largest rise in support ever for an incumbent. By way of comparison, President Obama was comfortably reelected in 2012 with 3.5 million fewer votes than he received in 2008.

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

He earned the highest share of all minority votes for a Republican since 1960. Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Trump increased his share of the national Hispanic vote to 35 percent. With 60 percent or less of the national Hispanic vote, it is arithmetically impossible for a Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Bellwether states swung further in Trump’s direction than in 2016. Florida, Ohio and Iowa each defied America’s media polls with huge wins for Trump. Since 1852, only Richard Nixon has lost the electoral college after winning this trio, and that 1960 defeat to John F. Kennedy is still the subject of great suspicion.

Midwestern states Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin always swing in the same direction as Ohio and Iowa, their regional peers. Ohio likewise swings with Florida. Current tallies show that, outside of a few cities, the Rust Belt swung in Trump’s direction. Yet, Biden leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin because of an apparent avalanche of black votes in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. Biden’s ‘winning’ margin was derived almost entirely from such voters in these cities, as coincidentally his black vote spiked only in exactly the locations necessary to secure victory. He did not receive comparable levels of support among comparable demographic groups in comparable states, which is highly unusual for the presidential victor.

We are told that Biden won more votes nationally than any presidential candidate in history. But he won a record low of 17 percent of counties; he only won 524 counties, as opposed to the 873 counties Obama won in 2008. Yet, Biden somehow outdid Obama in total votes.

Victorious presidential candidates, especially challengers, usually have down-ballot coattails; Biden did not. The Republicans held the Senate and enjoyed a ‘red wave’ in the House, where they gained a large number of seats while winning all 27 toss-up contests. Trump’s party did not lose a single state legislature and actually made gains at the state level.

Another anomaly is found in the comparison between the polls and non-polling metrics. The latter include: party registrations trends; the candidates’ respective primary votes; candidate enthusiasm; social media followings; broadcast and digital media ratings; online searches; the number of (especially small) donors; and the number of individuals betting on each candidate.

Despite poor recent performances, media and academic polls have an impressive 80 percent record predicting the winner during the modern era. But, when the polls err, non-polling metrics do not; the latter have a 100 percent record. Every non-polling metric forecast Trump’s reelection. For Trump to lose this election, the mainstream polls needed to be correct, which they were not. Furthermore, for Trump to lose, not only did one or more of these metrics have to be wrong for the first time ever, but every single one had to be wrong, and at the very same time; not an impossible outcome, but extremely unlikely nonetheless.

Do RTWT.

22 Nov 2020

The Unicorn Tapestries

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In Paris Review, Danielle Oteri described how, despite the efforts of curators, scholars, and even an obsessed high school teacher turned museum guard, our understanding of the complex symbolism in the tapestries has retreated rather than advanced over decades. She notes: “the Met’s most eminent scholars have debated the finer points of the tapestries, each time removing more and more from the guidebooks and wall labels. Today at the Cloisters, the wall label for each of these tapestries, the most famous works in the museum, among the most famous works in the world, is only about one sentence long.”

Nobody knows who made the Unicorn Tapestries, a set of seven weavings that depict a unicorn hunt that has been described as “the greatest inheritance of the Middle Ages.”

Without evidence, the La Rochefoucauld family in France asserted that the tapestries originate with the marriage of a family ancestor in the fifteenth century. The tapestries did belong to the La Rochefoucauld in 1793, before they were stolen by rioters who set fire to their château at Verteuil. The family regained possession sixty years later, when the tapestries were recovered in a barn. The precious weavings of wool, silk, gold, and silver were in tatters at their edges and punched full of holes. They had been used to wrap barren fruit trees during the winter.

In late 1922, the Unicorn Tapestries disappeared again. They were sent to New York for an exhibition, which never opened. A rich American had bought them and transferred them to his bank vault before anyone else could see them. In February 1923, John D. Rockefeller Jr. confirmed from his vacation home in Florida that he was the American who had acquired the tapestries for the price of $1.1 million. The tapestries were transferred to Rockefeller’s private residence in Midtown Manhattan.

Fourteen years later, Rockefeller donated the tapestries to the Cloisters, a new medieval art museum he had funded as a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The mysterious works were to be on regular public display for the first time in their five-hundred-year history.

RTWT

09 Jun 2020

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Found

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ABC Chicago reported that the decade-long quest is over.

Forrest Fenn, who hid $1 million in treasure in the Rocky Mountain wilderness a decade ago, said Sunday that the chest of goods has been found.

Fenn, 89, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that a treasure hunter located the chest a few days ago.

“The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East,” Fenn said, adding that it was confirmed from a photograph the man sent him. Fenn did not reveal exactly where it had been hidden.

Fenn posted clues to the treasure’s whereabouts online and in a 24-line poem that was published in his 2010 autobiography “The Thrill of the Chase.”

Hundreds of thousands have hunted in vain across remote corners of the U.S. West for the bronze chest believed to be filled with gold coins, jewelry and other valuable items. Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search and others depleted their life savings. At least four people died searching for it.

Fenn, who lives in Santa Fe, said he hid his treasure as a way to tempt people to get into the wilderness and give them a chance to launch an old-fashioned adventure and expedition for riches.

For more than a decade, he packed and repacked his treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre-Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.

Fenn told The New Mexican in 2017 that the chest weighs 20 pounds (9 kilograms) and its contents weigh another 22 pounds (10 kilograms). He said he delivered the chest to its hiding place by himself over two separate trips.

Asked how he felt now that the treasure has been found, Fenn said: “I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over.”

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All Thats Interesting has the whole story.

NYM 2015 post.

17 Apr 2020

Peter Beard, Missing For Over Two Weeks

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The Post includes with the story of his disapppearance a good précis of Peter Beard’s colorful career:

Peter Beard has swum with crocodiles, been charged by rhinos and trampled by a herd of elephants. Writer Bob Colacello once aptly described him as “half Tarzan, half Byron.”

For decades, he’s led a larger-than-life existence, both in his work and his romances with some of the world’s most beautiful women — including Candice Bergen, Cheryl Tiegs, Lee Radziwill and “For Your Eyes Only” Bond girl Carole Bouquet. It’s hard to imagine him just fading away.

But on March 31, the 82-year-old wildlife photographer — now said to be suffering from dementia — wandered away from the luxuriously rustic home in Montauk, Long Island, that he shares with his wife, Nejma, and their daughter, Zara. He hasn’t been seen since. …

Beard’s whereabouts remain a mystery despite an extensive search by 100 police officers, a helicopter, drones and K-9 units. But some who know him remain unfazed.

“I was not shocked,” model Cheryl Tiegs, who was married to Beard from 1982 until 1986, told The Post of his disappearance.

“Maybe someone picked Peter up and he is on a joyride across America. He does pretty wacky things. The night after we got married, he did not come home until dawn.

The photographer made his name by turning photos into one-of-a-kind works of art. Selling for more than $500,000, his creations are splattered with blood and scrawls of ink, and affixed with personal mementos.

“I felt beyond privileged to watch him making art, to see him walking around and deciding which pieces got blood and which didn’t,” Peter Tunney, Beard’s former business manager and art dealer, told The Post.

“I remember a picture of his with Uma Thurman’s mother [model Nena von Schlebrügge] on top of a crashed car. She was there because Peter couldn’t get [the model] Veruschka that day. Salvador Dalí stood alongside the car.”

Everyone who knows Beard inevitably brings up his movie-star good looks, penchant for carousing, rough-hewn charm — and habit of disappearing when the mood strikes. Friends nicknamed him Walkabout.

However, they reluctantly add, advanced age and hard living have taken a toll. As a longtime pal recalled to The Post: “Not long ago, I saw Peter at an event, went up to him and said hello. He didn’t recognize me. And we used to talk on the phone almost every day.”

RTWT

08 Jan 2020

The Mystery of Malaysian Flight MH-370

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William Langwiesche, in the Atlantic, addresses at length what is known of the mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-370. It’s a fascinating story.

If the wreckage is ever found, it will lay to rest all the theories that depend on ignoring the satellite data or the fact that the airplane flew an intricate path after its initial turn away from Beijing and then remained aloft for six more hours. No, it did not catch on fire yet stay in the air for all that time. No, it did not become a “ghost flight” able to navigate and switch its systems off and then back on. No, it was not shot down after long consideration by nefarious national powers who lingered on its tail before pulling the trigger. And no, it is not somewhere in the South China Sea, nor is it sitting intact in some camouflaged hangar in Central Asia. The one thing all of these explanations have in common is that they contradict the authentic information investigators do possess.

RTWT

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