Friday, December 28, 2012

Midnight in the Voodoo Village

As published in the February 2012 edition of the Murfreesboro Pulse (updated for 4-2013)

Actual photo from my adventure. Note lumbering zombie in background
The lure of mysterious and sacred locations can be irresistible. One such place where many thrill seekers have ventured to get a glimpse of the mysterious is St. Paul’s Spiritual Temple in Memphis, Tenn. The infamous “Voodoo Village,” as it’s known by locals, is an enclosed community composed of colorful buildings and wooden structures, all encircled by a fence with a large, iron gate securing the main entrance. Some things visible from the inside are an African-style hut, coffins, moons and sunbursts, as well as crosses and other symbols. They don’t allow strangers inside or answer questions so information was scarce. I decided that if I wanted the truth, I’d have to get inside somehow. Granted, invading pagan temples to rescue beautiful maidens from ritual sacrifice and emerging like the hero of a 1950’s era a pulp fiction is typical of me. But in retrospect, knowing what I know today, I should have approached the matter differently. In a sense, the voodoo made me do it.

Voodoo is indeed widely misunderstood. It conjures images of zombies, animal sacrifice and exotic dance rituals performed to the sound of drums. More accurately defined it is the group of spiritual belief systems and practices brought by African slaves to plantations in the Caribbean and the Southern US. These traditions often blended with Roman Catholicism and share similar origins with the vodou religion of Haiti. It was a vodou ceremony in Haiti that signaled the beginning of a massive slave revolt in 1791 resulting in the burning of 1,800 plantations and the massacre of 1,000 slaveholders during a single week. That fateful ceremony at Bois Caïman sealed a covenant with an African deity to kill the whites in exchange for freedom and was consummated by the drinking of blood which is naturally why voodoo makes most white folks a little nervous.

Now Mama always said not to go sneaking into voodoo temples all by my lonesome. Luckily my brother-in-law Reagan Ammons, having been deployed to Haiti as a US Marine, was familiar with vodou and was equally stoked about the mission. Arriving in Memphis, we headed to Beal Street for some hot gumbo and cool Delta Blues, tasting the nightlife to set the mood before our adventure. Around midnight we left the laughter of Beal Street behind and made our way to the temple site.

Uprising at Bois Caïman

Once inside, my heart began to beat like the drum of a savage, sending adrenaline throughout my body as we surveyed the grounds for anyone who might challenge our presence. The place appeared to be in disuse. There were no zombies and no women to be rescued from the alleged den of pagan debauchery. In fact, the site possessed an air of sacredness resembling a shrine dedicated to something I couldn’t identify. Certainly, the masks and symbols displayed a bit of African influence. Also present were a lot of masonic and Christian symbolism. Under the moonlight, the temple possessed an air of sacredness and a beautiful, folky asceticism that I’ve never seen elsewhere. After taking a few photos, we made our exit.

While this adventure yielded more questions than answers, a book published in 2005 called No Space Hidden, offers more. According to the book, Wash Harris, the deceased spiritual leader of the community, “established the temple as a church and center for traditional medicine.” In the same book, which was written by Grey Gundaker, a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, the temple artwork is described as a form of African-American devotional art. Adding to the confusion, published quotes by Harris state that the temple is a Christian church whose symbolism can only be understood if one is a freemason. He is also credited with saying that “God told the Black man and the Indian things that he didn’t tell others.”

There you have it. I know the PC conclusion here is that St. Paul’s Spiritual Temple is simply a group of afro-masonic Christians who build funky art and practice “traditional medicine” in secret. But I think the name Voodoo Village still sounds better and here is why. There is a strong connection between Haitian Voodoo and Masonic orders. In fact it can be said that Haitian history has been undeniably influenced by secret societies which are described in a book called The Serpent and the Rainbow (not the movie) written by ethnobotinist Wade Davis. Here is an excerpt that demonstrating this point.

"There were, according to these informants, secret societies in all parts of the country, and each maintained control of a specified territory.... Membership was by invitation and initiation, open to men and women, and was strictly hierarchical. Laguerre verified the existence of passports, ritual handshakes and secret passwords, banners, flags, and brilliant red-and-black uniforms, as well as specialized body of spirits, songs, dances, and drumbeats...

"... he described them [the secret societies -Recluse] the very conscience of the peasantry, a quasi-political arm of the vodoun society charged above all with the protection of the community. Like the secret societies in West Africa, those of Haiti seemed to Laguerre to be the single most important arbiter of culture. Each one was loosely attached to a hounfour whose houngan was a sort of 'public relations man' acting as a liaison between the clandestine society and the world at large. In fact, so ubiquitous were the societies that Laguerre described them as nodes in a vast network that, if and when linked together, would represent a powerful underground government capable of competing head-on with the central regime in Port-au-Prince."
(pgs. 211-212)

Is the Voodoo Village somehow representative of the Vodou-Masonic Connection? Many including anthropologists who have studied and written about Saint Paul's Spiritual Temple would say there is no connection. However, it;s my opinion that when dealing with what is by definition a secret society then all bets are off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Size Matters: Why Sasquatch might have made good lovers 15,000 years ago

It has been widely known within the Bigfoot research community that for several years  Dr. Melba S. Ketchum (a veterinarian from Texas) and her firm DNA Diagnostics has been conducting a study to find Bigfoot DNA from various samples collected by witnesses and other researchers. The Daily Mail reported on November 28th that results from this study reveal that Bigfoot is a human hybrid descended from human females that mated with an unknown and likely extinct hominid species.

 The essence of her claim is that 'Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to Homo Sapien Sapiens'. If the samples aren't contaminated (and I'll go out on a limb here and say these guys probably know what they are doing,) this means that a half-human hybrid species could have been created any number of ways. However, here is my current theory:

In the prehistoric world, having children (especially sons) meant your chances for survival were greater once they reached a certain level of maturity.  They can hunt and defend the family thus ensuring a long life for parents and clan members. Now if your sons are 9 feet tall, built like linebackers and can survive the harsh climate extremes of the previous last ice age, then chances for survival are even greater. After all, homo sapien children require a great deal of care and warmth to survive the first years following birth and infant mortality was high throughout prehistory. Humans are among the most helpless of all mammals while in our infant stage. However, if  overlooking a few undesirable traits in your mate meant your offspring would survive and your own safety were guaranteed,  it makes sense why some prehistoric women might start feeling a little squatchy. We've all seen attractive men and women select otherwise physically undesirable mates for economic security right? My general thesis is that a species of super-primates compatible with homo sapiens mated with females to insure survival of themselves and their offspring during the inhospitable periods of the recent ice age and the decedents of those unions still roam our forests today.

Making sweet love to a Sasquatch may not appeal to most modern women today. However, 15,000 years ago if a women wanted to increase her chances for survival they might hook up with someone, shall we say, of above-average size?

Still more questions than answers...

I'm not proposing this theory as an answer to all our questions. I may be completely wrong but EQ is about finding answers not having them all.  I also know it raises more questions such as WHO or WHAT were these super-primates  that mated with these ice-age women? Were they bigger and more furry than your average Sasquatch? Not necessarily. We know from our own breeding experience that traits exhibited by off-spring are often amplified when like organisms are cross-bred. So it's possible that this super-primate species was lot like the Bigfoot that researchers such as myself are chasing around the globe today. 

Of course other theories can be entertained. It's possible that Bigfoot is the result of genetic intervention on the part of extraterrestrials or even a group of highly advanced humans who have been erased by time and the many periodic cataclysms our earth has experienced. If this theory is true it might be what the Bible is referring to in the book of Genesis.

"The Nephilim ( often translated as giants) were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown." -- Genesis 6:4  NIV

The possibilities are endless. Keep exploring and visit EQ for updates on my areas of research. 

Want more? I'll be joining the radio program Superunknown on February 25th at 7:30 Pacific Time to talk more about my theories and research.

Listen Live Every Monday Night at 7-9 pm pst on 106.5 KITC FM or Listen At Just Click "Live Radio"

Monday, December 10, 2012

Segovia: City of Culture and Mystery

Segovia: City of Culture and Mystery

In Spain there are many great cities. But there is one city whose mysteries, epic monuments and artistic legacy make it a necessary destination for those with a true passion for art, history and mystery. The city of Segovia is situated atop a steep promontory at the confluence of two rivers in the autonomous region of Castilla y Leon in the heart of Spain. I had the privilege of living there one summer about ten years ago, and since then, it has remained my favorite city in the entire world.

Upon arriving to the city, the senses are confronted by the sight of a magnificent Roman aqueduct that attests to the ancient origins of this city with roots that span more than 2,000 years. Hiking out into the surrounding countryside provides the best panoramic views of the city. From there you can see the protective wall called a muralla that surrounds the oldest district of the city as well as the beautiful 16th century cathedral that dominates the skyline. Of course, no ancient city is complete without a castle. Segovia’s fortress is called the Alcazar and is among the most beautiful and famous fortresses in all of Spain.

It’s possible to see many of Segovia’s great monuments in a single day, but she is not to be treated like a fast food restaurant. Take your time in Segovia and stay awhile. Her true value is found among the people who share her fascinating history and unique culture. Segovia has always attracted and produced creative individuals, establishing an authentic atmosphere where antiquity forms the backdrop for the bohemian and avant-garde. In fact, several prominent art schools and universities exist in Segovia that follow a long tradition of scholarship and artistic development. Naturally, art exhibitions are held in the many distinguished venues. Segovia is a city where every type of art, artisanry and performing art flourish, making it a center of creativity. It’s also worth mentioning that the city is host to the City of Segovia Festival of European Cinema—an annual film festival held in the Fall—and an international marionette festival called Titirimundi.

Aside from her bohemian charm, there are countless mysteries and legends that hide around every corner and plaza of the city. Perhaps the most enigmatic site in Segovia is the 12th century Church of the Vera Cruz known by locals as “el Templario,” which is believed to have been founded by the Order of the Knights Templar. For ghost hunters, Segovia’s ancient and obscure past make it a first-class destination for paranormal research.

One of the most endearing aspects of Segovia is that the city has a genuine character. It doesn’t put on a shallow display for tourists. Instead, it maintains a distinct culture that is dignified and authentically Castilian. For this and many other reasons, I miss Segovia. Too much time has passed since I went for an afternoon “paseo” on her streets and enjoyed “una copa” in the Plaza Mayor with friends. As a videographer, I’d like to return to Segovia to document the myths and legends attached to the sacred and ancient monuments throughout the city. Of course, I’ll have to postpone the documentary if it interferes with my training as a bullfighter and my flamenco guitar lessons. What can I say? I should have been born a Spaniard. What about you? The only way to find out is to go. Hasta luego.

En Español

En España hay muchas maravillosas ciudades. Pero hay una ciudad cuyos misterios, los monumentos épicos y la herencia artística lo hacen un destino necesario para aquellos con una pasión verdadera de arte, historia y misterio. La ciudad de Segovia, está situado encima de un promontorio escarpado en la confluencia de dos ríos en la comunidad autónoma de Castilla y León. Yo tuve el privilegio de vivir allí un verano hace aproximadamente diez años y desde entonces ha permanecido mi ciudad favorita en el mundo entero.

Al llegar, los sentidos se enfrentan por la vista de un magnífico acueducto romano que certifica los antiguos orígenes de esta ciudad con raíces que extienden más de 2000 años. El excursionismo a pie en el campo circundante ofrece las mejores vistas panorámicas de la ciudad. Desde allí puede ver la pared protectora llamada la muralla que rodea el distrito más antiguo de la ciudad, así como la hermosa Catedral del siglo XVI que domina el horizonte. Por supuesto, ninguna ciudad antigua está completa sin un castillo. La fortaleza de Segovia se llama el Alcázar y es uno de los castillos más bellos y famosos en toda España.

Algunos viajeros intentan ver la mayor parte de los grandes monumentos de Segovia en un solo día. Pero no se apure. Quédese un rato. Segovia no debe ser tratada como un restaurante de comida rápida sino uno de cinco estrellas. Quédese por un tiempo. Su valor real es encontrado entre la gente que comparte su historia fascinante y cultura única. Segovia siempre ha atraído y ha producido a individuos creativos, estableciendo una atmósfera auténtica donde la antigüedad forma el telón de fondo para una movida, escena y panoramo de vanguardia.

De hecho, varias escuelas de arte y destacadas universidades existen en Segovia que siguen una tradición centenaria de beca y desarrollo artístico. Naturalmente, se organizan exposiciones de arte con frecuencia en los distinguidos lugares de la ciudad. Segovia es una ciudad donde cada tipo de arte y artesania, así como las artes escénicas hacen que sea un centro para cada tipo de creatividad. La ciudad alberga incluso su propio Festival anual de cine europeo y un festival internacional de marionetas llamado Titirimundi.

Además de su encanto bohemio, también hay innumerables misterios y leyendas que se esconden en cada esquina y la plaza de la ciudad. Incluso hay una serie de túneles subterráneos que conectan varios edificios de la ciudad. Para mí esto es el cielo. Quizás el más enigmático lugar en Segovia es la Iglesia de la Vera Cruz fundado en el siglo XII. Conocida por los lugareños como “el Templario” fue construida por la misteriosa orden de los Templarios. Para los cazadores de fantasmas, el pasado antigua y oscura de Segovia hacen un destino de primera clase para la investigación paranormal.

Otro aspecto entrañable de Segovia es su carácter genuino. A diferencia de otras ciudades, Segovia no da una pantalla artificial para turistas o intentar ser algo que no es. Al contrario, Segovia mantiene una cultura distinta que es digna y auténticamente castellana. Por esto y muchas otras razones a Segovia la echo de menos. Ha pasado demasiado tiempo desde que he dado un “paseo” por la tarde en sus calles o disfrutar una copa en la Plaza Mayor con mis amigos. Como un videógrafista me gustaría volver a Segovia para documentar los mitos y leyendas relativas a los monumentos antiguos y sagrados en toda la ciudad. Sin embargo, voy a tener que posponer el documental si interfiere con mi formación como un torero y clases de guitarra. ¿Qué puedo decir? Yo debería haber nacido un español. ¿Y tú? La única manera de averiguarlo es ir. ¡Hasta luego!

<a href="">Hyper Smash</a>

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tools for UFO chasing, alien hunting and saucer stalking

UFOs are among my favorite topics to research and whenever anyone who knows me has a sighting or an encounter I am the first person they call. How many UFO's  have I actually seen myself? Not as many as I'd like and of none of them can I definitively say were of definite extraterrestrial origin.  Of course most sighitng have been brief and haven't allowed thorough analysis either. 


I need to issue a warning here. Be careful when conducting UFO research. It is a giant rabbit hole that can suck you deep into a world often filled with more disinformation than facts.It's also easy to become obsessed.  You should be mentally and spiritually healthy before engaging in this kind of research in any depth. It can often be a gateway to the occult if you aren't careful. Also, people who engage  in heavy UFO research often report a higher instance of sightings and encounters up to and including alien abduction (gettin' snatched) and or harassment by people and organizations that would rather you watch football instead of exploring the unexplained. So don't come crying to me if any of the above mentioned things happen to you. On second thought, do come crying to me because I'd love to share your story. At any rate proceed at your own risk.

The Tools...

I love maps and among the absolute best tools available to assist with your UFO investigations is a mapping website called Using Google Maps platform the site tracks reports from the MUFON  Case Management System, Ufostalker providing a real-time view of UFO sightings from around the world. I've been monitoring this site almost daily for about two years and it never gets old. The Mutual UFO network has done independent field investigators a great service by allowing us this kind of access to data. These site even allows you to track various statistics and patterns and plots them in graph form and features a heat map displaying hotspots.


Satellite View 

Heat Map and Graph data
*Image displays data from 12/05/2012

 <a href="">UFO Hunting Equipment at</a>

UFO Hunting Equipment at

Video Camera

A good digital camera is the best saucer stalking tool to view and record unidentified flying objects. 3CCD cameras are recommended. Features and accessories you will need to look for when purchasing a camera are: 

Zero Light Lux, 

Infrared night shot

Super Steady Shot or built in stabilizer 

High Optical and Digital Zoom Power

Telephoto Lens


Image stabilizing software for better post production analysis

*TIP* - Always use manual focus!

Night Vision Equipment

This model by Firefield costs around $160.00  and it's the one I use on my investigations. It is an absolutely indispensable piece of equipment. With it you can see objects in the sky and on the ground which are not normally visible. 

More to come...

Even Disney believes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Mysterious Black Fox Camp Springs of Murfreesboro Tennessee

Whilst checking out a book called Indian Trails of the Southeast  I discovered that two ancient Native American paths, the Creek War Trace and the Nickjack Trace intersect just down the street from my house. I then discovered that where these trails converge is a place called Black Fox Camp Springs named after the famous Cherokee Indian Chief . It's a beautiful patch of swampy wetland and forest which is the former site of Black Fox's hunting camp. This is the spot where he made his legendary escape from Major James Ore's force of militiamen who were part of the Nickajack Expedition en route to attack the Chicamauga towns of the "Lower Cherokee" in September of 1794. 

According to the story, Black Fox's men were taken buy surprise. It's said that he escaped by diving into the spring where he subsequently emerged 3 miles away at Murfree Springs. Now, either this whole story is a load of BS or there's a subterranean link between the two locations. I tend to believe the later isn't impossible based on the fact that both Springs share the same source and seem to located along the same limestone aquafer  which is essentially an underground waterway.   The question is did Black Fox actually make his escape this way? If he did travel underground  all the way to Murfree Spring it stands to reason that he was familiar with this route and that he did not swim the entire way underwater. I'm sure most people are skeptical of this legend and I can understand why. 

 I have confirmed the presence of a cave entrance at Murfree Springs. But I have yet to identify any possible entrances to any subterranean caverns at the Black Fox Camp site.  It's my guess as of today that the entrance has been covered up. This may have happened either when the nearby neighborhood development inserted a drainage pipe into the spring or when the land was altered to create "Todds Lake" which is the crappy little artificial swamp-lake that lies immediately  NW of the Spring. There is no way to know for sure whether or not he really made his escape underground. However, studies conducted in 1999 using dye tracing methods did confirm underground links in this area. At any rate, the impact of development and erosion since the late 1700's has altered the surface geology so substantially that any previously existing passages or entrances may indeed be lost forever.  

Most people in Murfreesboro have no idea that this immediate area near the springs called Dilton was actually the first to be settled by Europeans in Rutherford County. Black Fox Camp Springs and Dilton  were almost selected over the Murfee Springs location to become the center for the community's development. Overall the place has a quiet air of mystery. The area South of the Spring is one I use to get away from things when I don't have time to go far but still wan't to be alone. 

Black Fox Camp Spring (December 2012)

The distance between Black Fox's Camp and Murfree Springs is about 3 miles.

Back on the Nickajack - December 5th 2012

Returned to explore more of the Nickajack trace this morning and look for possible Indian burials along the banks of Lytle's Creek as well as any sign of Sasquatch activity. I haven't found any yet as it is too far from the Stones River where the majority of sightings occur.  I don't plan on digging up dead Native Americans but I'm always on the lookout for mounds, arrowheads  and other artifacts which might surface as a result of the rain.  You see this was no side street back in the day.  The Nickajack Trace/Trail is part of the larger Cisca-St. Augustine Trace which ran down to Spanish Florida via Savannah Georgia. Indians used this trail for hundreds or possibly thousands of years for travel, trade and warfare. While we associate this area with Chief Black Fox, in reality this was an important location for thousands of other natives who likely used this spot as a camp and water source.

If you are interested in finding trails like this one a good resource is Indian Trails of the Southeast William E. Myer published in 1925. 

Remnant of the ancient Nickajack Trace outside Murfreesboro, TN

My handsomely well-shaped leg sustained a pretty good gash while fording Lytle's Creek. My feet however  are not so handsomely well-shaped.

Drums along the Nickajack?: a possible paranormal incident

I have to report one incident of note that  might be attributed to paranormal activity. While exploring the area near Black Fox's old camp my partner Reagan and I heard the faint sound of  tribal drums but were unable to detect the direction of the sound. It was very strange. This happened on 3 occasions. I will be returning to take some EVP recordings at a later time.

Additional information:

 Indian Trails of the Southeast William E. Myer 1925