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February 10, 2012

Paranormal Fridays: The Bear Lake Monster

Every state has their share of cryptozoological wonders and Utah is no exception. Apart from the high number of Bigfoot sightings and other strange creatures, Utah also is home to one of many supposed lake monsters that populate the world. Apparently the saline waters of the Great Salt Lake are not hospitable for such a creature, nor are the shallow waters of Utah Lake. Utah’s lake monster prefers the colder northern end of the state, or more specifically Bear Lake.

Situated on the Idaho border, Bear Lake has been a popular leisure lake for generations. It did not take long, though, for settlers in Utah to claim seeing a strange creature swimming, and even emerging, from Bear Lake. In 1868 local journalist Joseph C. Rich reported on the sightings of the elusive monster in the lake. According to his report, the Bear Lake Monster was first spotted by the local tribe of Native Americans. White settlers who had seen the monster described it as being able to swim faster than a horse could gallop. The monster was estimated to be at least 90 feet long. Later eyewitnesses have described the Bear Lake monster as looking either like a walrus without the tusks or an alligator.

The Bear Lake Monster has generated so much interest in the fields of cryptozoology and folklore that Animal Planet featured the monster in their Lost Tapes series (video below). In the tape, one cryptozoologist postulates that the monster is a “holdover” from prehistoric times, somehow surviving in the lake until our present day.

Interest in the monster has supposedly drawn some to visit Bear Lake, where they hope to catch a glimpse of the monster. Most recorded sightings, though, involve only locals. Some of these eyewitnesses have seen the monster emerge from the water to attack its prey. The ability to leave the lake at least temporarily certainly makes the Bear Lake Monster different from many of the droves of other lake monsters in the world. These land sightings of the monster have fueled theories that it is some sort of prehistoric alligator or maybe even an amphibious dinosaur.

As with all claims of cryptids, there are skeptics who doubt the existence of such a creature. The size of Bear Lake has been alleged to be too small to sustain such a large creature. Others have questioned why no concrete evidence has been captured that shows even the possibility of such a creature residing in Bear Lake. Despite such criticism, the sightings have continued up to the present day. Despite the alleged potential danger lurking beneath the surface of Bear Lake, in the summer plenty of people are on the lake waterskiing and swimming.

For more information, check out this video about the Bear Lake Monster:

February 3, 2012

Paranormal Fridays: Speaking With the Dead Using an Ovilus

People have yearned to speak with the dead through a variety of methods throughout the ages, including using Ouija boards and psychic mediums. In this day-and-age of modern science, we have an electronic device that purportedly allows ghosts to audibly communicate with the living. This device is called the Ovilus or a Puck, and its use in paranormal investigations is controversial.

The Ovilus gained widespread notoriety when the cable show Paranormal State used it in an episode. To explain the device simply, the Ovilus measures electromagnetic waves in the surrounding air. EMF or electromagnetic frequency meters are commonly used by modern day paranormal investigators who believe an increase in electromagnetic activity indicates paranormal activity.

What is really intriguing about the Ovilus is not that it measures electromagnetic waves in the air, but what the device does with those measurements. The Ovilus actually vocalizes words using a database of vocabulary terms. What word the Ovilus says depends on the electromagnetic field readings the device detects. I don't want to get too much into the technical details of how the device works, but that is the high level overview of its operation. The principle is that ghosts can influence the electromagnetic field in a room, so a ghost might change the reading so the Ovilus says the words the ghost wants to communicate with the living.

This device is considered highly controversial and is marketed for entertainment purposes only. Some paranormal investigators have reported hearing intriguing and telling messages using the Ovilus. Other groups have discontinued using the Ovilus because they have received random or nonsensical messages from it. Really, though, people have received mixed results from Ouija boards as well, so this shouldn't be much of a surprise. Oh, and most Ouija boards (like the ones made by Parker Brothers) are marketed as novelties or toys and not as a way to actually communicate with the dead.

If you would like to see the Ovilus in action, check out this video from Paranormal State:

February 1, 2012

Update to the Blog: Praise Page

I constantly am making changes to this blog, including its look and feel. You might have already noticed the links at the top of the blog (well, below the title) for the different pages such as "Future Projects" and "About Steven." A new page has been recently added, which is simply called "Praise."

On the praise page you will find snippets of different reviews of my stories. This page will be updated on a fairly regular basis. If you want to contribute to the page, feel free to post a review of one of my stories on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble or my Facebook page's wall.

Look for more changes coming to the blog in the near future!