Sunday, October 31, 2010

CryptoWA #21 - Batsquatch!

Happy Halloween!

I had to do this one simply because everyone should hear the greatest word ever invented: Batsquatch. Yes, as if a gigantic woodland hominid wasn't enough, there are also tales of a version that flies.

In 1994 the Tacoma News Tribune published an account of a young motorist who described a disturbing encounter with a gigantic, blue, bat-winged figure with red glowing eyes on a remote country road near Mount Rainier.

Since then, several other stories of equal... um, credibility have added to the legend that is Batsquatch. Batsquatch sightings often include grisly animal mutilation, so this could be a vacationing Chupacabra, or his not-so-original northern cousin. But let's not judge. If there isn't a Batsquatch I think everybody can agree that there certainly should be one. The name is just too good.

Again, with feeling: BATSQUATCH!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CryptoWA #20 - Starvation Heights Sanitarium

In 1908 Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard published a book called Fasting For The Cure Of Disease. Her theory on undergoing systematic starvation to overcome illness was considered revolutionary by some, and total quackery by others. Hazzard had enough of a following that she opened a sanitarium in Olalla, Washington, giving it the idyllic name Wilderness Heights. Clients flocked from around the world to try her starvation cure.

But something wasn't quite right about Dr.Hazzard's little institution. Some 40 patients died in her care. True, these were often people who were already desperately ill, but was she really supposed to perform autopsies in her bathtub? It also came to the attention of authorities that jewelry and clothing from Hazzard's recently departed patients often ended up in her own wardrobe.

The first chapter of Wilderness Heights came to an end when a British heiress died at the sanitarium, but not before Hazzard forged her signature in an attempt to gain her estate. A surviving sister testified at the ensuing trial and Hazzard was sent to prison for manslaughter in 1912.

She was paroled just two years later and eventually reopened her sanitarium in 1920 (minus her doctoral credentials). This burned to the ground in 1935, never to rise again.

It's a fitting twist that Linda Burfield Hazzard died in 1938 while undergoing her own starvation therapy.


Monday, October 25, 2010

CryptoWA #19 - Ghost Ship of The Columbia

The waters near the mouth of the Columbia are sometimes called the Graveyard of The Pacific, and with good reason. There are around 2000 recorded shipwrecks in the vicinity.

Part of this total was a large fleet of fishing boats, most of which capsized in a sudden squall that appeared suddenly on May 4th, 1880. Contemporary newspaper accounts listed anywhere from 60 to 350 crewmen lost in the storm.

Another story emerged from this already epic tale. Several survivors told of a mysterious ship that sailed smoothly through the wreckage, completely untouched by the storm. After the unknown vessel glided calmly through the chaos, it was never seen again.

Was this story the result of delirious survivors? An unparalleled feat of navigation? Naw... A ghost ship is way more fun.