The Legendary Lost City of Honduras?

In 1526, Hernán Cortés wrote about a fabled lost city. Generations of scholars have considered it a myth. But now, a new expedition may be on the verge of proving otherwise. Did the lost city of Ciudad Blanca really exist?

The Mysterious Lost City of Ciudad Blanca?

In 1526, Cortés wrote his fifth letter to Charles V. In it, he mentions a mysterious province named Xucutaco which “will exceed Mexico in riches.”

“…I have trustworthy reports of very extensive and rich provinces, and of powerful chiefs ruling over them, and of one in particular, called Hueitapalan, and in another dialect Xucutaco, about which I possessed information six years since, having all this time made inquiries about it, and ascertained that it lies eight or ten days’ march from that town of Trujillo, or rather between fifty and sixty leagues. So wonderful are the reports about this particular province, that even allowing largely for exaggeration, it will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages, the density of its population, and the policy of its inhabitants.” ~ Hernán Cortés, 1926,  Fifth Letter to Charles V

Based on the letter, it appears he first heard of this strange place around 1520. It was probably located in the impenetrable jungle of Honduras’ Mosquito Coast. In 1544, Bishop Cristobol de Pedraza wrote a letter to the King of Spain, describing a mysterious city in the jungle. It was located in a valley and his guides informed him that its people ate on gold plates.

Ciudad Blanca & the Lost City of the Monkey God?

Centuries later, in 1939, explorer Theodore Morde claimed to have found a lost city in the jungle.

“Explorer Theodore Morde Finds in Honduras Jungles a Vanished Civilization’s Prehistoric Metropolis where Sacrifices were made to the Gigantic Idol of an Ape – and Describes the Weird “Dance of the Dead Monkeys” still Practiced by Natives in Whom Runs the Old Blood” ~ Milwaukee Sentinel Headline, Sept. 22, 1940

Morde supposedly went on to write a book entitled, The Lost City of the Monkey God, although I have yet to locate a copy of it. Unfortunately, he was run over by a car before he could return to his city.

Over the years, all these ruins have generally been attributed to one city, the legendary Ciudad Blanca. According to Christopher Begley’s and Ellen Cox’s article, “Reading and Writing the White City Legend: Allegories Past and Future,” the roots of Ciudad Blanca lie deep in Honduran mythology. The Pech and Tawahka peoples tell stories about Wahai Patatahua (Place of the Ancestors) and Kao Kamasa (The White House). According to the Pech, the Honduran gods fled to these places after the arrival of the conquistadors. While the exact location remains unknown, it is generally believed to be in the remote areas of the Mosquito Coast.

The Lost City of Ciudad Blanca – Discovered at Last?

On May 15, 2012, Pepe Lobo, the President of Honduras, announced the completion of “the first-ever airborne light detection and ranging (“LiDAR”) imaging survey of previously-uncharted areas of the Mosquitia region of Honduras.” The work was aided by famous author, Douglas Preston, whose novel The Codex describes a search for Ciudad Blanca. The initial analyses of the data seem to show archaeological ruins in the area.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, is this the famous Ciudad Blanca? Well, it’s time for a reality check. The press release doesn’t claim to have found the White City. As you can see below, it’s couched in far more careful terms.

“Initial analysis of the LiDAR data indicates what appears to be evidence of archaeological ruins in an area long rumored to contain the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca.” ~ The Government of Honduras & UTL Scientific Press Release, May 15, 2012

This press release was jointly issued by the government of Honduras and UTL Scientific. UTL is a media company and is making a documentary of the search. Both parties have ample reasons to hype up this venture. Also, this is hardly the first modern search of its kind. In the late 1990s, Francis Yakam-Simen, Edmond Nezry, and James Ewing claimed to have discovered Ciudad Blanca using Synthetic Aperture Radar technology. They wrote a paper about it, entitled A Legendary Lost City found in the Honduran Tropical Forest. I have no idea whether they ever actually visited these supposed ruins.

In the end, it’s unlikely these new ruins were that of Ciudad Blanca. It’s even questionable whether Ciudad Blanca ever existed in the first place. Its roots lie in mythology. And neither Cortés nor Bishop Cristobol de Pedraza described their supposed cities in that fashion. The name appears to be a later addition. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ruins in the area. Indeed, Dr. Chris Begley has discovered over 200 archaeological sites in the region, which he chronicles on his website. So, ruins are out there. But do they belong to a massive, undiscovered city? That remains to be seen.

Searching for Bigfoot?

When it comes to Bigfoot, we’re pretty skeptical here at Guerrilla Explorer. But can science prove its existence?

Searching for Bigfoot?

Recently, Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland joined forces to research Bigfoot, the Yeti, and alleged similar creatures. The idea is to gather organic remains purporting to be from these animals and subject them to genetic testing.

“There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science.” ~ Bryan Sykes, Wolfson College

DNA tests are nothing new. In fact, a recent DNA test indicated the infamous Yeti hand from Pangboche, Nepal actually belonged to a human. However, Sykes and Michel Sartori, director of the Lausanne Museum, wish to conduct a “systematic review” of all Bigfoot and Yeti material.

They plan to start with remains currently housed at the Lausanne Museum. Specifically, material gathered by Bernard Heuvelmans from 1950 through 2001. Then they’ll reach out to other institutions as well as cryptozoologists for more material. As part of their tests, Sykes and Sartori hope to take DNA samples from areas rife with Bigfoot or Yeti sightings. The idea is to see if the local population has unusually high amounts of Neanderthal DNA (modern research shows that the average person living outside of Africa carries Neanderthal genetic material in the range of one to four percent). If so, it might lend credence to a recent hypothesis that the legendary creature is actually a Neanderthal.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

It seems unlikely they’ll break new ground. The most believable cryptids are so-called sea monsters such as the Daedalus Sea Serpent and the Valhalla Sea Serpent. Air or land-based cryptids like the Thunderbird or Bigfoot are far less likely to exist. We have slightly more faith in the Yeti, although not much. The Yeti supposedly lives in the frigid, treacherous Himalayas. Few people live in that area and the conditions make expeditions difficult.

Still, we’re big supporters of this type of research. All scientific claims deserve the chance to be taken seriously…even when they involve so-called monsters.

“But while I’m extremely skeptical of Bigfoot, I certainly don’t reject the possibility of its existence. One of the things that frustrates me about modern science is the built-in disdain many researchers hold for fields like cryptozoology. Regardless of our opinions, we must continue to evaluate any and all scientific claims with an open mind…even if its about the legendary Sasquatch. After all, that’s what science is all about.” ~ David Meyer, Bigfoot Lives…!

Did the Incas visit the Old World?

Around 1480, Topa Inca Yupanqui embarked on a mysterious voyage. Did the Incas travel clear across the Pacific Ocean…prior to the Europeans?

Pre-Columbian Mystery: Did the Incas visit the Old World?

In 1572, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote a famous book entitled, The History of the Incas. He wrote it while in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire, a mere 40 years after Spanish conquistadors arrived in the city. He took great pains to record the history and mythology of the Incas, even going so far as to solicit feedback from them during public readings.

In his tome, he described a nine to twelve-month voyage conducted by the tenth Sapa Inca (or king), Topa Inca Yupanqui. Supposedly, this pre-Columbian voyage took the Incas to two islands known as Avachumbi (or Outer Island) and Ninachumbi (Fire Island). Here are some excerpts from the original text:

“Tupac Inca was a man of lofty and ambitious ideas, and was not satisfied with the regions he had already conquered. So he determined to challenge a happy fortune, and see if it would favour him by sea…

The Inca, having this certainty, determined to go there. He caused an immense number of balsas to be constructed, in which he embarked more than 20,000 chosen men…

Tupac Inca navigated and sailed on until he discovered the islands of Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, and returned, bringing back with him black people, gold, a chair of brass, and a skin and jaw bone of a horse. These trophies were preserved in the fortress of Cuzco until the Spaniards came…

An Inca now living had charge of this skin and jaw bone of a horse. He gave this account, and the rest who were present corroborated it. His name is Urco Huaranca. I am particular about this because to those who know anything of the Indies it will appear a strange thing and difficult to believe. The duration of this expedition undertaken by Tupac Inca was nine months, others say a year, and, as he was so long absent, every one believed he was dead…” ~ Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, The History of the Incas

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Some scholars believe the veracity of this account of a pre-Columbian voyage. They point to the Galápagos Islands as well as Easter Island as possible locations for Avachumbi and Ninachumbi. Others believe the account is mythological and indeed, the text backs this up to a certain point. Prior to embarking on his pre-Columbian expedition, Topa Inca supposedly consulted a strange man named Antarqui. Antarqui, who was able to talk to the dead as well as fly, used his magic to determine the islands were real. Only then did Topa Inca set sail.

A pre-Columbian journey by the Incas certainly seems feasible. Unfortunately, no physical evidence of it remains. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Someday soon, archaeologists might uncover a huaraca or a tokapu while investigating an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean…and in the process, rewrite history.

The Hunt for Bin Laden’s Corpse: Part III

Did Osama Bin Laden die in Pakistan? Was his corpse stuffed into a rubber-lined canvas body bag, weighed down with lead, and then buried in the North Arabian Sea? Or was he secretly transported back to the United States?

Where is Osama Bin Laden’s Corpse?

Back in June 2011, treasure hunter Bill Warren was attempting to raise $400,000 to locate and excavate Bin Laden’s body, which the U.S. government claimed had been buried at sea. We’ve been skeptical about his chances…highly skeptical.

“Warren plans to use side-scanning radar to locate the body bag. The problem with his strategy is obvious. The Arabian Sea is gigantic and side-scanning sonar is a slow, tedious process. Finding a corpse in it is like finding a needle in a haystack…a haystack that measures 1.5 million square miles.

Perhaps even more problematic are the limitations of side-scanning sonar. Even shipwrecks, with their hard edges and solid structures, are difficult to discern from the natural underwater landscape. Distinguishing something as small and with as little acoustic resonance as a corpse is next to impossible, even when taking into account two-hundred pounds of lead in the body bag. And the deeper the corpse lies, the harder it will prove to find.” ~ David Meyer, The Hunt for Bin Laden’s Corpse

Warren recently resurfaced for an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. And he claims to have struck pay dirt.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Unfortunately, we’re still skeptical. Warren has had little luck soliciting donations on his website, apparently raking in just $15 from a single donor. So, it seems probable he’s just trying to drum up some attention to fund his hunt.

We also find it hard to believe Bin Laden was buried at sea in the first place. That story never made much sense. It seems far more likely he was secretly transported back to the United States. But, we’re holding out hope for Warren. Maybe he really will find the body and put an end to all the crazy Bin Laden conspiracy theories…

But we wouldn’t count on it.

Garbology: The Archaeology of…Garbage?

Archaeology is, in many respects, the study of ancient human garbage. But in 1973, Professor William Rathje of the University of Arizona took this to a whole other level. Yes, he assigned his students to study garbage. But not ancient garbage. Instead, he asked them to study modern garbage from people living in Tucson, Arizona. What did The Garbage Project and garbology teach us about modern man?

The Birth of Modern Garbology?

The garbology project was led by the central tenant that “what people have owned — and thrown away — can speak more eloquently, informatively, and truthfully about the lives they lead than they themselves ever may.” It consisted of two parts. First, trash from various urban neighborhoods was examined, sorted by raw material, and recorded. Second, the contents were compared with anonymous questionnaires filled out by people living in those areas. The results were, to put it mildly, shocking.

For example, 10-15% of all garbage was food. The students discovered large amounts of edible food, with middle-income households “wasting” more food than either the poor or rich. Also, people underreported the amount of alcohol they drank, by as much as 60% in some neighborhoods. Middle-class folks consumed the cheapest alcohol. Rich and poor alike tended to drink more expensive stuff.

“Garbage doesn’t lie. The evidence of junk-food wrappers, liquor bottles and girlie magazines often flies in the face of what we tell ourselves — and what we tell others — about what we do.” ~ Witold Rybczynski, We Are What We Throw Away

Most people have little understanding of their own trash. And they have even less understanding of trash as a whole. Remember those fast food containers environmentalists hated so much in the 1980s? Well, from 1980-1989, they accounted for less than 0.1% of all landfill garbage. Disposable diapers – another product scorned by many environmentalists – were less than 1%.

Garbology: The Truth about our Garbage?

So, what kind of trash dominates landfills? Paper is the #1 contributor, making up 40-50% of landfills. Construction debris adds another 20-30%. The third largest category is yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, and the like). Much of this garbage has yet to biodegrade due to the fact that landfills tend to be “mummifiers” (this is the case with ancient landfills as well). Thus, newspapers from as far back as 1952 have been recovered in readable condition and food scraps “remain unchanged after 30 or 40 years.”

Interestingly enough, garbology studies show modern society produces far less trash per person than our predecessors. Much of this is due to technological advances. For example, individual homes no longer produce 1,200 lbs of coal ash per year. And modern packaged foods produce far less waste than the alternative.

Another interesting conclusion is that modern society recycles far less than you might expect. During the 1980s, 78% of people claimed to recycle. But only 26% actually did, irregardless of income level, political views, or even environmental views. And to be honest, recycling as a whole is somewhat of a sham. 40% of what we recycle actually ends up in landfills. For example, outside of PET soda containers, most plastic ends up being dumped in landfills, due to its low value and lack of usability. Paper and glass often suffer the same fate.

While there is plenty of physical space for all this trash, bureaucrats have made it increasingly difficult to open new landfills. So, is there a way to further reduce the amount of trash society creates? Recycling is one option but it only goes so far, especially since much of it ends up in landfills anyway.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

In their book, Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, William Rathje and Cullen Murphy suggest charging individual families different prices for garbage removal, presumably based on volume or weight. I would take this one step further and suggest privatizing and deregulating the entire garbage industry.

Rather than bureaucrats hiring politically favored contractors, let trash collection companies compete against each other for business. If they saw fit, they could charge consumers based on individual trash, rather than the current one-size-fits-all strategy. Consumers would be incentivized to produce less trash. Landfill owners would be incentivized to make better use of their space as well as find profitable uses for materials already stored within their own landfills. And garbage firms would be incentivized to recycle trash in order to resell it. Let the free market work and who knows? Maybe the so-called trash problem will resolve itself.

The Wave of Poseidon?

In 479 BC, the mighty Persian army marched toward the tiny Greek colony of Potidaea. The northern Aegean Sea had mysteriously retreated, making conditions ideal for a siege. Then disaster struck. The sea surged and hundreds of Persian soldiers died. Potidaea was saved, all thanks to a strange event that has come to be known as “The Wave of Poseidon.”

The Wave of Poseidon?

“When they had made their way over two-fifths of it, however, and three yet remained to cross before they could be in Pallene, there came a great flood-tide, higher, as the people of the place say, than any one of the many that had been before. Some of them who did not know how to swim were drowned, and those who knew were slain by the Potidaeans, who came among them in boats.” ~ Herodotus, The Histories

Herodotus, like many other ancient Greek historians, considered the wave to be of divine providence. It was the work of Poseidon, the god of the sea. In his infinite wisdom, Poseidon had decided to thrash the Persians and thus, save the villagers of Potidaea.

“The Potidaeans say that the cause of the high sea and flood and the Persian disaster lay in the fact that those same Persians who now perished in the sea had profaned the temple and the image of Poseidon which was in the suburb of the city. I think that in saying that this was the cause they are correct. Those who escaped alive were led away by Artabazus to Mardonius in Thessaly. This is how the men who had been the king’s escort fared.” ~ Herodotus, The Histories

Over time, The Wave of Poseidon became a thing of myth. And indeed, that is how modern historians initially viewed it. But over the last few decades, scholars started to study the event in depth, attempting to find a real life explanation for it. They noticed that Herodotus’s account, which was written ~50 years after the actual event, bore some resemblance to a tsunami. Now, new evidence has emerged to bolster this interpretation.

“We wanted to see if these historical accounts are correct and then try to get an assessment of the coastal areas — are they safe or are they not safe?” ~ Klaus Reicherter, Aachen University

A research team led by Klaus Reicherter recently realized the area’s geological conditions were ripe for a tsunami. The seafloor is shaped like a bathtub. Underwater earthquakes and landslides occur from time to time. Models show a regional tsunami could get as high as 16 feet.

Reicherter also discovered layers of sediment that appear to have been carried inland by massive waves. In addition, they excavated numerous shells in a nearby city, far away from land. A dating analysis indicates the shells landed in the soil around 500 BC, give or take 20-30 years.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Many historians view historical accounts of magic and divine intervention as pure myth. But we here at Guerrilla Explorer tend to think many of these strange stories have real-life roots. It appears we can now add The Wave of Poseidon to this category. Interestingly enough, if the tsunami had happened a few decades later, it might have never achieved its mythical status. About fifty years later, in 426 BC, the Greek historian Thucydides became the first person in recorded history to speculate that earthquakes, and not some ancient god, were behind massive waves.

“The cause, in my opinion, of this phenomenon must be sought in the earthquake. At the point where its shock has been the most violent the sea is driven back, and suddenly recoiling with redoubled force, causes the inundation. Without an earthquake I do not see how such an accident could happen.” ~ Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

The Loch Ness Monster…caught on Sonar?

The Internet is abuzz with the latest Loch Ness Monster news coming out of Scotland. It seems a ship captain named Marcus Atkinson snapped a picture of a sonar image showing “a long, 5ft-wide serpent-like creature.” Furthermore, this creature was 75 feet below water level, deep enough that it’s fairly unlikely to be a normal school of fish.

Proof of the Loch Ness Monster?

“The object got bigger and bigger, and I took a picture of it with my mobile phone. I was in shock as it looked like a big serpent. You can’t fake a sonar image and I’ve never seen anything like this on the fish finder. I’ve shown it to other experienced skippers and none of us know what it is.” ~ Marcus Atkinson

At least some cryptozoologists are convinced Atkinson has captured proof of the Loch Ness Monster.

“It’s very exciting and the best evidence we’ve had in donkey’s years. It’s images like this that will keep me going with my hunt for the next 20 years.” ~ Steve Feltham

Does the Loch Ness Monster really Exist?

One of the running themes here at Guerrilla Explorer is our deep skepticism toward most so-called cryptids. Not all cryptids, mind you. But many of the popular ones.

“If undiscovered megafauna still exist on Earth, the most likely place to find them is in the ocean. After all, in the past twenty years, scholars have discovered eight large previously-unknown marine animals. Thus, from where I stand, the most believable cryptids are so-called sea monsters such as the Daedalus Sea Serpent and the Valhalla Sea Serpent.” ~ David Meyer, Bigfoot Lives…!

Unlike the ocean, Loch Ness is a closed body of water. And researchers have scoured its waters for decades, searching for proof of the Monster. But evidence remains scanty. That’s not to say the Loch Ness Monster is impossible. Loch Ness is plenty deep to hold an unknown creature, reaching 755 feet at its lowest point. In all the British Isles, only Loch Morar is deeper, at 1,017 feet (incidentally, Loch Morar contains its own monster, the little known Morag).

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Still, proof remains elusive. And unfortunately, there is plenty to question about this latest sonar image. First, a monster is not the only feasible explanation for the image. Plenty of similar sonar images have been misidentified in the past. For example, it might be nothing more than algae.

“The image shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton that would exist on what would be a thermocline. Zooplankton live off this algae and reflect sound signals from echo sounders and fish finders very well.” ~ Dr. Simon Boxall, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, Hampshire

The second problem relates to motive. Marcus Atkinson isn’t just some innocent fisherman. He stands to benefit handsomely from all the news surrounding the sonar image.

“But perhaps truly damning, this year ‘Cruise Loch Ness’ are running special monster hunting trips with underwater cameras on the boat skippered by…Marcus Atkinson – the man behind all the publicity of this new ‘discovery.'” ~ Loren Coleman

The best we can say about the sonar image is that it’s interesting. But it certainly doesn’t constitute proof. However, that doesn’t mean we should reject Nessie out of hand. Like Bigfoot and other so-called cryptids, we should always keep an open mind about it.

“But while I’m extremely skeptical of Bigfoot, I certainly don’t reject the possibility of its existence. One of the things that frustrates me about modern science is the built-in disdain many researchers hold for fields like cryptozoology. Regardless of our opinions, we must continue to evaluate any and all scientific claims with an open mind…even if its about the legendary Sasquatch. After all, that’s what science is all about.” ~ David Meyer

The Mythical Balance of Nature?

The Balance of Nature theory states that an ecological system, if left to its own devices, will essentially self-correct. In other words, if nature gets out of whack, it’ll eventually fix itself. It’s a popular theory, believed by practically everyone…except for ecologists that is.

The Mythical Balance of Nature?

“This concept of natural equilibrium long ruled ecological research and governed the management of such natural resources as forests and fisheries. It led to the doctrine, popular among conservationists, that nature knows best and that human intervention in it is bad by definition.” ~ William K. Stevens, New Eye on Nature: The Real Constant Is Eternal Turmoil

Yes, it’s true. Nature is never in balance. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of balance. When an ecological system experiences a disturbance, whether it’s a forest fire or an ice storm or something else, it never comes back in its original form. Instead, the system evolves in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. And predators and prey, contrary to popular opinion, don’t maintain constant population levels relative to each other. Instead, their numbers vary wildly over time. Sometimes, predators drive prey to extinction. Other times, predators die off on their own accord.

The Origin of the Balance of Nature Theory?

The Balance of Nature theory is very old, tracing all the way back to Herodotus, who is often considered the first historian. However, it entered the scientific world in the 1950s thanks to the efforts of two brothers named Howard T. Odum and Eugene Odum (see The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts by documentarian Adam Curtis). The Odums viewed nature as a self-stabilizing, cybernetic system filled with nodes and feedback loops. If a disturbance occurred in nature, it would be recognized via feedback loops. Nature would then adjust itself to eliminate the disturbance.

Over the next few decades, Howard Odum collected data and modeled ecosystems as electronic networks filled with nodes and feedback loops. Eventually, he and Eugene took the idea of “nature as a system” and made it the basis of ecological studies. Unfortunately, their work was deeply flawed. The brothers ruthlessly simplified and cherry-picked the data to fit their predetermined models. But no one realized that at the time and their ideas became gospel.

The Failure of the Balance of Nature Models?

Later, a systems ecologist named George Van Dyne attempted to model a small piece of land as a complete ecosystem. He gathered tons of data and built a computer simulation, hoping to gain a better understanding of how nature self-stabilized. But as he gathered more and more data, he began to realize his model didn’t even begin to resemble the real world. In fact, he found nature to be extremely unstable and ultra-complex.

But while the scientific theory behind the Balance of Nature was no longer considered accurate, it remained widely believed by the greater public. Indeed, the mythical Balance of Nature theory continues onward today, driven largely by poorly trained educators, popular culture, New Age environmentalism, and ancient romanticism. Will that ever change?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Let’s hope so. The Balance of Nature might seem like a romantic idea, but nothing could be further from the truth. It views nature in machine-like fashion. Plants, animals, insects, and everything else are mere nodes in a network, reacting to constant feedback loops. However, nature is far more complex and unstable than even our most sophisticated computer models. It’s wild, ever-changing, and full of surprises. It’s unpredictable and remains beyond our understanding. And that, at least from where we stand, is a far more romantic…and accurate…idea of nature.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Man vs. Nature Coverage

Bigfoot Lives…!

Bigfoot lives…at least in our imagination. A recent study conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion suggests that 29% of Americans tend to believe in Bigfoot. 61% don’t believe in the legendary creature while the remaining 10% are undecided.

Does Bigfoot Exist?

As many of you know, we’re pretty skeptical about Bigfoot here at Guerrilla Explorer. If undiscovered megafauna still exist on Earth, the most likely place to find them is in the ocean. After all, in the past twenty years, scholars have discovered eight large previously-unknown marine animals

“Because large marine animals continue to be discovered – various new whale and shark species have been named in recent years – the idea that such species might await discovery is, at the very least, plausible.” ~ Dr. Darren Naish, Paleontologist

Thus, from where I stand, the most believable cryptids are so-called sea monsters such as the Daedalus Sea Serpent and the Valhalla Sea Serpent. In contrast, it seems highly unlikely that undiscovered air or land-based megafauna like the Thunderbird or Bigfoot are anything more than long-running figments of our imagination. I have slightly more faith in the Yeti, although not much. The Yeti supposedly lives in the frigid, treacherous Himalayas. Few people live in that area and the conditions make expeditions difficult.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

But while I’m extremely skeptical of Bigfoot, I certainly don’t reject the possibility of its existence. One of the things that frustrates me about modern science is the built-in disdain many researchers hold for fields like cryptozoology. Regardless of our opinions, we must continue to evaluate any and all scientific claims with an open mind…even if its about the legendary Sasquatch. After all, that’s what science is all about.

What I object to in particular is the knee-jerk reaction that any interest in cryptozoology makes you a crank or a naïve believer in the impossible. Not only are some targets of cryptozoology entirely ‘believable’ (example: new marine sharks and cetaceans), the assumption that people interested in cryptozoology necessarily ‘believe’ in the existence of the supposed targets of cryptozoology is erroneous. Clearly, you can investigate mystery animal reports because you’re interested in what they might tell you about the evolution and transmission of folklore, the reliability and abilities of eyewitnesses, and so on. Furthermore, I always thought that the scientific evaluation of claims of any kind was meant to be a good thing. Basically, there’s definitely science to do here, whether you advocate the possible existence of the respective supposed animal species or not.” ~ Darren Naish, Paleontologist

The Hunt for Bin Laden’s Corpse: Part II

Did Osama Bin Laden really die in Pakistan? Was his corpse truly stuffed into a rubber-lined canvas body bag, weighed down with lead, and then buried in the North Arabian Sea?

Where is the Osama Bin Laden’s Corpse?

That was the subject of the second blog post ever at Guerrilla Explorer, way back on June 29, 2011. At the time, treasure hunter Bill Warren had declared his intention to recover Bin Laden’s body from the bottom of the Arabian Sea. It turns out that would probably be a huge waste of time, and not just for the obvious reasons.

Recently, WikiLeaks began publishing over 5 million emails from Stratfor, a “global intelligence” firm. Several of those emails contradict the official story about Bin Laden’s body, confirming what many of us had already suspected. That is, Bin Laden wasn’t buried at sea at all. Instead his body was transported to the United States. Here’s more on the mysterious fate of Osama Bin Laden from Business Insider:

At 5:26 a.m. on May 2, the morning after Barack Obama announced the successful raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, Stratfor CEO George Friedman sent an email with the subject “[alpha] OBL” that said: Reportedly, we took the body with us. Thank goodness.

Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, followed that up at 5:51 a.m. with an email titled “[alpha] Body bound for Dover, DE on CIA plane” that said: Than [sic] onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda…

(See Business Insider for more on the mysterious fate of Osama Bin Laden)