Thursday, October 25, 2012

So What Got Into These Bees?

The Alsace region in northeastern France is famous for its fine white wines. But one town has become famous for a product it can’t sell. Alsatian bees are producing blue and green honey.

There are an estimated 2,400 beekeepers in the region, with 35,000 bee colonies that produce about 1,000 tons of honey a year. This year, in the town of Ribeauville, the bees suddenly began producing honey in shades of blue and green.

Mystified beekeepers eventually traced the odd tints to a biogas plant which processes waste from a Mars-owned plant nearby. Mars is American company that produces the well-known M&Ms candy. Apparently the bees mistook the residue for pollen and snapped it up for their own honey-making operations.

The company that owns the biogas plant says it discovered the problem at the same time that the beekeepers did and quickly took steps to store the waste in airtight (and presumably bee-tight) containers. The honey will not be marketed.

All of this does leave one question in my mind. Why didn’t those bees produce red honey?

Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Did Meriwether Lewis Really Commit Suicide?

In 1809, Meriwether Lewis, heroic explorer and co-leader of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, set out for Washington, D.C. He had been appointed as governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory by President Thomas Jefferson, but was plagued by personal and professional problems.

The entire journey was plagued by problems. Lewis fell ill, and temporarily lost his pack horses, which were carrying his journals, but finally arrived at a lonely inn on October 10, 1809. Mrs. Grinder, the owner’s wife, found places for Lewis and the three men accompanying them. Lewis was given a cabin of his own. This is when the story becomes very strange.

At about 3:00 the next morning, two gunshots came from Lewis’ cabin. Mrs. Grinder apparently did not think to check on her guest. Lewis finally managed to crawl to her door. At last, two hours later, Mrs. Grinder notified Lewis’ servants that he had been shot. They found Lewis on his bed, dying.

Jefferson apparently accepted that Lewis had committed suicide, but many questions remain.  How did Lewis manage to shoot himself twice? Contradictory statements by Mrs. Grinder, her husband, and the three men who had accompanied him further complicated the story. And even Jefferson later said that Lewis had been murdered. Numerous conspiracy theories have been put forth, especially since many people stood to gain substantially by his death.

It is said that Lewis’ ghost still haunts the place where he died. A lonely voice is heard to say, “I am no coward.”

For more information on this very strange story, visit here

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is There a Monster in Sweden’s Lake Storsjöñn?

Lake Storsjön in Jamtland County is Sweden’s 5th largest lake. Its surface area covers more than 287 square miles and it as much as 250 feet deep. Does it harbor a monster? Many think it does, and thousands of people say they have actually seen it, and many say they’ve taken pictures of it. Apparently the creature, called Storsie, is not shy.
Storsie was first reported by a vicar way back in 1635. The creature apparently made its living at the time by raiding farm crops in the area. Since then, though, it has apparently confined its diet primarily to fish.

Most people say that Storzie has a serpentine body with humps on its back. It is grayish in color with a doglike head. But others say the monster is short and very fat with a roundish skull. The reports also disagree on whether Storzie has large flippers or strong back legs and short limbs with feet suitable for walking on land. They do agree, however, that Storzie is about 20 to 30 feet long with big eyes, and a huge mouth. There is such a huge difference between the two descriptions that I wonder if there are actually two different monsters in the lake.

One interesting indication of the possible reality of the Lake Storsjöön monster surfaced in June 1984 when a well-preserved carcass was found on the lake shore. Some researchers think the body may be an embryo. The creature, whatever it is, is now at the Jamtli Museum.

In August 1998 an international expedition under the leadership of Jan Ove Sunbert, founder of an organization known as the Global Underwater Search Team undertook a search for evidence of Storzie’s existence. They came up empty-handed, but the organization has continued its investigations both at Lake Storsjön and other areas and is now considered a world leader in the search for lake monsters. Loch Ness specialist Adrian Shine, a famed monster hunter, led his own expedition in 1998, but it was also unsuccessful.

A total of eight observation platforms were built on the shores of Lake Storsjöön between 2000 and 2001. From these platforms both tourists and locals can enjoy the beautiful local scenery, and watch for Storsie.

There’s a YouTube video purportedly showing film of Storsie here

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Denver, Colorado’s Haunted Brown Palace Hotel

If you happen to be at the Brown Palace Hotel’s Churchill Bar and a man walks in, then leaves through a wall, don’t worry. It’s probably only Henry Brown.

Mr. Brown founded the hotel in 1892 and passed away in 1906. But apparently he is still attached to his hotel, and night watchmen often encounter him pacing the hallways.

Henry Brown isn’t the only ghost haunting the legendary hotel. Another regular is a bellhop who steals newspapers from doorways and walks through walls. Another is a prostitute from Denver’s more colorful days. Then there is the elderly woman wearing a long black dress. She complains that the heat is not working in her room, but vanishes when a repairman arrives to fix it.

Jenna Robbins, who guides tours of haunted portions of the hotel, became a believer while she was guiding a tour devoted to romantic scandals that had taken place there. She recalled talking to her tour group about one particular scandal involving a resident named Louise Crawford Hill, who had lived in Room 904 the hotel during that last 15 years of her life and was found dead in the room. On the day of the tour, staff members reported receiving numerous calls from Room 904, but heard only static on the line. There was no phone in the room at the time, and since the room was being renovated no guests were staying there.

Guests and hotel employees often experience other phenomena, including the usual array events like doors slamming, lights flickering on and off, and sudden chills in rooms and hallways. Papers fly off tables, and children laughing and playing in hallways are also fairly routine occurrences.

The Brown Palace Club dining room is also an active area. Besides frequent complaints that the dining room is too cold, there are also numerous reports of people walking through walls, and the sounds of bartenders clinking glassesare commonly reported.

In one case, a security officer heard the sounds of music coming from the ballroom and went to investigate. He found a trio of musicians playing their instruments. He advised them that it was too late to be making noise. One of the musicians told him, “It’s OK. We live here.” Then all three disappeared.

All the ghosts at the hotel seem to be benign. No real damage or injuries have been reported by witnesses or staff members.

The Brown Palace Hotel is so well known for its ghosts that they make tours available for hotel guests. If you’d like to schedule a tour yourself, visit here for more information.