Author Archive | BattyMcDougall

The FBI Wants You! … To Crack This Code

CypheredNoteVia the FBI’s official website:

On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets.

Despite extensive work by our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), as well as help from the American Cryptogram Association, the meanings of those two coded notes remain a mystery to this day, and Ricky McCormick’s murderer has yet to face justice.

“We are really good at what we do,” said CRRU chief Dan Olson, “but we could use some help with this one.”

In fact, Ricky McCormick’s encrypted notes are one of CRRU’s top unsolved cases. “Breaking the code,” said Olson, “could reveal the victim’s whereabouts before his death and could lead to the solution of a homicide. Not every cipher we get arrives at our door under those circumstances.”

Read More: FBI’s official website

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The Occult World of C.G. Jung

C. G. Jung in 1910.

C. G. Jung in 1910.

Via the Fortean Times:

He knew that inside the temple the mystery of his existence, of his purpose in life, would be answered. He was about to cross the threshold when he saw, rising up from Europe far below, the image of his doctor in the archetypal form of the King of Kos, the island site of the temple of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine. He told Jung that his departure was premature; many were demanding his return and he, the King, was there to ferry him back. When Jung heard this, he was immensely disappointed, and almost immediately the vision ended. He experienced the reluctance to live that many who have been ‘brought back’ encounter, but what troubled him most was seeing his doctor in his archetypal form. He knew this meant that the physician had sacrificed his own life to save Jung’s. On 4 April 1944 — a date numerologists can delight in — Jung sat up in bed for the first time since his heart attack.

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Artist Commits Suicide Online as a Work of Art (well, sort of)

From The Art of the Prank:
Thousands of people watched powerless while a person was hanging from the ceiling, slowly swinging, for hours and hours. It happened yesterday, in the popular website Chatroulette, where people from all over the world can anonymously and randomly see each other through their webcams and chat with perfect strangers.
The hanging man was in fact Brooklyn based artist Franco Mattes...
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The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain

Large and colorful Toynbee tile found in downtown Washington D.C., with closeup of its bottom tab. Taken by en:User:Erifnam in 2002 (GNU License)

Thought this would be right up Disinfo’s alley. Via Cracked:

‘The Toynbee Tiles are cryptic messages found embedded in asphalt in various cities. The messages are thought to be layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound, and all tiles are found with variations of the same short message, referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey and suggesting we resurrect the dead on planet Jupiter.

Other than that, the only things setting these abnormally permanent acts of vandalism apart: They’ve been showing up out of nowhere, with no explanation for 30 damned years.’

You can see the word “Toynbee” at the top, which is referring to a famous historian. And if you’ve seen 2001 you know that the planet Jupiter is involved. And… that’s as much sense as we can make of it…

[more at Cracked]

Large and colorful Toynbee tile found in downtown Washington D.C., with closeup of its bottom tab.
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High Weirdness at Loch Ness: Frank Searle’s Lost Second Book

NessieMike Dash writes on the Charles Fort Institute:

From Searle’s point of view, renown also brought the useful perk of short-lived young female assistants — he called them “Girl Fridays” — willing to share his watching duties and his bed.

There were several of these girls, one an Australian, another a Brit. A third, a Belgian named Lieve Peten, reminisced: “There was no romantic involvement, not for him, not for me, but there was a physical involvement. It sounds harsh, perhaps, but that was the Seventies, people experimented. And there was no AIDS back then.”

It seems reasonable to assume that she, and perhaps some of the other assistants recruited from small ads placed (the Glasgow Herald noted) in “parts of the country where the unemployment was high,” were more attracted to the romance of monster hunting than they were to the short, baked bean munching, prosthetic-footed (he was wounded in the war) Frank Searle.

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Aleister Crowley: Wicked

Crowley plays shadow puppets in 1938. In this photo: Aleister Crowley Photo: Picture Post/Getty Images (Fair Use)

A wonderful set of photographs from the life of the ‘Great Beast’, via LIFE:

Born the son of a wealthy and devout British family in 1875, Edward Alexander Crowley became a rebel after his father’s death when he was 11. He became increasingly skeptical of Christianity and was expelled from school for “corrupting” another boy. Crowley’s own mother, alarmed by his affinity for what she saw as morbid and morally questionable pursuits (i.e., black magic), referred to him as “the Beast.” In time, as Crowley’s notoriety as an occultist and very public celebrant of unrestrained hedonism grew, the press dubbed him “the wickedest man in the world.”

View more photos at LIFE.

Photo: Crowley plays shadow puppets in 1938. Source: LIFE/Picture Post/Getty Images (Fair Use).

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Art of the Steal: On the Trail of World’s Most Ingenious Thief

Joshuah Bearman writes in Wired:
The plane slowed and leveled out about a mile above ground. Up ahead, the Viennese castle glowed like a fairy tale palace. When the pilot gave the thumbs-up, Gerald Blanchard looked down, checked his parachute straps, and jumped into the darkness. He plummeted for a second, then Koechert Pearl Diamondpulled his cord, slowing to a nice descent toward the tiled roof. It was early June 1998, and the evening wind was warm. If it kept cooperating, Blanchard would touch down directly above the room that held the Koechert Diamond Pearl. He steered his parachute toward his target. A couple of days earlier, Blanchard had appeared to be just another twentysomething on vacation with his wife and her wealthy father. The three of them were taking a six-month grand European tour: London, Rome, Barcelona, the French Riviera, Vienna. When they stopped at the Schloss Schönbrunn, the Austrian equivalent of Versailles, his father-in-law’s VIP status granted them a special preview peek at a highly prized piece from a private collection. And there it was: In a cavernous room, in an alarmed case, behind bulletproof glass, on a weight-sensitive pedestal — a delicate but dazzling 10-pointed star of diamonds fanned around one monstrous pearl. Five seconds after laying eyes on it, Blanchard knew he would try to take it.
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Are There Really ‘Continents’ of Floating Garbage?

Map of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ) within the North Pacific Gyre. Also the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Source: NOAA

Map of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ) within the North Pacific Gyre. Also the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Source: NOAA

From Daily Galaxy [Disinfo editor's note: This story dates from Dec. 31, 2007 but appears still to be relevant. See also this report from 2008.]:

Since stories have started surfacing more recently, many have wondered, if the rumors are true. Are there really ‘continents’, or massive floating garbage patches residing in the pacific ocean? Apparently, the rumors are true, and these unsightly patches are reportedly killing marine life and releasing poisons that enter the human food chain, as well. However, before you start imagining a plastic version of Maui, keep in mind that these plastic patches certainly aren’t solid surfaced islands that you could build a house on! Ocean currents have collected massive amounts of garbage into a sort of plastic “soup” where countless bits of discarded plastic float intertwined just beneath the surface.

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