Paul Seaburn October 11, 2020
Multiple Russian media sources have released shocking reports and photographs of a huge butterfly the size of a bird found living and seemingly thriving in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – one of the most dangerous and radioactive places on Earth. Should the brave souls attempting to move back to their homes near the failed reactor get some bigger nets?
How big is too big for a butterfly?
“A butterfly with a wingspan the size of small bird was spotted in the Chernobyl exclusion zone by employees of the region’s Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve, who reported the encounter on the organization’s Facebook page.”
While thousands of people have died or been affected by the radiation released during and after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 1986, scientists monitoring the exclusion zone around the remains of the plant – a “zone of alienation” extending 30 km (19 mi) in all directions from the plant where maintenance workers can only stay for five hours a day – say it has become a radioactive nature preserve where flora and fauna have survived and in many cases thrived due to the lack of humans. One group that did not is insects.
Virtually all invertebrates disappeared from the exclusion zone, causing some animals and birds to look for other food or move. That’s why the bird-sized butterfly spotted in the area recently had people both excited about its existence but concerned about its seemingly mutant size. (See the photos here — those in the image at the top are not the ones in Chernobyl.) Fortunately, entomologists jumped in quickly with an explanation.
“The office of the science department visited an unexpected guest – a rare butterfly Blue Ribbon (Catocala fraxini). He’s still called the blue order tape. The butterfly is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine (vulnerable species).
This insect is one of the largest representatives of butterflies living in Ukraine and in general in Europe. The length of his front wing can reach 45 mm and the wingspan in flight is up to 110 mm. Butterfly is nice in flight.
Blue tape – active at night, flies to the light. You can see the scientists ′′ on the light “.
When the rain stops, the butterfly will be moved to its favorite tree – poplars.”
The Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve issued a statement on social media identifying the butterfly as known a blue underwing (Catocala fraxini). With wings extending to 4.33 inches in flight, blue underwings are often mistaken for birds in areas where they still live. A species whose territory once covered Europe, it is now nearly extinct in the UK and a threatened species in Ukraine.
Should those working in Chernobyl protect themselves from these huge butterflies?
Why, when other insect species stay away from the exclusion area, has this monster butterfly returned? While it may look like a normal blue underwing, the researchers don’t know if it has been negatively affected or even mutated by the radiation. Insects initially disappeared from around the 2011 Fukushima disaster area in Japan, but butterflies have since returned and show signs of abnormalities. In particular, pale grass blue butterflies are smaller, grow more slowly and have higher mortality rates than before. Occurring almost 30 years later and with much more free and open media reporting on it, more is known about the effects of that disaster than Chernobyl, which still suffers from government secrecy.
The scientists at Chernobyl and Fukushima say they’re studying the radiation damage on wildlife to better prepare for future disasters. That’s not comforting at all. While it may be exciting to them that a huge bird-sized butterfly can live in a radioactive area, there’s still plenty of dead canaries in this coal mine. Mysterious Universe
Nick Redfern October 6, 2020
Most people who encounter strange creatures – such as the Loch Ness Monsters, the Ogopogos, giant birds, and Bigfoot – respond with amazement, excitement and jaws that practically drop to the floor, if you see what I mean. On occasion, though, there are those cases that are nothing but downright creepy. Add to that fear-filled situations that the terrified witnesses werere unlikely to ever forget, and you get nothing less than encounters of the nightmarish types. With that all said, I thought I would share with you – today – one particular case that really stands out in this particular category of cryptozoological terror.
True North: A Journey Into Unexplored Wilderness is the title of a 1933 memoir-style book written by Elliott Merrick, who died at the age of ninety-one in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1997. True North was Merrick’s very first book; his others included Green Mountain Farm, Cruising at Last, and From This Hill Look Down. In True North, Merrick told a story of a girl who had a distinctly disturbing close encounter with a Bigfoot that just might have seen her as a tasty meal. The location of what almost turned into a horrific tragedy was Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. The time: roughly twenty years earlier, which would have placed things approximately around 1912-1914.
Merrick wrote in his book: “Ghost stories are very real in this land of scattered lonely homes and primitive fears. The Traverspine ‘Gorilla’ is one of the creepiest. About twenty years ago one of the little girls was playing in an open grassy clearing one autumn afternoon when she saw coming out of the woods a huge hairy thing with low-hanging arms. It was about seven feet tall when it stood erect, but sometimes it dropped to all fours. Across the top of its head was a white mane.” The girl, hardly surprisingly, was rooted to the spot with fear.
That fear reached fever pitch levels when the half-animal / half-human thing motioned to the little girl – in a fashion that led her to think the beast was calling to her, and to come closer. If the girl had any plans to do so, they were quickly dismissed when the face of the monster broke out into that of an evil, sinister grin. It was at that point the girl could see the creature’s huge mouth – which was filled with huge, fierce-looking teeth. They were teeth that could easily have ended the life of the girl and made a meal of her. Luckily, the girl was able to summon up the willpower and strength to make a run for it – which she did, to the home in which she lived with her parents. In almost hysterical fashion, the girl blurted out what had happened – something which led her father to hastily and carefully check out the area in question. The animal, however, was already gone. But, there was some evidence to show that the girl had not simply fallen asleep and had a bad nightmare, or had mistaken a bear for a monster.
Of the evidence, Merrick told his readers: “Its tracks were everywhere in the mud and sand, and later in the snow. They measured the tracks and cut out paper patterns of them which they still keep. It is a strange-looking foot, about twelve inches long, narrow at the heel, and forking at the front into two broad, round-ended toes. Sometimes its print was so deep it looked to weigh 500 pounds. At other times the beast’s mark looked no deeper than a man’s track.”
The local folk didn’t waste any time at all trying to find the hair-covered beast in their very midst. A posse was soon on the hunt, carefully scouring the nearby woods, which were seen as the most likely locations where the creature would hide out. A night-time stake-out of nearby Mudd Lake proved to be completely fruitless. As did another search of the lake on the following night. Traps were laid down by anxious townsfolk. Nothing worked: the monster was gone. For a while.
When the story reached Merrick himself, he was determined to try and find out if the account was true or a tall-tale of the kind which are so often told around campfires. It didn’t take Merrick long to learn that the people of Traverspine took the whole thing very seriously – even though by the time Merrick was onto the story it was already an old one.
Having gained their trust, Merrick spoke with more than ten locals who had, at various times, and over the years, seen the unidentified abomination. It clearly wasn’t just a one-off event. No-one knew what the thing was – only that it was no normal, regular animal. Merrick added the following, based on what one of his informants in town told him: “One afternoon one of the children saw it peeping in the window. She yelled and old Mrs. Michelin grabbed a gun and ran for the door. She just saw the top of its head disappearing into a clump of trees. She fired where she saw the bushes moving and thinks she wounded it. She says too that it had a ruff of white across the top of its head. At night they used to bar the door with a stout birch beam and all sleep upstairs, taking guns and axes with them.”
It wasn’t just the people of Traverspine that were concerned, either – their pets were too. Specifically, the local dog population. On a number of occasions, the presence of the dogs near the woods of Mudd Lake provoked the monster to howl and growl in frenzied fashion – something which clearly demonstrated the creature knew the dogs were near and reacted in a fashion designed to keep them well away. It worked: the dogs kept well away from the area of all the action. Interestingly, on one occasion, said Merrick, the hairy horror swung at one of the dogs with what was described as “a club.” Fortunately, the dog was not injured – but just the fact that the monster had a club, or perhaps a large branch wrenched off a tree, suggests it was an intelligent animal, one which used not just brute force, but weapons too. And then, it was all over. After a few years of occasional mayhem, the monster was gone for good. Mysterious Universe
Nessie Fever Grows and Grows!
Nick Redfern October 7, 2020
It seems that, right now, the phenomenon of the Loch Ness Monster is growing and growing. On October 3, I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe titled “Dragons, Alleged Sacrifice and a Secret Cult: All at Loch Ness.” It was published on the 4th and was focused on the story of a strange tapestry that was found in almost-spitting distance from Aleister Crowley’s old home, Boleskine House. Then, right on the back of that, was this from the Inverness Courier newspaper: “A carved wooden box may contain the secrets which unlock some of the mysteries of a notorious Highland home. A man from Grimsby is appealing for information on the box which it is claimed was found under the floorboards of Boleskine House. The site, previously owned by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, overlooks Loch Ness.” There’s also the matter of a very recent sighting of one of the elusive monsters. This story, too, was picked up by the Inverness Courier.
In this case, the witness was a man named Corey Sturrock. The Inverness Courier said of his encounter of the monstrous type: “A Nessie sceptic has been converted after spotting a giant creature rise out of the water while out for a walk. Corey (23) and Lauren (22) Sturrock were walking at Dores on Saturday at around 3.40pm when they saw something the ‘size of a bus’” emerge from the depths. Mr Sturrock, who is a full-time carer for his wife, said he has always dismissed any talk of the Loch Ness monster, but after seeing the eel-like fish believes that there is something lurking in the waters that is quite unbelievable. Mr Sturrock said he was reluctant to come forward in case people thought he was claiming to have seen Nessie. But he said there were a number of people on the loch-side who saw the same thing. He said: ‘I have been camping and walking on Loch Ness my whole life and I have never believed in the Loch Ness monster.’”
Amid all of this there was yet another development in relation to Loch Ness and its legendary creatures. Long-time Nessie-seeker Steve Feltham wrote the following on his Nessie Facebook group: ”
So much driftwood, So many boatwakes, So many false alarms and out and out fakes.
For so long now we have been searching for that definitive, game changing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
Decades can pass between one great piece of evidence and the next.
People ask me if I ever lose heart?
I have been constantly excited by the unpredictability of this mystery, there has always been something coming over the horizon, the next game changing twist in the pursuit of an explanation.
Strap yourselves in!
The next game changing piece of evidence has breached the horizon!
…and its the best I’ve seen in decades.
Can’t say any more yet.
Roland Watson – of the books The Water Horses of Loch Ness and When Monsters Come Ashore – says: “Naturally, this has got a lot of people excited and I await with some degree of anticipation what is about to be revealed myself. Is it a series of still images or a video or perhaps a sonar trace? Perhaps it is none of these. Steve says it is the best evidence he has seen in decades. Is that the best since the Dinsdale film or Rines body photo or Johnston photos? Well, I cannot be sure since my idea of best evidence in decades is not the same as another monster hunter’s best. But it is described as ‘the next game changer‘ which is a phrase carrying a burden of expectation with it.”
On October 5, the Daily Record newspaper said: “The ‘most compelling’ evidence of the existence of Nessie has been recorded more than 500ft below the surface of the loch. Monster hunters are astounded by the clarity of the image of an object, estimated to be 33ft long – although an expert said it may just be a shoal of fish. The sonar image was captured by Cruise Loch Ness director Ronald Mackenzie while he was skippering a catamaran on Wednesday afternoon. The 49-year-old said: ‘It was a bit of a dreich day and we only had 12 passengers. We were at our halfway point off Invermoriston, where we turn around. The water is 189m (620ft) deep there. The passengers were quite excited because we had just spotted a sea eagle, but then I saw on the sonar something more eye-catching.” Namely, that sonar image.
Surely, all of this begs the question: whatever next?!