What's to Stop an Atheist From Lying on the Witness Stand?

Abraham Lincoln: Racist?

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

-- Abraham Lincoln (former President of the United States)

These politicians love their run-on sentences, don't they?

Yes, this is an actual quote spoken by Abraham Lincoln. It was delivered during the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, an Illinois senatorial polemic with Democratic Party nominee Stephen A. Douglas.

During these verbal battles, the two combatants faced-off primarily over the subject of slavery. Douglas appeared staunch in his belief of popular sovereignty, which would allow the individual states to decide for themselves whether or not they endorsed subjugation. Lincoln seemed opposed to the expansion of slavery, but made numerous contradictory remarks when politically appropriate.

Okay. So, the above quote was uttered by the man who, in 1861, would become the official 16th President of the United States.

Thefreedictionary.com defines the word racist as "a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others."

Merriam-Webster's online lexicon denotes racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

Dictionary.com asserts racism is "the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others."

Via Lincoln's aforementioned quote, it does seem the official 16th President of the United States was the epitome of what these reference sources define as a racist.

Even more bizarre is the fact that Lincoln is often referred to as the best Commander-in-Chief the U.S. has ever known. Check out online listings of Top Ten Presidents in United States History. Lincoln always ranks amongst the top three, most often numero uno.

If you're of the opinion Abraham Lincoln was a racist, and he's heralded as the best U.S. President ever, what were the attributes of the worst? A predilection for shoplifting? A penchant for serial killing? An incessant desire to expose oneself in front of nursing homes, while driving black cars on Sundays in Denver, Colorado?

When you figure that Lincoln's face has been immortalized on South Dakota's Mount Rushmore, as well as the U.S. penny and five-dollar bill, the possibility of Honest Abe being racist enters the realm of the surreal.

There are those who claim the societal norm in the late 19th century was to be a supremacist.

We don't dispute your assertion. We're solely underscoring the fact that high school history books portray President Abraham Lincoln as a Commander-in-Chief hell-bent on creating equality between races.

Perhaps a few more of Lincoln's quotes will shed light upon his beliefs regarding bigotry.

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

-- Abraham Lincoln (The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858)

"My paramount object in this struggle {the American Civil War} is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union..."

-- President Abraham Lincoln (in a letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862)

You can actually find most of that last one carved in stone at the Lincoln Memorial. Weird, huh? Well, George Lopez is famous, and Mark Wahlberg has a third nipple, so perhaps weird is just a state of mind, these days.

"I will add to this that I have never seen to my knowledge a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men."

-- Abraham Lincoln (The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858)

"Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been able to get from me an answer to the question whether I am in favor of negro citizenship. So far as I know, the Judge never asked me the question before. He shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citizenship."

-- Abraham Lincoln (The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858)

"Now my opinion is that the different States have the power to make a negro a citizen under the Constitution of the United States if they choose. The Dred Scott decision decides that they have not that power. If the State of Illinois had that power I should be opposed to the exercise of it. That is all I have to say about it."

-- Abraham Lincoln (The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858)

Upon election as president, one of Lincoln's initial acts was the attempted passing of the Corwin Amendment. Had partial secession of the South not already occurred, this legislation would have indefinitely prohibited the federal government from tampering with slavery in any state.

Add the fact that ol' Abe was one of the leaders of the Illinois Colonization Society, an organization determined to transplant all free blacks to somewhere other than the U.S., and Lincoln's love for every race seems kinda questionable.

However, Abraham Lincoln was also cited as saying, "When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

But Honest Abe was also known to quote the Bible when it suited his motives, even though he never joined a church, didn't formally belong to any religion and purportedly wrote an essay denouncing Christianity.

Once a politician, always a politician, baby!

Via research, we're hopeful you'll arrive at your own well-informed conclusion regarding whether or not Abraham Lincoln was a racist.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:















DiLorenzo, Thomas, J.; Morris, Joseph A. (2008). Abraham Lincoln: Friend or Foe of American Freedom?. The Heartland Institute. ISBN-13 978-1-934791-05-9

DiLorenzo, Thomas, J. (2006). Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe. Three Rivers Press. ISBN: 978-0-307-33842-6

God Commands Us to Murder, Rape and Steal

If you're Jewish, Anglican, Orthodox or Reformed Christian, you probably know the Sixth Commandment states "Thou shall not murder." Even so, the God of the Old Testament not only condones killing, but demands it.

We understand. This assertion sounds more bizarre than Danny DeVito winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. The fact remains, the following quotes can be found in the Old Testament.

Think You're Bad Enough to Take On Dad? Think Again

Good news, parents! You've got a friend in the Lord!

"Anyone who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death." (Exodus 21:15)

Don't Call Mom and Dad @$$#*!%$

"Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)

Every parent's favorite book of the Old Testament? Exodus.

Lance Bass, Runnin' Scared

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (Leviticus 20:13)

Good thing nobody followed through on this one. Doogie Howser, M.D. would have been even worse with somebody else in the lead role.

Kill Nonbelievers

"They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman." (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)

Doesn't this one smack of some stalker boyfriend, dumped by the prom queen, coming to the realization he'll never find anything better?

The Ultimate Wedding Present: Killing the Bride

"If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)

Wouldn't these dudes with the rocks face the death penalty, nowadays?

Slaughter an Entire Town For Worshipping Another God

"If you hear it is said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, 'Let us go and worship other gods' {gods you have not known}, then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock." (Deuteronomy 13:12-15)

More dead than The Chevy Chase Show, baby!

Slain For Working on the Sabbath

"Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath, must be put to death." (Exodus 32:14-15)

Imagine some poor Jewish guy wakin' up late after a night of binge drinking. He's not certain what day it is. He races to work, figurin' he's gonna get fired.

Upon arriving, he's surprised to discover the office empty. Deducing everybody must be at lunch, he's certain he can pull out of this kamikaze nosedive if he shows initiative.

Three hundred cold calls and 85 TPS reports later, the realization sucker punches him like the fist of a four-hundred-pound, dirty boxer. It's Saturday!

Rape and Infanticide, Anyone?

"Whoever is captured will be thrust though; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children." (Isaiah 13:15-18)

The Child Welfare League of America may have somethin' to say about this one.

Mass Murder: It's Not Just For Governments, Anymore

"This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " (Samuel 15:2-3)

Nobody wants to work as a toilet bowl cleaner in a laxative testing facility, but on this particular day, we'd have taken that gig over bein' an Amalekite.

Death to Makin' a Living the Hard Way

"If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire." (Leviticus 21:9)

We may not know who authored the Old Testament, but one thing's for certain: Leviticus was written by a dude.

Fun-Lovin' Folks Forced to Kill

"A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!" (Jeremiah 48:10)

You're a sword collector. You've got ten thousand pieces in your assemblage. You're also a devout Jew who takes the Old Testament literally. You can do the math on this one.

Jews Kick Butt!

"When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They {Israelites; a.k.a. Jews} devoted
the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every
living thing in it -- men and women, young and old, cattle sheep and donkeys." (Joshua 6:20-21)

Apparently, donkeys were thirsty for human blood back then.

Babylon Sucks!

" 'Attack the land of Merathaim {Babylon} and those who live in Pekod. Pursue, kill and completely destroy them,' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 50:21)

Anybody who lives in a town called Pekod, and refers to him, or herself, as a Pekodite, is askin' for it!

We're Tired of Killing. Can't We Just Rape?

"When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.

As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby." (Deuteronomy 20:10-15)

So, we're not killin' the animals, now? Can't we just beat up some more donkeys?

What Rape Victim Wouldn't Want to Marry Her Attacker?

"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty sheckels [sic] of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

Last we checked, a shekel was more worthless than a soft drink at the late Dean Martin's house. Dad's really gettin' the shaft on this one.

Man, Am I Glad This Isn't a Law

"If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel." (Deuteronomy 22:22)

Three-quarters of the planet would be dead if this were ever enforced.

The Big Three: Polygamy, Rape and Baby Killing

"This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'

Then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' Nathan replied, 'The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.' " (2 Samuel 12:11-14)

Little did God know, the condom broke, and Dave never wanted the kid, anyway.

Do people read their Bibles? If so, how do they justify sendin' their kids to Sunday School or synagogues to learn that God demands they kill and rape each other? The concept eludes us.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:






[Biblical passages] The Holy Bible. "NIV" New International Version

Heroin: The Other Wonder Drug

The Bayer Company, the same corporation that produces Bayer aspirin, invented, and sold, heroin. Big Pharma, baby! Puttin' it all on the line for the common man!

It was the late 19th century, and the Bayer Company was on the prowl for a cough medicine lacking addictive side effects. Although aspirin seemed promising, the corporation was far more intrigued by a narcotic known as diacetylmorphine, brought to their attention by an in-house chemist. The drug in question induced a feeling of heroism, according its test subjects. Since Bayer is a pharmaceutical company based in Germany, human guinea pigs used the term "heroisch," German for heroic, to describe their experiences while under the influence of diacetylmorphine. Hence, the eventual name of the drug.

According to The Sunday Times in London, by 1899, Bayer was crankin' out a literal ton of heroin per year, and sellin' their brand of legalized euphoria to 23 different countries.

In 1907, the American Medical Association approved the drug, which today physicians know to be highly addictive, and often fatal, through extended use. Comforting, isn't it?

By 1913, Bayer reached the same conclusion, after some of its best customers suffered adverse side effects, such as death, through protracted consumption of the smack. As a result, the corporation wisely chose to discontinue heroin from its product line. Bayer, instead, decided to promote another one of its inventions, the far less potent aspirin, which only causes one's digestive system to bleed.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




Kick, Russ. (2003). 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know. pp. 100-101. The Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 0-9713942-8-8

Marky Mark's Third Nip

Actor, former underwear model and ex-musician, Mark Wahlberg has a third nipple.

Known as supernumerary mammilla, one out of 18 people are the lucky recipients of such additional protuberances.

The term polythelia denotes a single extra nip, as displayed by Wahlberg.

These "spares," if you will, make their appearance along the "milk lines," regions from the arms to the legs that encompass mammary glands in humans.

Ol' Marky Mark ain't alone in his celebrity polythelia, either. During her audition for American Idol, singer/songwriter Carrie Underwood confessed to possessing a "reserve," as well.

The term supernumerary can also denote actual body parts, such as an extra breast, finger, head, penis, toe, etc.

If we "suffered" from diphallia (dual penises), we would've definitely made a lifelong career out of our porn endeavors, as opposed to the steady, albeit temporary, work we had engaged in.

Should we be blessed with a case of plydactyly (extra fingers), even though it's rare the added appendage is functional, we would have diligently studied acoustic guitar in hopes of someday becoming the world's fastest flamenco artist. Gotta have a dream, baby!

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:


Ferguson, Michael. (2003). Idol Worship: A Shameless Celebration of Male Beauty in the Movies. p. 288. Starbooks. ISBN: 1891855484

The Man Who Ate an Entire Airplane

The plane in question was a Cessna 150. The man who devoured it, from propeller to rudder, was Michel Lotito, otherwise known as "Mister Eats All," or "Mister Eats Everything."

"How is eating a plane even possible?" you wonder. Well, considering Lotito had feasted upon numerous bicycles, shopping carts and television sets during his 57 years on Earth, an airplane seems a natural progression.

It took Michel between two and ten years (accounts vary) to ingest the Cessna, which he cut up into bite-sized pieces. The more manageable portions he ground down and spread over his food.

For Lotito, rubber, glass and metal were all staples in his diet. Whole razor blades, alloy screws, as well as nuts and bolts were fair game.

Certain doctors who had the opportunity to examine Mr. Eats All claim the man's stomach lining was twice as thick as an average human's. Then again, numerous physicians assert there was nothing abnormal about Michel's physiology.

Even so, what of Mr. Lotito's intestines? Sure, extra thick stomach lining may account for some of Michel's abilities, but what of the endless twists of entrails food passes through after it's ingested?

Who knows? Since Lotito perished from "natural causes," at the extremely young age of 57, his gastrointestinal secrets may forever remain an enigma.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




A Day the U.S. Nuked Itself

On February 5th, 1958, the United States Air Force accidentally dropped a Mark 15 hydrogen bomb on the unsuspecting city of Savannah, Georgia. This nuclear explosive, now lost somewhere along the coastline of the aforementioned metropolitan area, is still considered live.

"What the hell?!" you scream. "How come we didn't hear about this?!"

Well, the bomb in question never detonated. Not yet, anyway.

For some odd reason, during the Cold War, the U.S. government felt that constantly flying live nuclear weapons above its citizens, under a directive known as Operation Chrome Dome, would somehow make them more safe. At its pinnacle, this military initiative was comprised of twelve B-52s aloft at all times, with a bomber being refueled in the air every six minutes.

Talk about a recipe for disaster! It's like pumpin' an out-of-shape Paula Deen full of cocaine and laxatives, throwin' her in a kitchen with greased floors, and wonderin' if she'll encounter any problems.

February 5th, 1958 was a fun day for USAF pilot Howard Richardson. Whilst flying an Operation Chrome Dome mission that found the captain, his B-47 crew and four F-86 Sabres transporting a Mark 15 hydrogen bomb, something went terribly wrong. One of the escorting fighters broke formation, crashing into the right wing of the Stratojet. As a result, an outer engine of the bomber dangled precariously, no longer operational.

Richardson assessed the aircraft, as heavy as it was, couldn't remain aloft. The pilot's only recourse was to lighten the load.

Since the thermonuclear weapon the B-47 was carrying weighed approximately 7,600 pounds, it was first to go. Richardson, under the perception the explosive was unarmed, jettisoned the bomb over what he believed was the Atlantic Ocean. Although Howard's intentions were good, the nuclear device ended up dropping into the shallow water of Wassaw Sound, along the coastline of Savannah, Georgia.

But wait. This just gets better! Turns out the device, which currently remains lost along the Peach State shore, might still be armed.

"Kids, grab your trunks! Time for a swim!"

Were the bomb to detonate, the city of Savannah would be annihilated by an explosion the equivalent of 3.8 billion pounds of dynamite. Compare that to the paltry 40 million pounds of TNT discharged by the Fat Man blast at Nagasaki, Japan, in which 40,000 to 75,000 people were killed instantly.

Although the military attempted to recover the Savannah device, they were unsuccessful. Six weeks was all the U.S. devoted to the search for the missing weapon. Eventually, the government concluded they could simply buy a new bomb for less than they were spending in pursuit of the old one.

So, when plannin' a family vacation, consider takin' the tribe to Savannah, Georgia, where the state motto should be, "Come on in. The water's fine!"

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:





Nuclear Rescue 911: Broken Arrows & Incidents. Dir. Peter Kuran. Perfs. Adam West. DVD, 2001. ISBN 1-58565-922-3

The One and Only Emperor of the United States

Numerous men can lay claim to the fact they once were presidents of this country. How many individuals, though, can truthfully assert they've been crowned Emperor of the United States?

As far as we know, only one, and his name was Joshua Norton. Migrating from England to San Francisco in 1849, Norton quickly amassed a small fortune, only to see it all slip away by 1858.

Absconding society for nine months, Norton returned in 1859, clutching a written proclamation declaring him Emperor of the United States, as appointed by the citizens of this great land. For whatever reason, The San Francisco Bulletin, a regional newspaper at the time, printed this bizarre announcement.

Even more astounding was the fact that San Franciscans embraced this self-proclaimed monarch's reign. A local print shop circulated monetary notes in Norton's name. With said legal tender, our fearless leader was able to dine at the finest restaurants, and shop in the most extravagant markets.

During his tenure, Norton single-handedly dissolved Congress, eradicated the Union, worked toward relieving the Bible of what he deemed "false lights," and pronounced himself official Protector of Mexico.

Amongst Norton's lesser accomplishments was a moratorium on the word "Frisco," which San Franciscans despise. According to royal decree, anybody found using the repugnant "F word" would be fined 25 dollars, which was retained by the coffers of the Imperial Treasury.

For a period of time, the Grand Hotel in San Francisco even provided free lodging to Norton, who dressed in regal Naval attire, and performed daily inspections of local communities. Our intrepid luminary had more sway with people than you might imagine, being known to calm rioters using nothing more than words.

In 1880, Norton tragically collapsed and perished. A procession two miles long, comprised of more than 30,000 mourners, attended our fallen leader's last rites. A local business association bestowed Norton with the finest of rosewood caskets. San Francisco footed the bill for his funerary service, and regional newspapers ran obituaries with headlines reading the likes of "The King is Dead."

For more than 20 years, San Franciscans treated Joshua Norton as what he professed to be, the Emperor of the United States.

The San Francisco Bay Bridge, an expansion connecting the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, now stands in this self-declared sultan's name.

Ostensibly, during Norton's fourteenth year of rule, he decreed funding for a viaduct uniting the two municipalities. Although the bridge wasn't completed until 64 years after his demise, one questions whether the millions of commuters annually traversing this overpass realize they owe their ease of travel to their one and only emperor.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




Got a Bicycle Key? Let's Activate a British Nuke

Until the late 1990s, the WE.177, Britain's last air-delivered nuclear bomb, was fully armed with the turn of a simple bicycle key.

If you haven't seen a WE.177 undergoing a simulated activation sequence, watch the video on the last link in our Reference Index. It's frightening, considering World War III could have been triggered by some lone nut with an ordinary key that fits into a bicycle lock.

No intricate codes were necessary when arming a WE.177. There was, however, a metal panel one needed to open in order to gain access to the lock that housed the key.

"Whew!" you breathe a sigh of relief, as you assume this precautionary measure must've provided ample protection from terrorists.

Guess again. This panel, itself, had no lock on it, and could be pried open with a fingernail.

Makes ya' feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? It's gotta be a miracle some GED-huggin' military moron with more stripes than a zebra hasn't bombed us all into the Stone Age already.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




The Continental U.S. Has Been Bombed By Enemy Forces

Known as Fu-Gos, the United States was the intended target of 9,300 of these incendiary devices.

"How come we're not aware of this?!" you cry.

First off, the U.S. media did a fine job keeping these weapons of war under wraps. Secondly, nowhere near all 9,300 Fu-Gos reached their intended destination.

It was the late stages of World War II, and the Allied Forces had victory in sight. The Pacific Axis Powers were searching for anything with which to turn the tide. Enter the Fu-Go; a.k.a. fire balloon.

Since technology enabling an overseas adversary to bomb the Continental U.S. had yet to be developed, Japanese Forces concocted an alternate plan. Fu-Gos, 33-foot diameter inflatable balloons, carrying somewhere between 26 and 33 pounds of explosives, were launched into the winds of the Jet Stream, and directed toward the United States. Calculated to detonate after crossing the Pacific, these weapons of war were intended to ignite a string of forest fires, thereby causing widespread damage, and mass hysteria.

Although this scheme sounds like a last-ditch effort, the Japanese had actually been developing this offensive since 1933. During the two years prior to the Fu-Go launchings, Asian Axis Powers were studying the Jet Stream between Japan and the United States, in efforts to make their silent, floating attack possible. Believe it or not, these ingenious flying bombs were the precursor to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

Initially, Japanese forces planned on launching their deadly balloons from submarines, located some 600 miles from the U.S. West Coast. This plan may have proven successful, had the submersibles in question not been called away at the last second to aid troops fighting in Guadalcanal. As such, Japan was forced to redesign their balloon bombs, in order to traverse the 60-plus hour, 6,200 mile trek across the Pacific.

Upwards of 1,000 Fu-Gos completed the oceanic journey, and six Americans were killed as a result. This devastation wasn't nearly what the Japanese had in mind. Because these buoyant weapons were launched during the fall and winter months in North America, heavier precipitation kept forest fires from becoming a hazard. In addition, a number of these bombs ditched in the Pacific, due to mechanical failure.

It's been theorized that should the Japanese have outfitted the Fu-Gos to disperse biological agents, their efforts would have been far more devastating. As it was, only the censorship of the United States media kept these deadly devices from causing mass hysteria. Silent killers floating with impunity into one's yard, day or night, might have been enough to panic a nation.

In fact, the U.S. military compiled numerous accounts, like the one below, conspicuously illustrating that, should the U.S. public have been informed of Fu-Gos, there was potential for widespread frenzy:

"A father and son on an early morning fishing trip were just settling down when they observed a parachute or balloon-like object drift silently by and over a nearby hill. Moments later an explosion echoed through the valley leaving only a small trace of smoke coming from the direction in which the object had disappeared. By the time the two reached the area of the incident, fragments of paper were the only thing unusual in the silence of the north woods."

Had reports similar to the following been made public, it becomes understandable how a United States populace could find itself in a heightened state of alert:

"A mother tucking her sleeping child in for the night was shocked by a sudden flash of light through the window followed instantly by the sharp crack of an explosion in the silent darkness."

Fire balloons have been uncovered in 19 total states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, as well as the countries of Canada and Mexico.

Of the 1,000 Fu-Gos speculated to have reached North America, roughly 300 have been recovered. That leaves 700, considered live and unaccounted for, in the remote regions of Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

Following the Fu-Go attacks, Japanese propaganda implied the balloons were a "prelude to something big." Many historians believe this pending offensive was comprised of massive planes filled with explosives, and only enough fuel for a one way, kamikaze trip to the U.S.

It was also alluded to that should the Fu-Go barrage have proven successful, 62-foot diameter balloons, each carrying a single Japanese soldier prepared to wreak havoc on U.S. soil, were being considered.

One fire balloon actually did have a significant affect on the war. This particular Fu-Go exploded within Washington state, subsequently shutting down the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant, where components for the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic devices were being constructed. An automatic safety procedure kicked in, and production of radioactive material came to a halt for three days, thus delaying the eventual nuclear onslaught on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It should be noted the Japanese did attack the U.S. mainland with an aerial vehicle other than balloons. Known as the Lookout Air Raid, this incident occurred on the evening of September 9, 1942.

Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita had taken off in a Yokosuka E14Y sea plane, launched from a submarine aircraft carrier in the Pacific. The Yokosuka came complete with folded wings, allowing it to be stored inside the submersible, prior to departure. Once the submarine had reached its intended coordinates, it sounded, and the aircraft was rolled onto the deck. From there, the plane was launched, and flown to its destination.

In the case of the Lookout Air Raid, this particular target was Mount Emily, near Brookings, Oregon. It was here that Nobuo dropped a pair of 170-pound incendiary devices, in attempts to ignite a forest fire.

The Lookout Air Raid failed, when no serious damage was inflicted. That didn't stop the Japanese from a second attempt, however, which yielded similar results, on September 29 of the same year.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:








Jessen, Kenneth. (2005). Colorado's Strangest: A Legacy of Bizarre Events and Eccentric People. pp. 202-206. J.V. Publications. ISBN 1-928656-04-8

Mikesh, Robert C. (1973). Japan's World War II Balloon Bomb Attacks on North America. Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 0-87474-911-5

On a Wind and a Prayer. Dir. Michael White. Perfs. Dilly Barlow. Prod. Michael White, Sonja Engelhorn. DVD, 2008. ISBN: 0-7936-9479-5

Did Boston Corbett Have the Balls to Kill John Wilkes Booth?

Boston Corbett, the man who murdered John Wilkes Booth, escaped from an insane asylum, lived in a ditch in an open field, and removed his own testicles with a pair of scissors.

B.C., baby. The ultimate multitasker!

We could inform you that John Wilkes Booth was the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, but if this fact already eludes you, high school history teachers are overpaid.

We could elucidate that Boston Corbett was actually Thomas P. Corbett, having changed his name in honor of Beantown, but that truth pales in comparison to our opening paragraph.

We could explain how Corbett was never given the order to shoot John Wilkes Booth, and did so through slats between wall boards at a location known as Garrett's Farm. But, honestly, who cares?

Since we couldn't make the tale of Boston Corbett any weirder, unless we lied, claiming he was the latest host of The View, we'll just allow you to re-read the initial paragraph of this feature.

For those who enjoy slowing down at gruesome traffic accidents, Boston cut a one inch slit at the base of his scrotum, pulled his rocks out, and amputated 'em with a pair of scissors.

"But, why?!" you ask.

Apparently, Corbett lusted the company of prostitutes a little more than he felt comfortable with, and took the following quote from Matthew, Chapter 18, quite literally.

"If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

Certain his huevos were causin' him to transgress, Boston was given impetus with which to do the deed.

Tell us Richard Dawkins wouldn't have a field day with this one.

Upon removing a good portion of what his Y-chromosome naturally bequeathed him, Boston attended a prayer assembly, and zealously partook of a sumptuous meal.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




Swanson, James L. (2006). Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-051849

Apophis: Deadly Asteroid Headed Toward Earth

It's big. Rose Bowl-sized big.

It's bad. 510 megatons of TNT bad.

What would that type of firepower equate to? Well, the largest atomic weapon ever detonated was the Tsar Bomba, a Soviet hydrogen bomb yielding roughly 50 megatons of destructive force. Simultaneously discharge 10 of those babies, and you'd have a pretty good idea.

"Fat Man," the nuclear device dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, was equivalent to 21 kilotons, nowhere near a single megaton of dynamite. Keep in mind, one thousand kilotons equal a megaton. Most estimates assert roughly 39,000 folks perished immediately from this blast.

Now, consider a force tens of thousands of times greater. We're no mathematicians, but it sounds like something of that magnitude could result in hundreds of millions of human deaths.

So, what exactly are we referring to?

Known as 99942 Apophis, it's a near-Earth asteroid headed toward the celestial body we call home.

In this particular case, the term near-Earth does not denote an object, as of yet, adjacent this planet. Instead, in the year 2029, Apophis is calculated to pass closer to us than communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

The bad news comes from what's known as the "keyhole," a theoretical window through which this asteroid may traverse as it glides by Earth. Should Apophis thread this region, which is about 2,000-feet wide, it will return again in the year 2036, striking the planet with 510 megatons of awesome force.

Astronomers have calculated that if Apophis impacts Earth, it'll do so in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Hawaii and San Francisco. Where this chunk of space debris traverses the keyhole becomes an important factor. A little to either side of this hypothetical portal, and the asteroid could hit further inland, or further out to sea.

The problem is there isn't only one keyhole. In fact, there are thousands. This means, even if Apophis fails to pass through the 2,000-foot wide ingress scientists have calculated, it's gonna thread some keyhole. Thus, the asteroid will return, at a date beyond 2036, to hit the planet.

"So, what's gonna happen if it does?" you tensely inquire.

Picture a tsunami so immense it obliterates not only the entire West Coast of North America, but Hawaii, Japan, and all the nations of the Pacific Rim. A tidal wave that makes the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004 seem like a lap pool.

"How come we haven't heard about this?!" you query.

Actually you have. Chances are, like most folks, you've engaged in other, more pressing activities; i.e. perusing Facebook, obsessing over who the next American Idol might be, or determining whether or not Kirstie Alley is fat this week. Apophis has been in the news, and you've had ample opportunity to read about it. You just haven't.

Yes, you may find this article depressing, but it doesn't have to be. Humans possess the level of intellect that could render Apophis a pleasant sighting in the nighttime sky, as opposed to a catastrophic asteroid.

Even though all technologically advanced countries on this planet are aware of Apophis, not much is being done to mitigate the problem it poses. You'd think something of this nature would be top priority. Unfortunately, it seems most governments have their hands full starting wars. We have a space program, and although we've allegedly been to the Moon, we haven't returned in 38 years. It's the same scenario. We can do something, but instead, we don't.

On the bright side, scientists have proposed methods for averting Apophis. Such scenarios include a gravity tractor, a spacecraft launched to divert the asteroid's path, without touching the celestial body. The gravitational field of this discharged probe, once adjacent Apophis, would, in theory, drag the space debris from a collision course with Earth.

A second method of mitigation is known as kinetic impact, actually striking the asteroid with an object. A sizable spacecraft, traveling at high velocity, may knock Apophis off its current course.

Don Quijote, a mission undertaken by the European Space Agency, is the first kinetic impact deflection strategy with the potential of being tested. Unfortunately, "Donny Boy" is currently in its blueprint stage. This being said, there's no way of knowing whether or not DQ could prevent an asteroid from colliding with Earth.

Focused solar energy is another option. Such a technique merely involves construction of a massive space station, comprised of gigantic lenses and an immense magnifying glass, directed toward the Sun. Why don't we just build a second Moon, and place it in orbit, while we're at it? In theory, these reflective devices would capture solar energy, and aim it toward the asteroid. Over an extended period of time, this conductivity may alter Apophis' path.

A fourth alternative involves attaching a "plasma engine, powered by a nuclear reactor" to the hunk of space junk, firing it, and thereby, pushing the celestial body off course.

The problem here is that Apophis is pretty big, and traveling at a high velocity. We'd need some serious firepower, over an extended period of time, to create a significant change in its trajectory. As long as the reactor remained operational, though, it may be a good option.

Unfortunately, Apophis, like all asteroids, is spinning. As a result, scientists would have to devise some sort of method for firing the plasma engine at constantly changing intervals, so that the celestial body doesn't veer back into harm's way.

"Couldn't we just blow the hell out of Apophis? We've got more nukes than we need. Why not send a couple skyward, and annihilate this pesky hunk of cosmic clutter?"

Great idea!

This one's probably the worst defensive strategy we could engage in. Nuking an asteroid may reduce it to fragments, but then you've got thousands of smaller asteroids headed toward Earth. Plus, resultant of the Partial Test Ban Treaty, it's been illegal to detonate atomic weapons in space since 1963.

Additionally, Apophis' composition may absorb nuclear devices launched its way. It's been proven numerous asteroids are as dense as Styrofoam. Should Apophis be one of these objects, it would simply suck up as many missiles as we could pump into it.

Currently, these proposals are no more than theories. We don't know if any would work. Ideally, scientists would love to have a hundred year advanced notice of potential impactors. Since these mitigation plans concern altering an asteroid's path over an extended period of time, the longer one has to do so, the better. If a celestial body was a hundred years from Earth, we'd need to deflect it far less than than an object a year from impact.

Most astronomers assert detection of space debris, ten years prior to collision, is sufficient time to avert disaster. Well, 2029 isn't that far off, and we don't have a defensive strategy anywhere near in place.

If you're wondering about the odds of you being killed by an asteroid, they're approximately the same as dying in a plane crash, one in nearly 700,000. Roughly a couple dozen folks have been wasted by stellar scraps over the last four hundred years. This number is deceiving, as Earth tends to be hit by something sizable on an average of every two centuries.

In 1908, three hundred square miles of Tunguska, Siberia, were wiped clean by either an asteroid or comet that exploded above the middle of nowhere. Had this object discharged over New York City, we would've been lookin' at millions of deaths. After all, this event yielded a devastating blast somewhere between five and 30 megatons.

To paraphrase astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, let's not be the dumb-asses of the Universe. We possess advanced intellect. Dinosaurs had brains the size of pebbles, and they were wiped out by a cosmic impact. Should we suffer the same fate, in the midst of our heightened intelligence, we'd only have ourselves to blame.

Hugh Mungus

© 2011. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:











Plait, Philip, Ph.D. (2008). Death From the Skies: These Are the Ways the World Will End. pp. 1-32, 300-301. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-670-01997-7

Tyson, Neil deGrasse. (2007). Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. pp. 254-262. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0-393-06224-3

One Night in the Life of D.B. Cooper

You stand inside the opened aft stairs of a Boeing 727. The plane beneath your feet races at 200 miles per hour. You stare into a vacuous night sky that defines pitch black. The wind outside the aircraft plummets the temperature to below freezing. The weight of the ten thousand $20 bills strapped to your body bogs you down like proverbial cement shoes. The bomb in your briefcase may as well be a severed, human head. The parachute on your back? You're not certain if it works, because the person who packed it wants you dead. You've smoked enough Raleigh filter-tipped coffin nails in the past two hours to keep the tobacco industry in business until 1975. It's 1971. Your gut is full of cheap bourbon. What do you do?

If you're D.B. Cooper, the answer to that question is, "Jump!"

The evening sky was anything but calm that night when a wiry man, donning business attire and prescription sunglasses, took his seat aboard Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 at Portland International Airport in Oregon. A mere $18.52 had gotten him this far. He had paid for his E-ticket thrill ride in cash.

It wasn't long following the plane's departure that same man calmly handed "Flo" Schaffner, the nearest flight attendant, a note. Used to the attention from male passengers, Florence assumed the average looking traveler was bequeathing her another phone number for the circular file. She pocketed the scrap of paper that quietly fed her ego.

Leaning in, the man elucidated, "Miss, you'd better look at that note. I have a bomb."

Opening his briefcase just enough so the terrified stewardess could view a pair of maroon cylinders, cables and a battery, the man, whose name appeared as "Dan Cooper" on the passenger list, drove his point home with sledgehammer force, "No funny stuff."

The traveler, in his mid-forties and somewhere near six-feet-tall, demanded $200,000 in used $20 bills, and two sets of parachutes.

As the plane lurched into the mouth of a hungry storm, the remainder of the commuters white knuckled their way through the meteorological predicament, unbeknownst a hijacking was taking place.

"This was a desperate act...something you would expect from somebody who had nothing to lose," claimed Ralph Himmelsbach, retired FBI agent who spent more than two decades hunting Dan Cooper, later dubbed "D.B." by an ill- informed journalist.

Prior to landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, pilot William Scott contacted authorities, who echoed the hijacker's demands to the FBI.

Both the crew of the aircraft, and those on the ground, complied implicitly with Cooper's demands. In an act of expeditious thinking, FBI agents amassed a ransom comprised entirely of bills printed in 1969, all containing serial numbers starting with the letter "L," and all issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Amazingly, with the strict time constraints imposed upon them, officials were able to photograph each and every bank note, thereby retaining records of the individual serial numbers on the currency.

As the cash and parachutes were loaded onto the plane, D.B. Cooper allowed his fellow passengers, as well as stewardess Florence Schaffner, to evacuate the aircraft. Pilot William Scott, the flight's first officer and a single attendant stayed on board with their hijacker.

On the ground, puzzled FBI officials pondered Cooper's motives for requesting extra parachutes.

Did he have an accomplice on board?

Was he planning the pilot, first officer and attendant jettison the aircraft with him?

Once the plane was refueled, and D.B.'s demands were met, the hijacker ordered the jet get airborne, this time en route to Reno, Nevada. Cooper demanded Scott fly at no more than 200 miles per hour, at an abnormally low altitude of 10,000 feet. When the aircraft was securely aloft, D.B. sent the remaining flight attendant to the cockpit, leaving himself alone in the cabin.

At approximately 8:13 PM, over southwestern Washington state, the crew observed an emergency light flashing, signifying the aft stairs of the plane had been opened. Shortly, thereafter, an obvious change in air pressure was noted. Moments later, the crew collectively felt the aircraft jolt, as if someone had jumped from the jumbo jet. At this point, weather conditions were so unforgiving, a pair of F-106 fighters pursuing the airliner had been unable to witness Cooper's escape.

What would compel a middle aged man, clad in nothing more than flimsy business garb and loafers, to jump from an altitude of 10,000 feet into a driving rainstorm, over uncharted wilderness?

"If the cold didn't kill him," stated Ralph Himmelsbach, "if he withstood the powerful turbulence, Cooper was still parachuting into a dense forest at night, at the onset of winter, with no food or survival gear."

Was D.B. Cooper insane, or one of the single greatest criminals in recorded history?

The fact the hijacker's remains have yet to be recovered may point to the latter. Not only have authorities failed to uncover Cooper's body, but the parachute, briefcase, moneybag and most of the ransom D.B. had on him when he jumped, are still missing. No one, outside of Cooper, himself, is certain where he landed. In fact, the only physical reminder of this mysterious figure was the hijacker's mother of pearl tie clip, which officials found on board the Boeing 727, following the incident.

Subsequent to an unsuccessful ground search over the area where authorities felt D.B. may have come to rest, it was concluded Cooper had either been killed during his descent, or sometime after landing. Even so, no physical proof verifies either conclusion.

But the story of D.B. Cooper doesn't end there.

Late 1978. A placard containing directions for the correct procedure of lowering the aft stairs of a Boeing 727 is discovered near D.B. Cooper's theorized drop zone.

February 10, 1980. Whilst on a picnic with his family, eight year-old Brian Ingram discovers $5,800 in deteriorating $20 bills, along the shoreline of the Columbia River. Authorities authenticating the serial numbers on the cash determine they match those of the legal tender D.B. had on him when leaping from the plane. To date, this is the only portion of the stolen money recovered.

For many, D.B. Cooper has become a folk hero, having committed the perfect crime. After all, at the time, he was the only hijacker of a domestic plane to escape capture.

The FBI's official search for Cooper, dubbed Norjak, is open to this day. Local eateries, taverns and towns in southwestern Washington state continue to celebrate an annual event known as D.B. Cooper Days, in which the memory of a legend is honored, and mass quantities of alcohol are consumed.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:



The Nuclear Bomb In Your Backyard

Folks livin' in either Faro or Goldsboro, North Carolina, can take the above title literally.

Think the U.S. has never been under nuclear attack?

Think again.

The year was 1961. The Cuban Missile Crisis was 20 months from exploding into an international incident. Vigilant regarding a potential Soviet strike, the U.S. failed to protect its shores against its own worst enemy; itself.

Operation Chrome Dome kept B-52s, equipped with live thermonuclear weapons, flying above the Continental U.S. on a constant basis. These bombers made unsuspecting American citizens vulnerable to accidental nuclear attack by their own military, 365 days a year.

Perpetually sustaining a plane in the air will, in time, wear that aircraft down.

On January 24, 1961, a B-52 en route to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro, North Carolina, experienced such a scenario. After midnight, fire broke out in the plane's fuselage, when metal exhaustion sparked seepage in one of the bomber's fuel tanks. Three of the crew perished in their attempts to escape before the plane combusted.

Separating from the aircraft, a pair of Mark 39 thermonuclear explosives began hurtling toward the ground. Although both devices came equipped with parachutes, only one of these safety apparatuses deployed. As a result, the second of two explosives crashed into a muddy field, after reaching a velocity somewhere near the speed of sound.

Five of six safeguard mechanisms deactivated on the first of the two bombs, leaving a single trigger to avert detonation. The second munition crashed to Earth, creating an impact crater five feet deep and ten feet wide.

The military retrieved the former device, and searched for the latter, which was beneath swampy soil, perhaps moments from exploding. Excavations for the lost munition were carried out in secret, as the government alerted the media they were hunting for a missing seat from the plane crash.

Since the search cost taxpayers half a million dollars, that must have been one really comfortable chair!

The first portions of the bomb were uncovered eight feet below the surface. More remnants were dredged from 12 and 15 feet. At close to 20 feet, chunks of the detonators and arming triggers were unearthed. When the military finally abandoned their efforts to uncover crucial elements of the device, including its plutonium core, the hole in the ground was 50 feet deep and 200 feet in diameter.

In the end, the massive pit was refilled in attempts to conceal what horror still lies beneath.

The original owner of the land was allowed to replant crops he had cultivated prior to the crash, but was prohibited from ever digging in proximity of the location. Although detonation of the nuclear device is no longer an issue, irradiation will be a concern for longer than it takes Dick Van Patten to be voted People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

In our bonus round, see if you can guess which country on the planet the United States has nuked most. If you concluded "itself," you're correct, and win a free, lifetime supply of radioactive fallout.

1,021 nuclear detonations at the Nevada Test Site, alone, and we still credulously believe the exponential increase in cancers is hereditary.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:







Kick, Russ. (2003). 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know. pp. 25-27. The Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 0-9713942-8-8

Nuclear Rescue 911: Broken Arrows & Incidents. Dir. Peter Kuran. Perfs. Adam West. DVD, 2001. ISBN 1-58565-922-3

Astronauts Grow Taller in Space

At five foot nothin', I'm headed out beyond the atmosphere! Strap them rocket boosters on me! I'm NBA bound!

Astronauts actually grow between two and three inches taller in space. We're guessin' you can deduce why, it's just the type of thing that's probably never occurred to you.

Yes, gravity, or lack thereof, is the culprit on this one. An absence of that invisible force tethering us to Earth causes the vertebrae in one's spine to relax and, stretch out when in space. Similarly, when a person sleeps, they grow upwards of two centimeters, because they're lying down, and gravity isn't exerting its influence on their vertical frame. Should you measure your height immediately upon awakening, don't be surprised to discover you're taller than when you've spent a full day alert and cognizant.

If you're wondering if a trip to space will permanently increase your height, the elongating effect disappears once a person returns to Earth, and gravity kicks back in.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




Maze, Stephanie; Grace, Catherine O'Neill. (1997). I Want to Be an Astronaut. p. 32. Harcourt Brace & Co. ISBN: 0152013008

A Day We Were Mere Minutes From Nuclear Annihilation

Technically, aren't we mere minutes from nuclear annihilation at any given moment?

Moreover, why doesn't this infuriate us? How come the fact that governments dangle our lives over the precipice of decimation, every second, isn't a bone of contention the size of a Tyrannosaurus rex femur?

The title of this feature became a much more imminent reality on January 25, 1995. Oddly enough, most of us still aren't aware of it.

The U.S. and Russia nearly ended humankind on the aforementioned day. We're talkin' eradication of you, your family, and everyone on the planet.

If you're reading this article, there's a chance you were engaging in cognitive thought on January 25, 1995. On that date, perhaps you found yourself:

A) driving your car.

B) driving a stolen car.

C) trapped in the Grotto at the Playboy Mansion.

For your sake, we hope you were immersed in letter C, as it was quite nearly the last act of your life.

In order to study the aurora borealis, Norway and the U.S. had jointly launched a harmless Black Brant XII rocket. Although Russia was informed of this exercise, for whatever reason, the message didn't make it through proper channels. As a result, at somewhere near dawn, the Kremlin believed they were under attack from an incoming nuclear missile.

President Boris Yeltsin was awakened and given the sobering news.

Out comes the Russian version of the Nuclear Football, the suitcase containing launch authorization for every warhead owned by the largest country in the world. To be precise, three black attaches, known as Cheget, were opened that morning. One was presided over by Yeltsin, while the other two were handled by Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev and Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov.

Whether or not to discharge two thousand nukes isn't a decision that should fall upon the shoulders of groggy men. Moreover, these dudes had ten minutes to reach their resolution. This is how long it took U.S. missiles launched from submarines in the Barents Sea to impact Russian soil.

Moments prior to dispatch, radar operators noticed the missile in question heading toward the ocean. The heightened state of emergency was cancelled. The end of humanity, as well as every living thing on Earth, except for cockroaches and insurance salesmen, was avoided.

Makes a person wonder if this type of scenario has played out more than once, doesn't it? Well, it has, but those stories will have to wait for subsequent articles.

One question before we discover what's at the bottom of this bottle of bourbon. Doesn't the idea of launching a counterattack in response to a nuclear first strike seem insane? Say Russia fires their missiles initially. As a result, at least half of humanity will die. Wouldn't it be far more advantageous for the U.S. to not launch a retaliatory strike, and thereby save half our species?

Hugh Mungus

© 2011. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:







Kick, Russ. (2003). 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know. pp. 28-29. The Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 0-9713942-8-8

The Victorio Peak Treasure

Sixteen thousand gold bars lit the dank cavern beneath Victorio Peak. As far as Doc Noss knew, this epitome of all mother lodes was his and Ova's, alone. And the gold was just the beginning. If you included the jewel-inlaid antiquities, priceless weaponry and religious artifacts, Doc estimated the entire booty to be worth somewhere around a billion dollars. Those were 1937 dollars, no less.

The only question was how to bring the cache of wealth to the surface. After all, the prospector had burrowed endlessly into the limestone crag in order to get to this point.

Life was funny. Ol' Doc Noss had been prospectin' the better part of his days, never once hittin' a vein anywhere near this magnitude. Then, one afternoon while scanning Victorio Peak for deer, Doc noticed an out-of-place rock configuration. Upon investigation, the slabs of stone yielded a tunnel just large enough for the wiry man to fit through.

Being a prospector, Doc's curiosity got the best of him. Being part Cheyenne, his strong resolve helped him reach the bottom of the chasm, which was a claustrophobic nightmare.

Thus far, Doc had disclosed his secret to only one person, his wife Ova. The couple set up makeshift accommodations at the summit, and Doc began the laborious process of extracting two bars of gold a day. Additionally, the prospector and his spouse were forced to circumvent the Gold Reserve Act, a law forbidding private parties from owning the most precious of metals. Because of this decree, Doc and Ova temporarily hid their treasure in the desert, far from the prying eyes of the government.

After retrieving one hundred bars, Doc realized his efforts could take forever, unless he pursued a more direct approach. Hiring a munitions expert to blast a larger pathway in the cavern seemed a good idea at the time. Eighty sticks of dynamite later, Doc realized the covered conduit had not only failed to widen, but was now sealed off.

Reaching the unclaimed riches consumed the incensed prospector, who invested ten years of his life, and large portions of what he'd originally uncovered, on his hopeless attempts. Unable to sell his bullion on the open market, Doc was forced to ply his wares with less-than-savory characters.

Noss enlisted the aid of rodeo rider Tony Jolley. Late one night, the two men stole into the desert, digging up 110 gold bars, only to reinter them in 10 different locations. The entire time, Doc rambled about unseen forces out to purloin his treasure.

Dawn broke. Noss drove Tony to the cowboy's motel, where the exhausted cattleman slept most of the day. Stirring in the late afternoon, Jolley meandered to a local diner, only to overhear that Doc had been shot to death.

It was believed Noss uncovered a nefarious plan by business associate Charles Ryan to steal his gold. An argument ensued between the two men, and Doc made for a gun in the back seat of his truck. Apparently, Ryan pulled a piece of his own and laid the prospector out in, what a jury claimed, was self defense.

Tony Jolley, now the only person who knew the location of the riches, was nowhere to be found, allegedly on his way home to Idaho.

Doc's wife continued her own quest for what lay beneath Victorio Peak, but was soon evicted from the land by the government, who were intent on using the area as a portion of the forthcoming White Sands Missile Range.

After hearing accounts of Noss' quest, Captain Leonard Fiege and Airman Tom Berlett, both stationed at Alamogordo's Holloman Air Force Base, attempted an exploration of the Peak in 1958. During his pursuit, Fiege stumbled upon a concealed cave. Sitting down in the darkness on what he believed to be a stack of stones, the military officer caught his breath. Moments later, drawing his flashlight, Fiege discovered his makeshift chair was actually a mound of gold bricks.

The men realized there was no way to sneak ponderous gold bars past base security. As such, they sealed off the entrance to the cave and applied for grants of permission to claim the treasure. The process was protracted, and three years of efforts muddied Fiege's memory. By the time the allotments were awarded, he couldn't recall the location of the cache.

Ova Noss petitioned to claim what she believed was rightly hers. After much deliberation, permits were granted, but they always expired before the treasure could be unearthed.

Renowned Attorney F. Lee Bailey even entered the fray, representing an anonymous client with interest in obtaining buried wealth. When all was said and done, the greatest hidden treasure perhaps known to man would remain unclaimed, somewhere beneath a scarred peak in southern New Mexico.

Ova Noss died in 1980. Her daughter, Letha Guthrie, and grandsons, Jim and Terry Delonas, continue their own search for the fleeting trove.

Tony Jolley returned to New Mexico, and confessed to having excavated ten gold bricks he and Doc buried decades prior. After using the gold as security on a loan, and failing to pay the lending institution back, Tony now felt guilty. The cowboy attempted to make amends by leading the Delonases to the remaining nine caches. Time had taken a toll on Tony's memory, and he was unable to recall a single buried location.

To date, the whereabouts of the Victorio Peak Treasure remain a mystery. We might suggest a search of your own,
but traversing upon government land, especially that within a military installation, is ill-advised.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:





Kutz, Jack. (1998). More Mysteries and Miracles of New Mexico: Guide Book to the Genuinely Bizarre in the Land of Enchantment. pp. 161-174. Rhombus Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 0-936455-08-X

The Father of the U.S. Space Program Was a Nazi

At the closing of World War II, approximately 500 Nazi scientists, many labelled war criminals, were clandestinely granted immunity by the United States government. These individuals were given lucrative careers within U.S. developmental sectors, via a directive known as Operation Paperclip.

The aforementioned program was a post-WWII scramble to capture the most promising Nazi minds, before British and Soviet intelligence could do the same.

"How come we've never heard of this?" you question.

How many sonless mothers in middle America would be screaming for the president's head, if they knew men responsible for their children's deaths were being granted freedom?

Wernher von Braun. Name ring a bell? It should if you were hangin' around during the Space Race of the '50s and '60s. Ol' Wern was one of those 500 Nazi scientists secretly snagged.

Recall how the U.S. scrambled to accomplish off-planet records, but the "Ruskies" kept beatin' 'em to the punch? Sputnik in '57; Sputnik 2 with doomed-to-die Laika the dog; Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1; the first woman in space; the first mission in which pressurized suits weren't worn.

The Soviets always seemed one step ahead. That is, until Wernher and his crew hit the scene. Whilst working for the Third Reich, von Braun invented the V-2 rocket, the precursor to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. And I thought my resume was impressive with the whole 42 words per minute thing. The V-2 was responsible for killing roughly 6,000 innocent civilians in World War II, as well as approximately 12,000 concentration camp prisoners used as slave labor in its mass production. While toiling for the United States, Wernher and his team also created the Saturn V rockets that carried U.S. Apollo astronauts to the Moon.

Von Braun's nefarious origins, like those of all German scientists freed from execution, were kept secret by the U.S. government.

Although Wernher claimed to have been opposed to the cruel treatment of inmates at the rocket-making facilities, numerous war camp prisoners testified he had a direct hand in their torture.

French captive Guy Morand declared, "Without even listening to my explanations, {von Braun} ordered the Meister to have me given 25 strokes...Then, judging that the strokes weren't sufficiently hard, he ordered I be flogged more vigorously...von Braun made me translate that I deserved much more, that in fact I deserved to be hanged...I would say his cruelty, of which I was personally a victim, is an eloquent testimony to his Nazi fanaticism."

Prisoner Robert Cazzabone professed von Braun watched, without protest, as numerous captives were manacled and hanged from hoists about the V-2 factories. Many of these inmates wouldn't live to see the end of the war.

Wernher von Braun was technical director of the Peenemunde V-2 Production Plant. He also played an integral role at the Mittelwerk rocket-making factory beneath the city of Nordhausen. At both locations, concentration camp prisoners were forced into labor under horrific conditions. Upwards of 10 captives per day were hanged to death at Peenemunde for the most minor infractions. Since
more individuals died as a result of the V-2's construction,  than during its deployment as a weapon, it's difficult to believe von Braun had no knowledge of the suffering occurring in his own facilities.

Following the war, Wernher, a former SS officer, not only became a naturalized citizen of the United States, but Director of Nasa. Von Braun, a man with at least 18,000 deaths on his head, ended up acting in 1950's educational films for Walt Disney. It's a small world, after all.

Individuals doomed to war trials, and subsequent execution, were spared when Operation Paperclip rolled into Germany. Because many of these men were SS members, they were automatically disqualified from possessing international visas. This once insurmountable roadblock became a mere speed bump for a U.S. government hell-bent on using the greatest scientific minds to further its own military dominance.

Most of the men scooped up by Operation Paperclip were squirreled away at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico; Fort Bliss, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama. These enemies, mere months prior, were now shaping the U.S. military infrastructure.

Although Operation Paperclip seems a huge slap in the face to those Allies who died in World War II, it wasn't the only Top Secret program of its kind. The United States also deployed Operation Alsos, an attempt to wrangle Nazi scientists on the forefront of nuclear technology. TICOM, a clandestine American effort to secure Axis cryptography virtuosos, was also commenced.

When this type of illicit behavior is undertaken, it's difficult to discern the good guys from the bad. How can a government justify allowing malefactors, responsible for killing millions, to simply go free? Moreover, how many folks realized, as they watched Apollo 11 reach the Moon, that a handful of Nazi war criminals was one of the reasons it got there?

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:












Birnes, William J. (2004). The UFO Magazine UFO Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Single-Volume UFO Reference in Print. pp. 45-46. Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN: 0-7434-6674-8

Piccard, George. (1999). Liquid Conspiracy (Mind Control and Conspiracy Series). pp. 53-62. Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 0-932813-57-7

Conspiracy?. Prod. Ken Ashe, Kreg Lauterbach. Perfs. Erik Thompson. DVD, 2009. ISBN: 1-4229-3096-3

Thirty Years Inside a Concrete Tomb, and Still Breathing

Old wives' tales. We've all heard 'em. The number 13 is unlucky. Using the same pencil to take a test as the pencil you studied with guarantees you an "A." Covering your mouth while yawning saves your soul from evacuating your body.

Well, how 'bout the legend that frogs, more appropriately, horned lizards, require little or no air, food or water in order to survive? A pudgy reptile named Old Rip validated this myth as fact by remaining isolated within a concrete block for more than 30 years, before emerging alive.

Eastland, Texas. 1897. Local County Clerk Ernest Wood decides to test this particular wives' tale, by securing a living horned toad inside the cornerstone of the town's courthouse during construction of the building. Thirty-one years later, the structure undergoes demolition to make way for a more modern version of the edifice, and a crowd of 2,000 locals gather to witness the cracking of the cornerstone.

The concrete block is split and, from it, a number of items are removed, amongst them something resembling tree bark. Examining the bizarre object, County Judge Ed Pritchard comes to the conclusion the lifeless article is none other than Old Rip, himself. Just as the local magistrate holds the languid frog overhead for the curious crowd to see, the creature moves on its own. Within seconds, the little reptile fidgets about as if it hadn't been incarcerated for the last 31 years in a block not much bigger than its body.

Achieving local hero status, the enigmatic toad is named Rip Van Winkle, Old Rip, for short. The curious come from far and wide to view the newly revived creature. Weighing in at no more than a few ounces, Rip is taken on a countryside tour, including a visit with then-President Calvin Coolidge. Unfortunately, three decades of isolation had deteriorated the toad's immune system and he contracted pneumonia, perishing no more than a year after emerging from the cornerstone.

Insistent upon preserving Old Rip's memory, the town of Eastland had the little guy stuffed and mounted inside a diminutive velvet coffin. The toad's body is now permanently on display at the Eastland County Courthouse at 100 West Main in Eastland, Texas.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




George Washington: Ninth President of the U.S.?

"This one can't be true!" you cry. "Did I sleep through eight presidents in history class? Did I forget how to count?!"

Chances are fairly strong you did develop narcolepsy during social studies. We know we did.

Misrecollect how to calculate? Funny how that happens on everyone's birthday after turning 29, isn't it?

Think about it. When did Congress issue the Declaration of Independence?


When was George Washington elected president?


See a difference between those two dates? We do, and we possess the math skills of a rock. So, who was at the helm of the United States during those 13 years?

Well, in 1781, the Articles of Confederation were ratified. These bad boys comprised the doctrine that ran the U.S. prior to the approval of the Constitution in 1788. During this interim, the Congress of Confederation was the governing body of the country. Who oversaw this particular group?

Individual Presidents of the Continental Congress, sometimes referred to as Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled.

In total, there were 16 of these dudes, but the first eight weren't elected to an annual term as decreed by the Articles of Confederation. As such, it's sometimes regarded John Hanson, who served from November 5, 1781, to November 4, 1782, was technically the first President of the United States.

Your guess is as good as ours as to why you've never heard of Juan. Get your history teacher to 'fess up.

What follows is a list of the eight officially-recognized Presidents of the Continental Congress, and the respective terms they served prior to the election of George Washington. Note, there are slight discrepancies in the online refererence sources regarding the actual dates during which these individuals held office.

John Hanson (November 5, 1781 - November 4, 1782)

Elias Boudinot (November 4, 1782 - November 3, 1783)

Thomas Mifflin (November 3, 1783 - June 3, 1784)

Richard Henry Lee (November 30, 1784 - November 4, 1785)

John Hancock (November 23, 1785 - June 5, 1786)

Nathaniel Gorham (June 6, 1786 - November 3, 1786)

Arthur St. Clair (February 2, 1787 - November 4, 1787)

Cyrus Griffin (January 22, 1788 - November 15, 1788)

Keep in mind, these Presidents of the Continental Congress wielded little executive power in comparison to those Commander-in-Chiefs elected under the Constitution. Although the governing abilities of these individuals were limited, they are nonetheless, important figures in U.S. history.

It should also be noted that upon John Hanson's inauguration, fellow compatriot George Washington wrote a letter of commendation to the President, which read: "I congratulate your Excellency on your appointment to fill the most important seat in the United States."

During Hanson's year as President, the Great Seal of the U.S., still found on official currency and documents, was adopted. Subsequently, an entire highway has been named in John's honor, as well as a handful of schools and a state day of dedication.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:















Beyer, Rick. The Greatest Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy. pp. 56-57. HarperResource. ISBN: 0060014016

Stephens, John Richard. (1997, 2006). Weird History 101: Tales of Intrigue, Mayhem, and Outrageous Behavior. p. 254. Fall River Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-7607-7994-1

Bird-Eating Spiders

The Goliath Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi) is the largest species of spider known to man. This massive arachnid, which can grow to 12 inches in diameter, feasts upon sizable insects, birds, mice and snakes.

And you thought that nasty, dime-sized Wolf spider hangin' out in the garage was freaky?

We've seen the Goliath Tarantula, and it rivals the dimensions of a small cat!

Knowing how arachnophobic we are, our exterminator loves to terrify us with horrific tales of eight-legged creatures. One particular recollection remains permanently embedded in our memory.

The place? A local grocery store. Our hero, Bill the exterminator, responded to a job in which the establishment's proprietor was scared senseless of a "monster" he'd uncovered in a shipment of bananas. Entering the supermarket's warehouse, Bill came eye to multiple eye with a spider sitting atop a five gallon drum. Allegedly, the creature was larger than the base of the container, itself. According to our arachnoid hitman, the insect before him must've been 10 inches in diameter.

It was at this point in the story we felt nauseous, and asked Bill to refrain from further elucidation. Of course, our indomitable spider slayer ignored our pleas. Bill explained the bug in question had been too large to be affected by the fumigation process in the hold of the freighter transporting the fruit. Smaller insects, less than the size of poodles, would've been killed by the fumes dispersed over the batch of bananas. Larger creatures, like the mammoth beast before Bill, could potentially have survived.

In any event, what our favorite arachnid annihilator probably encountered was none other than a Goliath Tarantula, an insect that eats birds, mice and snakes.

Don't believe us? Check out the online videos provided in our Reference Index. There, you'll be able to witness literal proof of these monstrous creatures making the leap from the insect world into that of the mammal, or the reptile. Watch a few spiders eat a bird, a mouse or even a snake. Think you were arachnophobic prior to doing so? You ain't seen nothin', yet.

Not to worry. Unless you're livin' in a South American rain forest, the likelihood of encountering a Goliath Tarantula is pretty slim. Then again, that's what ol' Bill probably thought.

Hugh Mungus

© 2010. Hugh Mungus

Reference Index:




Goldish, Meish. (2007). Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula: The World's Biggest Spider (Supersized!). Bearport Publishing. ISBN: 1597163899