Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ep. 293 - Kentucky Caves and The Trickster

Moment in Oddity - Giant Penguin in Clearwater
Suggested by: Kayla Buss

Leave it to Florida to have the prints of a giant penguin show up on a beach. In Clearwater, Florida in February of 1948, mysterious three-toed footprints showed up on the sand of several of the beaches on the Gulf Coast. These were really large prints measuring 14 inches long and 15 inches across. People were stumped as to what could be creating them and since the prints seemed to originate from the water, they knew it had to be some kind of water fowl or creature. Experts came to photograph and plaster cast the prints and they estimated that the creature probably weighed nearly 2000 pounds to make prints so deep. They started calling the creature the Clearwater Monster. People even claimed to spot a large furry creature in the water. Which was impossible, because The Clearwater Monster was a man. Yep. It was all a hoax perpetuated by Tony Signorini. He crafted himself a pair of 30-pound, three-toed, lead shoes and then after strapping them on, he stomped around the beaches near Clearwater for 10 years. Signorini had a partner in crime, his boss at Auto Electric,  Al Williams, whom was a well known hoaxer. Signorini revealed the hoax in 1988. Signorini had kept the metal shoes and wore them for photos to prove he was the giant monster penguin-like creature.

This Month in History - Churchill Talks about Iron Curtain

In the month of March, on the 5th, in 1946, Winston Churchill declares that the Iron Curtain has descended. Churchill was coming off of a political loss, having not been re-elected Prime Minister. President Harry Truman decided to cheer him up by inviting him to give a speech at Westminster College in the little town of Fulton in Missouri. Churchill jumped at the chance to build his American reputation. The President joined Churchill as he traveled to Fulton on the train and while they rode, Churchill asked the President to read a draft of his speech. The President told him it was very good, neither man knowing that the speech would go down in history. Churchill told the crowd at the sollege that "a shadow had fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory." He explained that shadow was coming from Stalin’s Soviet Union. Churchill declared, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." He emphasized the need for Britain and America to stay strong allies. Churchill was the most famous man to first use the term ‘iron curtain’ and before long, the Cold War was on.

Kentucky Caves and The Trickster

A cave is a large void found in the ground or in the side of a mountain or hill. A void is an emptiness and within that great nothing, one can find some of the strangest things. The state of Kentucky is not only a place full of caves, these voids seem to exist under the entire state with the largest cave system in the world being located here. Add to the limitless possibilities of what could exist within caves, the fact that these caves are carved mostly out of limestone and you have the perfect makings for strange supernatural activity.  I've been in two of these cave systems, Mega Cavern and Mammoth Cave. They are a wonder to behold. But there are stories of other things here that cannot be as easily explained as natural wonders and formations. Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of Kentucky's caves and the Trickster who may be playing within them.

I was inspired to produce this episode after watching Greg and Dana Newkirk's documentary "Hellier." I discuss parts of the documentary and specifically a moment when during a spirit box session, the group are warned of a coyote, which I interpret to be something other than the animal. Could this be the mythical Trickster god playing with the Newkirks. Do goblins really exist? This is what Hellier set out to document, but I think the result was actually an interaction with something quite different.

Since the early 1800s, tours have been run through the cave systems of Kentucky. The first one I visited there was Mega Cavern. This is an immense network of open areas that required riding in trams to tour much of it because it is so large. This place has bike roads and zip lines and all matters of entertainment. It once served as a bomb shelter because it was underground and had so much area for sustaining a large population of people. Mega Cavern is near Louisville, Kentucky and is actually considered the biggest building in Louisville. Yep, you heard that right, building. This cave system started as a massive limestone quarry known as Louisville Crushed Stone owned by Ralph Rogers that was worked by miners for 42 years, starting in the 1930s. The cave stretches over 4 million square feet and is considered a building because of the support structure that has been installed inside of it over time. It's so secure that commercial investors bought it in 1989 to turn into a storage facility and you do see Pods stored down there when on a tour. Recycled concrete, brick, block, rock and dirt have been used to fill in areas to make the support stronger. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the cave was prepared to house 50,000 people if a nuclear attack occurred. The temperature runs around 58 degrees year round and on a side note, dogs are welcome on the tram tour.

I had no paranormal experiences myself. Are these caves in Kentucky haunted? That is for you to decide!

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