Street Where you Live

It’s another day of quarantine here in Massachusetts. So you wake up wondering what the hell today is going to throw at you.

I wanted to take the stay at home order seriously, so that was the plan stay home and stay in the neighborhood. Yell across the street to the neighbors and make sure we are all okay.
When I made some coffee, put on the slippers and headed outside it was like a completely different world. People were walking their dogs, their children and sitting outside and enjoying the sunlight.
I didn’t realize how many people actually lived on this street. To me, that means that all of these wonderful people are working like crazy and never have a chance to do this. Relax.
In such a horrible time, could something wonderful happen? All these families get a chance to reconnect and spend some quality time together.

We all need a break from the rat race. It makes me think about what simpler times were like.
When people took time out for their families and themselves. Nothing was open on Sundays. And labor laws actually allowed you to legally have a break from it all. How did we become this society?
Right now my street has never looked better. People are enjoying their home and the street they work so hard to live on…

I know this virus is going to change a lot of things, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if something good could come of it too? Even as simple as being there, on the street that you love on a Saturday…

How to Stay Open When the Way is Shut…

It’s A very scary and uncertain time for all. And we are all bound to get cabin fever sooner or later, so how do we mentally and physically stay open when everything outside our doorstep is closed?
At first I thought,well I’m never home I’ll grab some much needed sleep and work on the great American novel all writers want to write. It lasted two seconds because the devil on my other shoulder wanted to get outdoors.
Okay, stay open attempt two; walk at the park surely it will be dead. Nope. Packed, so I drove away appeasing myself with I’ll take a little ride and get some air.
Stay open and cognitively aware attempt three. I did a crossword puzzle, colored, and committed trespassing while trying to walk where no one was around.
And on and on it’s gone. It’s really not easy trying to say plugged in and not stare into space looking depressed but we have to keep trying. Whatever we do we have to stay plugged in and open because if we don’t then when real life returns we will be so lost. Unable to work well because our brain is mush.
Your open and my open will not look the same but as long as we’re doing it is all that matters. So my recommendation is to take a walk around the neighborhood, stay current on your work changes, news, current affairs and  exercise a few minutes everyday. Play some fun cognitive memory stimulating games etc. whatever you do don’t become a couch potato.
This  will get worse before it gets better so don’t let it win. Stay open, stay plugged in and most of all stay safe.

A Walk Through History…The Civilian Conservation Corps

The forests are the lungs of our land, they purify our air and give fresh strength to our people

_FDR

When I watch the news show the stock dropping I worry, am I really going to see a Great Depression in my lifetime? I’m driving on streets that are a ghost town and it’s another reminder things have changed…

When I hit the woods for some clarity I see all the DCR signs etc. And it hits me, I am able to clear my thoughts in these woods because there was a Great Depression already. What might we change or establish this time.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s President Roosevelt had a lot on his plate, war recovery, a depression and a lot of young men displaced without jobs. To alleviate this problem and save the economy he made what may be one of the most popular decisions ever, he put those boys to work and created the State and Federal parks you’re walking in now…

One month after being sworn in, FDR created the “The New Deal” and The CCC (also known as FDR’s tree army) was given a green light.

The birth of the Civilian Conservation Corps…

The CCC was a voluntary public work relief program that ran from 1933 to 1942. It was mainly for men between the ages 17 to 28 years old. The program’s intent was to employ the men to do hard labor for a wage of 30 dollars a week and room and board creating different parks and recreation areas around the country. The money was to be sent home to care for their families. They had an African American troop and a Native American troop of around 15,000 as well. The depression hit hard on the reservations and they were mainly responsible for the lands around it.

Some of the hard jobs they completed were creating fire roads, putting up phone poles, planting trees, care of wildlife, battling insects that were harming the trees, restoring historical homes, etc found in the forest, created trails for hiking, etc I could go on. They worked hard, like soldiers. I thank them for every walk I take in the woods.

This program is dear to me, not just because I’m able to hike these parks now, but also because I have a personal connection to it.

My grandfather after being in the army joined the CCC and helped landscape The Myles Standish Forest. He loved being outdoors and we spent summers in Sebago Maine exploring, he definitely fostered my love for a lot of things outdoors; fishing ,amateur astronomy. He was amazing. I lost him to Lou Gehrig’s disease when I was twenty but every trail I walk on now I can think of him.

Photos of my grampa at the camp…

Life in a CCC camp…

For each big site the CCC worked on they would set up a camp for. The camps were run like army barracks and rules. They even woke up to a bugle blowing every morning. Each camp had a few superintendents, and each would have their own group of men they worked with. Most camps used tents for sleeping but had a mess hall and bathhouse of some kind.

Along with the room and board they received they also were provided opportunities to further their education or learn a trade. A percentage of the men that came in were illiterate and did not have an option to get a diploma. The men could get their GED then go on to learn one of the trades that were offered there and have a better chance at employment when the economy recovered.

My grandfather’s CCC discharge papers.

We as a nation, no as the human race are heading into a very scary time, there could not possibly be a scale of jobs quickly created as the New Deal. Or is there? Maybe we could start the New New Deal and put those boys (and girls) to work fixing up our infrastructure.

FDR was the man with the plan. The right guy at the right time, without him you wouldn’t have the opportunity to at least go out and enjoy the fresh air and some nature right now. Let’s all give him a quick thank you while we stroll for saving our asses then and our minds now…

The Squatting Man…

Just recently in Iran’s Teymareh a new carving was unearthed. It was yet another place the “squatting man” was now unearthed in what they think may be the oldest petroglyphs ever found. The squatting man is a symbol that is found in almost every ancient civilization on earth. It looks like a hybrid cross between human and insect. Why or even how would all these different civilizations be drawing the same symbol. Whether it’s carved into a rock or art, how could it be possible? There is only two real possible options. Either these civilizations came in contact with each other for trade or migration perhaps, or they all witnessed the same event that looked like whatever these symbols represent, possibly a celestial event? That would make the most logical choice to our modern minds. Maybe they saw a cryptid we could only dream up

in our nightmares (wishful thinking).

Whatever they come to represent it’s amazing that they exist at all, and I personally would like to get those gps coordinates and pack a bag… below is the article detailing the recent find.

https://allthatsinteresting.com/half-man-mantis-iran

A BigfootAuthor..Interview With Charles Berlin

The world of Bigfoot is more than just the research, there are podcasters, writers, artists, filmmakers etc. And some that do it all. Recently I caught up to an author and artist. Charles Berlin. He has created some great art and the wonderful world of Professor Wexler and I got to pick his brain a bit. So here’s a little Q & A…

What types of media do you enjoy working with?

I like them all, but have a particular affinity to ink and watercolor, thanks to inspirational cartoonists like Will Eisner (The Spirit) and Bill Watterson (Calvin n’ Hobbs).

How long have you been doing it professionally?

I had my first inks published at age 16 (1980) in a local newspaper as an editorial cartoonist, satirizing local politics.Got my first nationally distributed comics job at age 22 from APPLE Comics,during the independent comics boom of the late 1980’s.Did a couple of books for FANTAGRAPHICS Books in the 90’s.

Do you do commission work?

Yes. Usually I do a 5-6 commision pieces a month: For instance, as a freelance illustrator of the paranormal and associated fields, I did 30 inks for an ANOMALIST book, Alien Who’s Who operating on eye-witness accounts of E.T. —Then onto illustrating science fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer’s stories, to doing art for author and explorer, David Childress’ magazine, WORLD EXPLORER. Did a few works for legendary cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, Worked for STRANGE MAGAZINE’s late Mark Chorvinsky back in the day , illustrating the FIRST PERSON column, interpreting eye-witness encounters with the unknown.

Who is your favorite artist?

I have a long list—I love all the classic illustrators of pulp magazines : Walter Baumhofer, J. Allen St. John,.Contemporary illustrators: Frank Frazetta, Dave Stevens, Joe Kubert, just to name a few.

How did Bigfoot become part of your art? I saw LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK film when I was 7 and read CREATURES OF THE OUTER EDGE by Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman when I was 12. These two works were pivotal for me demonstrating you didn’t have to live in the Pacific Northwest to be near mysterious creature encounters. Naturally, I wanted to draw these creatures.

Are you a Bigfoot believer?

The sheer number of documented sightings by credible witnesses should convince anyone with any sense. Include the BLUFF CREEK footage, dermal ridges in 16 inch footprints and Dr. Grover Krantz’s analysis, one would have to conclude there is an unknown “something” out there.

Do you believe in any other cryptids?

I’ve been diving in the waters of Andros Island , Bahamas and the local divers I talked to are very wary of the giant squid-like “Lucasa” that allegedly live in the bottomless Blue Holes there. I didnt swim the Blue Holes after that. Also, never heard anyone bring this up, but the “Chickcharny”as they are called

on Andros bear an uncanny resemblance to the Chupacabra.

I am firm believer in an active cover-up of Giants in North America. Again, the sheer number of

reports of giant bones by credible experts carried in hundreds of newspapers, hundreds of well- educated witnesses, actual giant bones photographed. All the bones carried away by the same government institution suggests to any thinking person there is an active cover-up.

Do you draw  witness encounter descriptions?

Yes, love to interpret encounters. I think they are fascinating.

Do you hit the woods for research of your own?

Yes- I’m an avid hiker: Been to Loch Ness, Bluff Creek , Hung out with the Kwakwakaʼwakw of Vancouver Island whose Chief described two Bukwas (bigfoot) he saw by spotlight from his fishing boat. Usually I travel for crytozoological reasons.

Do you have a favorite among Cryptozoology researchers?

I do art for David Hatcher Childress, who just recently penned BIGFOOT NATION (with some my

illos in it). Loren Coleman is always interesting and I really miss Dr. Grover Krantz and his methods of investigation.

When did Professor Wexler come to you? And why?

In 1998, I picked up a copy of WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE (www.WEXCLUB.com), It had a picture of Bigfoot on the cover, btw. It was about high adventure travel, exploration of earth mysteries, megalithic ruins, lost cities, cryptozoology. I was hooked immediately. So quickly I developed a character with an anagram name, (WEX-ler) , sort of loosely based on the old pulp character, DOC SAVAGE and Childress himself and sent him a few drawings as a fan. To my surprise, he called me few days later and told me to send more! So I continue to this day…

I love the humor angle, what made you decide to go that route?

I love THE FAR SIDE cartoon by Gary Larson and his insane humor. Big inspiration on the writing of the strip.

I love how clever they are, you come at it from a different approach, what made you decide to go that route with your character?

Thanks! I told Childress when I first started these ‘toons they were going to address very obscure topics that only people with an interest in cryptozoology and the world of the paranormal might get. He was fine with that. I suppose that’s who buys WORLD EXPLORER magazine and ADVENTURE UNLIMITED books anyway!

Who is your favorite author?

I’m trapped in the world of pulp: Edgar Rice Burroughs is always number one with me. I actually was a consultant on the recent TARZAN film for screenwriter Craig Brewer. One thing that was asked : What type of ape raised Tarzan? Was it Chimpanzee or Gorilla or what? So I had the pleasure of describing to Craig the “Bili Ape”, which seems to match ERB’s desciption of the Mangani in the books.

What is next for you?

I’m currently doing illos for an upcoming book on Sir Richard Francis Burton, the Victorian explorer and adventurer. As well as doing more Prof. Wexler for WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE– New issue coming out in early March,2020!

Where can people find your art? Graphic Novels etc I’ve got a gallery here:

https://www.deviantart.com/berlinsart

Here’s a couple of my books:

https://www.adventuresunlimitedpress.com

This is WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE, Prof Wexler appears each ish. Plenty of new articles on cryptozoology too!

https://www.adventuresunlimitedpress.com/proddetail.php?prod=WEXR

A Walk Through History…The Ames Mansion

I woke up to a beautiful Monday morning. I was trying to decide where to explore when I thought of Borderland State Park. This park also just happens to have a beautiful mansion located within, and it has been on my radar for awhile now.

Many moons ago when my late Maggie dog was a puppy this was one of the first places we ever explored. There isn’t just a mansion here there is also a very large trail system. These trails are open to horses as well as dogs. I remember I couldn’t keep Maggie’s nose in line at all she was all over the pace. So in her loving memory I decided to come back for a visit and think of happier times…

Lifestyles of the rich and famous…

When you first pull into Borderland State Park you can’t help but be awed as you start to see the Ames Mansion in all its glory. I know as much as I enjoyed the trails here, this mansion was always calling my name.

The Ames mansion was built in 1910 by Oak and Blanche Ames. Their wealth came from manufacturing shovels. Oaks father Oliver, who incidentally was very good friends with Abraham Lincoln led the company to great wealth. When the shovel company was at its peak it was supplying over 60% of the world shovels. There is a small shovel museum close by displaying all of the different models they created. Be advised the museum is by appointment only, so give them a ring before you head down.

Oak, in addition to shovel manufacturing was a Harvard Professor and a renowned botanist. He was the leading most authority on orchids. He personally discovered over a 1,000 different types of orchids.

Oak married Blanche Ames. A strong women In her own right. She was An inventor, she invented such things as the flushing toilet and an anti water pollution method, she was also active in the woman’s suffrage movement. She was the treasurer for the League of Women Voters and also an artist who illustrated all of her husband’s botany books. After firing their architect for not being able to bring their visions to life, Blanche Ames designed the stone marvel herself.

Home Sweet Home…

In addition to designing the layout of home whose central focus was their extensive personal library, they also designed the beautiful layout of the land I was walking on. They incorporated trails, dams, and ponds, I’ve only shown you a piece of what you can see here, there is still a total of over 1,800 acres left for you to experience.

In 1971 the family gave the estate to the state but the descendants of the family take an active role within the Friends of the Borderlands Park.

The blue mist…aviation disaster

Naturally you see a mansion like this and your first thought is it has to be haunted. I was digging around and read people expected one of their ghosts to be seen, but not that anyone had seen one. However their son Frederick has left a lasting impression.

Fred Ames and his wife Maurice Mozette often flew back and forth from their properties. They had a previous crash that left them just bumped and bruised, but in 1932 on what would be a typical flight route for them, they crashed in Randolph Massachusetts on their way to the familiar summer home in Newport.

It is said that some evenings a blue mist can be seen and it is believed to be the smoke from his plane crashing….

knives out…

The Ames mansion was definitely a glorious sight to take in and you can definitely picture filming maybe a Bronte tale here, and as it happens many movie producers have thought the same thing. Recently the movies Knives Out and the Ghostbusters movie were filmed here as well as Shutter Island and others.

The grounds were kindly left open to the public while filming was taking place.

Walking in their shoes….

No matter where I’m roaming I always try to imagine the kind of life they were living. You can’t help but walk these grounds and try to imagine a fancy dinner party or drinking tea while reading a book on the lawn. It’s one of the best parts of walking through history. These people walked where you are walking, doing things you only dream of. If we want to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from. I personally thank the Ames family and Borderland Trust for securing this marvel for us, the public, to walk through their history…

An Interview with Daniel…A Carving Artist

Daniels path to chainsaw carvings…

You think you see just a chainsaw carver in this picture but I assure you, you don’t. Daniel was raised by a family of artists. He is a fourth generation artist. His sons also have the gift and join him in some of his projects. His mother has her masters in art and taught it for years. She taught Daniel everything she knew since he was little. His grandfather was a whittler and so on. He learned a little bit about creating art through all mediums as he went. He works out of his homemade studio he calls the Taj Mah Small. I had to ask him about any injuries he’s had with the chainsawing, he’s had a screw through the hand and some road rash from flying wood.

Oklahoma Chainsaw massacre….

Daniel has worked with many mediums. Sketching,sculpting and painting and even sketched out a few tattoos and now most of his time is spent chainsawing things such as Bigfoot and other wildlife.

His path to this was not what I expected. While working on his other art projects, someone said you should carve a Bigfoot. So he did. He carved a literal Bigfoot. And the rest is history as they say.

As other people requested Daniel create a carving for them, he was able to trade off for the tools of the trade he needed. He is currently working on creating his own line of carving tools.

It is also not just wood that he experiments with. He’s been known to carve a vegetables or fruit as well.

It’s the great pumpkin Charlie Brown…

When not carving a tree or a stump he can be seen carving the most amazing pumpkins and even a tater or two, even entering pumpkin carving contests. I’m sure his house is the place to be on Halloween night.

Not all of the chainsaw carvings were bigfoot and bears either, he also has made a variety of characters. He also accepts commissions and will come to your house and carve one out of one of your trees. It takes him usually two days work to complete. One of his clients include country singer Blake Shelton who fell in love with his “Old Red” hound dog inspired by the song of the same name and carved out of Redwood.

To have a way of showcasing his art, Daniel added author to his repertoire.

From a book a legend was born…

“Myth Hollow is a story about a group of Bigfoots who are followed by a Bigfoot hunter. They always find a way to escape from whatever trap he has set while somehow staying undiscovered by anyone…”

If you build it, they will come…

How does a mythical themed attraction sound to you? Well if you’re ever in Oklahoma you will be seeing one soon. Daniel is currently building an attraction based on his children’s book.

It’s a labor of love and family. It will be on family land with everyone pitching in to help. How refreshing is that? You almost never hear of this type of endeavor anymore.

Some of the things planned for the park will be a crop circle maze, there will be a crashed alien ship and alien there to point the way in.

Pumpkin carving displays lit up to walk through. I would love to be one of the first to check it out.

A few other goals he has is try to complete his carvings using just his chainsaw and not needing to switch to smaller tools for the details, and he also wants to experiment with hot wood burning and enter more chainsaw carving competitions. Looking forward to seeing him compete myself.

But just like what I mentioned above, what I really love is you think you see just a chainsaw carver, but you had no idea that he was an artist trained in all mediums, a writer, a carver, and soon to be owner of his own mythical themed park.

Keep supporting your local artists everyone because you don’t want to miss what else the have planned.

Link to Daniel’s book:

https://books.google.com/books/about/Myth_Hollow.html?id=Q9AtDwAAQBAJ

You can reach Daniel on most sites at:

@danielmillercreations