10. Yeti DiscoveredOne of the more embarrassing stories of the year it was essentially ignored by the cryptozoology field. This cringeworthy event was reported during the April 30th episode of the Paranormal News Insider and had just been announced the day before. The Indian army announced that it had found large mysterious footprints near the Mount Makalu base camp back on April 9th.
Of course, this information arrived to us via social media. A tweet was sent out on April 29th stating, “For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32x15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.”
The footprints were enormous measuring 32 inches by 15 inches. Photographs were taken and said to be sent to “the scientific community”. Back in 2014 DNA samples taken from purported Yeti sightings were found to match brown bears that were local to the Himalayan region. This was the initial reaction by many as the footprints seemed to be in a line and not side-to-side like a bipedal.
Just a couple of days later after the story broke and began to snowball Nepal’s military stepped up and said the tracks discovered were more than likely created by bears. Wildlife experts said many times these tracks become elongated by the wind and appear to be larger than what they were. A Nepalese military spokesman stated they attempted to gather more information on the tracks, but when they got there the tracks had vanished.
Why this story made the top ten: This was the most viral story about the Yeti since the 2014 DNA study. It was national news and made many people think that an actual Yeti body was discovered or was about to be.
Why it was only number ten: From the time the story broke the majority of people were leaning toward this being bear tracks. Even though there were some that believed this could be proof of the Yeti it was only a few days until the Nepalese military stepped in to shut the story down and the Indian army eventually admitted they jumped the gun on the information.
9. Thylacine: Government admits keeping track of sightings and new colorized video.
Last year the news was quiet on the Thylacine front. The first episode of 2019 included a hopeful (though doubtful) account of a possible Tasmanian tiger sighting. A farmer, named Peter Groves, spotted what he feels was a living Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger while in Clifton Springs in the state of Victoria in Australia. Clifton Springs is on the southeast part of the large island country and is southwest of Melbourne. Yes, Australia is a continent but Australia as a continent also includes other island nations that do not belong to Australia – just to clarify.
On the August 13th show it was announced that incredible new footage of a Tasmanian tiger had been discovered. The last known Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger died in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. It was accidentally locked out of its enclosure and it died of exposure.
Biologist David Fleay was able to film the carnivorous marsupial a number of times while it roamed an enclosure while at the Hobart Zoo. One such film appeared on Reddit and has been colorized for the first time. We saw a new high definition version of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film in early July which was pretty exciting, but this new version of an old film is just as exciting to me yet very sad at the same time as we are looking at potentially the last living Thylacine known as Benjamin shortly before its death and the demise of the entire species.
The Tasmanian tiger still remains one of the many hopeful animals that have been purportedly seen by residents but has yet to have been confirmed by scientists or have conclusive evidence discovered despite the claims. While it’s extremely unlikely these sightings will lead to the rediscovery of this once thriving creature it would end up being one of the greatest animal discoveries of the century if it turned out to be true.
The October 22nd show discussed that the Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment recently released a listing of sightings collected from September 1st, 2016 until September 19th of this year. There was a total of eight sightings included in the document.
Most of the sightings included only a glimpse of a creature resembling a Thylacine for only a couple of seconds. Some of these reports were made months after the actual sighting. One report stated that the witness not only saw a Thylacine but that there were also two cubs in tow. The last report was taken on August 15th of 2019 but was of tracks that were discovered seven years ago. While these reports are exciting news there is no clear evidence to support any of these cases and the Thylacine remains just as elusive as ever.
Why this story made the top ten: The Thylacine is considered by many cryptozoologists as the largest and most popular animal to still exist in the wild despite scientists stating this creature has been extinct for over 80 years. The government taking note of sightings is a positive fact.
Why this story is only number nine: None of the reports lead us any closer to rediscovering this carnivorous marsupial in the wild. Thylacine stories generally trend very high, but these loose reports kept the story from moving anywhere close to the top five.
8. Dutch and U.S. UFO sightings tied to SpaceX Starlink launches
A long train of lights in the sky prompted dozens of calls to a Dutch website created to document UFO sightings back in late May. Over 150 reports flooded the UFO Meldpunt Nederland website with a couple of photos showing a string of white lights in the sky.
This mass UFO sighting turned out to be caused from a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that took off from Cape Canaveral Florida at 10:30 PM on Friday, May 24th. The rocket then began to release 60 separate satellites at an altitude of 280 miles. The satellites then had to use their own thrusters to take up a position in low satellite orbit at 342 miles above the Earth which was able to be seen from Earth’s surface.
Each satellite weighs around 500 pounds and while 60 satellites may seem like a lot it’s only a taste of what’s to come in the near future. Elon Musk is planning on having about 12,000 of these satellites in geo-stationary orbit surrounding the Earth providing Internet coverage in what is billed as a mega-constellation creating a global space internet. This project, called Starlink, has some scientists concerned with Ronald Drimmel from the Turin Astrophysical Observatory in Italy stating, “The potential tragedy of a mega-constellation like Starlink is that for the rest of humanity it changes how the night sky looks. Starlink, and other mega constellations, would ruin the sky for everyone on the planet.”
Elon Musk has stated that the satellites will not have much of an affect on anyone on the ground and that telescopes need to be moved into orbit anyway. Starlink will have two separate flocks of satellites with one having 4,409 and the other with 7,518 with the second flying at a slightly lower altitude. Other companies including Amazon are on board with this project and are launching their own satellites.
The goal of the Starlink program is to bring internet to 3.3 billion people who are not connected or who have sub-par connectivity. FCC approvals stipulate that half of the planned satellites must be in place within the next six years.
On November 11th another rocket was launched containing satellites for the Starlink program. UFO Reports from Florida to California flooded in as the satellites were released from the rocket at about 174 miles above the surface and ascended to their positions over Earth. More launches and probably more “UFO” sightings will continue to build as SpaceX will flood the night skies with artificial stars.
Why this story made the top ten: Two different mass UFO sighting reports followed by a flurry of conspiracy and potential Earth changing events make this story a top ten pick and a story that will gain much more attention in the future.
Why the story is only number eight: Despite the hundreds of UFO reports this was just another explainable rocket launch even though the satellite deployment is unlike what anyone has ever seen in the skies. The night sky crisis only rests with scientists at this point, but eventually we will all be affected by these fake stars clogging up our night sky and this story will finally gain a heavier national attention.
7. Loch Ness Monster sightings set a record for the 21st century.
According to Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, 2019 has set the record for the most Nessie sightings for the 21st century with 18. It is the most “official” sightings of the creature since 1983. Last year there were 15 such sightings, 12 in 2017, seven in 2016, 2015 and 2014, and five or less sightings each year going back to the year 2000 which had 11 sightings.
|It's right there, see it?|
Most of the sightings were of disturbances of the water’s surface with no visible creature. Many of these sightings were made from land very far away from the disturbance. Sightings of something protruding from the surface were mostly made from a significant distance so that the person could not see what was at the surface.
One image was taken of a depth finder near Urquhart Castle of a potential large object, when the boat came around for another look the object was gone. A few of these sightings were made from webcams including one from August 7th that was made by a viewer in Hong Kong. The last sighting on October 29th was made by five-year old Zachary White who was able to search for the Loch Ness Monster as a children’s charity paid for his trip. White was able to see Nessie, but it wasn’t really a living breathing creature he saw but it’s a nice gesture to include his sighting in the “official register” of sightings. It’s estimated the Loch Ness Monster generates over $53 million of tour revenue to the region yearly.
Why this story made the top ten: The Loch Ness Monster continues to mystify and intrigue the world despite many explanations about its origins and existence pointing to the contrary. A record number of sightings is something to surely draw more visitors in 2020 and potentially more sightings occurring from this as well.
Why this story is only number seven: None of these sightings are substantial. Never has a Loch Ness Monster sighting given scientists any glimmer of hope that a mysterious monster might live in the depths of a lake in Scotland and 2019 was no closer to a discovery yet this legend will probably never fade away.
6. The Summer of the Alligator (northeast U.S. sightings pour in).
Random alligator sightings outside of their normal habitat is not a new thing and they actually happen quite frequently. However, in 2019 a couple of these stories broke the surface and became national headlines.
The excitement started back on May 18th in Pittsburgh. A family called 911 to report a three-foot long alligator along the banks of the Monongahela River. In June a five-foot long alligator named Chomp escaped from the home where he was being kept. This man had two more alligators confiscated from his home due to poor conditions. A couple of days later another alligator showed up on a porch a few miles away, this one being nearly three feet long.
On October first, a man fishing along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh just happened to look down and spotted a three-foot-long alligator resting along the bank. All told there were seven alligators rescued in the Pittsburgh area in 2019 prompting lawmakers to make some decisions this fall about the ownership of exotic pets.
On July 9th an alligator was reported in the lagoon of the Humboldt Park area just outside of Chicago. After a week the five-foot-long alligator, now nicknamed “Chance the Snapper”, was captured by Frank Robb. Robb was called in from Florida and quickly became a local celebrity. He threw out the first pitch at a Cub’s game, got to start the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, and was honored later in the year at an awards banquet.
Two local breweries named beer after the alligator and bobbleheads were made of Robb and Chance. Robb went on to publish a coloring book in the name of charity. Chance is resting comfortably in St. Augustine Florida and even has his own Wikipedia page.
In mid-August Pleasant County sheriffs and the St. Mary’s police department of West Virginia discovered a three-and-a-half-foot long alligator. In West Alexandrea Ohio a man saw an alligator in the water as children were playing in the Bantas Creek. The man silently alerted an adult on shore and the children were removed from the water.
What turned out to be a seven-foot long crocodile swam under the bridge right where the children had just been moments before. A local game warden wildlife officer was quickly contacted. The giant crocodile was sadly dispatched at the scene and was measured at just over seven feet long and weighed 171 pounds.
A three-foot long alligator was discovered swimming in a pond in Temperance Michigan in late September. An alligator was captured near a retention pond in Adamstown Maryland in early October. In mid-October a 9-year-old girl pulled a small alligator out of Prior Lake in Minnesota. The alligator had died from the cold water. Residents discovered a dead alligator in a large plastic tote in an alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Halloween night.
All of these alligators are thought to be released (or escaped) exotic pets. These alligators could become dangerous if they come into contact with children and potentially adults if they grow quickly enough during the warmer parts of the year. It’s not likely that alligators can survive the cold winters in the northeast, but a story in October told of how alligators have adapted to live in parts of Tennessee.
Why this story made the top ten: Alligators are not supposed to exist in the northeast and many of these stories are downright scary to think of. The Pittsburgh and Chicago incidents gained national attention and the other smaller stories were no less shocking. Animals outside of their known range qualify as cryptids although many do not consider ones released to be included.
Why this story is only number six: Despite the Pittsburgh and Chicago incidents getting huge local coverage the rest of the world did not care much for these stories. The story did not gain the attraction as much as the “Wessie” the snake story did back in 2016.
5. FBI releases Bigfoot files.
In early June numerous headlines hit the news stating that Bigfoot was investigated or hunted by the FBI. In 1976 Peter Byrne, then director of the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition of Oregon, pleaded to the FBI for help in analyzing his evidence to see if it could prove the existence of Bigfoot. Byrne had also written that others had mentioned the FBI had purportedly conducted hair analysis on Bigfoot claims.
On February 24, 1977 Byrne’s colleague, Howard Curtis, received a letter from Jay Cochran, Jr. stating the analysis of said hairs. Byrne had been in Nepal for several months conducting research. The letter mentioned how the hairs were examined and that they were compared to known samples. It was concluded that the hairs were of the deer family origin and the case was closed. No, the FBI did not search for or investigate Bigfoot, nor did they find any compelling evidence. Yet the story was carried by numerous news outlets and lead to rampant theories that the FBI was involved with the hunt of Bigfoot and had files dedicated to their search.
Why this story made the top ten: This was the biggest Bigfoot story of the year and it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows and created a lot of suspicion. The story was carried by many major networks and was a very viral story albeit for a short time.
Why this story is only number five: The story was hyped as the FBI searching for Bigfoot. Many made the story sound like the FBI had boots on the ground and sent out agents looking for evidence. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and it was simply just an analysis of hairs that turned out to be some type of deer. The story didn’t do much to fuel the possibility of Bigfoot or any actual evidence.
4. Neil Gemmel’s ‘Loch Ness Monster’ study.
The number four story in last year’s top ten countdown was the “Otago Loch Ness Monster DNA Search”. I predicted that nothing large would be discovered which would “prove” the Loch Ness Monster did not exist, yet it would not even dent the reputation of Nessie. The research behind this project was swift and successful, however setbacks caused the announcement to be delayed by several months and I feel this delay hurt this story.
Gemmell’s results were delayed due to trying to secure a documentary on the DNA gathering experiment which again may have hurt the impact of his announcement. One of the biggest pieces of information is that there is a complete lack of DNA for any large creature in Loch Ness. There was no plesiosaur, no sturgeon, no catfish, and no shark DNA discovered in the many samples gathered.
Some people had speculated that a Greenland shark could be responsible for many of the sightings, but this study puts that claim to rest the same with the speculation over a sturgeon which has been suggested for many lake monsters throughout the world.
One hypothesis remains and is what made the headlines about this story; a giant eel. European eels travel to European waters including Loch Ness as tiny eels called elvers from hatching from larvae along their 3,000-mile journey. Typically, these eels can get as big as three feet long, but could one grow big enough to be confused as the Loch Ness Monster?
Gemmell states they had eel DNA in nearly every sample collected. Of a potential giant eel, he says, “Well, our data doesn't reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can't discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore, we can't discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel.”
DNA was also found of humans, dogs, sheep, cattle, deer, badgers, rabbits, voles, and birds. A swimming deer could easily be confused for a Loch Ness Monster creature and I’m sure the giant eel hypothesis isn’t the only thing confused for the Loch Ness Monster. There are also logs, the wind, and even boats seen from far away where the viewer only sees the waves plus other potential things that confuse a hopeful viewer.
Will this latest story squash the idea that the Loch Ness Monster is a real creature? More than likely not. Just a few years ago it was revealed that local hotel owners used the legend of the creature of the loch to spur tourism in the area in the 1930s which is when the stories began to pop up. That story did absolutely nothing to diminish the tourism to the area and certainly actual science won’t either.
Why this story made the top ten: A scientific experiment to test the waters of Loch Ness to see what is lurking in the water. This actually eliminated the long-standing hypothesis of a plesiosaur being behind the sightings and realistically leaves one potential candidate if a single creature could be deemed responsible.
Why this story is only number four: I had predicted last year that this could easily be the number one story of the year. The release of the data pointed at a giant eel as being the explanation for the Loch Ness Monster which made for a ridiculous headline. The fact that this was delayed and then teased for months did not help the way the story was ultimately unveiled (not to mention the media’s attention on “storming” things).
3. U.S. Navy documenting/categorizing UFOs and the TTSA’s drama on the rocks.
The news that the U.S. Navy was drafting guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” hit the news cycle on March 23rd. The goal was to have any type of unidentified aircraft account be taken seriously and reported to the proper channel instead of being instantly canned or the reporting person laughed at.
Tom DeLonge and his organization, The To The Stars Academy (TTSA), have also been in the center of these stories and made more news of their own during the year with their acquisition of mysterious metamaterials that ultimately lead to a deal with the U.S. Army. However, an image used to show off the materials was lifted from Shutterstock of a known mineral called malachite.
The Pentagon dropped the final bombshell on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) and UFO/UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) investigation story. Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough said via an email to Black Vault, “Neither AATIP nor AAWSAP were UAP related.”
AAWSAP refers to the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program; a contract posted publicly by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The email to the Black Vault also stated, “The purpose of AATIP was to investigate foreign advanced aerospace weapons system applications with future technology projections over the next 40 years, and to create a center of expertise on advanced aerospace technologies.”
In May of this year the New York Post ran the headline, “The Pentagon Finally Admits It Investigates UFOs”. The story quotes Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood who said that AATIP did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena. Of the discrepancy Gough replied, “At the time, Mr. Sherwood was repeating the information that had been provided by a previous spokesperson some two years earlier. That previous spokesperson is no longer with my organization, and I cannot comment on why that person’s explanation of AATIP included that it had looked at anomalous events. According to all the official information I have now, when implemented, AATIP did not pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena; that was not part of the technical studies nor the reports produced by the program.”
What about the claims made by Louis Elizondo, who says he was the director of AATIP and has come forward about the allegations of the program? He’s now also involved with Tom DeLonge’s organization To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences as the Director of Government Programs and Services.
Gough also responded that Elizondo was not the director for AATIP and had no assigned responsibilities within the program. However, this isn’t to say that the Navy and other armed forces or government agencies are not actively investigating UFOs. It just seems that some of the information put out may not exactly be what we think and are not the product of a government conspiracy or coverup but by private parties with a vested interest.
Why this story made the top ten: These three stories are intermingled and help keep UFOs in the spotlight all year long not just in the paranormal but with the mainstream media. Despite many of the claims now seemingly being called into question these stories have involved the U.S. Government more than ever in purported UFO investigations and we are beginning to see that maybe they don’t know as much as we thought.
Why this story is only number three: Despite being the biggest drama in the UFO arena in many years there seems to be a serious contradiction of facts and information coming from multiple sources and sadly we may never know the truth behind anything involved with AATIP, TTSA, or any other acronym-based body.
2. Storm Area 51.
On June 27th Matty Roberts, a 20-year old Bakersfield, California college student majoring in petroleum engineering, created an event on Facebook as a joke to generate memes. The event was named “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us” and in less than two weeks the event began to build steam through its virality. By July 9th there were over 230,000 people interested and nearly 200,000 people saying they were going to the base in Nevada to “free ‘dem aliens”.
By this point Roberts had lost control of the website and of the movement. Advertisers like Bud Light jumped into the social media spotlight created by the popularity of the event to sell their products. Matty Roberts didn’t step forward until late July to admit he was the one behind the event and it was at this point he created the Alienstock idea which took a lot of time to come to fruition.
On August 3rd around 3:45 PM Facebook removed the “Storm Area 51” event page stating that the event went against their community standards. By 7 AM the following morning the site was back up mostly due to public outcry and the media continuing to fuel attention to the story. The event continued to gain momentum and Roberts continued to fuel his idea of a large concert in the desert. The idea continued until September 10th when he quickly and officially pulled out of the Rachel event and opted to hold a smaller one in Las Vegas instead.
This move left Connie West and the Little Ale’ Li’ Inn to deal with all of the issues of putting on a major event in a remote location. Wi-fi, water, gasoline, safety, and many other aspects had Nye County put out a declaration of emergency in order to gather funds to help with the issues. The event itself turned into disarray and many people seemed to give up on it since it was so disorganized and events were occurring in Hiko, Rachel, Las Vegas and at other locations which split up any large crowd. Many media outlets called it a disappointment stating that hardly anyone showed up and there were no issues.
During the original 3-6 AM event only 40 or so people showed up near the gate and offered no threat to enter the base. However, during the day over 800 people made their way to the gate and one woman was arrested for going beyond the gate. Two men had been arrested earlier for entering the base illegally with six arrests total for people attempting or actually going beyond the guard gate and one for disorderly conduct and indecent exposure for a person who urinated on the gate. Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee stated that 40 people were dispersed near another gate after the crowd threatened to storm together.
Two cows were killed in car accidents and two other car accidents involved rollovers which left one woman in critical condition. Numerous injuries resulting from dehydration as well as drug and alcohol related problems were reported as well. Overall it was a feeling of community by those who attended, and it was estimated that about 5,000 people showed up to Rachel and Hiko over the weekend with crowds dispersing as early as Saturday afternoon.
Why this story made the top ten: The “Storm Area 51” event was the biggest story of the year for UFO/alien related stories in a year with plenty to talk about from that camp. This was the most viral story to come out of social media for the year and ranked as the number four story to be Googled in the U.S. in 2019.
Why this story was only number two: The story came out of nowhere only to fizzle out just the same. Despite the massive media attention and the prospect of finding proof of aliens the overall idea of the event was to cure boredom and create a means for memes. Absolutely nothing positive for the field of UFOs came of this and the event was more of an embarrassment than anything.
1. Stanton Friedman.
On May 13th Stanton T. Friedman, nuclear physicist, author, and long-time speaker on UFOs passed away at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at age 84. Friedman had stated he was beginning to pull back his appearance schedule and it was from a lecture in Ohio he was returning home from when he passed away.
Back in January of this year Joanna Aiton Kerr, manager of the Provincial Archives in New Brunswick Canada, reached out to Friedman. Kerr had heard that Friedman was getting ready to retire from UFO research and she was able to convince him to allow Provincial Archives to preserve his collection of records.
Friedman was a known piler, he would have piles of papers instead of filing anything. Kerr stated it took five cargo vans to move all of Friedman’s records prior to his passing. The most difficult part of the process is that none of his records are organized. There are currently three full time employees working in the private records section where his records are being sifted through. Unfortunately, these are only one of a number of collections that are being worked on. It’s thought it could take up to ten years to organize his files at the current rate, but with 60 years’ worth of research this isn’t that bad. So far 25 boxes have been organized and are available for public view. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick is located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
Why this story is number one: Last year’s number one story was the passing of Art Bell. Bell was a tremendous voice for the UFO field and was well-regarded by many others in the media, music, and other professions. Stanton Friedman may not have had the same reach as Bell, but he was just as well known, and his work has paved the way for people like Bell to promote the conspiracy theories and thoughts behind UFOs and alien life. Also, if it wasn’t for Friedman Area 51 would probably not be as famous as it is today. His work uncovering information on the Roswell Incident opened the door for the base to become a household name for potentially harboring aliens. So, if it were not for Friedman no one would have bothered thinking of storming it and looking for them.
This list helps us remember the stories from the year and helps us remember some of the issues we encountered that might have fooled us or taught us something along the way. As we look back on these stories years from now we may see similar patterns or how some that were high on the list and so promising turned out to be nothing at all; it’s all about documentation and remembering the past as it happened.
How is this list designed? The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories are put together strictly by my opinion. They are collected from the stories I’ve talked about all year long and are ranked by a few pieces of criteria. First, have they made a positive impact on one area of the paranormal? Many stories I talk about are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but what stories have created an awareness of a paranormal subject or taught the general public something, or better yet has something been learned about our mysterious world? Granted, even hoaxes can teach us something if we know for sure they were a hoax. Some feel all hoaxes harm the paranormal, but I say some educate us on what to look out for as far as a story or types of data that is presented. It’s easy to believe everything, but hard to be skeptical when you want deep down to believe.
Second, how viral was the story? Many stories I talk about are popular on paranormal websites but have not been heard of outside of this arena or where the story took place. A story that is big at a regional level will have more weight than a local story and a global story will be higher than that. Also with this I look at how much it was talked about through social media as well as how long it lasted in the news as a developing story. Lastly, I look at the reality of the story. Meaning, does this story include a real person or it is possibly just a story made up for website hits? I usually do this early on to make sure these are truly newsworthy stories to begin with, but still some stories are a bit questionable in their makeup and are just stories hyped up for the paranormal community.
My first "Top Ten" was back in 2010 when the Paranormal News Insider began to go to a weekly segment in late September of 2010. A few of them are located on this current blog while 2010, 2012, and 2013 are located on my ParaNexus blog.