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Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts


Kentucky Giant From Letcher County

Standing at a height of 7 foot and 7 and a half inches, Martin Van Buren Bates was known as the Kentucky Giant. What an impressive man he was, weighing in at a whooping 328 pounds. But there are some conflicting reports on just how large of a man he really was. Some sources list Bates at 7" and 11 inches tall and weighing over 500 pounds. My guess is that he weighed more than 328 pounds. While he was known as the Kentucky Giant, he also was called "Kentucky River Giant", "Giant of the South", and "Baby". He had gotten the nickname baby when he was 11 years old.

Bates was born in 1837 in Letcher county Kentucky to normal sized parent and hit a growth spurt around the age of 7. By the time he was 12 years old, Bates was over 6 foot tall and weighed over 200 pounds and was still growing.

Back in October of 2015 I published an article called The Legend of Devils Garden. Devil's Garden is/was located in Hutch, Kentucky and for many years it was a popular swimming area. The Legend surrounding how the area got its name is one that seemed to be full of mystery and death. As I was researching the original article I could not find a lot of information. Then I stumbled across several websites that told the tale of accidental murder, a cover up, strange disappearances and finally after 15 years, a confession.  

There appears to be only one problem with this legendary tale, its just not true. I do not know where this fantastic tale originated or who started it, but it was an interesting story. At the time I had doubts about the authenticity of the story but it seemed believable just unverifiable and after all I read it on the internet so it had to be true, right?

I'm pleased to now be able to set the record straight and bring you the REAL story about Devil's Garden. It may not be filled with murder and mystery, but it is still very interesting.



The Best UFO Photo Of All Time???
Photographers Perspective of the Cave Junction Oregon UFO Photo
By Dorraine Fisher

Oregon isn’t just famous for Bigfoot sightings. It seems they have their share of UFO activity too. But no sighting there was captured quite as well as this one said to have been taken by a volunteer fireman in Cave Junction, Oregon in 1927, long before Photoshop.
 
The fireman, likely flabbergasted and possibly doubting his own sanity in what he saw, said later about the object in the photo, “Have you heard of this thing? And if so, do you have this picture or others like? I, for one, would like to remind myself and some of the guys here that I may be getting on in years, but I'm still of sound mind and body.” 
 
Ansel Adams photo of the High Sierras, taken around 1927.
Of course many have since criticized the photo, claiming it’s too clear a picture for any photo taken in 1927. But as an photography enthusiast, I’m very familiar with photographers like Alexander Gardner and Matthew Brady who were taking amazingly sharp photos of the battles of the Civil War in the mid 1860’s, long before 1927. 
Matthew Brady photo of the aftermath of a Civil War battle

And famous photographer, Ansel Adams was taking stunning landscape shots around this period in the late 1920’s.








So, what do you think? Real or fake? 
 *****DF



This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Book Of Blackthorne!



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Cudjo Caverns is now Gap Cave
Old Photo of Cudjo Caverns (Gap Cave)

This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet.


Mysteries of Cudjo's Caverns

On Memorial Day 2014 I finally got to visit Cudjo's Caverns, which is now known as Gap Cave (again). Growing up I can remember our family driving by this tourist stop many times but we never did go in and take the tour. As I grew older, Cudjo's Caverns was shut down, the road going past it was closed off and later removed, this was done because the Cumberland Gap Tunnel was completed and you no longer had to drive over this dangerous, curvy road to visit Tennessee and Virginia. Many lives have been lost crossing this mountain.

Once we heard that the Caverns were back open and that the Cumberland Gap Park Rangers were giving guided tours, we decided to make reservations.

During the tour the park rangers (Keith and Jarrod) gave a wealth of information about how the cave was formed, types of critters that can be found in it and some history about the cave. To this day there is still many Civil War names from both sides of the war burnt into the cave at various spots. They would take their candles and hold it to the cave ceiling and use the soot from the burning candle to spell out their name.

The cave has had many different names over the years. It was first named Gap Cave by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750. Commercial tours of the cave started in the late 1890s but a book by J.T. Trowbridge which published in 1864 entitled Cudjo's Cave is were the history gets a little more interesting. The Book, Cudjo's Cave, was about a runaway slave who took up refuge in the cave. The popularity of the book and the story of the slave are what prompted the owners to rename the cave, Cudjo's Cave (Later became Caverns) to attract tourist.


Trapped forever
Runaway Slave trapped forever
Now during our tour the two park rangers told about this runaway slave and took us to a special part of the caverns. It seems this slave really enjoyed singing and would go to a specific part of the cavern to sing because of the acoustics. He would spend hours there singing and part of the legend is that the limestone came down and cover him up. Well, in this part of the cave there is this odd rock formation that looks like a person. You can see a head, eyes, mouth and part of a body mingled with the rock. A bit creepy but it makes it a bit more enjoyable for folks like me. The picture to the left is a cropped version of the figure. We took 2 or 3 but due to the lighting the photos just do not do it justice.

Now, there is somewhat of a different version of the story about the runaway slave. In some versions, the slave was killed and buried somewhere in the cave or just threw in a hole.  Now this brings me to the next part of this little tale of the slave. It seems the spirit of this slave still haunts the cave. While researching for more information about the caverns and the history of it, I ran into a very interesting story concerning the slave story.

It seems, that at some point a man got left in the caverns over night. I'm guessing from the story that his occurred somewhere around 1986. The man finds that the doors are chained shut and to scream for help didn't do any good because everyone had left. So according to the story, the man who was left in the cave was pretty scared, Which is understandable. All he had for light was a dimming flashlight. While trying to sleep, this is woken up by the sound of footsteps, so he hides. A voice called out "Ain't no use in hidin’, 'cause I can see you even in the dark." It turns out to be a tall black man, who ends up sitting and talking to the trapped tourist. The black man tells of being an escaped slave, then tells the tourist about his death, his family and many other details about his life. This story has many more details than I will write here but if you are interested in reading the trapped man's full account of the events that night, then  Click Here.

While taking the tour of the caverns there is just a feeling of wonder and amazement looking at the beautiful rock formation. Then you add in all the history of Confederate and Union soldiers, and then the mystery of the escaped slave and you got yourself one good adventure. Not to even mention the importance of the Cumberland Gap itself.

Now here is some interesting facts about the Gap Cave.

* The cave has a surveyed length of 16 miles and is the 42nd longest cave in the United States and 154th in the world.
* There are six known entrances.
*  Daniel Boone passed through Cumberland Gap in 1775 and most likely seen the cave.
* In the early 1800's, and possibly before, the cave was used to mine Saltpeter and was known as Saltpeter Cave.
* In March 1920 Lincoln Memorial University bought the caverns and surrounding land from private owners.
* In 1934 the Gap cave was re-opened to the public.
* In 1947 the title was transferred to the commonwealth of Virginia.
* From 1992 until somewhat recently cave tours were not being held.
* As of June, 2013, 17.5 miles of passage has been mapped by CRF.
* Gap Cave is currently owned and operated by the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
* This is also where the water comes from for the bottled water "Cumberland Gap" Water.

Here is a couple of photos we took on our trip to Gap Cave.

Cumberland Gap
Water was perfectly Clear
Cudjo Caverns
Awesome formation
We took more photos which can be seen on my personal facebook page, the album is found Here.


We enjoyed ourselves and can recommend the tour to anyone who don't mind the 1.5 miles or so of the hike (including cave). There is some bending and ducking that has to be done and parts of it may be a bit straining for some. There are basically 4 levels to the cave and 183 steps to climb. The complete tour lasted 2 hours or just a little longer.

If you would like to possibly book a tour then go Here.

Thanks
~Tom~




[Source: Wikipedia, The Mountain Laurel, Guided Tours]



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