Area 51, The Raid, and Even More Mysterious Military Bases!!

Area 51, the Raid, and even more mysterious military bases!

Area 51 Sign

My readers know that I enjoy a good conspiracy theory. I’ve even mentioned a couple of my favorites in previous blog posts about The Knights Templar and Rosslyn Chapel. But, as evidenced by the large number of people who expressed interest in storming Area 51 (a PRANK post on social media), it seems I’m not the only one who likes to ponder the what-ifs of the conspiracy theories.

Not to distract from the Area 51 takeover, but there are other bases as equally mysterious as Groom Lake. A couple are near Area 51, but the others are scattered around the country. Some are familiar names and others are shrouded in secrecy. Let’s start with Area 51.

What will people find if they do try to storm Area 51? Let’s examine what we know.

  • The site was unacknowledged until 2013, when the CIA admitted it existed
  • The official names of the area are Homey Airport (KXTA) or Groom Lake
  • According to declassified documents, the site was built to assemble and test the U2 spy plane
  • Area 51 has a 12,000 foot runway (commercial runaways are usually 6000 – 8000 feet long)
  • The nearest public access is about 26 miles from the base (long walk across the desert for those who want to storm the citadel)
  • The “camo dudes” are the contractors who patrol the perimeter of the area and they take their jobs seriously
  • Deadly force is authorized

Things suspected at Area 51 (among others):

  • Alien spacecraft (from Roswell and other crashes)
  • Alien remains
  • Reverse engineered technology
  • Super secret aircraft
  • Alien Landing base
  • Development of weather control
  • Development of time travel and teleportation
  • Tunnels leading to other DUMBs (Deep Underground Military Bases)

If the Area 51 Raid happens, one would assume the USAF (or the CIA or the aliens) would move any objects, materials, bodies, etc. before the storm troopers arrive. Since the stuff would be gone, I’m not sure why anyone would do it (again, this was a PRANK).

Other Mysterious Bases:

Area 51 Map

Seriously, though, there are a few other bases that rival (or perhaps exceed) the mystery surrounding Area 51. Area 52 is near Groom Lake (at the edge of the Nellis Range). It intrigues conspiracy theorists for the experimental aircraft rumored to fly there. Also know as Tonopah Test Range (TTR), some say a clean nuclear device hollowed out a cavern under the base that is home to up to 25,000 troops. It supposedly has an underground high speed rail system as part of its infrastructure (possibly to move the aliens around to other sites without exposing them to the public).

Dugway Proving Ground is another secretive base. Located in the Utah desert, the base is used to test biological and chemical weapons defense systems (according to Wikipedia). For conspiracy theorists, Dugway may house some of the spacecraft and technology previously stored at Area 51 and may even operate its own alien spaceport.

My favorite secretive base, though, hides in plain sight. Wright-Patterson AFB (WPAFB) is just outside of Dayton OH and was the home of Project Bluebook. Project Bluebook and other iterations of the project investigated UFO reports from 1947 until 1969. in 1976, the files transferred to the National Archives in Washington DC. Barry Goldwater supposedly asked Gen. Curtis LeMay if he could have access to the secret UFO room at  WPAFB. Gen. LeMay allegedly told the Senator that he could not and not to mention it to him ever again. Many believe WPAFB is the home to most of the UFO information, technology, and remains and that Area 51 is a red herring to distract people from the true repository.

What do you think?

There you have it! My take on the (PRANK) takeover of Area 51 and a few other mysterious military bases. There are others that we could look at, but the real question is what do you believe? Are aliens among us? Do we reverse engineer their technology and then release it gradually over time (like the famed Men In Black)? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Rosslyn Chapel – The Mysterious Church in Scotland!!

During our 30th anniversary trip to Scotland, Lana and I put Rosslyn Chapel as one of our “can’t miss” destinations. We visited it on the same day we visited St. Andrews and The Old Course and I’m so glad we did!

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel and Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code:

What is Rosslyn Chapel? On the surface, it is an small old church in the Scottish countryside that belongs to the Sinclair family. Mysterious in its own right for the multitude of odd carvings that cover the inside and outside of the church, Rosslyn Chapel gained famed and a bit of notoriety as part of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. Readers of the books and viewers of the movie will recall Rosslyn Chapel as the place where Sophie Neveu discovers she is the blood descendant of Jesus. Whether you subscribe to that version of things or not, Rosslyn Chapel still is a mysterious place.

The Apprentice Pillar:

What makes Rosslyn so fascinating are the carvings that cover the inside of the church. According to our guides at the site, Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 and sits on land still owned by the Sinclair family. Stone masons and apprentices worked on the building and the carvings. One of the most interesting stories concerns the Apprentice Pillar near the altar of the church. As the story goes, the master mason wanted to travel abroad to see the pillar he had been commissioned to fashion at Rosslyn. His apprentice dreamed of the pillar and set to work on it while the master was away. When the master returned, he saw the finished pillar and asked who dared to do the work in his absence. When he discovered his apprentice carved the pillar, the enraged master mason stuck and killed him in the chapel. The master mason was executed for his crime.

Rosslyn Chapel Apprentice Pillar

Legend says that carved heads of the apprentice and master gaze over the chapel from opposite corners of the interior. To further the master’s punishment, his carved head faces the Apprentice Pillar and has to gaze upon the pillar for eternity! If you look closely at the picture below to the left and right corners, you can see the heads.

Rosslyn Chapel Apprentice and Master Heads

Unfortunately, photography isn’t permitted inside the chapel (though we didn’t know that when Lana snapped a picture of me standing near the Apprentice Pillar). Too bad, because the carvings inside are what makes Rosslyn Chapel such an enigma.

Rosslyn Chapel Beebop at the Apprentice Pillar

Carvings, Decorations, and The Knights Templar:

Virtually every surface has a carving of some kind on it. From pagan symbols like The Green Man, to gargoyles, roses, musical notes, bagpipers, and so much more, the carvings spawned books devoted to interpreting what it all means. Of course, such mysterious things lead to conspiracy theories and one of the most famous connects the Knights Templar to Rosslyn Chapel. Here are just a few of the carvings:



Rosslyn Chapel Carving

Rosslyn Chapel carving


Now to the Knights Templar. As I understand the theory, in 1307 King Phillip of France urged the Pope to declare the Templars heretics and confiscate their lands and property. Many believe Phillip owed the Templars much money and seizing their fortunes could relieve the debt. When the raid happened, the treasure ships had disappeared. Some believe that a high-ranking Templar official was a member of the St. Clair family (in English Sinclair) and had the treasure spirited away to Scotland. The Sinclairs finished Rosslyn around 1446 or almost 140 years after the raid, so the timeline doesn’t work. If the Templars hid the treasure in the Rosslyn area, where did they hide it for all those years?

Timeline issues aside, there is a vault beneath the chapel. The docent we spoke with confirmed the vault’s existence. However, she told us it is the Sinclair family burial vault and only contains the remains of Sinclair family members. Her assertions aside, others believe it is the hiding place of artifacts. Some believe the Holy Grail, The Spear of Destiny, the True Cross, and the Menorah stolen from Rome by the Visigoths (after the Romans stole it after sacking Jerusalem) rest at Rosslyn Chapel. To add to mystery and the conspiracy theory, the Sinclair family refuses to allow excavation under the chapel.

What do you think?

What do you think? Is Rosslyn Chapel simply a place where masons could come and practice and perfect their craft or is it the resting place of some of the greatest artifacts in human history? Either way, the place has an astounding number of mysterious carvings, and a history shrouded in mystery. If you get to Scotland, put this one on your list of places not-to-miss!

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Gavrinis France and its Mysterious Megalithic Passage Tomb!!

I haven’t done a post on mysterious things or conspiracy theories in quite a while. I want to remedy that and tell you about Gavrinis, France!

Many of my readers may know about Gavrinis, but I’ll go on the assumption that it is new to everyone. Gavrinis is a small island off the coast of Brittany France. The island itself is uninhabited and is not remarkable in and of itself. However, the passage tomb that occupies a portion of the island is remarkable indeed. First, let’s look at where the island lies and how you can get to it if you want to visit.

Where is Gavrinis?

Here is the map showing Gavrinis and its proximity to Larmor-Baden. Visitors to the island travel by boat from Larmor-Baden.


The passage tomb on the island is home to some of the most amazing megalithic art in the world. Twenty-nine slabs make up the sides of the passage with twenty-three of the slabs highly decorated. Below are pictures of the carvings on the slabs.



Experts estimate the site was built about 3500 BC and use stopped about 3000 BC. As an archaeological find, I think they are cool and to think about the people who inhabited the area and how they lived 5000 years ago is amazing. But, since we want to explore mysterious things, what do the carvings mean?

Wikipedia tells us there are common items like axes and staffs carved into the stones. They speculate a horn-like symbol might represent cattle. However, what do the lines and whorls mean? Conspiracy theorists claim they can find evidence of advanced mathematical knowledge in the carvings. Things like the number of days in a year, the circumference of the earth, and, perhaps most importantly, the constant Pi. If true, one has to wonder where such knowledge came from and why it was depicted in the carvings? Did aliens bring the knowledge? Was this an outpost of Atlantis? Of course, we won’t know the answer to these questions, but it is fun to speculate.


What do you think? Are the carvings simply decorative or are they indicative of advanced knowledge lost over time? If the latter, where do you think it originated? I’m curious to know your thoughts, so leave a comment and let me know!

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Expedition Bigfoot Museum Near Blue Ridge Georgia

I had the opportunity to spend a recent Saturday in Talking Rock, Georgia (near Ellijay, GA) with my children and grandchildren (and the lovely and adorable Lana) at a nice mountain cabin. While there, we discovered a neat little museum near Blue Ridge (home of fairy crosses from The Gemstone Chronicles) devoted to Bigfoot! Called Expedition Bigfoot, it was a neat place! I had no idea Georgia was home to Sasquatch, but it certainly has it share of sightings.

If you read the blog, you’ll recall my post about Bigfoot from 2016. That post focused on the Pacific Northwest, where some of the most well-known sightings, photos, and video footage originates. As I found out, though, every state in the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Canada all have sightings. I can’t leave Hawaii out, either. The Hawaiian version, known as Menehune, are humanoid creatures about 3 feet tall. Even if they don’t measure up to the Bigfoot stature, it’s still an unknown creature and makes you wonder.

So, what did we find at Expedition Bigfoot? First, check out this map of Georgia with sightings marked on it. I cropped the bottom half of the state so I could zoom in to the more numerous sightings in North Georgia.

Expedition Bigfoot


Though it’s hard to see, if you look closely at the map, you can see green pins showing the sightings. Interestingly, a number of sightings occurred near Cleveland, GA, where we go gemstone hunting. I’ll have to keep an eye out when I’m up there!

Another famous sighting happened near Barnesville, GA (bottom middle of the map above, just to the left of the lowermost I75 symbol). The picture of the foot casting below was taken near Elkin Creek in Pike County, GA. If this is an accurate casting, the creature certainly has a big foot!

Expedition Bigfoot


If you watch The Travel Channel, you’ve probably seen shows featuring Josh Gates. In 2007, Josh cast a Yeti footprint. Below is the casting with Josh Gates in the background. That’s pretty cool!

Expedition Bigfoot

There are audio recordings at Expedition Bigfoot and you can don a set of headphones and hear cries, thumping on trees, and other sounds attributed to the creatures. Cool stuff!

I know none of this proves the existence of Bigfoot, but it sure makes for interesting speculation. I’ve not seen one, and skepticism runs deep. However, one of the people we spoke with at the museum declared herself not a believer, but a knower, and claims to have experienced many sightings over the years. Who knows? She might be correct!

Which are you? Are you a skeptic, a believer, or a knower? Leave me a comment and let me know! If you’ve seen one, give the details. I’d really like to know! Have you visited Expedition Bigfoot? Let us know and tell us about your own expedition to find Bigfoot!

If you want to email about your experience, send it to I also welcome new friends on social media. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, say hello, and let’s connect!

Meteor Crater and Winslow Arizona – Vacation 2017!!

June often means vacation time for Lana, the grandchildren, and me. This year, we decided to do something different and go west for Vacation 2017. Not all the way to the West Coast, but to Arizona and the Grand Canyon! We started at Meteor Crater and Winslow Arizona!

For those who don’t know, I was born in New Mexico and spent my first 13 years in New Mexico and Colorado before moving to South Georgia. Thus, I had some experience with the Southwestern US. Lana, Aidan, and Maggie didn’t, and they didn’t know what to expect from the different landscape and climate. When we landed in Phoenix, it was 113F and went up to 118F. Now, I know what you’re thinking – it was dry heat. True enough, but it was still HOT. Think of the humid southern climate as a sauna. Phoenix was like an oven! So, we got our rental car and headed to Flagstaff (our base of operations) and started our adventures. Thank goodness it was only in the mid-80’s and low 90’s in Flagstaff!

In upcoming posts, I’ll tell you more of what we saw and visited, but today, I wanted to talk about Meteor Crater. You all know I’m a big geek about space stuff, so this was right in my wheelhouse.

Scientists call the impact site the Barringer Crater (named for John Barringer who was the first to suggest it was made by a meteor), according to what we learned at the site. Canyon Diablo Crater is another name (the nearby town of Canyon Diablo inspired the name though it is a ghost town now). Scientists estimate the meteor that struck was moving somewhere between 28,000 mph and 42,300 mph. The crater formed in about 10 seconds and was ~700 feet deep initially. It’s now about 550 feet deep due to sediment buildup over the last 50,000 years.

Here is a picture of the crater!


Meteor Crater

I know the picture can’t do justice to the actual site, but maybe it gives an idea of how big the crater is. One of the other things I found on display during our visit was tektite! If readers of The Gemstone Chronicles recall, tektite was one of the stones in the books. In Book Two: The Amethyst, Beebop buys a tektite necklace that turns out to be a telepathy stone. Now, I didn’t intercept any communications, but to see pieces of tektite up close was very cool! You can read the tektite post here! Sorry the picture isn’t so good…

Meteor Crater Tektites

In case you can’t read the text in the photo, the samples shown are Indochinites. If you look at the map, you can see the Georgia strewnfield mentioned in my book.

We also learned the astronauts trained here for the moon missions in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Maybe that was the beginning of the conspiracy theory of the fake moon landing. Maybe I’ll explore that in another post!

We left the Meteor Crater and continued on to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert (that will be another post), but stopped in Winslow Arizona. And yes, we took a picture standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!

Meteor Winslow AZ

Just in case you missed it, in the window behind us is a girl in a flatbed Ford! We also had some great hot dogs and milk shakes at Sipp Shoppe before pushing on to the Petrified Forest.

There you have a small taste of our Arizona adventures. More to come!

Have you been to Arizona? Took a picture in Winslow? Leave me a comment and let me know. Connect with me on the socials, too! I love meeting new friends! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! As always, I appreciate any and all shares and subscribers to the blog!!


Submarines in Idaho!?!?!?!?… Yep, It’s True!!

When you think of Idaho, what is your first impression? For me, prototype training in Idaho Falls as a US Navy Nuclear Reactor operator is first thought. For others, skiing, hiking, and amazing vistas come to mind. Still others think of potatoes. Many conspiracy theorists believe the US moon landing was actually filmed at Craters of the Moon National Park and we never set foot on the moon. All those things make Idaho uniquely Idaho. Today I want to tell you about a  Navy facility in the Idaho wilderness. At the facility, engineers experiment with the latest in submarine hull design! Yep, submarines in Idaho!

What? Submarines in Idaho? Hey, we once trained to run submarine nuclear power plants in Idaho, so why not? And, it makes sense when you think about the facility. Called the Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD) in Bayview, Idaho, the site, located on the southern end of Lake Pend Orielle, performs research, development, test and evaluation of submarine acoustic stealth technology. Cool, you might say, but why Idaho?

According to Wikipedia, the lake, located in the Northern Idaho Panhandle, and fed by the Clark Fork and Pack Rivers is 43 miles long and 1150 feet deep in places (like near the test facility). At depths below 100 feet, the water is a constant 39F. The lake has a flat muddy bottom, and coupled with little boat traffic at night, makes it a perfect acoustic test location.

Why is this important? Well, as a former submarine sailor, I appreciate the need for silence on boats (yes, submarines are boats and surface ships are ships). While surface ships can operate quietly, stealth is especially crucial for submarines. The ARD helps in the mission.

ARD has its own fleet of submarines. An article by the LA Times says the subs are up to 88 feet long (roughly 1/4 size of a real submarine). The latest model, LSV-2 (large scale vehicle), is about 120 feet.  Cutthroat (LSV-2 modeled on the Virginia class), and Kokanee  (LSV-1 modeled on the Seawolf class) comprise part of the fleet. Rumors say at least 5 others call the site home. I read another article that named the boats. In addition to the boats listed above, the Dolly Varden, Pike, Whitefish, and Steelhead round out the fleet.

Submarines Kokanee LSV-1

Kokanee LSV -1

Officially, and according to the Naval Sea Systems Command website, the purpose of ARD is as follows.

These state-of-the-art facilities support a wide variety of research and technology development programs ranging from submarine propulsor development to the calibration of full-scale acoustic transducers. Detachment personnel supporting the experiments form a highly capable and versatile workforce providing ARD customers a timely and quality outcome. They work closely with project scientists, engineers and technicians throughout the Carderock Division and other Navy and private organizations, to plan and conduct operations and experiments on the lake.

The results obtained during past experiments have been extremely valuable to the Navy, especially in the area of submarine propulsor design, sonar dome development, submarine construction cost avoidance, and the development of several critical submarine design features. Future plans include critical support of current and future Navy submarine design in the area of structural acoustics, hydroacoustics, propulsor development, target strength reduction, and related experiments using the unique capabilities of the ARD.  The Large Scale Vehicle-2 (LSV-2), a large model of the VIRGINIA Class submarine, is being used extensively in the area of propulsor research. Large scale buoyant submarine models support testing in the area of submarine structural acoustic and hydroacoustic technology.  Target strength testing is conducted using the Intermediate Scale Measurement System (ISMS), which provides a unique acoustic test capability unsurpassed by any other available facility.

The ARD also houses a model of the Zumwalt class of destroyers. Officially the Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator (AESD), they call the ship Sea Jet. As I mentioned before, surface ships like to be quiet, too, and this facility helps make that a reality.  As every submariner knows, there are only 2 types of ships – submarines and targets. If you are a target rider, quiet can help you, too!

Submarines AESD photo

Sea Jet

Idaho and submarines seems an odd combination, until you look at why they exist. Then it makes perfect sense. Although almost 400 miles from the ocean, ARD makes great contributions to the submarine community. The improvements enhance the safety and effectiveness of US Navy boats. For that, and on behalf of submarine sailors former, current and future, thanks ARD!!

Have you been to Idaho? Maybe visited ARD or Lake Pend Orielle? Maybe prototype like me?  Are you a former submarine sailor? Despite the brutal winters, did you enjoy Idaho? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Do You Believe? Bigfoot (Or Sasquatch if You Prefer)!!

Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you prefer)!


Frequent readers of this blog know that I have a fascination for conspiracy theories, mysterious places, and other such things. Along those lines, the legends of Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) intrigues me. Though my interest waned somewhat, I recently reviewed Revived by J M Northup, a book with a Sasquatch as one of the main characters, and I’m catching up with the latest in Bigfoot lore.

So, where do the legends begin? Our oft-consulted friends at Wikipedia say the legends mostly begin in the Pacific Northwest. Native American folklore tells us Bigfoot is a hairy bipedal humanoid. So where did the name Sasquatch originate? Again, Wikipedia tells us the name is the Anglicized version of the Halkomelem (the language of the British Colombia First Nation peoples)  word sasq’ets.

Why does Sasquatch attract such attention? And, why do so many people believe in the creature? First of all, Bigfoot is deeply entrenched in popular culture. The creature became popular due to a famous video (the Patterson-Gimlin Film) made in 1967. The video, as grainy as it was, fueled public fascination with Bigfoot. With the release of the video, different groups popped up to either support the idea of Sasquatch’s existence or to debunk the myth.

Despite the lack of physical evidence like bones, Bigfoot believers are legion. Footprints, unclear photos, and other such evidence abounds, but most of the footprints are from other creatures (often bears), and the photos in existence don’t provide indisputable evidence.

To illustrate the divide between believes and non-believers, let’s use the lack of bones as evidence. Believers say it is due to Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) burying their dead. While that makes sense, non-believers would argue there aren’t any bodies because Bigfoot isn’t real.

Believers maintain the creatures exist. And the beasts aren’t confined to the Pacific Northwest or even North America. In Florida, you have the skunk ape (although the US Park Service views this as a hoax). The Yeti inhabits the Himalayas, while the Yowie is Australia’s version. Mongolia has the Yeren and Japan the Hibagon. With all of the different versions of the creature, it’s no wonder belief runs deep. In addition, the stories about the creatures have been around since at least the 6th century (St. Brendan allegedly encountered one during his visit), so we have centuries for the stories to become ingrained in our psyche! We even have road signs!

Bigfoot X-ing Sign

And that belief has spawned an industry and is worth big bucks! Animal Planet produces Finding Bigfoot (6 seasons and going strong)and  Discovery Channel devoted a special to Bigfoot. We even have an organization devoted to scientific research about the creature – The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization! All of this translates into money for the networks,  donations for research, and fuels the mythology and legends.

Bigfoot also is an advertising, TV, and movie staple. The Messin’ With Sasquatch commercials from Jack Link Jerky come to mind, as does the TV show Harry and the Hendersons. There are tons of others, including the series and special mentioned above.

I know I haven’t answered the question about Bigfoot’s existence. I can’t and, in spite of years of tales and legends, no one else can either. Similar to UFOs, there is no definitive proof Bigfoot exists, yet believers in both abound. As with many paranormal and conspiracy theories, you have to make up your own mind. Or, to quote the X-Files “the truth is out there.”

What do you think about Bigfoot? Real or legend? Are the sightings just hoaxes or is there a species wandering the forests successfully evading capture and hiding its existence? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Nuclear Powered Aircraft – In Dawsonville, GA!?!?

Nuclear Powered Aircraft!?

Readers of my blog and The Gemstone Chronicles know that I spent a decade in US Navy riding submarines and recruiting. I was trained as a nuclear reactor operator, and still keep up with some of the news in the nuclear world. My lovely and adorable bride, Lana, introduced me to a very cool website While browsing the site, I came across an article on a government research facility from the 1950’s in Dawsonville, Georgia. What does this have to do with submarines or nuclear power? Well, this research facility was used to test the radiation effects on various materials and the surrounding forest in an effort to build a nuclear powered aircraft! The map below, though kind of hard to read, shows the layout of the site.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft Site Map

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the site was the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory (or AFP No. 67) and was run by Lockheed. The purpose was to test various military vehicles and the surrounding forest to assess the effects of nuclear war on the environment and wildlife and the do research on a nuclear powered aircraft. The site was closed in 1971 and sold to Atlanta as a potential site of a second airport. The topography wasn’t suitable for an airport, and nature has reclaimed much of the site. Here is a picture of the hot cell building.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft Hot Cell Bldg

With the secrecy surrounding the site, it comes as no surprise that most of the documents about what was done in the forest remains highly classified. And no nuclear powered aircraft came from the work. It does make me wonder, though, if some of the experiments led to materials used on submarines.

I did further research and found a lot of conspiracy stuff (not surprisingly) about the site. I also found claims of animals with interesting deformities and abnormalities. There are alleged sightings of deer with two racks of antlers, albino black bears, and other such creatures. In the research I did, one of the reactors on site was an open air (or naked) reactor that was hoisted into the air while operational and without shielding, allowing the radiation to blast the surrounding forest. Personnel at the site were in underground shielded areas during the open air testing. The picture below shows the site circa 1960.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft GNAL-Circa-1960-Web

The underground facility was supposedly six or seven levels deep, but who knows for sure. When the site closed, the entrance tunnels were collapsed and sealed. One of the remaining visible buildings is the hot cell, which is also sealed and surrounded by barbed wire fencing. The hot cell is where they placed irradiated materials for further study. The building was deemed to be too hot to demolish until the radiation levels subsided more. That might be another 30-50 years…

The area is now public land managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, and you can kayak down the Etowah River that runs through the site.

As you can imagine, I have to take a trip up there to look around. It isn’t very far from where I live, so maybe next weekend might be a good time to go! When I do, I will be sure to post pics and do a follow-up to this post.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, we never had a nuclear powered aircraft. The USAF did experiment with a reactor in a plane, but that was to test the shielding for the crew. The reactor never actually powered the engines. I do recall when I was in Idaho in the Navy, there was an experiment going on to convert nuclear power for space travel, though, but I don’t know much more than that.

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It looks pretty cool to me, but what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know. You can connect with me on social media, too. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also send me an email at And, if you don’t want to miss a post (including my follow-up to this one), subscribe to the blog!


Mysterious Places – Gobekli Tepe and Baalbek!!

Conspiracy theories, odd history, unexplained events, mysterious places, and similar things intrigue me. Even my fantasy adventure series, The Gemstone Chronicles, is based on the legendary magical and mystical properties of gemstones. In an earlier post, I talked about two of my favorites conspiracy theories – the Philadelphia Experiment and the Knights Templar. And I admit to a guilty pleasure of watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel (I mean, who isn’t intrigued by Giorgio’s haircut?). Remember my posts on The Georgia Guidestones? That is a neat mysterious place not far from my home!

Mysterious Georgia-Guidestones-Web

Today, however, I want to talk about a couple of mysterious places around the globe. I don’t mean places like Stonehenge, the Carnac stones, Mayan temples, or Machu Pichu. Nope, I want to go for the really mysterious places!

I want to start our mysterious journey with a discussion of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. What makes this a mysterious place? Well, according to our oft-cited friends at Wikipedia, Gobekli Tepe is thought to be 12,000 years old! Put into perspective, the site is twice as old as Stonehenge and 7,000 years older than the Pyramids at Giza.

OK, so the place is old, but what makes it so mysterious? Well, consider that most scientists believe that humankind, at that point in history, were hunter-gatherers and lived in small nomadic bands that moved around in search of food. Yet, the amount of tools found at the site would indicate a workforce of, perhaps, hundreds. And, given the conventional wisdom that there weren’t any wheels or beasts of burden, how did the builders move blocks of limestone weighing up to 16 tons hundreds of feet? Interestingly enough, there isn’t much evidence of habitation (trash, cooking fires, bones of animals, etc.) at Gobekli Tepe, which leads to the question of what purpose the site served. Could it have been a religious site – at a time when religion wasn’t thought to exist? Here is a picture of the Gobekli Tepe site.

Mysterious Gobeckli-Tepe-site-Web

Carvings and depictions of animals, scorpions, and other creatures decorate some of the pillars at Gobekli Tepe. Again, consider this was during a time when cave drawings were being made, but not so much sculpture. And who built Gobekli Tepe? No clue on that one, but it does cast a mysterious shadow over what is now considered the oldest monument building in the world! Below is one of the pillars from the site. Note the animal carving.

Mysterious GobeklitepeHeykel-web

Gobekli Tepe was abandoned about 10,000 years ago, but instead of simply leaving, the site was carefully filled in (which accounts for its amazing preservation). Archaeologists estimate that only about 5% of the site has been excavated, so there may be many more surprises as it’s uncovered!

The next mysterious site we will visit is Baalbek in Lebanon. Baalbek is a site that has multiple layers of construction. The Roman City of Heliopolis sits on the top level and has some of the best Roman ruins remaining in Lebanon. The picture below is the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek.

Mysterious Roman-Temple-at-Baalbek-WebThe second level of construction is Phoenician. Baal was the Phoenician Sky-God and Baalbek appears to have been an important pilgrimage site for the worshipers of the deity. Alexander conquered the city 334 BCE, and then the Romans did it again almost 300 years later.

All that is interesting, but what makes this a mysterious place? How about the Baalbek Trilithon? What is the trilithon? It’s three massive stones that are part of the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter. The stones, placed about 40 feet above ground, weigh about 1000 tons each. Below is a picture of the trilithon. They are the massive stones outlined in green. Compare them to the surrounding stones and you see just how large they are.

Mysterious Baalbek-Trilithon-Web

The next picture is a megalith from the nearby quarry that was, for whatever reason, not completed. With a person (not me) in the picture, it gives an idea of the enormous scale of the megaliths!

Mysterious 1024px-Baalbek_stone

This is what makes this a mysterious place. Not one to believe in aliens, and not discounting the ingenuity of ancient people, it does make me wonder how on earth they moved stones like this. Even with today’s technology moving the stone would be difficult. I can only marvel that 2000 plus years ago people moved it!

What do you think of these mysterious places? How do you think the people of the day in Gobekli Tepe and Baalbek accomplished these engineering feats? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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My Next Book – And The Research Is Killing Me!!

As my many loyal readers know, I spent quite a bit of time doing research on the magical and mystical properties of gemstones for my fantasy adventure series The Gemstone Chronicles. I wanted to be sure I was true to the legendary characteristics that have fascinated people for millennia. I just think accuracy is important.

Along those lines, I have been researching (and slowly writing) my next book. It’s going to be a thriller (at least it is now – you never know where the characters will take you) that has absolutely nothing to do with gemstones, Aidan, Maggie, Nana, elves, of any of the other familiar characters from Celahir. No, this book will be set in current times and focus on a conspiracy. And part of it involves research into cool technology. Nanotechnology to be exact. And that is where the research is killing me!

Many of you know that I’m a big nerd and geek. I graduated from the US Navy’s Nuclear Power School (a kingdom of nerds and geeks if ever there was one), served aboard a nuclear powered submarine (very cool technology and engineering)and, if given the chance, will spend a day watching The Science Channel on TV. I like to read about quantum mechanics, and follow CERN on Google+. If there is going to be a black hole created during the search for the Higgs boson, I want to know about it!!

Now I’m researching nanotechnology and it appeals to my nerd/geek side. When I start reading about the technology, I want to keep reading about it. What exactly is nanotechnology? According to our friends over at Wikipedia, a general definition is the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nanometers. The definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum realm scale. What does all that mean? A nanometer (nm) is one billionth of a meter. By comparison, a DNA helix is 2 nm in diameter. Or, for you chemistry fans, the carbon-carbon bond lengths or the spacing between the atoms in a molecule is 0.12 – 0.15 nm. We are talking small!!

How does this fit into the research for my next book? As I mentioned above, nanotechnology figures prominently in the story. I can’t tell you much as it would be a spoiler, but I can describe some of the areas of nanotechnology research.  Nanomaterials include carbon nanotubes that can be used to make stain resistant fibers, nanopillars that can be used in solar cells (and help lower the cost of traditional silicon cells), and nanoparticles that can possibly be used for displays, solar cells, lighting, and other such applications.

Medical research with nanotechnology is also progressing. Ideas of using nanomachines to fight disease, cure illnesses, and other such possibilities are mind-boggling. Imagine a tiny machine that destroys cancer and then disappears. It could be possible in the near future.

But, I digress (as always happens when I do research). Nanotechnology isn’t the focus of this post. It was supposed to be about how research distracts me from writing my next book. I guess the key is discovering how much research is enough! I’m not writing historical fiction, so I think if I can get the gist of the idea across, that may be enough. On that note, I think I will try to stay away from the internet and do some writing!

Does research distract you from your writing? If not, what distractions do you encounter and how do you deal with them? Leave me a comment and let me know! I might be able to avoid some of them in the future!! 🙂

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Want to connect with me? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ or just email me at I look forward to connecting with you.