Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Matt Miller, Jacque Miller. Holly Miller, Shane Miller
Expedition Date: July 2005
Just west of Amarillo on Route 66 heading to New Mexico we exited and came upon two interesting sites: a rundown closed up hotel called the Bates Motel (Norman or his mother did not appear to be home) and a mile down a dusty two lane road was an empty field and the infamous Cadillac Ranch.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: This roadside oddity is actually ten Cadillac automobiles buried nose down in the ground supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The cars all face west in a line from a 1949 Cadillac Club Sedan to a 1963 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. The Cadillac Ranch is a tribute to the Cadillac Tail Fin. An Amarillo billionaire wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals. He hired a group of art hippies from San Francisco who invented and built the display in 1974.
FINDINGS: The cars were very securely cemented in the ground as we all climbed on them and posed for photos. All were colorfully adorned with spray paint and graffiti. We saw a car park and two men from Virginia approached. They were scientists who had heard about the Cadillac Ranch and the cars mathematical positioning in line with the pyramid and were excited to see it.
Date: 2001, July 16, 2003 & August 2012 Expedition Team: Matt Miller, Dave Miller
We traveled to Mammoth Cave (as a follow-up to our four ghost hunting investigations at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville) to investigate an underground Tuberculosis (TB) Treatment area. This was yet another inhumane, but at the time, a serious attempt to cure patients of TB.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Death from incurable TB, also referred to as consumption, was a major killer in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. In 1841, Dr. Bill McDowell, a Louisville Physician with an interest in treating TB, along with Dr. John Croghan, had sought to use the cave environment for his patients. Due to the dryness of the cave interior and the stable temperature & humidity, McDowell felt the cave must surely present “curative properties” for the TB patients. A series of wooden huts, some roofed with canvas for privacy, were built along with 2 stone cabins. The cabins were 12 ft. x 18 ft. and were built about 30 feet apart. The first cave patient was in 1842.
INVESTIGATION: Mammoth Cave is the worlds largest cave system with 405 miles and counting. Temperature year round is 54 degrees. Matt and I and our family joined the Violet City Lantern walking tour viewing beautiful cave formations, stalactites, pits and domes. Thirty minutes later near the Star Chamber in the cave Matt saw two stone “TB or Consumption Cabins” still in existence today. The second cabin served as a dining room. Turning our lights out plunged the cave into a dark, black abyss. Turning our lights back on, the dimly lit cabins looked like a ghost city. The park guide told us that beside the stone cabins were ten former wood cabins where the patients lived. The wood cabins deteriorated and no longer exist. Smoke from grease lamps and cooking fires and the gloomy conditions presented challenges for the patients. The guide told us that paid tours in the mid to late 1840’s went right by these wood and stone cabins. Can you imagine the shock to the tourists as they viewed in the dim distance, ghostly apparitions that seemed to float between the cabins? As the long ago visitor’s approached the structures, the ghosts became more solid and would reveal themselves to be alive with ghastly expressions of suffering as the disease slowly drained life from their bodies. Present day guides have received occasional reports of a man scene around the cabin then disappearing.
Exiting one cabin Matt and I saw a slab of stone named Corpse Rock, where bodies of deceased TB patients were laid out until removed for burial. National Park staff told us that over time, the sufferings of the TB patients were horrible. The patients condition deteriorated rather than improved. Patients in the cave after four months presented a frightening appearance – the face was bloodless, eyes sunken, pupils dilated so much that the iris was invisible. The patients lost particles of flesh, walked around gloomily and the dead silence was broken only by their hollow coughs. During our 15 minute investigation at the stone cabins (Photo #1 & #2 below), nothing paranormal was observed by us. Although the cave hospital was deemed to be a good idea by many doctors of the day as a possible cure for TB, the personal accounts of the patients and observers plus the deaths of the patients led to public criticism of the treatment experiments. The cave treatments were discontinued in 1849. Three of the 1840’s TB patients are buried in the Old Guide’s Cemetery, a short distance from the Visitor Center. Stephen Bishop, one of the famous original cave guides is buried in the local cemetery(Photo#5). When you tour Mammoth Cave today, the stark reminder of this terrible disease will haunt you when you trek past the two stone cabins in the dark where 16 TB patients perished due to this failed medical treatment experiment. Of note, Photo#4 below shows the Giant’s Coffin, a famous Mammoth Cave landmark located in the Broadway Avenue part of the cave.
We walked upstairs to the second floor to the room, staircase and hallway where the ghost of Deadwood’s first Sheriff Seth Bullock is occasionally seen. The assistant manager allowed us five minutes to sit in silence in the bedroom but we observed no paranormal activity. The hotel was built in 1895 by Bulloch and Sol Star and still has 28 of its original 63 rooms, a restaurant and casino.
This is my only International UFO Case out of my 24 cases, a Close Encounter of the Second Kind. My father was a fighter pilot and his brother Jim served on a battleship, both in the Pacific in World War II. Uncle Jim saw countless flying objects that he could not explain as conventional WWII aircraft. His curiosity peaked after the alleged 1947 Roswell, New Mexico report of a downed flying saucer with bodies and saucer parts flown back to Wright-Patt AFB in Dayton and the wave of UFO sightings in the 1950’s. Jim became a Field Investigator for MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). As a teen in Moraine, fueled by his cases and intrigued by the unknown, I pursued by paranormal hobbies as an adult and also became a Field Investigator for MUFON.
THE SIGHTING: Seventeen Rotarian’s and I flew to Mexico City, were driven 100 km south to several cities and stayed with Mexican Rotarian families for a week. We were there to help Mexican Rotarians implement a $150,000 joint grant to set up mobile cervical cancer treatment centers. I stayed with a family in Cocoyoc in the state of Morelos. One evening during dinner conversation UFO’s were mentioned and my host Antonio said a close friend had taken a photo of a UFO four days ago. I asked if I could talk to him the next day.
We traveled ten miles to his friend, Carlos Diaz, to his house in Tepotzlan (pop. 12,500). His house was in a canyon around a mountain from the city, with few houses in the area. Carlos explained that five nights ago he was awakened at 2:30am when his dog was barking outside. The dog would not stop barking. As he looked out the window he observed a white pulsating disc shaped object moving slowly northwest. He turned away to locate his camera. Two minutes later he returned but the UFO was gone. Carlos left the camera out on his bedroom table. The following night at 1:35am he was again awakening by his dog barking outside. He grabbed the camera, looked out the window (which had no screen or glass) and took a photo (see Photo #1) of a yellowish disc shaped object which at first he thought had several dark observation windows. It was pulsating and moved east to west. It made no noise, the sky was cloudless with hundreds of stars. Carlos ran outside and saw the disc as it flew out of sight around the nearby mountain peak. His dog stopped acting agitated and barking after the UFO disappeared. This is classified a Close Encounter of the Second Kind because it was a visual nighttime sighting of a UFO seemingly 500 feet away or closer and has an animal reaction.
INVESTIGATION: When investigating the paranormal my goal is to debunk the claim, trying to determine a reasonable explanation or a hoax. Surrounding Carlo’s house was scrub brush, cactus and dirt. Carlo explained the sighting (Photo#2) to us. Started at his house we walked circles around his yard until we were 300 yards away but saw no unusual disturbance or damage to brush, tree tops or markings in the dirt. I checked and their area was in no military or commercial flight patterns. No helicopters service this area. We found no evidence.
Tepoztlan, located 46 miles south of Mexico City, is the reputed birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent God. Later that day we drove into Tepoztlan to the trailhead and hiked up 2,000 feet up the mountain on the 2.1 mile trail to the ruins of El Tepozteco Pyramid, a Temple honoring the Aztec God. The pyramid was built in 1470. Eerie Aztec and Mayan statues look alien-like (many Mexican UFO sightings have been reported near Mayan and Aztec ruins). We hiked a quarter mile north and west of the ruins overlooking the canyon where Carlo lived as his house was away from the city lights (Photo#4). We sat and enjoyed the panoramic view for a couple hours. Before we headed down the steep, dangerous trail at dusk, we observed nothing suspicious in the darkening sky.
Biking the “Windy City” is definitely a windy challenge. Along the bikepath that parallels Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan you get constant crosswinds. We biked ten miles enjoying the views of the skyscrapers, the 108 floor Sears Tower which is now called the Willis Tower (Photo#1) and waterfront. We biked past the Field Museum, Shed Aquaruim and the Navy Pier where we could see the giant ferris wheel in the distance. We rode downtown a few blocks past Michael Jordan’s Restaurant (Photo#3) and ate lunch at Planet Hollywood. We bicycled under the famous Chicago “L” (Photo#4) where rapid transit elevated trains zipped over our heads. The “L” is the site of many movie detective scenes and car chase scenes such as in “The Blues Brothers” movie. Later for dinner we enjoyed a thick, yummy Chicago pizza.