Bigfoot, Nessie, and sundry creatures

Since I’ll be away all weekend, I snagged this topic on Wednesday from Kay’s Best Intentions blogspot and wrote it early. Didn’t want to get so busy I skipped a week again!

I came across Kay’s list of 36 Of The Best Blog Post Ideas.. EVER! on Pinterest a couple weeks after she first published it. This one is #25: “What supernatural things do you believe in or not? (aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, etc.)” I wouldn’t describe what I’m about to write about as “supernatural,” but since she put bigfoot in between those parenthesis I decided to just go with it.

A Budding Cryptid Obsession

I first discovered cryptozoology 14 or 15 years ago on an out-of-the-way bookshelf in Perrycook Memorial Public Library in the tiny town of Johnsville, Ohio. Alan Garinger’s book Water Monsters was thin and black with a brightly colored image on the front depicting a stylized water creature with a purple head shaped like a sharpened pencil. I had to stand on tiptoes to reach the shelf where it was snuggled up beside a cheesy-looking UFO book.

Once I’d read the book at least three times, I sent letters begging for more information to each address listed the back of the book, and received a treasure trove of reading material. I was sent an article on the Alkali Lake Monster, a booklet titled “The Legend of the Silver Lake Sea Serpent,” and a nice letter from a communications manager who had written about the Bear Lake Monster hoax. The city of Kelowna sent articles about Ogopogo, and the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce gave me an information packet on their giant turtle, including turtle shaped pencil-toppers and a bottle opener.

Water Creatures

I’m picky in which cryptids I follow. My favorites are the water creatures, though the “living dinosaurs” are a very close second. I’ll also keep track of research on hairy hominids (bigfoot, yeti, skunk ape, alma, etc.), but they can’t hold my interest for long. I feel like they are less mysterious than the water dwellers, almost too close to being recognized by mainstream science to be intriguing. Other areas of cryptozoology I rarely touch are the creepier cryptids like chupacabra, anything that starts to fringe into alien-hunter territory, and questionably extinct species like Thylacine.

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me at Lake Champlain in 2012

Anything that supposedly lives in the water, though … that I like. The lake monsters: Champ of Lake Champlain, Ogopogo of Lake Okanagan, Nahuelito of Lago Nahuel Huapi, Nessie of Loch Ness. The sea serpents: Caddy typically sighted off the coast of British Columbia, the Valhalla sighting of 1905, the Gloucester Sea Serpent, the tadpole-like Hook Island photos, the enormous crocodilian blown out of the water by the German U-28 submarine in 1915.

The only cryptozoologically famous spot I’ve visited so far is Lake Champlain. We missed the heyday of sightings at Bulwagga Bay by about 40 years, but this commemorative board listing Champ sightings in the area was as close as I’ve come to one of my favorite lake monsters.

Monster Art

For my final project in my digital art class at college, I did a series of prints focused on 7 different cryptids and placed them in a book. They were Nessie, Champ, Ogopogo, Caddy, Mokel-mbembe, Ropen, and Bigfoot. I’ll include the first three at the end of this post. Each piece arranged sketches, photos, and sighting informaition around a map of the area each creature is said to inhabit.

I can’t finish this post without touching on the living dinosaurs. The most well-known — mokele-mbembe, emela-ntouka, and kongamato — have been reported on a fairly regular basis in the Congo region of Africa. Mokele-mbembe (consistently described as a small sauropod dinosaur) seems to me like one of the cryptids most likely to be real — the area is difficult to explore well enough to rule out their existence, and the people who actually live there talk about mokele-mbembe as if they are as real as hippos, monkeies, and snakes.

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From an art project I completed in college (click for full-size. The notes are read-able)

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What If …

Instead of my usual Bible Study type post for Saturday, I thought I would share a few of the Bible-related thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind lately. It would be awesome if these sparked a discussion in the comments 😉

Green and Blue

What if the sky and oceans are blue and plants are green because those are God’s favorite colors? I know about the scientific explanations for why chlorophyll in plant leaves is green and how the atmosphere scatters blue light, but I’m thinking about when the science behind the colors was created. I’m sure God could have set up the world so it looked purple and orange, or red and yellow, or any other combination of colors.

The really cool thing is, if you Google “Which colors are the most relaxing?” the top results are green and blue. Psychologists, designers, and certain philosophies all agree these are the most calming, peaceful colors. Blue triggers feelings of serenity, lower blood pressure, and people are more productive in a blue room. Green is calming, refreshing, and the easiest color for our eyes to look at. Isn’t it amazing that God surrounds us with colors designed to make us feel better?

Planks in Eyes

Reverendfun.com 01-23-2001What if the parts of the Bible we avoid the most are the parts we need to listen to the closest? Perhaps the verses that make us angry are the ones which should inspire us to search for planks in our eyes (Matt. 7:1-5).

Here’s  a couple examples I’ve been thinking about. The Bible teaches that women are to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24), not teach in church(1 Tim. 2:12), and maintain a physical appearance that clearly shows they are women instead of men (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 11:2-15). Perhaps feeling threatened by such verses is a sign that we could be doing better at exercising Godly femininity. Similarly, there are plenty of verses instructing Christians not give the people of God a bad name by resisting human governments (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:17). Yet these verses are often ignored or scoffed at by those in the church who are most vocal politically. It bothers me.

Jesus and the MBTI

For my last “What if …?” I want to talk about a question that has lead several people to my blog recently. Looking at a summary of search terms used, I see “Jesus infj,” “is Jesus an infj?” and “was Jesus an infj.” Since people are ending up on my blog because of this question, I thought I would address it. To me, it seems almost sacrilegious to claim we’ve pinned down Jesus’s personality type. If there was ever anyone who couldn’t be classified or put into a single box, I think it would be Him. If, however, we accept the idea that personality types exist and people can be categorized by them at least loosely, having a specific personality type could have been part of Jesus’s experience when living a human life. With that as our foundation, I think it would be safe to say Jesus is most like the group David Keirsey called “Idealists.” Of this type, Keirsey says in the description on his website,

Idealists (NFs), as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self — always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey.

From there, we have four Myers-Briggs types: the Teacher (ENFJ), the Counselor (INFJ), the Champion (ENFP), and the Healer (INFP). Though I’ve read arguments that go back and forth on whether Jesus was an introvert or an extrovert, I’m not going to offer my opinion or try to narrow this down any more.

Sherlock, Roses, and God

prink rose 'Bill Warner'

‘Bill Warner’

I was reading Sherlock Holmes “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty” the other day when I came across a quote about religion. I’ve read maybe a third of the Doyle’s Sherlock stories, but never thought of the character as religious before. In this story, Sherlock has just heard the particulars of a case and walks to the open window, where he plucks a rose.

“There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a conditions of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”

yellow rose 'Aperitif'

‘Aperitif’

I’ve marveled at the roses growing in my garden as examples of God’s creative work, but not precisely in this light before. Sherlock’s belief that, “It is only goodness which gives extras” fits perfectly with this scripture:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.(James 1:17)

How many “extras” has God put in your life? How many gifts has He given that are not necessary for your existence, but make life so much more enjoyable?

Aside from flowers, one of the first things I thought of was books. If all my 1,000+ books disappeared right now I would 1) have the most outrageous panic attack, but 2) life would go on in that I don’t need books to stay alive. Music, fluffy cats, chocolate covered almonds, and the computer I’m typing this with are all “extras.”

red rose 'Mr. Lincoln'

‘Mr. Lincoln’

Considering this, the only thing I can think of to say is:

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all His praise? (Ps. 106:1-2)

Sabbath In The Woods

One of the trails by Pugh Cabin

One of the trails by Pugh Cabin

This Sabbath is our local church group’s bi-annual meeting in a log cabin (it’s a very nice cabin made out of old pine electric poles with meeting room and a kitchen). We have a potluck (I baked blond brownies) and, if the weather holds, we’ll have a chance to go walking on some lovely hiking trails.

I don’t think there’s any better place to spend the Sabbath than surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork,” and the same can be said of the earth (Ps. 19:1).

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20).

This passage always amazes me. It seems to be saying that even if we didn’t have the Bible, there’s enough evidence in the world around us to reveal God. And yet, the people who spend their lives studying the world come up with some pretty bizzar theories to explain away God. For example, here’s a passage from Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible:

There are scores of “accidents” involving the constants of nature that allow for life. Apparently, our universe lives in a “Goldilocks zone” of many parameters, all of which are “fine-tuned” to allow for life. So either we are left with the conclusion that there is a God of some sort who has chosen our universe to be “just right” to allow for life, or there are billions of parallel universes, many of them dead. (page 240-241)

What amazes me is that when confronted with the option to believe in God or the multiverse, so many people would rather believe “there are trillions upon trillions of possible universes” (page 239). If this version of string theory were correct, these universes are like soap bubbles floating in “eleven-dimensional hyperspace. These bubbles can join with other bubbles, split apart, and even pop into existence and disappear” (page 239). And apparently this makes more sense than believing in God.

Perhaps Dr. J Budziszewski was right when he said, “Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that one must be highly intelligent and educated to commit” (Escape from Nihilism).