The Pargan Kelpie

From Fox News

From Fox News

Several days ago this headline on Fox News caught my eye, Tourist captures image of mysterious sea monster off Grecian coastline.

Harvey Robertson was on a boat cruise off the coast of Parga, sailing through sea caves with his family. He was initially just trying to capture the unusual color of the surrounding water with his iPhone camera.

What he shot instead has baffled those across the Internet—and marine scientists. Looking back through his camera, Robertson saw that he had captured a grey creature that resembles an elongated manatee. The strange animal appears to pop out of the water in one photo, then disappears under the greenish water in the next.

Evidently Robertson, a Scottish tourist, didn’t realize he’d taken a picture of the animal until later. Fox joked that perhaps the Loch Ness Monster had followed him to Greece.

Having a lifelong interest in cryptozoology, I was fascinated by these photos and the fact that the creature was so curious– “just popping up to say hello!” And something about the creature seemed terribly familiar to me. Since I first read the story I went back and looked at the initial photo a few more times but didn’t read more about it. This morning I woke up, looked at it again, and it hit me– it looks like a Pictish beast. The snout, the eyes, the body length…

The Maiden Stone, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. From the Aberdeenshire Council.

The Maiden Stone, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. From the Aberdeenshire Council.

A little history– the Picts occupied the northern and eastern part of Scotland during the late Iron Age and earlier on in medieval times. The Romans called them the Picti, the Painted Ones. They were a fierce people who seemed to disappear or be absorbed by the Gaels about a thousand years ago. Several hundred stones carved by the Picts have been found and so there are multiple depictions of this mysterious creature along with others that are not easily identified. The Maiden Stone dates from the 8th or 9th century AD.

Nowadays we are quick to dismiss our ancestors’ “mythology” and so consign centaurs and dragons and Bigfoot to the realms of fantasy. We don’t care to explain why some of these creatures have been a part of many cultures planet-wide and how their stories have been passed down to us over thousands of years. We (ahem) enlightened modern humans tend to laugh off what we haven’t seen when it’s actually hilarious how little we know about our world. We remain largely ignorant about what lurks in the deep oceans and dark jungles. Perhaps Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World wasn’t so far off.

Given the depths genetic experimentation has already sunk to, mixing human and animal genes, pirating parts from unborn children, and generally playing God in ways that could be grossly misused (hybrid armies?), it’s plausible that a rearranging of our fundamental building blocks has been attempted before. Some believe that aliens manipulated our genomes in the past. Others believe that a certain fallen angel and his doomed legions (greys) have been trying to alter God’s design for their own purposes since the beginning, requiring purges like a worldwide flood (Noah’s ark) and the Israelites’ orders to destroy certain peoples, including giants.

Pictish Beast 2

From the BBC

I don’t think this animal is a result of genetic tampering, but could just be another of the wonders of God’s creation. If this creature is real, it’s amazing. I look upon the staggering beauty and diversity in our world that was all designed to work together and marvel over how much fun the Creator must have had cooking it all up. Mathematically it’s impossible for all of this to have evolved, from nothing, by chance, even over billions and billions of years. As C.S. Lewis said, “If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe– no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside us as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that’s just what we do find inside us.”

So to automatically dismiss the existence of a creature like the Pictish beast is arrogant. Anything is possible with an unlimited Creator and what’s real isn’t limited to what we’ve personally seen. Who’s to say that what’s also referred to as the Pictish dragon or Pictish elephant couldn’t have migrated to warmer water over the centuries– or maybe this is a cousin that’s been there all along. I’ve always thought this animal was a water beast because of its posture and appendages. Depictions of it aren’t limited to the seashore; the Maiden Stone, for example, is inland in Inverurie, which is near a major river. You can see the Maiden Stone in 3D here (note the centaur-like figure too).

Pictish Beast 1

We have porpoises, manatees, and dugongs, so why not this guy? If he’s like them, he’s probably highly intelligent, and his ancestors likely interacted with people in the past. Maybe he was swimming along and was stirred by some ancient memory of getting a free snack from the odd-looking long-limbed things in the boat. It’s amusing that this tourist in Greece was Scottish because nearly every Scottish body of water of any size has a kelpie legend associated with it. Kelpies are also called water horses and in some stories have the ability to change into human form. For centuries the Scots and others have been seeing something, and while facts can be exaggerated, I believe something actually existed or perhaps still exists.

Ultimately I hope this photo can be proven to be unaltered so that it gives us all a better appreciation of our neighbors on this fragile ball. We, here, now, are the remnants of an ancient original design that through our own choices and bad influences has become flawed. Maybe this guy’s a holdout, a survivor, part of a group that’s smart enough to generally avoid humans to preserve themselves (note that he was in a cave). He might look just like his kind did hundreds or even thousands of years ago, back in the days before cameras when Pictish artists would carve their likenesses into pillars of rock. Maybe only the females have the ponytail. Clearly creatures like this were important to the Picts, important enough to include in a message transmitted through time, one that would someday reach us and say, “don’t be so quick to scoff at what we knew all along.”

From The Heroic Age, Pictish Art and the Sea, by Craig Cessford, University of Cambridge. Simplified illustration of some dragonesque brooches from Scotland, the Mortlach 2 symbol and some Pictish Beast symbols (based mainly upon Allen and Anderson 1903, vol. III and Kilbride-Jones 1980).

From The Heroic Age, Pictish Art and the Sea, by Craig Cessford,
University of Cambridge. Simplified illustration of some dragonesque brooches from Scotland, the Mortlach 2 symbol and some Pictish Beast symbols (based mainly upon Allen and Anderson 1903, vol. III and Kilbride-Jones 1980).


Read more about the Pictish beast in Craig Cessford’s Pictish Art and the Sea.


What can be more foolish than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth could come by chance, when all the skill of art is not able to make an oyster! -Jeremy Taylor


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.


In the course of our lives we will inevitably run into a circumstance in which we desperately need quiet but don’t have it. One way of creating a more controlled environment in which we can study, sleep, work, build tall towers out of overcooked breakfast sausages, or otherwise function is to utilize white noise.

This week I had a chance to share some of my favorite white noise websites and figured I’d post them online too. After all, most American adults don’t get nearly enough sleep, and sometimes we need a little buffer between us and the rest of the world to focus on the tasks at hand.

First, check out the Relaxing White Noise channel on YouTube. Aaaah… Skyscraper, Gentle Creek, Space Odyssey, and Interstellar Voyage are just some of the options, along with one of the most effective white noise sources known to man, the box fan. Previously box fans were only practical during sweltering summer months. Now you can enjoy the ambiance year round.

Next, drift on over to Yogaduke’s channel. While I personally don’t practice elements of eastern religions, there is still a wealth of useful audio pleasures on here. Think Rain on a Tent, Rain in the City, Driving in a Thunderstorm, Waterfalls, Fans, and Hotel AC. Yogaduke also has a video for cats that is on the Top Ten list of feline-approved videos in my household, Feeding the Birds. (Disclaimer: If you’re playing the relaxing sound videos and this one happens to come on, you could very well be awakened by a cat pounce to the chest and excited nananana chattering as your cat zeros in on its virtual prey.)

Saunter along over to Randall’s Rest and Relaxation station. Randall has some of the most innovative and effective white noise combinations this side of the Mississippi (although in truth, I don’t know where Randall is). Rain + Fan + Cat + Heart is amazingly soothing. Fireplace Sounds… Night Forest Ambiance… River Sleep… and LOUD fans in all shapes and sizes. Diesel Vibrations… Midnight Train… I thought he’d hit his peak with 12 Fans for 12 Hours, but then he went and recorded 31 FANS!! Oh wait, he now has an epic 64 FAN MEGA VIDEO!

While you might be asking yourself how some of these sounds are relaxing, different sounds work for different people. Sounds can link us to pleasant childhood memories, conjure up happy thoughts, or provide an escape from the cares of life and those three doctor bills still sitting on the dining room table. Play around, experiment– some of these even help babies sleep. But do be cognizant that right when your 6 month-old has dropped off into La La Land, that Final Countdown YouTube ad featuring Europe and a microwaved burrito might well blast them into a perpetual state of screaming. Beware the YouTube ads.

Calmsound.com offers some common nature sounds like rain, thunder, and the ocean, similar to what you’d get from a store-brought noise machine. They also offer Fairy Glen and Country Garden. You can spend a pretty penny on noise machines that don’t offer nearly what the Internet does, but Bed Bath & Beyond has a basic $19.99 model, the HoMedica SoundSpa Sound Machine, that works quite nicely in non-Internet or non-speaker accessible rooms. It does not involve seagulls. And save the 20 percent off coupon in the junk mail flyers for additional savings (you know you usually recycle that).

MyNoise.net, hands down, has the coolest feature of any white noise generator online or otherwise– an equalizer. You can adjust the frequencies of the noises making up each theme, which is hugely helpful to those with hearing loss. This is also useful if you find a calming sound that is suddenly interrupted by a jarring bird call or primate yell. Just turn down the bird. This site allows you to customize a number of background symphonies. It has presets, a mute function, and you can adjust to brown, pink, white, or grey settings. I often find brown or pink noise to be more effective than white.

MyNoise.net has a free app as some sites do and certain noises can be downloaded as albums. Not all are free. Categories include Synthetic Noises, Natural Noises, Tonal Drones, Brainwaves, Industrial Noises, Voices, Atmospheres, Soundscapes, Magic Generators, and Pattern Scapes. The tonal drones are particularly intriguing. Try out Bagpipes, Canyon, Didgeridrone, Ethereal Choir, Ice World, and Stardust. Ice World can help you create your own personal Fortress of Solitude. Didgeridrone isn’t as hip as the famed Adèle & Zalem Didgeridoo Duet, but still has the power of slumber from Down Under. 

SimplyNoise.com has brown, pink, and white noise. It has a timer and an oscillation feature. This can sound like annoying TV static on its own, but when used to mask more grating sounds, it can blend into the background. Similarly, SimplyRain.com has the same features but showcases a rain sound with the option to omit thunder, have a little thunder, or a lot of thunder. Here in the Northwest many of us find the sound of rain relaxing as it’s our natural white noise. Thunder rattles some but others of us go racing outside to witness the fireworks of a good storm or at least secure a window seat.

There is no substitute for the background sounds of nature. But as we build ourselves these increasingly artificial, human noise-saturated environments and continue to cut ourselves off from the wonders of creation, it is necessary to rediscover the original recipe for beneficial sleep and calm. Those watery, windy, wave-lashed, warbling and wavering wild sounds that soothed our ancestors for so many generations still have a purpose and might be needed now more than ever.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to conclude before I head butt the monitor in a state of bliss from listening to all these demos. Midnight Diesel Engine with Cat Accordion Liver Idling Jungle Centrifuge, take me away…


Now I know the secret of making the best persons; it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth. –Walt Whitman


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

We Are Safe

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What do you plan to do about it?

Here’s one option. Ask your church or faith-based community organization to take the pledge to become a Safe Faith Community. The team behind Document the Abuse has unveiled this new initiative at the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month to encourage faith-based organizations to be a safe place for domestic violence victims.

For years I’ve said that the church should be the first place domestic violence victims should go for help, yet it is often the last place they’ll go because of the legalism, judgment, and condemnation they might face. Many churches don’t know how to connect victims with resources in their communities either. In addition, those in the ministry who don’t understand the dynamics of domestic violence can provide misinformed and even dangerous counsel.

Too often victims are told that if they would just improve their own behavior or be more attractive their abuser wouldn’t be so inclined to hurt them, be that physically, financially, sexually, or psychologically. Abuse takes many forms. I call this the “just put a bow in your hair, act like nothing’s wrong, and make a nice casserole” syndrome. Victims are frequently guilted into staying in unhealthy and unsafe situations with the Bible erroneously used as justification for why they should endure. Power and control is at the root of this evil. The victim is not causing it and they cannot make their abuser change.

The church’s first concern should be whether the victims are safe, not how to reconcile the relationship, not to treat the victim as an equally guilty party who needs marriage counseling, not telling them God will punish them if they get a divorce in order to keep themselves or their children safe. Churches can become havens for abusers and predators when more concern is given to the possibility that they might make things right with God than to the immediate and even life-threatening matters their victims are facing. Churches too have pathological personalities like narcissists and sociopaths who might have no interest in improving their behavior but have obsessive interests in controlling or stalking their victims.

Statistically, domestic violence is just as prevalent in the church as it is in the rest of the world. It’s probably the single biggest issue facing church families, but the least talked about. It’s high time for churches to start showing domestic violence victims the grace of God more generously and to speak out with one voice against this atrocity. It’s all around us. If we believe in a higher moral authority, why then are we not more interested in living according to that law rather than our own selfish and immature desires that cause others pain? What point is there in believing in Him if our behavior is no different than those without that hope?

Purple Ribbon DV

The Safe Faith Community Project is asking faith leaders to make these promises:

1. Learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

2. Stand with victims of domestic violence as they desire and seek healing and wholeness.

3. Never coerce or require a victim of domestic violence to reconcile with their abuser.

4. Share at least one sermon each October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) about the epidemic of domestic violence and how the church can respond.

5. Connect with a domestic violence shelter in our city/town.

6. Show that our faith community is a designated safe place by prominently placing Safe Faith Community decal on your site or social media.

7. Offer the Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse (training optional for staff or selected individuals), found at documenttheabuse.com or at the Apple Store, and a copy of the book, “Time’s Up,” to each victim of domestic violence we encounter.

This is going to challenge churches to get out of their comfort zone and walk the walk! I already sense that some will have a problem with #3. I’ve known people and churches who treat divorce as if it’s the unforgivable sin, so counsel victims to remain with dangerous and unstable people. I was so weighed down by such legalism (man-made rules on top of God’s) that I nearly waited too long to get out of a marriage rife with death threats. Some believers try to convince victims that they’ll go to hell if they marry again.

Really? God’s grace does not extend to victims of abuse? It is His will that they spend the rest of their lives in submission to godless individuals who do the enemy’s work instead of His? That’s like having a curse put on you that supposedly not even God Himself can lift. It’s like being in a macabre fairy tale where someone is changed into a beast or put into a deep sleep, but the prince or rescuer never comes.

Note a tool mentioned in this pledge called the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, or EAA. It is a way of documenting abuse so that the victim can speak for themselves in court if they are missing, incapacitated, or dead. By gathering certain documents and photos and using templates in the Time’s Up book, the victim can videotape their testimony and have it notarized and stored in the cloud where their abuser can’t get to it. This is intended to get around the hearsay rule in court—this is unaltered testimony coming straight from the victim. See Document the Abuse for more information.

Join the movement. Share this website with your church leadership and dare them to step out in faith on behalf of those affected by domestic violence. This is not a partisan or a denominational issue; domestic violence affects people of all faiths and creeds.

This will become a nationwide, if not worldwide, movement. Faith communities need to focus on eliminating domestic violence rather than enabling it. This is a great first step. Will you pass it on?

Safefaithcommunity.com. See also the Document the Abuse Facebook page.

From http://beckerimpact.blogspot.com/2012/10/joining-million-voices.html*************************************************************************************

Change starts when someone sees the next step. –William Drayton


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Moonrise Monday


This is magnificent. The magic continues. I was astounded by the size of the moon as it came over the eastern horizon tonight.


Supermoon: The Legend Continues. We are having unseasonably warm clear weather here, which isn’t helping our drought, but is providing utterly glorious views of the night sky.

If you’d like to know what you’re looking at here, this handy chart from Wikipedia provides the answers. Tycho and Copernicus are just two of the features that are perfectly visible to the naked eye tonight.

From Wikipedia. Click on the image to learn more.

From Wikipedia. Click on the image to learn more.


The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. -1 Corinthians 15:41


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

The Morning After



This morning’s setting moon…


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

You can watch the September 27th, 2015 blood supermoon live on Slooh.com now (5:00 PDT). You can find out where it’s visible and when to watch it at Space.com (which has all sorts of other tantalizing details as well).

Yes, the moon tonight is:

-The harvest moon: the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.

-A super moon: the moon is at the closest point in its orbit to the earth– only  221,753 miles away.

-A blood moon: a total lunar eclipse is happening.

This is the fourth blood moon since last year, so the last of a tetrad. You might remember my April 2014 post The Blood Moon Tetrad explaining why this series of astronomical events could be so significant.

The Jewish holiday Sukkot (read its history and meaning here— happy 5776!) begins at sundown tonight, which is 6:57 P.M. here in Seattle. Moonrise is a few minutes before. It will be a full eclipse by 7:07 P.M., so the eclipse will be nearing its peak by the time we see the moon. Thankfully it’s been a beautiful warm day here and it’s unlikely clouds will obstruct our view of this event.

Many are intrigued that this rare astronomical event– the first blood supermoon in 33 years– is happening at the end of a shemitah, a seven-year economic cycle, at a time when both faith-based and secular experts are predicting a huge economic crash. Is it a sign? Should we be ready for a massive shift and for God’s hand in increasingly dark world affairs?

Is He trying to get our attention?

Regardless of what you believe– I do believe we should be paying attention to the heavens (Matthew 24, Luke 21) and asking ourselves what we really stand for– enjoy this phenomenal and gorgeous sight. Hopefully people are recovered enough from the Hawks 26-0 win over the Bears today to lift up their eyes and soak it all in.

The Cuillin from Elgol, Loch Scavaig, The Isle of Skye, Scotland by Scottish Landscape Artist Andy Peutherer

The Cuillin from Elgol, Loch Scavaig, The Isle of Skye, Scotland by Scottish Landscape Artist Andy Peutherer


Update, 9/27/15: Here are some of the many shots of tonight’s supermoon I captured from the Seattle area. The moon was most difficult to photograph when it was red. I played with various settings, and while I didn’t get the series of jaw-dropping photos I wanted, this still provides a realistic walk through the phases of this lunar eclipse. I’m glad to have gotten to see the whole event when many places couldn’t.

It morphed from glaring angry red alien to jovial intergalactic Cheshire Cat to half-orange sherbet, half-vanilla ice cream to brown-tinged cookie somebody took a bite out of, then it became a brilliant beacon. During the eclipse the sky went from a passionate blue to reddish hues near the moon to a deep darkness and then a navy canopy studded with stars. We were blessed with cloudless weather and even saw a meteor. What an exhilarating experience!

DSCN0870 DSCN0927 DSCN0973 DSCN0979 DSCN0989 DSCN0993 DSCN0999 DSCN1017 DSCN1037 DSCN1043 DSCN1059 DSCN1071 DSCN1103 DSCN1119 DSCN1126 DSCN1140 DSCN1155 DSCN1163 DSCN1166 DSCN1180 DSCN1228 DSCN1239

If you don’t have a set of finger lights for festive occasions like this or for when a headlamp or flashlight is just too much, you should. Note the completely full moon at the top. And check out this lantern that looks like the moon on Twisted Sifter. The most amazing home decor item I’ve seen in a while. It brings the wonder of a full moon indoors.

Same Moon


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Hey We the People– September 17th is Constitution Day, meaning it’s been 228 years since the completion of the supreme law of the United States.

The National Constitution Center has an Interactive Constitution page that delves into relevant issues.

Also check out their pop quiz.

And they have a great FAQ page.

Viva la Constitution, baby, yeah! May she always trump the special interests, control freaks, subversive foreign ideologies, and those who treat her like Play-Doh that can be reshaped on a whim.


We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. –Abraham Lincoln


©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.


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