“ANTARCTIC APPARITIONS AND EERIE ENIGMAS” #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: Antarctica may not be the place most people associate with ancient history, but this remarkable continent still holds many secrets. This virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass seems to offer little evidence of once being home to ancient civilizations. However, we do not know what is hidden beneath the thick ice, or do we? Why did the Nazis launch an expensive expedition to the South Pole in 1938? Could there be an ancient lost city under the ice of the Antarctic? What are the mysterious high-energy particles detected coming up from under the ice? And what did a group of researchers come across that they to this day can’t explain in simple scientific terms? And what of the numerous phantoms and specters claimed to have been seen on the ice and in the waters of the Antarctic? And what about the ice that’s bleeding? Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness, we travel to the Antarctic – onto it, over it, and under it… and find some strange, and often terrifying things during the trip!
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“Antarctica Strangeness” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages: https://tinyurl.com/y5unjlwe, https://tinyurl.com/y494goxn,https://tinyurl.com/y4q2w754
“Ghostly Shivers in Antarctica” by Erin McCann for Ranker: https://tinyurl.com/y2rxprvw
“Antarctic Oddities” from Wayfair Travel: https://tinyurl.com/yxrjd4zv
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Antarctica may not be the place most people associate with ancient history, but this remarkable continent still holds many secrets. This virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass seems to offer little evidence of once being home to ancient civilizations. However, we do not know what is hidden beneath the thick ice, or do we? Why did the Nazis launch an expensive expedition to the South Pole in 1938? Could there be an ancient lost city under the ice of the Antarctic? What are the mysterious high-energy particles detected coming up from under the ice? And what did a group of researchers come across that they to this day can’t explain in simple scientific terms? And what of the numerous phantoms and specters claimed to have been seen on the ice and in the waters of the Antarctic? And what about the ice that’s bleeding?
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…
We travel to the Antarctic – onto it, over it, and under it… and find some strange, and often terrifying things during the trip.
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Many scientists who have witnessed something unusual while being on Antarctica are reluctant to share their stories, and those who admit not everything is as it seems on this remote outpost often wish to remain anonymous. What these scientists witnessed is truly amazing, but what was it really?
As the hours passed, the researchers became convinced they were confronted face to face with a phenomenon of non-human origin.
They felt as if they were being spied upon by an intelligent force that for some reason desired to remain anonymous, and whose next move was utterly unforeseeable.
The scientists later explained that they were under the impression as if an alien craft had always been there, watching them, right from the start.
The unknown vehicles appeared almost as if they were part of the sky itself.
At the beginning of January 1956, a group of Chilean scientists arrived by helicopter to Robertson Island in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Their mission was to study geology, fauna, and other features of the region. Due to bad weather and a raging storm, they lost all radio communication and contact with the outside world.
However, they were not particularly worried because they knew a helicopter would return and pick them up on January 20.
During their stay in Antarctica, they experienced something very unusual. The nature of the sighting forced them to remain anonymous and the witnesses are therefore referred to by the substitute names of Dr. Tagle and Professor Barros.
On January 8, Dr. Tagle who had the habit of studying anything of meteorological interest in the heavens suddenly spotted two objects that did not belong in the night sky. He quickly went and woke up Professor Barros. Together, late at night, they observed two metallic cigar-shaped objects hovering in the night sky. The UFOs were perfectly still and completely silent.
Some hours later, at 7.00 A.M. Dr. Tagle and Professor Barros were joined by other members of the party.
Now, all of the scientists were watching these two hovering craft.
In the Flying Saucer Review Vol. 14, No. 2, Gordon Creighton, the late magazine’s editor published a detailed article featuring the Chilean scientists’ remarkable story.
“At about 9.00 A.M. object No.1 (the nearest to the zenith) suddenly assumed a horizontal posture and shot away like a flash towards the West. It had now lost its metallic brightness and had taken on the whole gamut of visible colors of the spectrum, from infra-red to ultra-violet. Without slowing down it performed an incredible acute-angle change of direction, shot off across another section of the sky, and then did another sharp turn as before.
These vertiginous maneuvers, the zig-zagging, abrupt stopping, instantaneous accelerating, went on for some time right overhead, the object always following tangential trajectories with respect to the Earth and all in the most absolute silence.
The demonstration lasted about five minutes. Then the object returned and took up position beside its companion in almost the same area of the sky as before, but now it was the turn of No.2 to show its paces and do a weird zig-zagging dance. Shooting off towards the east, it performed a series of ten disjointed bursts of flight, broken by brusque changes of direction, and marked by the same color changes when accelerating or stopping, and so on.”
After about three minutes of this, object No. 2 returned and took up its station near its companion and reassumed its original solid and metallic appearance.
The scientists had with them two Geiger-Miller counters of high sensitivity, one of the auditory and the other of the flash-type. When the two objects had finished their dance and reassumed their stations in the sky, someone discovered that the flash-type Geiger counter now showed that radioactivity around them had suddenly increased, as had the anxiety felt by the four men, as may be imagined.
Although they had no telescopic lens, they did, however, have cameras with them, and they took numerous photographs of the objects, both in color, and black and white.”
What later happened to these photographs is unknown.
Professor Barros felt no fear that he or his colleagues were in danger of being attacked by these unknown objects, but he admitted that “with his severely rational scientific mentality he found the idea of being confronted with such a phenomenon from beyond the realms of any known earthly science was anything but soothing.”
“As the hours passed the conviction was born in all four men that they were face to face with a phenomenon of non-human origin, that they were being spied upon by intelligence that for some reason or other desired to remain anonymous, and whose next moves were utterly unforeseeable.”
What the four scientists experienced while staying at Antarctica is highly unusual. According to those who study the UFO subject, in most cases, the extraterrestrial craft can only be observed for some minutes or hours at best. Yet in this case, the two Unidentified Flying Objects disclosed their presence and demonstrated their technological superiority for two days!
On the second day, “at about 11.P.M., the Antarctic blizzard, a wind capable of reaching velocities of 300 km. per hour began to get into its stride, and the sky clouded over.”
At about 2.00 A.M. at the height of the storm, the scientists were able to establish that radioactivity had dropped. The two UFOs were now gone.
The extraordinary tension reigning among the scientists had suddenly dropped too. According to their testimony, “even before they were able to prove it visually, the party was certain that the objects had gone.”
The next day, they could confirm that the radioactivity level was back to normal. When the stormed cleared they could see with their own eyes the unknown flying craft were no longer there.
“On January 20, the helicopter picked up the party. Though they did not report their experience officially, for fear of ridicule, they did decide to tell one man, a high-ranking officer in the Chilean Army, who heard their story calmly, without surprise.
This officer knew of many sightings of UFOs, registered in almost all the expeditions to Antarctica, but he had never heard of one that lasted so long and was so precise in all its details as this. ”
There are many conspiracy theories regarding Antarctica. Some researchers and authors have suggested that this cold and dry continent was once home to an ancient lost civilization. Others maintain flying saucers were secret Nazi weapons launched from an underground base in Antarctica, and yet another theory indicates Antarctica is a UFO outpost for extraterrestrial craft.
Whatever might be true, one thing can be said with certainty, over the years there have been and still is a high concentration of reported UFO sightings over Antarctica.
But let’s move away from the skies over Antarctica, and to the layers beneath. Is it possible that a remnant of a highly advanced civilization still remain in warmer underground caverns of Antarctica? Why did the Nazis launch an expensive expedition to the South Pole in 1938? What shocking discovery did the British soldier make when they found the entrance to an ice cave?
Have Antarctic scientists discovered an inhabited lost city under the ice?
According to the teachings of conventional science, Antarctica has been embedded for millions of years under ice layers that are more than a mile thick.
However, modern, as well as old discoveries give us several reasons to question this theory.
If Antarctica had been covered under ice for millions of years, how could American scientists fish up from the bed of the Antarctic oceans specimens which show that in recent times the rivers of Antarctic had borne down to the sea the alluvial products of an ice-free area?
Officially, Antarctica was discovered first in 1820. At the time, the entire continent was already covered with ice. Yet, thousands of years old maps prove an ancient unknown civilization did visit an ice-free Antarctica much earlier…
Cartographers have long been baffled by the astounding map of Admiral Piri Reis. It was made at Constantinople in 1513 A.D. and discovered in 1929. The map shows what Antarctica looks like without ice, a condition which hasn’t occurred for thousands of years!
Piri Reis cannot be credited for the original cartography of this map. He could not have obtained the necessary information from contemporary explorers because in his time, no-one knew about the existence of Antarctica.
Piri Reis’ map was a compilation of various considerably older maps.
According to Professor Charles H. Hapgood who researched the subject of ancient maps and an ice-free Antarctica in the near past, the maps used by Admiral Reis were in fact based on even older sources.
The maps had been drawn by an unknown and highly advanced civilization that used superior navigation instruments.
The map of Oronteus Finaeus, Phillipe Buache and Hadji Ahmed also show and ice-free Antarctica. All of the maps were created with help of very ancient source maps.
In addition, all of the mentioned mapmakers acknowledged that their information came from ancient maps, probably going back to about 4,000 B.C.
The idea that an ice-free Antarctica was inhabited by an unknown advanced civilization only 6,000 years ago has fascinated many people; one of them was Adolf Hitler.
Hitler and the Nazis strongly suspected that Antarctica was once home to a lost Atlantean civilization.
In 1938, Hitler launched an expensive expedition to the South Pole. At the same time, Germany was also busy with all the military preparations for launching WWII, and it is astounding that Hitler would find it necessary to explore and lay claim to a cold, frozen continent halfway around the world with no apparent military significance.
What were Hitler’s motives? Why was Antarctica so important to him?
According to the somewhat controversial Omega File: “Beginning in 1938, the Nazis commenced to send numerous exploratory missions to the Queen Maud region of Antarctica”. A steady stream of expeditions were reportedly sent out from (at the time) white supremacist South Africa.
Over 230,000 square miles of the frozen continent were mapped from the air, and the Germans discovered vast regions that were surprisingly free of ice, as well as warm water lakes and cave inlets.”
One vast ice cave within the glacier was reportedly found to extend 30 miles to a large hot-water geothermal lake deep below.
Various scientific teams were moved in to the area, including hunters, trappers, collectors, and zoologists, botanists, agriculturists, plant specialists, mycologists, parasitologists, marine biologists, ornithologists, and many others.”
As soon as the Nazis reached Antarctica, they dropped hundreds of swastika-adorned flags all over Queen Maud Land to establish their claim over the area. Queen Maud Land is part of what used to be called Neuschwabenland (New Swabia Land).
It was a title given by the Germans under Captain Ritscher, who claimed the region for the Nazis flying two Dornier Wal (Whale) float planes from the survey vessel Schwabenland. Some older atlases still carry the name in parentheses.
James Roberts, a British civil servant and WWII historian maintains that the Nazis succeeded in building an underground base in a massive cave. According to Roberts, British soldiers from the secret Antarctic Maudheim Base discovered the entrance in late 1945.
The soldiers “followed the tunnel for miles, and eventually they came to a vast underground cavern that was abnormally warm. Some of the scientists believed that it was warmed geothermally.
In a huge cavern were underground lakes. However, the mystery deepened, as the cavern was lit artificially. The cavern proved so extensive that they had to split up, and that was when the real discoveries were made.
The Nazis had constructed a huge base into the cavern and had even built docks for U-boats, and one was identified supposedly.
Still, the deeper they traveled, the more strange visions they were greeted with. The survivor reported that hangars for strange planes and excavations galore had been documented.” Neuschwabenland was treated as part of the Third Reich. In 1942, it became a site of intense secret scientific and military research under the name Base 211.
The United States launched Operation Highjump after learning from the British intelligence about a secret underground base at Antarctica.
Admiral Richard Byrd, a legendary polar researcher was in charge of the expedition which was fully funded by U.S. Navy.
The operation force consisted of aircraft carrier USS Casablanca, an icebreaker, twelve warships, a submarine, twenty-five airplanes, and helicopters and almost 5,000 soldiers.
In a press release given on November 2, 1946, Admiral Byrd said: “The purpose of the operation are primarily of military nature, that is to train naval personnel and to test ships, planes and equipment under frigid zone conditions.”
Shortly before the expedition’s departure, secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal gave Admiral Byrd last instructions. Byrd did not reveal any details. Officially, the expedition’s goal was to find “coal deposits and other valuable resources”, an objective that was contradicted earlier in Byrd’s press release.
The White House declared Operation Highjump “the greatest polar expedition in history.”
Operation Highjump was planned by and under the command of war hero Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. This strongly suggests that the real purpose of the mission was to destroy the Nazi Antarctic base.
Highjump was scheduled to be a six-month mission, but it was mysteriously aborted after only three months.
What did Admiral Byrd mean when he warned of a “threat from the poles”?
Did Admiral Byrd and his team encounter hostile UFOs near the South Pole? Were these UFOs piloted by non-humans or were they part of the secret Nazi flying saucer program? Did the members of the Highjump expedition discover an entrance to the Inner Earth? Was it perhaps the reason why Admiral Byrd warned of a threat from the poles and why the operation was unexpectedly aborted?
The most intriguing question of all remains unsolved: Is there an ancient inhabited lost city hidden under the ice…?
We will now continue to explore ancient secrets of Antarctica focusing on the significant, mysterious high-energy particles detected coming up from under the ice.
One researcher who investigated the discovery of these high-energy particles suggests they offer evidence of usage of nuclear technology thousands of years ago. After reviewing scientific data and talking to specialists, he concluded the high-energy particles might be traces of advanced ancient civilizations in Antarctica, or possibly something even more frightening.
Modern scientific discoveries clearly show our knowledge of Antarctica is incomplete.
The IceCube Lab at the Amundsen–Scott Station in Antarctica is a highly sophisticated detector, specifically designed to observe the cosmos from deep within the South Pole ice.
“IceCube searches for nearly massless subatomic particles called neutrinos. These high-energy astronomical messengers provide information to probe the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars.”
The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment has also been designed to study ultra-high-energy (UHE) cosmic neutrinos by detecting the radio pulses emitted by their interactions with the Antarctic ice sheet.
Some years ago, astrophysicists from Penn State University discovered a large number of high-energy particles moving upward. A study of results delivered by IceCube and ANITA revealed that these mysterious high-energy particles were bursting from beneath the thick ice covering Antarctica.
This discovery made scientists curious. As Hawking M.G. explains in the book Earth’s First Civilization: Antarctica, 55 Million B.C. “If the mysterious high-energy particles coming from under the ice of Antarctica are statistically extremely unlikely to have originated from cosmic rays coming in from space, then from what source could they be coming? The decay of dark matter existing in the earth’s interior? Possibly, yet our understanding of dark matter is so severely limited that such an idea cannot even be postulated as a theory.”
Dark matter is a mysterious substance that manifests itself through its gravitational pull. It remains one of the greatest enigmas of astrophysics and cosmology. Over the years scientists have tried to unravel the mystery of dark matter and many theories have been presented, but we are still having troubles solving the riddle of this unusual substance.
Is it possible the high-energy particles detected from beneath the ice of Antarctica could be somehow related to traces of an ancient advanced civilization? This was a question Hawking decided to investigate and his conclusions are interesting, to say the least.
One possibility was that the high-energy particles were coming from radioactive materials, but what was the source of this nuclear waste? All radioactive waste emissions weaken over time, and yet here we have a case where something appears to be still active beneath the thick ice or wasn’t it?
Hawking writes, “certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) emit particles energetic enough to be hazardous to humans and other creatures for hundreds of thousands of years. Other types of radionuclides emit high-energy particles for much longer. I found this situation so interesting that I took the time to discuss it with several physicists at both Berkeley and Caltech. They were all fascinated as well, and, after reviewing the data from ‘IceCube’ and ANITA, had some intriguing opinions.
First, if the civilization associated with the complex of rectangular and pyramidal structures under Antarctica’s ice utilized any type of nuclear process, circa 96,000 B.C., the high-energy particles detected coming up from under the ice could absolutely be evidence of that type of technology once existing there.
If the civilization was far more ancient, say 55,500,000 B.C., the detected particles, I was surprised to learn, could still represent evidence of nuclear technology usage. Apparently there are many radionuclides that have an incredibly long half-life, scores of them actually. For example, bismuth-209 has a half-life of 19 quintillion years, over a billion times longer than the age of the universe, and tellurium-128 has a half-life of 2.2 septillion years, over 160 trillion times greater than the age of the universe.
It was also pointed out that an extraterrestrial culture that had the ability to travel here from a planetary system belonging to another star obviously possessed either a propellant-based propulsion system capable of highly efficient interstellar travel (i.e., very fast travel), a propellantless field propulsion system (perhaps based on the Mach Effect or something similar), the means to utilize Einstein-Rosen bridges for interstellar travel (so-called “wormholes”), or some other type of far-advanced technology of which we currently don’t have the faintest idea.
The production of the amount of energy required for any of those technologies would very likely utilize some kind of process to convert nuclear mass into energy. The arrivals, long-term presence, and/or departures of a vehicle or vehicles that used any of those types of technologies could leave a lingering “footprint” like the emissions detected by the ‘IceCube’ and ANITA instruments.”
Such discoveries have left many alternative researchers wondering whether there is an ancient lost city buried beneath the ice of Antarctica or possibly a crashed extraterrestrial craft emitting radiation.
Could this explain why the Nazis launched an expensive expedition to the South Pole in 1938?
To all truthseekers, Antartica remains a fascinating place to explore. The frozen continent is a window to the past and we will keep investigating many more mysteries that have been reported by those who have studied and continue to study curious discoveries made in Antarctica.
For centuries, Antarctica has captured our imaginations. But we still know almost nothing about it – at least compared to the questions we still have to be answered. Including several oddities that are fascinating scientists, which we’ll take a look at.
But first, it’s the most remote, desolate place on Earth, and undoubtedly one of the coldest as well – but did you know that Antarctica is also purportedly the most haunted place on the planet? We’ll take a look at some of the Antarctic haunts that will give you cold shivers when Weird Darkness returns.
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Antarctica is touted as one of the most haunted places in the world. Sure, this is based on the number of ghosts per capita, but with a population fluctuating between around 1,100 brave folks in the winter to 4,400 during the summer, there is said to be roughly one perturbed spirit for every nine people that inhabit the desolate continent.
The spirits of explorers, scientists, and tourists are believed to wander the icy wasteland and the abandoned buildings they once inhabited during their lifetimes. Whether by plane crash or exposure to the extreme temperatures, many have involuntarily included themselves among the Antarctic ghosts.
The schooner Jenny left port in 1823 and was never seen again until a whaling ship made a horrifying discovery years later. Apparently, the Jenny had become trapped in the ice and the entire boat was frozen. Crew from the whaling ship noticed people on Jenny’s deck, but when they boarded, they realized the people had been frozen solid and perfectly preserved. According to the legend, they discovered a journal entry written by Jenny’s captain. His last entry is nothing short of chilling: “May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days. I am the only one left alive.” Jenny was left to sail on as a ghost ship.
In the early 1900s, the race was on to be the first to reach the geographic South Pole. In 1911, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his team set out on the Terra Nova Expedition and set up camp at the edge of the Great Ice Barrier. While some men stayed behind with supplies and shelter, the rest of the team ventured onwards. The expedition did not go completely as planned; a rival reached the pole about a month before his team. In 1912, Scott and four other men he had selected to join him on the expedition perished on their way back to the hut. Frostbite, gangrene, and starvation plucked them off one by one. On March 29, 1912, Scott recorded his final journal entry: “Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. R. Scott. Last entry. For God’s sake look after our people.” Scott’s hut still stands, and people who have visited said they felt uneasy and uncomfortable. Voices and footsteps have been heard, and some people felt like they were being watched. There is also a cross placed close to the hut in memory of a member of the Scott expedition who passed.
Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who climbed Mount Everest with Sherpa Norgay Tenzing. In May 1953, they became the first known people to reach the summit. Seeking an even more extreme exploration, Hillary reached Antarctica five years later and found himself at explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s abandoned hut. Shackleton passed in 1922. In the hut, Hillary believed he saw Shackleton’s ghost, saying later: “I’m not a person who really sees things very much but when I opened the door I distinctly saw Shackleton walking towards me and welcoming me.”
Antarctica became a frequent tourist destination in the 1970s. Tourists booked day-trip flights from New Zealand and enjoyed a leisurely, aerial view of the harsh, icy continent. One such trip turned fatal due to low visibility and pilot error. The plane crashed into the side of Mount Erebus at 300 mph, and the impact instantly killed all 257 passengers. Apparently, the corpses were stored at McMurdo Station, an American base on Antarctica’s Ross Island, and many visitors to the site believe the ghosts of the people are still hanging around. Visitors claim to hear voices, see short trails of unexplained footprints, and feel strange presences. One McMurdo Station worker remembers: “As soon as I entered, something was weird… I took a couple of steps in (and) the hair on the top of my head stood on end – footsteps upstairs; undeniably footsteps. A slow cadence of footsteps. I froze. It went from the back of the building to the front.”
The Wordie Hut is named after James Wordie, chief scientist on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Endurance expedition. It was built in 1947 after the previous building was destroyed. It is no longer used, but it is considered a historic site and monument. After hearing several reports of a haunting, paranormal researchers from Destination Truth spent a night exploring the area. To make things even more creepy, the hut was still set up with furniture and canned food, as if the explorers from the early 20th century still inhabited it. Members of the team heard the frantic flipping of a light switch and the slamming of doors while staying in the hut. Items like jar lids fell off of shelves on their own. One member of the crew noted he felt a presence, and the rest of the team nodded in silent agreement.
Deception Island once housed an old whaler’s station, and the bones from their slaughters can still be found on the beach. The station was abandoned during the Great Depression when oil prices fell, and it was repurposed as a British base during WWII. The station still stands along with the containers used to boil whale fat, which are now coated with rust. Some visitors to the island have claimed to see apparitions and light orbs, and a few have heard voices. Paranormal researchers from Destination Truth visited the site and heard a few very unusual loud bangs and saw a shadowy figure. They also caught a thermal signature in a window and heard what sounded like an SOS code being tapped inside a shack.
Ever since humans have attempted to conquer Antarctica, they have left evidence that they were there. Because of the continent’s inhospitable conditions, failed industries like whaling, and geographical inaccessibility, parts of Antarctica are littered with abandoned buildings and other structures. Military bases, research stations, huts, and whaling factories transformed into creepy ghost towns covered in rust and ice. Even a few abandoned ships can be found in the bays. People who have visited these abandoned buildings describe the environments as some of the creepiest they have ever seen. To add to the creepiness of these abandoned sites, many of the structures still contain artifacts of the humans who once dwelled there. Sometimes, the residents died or decided to leave without taking everything they had brought, such as furniture, books, and blankets. Because of the cold temperatures, the food items explorers and researchers brought with them have been preserved. Thanks to warmer temperatures in the polar regions, the stored seal blubber in some cabins has started to go rancid, only adding to the spooky, hostile vibes of Antarctica’s many ghost towns.
The Gamburtsev Mountain Range can be found in Antarctica, and even though they are similar in size to Europe’s Alps, no one has ever seen them. A group of Russian explorers who traveled to the continent in the 1950s observed strange gravity fluctuations coming from below the ice. The cause of these bizarre fluctuations? An entire subglacial mountain range, hidden below a three mile layer of ice. The mountains are extremely old and part of a rift that was formed years ago. A long time ago the Antarctic ice sheet started forming, completely encapsulating the 1,800 mile-long range. Had the ice not preserved the range, erosion would have played its part. Scientists are still studying the subglacial range today – Fausto Ferraccioli of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, said, “It is as exciting as exploring another planet.” Or terrifying. There is no telling what forms of life were also preserved in the freezing Antarctic ices so long ago.
From the historic first explorers of the 1800s to the bold scientists of today, we continue to be captivated by the wonders held within Antarctica’s icy plains.
As the world’s last unexplored wilderness, Antarctica is shrouded in mystery, and as a land of extremes, it’s also great at keeping its secrets. The harsh conditions, freezing temperatures and barren landscapes make Antarctica inhospitable to humans. The frozen continent is about 1.5 times the size of the United States and 99 percent is covered in ice, making up 90 percent of all the ice on Earth. Despite this, scientists have forged on, trying to find answers to some amazing mysteries and oddities
It’s difficult to imagine anything beneath the thick layers of ice in Antarctica, yet scientists have discovered a number of underground lakes.
First uncovered in 1970 with radars, there are estimated to be around 400 lakes sitting under 3 kilometres of ice, in the regions that were explored.
The lakes don’t freeze because of the pressure from the weight of the ice sheet.
Lake Vostok, discovered in the 1990s by Russian scientists, is the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica. It’s also the third-largest lake by volume in the world, lying 3.5 kilometres below the ice.
Scientists have since drilled deep holes into the ice to extract a sample of the lake water and one sample showed the water to be around -3ºC, but still in liquid form due to the pressure of the ice above.
In 2014, scientists had a major breakthrough at Lake Whillans, discovering a diverse and active eco-system of microorganisms in the lake, nearly a kilometer under the ice sheet.
These incredible species have never seen fresh air or sunlight yet they flourish, using methane and ammonium as energy to grow.
Deep Lake is an inland lake in East Antarctica that has fascinated scientists for years. The lake sits 55 metres below sea level, with water salinity increasing as it gets deeper.
It’s salty waters are comparable to the Dead Sea and are ten times saltier than the ocean. This means the water does not freeze, despite temperatures reaching -20ºC at its deepest point.
The lake is practically uninhabitable, with one of the least productive, yet most remarkable ecosystems in the world. Scientists have found four microbe species living in the waters, although it’s dangerous, even deadly for most other animals.
Some penguins have been spotted swimming the waters, but they can easily die as the lake is much colder than the ocean.
Antarctica is a barren, icy desert with very little rain, fierce winds, and the coldest temperatures on earth (the coldest recorded temperature was -89.4°C); yet it’s also home to a myriad of unique wildlife.
It was previously thought that nothing could survive beneath the massive ice sheets, however scientists have discovered a number of unusual species that have adapted to the harsh environment.
There are microbes, crustaceans, colossal squid, leggy spiders the size of dinner plates, giant worms with shiny golden bristles and a large, sharp-toothed jaw.
You can even find see-through icefish. These strange creatures have large eyes and their internal organs can be seen through their translucent skin. The fish have antifreeze glycoproteins and cannot survive in warmer waters. They also don’t have any hemoglobin, a protein that makes our blood red.
Speaking of red blood… in the McMurdo Dry Valley, a bright crimson, five-storey waterfall pours out of Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney. It looks like a gush of blood from a wound in the ice, but scientists have recently discovered the cause behind this mysterious phenomenon.
The water that feeds Blood Falls was once a salty lake that is now cut off from the atmosphere due to the formation of glaciers on top of the lake.
The water is preserved 400 metres underground and has become even saltier over time – it’s now three times saltier than seawater and cannot freeze.
The saltwater is also extremely rich in iron and completely devoid of oxygen and sunlight. As the iron-rich water seeps through a fissure in the glacier and comes into contact with the air, the iron oxidises and rusts, staining the water a dark red colour.
This eerie sight is only accessible by helicopter or cruise ships visiting the Ross Sea.
Antarctica is an ancient land that has undergone some incredible transformations over millions of years. Before it became a frozen desert after the Ice Age, Antarctica was actually a warm region with rainforests and possibly even civilizations.
The theory developed from the discovery of fossilized wood, signs of tropical trees and leaf impressions that show the existence of rainforests in Antarctica.
Scientists have also found a ton of fossils from marine animals, birds and dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.
Among the smaller species, they’ve uncovered the fossilized forewings of a beetle species that lived in a warmer climate, and tiny single-celled fossils that have been a great source of debate among scientists.
They’ve also found sperm cells on the egg case of a long extinct species of worm, an extraordinary discovery.
A hole the size of Ireland opened in Antarctica in 2017. Known as a polynya, the hole is nothing new – except with a span of 78,000 square kilometres, it’s the largest hole to be observed since the 1970s, and the first one to open in 40 years.
Found in the Weddell Sea of the Southern Ocean, the polynya was formed due to the warmer, saltier water found in the deeper parts of the sea.
The warm water is pushed up by ocean currents, melting the ice on the surface. As the water comes in contact with the cooler surface water, it sinks again, only to be reheated and pushed back to the surface.
Scientists aren’t completely sure why the polynyas are created, but believe it may be marine mammals using the openings to breathe. They’re still working to understand the impacts of these strange, giant holes.
Despite the freezing conditions, Antarctica is home to a number of volcanoes. There are four volcanoes on Ross Island, although all are inactive except Mount Erebus, which has actually increased in volcanic activity in the last 30 years.
Mount Erebus is an extreme natural wonder, with liquid magma and ancient lava lakes that have been boiling for around 1.3 million years. It’s the world’s southernmost active volcano and Antarctica’s second-highest volcano, towering to 3,800 metres high.
Scientists cannot often visit Mount Erebus due to the remote location and dangerous weather conditions, although a team of scientists managed to climb the volcano in 2013.
They hiked through snow, rocks and glaciers to the peak, where they found organisms living in the heat of the volcano.
They also discovered a number of ice caves with thriving microorganisms in the soil, and it is believed that these extreme creatures are some of the most unique in the world.
The Southern Ocean was named the world’s fifth ocean in 2000. It’s is the fourth largest ocean in the world, surrounding the entire continent of Antarctica.
It plays a major role in driving global ocean circulation and also consists of the southern parts of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. With a maximum depth of about 7,300 metres, it’s nearly twice the size of the United States.
This mysterious ocean may hold the secret to carbon emission absorption. Scientists have found that the Southern Ocean has absorbed 15% of carbon emissions created by humans.
That’s an incredible amount and scientists are working quickly to uncover how this process works.
The thought of a desert usually conjures up images of hot, sandy plains, yet Antarctica is the largest desert in the world.
It’s incredibly dry and windy, with as little as 50 mm of rain annually, while 99% of the continent is covered in ice.
In the remaining 1%, you’ll find the McMurdo Dry Valleys, where massive sand dunes reach up to 70 metres high and 200 metres wide. Although you can’t go sand-boarding down these dunes, they are an incredibly important site for researchers.
The Dry Valleys have a similar climate to Mars, and scientists believe the region could hold the secrets to life on other planets. However, the dunes are moving at an alarming rate, migrating at an average of 1.5 metres per year.
Many microorganisms and extremophiles have been discovered throughout Antarctica, including an endemic species of fungi.
Although fungi typically flourish in warm, wooded regions, this Antarctic fungi survives in the freezing conditions by feasting on the centuries-old wooden huts abandoned by the first explorers.
Another type of fungi has been discovered gorging on the petroleum leaking from fuel containers left by explorers. Scientists are studying these fascinating creatures to see if the fungus could be used to clean up larger oil spills around the world.
Antarctica is a goldfield for meteorites. Although meteorites can fall all over the earth, they are easier to find in Antarctica as the cold, dry conditions preserve the rocky fragments.
The dark meteorites are also easier to spot on the stark white surface of the ice and they are almost always extraterrestrial rocks, as few rocks form naturally on the ice sheets of Antarctica.
The East Antarctic is particularly ripe for meteorite findings, as the massive ice sheet has stayed still long enough to have its top layers evaporated by sunlight and strong winds.
This reveals the older ice and huge concentrations of meteorites. There have been more than 20,000 extraterrestrial meteorite samples collected since 1976.
In 2013, a team of Japanese and Belgian scientists discovered the largest meteorite found in East Antarctica in 25 years. The extraterrestrial rock weighed an incredible 18 kilograms.
The team searched for meteorites for 40 days, finding 425 meteorites with a collective weight of 75 kilograms. The discoveries included a piece of the asteroid Vesta and a meteorite from Mars.
And I’ve saved this oddity for last simply because it’s my favorite. A massive slab of ice in Antarctica is singing. Yes, you heard that right. A massive slab of ice in Antarctica is singing.
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in Antarctica. It’s several hundred metres thick and covers an area over 500,000 square kilometres – which is about the size of France.
Scientists have recently discovered that the Ross Ice Shelf sings an eerie melody, caused by the winds blowing across the snow dunes. The winds create surface vibrations and almost non-stop seismic tones. This is what it sounds like. <AUDIO CLIP>
The vibrations aren’t actually audible to human ears and scientists use seismic sensors to listen to the mournful tune. The song was discovered by accident, after seismic sensors were installed on the ice shelf to observe other behaviours.
Scientists have since discovered that the song changes in response to the environment, such as melting or storms shifting the snow. They’re now using the song as a tool to monitor the ice shelf in real time, tracking its stability and vulnerability for collapse through the seismic humming.
When Weird Darkness returns we’ll step into the Chamber of Comments.
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Here in the Chamber of Comments I answer your emails, comments, podcast reviews, letters I get in the mail, and more. You can find all of my contact information, postal address, and social media links on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com. While you’re there, you can join the very active “Weird Darkness Weirdos” Facebook Group, and hang out with me and the rest of our Weirdo family! And you can drop me an email anytime at: darren @ weirddarkness.com.
(Email from Ally): Hey Darren! I just wanted to email you and tell you that I absolutely LOVE listening to your Podcast. I mean it, I cannot stop listening! I started listening about 4 years ago. I had an office job in a cubicle and came upon your podcast. Your voice and stories have helped me through not only the most boring of work days, but also through the stress of every day life. I am a mom of 3 and my husband is a First Responder. I also struggle with anxiety and depression and it is so comforting to not only hear you talk about it, but to also hear about listeners who do as well. So your podcast helps me a lot more than you know. I also love how you talk about being a Christian and having an interest in the paranormal and such. I am the exact same way and it certainly makes me feel better to know, that in fact, you can have both. Please continue the good work and I will continue to spread the word about Weird Darkness! Thanks, Ally
REPLY: You’re very welcome, Ally – and thank your husband for being on the front lines as a first responder! And while I’m at it, thank YOU too – because you take care of the kids and support your husband, it allows him to go out and save lives. You risk just as much as he does everyday, so thank YOU as well.
(Email from Jennifer – aka, “Jen the Pen”): Dear Darren, I have heard your podcast a few times. This story isn’t dark per se but maybe you can use it for something. I have had three different Paranormal experiences but my first one has stuck with me the most. It takes place at my father’s house which was built in the 1970s and has been owned by my father since 1995. My experience happened when I was 16. The words Lucky Lady were engraved on a sidewalk leading to the back yard from the day we moved in until fairly recently. When I was 16 I woke up at 3 AM one day. I remember this because I remember looking at my bedside clock. I looked from the clock to the open closet. There, I saw the transparent head of a blonde lady. I couldn’t see the rest of her body. I blinked and she was still there. I didn’t feel threatened by her at all. I told my dad but he’s a huge skeptic. A few years ago I returned to my father’s house for a weekend and slept in my childhood bedroom. I opened the closet doors in the hope of catching another glimpse of this ghost but while I felt as though I was being watched I never saw her again. The Lucky Lady that was engraved in the sidewalk disappeared a few years ago. Maybe my father covered it up. I will always associate the ghost I saw in his house to that phrase. I feel she may be my guardian angel. –Jennifer
REPLY: You might not think the story is dark, but experiencing a floating head in the middle of the night definitely sounds creepy to me! But you say you didn’t feel threatened at all, so who knows – maybe it might’ve been an angel. We honestly don’t know what angels truly look like, and they can manifest themselves into just about anything. So, why not a floating transparent head? And now, thanks to you, I’ve got Journey’s “Lady Luck” stuck in my head. So… thanks for that.
(Email from Gena): I’ve been listening to your podcast for almost 2 years now, it’s my go to for when I have anxiety or have dealt with a lot that day. I’ve struggled with alcoholism, depression, anxiety and the occasional “wishing I could never wake up” feelings. I’ve been searching for a way to reconnect with God but being in Oklahoma, I feel completely surrounded by judgmental hypocrites and passive aggressive racists. Finding your church of the undead podcast has been a complete God send. I prayed for this so many times. Thank you for creating this podcast. Finally I feel like I’ve found a group that sees and believes all the weird and mysterious things in the world but still turns to and knows God. Thank you for all that you do and for being courageous enough to start a podcast like this. I’m sure for every one of your critics there’s 4x as many people thankful for the podcasts you have put together. Sincerely, A forever thankful fan, Gena.
REPLY: Thank you, Gena.
(Email from Johanna): Your podcast has been the best thing to happen to me this year. As we both know it’s been a trying year with a lot more downs than ups. I am a welder by trade (and the only woman in the shop) and your podcast helps me get through the work day easily! I also lost a close friend of mine this year from depression. I suffer from bipolar depression so your podcast has really been a big help. I recommend your podcast to all my friends and family who want to get into podcast. As a person who was raised baptist but now as an adult still struggle with my faith you have really been a light in dark times. Thank you!
REPLY: Thank you for the email, Johanna. I’m touched that you put so much emphasis on the podcast being a light in your life – that means a lot to me. I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend – my bride lost her best friend recently and I can see how painful that was for her, and though it has been almost a year now she still has moments where she wells up with tears. Losing someone you trust and confide in is never going to be easy. I know you didn’t say it outright, but I got the vibe that you feel alone when it comes to struggling with your faith. Just like you’re not alone with depression – you’re not alone when it comes to struggling with your faith. I think we all do at times if we were to be completely honest about it. To fully comprehend God is an impossibility, it’s too much for our tiny finite brains to grasp so we’re going to have moments of faith frustration where we think, “God – are you really there?” Even King David himself in the book of Psalms wrote, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So… you’re in good company when you have questions.
I’ll answer more of your emails, comments, and letters next time! Again, you can find all of my social media and contact information on the CONTACT page of the website, or drop me an email at darren @ weirddarkness.com.
Thanks for listening. If you like the podcast, please share a link to this episode and recommend Weird Darkness to your friends, family, and co-workers who love the paranormal, horror stories, or true crime like you do! Every time you share a link to the podcast it helps spread the word about the show, growing our Weirdo family in the process – plus, it helps get the word out about resources that are available for those who suffer from depression. So please share the podcast with others.
Be sure to join me this Sunday for church at the Church of the Undead – and all Weirdos are welcome!
This Sunday’s message is titled: “Demon Possession 101 (or, Lose Unwanted Devils With Exorcize)”.
You can listen to previous messages anytime by clicking on the Church of the Undead link in the show notes, you can find it at WeirdDarkness.com, or search for “Church of the Undead” wherever you listen to podcasts! Hopefully I’ll see YOU in the Weirdo congregation this weekend!
Do you have a dark tale to tell of your own? Fact or fiction, click on “Tell Your Story” at WeirdDarkness.com and I might use it in a future episode.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise), and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“Antarctica Strangeness” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages
“Ghostly Shivers in Antarctica” by Erin McCann for Ranker
“Antarctic Oddities” from Wayfair Travel
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.
WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.
If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.” — Psalm 112:4
And a final thought… “A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be, and then making the best of it.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.