[Masthead] Fair ~ 79°F  
High: 70°F ~ Low: 55°F
Sunday, July 13, 2014

That's no bigfoot -- it's a wookie!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

'Don't get cocky, kid'

That line is one of my favorites from the original "Star Wars" movie, which I saw in the theater as a teenager. Shady space captain who turns hero -- Han Solo -- played to perfection by Harrison Ford, chides the young Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, not to get overconfident as they battle the enemy.

You know the rest -- good wins the first round over evil, the hero begins his first steps towards his destiny. It's storytelling 101, used since Homer composed "The Odyssey" centuries ago.

The Internet has been abuzz about a sonar image taken last fall in the Baltic Sea. Commercial diver Peter Lindberg, who is the leader of a deep-sea salvage team, told CNN that they discovered a strange image at the bottom of the sea.

"We had been out for nine days and we were quite tired and we were on our way home, but we made a final run with a sonar fish and suddenly this thing turned up," Lindberg said.

Through the use of side-scan sonar, the team discovered a disc-like object that measures nearly 200 feet in diameter and has generated out-of-this-world speculation.

Yes, it looks like Han Solo's Millennium Falcon.

Seriously.

Others believe that it could very well be a ship of a more terrestrial nature -- a group of sunken Russian ships.

Last fall, there was no funding to return and do more exploration. But interest in the discovery has lead to a flood of donations.

While no firm date has been set, Lindberg suggested his team may return to the site around May.

"Right now, we know about 20,000 objects, mostly shipwrecks, in the Baltic Sea. But I think there may be more than 100,000," said sonar expert Ardreas Olsson, according to Yahoo! News. "I'm not sure what you will see when you go down. But I'm excited. It's going to be interesting to see what it is."

I love stories like this. The speculation often grows to a fever pitch, until the expedition discovers that it is simply a bunch of rocks.

Even then, the true believers will go off on another tangent, suggesting that the rock is covering a launching base for underwater UFOs.

Remember the rock formations in the Caribbean that looked like a road? There was rampant speculation that this had to be a road to or from the fabled lost continent of Atlantis. In fact, they are still arguing over it.

There's an entire subculture that revels in this sort of "real" news, especially when it slips past the various conspiracies that have been keeping them secret for so many years.

What is really at the bottom of the Baltic Sea? I guess we will have to wait until spring and see what the divers discover. I'm guessing that the folks that run the salvage operation are pretty savvy. An operation like this costs pretty big bucks, and if they are able to pull it all off with donations, that's some really good marketing.

James Cameron was able to make some hay with the dives to the Titanic, we can't imagine what might come from discovering a wrecked UFO.

Invariably, the footage from expeditions like these gets sold to a production company, which makes at least a two hour film that, depending on how "out there" it is, gets sold to Discovery, National Geographic or the History Channel.

If it is really "out there," it will get remade into a bad movie for the Science Fiction channel's movie of the week, which traditionally has very bad acting and even worse special effects.

But if this object is the fabled Millennium Falcon AND Chewbacca, Han Solo's trusty Wookie sidekick was out joyriding trying to impress his date, only to crash here on Earth, it might explain the whole sasquatch thing.

Now there's a tangent that could keep the History Channel going for at least one season of hour-long episodes.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@lemarscomm.net, telephone 712-546-7031, x40 or toll free 1-800-728-0066 x40.

Thanks for reading, I'll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

By Tom Stangl
From the publisher's desk