Fun_People Archive
19 Oct
Smash Races and Earthquakes - Omens, Portents, or Conspiracy?

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 98 14:13:09 -0700
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Subject: Smash Races and Earthquakes - Omens, Portents, or Conspiracy?

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      2,000 Pigeons Go Missing In Race - Could Signal
                Pending Major Earthquake?

Note - The following note is from Geologist and earthquake expert Jim
Berkland and deals with the totally bizarre disappearance of 2,000 racing
pigeons and how that might be linked to a very large, pending earthquake.

Posted by Jim Berkland, 10-7-98, on his website


Daniel Karnes posted a significant news item on the Animals Page about 90%
of thousands of racing pigeons dropping out in two separate races on Monday
back East. They say they have never seen anything like it and can't explain
it by solar flares or bad weather. Another explanation is magnetic field
changes prior to large earthquakes. I have established this quite well by
working since the early 1980's with Nick Corini, pigeonmaster in Hollister,

You can read about it in a chapter dealing largely with my work in the 1996
book, CALIFORNIA FAULT, by Thurston Clarke (Chapter titled "Lost Cats and
smashed Pigeons.")

A Smash Race is one where few of the birds get back on time or do not return
at all, Corini has records of Bay Area pigeon races going back decades, and
he spent some time researching the greatest smash race in local history.
The date caused me to gasp. It was March 24, 1964, which I knew was just 3
days before the greatest quake measured for North America, the 8.5M Richter
(9.2Mw Moment magnitude) Alaskan Quake on Good Friday, 1964. It struck in
the late afternoon on the day of a Full Moon!

It had been preceded by a few months of strange slowing of Old Faithful
Geyser in Yellowstone. In recent months we have had a similar report about
Old Faithful.

I have had several unconfirmed reports of the Federal Scientists being
concerned about a large US quake this fall. I don't know if that is true,
but I do know that I am concerned, and this amazing coincidence of Smash
pigeon races does not ease my mind. I am trying to learn if other parts of
the world have experienced similar "smash" races.

(Note - The 1964 'smash' race occurred over 1600 miles from the location of
the Alaska quake. Jim Berkland states that the location of the smash race
may have little to do with the epicenter of any following quake...that the
magnetic disturbance caused by fault stress is so powerful it can disrupt
the internal magnetic guidance systems of pigeons great distances away.)

                Homing Pigeons Vanish En Route

(AP) Some 2,500 homing pigeons disappeared during two long-distance races
on the same day, a nearly unheard-of loss in the little-known sport of
pigeon racing.

About 1,800 pigeons vanished out of 2,000 competing in a 200-mile race from
northern Virginia to Allentown on Monday.  The same day, 700 out of 800
birds never returned to their lofts in a separate 150-mile race from western
Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.

The birds remained unaccounted for Tuesday night. Ordinarily, the
swift-flying birds should have been back in their lofts in a matter of

"I've never seen anything like this," says Earl Hottle of Allentown, who
has been racing pigeons for 37 years. "Nobody can explain it."

Pigeon racing has thrived for centuries among a devoted group of several
hundred breeders in the mid-Atlantic states.

Each weekend in spring and fall, thousands of pigeons are trucked up to 600
miles away and released. Relying on their homing instinct and incredible
stamina, the pigeons fly directly to their lofts. The ones with the fastest
times are the winners.

In any race, a small percentage of the birds do not return home -- but a 90
percent loss rate is unusual.

"We've heard of this in other areas," says Jim Effting, who had only three
of 37 birds return in the race from Virginia.  "But we've never had it
happen around here."

Racing veterans have few ideas about what caused the birds to lose their
way -- or otherwise disappear. There were no weather problems during either
race, sun spot activity was low and no comets, meteor showers or planet
alignments occurred.  The skies were clear of satellite interference.

"The chances that 2,000 hawks would get 2,000 pigeons are pretty unlikely,"
says racer Dennis Gaugler. "The birds would scatter when attacked."

"The truth is that nobody knows what happened," says another racer, Robert
Costagliola, "and probably never will."

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