Thursday, December 31, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon -8

These are my end of 2009 thoughts.

I believe in the existence of angels, spirits and God's use of them coming in dreams. This is the destiny of any person who believes in the highest powers. God uses dreams to answer prayers for they are special gifts from Him. Angels and spirits shape our destiny. Through them we can interpret what is said in our dreams. Any religious person who believes in God or Jesus Christ must believe that answers can arrive in the form of dreams. Whether angels and spirits are real depends on what we believe as individuals. They can be real or imaginary, but how the vision effects our life determines our destiny in life. Some angels and spirits are good and some leave us with bad vibes (ghosts). Bab vibes are the least personally shared with others for as humans we are afraid of what others might think. Bad spirits can awaken our curiosity, but some people go off the deep end and use it for ghost entertainment - to shock and believe in paranormal activity.

Bob said numerous times he didn't want to meet any ghosts. He was superstitious and I was open to the fact angels and spirits can walk and watch over us, but they can't physically intervene. We change our outcomes. The outcomes in our lives are dependent on how we interpret feelings and spirit filled dreams. Here's some examples of how dreams turn into reality or pre-determined destiny. Do we arrive in time like an appointment with destiny?

My neighbor Joyce Fulwiler was undergoing chemo for breast cancer when Al, her husband had a major heart attack. It was bad and doctors gave dim prospects he'd survive more than three weeks. Several days later Al still in intensive care said he woke up and standing at the foot of the bed were two angels who spoke and said 'You'll be okay.' They turned and walked out the door, it closing behind them, when seconds later the doors opens and there stood Joyce.

Al exclaimed, 'Did you see them?' "Who? said Joyce. She thought he must have been dreaming. 'Two angels said I'll be alright' and they walked out the door seconds before you opened the door. Joyce left the room and asked a nurse if Al had two visitors this morning -- 'None and nobody passed by without us seeing them' they replied. Al was excitedly adamant that he'd seen two angels and heard them speak. Joyce was a Christian - Al wasn't and despite all Joyce's doubts she thought maybe the angel dream might change his destiny by converting Al to eternal life in the belief of Jesus Christ. Al until his death believed that higher powers existed, but he never acknowledged belief in Christ at least not to me. Only God knows if he believed in Jesus Christ. Joyce died in June 2001 and Al in Feb. 2008.

Another neighbor was a Michigan State Police trooper working out of the Newaygo post. One night I received a strange phone call from him and I met him on his lawn the following day. We were talking an he said the voices in his dream told me 'to put my house in order.' The spirits in his dreams and how he described them gave me goosebumps. He had had several dreams he couldn't shed nor did he fear them and his mind was intrepreting them to mean I'm leavin'.

His name was Kevin Marshall and he lived next to Mark Hill, a U.S. Marshal. Kevin was a Roman Catholic and Gov. Jennifer Granholm was a family friend at his wedding. Kevin called me again several nights later and again we met on his lawn only this time he asked me to take care of his wife (lawn mowing) in case something happens over the 4th of July. He wished me well with my firework job and I wished him safety in traffic duty.

Kevin was killed by a deranged man named Woodruff three days later and this man was a relative of my other neighbor that lived within a stone's throw of each other. Kevin was correct in his dream intrepretation that he was destined to die shortly. Was it devine intervention -- his destiny or did he receive the 'Devine kiss of death' from the spirits or God in his dreams?

Kevin and Al's destiny did collide and it was strange how they met. Al was restoring an old MG from scratch. Just the engine sitting on a skeleton frame with tires. Al drove that bare bones hulk down the street, the wind blowing and caressing the white beard on his face. He smiled from ear to ear. The engine purred as he drove thru Kevin's neighborhood. Al returned past his own house and pulled a "U" turn at the crossroads intersection just as Kevin in his squad car came over the hill. Kevin couldn't believe his eyes -- it was Santa Clause -- Al with red shirt and white beard.

A stripped vehicle -- no reindeer. Al ducked into his garage, but Kevin knew the lawbreaker by sight and pulled in behind Al. The car was void of everything except engine, tires and frame. No plates, registration, insurance - nothing else. Kevin had hit the mother lode of illegality, but it'd taken him a day and night to write up the infractions. After slight chewing out for the teenager stunt Kevin deep down knew if he had arrested Al his children would be livid. Al was Santa personified. Kevin introduced Al to other members of the Rockford police posts MG club. I heard two different tales how they met, but destiny collision of MG's at a specific time in personal history sealed their friendships.

I told this to my old former Pastor from Kent City Baptist Church this past June after the big wind storm raked a narrow band of tree destruction across northern Kent County. I stopped to visit. Tom lost a massive oak tree. It split at the root ball. One major tree with two segments joined at the rootball. One fell completely across his backyard missing the house by ten feet. The other fell opposite. Pastor Tom resigned because of circumstances in life where his father died at an early age and he'd been having dreams that he intrepreted to mean he should experience life before its too late (motorcycling). Ugh!

Tom resigned the church after many years of faithful service. It wasn't until he returned from an extended vacation did he realize why some churchgoers heads dip down (sleep) during his sermons. He said, 'I confess. Those who work physically deserve to sleep, because I never understood how hard it was to keep eyes open after physically working so hard.' He said it was alright to sleep, because in our dreams we can interpret what is being said. After his vacation ended his spirit filled dreams said it was time to quit.

Pastor Tom resigned and began a new career and life. He drove school buses for the Kent Intermediate School District -- busing mentally challenged individuals - students with down syndrome, who he said always smiled and he became Chaplain for the Newaygo County jail thru forgotten man missions. You could say he went fishing for souls and taste fish. He loved life, people and his new found freedom, but he commented this past June, when I announced I took early retirement, that his latest dreams said 'he'll never collect a dime.' He said, the dreams were stronger and the spirits claimed he didn't have to worry. Were his dreams 'divine interpretations or was he receiving word from God about his claim to eternal life? Or was Tom receiving his 'Divine kiss of death' wish from his God, spirit or angel. Tom was killed in a November traffic accident. Driving his car he missed a stop sign, a surburban hitting him broadside and he died instantly. Did a spirit give him a premonition that he'd die before collecting one dime? He didn't worry about his destiny -- he just plugged along. In June I told him the story about Al and Kevin's dreams. Three friends whose destiny was ruled by dreams - the spirits and angels in our midst.

And now for my own sequel when talking about the personal destiny, where my actions saved the life of a young woman because of listening to the voice within my dream. I was scheduled to help my brother-in-law with the Freedom Festival's Fourth of July celebration at Manistee, Michigan in 2006. The previous night my dream reiterated that I was to bring my fire jacket and turn out gear in the truck for it was going to be cold that day. I stuffed my gear into the Rider truck and my brother-in-law backed it out onto the pier. Two inches on each side of the tires was all the wiggle room. One slip and we'd be in a mess the likes of which would be disastorous.

It was sunny and windy. Water tempature 55 and air temp. 75. I was cold all day and in fact I wore that jacket to warm up, but the nagging in my dream said keep that coat within easy reach cause it had to be there. Ever had a nagging dream where if was hard to escape the dream. It was an uneasy feeling -- almost to paranoia state. As the truck was being unloaded and as I carted the mortar racks out onto the pier I spotted a young lady swimmer bobbing in the waves. She was way beyond and she shouldn't have been swimming opposite the pier in the cold waves. She'd sink then huff to the surface and then swam towards the big stones lining the pier. A big wave picked her up like body surfing and smashed her onto a big stone. I yelled you alright and she said 'mind you own business.' She bobbed in the water sputting water. I felt something was wrong and again yelled you 'okay' and she yelled back 'get over me'. I could sense her agitation.

That water was cold and how could she keep swimmin' I thought. Looking around we saw her beach blanket near water's edge, the purse open. Nobody goes swimmin' and leaves a purse where anyone can steal it. She didn't look right in the water - gasping and eventually she came to shore holding her stomach and belching water, but she made no attempt to dry herself with the beach towel. It remained neatly folded and she walked away to the pier and slumped beside it with her back resting against the cement. When a beach walker looked down at her purse she made no attempt to rescue it. Something was drastically wrong. Bruce and I watched her eyes close, her mouth drool and her head bowed as if she were going to collapse. I told Bruce this picture isn't correct. He knelt beside her his hand on her shoulders, his fingers trying to find her pulse. She was very cold to the touch, but she opened her eyes, shrugged off his hand and told him 'leave me alone.' Bruce, a fireman, said he couldn't help her until she either collapsed or went unconcious. We watched her head droop and collapse slowly downward then he rushed to her aid, but again she spurned his attention to help her, but she was turning gray. Bruce gave her my fire jacket and we thought she readily accepted it, but she didn't and soon she was so cold she couldn't answer our questions. Bruce tried her pulse -- exceedingly slow and we called an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived, the paramedics and fire department rushed down to transport her off the beach to waiting ambulances. Twenty-five minutes later the Manistee fire chief returned my Algoma Township fire dept. jacket and said 'It saved her life when she went unconcious.' She had been trying to commit suicide by drowning first by cold water submergence, then being dashed upon the pier rocks and finally by hypothermic dry land drowning.

Low core body temperature fanned by cold wind produced her hypothermic brain stupor on dry land. She had my jacket on, but what we couldn't see was she would open the jacket to catch the wind when it blew in off the water, which kept her frontal body in a cold state. She was trying to complete her suicide attempt by using my jacket, yet the jacket's overall warmth wouldn't permit her to dryland drown due to hypothermia. Her brain was freezing faster. What was stranger was the fact I was the only pyrotechnician to have a jacket on scene that day. The chief asked 'why I was the only one with a heavy jacket that day?' I told him today it'd be cold. I couldn't shake the dream request. I was cold myself that July day and during her attempted suicide I was shivering. I believe it was destiny that the woman and I met that Fourth of July day. Was our meeting destiny or was it pre-destined coincidence?

I had another dream once that said 'Go to the fire department where you live and get a fire helmet with face shield. I did. I arrived to find our township fire chief in his office. He stood shook my hand and said 'Here for the face helmet and shield?' I never said a word and then he blundered out that that night his dream said someone wanted a helmet and shield and that unknown would arrive soon. I did. Our collision course of destiny was sealed. Were we predestined to meet in time? It saved my life two days later. How?

I had just lit the opening barage of fireworks. "Phoom, phoom rapid fire succession of firework shells going up and when I turned to sideways I lost my balance and fell face down into some small pine trees, the flaming debris covering me in burning ash spewing upward from the rising firework shells. No firemen or firework personnel could see me laying on the ground. in a mass of spot fires. I stood, brushed off the flaming debris and stumbled out of the woods like a glowing doughboy. Distant firefighters said I looked frightening when walking, then the flames went out. Out of the darkness I stumbled around a fire and rescue vehicle and partially collapsed near a female paramedic. I was her destiny that night because she said I was the person that dogged her dream the previous night. She was the only one who was carrying a chocolate candy bar that night for this diabetic. Her dream said 'Be there with the only candy bar." She did and I ate it. Destiny rules our lives. This concludes my 2009 post.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 7

Virginia Dare was the first English child born in America. She was the daughter of Ananias and Eleanor (White) Dare who were two of the original 87 men, 17 women and 11 children that comprised the Lost Colony that John White left on Roanoke Island (North Carolina) in 1587. John White left his daughter and son-in-law and all the rest when staple supplies were getting low and returned to England only to find the country gripped in war with Spain. White hoped to return soon before the colonists starved to death, but Queen Elizabeth had other plans and used his ship in the war and White didn't return until 1590. When he returned he found no colonists -- all he found were iron tools and farming equipment, but no sign of the colonists -- no decaying bodies and no graves. They simply vanished without a trace. The only thing found were the letters CRO carved into a tree trunk. At the abandoned fort the word 'CROATOAN' was carved into a log. Croatoan was an island.

John White could only hope the colonists weren't massacred by Indians. Theories speculate the colonists intermingled with the Native American's -- the Eno and Lumbee Indians, for a hundred years later, the tribes had individuals with light-colored eyes and light colored hair. and spoke English Reports had been garnished that four English men, two boys and one young woman had been sighted south of Jamestown as slaves within the Eno tribe. Could it have been Virginia Dare ? Uncertain and nobody is sure, but according to Indian legends an Indian witch doctor turned Virginia Dare into a white doe, because she spurned his affections. Since the early 1600's many people have reported sightings of a ghostly white doe figure near Roanoke Island. That's to this day.

You shall read about the lost colony later in this journal, because I shall discuss the lost colony cannons, because the true Cannonsburg cannon dates itself around the same time period. That's right. In the beginning Bob Alcumbrack was chasing a ghost cannon at dig sites 1-2. His view of the cannon was a fuzzy 101 year old picture based upon circumstancial evidence, but in reality the cannon had an illustrious 400 year history prior to 1986. Bob only knew it was pre-Civil War.

It took two years of physical digging to discover the cannon's true identity and what we discovered surprised us but it didn't stop us and we charted a path into the future, which is now commonality. We experimented and in our day we were the elite and leading edge of technology in treasure, err, cannon hunting circles. The discovery led to better understandings of world history, the traditions and cultures we inherited from across the big pond (Atlantic) that still are commonplace in our hearts and lives today. Lots of streets and subdivisions carry Old English names. Ours and your destiny must start someplace, but history does repeat itself and where our journey began it ended in destiny. Through better exploration of our dreams we discover our destiny.

Bob passed away in May 2004 and he was laid to rest in Cannonsburg Cemetery a short distance away from Walter Tompsett's. Only 119 years had passed and yet I sensed the spirits of both men as I walked in this cemetery in a December blizzard in 2006. I meditated between these two graves, the snow pelting my neck, the cold winds cutting my coat like a sharp knife , but I sensed these two spirits talking. I hadn't had such intense feelings since 1988 while digging at night near site number 3. Were the departed spirits talking? When I tripped on a broken tombstone I fell in the snow and grabbed a tall monument to break my fall and it moved. Looking up I heard the spirits laughter and in my mind I heard them say "You dumb cluck, we brought you here to discover and you try to kill yourself before you can see...

I was in the cemetery that day because the spirits invited my mind to explore further. The spirits in my dream were adamant I had to "Come today." I was acting on a dream sequence with the same gusto as Bob when he started digging at site number ONE. Bob once said, 'the spirits talked in my dream and told me to dig now. ' My destiny with Walter and Bob is the journey of explained destiny that will unravel before your eyes. Lots of lives from the past will intermingle.

If you are superstitious you'll be quaking in your boots and turning 'as white as a ghost' the same features Bob, the crew and I experienced several times. Only through reading will you be able to see new discoveries, but you won't know what spirits helped me discover in the cemetery about mysteries of the unexplained in Cannon Township. History like many things in life can be dry as dust, but only when you are disinterested and have a closed mind. Enjoy the sights with an open mind.

Bob kept silent about what he and the crew discovered. Why tell you the secret conclusion now? Because Bob and I were friends and he swore me to its secret conclusion until after he died. He was a private individual to the end. He poured out his life and money into his "wildest dream - the cannon project." His dream was similar to Tina Turner's wildest dream concert, where he was the star in the eyes of the world. He wasn't comfortable in his old age basking in the archaeological preservationist limelight, yet he was proud of his accomplishments and his band of cannon hunters. Over the years he got extremely paranoid of the news media. He felt fingers were pointing at him and he perceived their laughter.

When so many problems infected his mission he said "I felt like a treasure hunter"and he sensed Walter's ghost hovering over him and huffing his cold breath across the back of his neck. Cold shivers broke his concentration during several untimely dowsing sessions on dark nights. Near the end of his life he said, "sometime's I think the cannon was cursed, because so many things went wrong or from bad to worse." Even his crew felt being crowded with the ghosts and spirits of the original seven cannon firing men when digging or dreaming at night. Moffit and Prospect Hill locations were utterly suspenseful places to investigate on dark nights or during electrical storms. Were the Indian spirits chastising us or were the strong electromagnetic power sources affecting our reasoning powers? Were our imaginations running wild or were the angels and spirits whispering? Can dreams really benefit man? What is it inside the human brain that triggers dreams about spirits and angels? I'm provoking your mind to answer these questions.

Seek and ye shall find the mysteries of life, the unexplained of mind and destiny. Next time a little brain food for thought before we start to jump into Bob's wildest dream.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 6

We discovered many secrets of a sunken cannon. Secrets were uncovered and a few left us more mystified than when we began. Many folks wondered if Bob Alcumbrack and his merry band of 8 cannon hunters ever found the Cannonsburg cannon?

If I said "affirmative or negative" I bet you could hear Paul Harvey, the former radio personality sign off with "Good-day!" You'd have no need to read what we discovered and you'd miss lots of interesting history, but we discovered bigger mysteries we never knew existed in our own backyard. A few things were down right scary and never did we imagine that the unexplainable would border on paranormal activity. The history of the cannon wasn't just local phenomena, but it had worldwide undertones, too. We had to discover where to find the missing puzzle pieces to discover the secrets behind the story. Bob had two pieces of the puzzle. Why would he dare to invest what little he had monetarily speaking on such a large project? His wildest dream was driving him forward on skimpy evidence. It was as if he was chasing a ghost cannon -- a cannon that only existed on paper. He had no shred of physical hard evidence to substantiate the claim.

When was the last time you tried to fulfill your dream or intention with limited capital? It's a tough sell to bank investors. Treasure hunters who are in the business of exploring for treasures have investors -- wealthy investors taking untold risks who seek substancial returns. Some folks are rewarded, but the outlay of capital is risky contractural business. Some reap unimagined rewards while others go broke while getting some exercise. Would you invest what little funds you have in treasure hunts where not enough research is done? Worthwhile investors don't like feeding bottomless holes that reveal little rewards. This story is filled with more questions than answers, yet it is the exploration of mysteries that keeps us striving for answers, sometimes where none exist. Face it we all dream of striking it rich, but we fail quicker when we put negative answers to positive questions. Not very many things in life go smoothly. Some of us have to scratch and dig our finger nails and claw our way to riches. Some grasp, but can't stay connected. Well Bob and crew experienced this scenario many times, but Bob and friends never gave up on each other. We came face to face with problems. We got down and dirty.

Back twenty-five years ago (1986) the worldwide web was in infancy. We didn't have the instant worldwide web on demand like today. We had no lighting speed information blogs. We had to dig up our own professional advice from others when we couldn't understand the problem. We had to settle for gut reactions -- those inner feelings to decide if destiny was right or wrong. Those who get so heavily involved in a project easily get stressed and lost when dealing with problems that spin out of control or seem unattainable. Problems turn to despair and we all know that clogged brains are a terrible thing to waste. Sometimes quiet spectators studying out problems from afar held the secret clue to solving problems. Fresh viewpoints are needed and listening to those farthest from a problem may provide success. Destiny brought us together. Nine men from the 19th centure vs. the nine men of the 20th century. History was repeating itself.

The mysteries surrounding the Cannonsburg cannon's disappearance after the accidental death of Walter Tompsett on July 4, 1885, provoked Bob's imagination by day and night. The scene played daily in his mind's eye never giving him a moments rest. Suddenly he came to the realization that he had become a senior at age 55 and it was time to stop dreaming and start digging up his wildest dream. He surrounded himself with a circle of dedicated friends (treasure hunting friends) and at age 57 commenced digging operations. He'd planned on a week long expedition, but that failed.

In the beginning it was to be a secret cannon rescue operation deep in the backwoods along a ice cold glacial stream coming down from Pickerel Lake in northeastern Cannon Township. Someone snitched or a stranger overheard a conversation between Bob's band of seven men and word spread like wild fire that he was engaged in secretly digging up the ancient artifact. This simple truth turned into Bob's worst nightmare as hundreds of spectators and national news media descended upon sleepy Cannonsburg on July 1, 1886. It put Cannonsburg on the map of speculation. Would the Cannonsburg expedition beat the Texas expedition to discovery first. These were three buried cannons of significant historical value.

This cannon story has many pitfalls, but it is thru adventure we learn some valuable lessons. Dare to dream. Do your know Virginia Dare?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 5

Egads! I've been snooping in too many old moldy memoirs. My brain was overcome by the fumes. I've become so stuffy from sniffing musty odors as to turn off my readers before I've even gotten through the introduction. This is not my intention and I'll do better as the fascinating story of Bob Alcumbrack's journey into treasure, err, cannon hunting unfolds.

The main story reiterates why it is in a treasure hunters best interest to keep mouths shut when challenging bright thinkers. Why just this morning I was reading my new "Armchair" reader called "The Amazing Book of History" and happened to read that something about bright thinkers. Bob was a bright thinker who challenged this historian's brain to think beyond the accepted facts of wiser men. Bob's mission to find the cannon wasn't simple, in fact, the plan for cannon resurrection was flawed with too many things that went wrong, which didn't have a difinitve quick fix. This story repeats itself often, but each time it does the picture of what happened gets clearer. The passage of time has a way of changing outcomes. Years of research changes our vision. Your going to feel like Bill Murray, the obnoxious weather guy in "Ground Hogs Day" who relives each day until he gets what's wrong right and eventually overcomes life's problems. Each day changes for the better or worse before final changes.

Speaking of wrong - why I heard that the latest Star Trek movie had 287 set mistakes, mostly in clothing attire. Clothing didn't match color to color, insignias on clothing disappeared when the character turned around only to reappear in the next scene. Even hair color, skin tone and hair styles and set scenes were different from scene to scene only seconds apart. Just shows what the litany of set changes and speaking parts can do in any movie when attention to detail isn't paramount. This shows the lack of coordination in set skills amongst directors. The simplest details get lost on budget overruns. We all face problems so let's return to Search for A Sunken Cannon.

Problems started the day a young physician stepped off the Grand Rapids and Newaygo RR's northbound train through Kent City, Michigan, in July 1885. It was hot and dry. Dust clouds rose from passing horses. The green tenderfoot doctor just out of medical school departed the passenger car and stood outside the freight car. The conductor handed him each bag and he set them down carefully. He walked up and transferred them onto the trolley dock car for safekeeping until he turned from exploring the town.

"Toot, toot-T" the train locomotive's whistle sounded, the wheels chugged, the train leaving on its northward journey. His foot stepped from the shipping dock down to the dusty street. He'd be back shortly to collect his medical supplies, but he hadn't gone more than a hundred feet when he saw the shingle above a door on Main Street. The small town already had a doctor and he realized the town couldn't support two doctors.

Sad he returned to the train depot and sat on the bench in the shade. He found a copy of a Grand Rapids newspaper under the shipping deck bench. In hand and reading he suddenly found himself reading the sad and tragic story about Walter Tompsett's death in Cannonsburg. This was the town that could have used a physician and surgeon so he waited for a southbound train, and departed at Comstock Park. In his personal diary he wrote "I could have saved the young man."

He checked at the livery stable, but alas, he didn't have enough money to rent let alone buy a horse and buggy. He couldn't go on to Cannonsburg. Instead he had to work, save his money and then buy them when he could. It was September before he had enough money to buy a horse and buggy and ferry his medical equipment to Cannonsburg. Like many people nothing went smoothly and in fact when he got to Cannonsburg he arrived in a town that was locked in deep depression. When meeting someone nobody spoke to each other, no smile or handshake and not even a simple "hello." People refused to speak after he tried to introduce himself. They were emotionless. How would you engage in small talk if none answered?

Cannonsburg wasn't the only town where a cannon accident cast of silence fell over the town. Grand Haven officials suffered, too. One of their men helping fire a celebratory cannon was killed, too. Each accident cast a pall of silence over other Michigan communities struggling with pride of cannon ownership. Prematurely discharging of old iron cannons cast after the Civil War was responsible for killing hundreds of men at Fourth of July celebrations. The weapons killed, maimed and injured the young and old without respect of experience. Most didn't have artillery training and too many fine men were dying needlessly. The death rates were taxing township and village officials and when someone died during peacetime exercises officials risked being sued for wrongful death. Federal officials told local and state governments it was time to get rid of old post war cannons.

The two accidents caused many local governments to shudder in their tracks. Cannon liability was something officials had to address, but it was prohibitively expensive and many couldn't afford it so they opted to replace cannon firings with fireworks. Firework liability insurance wasn't cheap then or as today. The firework company I work for in July pays each pyrotechnics $5 million dollar insurance policy. This wasn't cheap and deaths are inevitable, still it gave small government officials a way of disposing cannons and replacing with fireworks. Destroy or recycle, but never bury or sink cannons, because they could be resurrected and used again. Most officials knew they didn't want to witness a tragedy like Tompsett's in their own communities. Most old cannons were either smashed to oblivion or recycled into other post consumer products.

In 1884 nearly 250 men were killed by prematurely discharging old cannons, some from the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War days. Accidents were rising to epidemic proportions since 1870 and Cannonsburg city fathers remembered what happened in 1884 in Rockford, but even experienced artillerymen from the Civil War suffered injury. Marshal Alfred Pickett and friend H.D. Lovelace were seriously injured when the town's cannon prematurely discharged. They got reckless loading the cannon and didn't adhere to practicing safe firing point procedures. They were so excited they showed extreme lack of judgment.

Cannon Township officials were adamant they had to get rid of their ancient weapon so the day before the Fourth 1885, they hurriedly buried the cannon, but failed to keep its location secret and several young men overheard a conversation and knew where to find it. They rushed to the secret burial spot, dug it up, cleaned and moved it to the picnic grounds high above Cannonsburg and fired off a shot announcing grand celebrations the next day. It disheartened those who buried it for they feared it was only a matter of time before a tragic accident visited their community. At the picnic they fired off a shot. After celebratory speeches and after lunch was over the cannon's roar echoed up distant valleys.

Boom, boom, BOOM! The firing getting faster until "BOOM" and when the noise stopped a young Tompsett laid on the ground, his knee, tissue and bones blown across the grass, blood staining the ground, the young man screaming, writhing on the ground holding his leg. He was nesting the powder and the ramrod struck his knee. The knee was totally obliterated, the lower leg dangling by a piece of skin. It was a sad ending to a day of joyous celebration.

Within 12 hours Walter Tompsett was dead. He bled to death before physicians and surgeons could arrive. He was consoled by his wife Rena and the Rev. Dr. who prayed for his soul. Upon his death the cannon was spirited out of town cross country -- not by road travel, but five men who disappeared up Joyce Street and returned minus the cannon an hour later. For 101 years nobody in Cannonsburg slipped a tongue where or what happened to the cannon. This is what Bob Alcumbrack had searched for all those years. He couldn't fathom why they just didn't smash or render the cannon useless by plugging the vent or barrel. He thought they reburied the cannon, but where?

Can you imagine the scene in the white space between the black print? It was a horrible scene of carnage. Tompsett screamed in agony, his blood spurting out from severed arteries and veins. Muscle tissue was shredded, scorched and burned. The joyous community picnic screeched to a halt as city fathers raced down the hill yelling "We knew it, we knew it'd happen. Why didn't you let it stay buried!" But alas, they were more responsible for the accident because they buried it first and didn't keep silent, but talked to someone else, the young men straining their ears to here where it was buried. Hindsight from the future would ask "Why didn't the officials object to firing the cannon? Why didn't they stop the young men? Why didn't someone plug the vent hole with a nail? Where were the lawmen?"

The questions are endless, but the township officials were most at fault. But wait - someone else was burned by the blast, too, but that wasn't revealed until years after the tragic accident. Seven men were firing the cannon, but only five spirited the cannon out Cannonsburg. All this fueled Bob Alcumbrack's wildest dream for 50+ years.

Cannonsburg people in attendance of that tragic accident and picnic out of respect for Tompsett, became the ultimate secret society. The folks never said anything ever again about the missing cannon. It's as if the cannon disappeared from earth. No neighborhood news from "Flash" came to any newspapers about the Fourth of July picnic, except the accident news, and even a year afterward no news relating to the accident was published. Not one peep was ever spoken about the cannon for over 100 years -- it was if it didn't exist. This is why skeptics doubt the cannon's existence.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon

In his youth Bob Alcumbrack struck up conversations with the oldest town seniors trying to get them to slip their tongue to his questions concerning the disappearance of the Cannonsburg cannon. Many of the oldest townspeople had either passed away or moved to other towns to escape the horrible reminders of the tragic accident that killed Tompsett. Trouble is Bob trusted what was said to his memory, but as old age crept into his mind he began to twist the information he had gleaned. Sometimes he jotted down notable information on slips of paper and stuck it somewhere. He never kept a running logbook on evidence. He just dreamed nightly about the vision.

As years progressed he found one single newspaper and referred often to the single entry in the Cannon Township history book 1837-1983, which gave only three lines about the small military cannon given by LeGrand Cannon to township officials in 1848. These two items is what sharpened his view of the cannon, but he was miserably incorrect, because never in his wildest imagination dug deeper in black print. He placed full value on the descriptions given about the accident listed in several newspapers in 1885 and the history book. Bob failed to see, read or investigate the missing and invisible print in the newspaper articles. The face value in the history book gave him the impression it was an American military field cannon.

This was the extent of Bob's investigations - the smallest military cannon in the US Army in 1848 was a 6-pound cannon. As a dowser all he had to do was visualize that big cannon in his mind. That's visualize it in his mind's eye, walk the planks over the coffer box at dig site number one, concentrate and use the electrical current from his brain to the dowsing rods in his hands to locate the sunken cannon. Next he put men and machinery to work once he found the digging spot, but things didn't happen as he planned. Lots of speedbumps surfaced that would alter his course. The recovery would be harder to envision.

The Cannon history book said that LeGrand Cannon in appreciation was honored was honored to have village and township bear his last name and so he awarded Cannon Township first township officials with the small military cannon bearing his name and date (1848).

Some local business owners during 1986-2009 speculate that the hard copy evidence didn't bear enough information to warrant such a search for the cannon and regarded what was said as fallacy and a legend started by passing generations of Cannonburgers. Several local business owners today doubt the cannon ever existed, but are willing to use the notoriety of the cannon as the basis for their yearly scavenger treasure hunt. Find the special cannon coin and receive a $1000 shopping prize.

The majority of folks believe the story about how Cannon township got its name is true. Robert Alcumbrack was convinced the cannon remained in the township despite it being reported missing for 101 years. He had dreamed about locating, recovering, restoring and preserving it for 50+ years and he was going to resurrect it on July 4, 1986.

He set in motion the recovery operation the week before and began digging up his wildest dream with trusted friends. Have you ever acted upon your dreams? Got an itch to change your life? Do it sooner than later! Waiting until the perfect time won't help you overcome problems any easier. Bob started late in life, but at least he started someplace.

Cannon hunting is the same as treasure hunting, but he soon found out that no matter how many ducks you get in a row something disastorous will happen to throw a monkey wrench in the gears of progress. Planning didn't go as smooth as planned. Still he started somewhere and was hoping to find the cannon somewhere.

Hundreds of spectators watched Bob's cannon recovery operation commence and hoped to be onsite when history repeated itself. Reporters and journalists from CNN & FOX all major cable news channels swarmed Cannonsburg along with press media and the papparazzi dogged Bob's every move day or night. From that early excavation folks learned the cannon hadn't been recovered and the crowds dissapated to a trickle of curious folks as each day slipped away...but many don't know what Bob and his crew of 8 cannon members discovered two years later. Silence is the key to rewards when treasure, err, cannon hunting. What people did not know was that the Cannonsburg cannon recovery operation was being rivaled by the search for the Twin Sister cannons of Texas. The news channels were covering both operations hoping one would connect - none did.

This cannon story will stretch your mind like taffy, that's if you keep positive thoughts. That's what dowsing treasure hunters must keep fresh in their minds. They can't listen to the noisy negatives or folks that don't agree. Topics of discussion will only get as "dry as dust" if you are disinterested in expanding your mind. I had to stretch my mind to expand the knowledge where Bob didn't go.

Mine started several days after watching Bob walk the plank and watching his dowsing rods cross indicating the cannon was below in the murky depths of coffer box filled with ice cold Lake Superior type water. For several days before I was introduced to Bob there were times I thought the man is tetched in head. I like Mayberry deputy Barney Fife in the Andy Griffith Show when talking about Ernest T. Bass expounded as Bass was running away "I think he's a NUT, a NUT!" That was my impression of Bob and his dowsing rods. But then again I didn't have a positive mind and filled my mind with negative thoughts.

Three days later I became Bob's and the crews top research investigator. Their jobs were more physically based and mine more cerebral and mental. I had the ultimate jigsaw puzzle to put together so the group could get a more accurate picture of the mythical cannon's true size. I was the time traveler, the secret historical detective working in the shadows of past to future history.

The tragic story about Walter Tompsett was nestled in the Rockford Register newspaper between two good reports on Fourth of July celebrations at Rockford and Cedar Springs, both of which were 10-15 miles northwest of Cannonsburg. The Tompsett brothers lived at Edgerton and Porter Hollow a few miles north of Rockford or south of Cedar. Both were served by the Grand Rapids & Indiana Rail Road.

Rockford and Edgerton were lumber towns while Cannonsburg was known for its vast fruit and wheat production in the 1880's, which is why the Native American indians living in the area called the high hills the "Gateway to Heaven." Bear Creek supplied the village with more than adequate water to operate the grist mill and shingle mill.

It wasn't until several weeks after the tragic accident that the Grand Rapids newspaper reported that Walter Tompsett was struck by the cannon's ramrod. Bob had found the original post in italics in the previous post, but he didn't look further. The simple omission of where Tompsett was struck was enough to flaw Bob's judgement and visualize an incorrect size cannon. Bob knew it was a pre-Civil War cannon, but he didn't know date given, nor did he have any solid evidence of the cannon's heritage. A vague picture of a cannon isn't what a dowser uses. It must be factual.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon

As I said I'm a storyteller. In fact publishers say my writing style is similar to Mark Twain's (Sameul Langhorne Clemens) art of storytelling 1835-1910. Because of this a few publishers won't publish my stories, but alas, other smart ones did and yes, I'm a published author of many fine historical stories. That's not in my own books, but in other published works. Twain though was the brilliant American writer famous for his action packed adventure books based upon his life upon the Mississippi River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Roughing It. James Michener who wrote Alaska and Hawaii immersed himself in the geography and cultures of the states. This shaped his destiny as a famous 20th century author and like a magnet he drew you into his world for adventure.

As a river boat pilot Twain immersed himself in the minute' details of making a living on the ole' Mississippi in the book Life on the Mississippi. The geography of river travel and the fact he was immersed willingly in his pursuits made him a powerful presence in the minds of his readers. Twain's storytelling was like a powerful magnet, too, drawing you into the story so that you could experience the thrill of discovery. He was fulfilling his own destiny and his storytelling made him a legend and one of the most widely read of all American authors.

I read his books as a child and with fellow friends tried to duplicate Huckleberry Finn's ride down the Mississippi. We used the Grand River above Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our raft crunched upon a boulder, splintered and sank within a quarter mile, but at least the adventure was short lived and we saved ourselves by knowing how to swim. Another hastily built raft sank on Dean Lake in Plainfield Township, a lake known for its aquatic mud sports, where the water is only three feet deep, the bottom ooze five feet deep. Those who live or play in water should be taught how to swim surface water so as not to sink or tread bottom mud. The muddy water tasted awful. That's experiencing real adventure and adventure that carried over into the cannon story.

Had we told our parents about our exploits they'd have grounded or tied us to trees with chains to save our lives so we'd reach adulthood. Our thought was "What parents don't know won't hurt them or their pride for raising dumb adventurous children?"

Through the writings of Twain we sought out the adventures of the Finn and Sawyer characters. No doubt Twain got many ideas for his famous books, because he penned dreams in his sleep, his pen, paper and lantern at arms reach near his headboard bedstand. Lots of work can be accomplished in dreams. Case in point is J.K. Rowlings books and videos on Harry Potter. She dreamed of Harry and spent sleepless nights rehashing scenes in her mind only to rise and write in the silence of her room. She immersed herself in her subject matter and shut out the present world. Search for Secrets of a Sunken Cannon may at times rival Harry Potter fame, but this story is real and we'll explore some things you might be squeamish about learning. You'll learn things nobody taught you in school. Simply reading without benefit of life experiences makes one life stupid. Not everything in life can be learned by reading.

Well, Bob Alcumbrack of Cannonsburg had such a wild dream he couldn't shrug it off and his enthusiasm for finding the lost Cannonsburg cannon sure infected the mind of this writer and his band of cannon hunting friends. Bob couldn't finish his dream until he uncovered 101 years of dirt and changed geographical landscapes. So here's what started Bob's search for the missing or lost Cannonsburg cannon.

A sad accident occrred on the fourth (1885) at Cannonsburg by which Walter Tompsett, a young man aged 26 years and brother of the Tompsett's, at Edgerton, lost his life. He in the company with others was engaged in firing the cannon during the celebration there, when it was prematurely discharged, striking young Tompsett in the leg, tearing it off at the knee so that it hung only by the skin. Physicians were summoned and used every effort to stop the flow of blood, but to no avail. He died between one and two o'clock Sunday morning (5th).

The italic story above was published in the Rockford Register on July 8, 1885. It describes the accidentaldeath of Tompsett. You got the picture - gruesome. This was Robert Alcumbrack's biggest clue to dispelling the criticisms by community skeptics that the cannon was a hoax. However, those who witnessed the accident swore themselves to secrecy about the cannon and never expunged to Bob any details. The town's silence formed the ultimate secret society.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon

The last sentence of my first post on the subject of Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon left you with the impression Bob Alcumbrack and five crew members including myself found the missing Cannonsburg cannon in Cannon Township, Kent County, MI between 1986 and 1988. Sorry, excerpts from the newspaper articles written in the Rockford Squire newspapers had never revealed whether or not the cannon was ever found and the last sentence of the first post gave you the impression it was found. Wrong! Never have I divulged the series conclusion, because of a theft of information by a hacker and I've been waiting to see if anything appears on the Internet listed under someone else's name with my published works. Some of my computer files were erased, deleted or stolen from two different private computer systems separated miles apart, but all data was not deleted, and that's why backups and hard copy evidence exists.

The story about the disappearance of the ancient cannon of Cannonsburg and Cannon Township centers around its burial or destruction after the ancient weapon prematurely discharged during a July 4, 1885 Independence Day celebration and killed a farm laborer named Walter Tompsett. Upon his death the cannon was spirited out of town in the wee hours before dawn by five men who returned to Cannonsburg an hour or so later. The cannon up until 1988 had remained hidden from public view. The cannon accident in 1885 was so disastorous to the community that they swore themselves to ultimate secrecy and destroyed all documentation that the cannon existed.

Current day advertisers of the paper concocted false tales about the cannon's disappearance and to further their own agenda of having treasure hunts for specialty coins and services to substantiate their businesses. A few advertisers have gone so far as to say the whole story about the Cannonsburg cannon didn't happen and choose to ignore the hard copy facts of the accident in the old Rockford Register newspapers of 1885. Some have claimed the story is a hoax and/or that the individuals that fired the cannon were teenagers and seemingly the newspaper is willing to go along for the sake of advertising dollars to trash the memories and legends about the cannon.

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon is about Cannonsburg resident Robert Alcumbrack's attempts to find, preserve, restore the history of the small cannon given by LeGrand Cannon to Cannon Township in honor of naming the township after him. For 55 years Bob Alcumbrack dreamed about locating the cannon and he thought he found it in 1986, but it wasn't until... Bob's dream was fantastic. He was literally and physically trying to resurrect his wildest dream of finding the missing cannon. The circumstances in the story are real, not fictional, the places, things and people are real, not imaginary. Yes, this story talks about the mysteries Bob encountered, some good and some he wished he didn't have to encounter. His constant dreaming without action made him paranoid of the news media and he shied away from cameras and reporters. He always felt like someone was looking over his shoulder, that's real or personified imaginaries. Tompsett died an agonizing death so isn't it any wonder his ghost could be lurking the dark shadows. Bob and crew shivered many nights while digging in the woods at his various dig sites.

At the age of 55 it was time for Bob to do more than dream. His body was being challenged daily with senior maladies. Time was running out - it was time to actually try to find the cannon. He had the machinery, the men and thought positive thoughts and didn't dwell on the negatives and when the first dig failed to produce the cannon it just sharpened his resolve to keep truckin.' He never slowed down - he was a human dynamo of energy. He kept his mission in focus. He didn't give up when he failed. Have you ever had a dream you couldn't shake. Bob's dream infected his closest friends and he met many new people every day. Some could help him and those who soured he let them go. To find your own dream you must be a positive thinker. Those who dwell in the sewers of negativity never realize more rewarding dreams.

What would life be like if Alexander Graham Bell believed in the negativity folks who said his telephone invention was a fools errand? Bill Gates father thought his son was wasting his life by not buckling down with college courses. What if Bill Gates gave up his dream about computers and software? Thank God - Bill didn't listen to all the negative naysayers. in his life God gives us the ability to use our brains and we are to use them to the best of our abilities. Our dreams fuel our destiny and our destiny can only be realized if we believe in ourselves and act to fulfill our dreams. Bob's dream was so fantastic he couldn't shake his wildest dream - the dream never left his mind. So lets go treasure hunting for Bob's dream cannon. It's based upon a real occurrence in local history. This story covers a lot of history - local, state, national and international. The only prerequisite for learning is you must enjoy challenges, people, places and the unexplained mysteries of past historical events. Have an open mind for learning something new. Some info may be hard to swallow.

I ask many questions and leave you to fill in the blanks. You are the post facto (imaginary) guest in the story. If you don't like my assumptions it is up to you to help figure out where as the post facto treasure hunter of cannons you might achieve a better outcome.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon

This is a test for Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon. What ever happened to the ancient relic? Well, it's been missing for 121 years and no clue have surfaced due to Cannonsburg ultimate secret society. All photographs and paper documentation was destroyed upon the accidental death of Walter Tompsett during a July 4th picnic celebration. He bled to death before physician's could arrive to amputate his leg that hung by only a sliver of skin. Upon his grisly death the cannon was secretly spirited out of Cannonsburg and buried in another secret location. Gone, but still in Cannon Township.