Saturday, July 31, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 105

The dimensions of the Cannonsburg cannon that Bob Alcumbrack dowsed were different than he could imagine, but at least the measurements were consistent with Austrian and Venetian cannons manufactured for England, France and Spain in the 16th century. Most late cannons don't taper back and forth over the distance of the barrel, with the exception of a Culverin. These vary from 2-4 inches wide over the entire length of the piece, but it couldn't have been a Culverin, since it wouldn't match the size of the cannonballs found in the Thomas' home. Culverins shot a cannonball of 2.75-inches diameter while the cannonballs Bob found were of 1.87-inch diameter proving it originated from a 2-pound falconet. The smaller cannonballs could not be fired from a Culverin. Most cannonballs were 0.13-inches smaller than bore size.

Bob had dowsed the reinforcement rings above the chamber seat and the rings around the muzzle bore. Reinforcement rings were added to 16th century cannons to keep the piece from exploding. The counteracting weights at both ends kept the iron or brass piece from flipping when fired. English and French cannons were of Austrian design prior to 1716. One of Bob's cannonballs did have a spiral ring pattern indicating it could have been made prior to 1716. After 1716 any cannonballs fired had straight-line striations, not circular. Scientists who studied Bob's cannonballs couldn't agree if the cannonballs were fired since none had indentations to prove being fired.

We felt Bob had dowsed a falconet because nothing else would explain the strong magnetic energy spot. Since Bob's rods never crossed over any graves it wasn't possible the decaying body of Tompsett or others would have such a strong electromagnetic field. His coffin although decayed wasn't in close contact with the stored electromagnetic energy held in above ground tombstones or monument markers. No other locations in the entire cemetery yielded electromagnetic signals so high. Wet wooden coffins and bones do store magnetic energy fields, but these decrease as time passes. Five men buried the cannon in the cemetery to keep the community safe. Bob focused all his energy not on deceased bodies, but a cannon.

Bob found it hard to believe he had dowsed the cannon in a grave. It wasn't the first time that man and cannon were buried together, but it was the first and last time the cannon was buried in Cannon Township. Other cemetery sextons in America put the dead down first and place a cannon that killed the man on top. Pirates were known to have buried sunken treasures and covered them with deceased men to chase or hasten treasure robbing. If it was a military soldier, all cannons rest above ground over the individual it killed and not buried above or below the coffin.

Cannonsburg Cemetery is on a high hill that overlooks the countryside and Cannonsburg. It isn't a circle sanctuary. It's simply a traditional American cemetery with standing or embedded tombstones showing the life and death histories of dearly departed friends, family and acquaintances. While most people show respect for the dead there are always vandals destroying headstones and disrespecting the dead of the oldest graves, but Mother Nature and the passage of time does the same thing on graves before 1878. The oldest stones are easily broken or fractured. They suffered the test of passed time and Mother Nature's worst storms and during those years many stones were made of cheap sandstone and replaced with the more traditional and expensive granite, quartz and marble grave markers and monuments.

After Bob's exploratory gravesite survey he didn't look as hard for the cannon elsewhere, but he thought out of respect for Tompsett and all those who suffered keeping the ultimate secret he didn't want to share how his dream ended until after his death. This was his decision. It saddened him to learn that the cannon he had searched for better than 50 years was at rest in the Cannonsburg Cemetery. It wasn't the best way to end his wildest dream, but it was Walter Tompsett who died the horrible painful death. Still Bob didn't stop looking elsewhere for the cannon. He had been wrong before - thrice. He just didn't look as hard, but the discovery stopped the hard physical labor. I can still see Allen Janose rubbing his head as if to say "Bob, are you sure it's buried here in the cemetery?" It seems that Allen was forever taking off his cap and rubbing his head when Bob failed at the three big dig sites, too.

The discovery of a vast network of ley lines running across Cannon Township sure wet Bob's appetite about electromagnetic fields. Allen Janose accompanied Bob on many of his exploratory travelings around the township charting and studying the power of leys and power spots. People often saw Bob and Allen carrying strange rods and whirling gizmos near Imperial Mills or standing on the bridge over Bear Creek crossings. Bob wouldn't capitulate to the notion he had already found the cannon with 100% accuracy, but simply state "Guys, I-I could be-e w-wrong!" This mantra rattled his frame of mind.

Bob Alcumbrack had the wildest dream. A dream so fantastic he couldn't shake it off, but it was his crew that helped him achieve what he thought important about that dream. His fellow cannon hunters sacrificed their family life to help a friend. His dream was infectious and it became our dream as well. This scientific journey took us to new heights of discovery and scientific wonder we never knew existed. His dream was to find, restore and preserve the cannon for prominence in the community. It was a lofty goal despite the face the original five men took their secrets of the missing cannon into eternity as did all the eyewitnesses. Nothing about the Tompsett tragedy appears in any remembrances, memorials or obituaries after Tompsett died. The only historical account of the entire sad story appeared in the Rockford Register several days after the 4th of July 1885. The cemetery discovery of the cannon is circumstancial evidence and not proven -- we didn't dig it up and it wasn't a visible sighting.

It would be easy to dought the Cannonsburg Cemetery connection. If so, you launch your own dream and seek a better conclusion to what happened to the cannon. Make sure your wallet is busting to the seams with investment capital, because if something can go wrong it will and it'll be an expensive fix. Start where you think Bob and crew were wrong, but as a treasure hunter remember someone smarter might be looking over your shoulder or watching you from afar. Snooping government officials, nosey journalists or ugly treasure hunters lurk in the shadows listening for clues and finding it before you. Better to be the cat instead of the mouse. Sure there are those who will disbelieve the outcome of our cemetery findings and we know a few might doubt the cannon's legend as seen thru the eyes and mind of this historical sometimes mysterious writer and regard the whole thing as a hoax. Some believe the cannon never existed nor did Mr. Le Grand Cannon give the cannon as a gift to town elders. They doubt historical facts.

Walter Tompsett was killed by the premature discharge of the Cannonsburg cannon, but the sole responsibility for the tragedy fell upon the township officials who didn't keep the first burial secret. Add seven impetious men ages 27-43 who wanted to fire the ancient cannon on an ornate carriage just as their fathers and grandfathers had done for 37 years. The accident is recorded in the Rockford Register in July 1885. Tompsett's untimely deatyh turned the whole Cannonsburg community and all those who witnessed the tragedy into the ultimate secret society. Bob's dream infected other dreamers, too, who hoped he'd succeed at dredging up the cannon.

"OOH, oooh! WOW! What a nightmare!"

Waking up on May 28, 2008, I rubbed my eyes, scratched my head and my mind wouldn't stop spinning. It was seeing the aftermath of cannons, cannonballs, explosive black gunpowder bellows of cannon smoke, ghost hovering above cannons, Wiccan witches, UFO sightings, aliens, extraterrestrials, Indian spirits, norther lights, lightning bolts, Indian mounds, glowing people and tombstones, ceremonial grounds, circle sancturaries , magnetic stones, circles and rings of fire, magnetized stones, lunar cycles and bluestones all swirling around in a cyclone. Nothing but blurs swirling past. Twentty-two years of cyclonic historical research swirled at high-speed counterclockwise in my dream as if disappearing into Bob's first big dig mosquito infested steel coffer box in July 1986. We knighted Bob in 1988. Gave him the title - President Manual Labor.

Don't understand the reason why Bob's great adventure resembled the ending of "Jumanji" starring Robin Williams or "Night At The Museum" starring Ben Stiller where history comes alive in darkness. I know maybe I ate too many potato chips before bed. This almost trumped an earlier dream, a fantastic dream I couldn't shake off that almost caused my real demise. I couldn't shake it off and acted upon it rather foolishly the following morning that involved Bob Alcumbrack and Walter Tompsett. Read the final conclusion in #106.

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