Joe Nickell may be the world's foremost expert on the Shroud. You can check out his 1983 book about it on Amazon, here. You can check out Joe's 29 other investigative books at joenickell.com, here. And you can hear my 8-minute interview with him about the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale below.
Bobby Corcoran, who grew up in Plains, PA in the same house as Lt. John Curry, is also on the School Board there. He asked the Superintendent of Schools to search high and low for the portrait of my great uncle, John, that used to hang in the high school alongside Lt. Michael Duddy. Both soldiers were killed in action in World War 1. Sure enough, they found it. Bobby and his dad Bob hope to get it framed and hang it in the American Legion Hall in Plains. I'm so excited that they found it and that there are still people from his community that remember him and his mother, Sara Curry. Thank you, Corcorans!
This is the book that made Dick Proenneke famous, but he wasn't happy with the editing. Check out this video at about 4:10 in which he discusses that. It's from Bob Swerer's "Alaska, Silence & Solitude" film, in which Swerer visits Dick at the Twin Lakes cabin when Dick was 75. Swerer is the narrator (he reads from Proenneke's journals) of "Alone in the Wilderness," and he's terrific. The 26th edition of the book was published in 2009 and won the National Outdoor Book Award. You can buy it at Alaska Geographic here. And you can read about the new collection of his writings, "The Early Years" edited by John Branson, here.
Florence Green, who served tea to British pilots just before the Great War's end, just died. The Brits lost 886,939 soldiers in WWI. France lost 1,397,800. Russia lost 1,811,000. Germany, 2,050,897, including my great uncle, Robert Koenig. The U.S. lost 116,708, including my great uncle John Curry. The Ottoman Empire lost 13.72% of its total population. Serbia lost 16.11% of its population.
A screen grab of the dedication to More Readings from One Man's Wilderness by Richard Proenneke, published by the National Park Service. You can read it here. In the excellent biographical sketch, editor John Branson writes, "Although a life-long bachelor, Proenneke liked women and had many female friends." In the film "Alone in the Wilderness" by Bob Swerer Productions, Proenneke compares the changable conditions on Twin Lakes to a woman, "all smiles one minute and dancing a temper tantrum the next."
If you're a Dick Proenneke fan, you'll really like this collection of his writings, wonderfully edited by John Branson, a Park Service historian. You can read it free on-line it here. It contains a detailed biographical sketch. I was interested to learn that he had a J-3 Piper Cub from 1975-1976. He and his brother Raymond used it to explore the Twin Lakes area. Proenneke eventually crashed it (iced carburator) but crawled out to a highway and survived. He was also considered a mechanical genius by those who knew him. You can buy the book on Amazon. Thanks again to Rob Hanson for evenfallstudio.com for pointing me to this in his October 22, 2010 post there.
Sorry, you'll have to click here to see this terrific video about Dick's last visit to his cabin in 2000, when he gave the cabin to the Park Service. It's by Talking Circle Media in Anchorage. It's narrated by Jay Hammond, who lived 40 miles away on Lake Clark and was the former governor (1974-1982). Tip of the hat to Rob Hanson at evenfallstudio.com for pointing it out. Rob's post also explains how Dick worked from a carpentry point of view, for those of you who like to build things.
Just saw "The Grey." It's terrific. But I couldn't help but think that Liam Neeson and his band of air crash survivors in Alaska would've been better off had Richard Proenneke been along with them. He would have built them a log cabin in no time. Maybe even an airplane. If you see the flick, stay through the credits. All of 'em.