Mysteries of the Road

January 19, 1927
Santa Monica, Venice

A drained, shamefaced whisky bottle and wrecked car were all officers found tonight at Colorado Blvd and Twenty-Third Street.

A thorough check of the hospitals and morgues revealed nothing further.

In nearby Venice, at Washington and Brooks, an ambulance was summoned when excited folk in the vicinity witnessed an auto turn turtle.  In true 1920s fashion, the two young male occupants righted the thing and drove off, presumably in a crazy zigzag with zany piano accompaniment.  

Back from R’lyeh

June 10, 1927
Santa Monica


His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn.  Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.  His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.  Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him.  The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.  His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.  When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.  The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.  Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.  Arrows do not make him flee; slingstones are like chaff to him.  A club seems to him but a piece of straw; he laughs at the rattling of the lance.  His undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.  He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair.  Nothing on earth is his equal—a creature without fear.  He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud.

                                                —The Lord to Job, on his buddy the Leviathan

Harry G. Cole, special police officer and deputy sheriff of Santa Monica, was walking along that part of the map generally marked by wind gods and sea-serpents, you know, Santa Monica, when he chanced upon a great and insolent rahab, if not the very World Serpent, Mr. Kooky Quinotaur, yep, that Time-to-Come feast-tent leviathan of a Leviathan himself.  (Oh, for the life of the Leviathan, roaming the watery abyss, romping with daughters of Canaan, siring Merovingian kings, cavorting with Atlanteans and generally making mayhem on the seashores of California!) 


Let’s hear Harry tell of it:

“As I was coming by the Sea Breeze Club the watchman was out spraying the dust down.  I stopped long enough to pass the time of day and started south to finish my night work.  When about one-eighth of a mile south of the clubhouse I notice something out about where the swells break, and at first thought it some kind of wreckage, but soon discovered it was a live thing.  At first I thought it was a mammoth shark with a fin about three feet sticking out of the water and the top of its tail about twenty feet back, also sticking out.  But soon a head about the size and shape of a seal’s appeared about ten feet ahead of this fin and then its neck.
“’Well, Mr. Cole,’ I says, “you and your dog are surely seeing things.’  Mike, my dog, had discovered it too by this time.  I left my car and ran back—yelled to the watchman, ‘Come here quick!  What is that out there?’   It was going north as fast as I could run.  Then up came the head about three feet out of water…as near as we could guess it showed from thirty to forty feet, and whet it turned seaward we could see there were two of those big fins, or sails, about two feet apart and exactly abreast of each other.
“Last year several of the men working on the Gables Club said they saw an immense sea monster just off shore—four or five saw it.  But I thought they were seeing things and let it pass my mind.  But now I know that such things do happen in that old pond.”


The press wryly noted that perhaps the seabeast was screen bogeyman Lon “Man of a Thousand Faces” Chaney.  This is unlikely, as Chaney was busy over at Metro where in fact, on this day of 10 June, it was announced by Thalberg that Chaney would pair with Tod Browning (yet again) in The Hypnotic, whose plot would hinge on science’s strange new discoveries in the realm of mesmerism and mental waves; this picture would go on to become famous “lost” film London After Midnight.

In any event, Chaney does not appear in the greater list of cryptids.  As to whatever type of yet to be catalogued by the piscatorial expert seabeast Cole saw, he said  "If I didn’t have a witness to this I never would have never enough to tell what I saw.  I have been night patrolling in that territory for six years and maybe it is time I was getting goofy.”

A Professional Man Ought Not Dally

April 5, 1927
Santa Monica

Serial burglar E.M. Peterson is presently cooling his heels in Santa Monica Jail, having carelessly cooled his tonsils in the course of knocking over the Radio Pharmacy on Washington Boulevard recently. Fingerprint man Barlow discovered an incriminating imprint on a silver sundae cup at the soda fountain, and when confronted with the stain, Peterson admitted both to stealing an icy cold confection, and to no less than fifty Westside burglaries and seventy in Los Angeles. This is once again, proof positive that between meal snacks are bad for a bad man’s health.

But enough about crime. Please join us, gentle reader, in wishing a most joyous 95th birthday to the beaming gentleman at left, Mr. Harry Cooper, my grandpa. Born in Philly in 1912, he served in Havai’i (as he pronounces it) during the early 1930s where he saved a fellow soldier from a riptide, came out to LA and drove a pickle truck, met and wooed my grandma Barbara on the tennis courts, and together they briefly ran a chicken ranch, then were for many years in the discount shoe business at the Beverly Bootery, a shop located where the El Coyote parking lot is today. Harry is a gentle fellow with a passion for tinkering in his garage workshop (ask him about his moss topiary projects or the steering wheel shelf he made so he can read National Geographics in the car while Barbara is shopping), odd scientific and natural history facts, golfing and exotic foods. Here’s wishing a perfect day to a lovely fellow!   

Fatal Fury

Nov. 16, 1907
Los Angeles

Mrs. Amanda Cook (she is also identified as Jennie and Mary) came to Los Angeles from Boston in 1906 with two of her children in search of her husband, Frederick, a union plasterer and bricklayer. She advertised in the newspapers without success and finally took a job as a cook at the Juvenile Detention Home.

Persuaded by her cousin to seek a divorce, she hired attorney George W. MacKnight, who sought out her errant husband and began divorce proceedings.

One day, after being threatened with divorce, Frederick appeared at the juvenile home and upon seeing his wife, said: