Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Atlanta Ripper: The Unsolved Case of the Gate City's Most Infamous Murders

It is official, my next book will be titled The Atlanta Ripper: The Unsolved Case of the Gate City's Most Infamous Murders.  It is being released by The History Press, and it should be out this August.  The History Press will be at the annual Decatur Book Festival, and at their booth, they will be selling copies of my book. If you get a chance to stop by, come down.  The book will also be at Barnes and Nobles and Books A Million, as the last one was.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Are Rattlesnakes in South Georgia Evolving and Becoming Even Bigger and More Dangerous

From time to time, I like to check the website for Vidalia Communications, the radio stations in Vidalia, Georgia.  I am originally from Montgomery County, and Vidalia spills over in to Montgomery County. Vidalia, however, is mainly in Toombs County.  One also needs to know that this area is very rural, and rattlesnakes have been part of the landscapes and eco-system for years there. Growing up there, I remember playing hide-and-seek with friends and running in to the wheat field beside my house to hide, only to step on a rattlesnake in the process. Luckily, I was able to get back quickly enough before it struck.  Come to think of it, that snake did not rattle until I was already pretty much on top of it.  But then again, I did come up very quickly.  Perhaps he was asleep and did not have time to rattle.
But this story spooks me. From this story, and I pulled it from Vidalia Communications' website, it appears that these rattlesnakes are starting to evolve based on a condition of their environment. For those who are not up on their American History, it is good to know that pigs/hogs are not indigenous to North America. They were brought here by the Europeans during the colonization and exploration era.  The pigs wreaked havoc on the gardens and landscapes where Native Americans lived and tried to farm. The long and short of it is that pigs were not good for this eco-system, and it appears that they still aren't.  Read the story below.  It is quite interesting.  I have quoted it directly from the above-referenced website:

Snake Update...

One of our readers reports this huge rattler was actually killed last year in Screven County and reported in Georgia Outdoors. We appreciate the update and here's that story:
Huge snake could have been 20 years old.
By Nick Carter
Posted Wednesday August 18 2010, 4:12 PM
In late July, Conrad Greene, of Savannah,was working food plots with a couple buddies on their Screven County hunt club near Cooperville. They were checking some fruit trees when Travis Timms, of Savannah, almost stepped on this enormous eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Conrad said the snake didn’t even rattle. It merely lifted its head up above the grass, surveyed the scene and tried to slither away. But it didn’t make it far. Conrad popped it with the .44 mag he carries for such occasions.
Nick Kearns, of Savannah, picked the snake up on a stick for this photo. Since then the photo has gone viral online and through text messages. It has been reported by different sources on the Internet rumor mill to have come from several different Georgia counties and from as far away as Missouri. Ridiculous measurements of up to 14 feet and more than 100 pounds have surfaced.
Actually, the snake is not nearly that big, but it is still enormous. Conrad said the rattler measured 6-feet, 6-inches, had 12 rattles and 2-inch fangs.
“The thing that got me about this snake is how big its head and girth were. He was easily as big around as my calf, and I’m a pretty big boy,” said Conrad. “This thing probably could have eaten baby pigs. A rabbit would have been just an appetizer for this snake.
“That snake was probably big enough that it would have broken your leg if it hit you.”
Snake expert Steve Scruggs said the snake was probably 20 years old.
“It’s an incredible specimen,” said Steve. “It’s very rare that we get one that old because what do people usually do? They kill them.”

June 8-- A reader forwarded this picture of a huge rattler killed near the Ohoopee River southeast of Lyons. The first-person account is from the unnamed man holding the snake.

"We have killed 57 rattlesnakes on two separate Ohoopee River trips this year since mid-May. Not one has buzzed! We provoked one fair sized boy with a stick and he coiled and struck at the stick a couple of times before he buzzed up and rattled.
The purpose of this explanation is that I have been hearing the same from fellow farmers and hunters in regards to the lack of warning with rattlesnakes.
I had lunch with a friend today and he offered a theory about the fact that these buggers aren't rattling anymore. He raised pigs for years and reported that when he would hear a rattlesnake buzzing in the sow pen, the sows would bee line to it and fight over the snake. For the uninformed, pigs love to eat rattlesnakes.. Therefore, the theory is they are ceasing to rattle to avoid detection, since there are plenty of pigs roaming the countryside.
I have a neighbor farmer wife who was bitten 3 weeks ago 2 times by the same snake without any warning. She spent 5 days in ICU in Savannah. After 22 vials of anti-venom, she is back at the farm and still may lose her foot, or worse yet, her lower leg.
The days of perceived warning are over. Keep your boots on and use a light when out and about. As you all know, one can pop up just about anywhere!"