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It occurred to me the other day that I’m not getting any younger.

That means I’ll never get to the bottom of a stack of “possible story ideas” that I keep in a file cabinet. It’s too bad, because there’s a lot of good stuff there, maybe even a Pulitzer Prize or two.

Since I don’t have the time to do the legwork myself, I figured I’d throw out a few ideas for the benefit of any aspiring investigative journalists reading The Gazette.

The most intriguing tip came to me some years ago from a woman who was convinced that an elderly gentleman from whom she had rented an apartment in the Heights was a Nazi war criminal by the name of Aribert Heim.

In an email, she said the alleged war criminal had supposedly spent time in several South American countries before finding a haven in the Magic City.

This renter offered up as evidence the fact that the landlord once showed her a “poison gas gun.” On another occasion, she said, she was helping the alleged Herr Heim and his wife clean out their garage when she found a box full of money from Argentina and a German rifle with a bayonet attached.

Have at it

I could kick myself for never having gotten around to working on that story. I trust that someone with more time on his or her hands will finally bust it wide open.

Another tip is so good that I will go ahead and print it in full:

“I just heard from a friend, a Cencus taker was locked in a closet for 4 hours by a older mentally challenged person. The Cencus person was small in size ... dwarf! Maybe check with Cencus as I know no more than this ... may not be true ... but I think it is!”

I actually did call the census bureau on this one, but of course the folks there denied everything. Do you suppose it’s another government coverup? I think it is!

Then there is an undated photo from a newspaper in Wyoming, showing a dog sniffing around the shattered remains of a house leveled by a natural-gas explosion in “rural Deaver,” as opposed, I guess, to downtown Deaver.

The caption reads: “A bewildered family pet conducts its own examination as it, too, tries in its own way to understand the terrible tragedy that has taken place.”

I always meant to see if I could find that dog and ask him whether he ever came to an understanding of the terrible tragedy, but I never got around to it. I hope someone picks up the torch.

Getting back to the Magic City, I have in my possession two separate emails, both about 5 years old, dealing with unusual activities in this area.

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One email said that if you look in the southern sky any clear night, 40 to 45 degrees above the horizon, a little west of due south, you will see what appears to be a bright star.

“Watch this object for several minutes and it will start to move around,” the email continues. “It usually drops down a ways, then moves off a little farther to the west and zig-zags around. Eventually it returns to its starting position and stays there for a little while before starting the whole process over again.”

I did conduct some research in this case, observing the indicated portion of the sky as closely as I could on two occasions, first in a state of sobriety and then in a state of semi-not-sobriety.

I didn’t see any moving stars, but on the second outing I dozed off and dreamed that a man in an SS uniform was chasing an unusually short census taker. I don’t know what that was all about.

The other email was from a woman who lived on the West End. She said was looking up at the Rims when she noticed a lot of movement. Upon closer inspection, she could tell “that there were lots of horses and men involved.”

She said most of the horses “were wearing a straw ‘body suit’ with the rider under this contraption.” Most intriguingly of all, she said, “there were several accidents with the horses, perhaps fatal to some of them.”

I wonder now if these weren’t people (and horses) dressing up as sasquatches. As we recently learned, that sort of mischief can be deadly.

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I cover the city of Billings.