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James Berkland


I was asked to give a talk to Mensa down in Monterey, the same place where the big plate tectonic revolution developed. I talked about the earthquakes, and a little bit of all this for about an hour an a half. Also Edward Teller was down there, and he got a lot applause. He must have been 85 or so. He gave a nice talk. I was one of the first ones that asked a question. I said, given all of your experience with the U.S. government and secrecy, would you say it’s possible that the U.S. government could have kept secret a UFO crash in Rosswell, New Mexico in 1947?

He says, yes it’s possible. So, I said, thank you, and I sat down. And he says, one chance in a trillion. Everybody laughed, they thought well, he really put me down. So, I wrote in my newsletter, I said, given that overreaction to my question, two things are obvious. Either the eminent Dr. Teller knows nothing at all about statistics, or he’s part of the coverup. (laughter)

David: In terms of the animals acting unusual, what’s the time frame that they usually start to act strange in?

James: A week to ten days. You can tell for sure from the fireworks, see? They don’t know what’s coming before the fireworks. They know what the fireworks did to their senses.

David: And we see there’s a five day lag basically with the firework responses.

James: Three to five days, yeah, when it starts to show. But it peaks out about– well, 4th to the 9th– yeah, about five days for the peak. With the earthquakes I’m sure there’s a signal a week to ten days in advance. And now I’m becoming sure there also may be a three week advance warning for a larger quake. Then there seems to be a confirmatory signal about twenty minutes before. Time and again this seems to come. About twenty minutes before, suddenly all the horses and cows try to get out of the barn, or the dogs begin to howl.

David: What else do they do?

James: For a couple of weeks before the earthquake egg production goes down in chickens, and milk production goes down in cows.

David: What about human beings, or any other mammal that produces milk?

James: It hasn’t been measured. But often married couples get on each other’s nerves very much. They get very edgy. Marsha Adams is the one that told me about that. She and her husband would start yapping at each other, and they’d say, uh oh, I guess we’re in for one.

David: They’d get agitated?

James: Yeah, uncomfortable, disoriented. Well, not so much. I’ve had a couple people tell me about losing their way in the city. They normally just follow their nose, and this time they just really got disoriented.

Were you in Santa Cruz during the Loma Prieta quake?

David: I was living in Santa Cruz up into until the end of August of 89, and I moved down to LA two months prior.

James: Good move.

David: Well, I was actually sorry that I missed it. I had been living right in downtown Santa Cruz for years, and I moved away just two months prior to the quake.

James: You wouldn’t want to experience that. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t mind reexperiencing the Loma Prieta quake where I was– in the 7th floor of the county building. Ironically, almost everybody had left, and there were only about three people left on the floor. Most everybody rushed out to watch the World series before 5:00. About three minutes after 5:00 1 said, well, I guess I better head on off. It’s going to take a half hour to get home, and the game begins at 5:30. They had taken my phone away from me at this point, so I didn’t have a phone at the desk.

There was a phone at the public counter. I wondered if my quake had happened, because I said it’d be a 3.5 to 6, and it could have been a 5 way off in the boonies and I wouldn’t feel it. So before I left I just dialed the Berkeley Seismographic Station. I got about two punches away from the number selling what happened during the day, and the quake hit. And for about a second and half I said, I got my quake! Ohhh…ahhh…I mean, it was really crash, crash, crash. The bookcases, the rocks, and all around the desks were crashing.

I could hardly stand up, and was swaying back and forth. Here I am trying to hold myself up. Then the fear about what was happening at Candlestick and every place else. I said, we’ve got a major quake here. This is a 7. 1 said, boy I hope it’s closer to here than Candlestick.

And my goddamn coworker told me later that I had done a jubilant dance and was shouting in glee during the disaster. He claimed that, even though he went under his desk. If he was under his desk there’s no way he could see through this five foot screen that I was on he other side of. So how did he know about the dance? I didn’t do any dance.

David: Maybe just trying to maintain your balance and stay standing during the quake looked like a dance. (laughter)

James: Yeah, maybe so. My excitation was less than two seconds. But this was significant. That’s one of the reasons I was suspended. It cost me thousands of dollars, and I had an attorney. I thought, sure, I had a great case against the county, because they said, well, his work is fine, it’s this prediction of an 8 magnitude quake that’s supposed to follow this.

David: Maybe they thought you were causing the quakes? (laughter)

James: That’s right. Well, I sometimes get that kind of reaction from foreign born people. Oh, he predicts quakes? He does. Oh… Then they give me a weird look.

David: Have you seen any evidence that tribal cultures or more indigenous peoples are more tuned into earthquake warning signals?

James: Well, they have noticed this thing about earthquakes and eclipses.

David: The Incas down in South America.

James: Yeah. I looked at the history of the earthquakes in Egypt, and about 40, 50 B.C. An army came up towards Thebes, after the capital of Egypt, and a solar eclipse hit and a big earthquake hit. They said let’s get out here.

David: Are you writing a book?

James: I’m planning to do that, absolutely. We’re supposed to move back up to my home valley, in the Valley of the Moon. One thing, I’ve got 83 issues of Syzygy, each with a section on “Just for Fun”, a section on past earthquakes during that particular month, what happened during the previous seismic window, what’s expected to happen next window, and then I have aftershocks. I’ll talk other things that seem to be coming up, and maybe have some additional quotes. I describe new books that are coming out, or new agencies that have opened up. So each of these segments of the Syzygy are amenable to collection- like the best of Syzygy. That’s what I’ve looking at.

I’ve had a lot of people come and say, oh I got to right your story. I’ve had this happen six or eight times. They start looking into it, and I predict some quakes for them, and they happen. Oh this great. Then they will go up to the U.S.G.S.– Berkland, don’t mention that name around here. And they’ll go back to Denver, and they’re very cooperative until my name comes up. It’s just one of those things.

You’ve heard about The Body Electric by Dr. Becker? He experienced the same kind of thing- the deceit, the rivalries, and the animosities. It seems to be fairly common, and it takes a long to accept that it can be this severe. I mean, I was very naive, and for years I’d just spill my brain and expect somebody else to reciprocate, and not hold back all this. If you don’t agree, fine. Let’s hear about it. Let’s discuss it. But not to black flag them or deny that you told somebody something.

The worst was 1980, which was the total shock to me, because until then I thought politics was largely out of science. I’d seen a lot of individual disputes, like when U.S.G.S. denies somebody or keeps somebody out the field for an assignment because they disputed on something. Little petty things, but nothing that’s important really to life and limb. So in 1980, on November 7th, I looked in the Lost and Found Column and suddenly saw 14 missing cats, the most of the whole year. It didn’t get higher for the rest of November or December, so I didn’t know it wouldn’t get higher. But I saw the most the whole year. It happened to be on the day of the new moon, and the previous new moon had a disastrous quake to Algerians. 25,000 were killed.

Then there were no major quakes anywhere in the world for two weeks. When they had the full moon, on that day there was the 300 killed in a 7 magnitude quake down in Mexico. Then there were no major quakes until the next new moon. So I called Olga Colga at the Calistoga Geyser, because this geyser normally erupts every 40 or 45 minutes. It;s a great tourist attraction, right at the face of Mt. St. Helena. You got the mud packs, the hot springs, the geyser water and all that. Here’s this geyser beautifully set up now, and it used to erupt about every 40 or 45 minutes. They bought it in 72, and it acted very nicely until 1975.

Then on August 1st it shut off for two and a half hours. People couldn’t wait around, and they had to refund money. Where’s your damn geyser? It was very important to their livelihood. Then rolling in from Borville was a 5.8 quake about sixty miles away, at least. Then the the geyser returned to normal, and it acted normally for a few years. In 1978 it began acting very weird again, and the Mercury News picked up on it. I had a window open, so they said, look we want to fly you up there. And I said, great, fly me to the geyser, and I’ll talk to people there.

And here’s a young student from Humboldt State, and she’s monitoring the eruptions. This was because the head of the geology department up there had passed through the geyser a few weeks earlier, I guess, and it had been erratic, and then they had a strong quake. So he said, hmm, maybe there is something to this, and he sent her down record this. Within a year he set up a infrared device that every time it would erupt it would set off time signals in a strip joint to record it,

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