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James Berkland

forestry, and I recalled that willow is of the genus salics. And it just occurred to me– is it possible that has anything to do with salicylic acid? So I look in my books here, and found that willow bark contains salicylic acid, and indians would chew it to alleviate pain. Have you ever heard of dog with a headache? Is there any reason why they wouldn’t? Is there any reason why they wouldn’t self-medicate. It fit 100%.

So I called my daughter, who was studying animal psychology at UCLA, and I asked her to check with a couple of her professors to see if this idea sounded reasonable. She said, oh Dad, I’d be embarrassed to even say anything like that. I said, lay it on me, I can handle it. So about a half an hour, maybe an hour before I had to go down and give this talk she called me. You know Dad, she said, I can’t believe it. They said it sounded perfectly reasonable. I said great, and then went off to give my talk. Well, I went on like I usually do for an hour and a half, but the one thing that drew more table-talk, and caught their attention more than anything else, was what I had to say about that incident. So I have no doubt that some animals get headaches, in relation to earthquakes, just like the nine people I know about now who have had it.

I was telling the first two stories I had after the Loma Prieta quake to a Time-Life photographer, who had come down from Marin County to interview me. He’d seen me on channel 2 the day after the quake, about the time I was suspended, so I guess it was about a week after the quake. I was on their noontime show, and he had seen me. He called me on the phone, and said, I’d like come down and interview. I said fine. So he came around four in the afternoon, left around midnight, and we had dinner and everything. He said that he’s always been interested in earthquakes, and natural science stuff, so I was telling the story about the gal in New Brunswick, followed by the gal in San Jose, and boy did he fix interest on me.

When I got those two stories out of the way, he said let me tell you Jim, I had the worst headache of my life four days before Loma Prieta. I was living Advil, and it was really horrible. I was driving along the Richmond–San Raphael Bridge, and I had an important meeting down in Oakland on the night of the 17th. I was going to the bridge, and I suddenly noticed that the pain and pressure had gone away. And I said, whoa, that’s really a relief. There’s this important meeting, and I’ll keep my thoughts straight. He went about fifteen more minutes, and the quake hit. Had he been a little bit earlier, he would have been on the bridge.

So these are totally independent repetitions of this center-of-the-forehead headache that can occur a few days before the quake, and end just a half hour or so before. And that’s the only male I’ve had. There was another chiropractor, a lady who lived in the Santa Cruz mountains, that this was so bad for, that she gave up her practice here and moved to Hawaii.

I’ll tell you another animal story, which should have been on “Unsolved Mysteries”, because they kept me up there all day. I brought in all these people with dogs and pets that had done reactions before the quakes, and all of us wound up on the cutting room floor, because they were only interested in Irving Browning’s prediction of a big quake to hit the midwest in December of 1990, which I shot down. I said, I believe with Irving Browning that tidal forces from the sun and the moon have a lot to do with timing of earthquakes, but I don’t believe that you can locate a particular place in the world to have a big quake, a year in advance, based on the tides. The tides are worldwide, and to pin down a particular place you have to wait as you approach the statistical dates, and see what the local effects are.

How can you pin down a particular place, where they haven’t a big quake there since 1895 when they had about about a 6. Then since 1811 or 1612, the biggest ever to hit 48 states happened. It caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards. There were some really great earthquakes of around 8.5. So since I didn’t go along with this frightening prediction, they didn’t want to hear about it. I said, I gave a it a less than one half of one percent chance of that. I said, I wouldn’t say that it’s totally impossible, but unlikely in a particular place.

Prior periods of the country have had similar situations to what we just went through in the last two weeks, where its been amazingly quiet, which may the quiet before the storm. I believe that within three weeks, we’re going to have a 5 plus, probably in the middle of November, but anytime now– because of the animal reactions, the magnetic stress indicators, and the seismic quiescence. This is probably the quiet before the storm. It’s very frequent. It’s one of the things the Chinese and Japanese talk about.

So up on top of the Santa Cruz mountains there’s a stable, Sunset Ranch or something like. They had a horse up there that was in ‘the stable, in the corral, and their neighbor had just driven up in a brand new Mercedes to show it off. Suddenly, Andy, the horse, began to go berserk. He was running around and neighing. He was leaping up, and his ears were back and his eyes were wide. They said, he wasn’t neighing, he was shrieking. Their biggest problem was that it was the driest time of the year, and the dust was going all over this new Mercedes. Suddenly the quake hit, and the corral dropped down about two feet. Big cracks developed on either side.

Meanwhile, there were about six or eight other horses there which seemed to be immune to this. It was only Andy that was acting up. Then finally his fear was beginning to transmit to them just about the time the quake hit. Andy had been very reluctant to walk along a certain path they would take him for a couple weeks prior to the quake. He would get to certain place on the trail, and then he would stop. They would have get off and lead him over. After the earthquake, they went up along that trail, and it had a big crack in it right where was he so reluctant to go.

I encouraged somebody to go out to draw this gag-shot thing, and put it in the Syzygy about five six months ago. This other dog was a very big dog, and he seemed to be sensitive to earthquakes. Before them he’d try to hide in the bathtub. Then he would dig under things before earthquakes. That’s what he did before the big one, and before one of the aftershocks. The night before, I think, he came in the middle of the night and got up on on their bed. The husband (Dean) said to the dog, Duke, there better be an earthquake coming, or Duke is history.

So in the cartoon you see the 3:00 a.m. alarm clock, and this guy. Here’s Duke going up. “There better be a earthquake, or Duke is history.” But he saved himself that time. Latter on he began to dig holes in the hardwood floor. They put up looking at him for a couple of years after the quake. Then they moved to Mt. Phoenix. Now, there’s been a report, of course, that Phoenix is going to be a seaport, after the whole of California slides in the sea. I’ve had about a couple of lines on it. It suddenly occurred to me, and I said in one of my newsletters, I’ve heard that Phoenix is going to become a seaport. I think that’s rather unlikely, but, of course, I’ve always heard that the Phoenitions were very good sailors.

David: People have been saying for a long time that California is going to slide into the ocean one day, but I’ve always thought just the opposite could be possible– that one day the rest of the continent could slide off into the sea, and California will become an island.

James: That’s the other thing I said. That’s the first line that have before I saw this one. Then I came up with another. You’ve been over El Tamont Pass, or the San Bergonio Pass, one of these places where all these wind generators are? So, I said, not to worry, because the minute we start to slide, they’re just going to turn on all those propellers.

David: Tell me about how you got suspended from the U.S.G.S..

James: I get in from this one day, and they say don’t answer those calls, go back and talk to the boss. I get back, and she said, Jim, I’m really concerned about your recent announcements. Of what recent announcements? That we’re going to have an 8 magnitude quake next month. I said, I didn’t say that. I don’t believe that. Where did you get that?

Well, the U.S.G.S. said that you said it. And I said, well I didn’t. Maybe you’re confused with the false statement in the Mercury News that I was predicting a 7 to follow this first 7. And I said, I already called them, and they printed the retraction this morning. Here’s a copy of the paper, and I don’t even know about that. So it was definitely a paper from the U.S.G.S. that I claimed that I had predicted the World Series quake, and now I was calling for another, an 8 to follow it. It’s just preposterous and false.

She tells me that I’ve got to explain this to the board of supervisors. Meanwhile, she says, you better read this. It said: Because of stress caused by recent announcements, so effective immediately you are suspended, go home and do not speak to the media about earthquakes. I don’t know what happened to free speech. How long is this going to be for? Oh, three or four days, until I explain to the board. It turned in to two and half months.

So I immediately picked up the phone at 6:15 at night to call my wife. Jim, you won’t believe what happened here today. She said, I know all about it. My friend just saw it on the evening news. She heard about it before I had. You’d think that an attorney might see this as a ripe field to make a name for himself, because these charges were totally false. I could show that there was no evidence. So after about of month of hemming and hawing they backed off the charges that I was predicting a larger quake. Instead they said, he’s been a problem

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