The skills of the Native Americans that enabled them to live easily and comfortably pre-European contact
can still be found imperfectly preserved in dusty captivity accounts,
a few ethno botany books, and various tribal histories.
However, none of this conveys any real sense of what it was like to live in California several hundred or
several thousand years ago.
The reality of starting fire with sticks, gathering grasshoppers to roast over coals,
tanning a deer hide using the brains of the deer, and walking in yucca sandals can only be understood through experience.
Unfortunately, the knowledge and skills to competently live this way today are known to only a few people, at most.
Ancient skills have been Chris Morasky’s passion and he has been studying them for the past 33 years,
since his first failed attempt at starting fire with a bow drill which took two years of trial and error
before he created his first Stone Age fire.
This passion for the old ways has led him to live almost his entire adult life either in the wilderness or
in small communities surrounded by wilderness.
He lived in a tipi for 6 years, was attacked by moose and bear, and spent time learning from Lakota, Blackfeet, Shoshone,
Arapahoe, and Serri tribes.
He has also led totally Stone Age trips into the wilderness wearing buckskin clothing,
carrying a handmade bow and stone pointed arrows, and with a willow pack basket on his back.
Chris Morasky at a Rock Shelter in Hell’s Canyon Wilderness of Oregon. Cooking Stinging Nettles in a Clay Pot
He started two schools teaching ancient skills to thousands of students.
He is considered one of the foremost authorities of Stone Age skills in North America.
Now he is preparing for a new project.
He will be entering into the wilderness in Southern California with his 14 year-old son and living completely from the land
for one week.
They will start with absolutely nothing, not even clothing,
and use their knowledge and skills to satisfy first their needs and then their many wants.
From elderberry bark clothing and plaited yucca sandals to hand drill fire-making to a range of foods consisting of seeds,
greens, roots, reptiles and mammals, they will demonstrate that life in California pre-historically was easy,
abundant and relatively carefree.
All this will be captured on film.
As technology increases exponentially, the indices on happiness show a steady decline from what was recorded
during the simpler times of the 1950’s when these studies began.
Today, more people are on Facebook than existed on the planet 200 years ago.
The skills required of a person to be successful financially are vastly different than what was required of our ancestors.
And yet, any evolutionary shift in human physiology or instinct is barely perceptible.
Fire Starting in the Wilderness
We are still a primal species; we’ve just put on fancy clothes.
To truly understand what it means to be human and to wisely create a future of happiness, abundance and beauty,
we must know what it FEELS like to live as our ancestors did.
Those millions of years of Stone Age living are the foundation of our current society, and as every builder knows,
ignoring the foundation puts everything above it at risk.
There are secrets in the smoke of sagebrush and the tracks of deer in the sand;
our ancestors knew these secrets, and we'd better learn, too.
The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles thanks Ralph Perez for recommending this speaker.
Various Tools. Obsidian Biface, Stone Hammer, Willow Deer Hunting Effigy, West Coast Style Spoon,
Handdrill Fire Set, Dogbane Fiber, Stinging Nettle Cordage, Cedar Bark Berry Basket, and Basket of Cedar and Rushes
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®
June 12, 2014 -
Ladies Night - Open Thursday -
Marthe Cohn Behind Enemy Lines: A Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany
"Behind Enemy Lines"
Marthe Cohn was born to a Jewish Orthodox family in Metz, France near the German border.
The laws of Jewish observance were a part of her everyday life and she was instilled with the discipline and routine
of a Jewish religious education.
Ms. Cohn is a well-educated lady with a degree in nursing while in France in 1943,
and certificates awarded to her in Switzerland and Michigan in 1954 and 1958, respectively.
She also practiced nursing while serving three years in the French Vietnam War and
much later became a nurse-anesthetist in the United States.
Marthe was a beautiful young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power.
Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents.
But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule.
As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz.
The rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France.
Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army.
As a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army,
Marthe fought valiantly to retrieve needed inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines,
utilizing her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to
obtain word of a fictional fiancé.
By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight,
risking death every time she did so, she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders.
When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire,
not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had faced death daily while helping defeat the Nazi empire.
At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances,
became the hero her country needed her to be.
Ms. Cohn is a well-educated lady with a degree in nursing while in France in 1943,
and certificates awarded to her in Switzerland and Michigan in 1954 and 1958, respectively.
She also practiced nursing while serving three years in the French Vietnam War and much
later became a nurse-anesthetist in the United States.
Excerpts from a previous talk:
Marthe is credited with providing intelligence that shortened WWII and saved many lives.
Now living in California,
Marthe Cohn didn’t share her story often until the 1990s when she decided to ask for her French military record.
When the French authorities read her records and learned what she had done,
they went on to honor her with the nation’s top medals including the Legion of Honor —
the French equivalent of the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor.
"Usually spies are tall, good-looking woman, and I thought no one would believe me," she said.
"I was a very unlikely spy."
Many helped at great peril
Testimony of Marthe Cohn at the World Center of Peace
Before Cohn, aided by her husband, told her story,
she first provided a bit of French history and talked about what her sister Stephanie did to resist the Germans and
help the French Jews, efforts that eventually led to Stephanie being arrested.
Cohn said Stephanie had declined to take part in scheme to help her escape the camp she was being held in,
saying she was helping children there, and that was needed.
Stephanie also warned her family if she were to escape, they’d all be arrested.
Eventually her sister was sent to Auschwitz, a notorious Nazi concentration camp.
The family never saw her again.
"We can only guess what happened to her," Cohn said.
She told that story first, she said, because many French people, despite what is commonly thought,
resisted the Nazis and sacrificed greatly in doing so.
She related how when she and her mother and grandmother sought to escape from Nazi-occupied France into unoccupied France,
they walked across the border in a rural area without fences.
She and her mother helped her 80-year-old grandmother, just two weeks after major surgery,
who was sitting on a bicycle they pushed.
They passed three French peasant farmers near the border.
Their fate could be decided by what the farmers did.
If they turned them in, the farmers stood to receive a 25,000 franc reward for each of the women attempting to flee.
She said she decided to make eye contact with the farmers and project a look on her face that would suggest
they were in need of help.
One by one, she said, the farmers knelt and began praying.
"People praying to guide us on our way," she recalled.
"I could hardly believe my eyes. It was so beautiful."
She said it made her wonder how for a even for a minute she could doubt them.
"The reward would have been 75,000 francs, which would have been an enormous amount of money,
and these very poor peasants prayed for us, and never denounced us," Cohn said, perhaps a hint of marvel still in her voice,
heavy still with accent, nearly 70 years later.
Throughout the war years, others would help her and untold others, as she would try to help others, in her own way.
A history lesson
Some Family Members Were Able to Escape. Her Sister, Stéphanie, Was Taken to Auschwitz and Murdered
Cohn was born in the Lorraine region of France shortly after the end of WWI.
From 1876 to the end of WWI Lorraine and its neighboring region of Alsace were under German control
dating back to a German siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War that ended with France
handing over the two provinces to Germany.
During the ensuing decades the Germans did what they could to Germanize the people, forbidding French from being spoken, she said.
France regained the provinces after Germany was defeated in WWI.
Cohn’s parents, raised during the time of German control, spoke only German.
She and her siblings learned German and only spoke German with their parents, but spoke French among each other.
Cohn said she could read, write and speak German fluently — as well as French.
That would become important years later during World War II.
The family lived in the community of Metz, in the northeast of France, until 1939 when officials,
worried about potential war with the Nazis, moved residents of towns like Metz near the German border to
other communities farther from the border.
Metz fell under German control again in 1940 during the fall of France.
"I don’t know how much you know about France, but tonight you can go and Google it,"
she told the full house at WSCC’s Center Stage Theater,
receiving chuckles from the audience that included college and high school students and staff and
many adults from the community at large.
She said her grandfather was an orthodox rabbi in Metz who taught them to give, and not to boast about it, she said,
as another key to understanding how she could do what she did in WWII.
Furthermore, she was trained to be a nurse, trained to help.
That would present a challenge when she later wished to join the French Army and
was rejected because she said she hadn’t and couldn’t kill a German — she had been trained to save lives,
not take lives.
French Army officials rejected her wish to join until one learned she was fluent in German.
The French had great needs of women fluent in German to serve as part of the intelligence effort.
Small, multi-lingual, wanting to help and tougher than many might expect, she found a role late in the war.
She related how she went to Paris where another sister, tall and good-looking,
had been able to get the Nazis to provide identity papers that didn’t show her sister was Jewish.
A man offered to give faked identity papers for the whole family, also lacking the notation they were Jewish.
He ultimately was arrested and executed, but her family was able to escape occupied Germany.
"Seventy-five percent of French Jews survived, because other non-Jews risked lives to save us — not only Jews,
but others in danger, too, American pilots shot down but alive, escaped POWS.
It was an amazing story, an amazing aspect of France," Cohn said.
"So many people risked their lives to save others’ lives and that was a great act of resistance."
A Man's Army………
First Row on Right: Marthe Cohn & Odile, Who Puts Her Hand on Marthe’s Shoulder
In 1944, when Paris was freed of the German occupation, she joined the Army and ultimately became a spy —
though her telling of that is far more involved.
The first French officer to interview her for service in the army rejected her,
in part because of her forged papers and no way of proving she was a French citizen.
She had also been rejected over the years for a formal role in an organized resistance movement in part because of her height,
her blue eyes and blonde hair.
"To them I looked like a bimbo and they sent me back to my mother.
I was horrified."
Sisters, taller than her, were in the resistance.
In November 1944 she finally was able to join the Army and, along with others, she took a rickety bus to the front.
The French Army had no gasoline since it all had been stolen by the Germans and the Americans wouldn’t give them any.
So the bus load of French Army recruits stole gasoline from Jeeps parked along the way.
Being the only female on the bus, her role in liberating gasoline was to be the lookout.
Once at the front, the first officer she was assigned to took a great dislike to her,
assigning her to be a social worker without telling her what to do.
So she went to the front and visited soldiers — in their foxholes.
"They had never seen a social worker in their foxhole," she said.
She tried to help in ways she could, writing letters home for them, finding them clothing they wanted.
She met a colonel who asked her to answer his phone for him in his office.
He apologized that he had nothing in French for her to read, only German books.
She replied, that’s OK and that she knew German.
That intrigued the colonel and he told her of the need for German speaking intelligence and
recruited her into the intelligence unit.
"I wondered what predicament I got myself in," she said.
A Spy’s Story
Lessons from the Holocaust
After three weeks of intensive training she was assigned to a commando unit.
"I was very flattered to be assigned to such a unit," she said.
In her own words, she said how one of her first duties was to interview captured German officers — colonels and generals.
Seeing her small size, they smirked.
Their look, she said, told her they "thought who does she think she is?
She’s going to interrogate me?"
She said smirks left fast once she began the questioning and that she learned important information about
the plan of retreat of the German army.
She noted every Army always has a plan for attack, and in case things go badly, a plan for retreat.
The former was what she learned that proved valuable to the Allied forces.
It was her first, but not her last, achievement.
Her commander decided to send her into Germany directly from Switzerland.
She related how she and her commander stopped near a forest, next to an open field that was Swiss,
but that at the border had a road patrolled by two armed German sentinels.
The plan was to wait until evening,
and then when the sentinels met in the center and turned their backs on each other to walk back
to their respective edges of their patrol area, she’d walk across the field hoping to escape notice.
She said she and the guide, a middle-aged man, spent the day hiding in the woods and talking.
At one point, she said, "He told me ‘you may be killed tonight, why don’t we have a good time?’…
but that wasn’t part of my mission.
We didn’t talk about that any more."
That evening, she successfully made the crossing and hid in bushes by the road the soldiers were walking on.
"I became terrorized then I had to cross into Germany all alone.
I became irrational and paralyzed by fear.
It took along time to overcome that," she said.
The final move was to step onto the road when the soldiers’ backs were to her and start walking.
When she encountered one coming her way she raised her arm in the Nazi salute and said "Heil Hitler."
The sentinel checked her papers and let her pass.
"Until then, didn’t know how good my forged papers were.
He gave them back, and I was successfully in Germany."
In German territory she learned the location of the Siegfried Line —
an underground fortress using natural features and reinforced structures built by Hitler’s army
parallel to the border roughly along the former the Maginot Line of WWI.
Called the West Wall by Germans, it was armed with guns that could be raised to a height needed to
repel an approaching army and its tanks.
It proved a formidable deterrence to the advance of the Allied forces.
Its location was strategically important information that meant the armies could enter the area —
staying away from the line until it was heavily bombarded.
Cohn made several trips to the border during this time to share the information with her French counterparts.
Once after crossing the border again, she told her commander she had to continue the mission and requested and
received a bicycle because the walks were long and tiring.
Another important bit of intelligence she learned was where the Nazis were waiting to ambush the allied armies,
and she got that to the French through a Swiss agent.
"That’s why I got all these decorations you are going to see," she said,
ending her planned talk, and receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles thanks Dr. Steve Bein for recommending this speaker.
Paul Straub - Solo Circumnavigating the Earth by Plane
Come join us and share the incredible flying saga of Adventurers’ Club member Paul Straub as
he wings his way single handed around the globe.
Dr. Paul Straub
Adventurers’ Club member Paul Straub (#1153) learned to fly in airplanes that
required spinning the prop to start the engine and had a skid where a tail wheel would be now and had on brakes.
He essentially taught himself to fly.
The University of Louvain in Belgium where he studied medicine for five years had a flying club.
It cost fifty cents an hour to fly the Aronca but he had no disposable money so
he collected bottles from trash bins and turned them in for deposit in order to fly.
He flew a few hours with a friend who had no instructor rating.
The friend said Paul was ready to solo but he couldn’t do it because he was not an instructor.
Paul found a French lady who had an instructors rating and allowed him to make three take-offs and landings then
signed his log book for solo flight.
From then on he flew a Tipsy Nipper which is a semi-acrobatic airplane which has only one seat.
After 4 hours and 15 minutes in the Tipsy Nipper, his log book shows, he was doing loupes.
Two hours and 40 minutes later he was doing rolls.
After completing his MD degree in Belgium he returned to Pennsylvania.
As soon as began to earn money as a doctor he bought a Tri-Pacer and got a pilots license.
Paul never did any ground school.
He studied books and passed the written tests for private pilot, commercial pilot, and qualified with an instrument rating.
He flew the Tri Pacer to the Bahamas and flew west, passing over California and landing at Catalina.
He later purchased a Mooney which is noted to be a fast and efficient aircraft.
He installed a turbocharger, had it repainted, had it reupholstered and showed it at the
National Air show in Reading where he won first prize as the "Best Single-engine Aircraft in America."
He then began doing longer distance flights, having previously made two previous flights to South America.
He now planned a trans-Atlantic flight.
The flight plan called for him to fly from Gander to Scotland but
a low pressure system in the middle of the Atlantic caused him fly around the low to the Azores then on to Lisbon.
Returning he flew to Reykjavik, Iceland, Then nonstop from Reykjavik to Kennedy Airport in New York City.
The following year he took a friend with him to Europe via a Greenland-Iceland route and
followed the same route on the return trip.
When carrying a passenger less fuel can be taken.
On this trip they also flew down to North Africa.
One year later Paul set off on a round-the-world flight.
The first person to fly solo around the world was Wiley Post, a visitor to the Adventures club in years past.
He flew in 1934 and avoided the vast Pacific Ocean by flying across Russia and crossing the Bering Straight to Alaska.
Paul was the 17th person to fly solo around the round in the next 43 years not counting those
who shipped their plane over the ocean on boats.
This is an average of one solo circumnavigation every 2 ½ years.
The aircraft was equipped with custom built fuel tanks which filled the entire cabin.
Only a tiny slit was left for the pilot to enter the cabin.
Paul would take off his shoes and shimmy on his back through the tiny slit.
His head had to be turned sideways and his belt turned with the buckle to the side to get in.
The right side of the instrument panel was obstructed from vision and
those instruments were read using a mechanics mirror similar to a dental mirror.
Fully loaded with fuel the plane was 25% over legal gross weight.
Permission was granted by the FAA engineering department to fly at that weight.
The flight was from Gander to Karlsruhe, Germany (2,898 miles, 19.5 hours)
then Athens, Greece; Ankara, Turkey; Tehran, Iran; Karachi, Pakistan; Calcutta, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore;
Darwin, Australia; Mount Isa, Cairns and Brisbane, all in Australia.
Now began crossing the Pacific: Suva, Fiji; Pago Pago (crossed the date line).
Then 2,500 miles to Honolulu and crossed the equator.
Then the longest leg was 4,000 miles from Honolulu to Des Moines, Iowa in 27 hours and 20 minutes.
About 8 months later Paul again took a friend, who later became his wife, to Europe and back via the Greenland Iceland route.
Paul’s last airplane, which he flew for 18 years, was the world’s fastest production piston driven twin.
It was pressurized, had radar, and was certified for icing.
The plane is was a 1985 Aerostar 700P. Only 25 of these were ever built.
Paul wrote a fascinating story of his exploits and here are reader reviews:
This book is recommended by Buzz Aldrin who, with Niel Armstrong,
was on the first voyage to walk on the moon and who was recently honored on the fortieth anniversary of this momentous event.
It is a series of short stories from the adventurous life of Dr. Paul Straub told in an easy going, humorous style.
Among his many adventures he tells the story of the first ascent of the vertical cliff from where
the world’s highest water falls flows.
This is ANGEL FALLS, nearly 3/4 of a mile high, which is deep in the jungle of Venezuela.
This climb required 9 1/2 days for the ascent,
during which time the climbers sometimes slept hanging from pitons pounded into the vertical rock wall.
They ran out of food the last few days.
They then had to descend which required a day and a half of repelling.
He also describes the 17th solo circumnavigation of the world in an airplane.
Forty-four years were required for seventeen pilots to accomplish this feat.
Dr. Straub»s flight was done before GPS and much of the navigation was by dead reckoning.
Among the adventures are seven crossings of the Atlantic Ocean in a single engine airplane and
miscellaneous adventures the world over.
Dr. Straub also muses about his humble origin at the beginning of the depression and
how he paid his own way by working through college and medical school and graduated with no debts.
Dr. Straub describes SCUBA diving before the equipment could be bought in a store,
parachuting before modern sport parachutes were available and hang gliding with the earliest Rogalo wing gliders.
He describes learning to fly in airplanes with skids instead of tail wheels and no starters or brakes.
He skied uphill with a motor and a propeller on his back and carried a motorcycle in his airplane so
he did not have to depend on ground transplantation.
He has also run 126 marathons and operated on the royalty in the palace in Saudi Arabia
Another reviewer said there is something in this book which will be enjoyed by every age group both male and female.
This is a fascinating book that I could not put down.
I found the aviation exploits particularly compelling.
Although I have been a pilot for more than 50 years, the author describes feats I would never consider trying.
If the author were a cat, he must have used up 8 1/2 of his 9 lives returning to New York from Caracas in 1971.
Flying over water at night in bad weather with a major oil leak is absolutely incredible.
The book is also a testimonial to the opportunities in The United States of America,
where one can rise from humble beginnings to accomplish great things through hard work and perseverance.
This book is an exciting and worthwhile read.
The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles thanks our member, Paul Straub, for volunteering this presentation.
An Evening with Aviation Legend Bob Hoover OUTSIDE ACTIVITY - non sponsored activity advisory
Aero Club members and their guests are invited to join Bob Hoover and award winning producer/director,
Kim Furst, to view an exclusive preview clip with exciting scenes from the upcoming film, "Flying the Feathered Edge."
As contributors to the Bob Hoover Project,
we will be the first to view this clip with a one-on-one opportunity to talk with aviation legend Bob Hoover
and producer/director Kim Furst.
In FLYING THE FEATHERED EDGE, Bob Hoover tells his own story.
Joined by friends and legends Dick and Burt Rutan, Harrison Ford, Carroll Shelby, Gene Cernan, Clay Lacy, General Jack Dailey,
Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day, Sean D. Tucker and others,
Bob reveals hard earned wisdom from a life spent pushing the edge of the flight envelope while contributing to aviation’s
In honor of Mr. Hoover, the event is being held at Moto Art,
a company that saves aviation history by recycling military aircraft parts and
repurposing them to produce functional furniture to be cherished for generations to come.
119 Standard St
El Segundo, CA 90254
When: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Time: Social and Appetizers: 6.30 -7:30 p.m. (Soft drinks, wine, beer & appetizers)
Film Clip and Q & A: 7:30pm to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 which includes beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks) and appetizers.
For Details and Tickets:
Paypal and Credit Card are accepted on the website. Checks can be mailed to:
ACSC, PO Box 91014, Los Angeles, CA 90009-1014 (Checks must arrive by June 22nd)
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®
June 26, 2014 -
Ladies Night - Open Thursday
Jim Dorsey - Vanishing Tales from Ancient Trails
Jim Dorsey, # 1081, has spent the past 15 years documenting tribal cultures in some of the world’s most remote places.
His essays, articles, and photos for publication have brought these vanishing societies to the world at large
that otherwise might never have known of their existence.
Tonight’s presentation is a capstone event in conjunction with the publication of his new book,
"Vanishing Tales from Ancient Trails."
It will be a journey of adventure and exploration far off the beaten path from a current stone-age tribe
to high- tech jungle dwellers, desert nomads, to a feral gun society that lives on a volcano.
Jim is an eight time SOLAS category award winner for best travel writing from Travelerstales,
and has written for COLLIERS, The CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, LOS ANGELES TIMES, The BBC, and UNITED AIRLINES.
He is a correspondent for Camerapix International, the oldest publishing firm in Africa,
and has also written for Natural History, WEND, Sea Kayaker, Perceptive Travel, Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel,
and the Chicago Tribune, plus several in flight magazines of African airlines.
His first book is entitled, Tears, Fear, and Adventure, and his work has appeared in five separate anthologies.
His photography is represented by SHUTTERSTOCK and CAMERAPIX and has been featured by the National Wildlife Federation and
International Whaling Commission.
His work has twice been chosen as Kodak Internationals’ "Photo of the Day."
He has appeared on National Public Radios’ "Weekend America" program.
He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and a former director of the Los Angeles Adventurers’ Club