October 2011

Face in Tumor Ultrasound Perplexes Doctors

"The doctors agreed the image was probably just a coincidence and not a divine testicular imprint."

We like finding faces and figures in all sorts of places. Normally, people find the divine imprinted upon the mundane. Jesus shows up on toast, Mary appears as a water stain on the subway wall. We're starved for miracles in this day and age, so we take what we can get. It's still comforting to think that some presence is watching over us even if the only way they can communicate with us is through vague outlines on breakfast foods.

Not all chaotic apparitions are benevolent, though. Satan allegedly showed his face in the smoke coiling from the World Trade Center on 9/11, and now some guy in Canada has a demon in his balls.

The Real Necronomicon?

No, But the Voynich Manuscript is Plenty Mysterious

The Voynich Manuscript is a mysterious book, recently confirmed to date to the early 15th century, that some people believe to be the real Necronomicon. Of course, since the Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire invented by H.P. Lovecraft for use in his horror stories, there is no “real Necronomicon”- but the connections are interesting.


Lovecraft describes the Necronomicon as a mysterious and unholy book, written by “the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.” The Necronomicon was at some point in the possession of the Elizabethan wizard John Dee, and at a copy is supposed to be held under lock and key by the (equally fictional) Arkham University.


The Voynich Manuscript has also been associated with John Dee, it is certainly mysterious, and it is held under lock and key by Yale University. The writer Colin Wilson, in his Lovecraft Mythos stories, explicitly identified Voynich with the Necronomicon.

Is It Raining Cats, Dogs, Frogs, Or Sardines?

Hey, how would you like to wake up one day with yard full of slippery silvery sardines - and no, you don't live on the ocean?


That's exactly what happened to a couple in Ipswich, Australia in 1989. They woke up one morning with about 800 sardines in their yard. Geeze Louise!


It turns out fish showers aren't all that uncommon, well not THAT uncommon anyway. In 2004, Wales got a fish shower and in 2006 India got showered with fish too.


So, how is this all happening? It fish being picked up out of the water by a whirlwind and carried inland and dumped out on land. It's even more common with frogs!


In 2005, thousands of frogs landed on dry land nowhere near water in Serbia. The same type of crazy event happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1901 and it made front page news. Evidently, there were so many frogs, people had trouble walking down the street. Can you imagine what these folks must have thought? Maybe the world was coming to an end.

The Self-Mummifying Buddhist Monks of Japan

What would you do to be immortalized as a religious relic?

What would you die for? A loved one? A deeply held belief? A heroic act? How about for becoming immortalized as a religious piece of iconography? Buddhist monks in Japan, throughout much of their middle ages and even into the 20th century, would routinely commit a kind of ritualized suicide, death by a slow poisoning, in order to be preserved for posterity as a deified relic to be worshiped as an embodiment of the Buddha. The discipline of the Japanese is legend, from the ritualized code of honor among Samurai in the middle ages, to the incredible loyalty and willingness to give up their life that made it so difficult for our soldiers in World War II. However, all of that pales in comparison to the ritualistic torture that Japanese Buddhist monks would inflict on themselves for their beliefs.

A Buddhist monk already lives a life of austerity and self-denial. They are bound by a religious code that demands that they refuse their bodies all but the most essential needs in order to better commune with the divine. Priests seeking the immortality of ascendance through self-mummification, however, take that principle to an insane degree.

E-Cat: Cold Fusion?

Spoiler alert: NOPE.
Italian "inventor" Andrea Rossi is making big waves this week with reports that his E-Cat invention has been demonstrated for "private corporate interests" who were apparently satisfied that the device did indeed produce free energy as promised.
Color me unsurprised.
What would surprise me is if the E-Cat had been shown to, you know, scientists. People who have some kind of background or training which qualifies them to determine whether or not a magic black box is producing energy out of thin air without any unpleasant side effects. The fact that the corporate investors were unnamed only makes the whole thing more likely to be a scam.

NatGeo Traveler's Ghost Story

My advice would have been two-fold: 1) Ghosts can't hurt you, and 2) try to get some video!
National Geographic Traveler Andrew Evans who posts his missives under the "Digital Nomad" banner was apparently something of a skeptic when it came to ghosts. Right up until the night that he spent alone in a huge, empty, haunted home (now a bed and breakfast) in Louisiana. This is an amazing story, well-written, concise, forthright, and fascinating.
The first sign of trouble comes when Evans learns that he will be staying in the giant mansion alone. "As long as you say it's not haunted," he jokes, but the housekeeper responds by looking "a little concerned." She says it's not haunted, and then she says there are stories but no one has seen anything, and then finally she says that SHE has not seen anything. 

Foreclosure Mummies

Disturbing tales of mummified bodies left behind in forclosed homes.
Here's a phenomena that is ever so "of the moment," and which seems to be happening more and more often. Stop me if you've heard this one before: a homeowner stops paying their mortgage. The bank forecloses. Someone comes along and buys the foreclosed home, often at auction without having seen the property in person first. Apparently no one (either the bank, the inspector, or the new homeowner) inspected it very closely, because the new homeowner discovers the old owner's mummified corpse inside.
This story is as sad as it is disturbingly common. It used to be that if you suddenly stopped making payments on your home, things would happen. A bank officer might stop by. They might phone your emergency contact and ask for more information. Someone from the Sheriff's department would stop by and take a look around.

Hauntings Not Covered By Homeowner's Insurance

These policies cover "named perils such as wind, fire, and theft." Not ghosts.
I really have to applaud this article by InsuranceQuotes.com blogger Gina Roberts-Grey. It may have started out as a "capitalize on Halloween by writing something sensationalistic and silly" project. But it turned into an interesting and thought-provoking article about, of all things, the intersection between paranormal activity and homeowner's insurance.
Something most of us may not have considered is that ghostly activity is not covered by most homeowner's insurance policies. These policies cover "named perils such as wind, fire, and theft." Not ghosts. 
A woman who lives in a haunted house found this out the hard way, when her insurance failed to cover an item of art that fell and broke "moments before" her mother passed away. Live and learn: if this happens to you, maybe you should consider blaming the wind instead of the paranormal!

Grey Appears in Amazon Rainforest


It's been a while since we had ourselves a decent grey. They were all over the place in the '80s, appearing in both personal anecdotes from supposed encounters and in the film adaptations of those encounters. These days I feel like we're more concerned with dead chimeras washing up on beaches than the classic humanoid sightings, but now Brazil seems to be bringing back the classic blurry alien shot.

The Taman Shud Murder Case

The Taman Shud Case is one of the great enduring crime mysteries, up there with the identity of the Zodiac Killer and the mystery of Jack the Ripper. It all begins with a body found on Somerton Beach in Australia on December 1, 1948. To quote Wikipedia, this is a murder case which involves "the use of an undetectable poison, lack of identification, the possibility of unrequited love, and the involvement of a secret code in a very rare book."
The body in question is that of a middle-aged man in excellent physical condition. He was dressed in clothing which was high-quality and fashionable at the time, although somewhat out of season. Although the weather had been quite hot (since December 1 is the peak of summer in Australia) he was wearing a sweater over a button-down cotton shirt, and a double-breasted wool jacket.

Vestigial Human Tails


In the earliest stages of development of a human embryo, it has a little tail. This tail measures about 1/6th the size of the entire length of the embryo (the equivalent of a 12-inch tail on a 6-foot man). But as the fetus develops, the tail is absorbed. Enzymes dissolve the bones, and the entire structure retracts into the fetus's body.
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, a baby is born with its vestigial tail still attached. According to the National Institute of Health, "There have been 23 vestigial tails reported in the literature since 1884," or approximately one baby born with a tail every 5 ½ years.

Evidence of Intelligent Mythical Squid In ”Mollusk’s Macaroni Illustration”

The mythical Kraken, a giant hyper-intelligent squid from mythology, has long been a fascination of scientists…but not solid scientific fact.

A recent report from Boulder, Colorado’s Mount Holyoke University,

published by the Geological Society of America, claims to have found evidence of the existence of the mythical Kraken. According to legends, the Kraken was an enormous squid that would hunt the equally enormous ichthyosauruses, a school-bus-sized sea creature that look a bit like a reptilian needle-nosed dolphin. According to the report, the kraken, whose name has been borrowed from Greek myths, would hunt down the ichthyosaurus, breaking its back and dragging it down to its lair on the ocean’s floor where it would devour it. Then, in a well-fed bout of inspiration, it would arrange the creatures bones in symmetrical designs on the floor of its lair. These designs, according to Mark McMenamin, the paleontologist who claims to have discovered evidence of the kraken’s existence, is what alerted him to the now extinct squid’s lair.

Did Mikey Welsh Predict His Own Death?


Tragic news last Sunday, as we learned that the former Weezer bassist and successful painter Mikey Welsh apparently died in his sleep at the Raffaelo Hotel in Chicago. But the news turned strange when people started pointing out two messages Welsh Tweeted on September 26th. 
In the first message, Welsh says "dreamt I died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). Need to write my will today." He then followed it up with "correction - the weekend after next." Which was in fact the weekend that Welsh died.

The Mystery of the Carved Stone Balls


All across Scotland, for centuries people have been unearthing mysterious carved stone balls. (Which archaeologists, in a fit of whimsy, refer to as "carved stone balls" or if you want to be really technical, "petrospheres.") Imagine grinding a rock into a roughly spherical shape, then carving semi-circles out of its side. 
These smoothed semi-circles are called "knobs," and were typically decorated with either straight cross-hatching, spirals, or concentric circles. Sometimes quite elaborately, and other times in a very plain style. Most of them have six "knobs," which forms one on each face if it were a cube. But they have been found with other numbers, with the record so far being a carved stone ball featuring 160 knobs.

Numbers Stations


Some time around WWII, shortwave radio users started to stumble across random radio stations whose broadcasts were just a string of numbers, being read aloud by a voice (often female). These mysterious broadcasts have been found around the world, each distinctive in its own way, each one as cryptic as the last.
No organization, either government or private, has ever admitted to running a numbers station. They are featureless, nationless, and essentially impervious to being decrypted. These stations broadcast 24/7, but they are frequently only heard at night, due to the better conditions for shortwave radio transmissions carrying farther.

4 Questions About The Cyclops Shark


Question 1: Is it real?
Although everyone on the internet immediately assumed that this was a Photoshop job, it turns out that, according to all the best evidence, this one-eyed shark is real. It isn't alive, and it isn't even fully formed, but it does seem to be real. At the very least, the world's leading shark researcher is investigating the body, and he says it's real.
It's as real as we're able to verify, given that we are all sitting on the other side of a computer screen.

Have a Real Halloween Adventure This Year


Do you like to get spooked—I mean really spooked, the kind where you wonder if you should have worn a Depends or not—but every year, you find yourself at the same haunted house or Saw 42 premiere as last year? It’s still fun, for sure, but if you want to get yourself truly scared this Halloween, why not search for something a bit more…authentic?

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at a real haunted mansion in 2007. The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis has some of the best haunted stories around; I even had teachers in high school tell tales about how spooked they were when they visited the old place. When we spent the night there, we didn’t really experience anything, but I still didn’t sleep much because it was so damn spooky!