Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

31 January 2010

Fairy Shoes And Other Artifacts


(photo from The Fortean Photo Library)

The picture above is of a "Fairy Shoe". According to Patrick Harpur's book Daimonic Reality, the shoe was found in 1835 by a farmer on a remote sheep trail on the Beara Peninsula in Ireland. It measures 2&7/8" long and 7/8" at its widest.It is black and shows wear at the heel. The farmer gave the shoe to the local doctor, and eventually it was passed to the Somerville family. It was reportedly examined by scientitsts at Harvard University and found to have tiny hand stitches, well-crafted eyelets, and appeared to be made of mouse skin. I've been unable to determine its current whereabouts, or even verify the story. Harpur mentions that other such shoes have been found in Ireland, along with other items of "Fairy" clothing, such as a coat found in 1868 measuring 6&1/" long and 1&3/4" across at the shoulder.The coat was fully lined, had cloth covered buttons, and exhibited considerable wear at the neck & collar. Other parts were frayed and even scorched, "as if from a tiny pipe."
In the book Mysteries Of Time And Space, Brad Steiger provides a veritable grocery list of anomalous objects and finds. A device resmbling a spark plug found inside a geode rock, a fish caught in a US river with a centuries-old Greek coin in its stomach, fossilized trilobites that appear to have been stepped on by a shod human foot.
Are these bizarre finds evidence of the existence of otherworldly beings or intelligences? Do they point to portals to other realities? Is the fabric of time and space more permeable than we think?
Or is it all just a series of intricate, elaborate frauds, hoaxes, and lies, like the "Cottingly Fairies" or the Surgeon's Photo played out on a larger scale?
Or, does the Great Cosmic Joker just enjoy messing with us?

29 January 2010

UFO's And Bigfoot...Why?

Since I have yet to recieve a response from Robert Bigelow regarding my generous offer of my exclusive services, I've killed some time looking into some topics of interest. Here's a great post by the Blogsquatcher exploring the possibility of a Bigfoot/UFO connection. He raises some thought-provoking points. It can't be argued that there is some overlap between these two elusive mysteries. I'm still pondering the possibility of some kind of connection. However, I'm not comfortable with the practice of using one mystery to explain another. I once remarked that I keep hoping to find some kind of paranormal "Holy Grail", or maybe a "Rosetta Stone Of Weirdness", some kind of evidence that could lead to the unraveling of the great mysteries Our Time.
What possible connection could there be between hairy hominids and what we call "aliens"? I've heard and read a few, but so far none have passed my personal "smell test".
"Bigfoots serve the aliens". In what capacity? Like slaves? Servants? A lower life form (albeit one that exhibits intelligence) being controlled/exploited by a more advanced race? (now that's a scary thought, since the ufonauts seem to have some kind of interest in us!). One would hope that beings with such advanced technology and knowledge at their disposal would be more...advanced. The majority of us primative humans find slavery and involuntary servitude repugnant.
"Bigfoots are alien test animals". Again, not the kind of mentality I'd want to attribute to such supposedly advanced beings. If the ufonauts can travel through time and space, if they've been observing our wet little planet for millenia, surely by now they've gathered plenty of intel regarding our climate, atmosphere, gravity, resources and such. It shouldn't take that long for an alien to report to the captain that we've got us a Class M planet here. We mere humans stopped shooting animals into space decades ago. Even our Radio Shack probes & rovers can give us more data than Curious George ever could.
"Bigfoots are criminals/dangerous creatures exiled here by the aliens". I kinda like this one. Like doin' time on planet Earth is some kind of intergalactic work release program, or something akin to the Kryptonian Phantom Zone. If this is the case, then the Bigfoots are certainly racking up the good behaviour points. Other than some minor mischief, or accidently scaring the bejeebers out of the occasional hiker, Bigfoots appear to be model prisoners. If they were some kind of alien "offenders" forced into exile on our little rock, it appears they're more than eager to do their time and get back home. By and large, we don't bother them and they don't (intentionally) bother us.
The biggest problem with trying to figure out anything the little gray men do is: we must avoid the trap of anthropomorphism or projection. We don't know how aliens think, or what kind of moral code (if indeed any) they may follow. We only know how we as humans behave. And our thoughts, values, and feelings could well be totally alien to "them".
And Mr. Bigelow, my offer still stands!
G

28 January 2010

Big Birds & Airborne Crypto-creatures

Thunderbirds, living pterosaurs, ropens, flying humanoids, theese are among the flying anomalies of the crypto-world. There are plenty of others, the ahool, man-bats, owlman, mothman, the Jersey Devil. When it comes to the battle between man and monster, these creatures have captured the high ground.
So, how's a monster hunter to deal with these critters? They're too fast to pursue, it's impossible to predict where and when they'll pop up (maybe if one had access to an AWACS plane? Hmmm...) and of course they can appear, cause a little chaos, then disappear into the sky.
I suppose some of you may be asking, "Gee, GF, don't you have any kind of anti-aircraft capability?", "Isn't there something you can recommend?" Well, I have given this matter some thought. Since I don't have the budget for a beltfed 30cal, let alone a Ma Deuce or flak gun, what's a monster hunter to do? There's always the 10 gauge magnum goose gun (loaded with buckshot), maybe a 3 1/2" 12 gauge super magnum. Or how about a tripod mount for the G3 with a high-power scope?
But, the other problem with winged wonders (other than actually finding one) is a major legal problem. In the US, all big, soaring birds are endangered or protected in way or another. From the rare condors, to the majestic eagles and falcons, even the lowly buzzards and turkey vultures are protected. So, if your prize Thunderbird turns out to be a condor, or that pterosaur-like silhouette was in reality a whooping crane, well, you're gonna have some 'splaining to do.
What about those flying humanoids, though? These things are obviously not a bird, or a plane, especially the winged humanoids. The non-winged variety may present a problem, especially if you live near a military installation or industrial testing facility. Taking shots at a military or civilian test pilot trying out the latest in jet packs is not advised. These people have no sense of humor about such things, and the "Monster Hunter Defense" has yet to be tried in court. Remember, times have changed since the good ol' days when Commodore Stephen Decatur could fire a cannon at the Jersey Devil and nobody would complain. Things were so much simpler then.
But, winged humanoids? I suggest dual beltfed 1919A1s with a crankfire trigger, or a tripod mounted Barrett 50BMG. If you've got a Surface-To-Air Missile or chaingun stashed away, that'd be the time to whip it out.
'Cause those things just ain't natural.

23 January 2010

The Gummerfan Letters: Open Letter to Robert Bigelow

Robert Bigelow
Bigelow Aerospace
MUFON
NIDS
SIP
BAASS
Las Vegas, NV

Mr. Bigelow,
I am an avid researcher in the fields of cryptozoology, anomalous phenomena, UFO's, "alien" contact, and numerous other topics. I have reserched and investigated these (and other) phenomena for over thirty years. It is my firm belief that many, if not all of these phenomena are related or interrelated.
Upon reading "Hunt For The Skinwalker" I have since done some research into your efforts to scientifically approach certain matters and subjects which fall into the category of the "Paranormal". I've learned of your efforts with NIDS, MUFON, the SIP project, and your involvement with other groups.
Based on this information I have arrived at an inescapable conclusion:
You need a full-time monster hunter. You need me. Rather than sending in teams of scientists after the fact, you need someone on the ground when an anomalous event occurs. There is an intelligence behind these happenings, an intelligence that watches and observes us just as we try to watch and observe it. It comes as no surprise that the approaches used in the past have produced little in the way of evidence or results. My research has led me to develop methods, approaches, and techniques will would be far more cost effective in terms of financial outlay vs results obtained. I have established numerous qualified contacts from a variety of backgrounds, qualifications, and disciplines whose contributions to the effort would undoubtedly prove fruitful.
You need a full-time field man who can be on the spot even before an event occurs, who can provoke or incite events to occur, and then deliver the data and evidence to your scientific team. Think of the relationship as a Thomas Magnum to your Robin Masters, an Archie Goodwin to your Nero Wolfe, a Brock Samson to your Dr. Venture.
I hereby offer to place myself on a two year retainer. My fee and expense terms may seem excessive at first glance, but in terms of investment vs results would be more than worth the cash outlay.
Since this communication is public, I won't disclose any details. I will state that some of my terms are more negotiable than others and I'm certain that we could come to mutually beneficial arrangement.
I know of your aversion to email and other electronic communication, and I respect your desire for privacy. You may contact me at:
Gummerfan
General Delivery
Trinity, AL 35673
I await your reply.
G

The Gummerfan Letters: Open Letter to TAPS

Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson
Founders: The Atlantic Paranormal Society
Stars of "Ghost Hunters"
Plumbers for Roto-Rooter
Warwick, RI

J and G,
First, allow me to give credit where credit is due. I applaud your accomplishments in bringing paranormal research to the masses. While I'm not a slavish fan of the series, I am a frequent viewer and enjoy the episodes.
However, I and many other viewers and fans share more than a few questions and concerns. I will not join in the current bashing, allegations of fraud or faking of evidence, and I'm as yet unable to determine at just what point your emphasis shifted from "We've got an investigation to conduct" to "We've got a show to do". But there are a few issues I'd like to address.
Since you purport to take a scientific approach to the subject, why have you never submitted your findings to independent review? I know you post your results on your website, but face it, the only viewers of the site are sycophantic fans (who buy everything hook, line, and sinker) or others in the ghost hunting industry (that's what it has become, an industry, like it or not) whose detachment is suspect at best. Why not have your evp's, photos, or videos reviewed by specialists in those respective fields? Why not have qualified, professional analysts give their opinions rather than relying on your own , partial, team members?
Another gripe (albeit strictly personal) is your use of leading language. "Evidence" is defined as "facts used to prove or disprove". What your clients see in the "Reveal" is evidence. What the team records, films, videos, or photographs in the course of the investigation is more properly termed "data". Yet time and again you state that "we've got a LOT of evidence to go over", "We've captured a LOT of evidence and we'll let you know what we find". This plants the thought in the mind of the non-critical viewer (not to mention the client) that you have more than you really do. The proper, scientific, terminology would be more like "We've got a lot of data to analyze, we'll have to see what kind of evidence we manage to find." This may seem like a minor nitpick, but words have meaning, they carry weight, they evoke specific responses in the mind of the listener. Refering to hours of raw unreviewed footage or recordings as "evidence" in and of itself, is misleading and unscientific.
I realize that now that you've grown successful, established a rabidly loyal following, and inspired countless copycats and wannbes, and fallen hopelessly into the trap of believing your own publicity, any plea to change your approach, expand on your theories, or continue to advance the cause of true scientific research into paranormal phenomena will be an exercise in futility.
After all, why mess with success? Sit back at the Inn, count your money, and grow fat, lazy, and arrogant.
I won't deny that you've earned it.

G

The "Ghost Box": Tool or Toy?


One of the latest pieces of "scientific" ghost hunting equipment is the so-called "Ghost Box" (aka "Frank's Box, among other names). This device supposedly allows investigators to communicate with spirits in real time, or records ghostly communications for later playback and review.
Being a hopeless gadget freak I had to see what I could find out about this particular device. From what I've read, I'm decidedly unimpressed.
In typical "Ghost Hunters" fashion, here's the theory:
The GB allows ghosts or spirits to manipulate radio signals and frequencies in order to form words and communicate with investigators. Instead of flashing lights on the ol' K2 meter, you can actually get words, even complete sentences! Sounds awesome, no?
Well, no...
In reality, the GB is nothing more than a continuosly scanning radio reviever. There are variations on the basic design, such as adding speakers or headphones, or feeding the signal into an amplifier or digital recorder (great for editing nd manipulating "responses"!) Imagine the radio in your car. You hit the Search/Seek button, and it starts scanning the band for signals. But, unlike your car radio, the GB doesn't stop and lock on to a station. It scans constantly, picking up random words or music as it moves through the radio spectrum. Thus, (supposedly) the spirits can control the device, allowing words to come through to convey their intended message. Frankly, this is giving the ghosts way too much credit, IMHO. How do we know that they even understand radio waves, let alone manipulate them at will? Do they possess the precognitive ability to know what word is going to be said when, and on what frequency?
If you search youtube, you'll find a few demonstrations (none of which impress me) and there are plans and instructions online on how to build your own or modify a radio to function as a GB.
But, based on all I've read, seen, and heard, it's just a useless, unscientific toy that randomly picks out broadcast signals, and it's up to the operator to interpret them. (audio "matrixing", anyone?)
But unless the spirit of say, Nicola Tesla, Marconi, Einstein, or maybe Thomas Edison decides to make contact, I wouldn't expect much.

The Buckshaw Beast


Here's a link to a newspsper account of a mysterious beast that is terrorizing villagers and attacking animals.
Boar? Wolf (were or otherwise)? Hyena? Something unknown?

21 January 2010

The Gummerfan Letters: Open Letter To Josh Gates

This is the first in a series of posts consisting of "open letters" or "e-mails I'd like to write". Though I doubt anything will ever come of them, I've decided to post them just to get some things out of my system.


Josh Gates
Producer "Destination Truth"
The SyFy Channel

Mr. Gates,
As a long time fan, researcher, and investigator of cryptids and other strange phenomena, it was with a keen interest that I began watching your program when it first aired. I continue to view and enjoy it to this date, despite some of my reservations and criticisms.
I really enjoy the fact that DT features cryptids and creatures from different parts of the world, cryptids that most viewers with only a casual interest in cryptozoology have never heard of. I commend the efforts of the DT team to spread the word and information about creatures other than Bigfoot, Nessie, El Chupacabra, and other major "stars" in the field. While some may not appreciate the investigations into other areas, such as UFO's, aliens, or ghosts/spirits/demons, I believe these phenomena are all related and have no problem with the casting of a broad net.
My biggest complaint, and one echoed by many others, is the lack of results, conclusive or otherwise. I'm sure you're aware of the many complaints that the DT team spends more time screaming and running away from potential creatures than in attempting to identify them. My advice is, for God's sake, pack some heat! Granted, this can be a problem given the various laws and regulations of the respective countries in which investigations are conducted, but on numerous occasions it would have been a simple matter to arrange for either team members or a local guide/escort to provide some armed support. Treking into unknown realms without mission/environmental appropriate weaponry is unprofessional and beyond reckless, not to mention the fact that a forced retreat defeats the purpose of the investigation. I and other viewers would absolutely love to see some caps busted every now and then. I remember as a lad growing up in The South the many times I went out into the woods on the hunt for the legendary "black panthers" packing my faithful Daisy BB gun. Running away from every noise in the jungle is neither investigation nor adventuring. Give us a little firepower action sometime!
Speaking of bringing back, the inability of your team to sneak, smuggle, or ship certain pieces of potential evidence out of the area of operations is another major disappointment. There's nothing like a little intrigue to spice up a trip. One of the greatest tales in the annals of cryptozoology is the story of how the "Yeti finger" was successfully smuggled out of Nepal by the wife of actor Jimmy Stewart. There were giants in those days...
And please, ditch the "TAPS" guys and use some independent reviewers. Having Steve, Tango, Jay & Grant examine evidence doesn't exactly inspire confidence. These guys aren't audio engineers, or video analysts. Relying on their "expertise" is like having a hair sample "analyzed" by a couple of hunters to the old General Store.
Finally, a bit of wisdom: Avoid the local food! Pack in some MRE's or find a local McDonald's, at least until after the investigation! I fully realize that "local color" is an important aspect of the show, and I do enjoy seeing a glimpse of the culture of the area. But, in addition to fatigue, environmental adjustment, adrenaline, and the effects of jet lag, it's ill-advised, unprofessional, unwise, even foolhardy, to head out for a night of investigation in a dangerous environment after dining on various and sundry animal testicles.
I wish the show continued success and I'll keep watching regardless of whether you take any of my advice or not.
Mahalo,
G

16 January 2010

On The Subject Of Discoveries...



Back in the early days of this blog, I posted about my favorite plant, the Amorphophallus titanum, a plant which, based on its description, seems most unlikely to be real. But it is.
My point is, new species of plants are being discovered every day. Some big plants. I'm talking about previously unknown species in the wild, not crossbreeds or manmade hybrids.
To date, we have yet to discover a plant that can see, hear, or smell us coming. A plant that can run and hide from us, or lay low in woods waiting for us to pass.
Animals can do this!

Cultural Elitism and Cryptozoology

Disclaimer: This post may contain certain generalizations, stereotypes, and phrases which may seem insulting, bigoted, and/or racist. These are included for illustrative purposes only, and do in no way reflect the views and opinions of your humble author. So no whining, complaining, or calls to the ACLU!

The Ahool, Mokele-mbembe, the kongomoto, the mapinguary, orang-pendek. These cryptids are all reported in exotic, distant locales. They are known and and their existence is accepted by the respective indigenous peoples. Yet, science still denies, or in the least, questions the possibility of their existence. Why?
If you troll around the internet, it's easy to find sceptics. I have no problem with scientific scepticism. "Show me the proof" is a valid argument, and a necessary part of the investigative process. But blanket statements ("Anybody who believes this stuff is just an idiot"), false assumptions ("We've discovered every large creature on earth, there's nothing else out there") are not. This Sceptical Elitist attitude I keep encountering got me to thinking about the early European explorers and the so-called White Man's Burden.
When the European explorers set forth to impose their superior culture, religion, values, morals, and language (not to mention influenza and syphilis, mustn't forget the syphilis!) on the ignorant savages of the world, naturally they had to eradicate any traces of opposing views. We can naturally assume this would also include "rational scientific explanation" of any unknown creatures or phenomena which didn't fit with the White Man's Version Of The Truth.
The ignorant savages of the Congo region tell the explorers about a giant water creature, who "stops the flow of rivers". The creature is described in detail, the native people tell the explorers of the danger the creature presents, they even include such details as its diet and that its flesh is poisonous to consume. Our intrepid explorers determine that the creature is just a misidentification of known animals. A hippo here, an elephant there, the occasional crocodile, and the locals have nothing to fear. And if any of the local populace don't join in the celebration of the victory of reason with a deep bow of gratitude and a hearty "Thank you! Thank you, b'wana!", they're just written off as hopelessly ignorant and unable to accept the findings of the intellectually superior Great White Hunters.
This same story can be repeated time and again, from the dark jungles of Africa, to the rain forests of South America, to the wild regions of Australia or the shores of a newly-discovered America.
I find it more than a little racist and Euro-centric to assume that these native peoples, these indigenous inhabitants, don't know what they're seeing. The people of the Congo have seen more elephants, hippos, crocs, or other "exotic" (to the Europeans, anyway) animals than the explorers have. They've been sharing the land and living with these animals as far back as they can remember. They KNOW what an elephant, a hippo, or a croc looks like. They KNOW that's not what they've seen. But the superior White Man takes it upon himself to "correct" them, to tell them that they don't know what they're talking about, they don't know what they're seeing. Same goes for the Austrailian aborigines, the peoples of South America, or the Native Americans.
Zoology, "crypto" or otherwise, is full of accounts of disbelieving newcomers being proven wrong by these ignorant, uneducated, savages. The pygmy hippo, the okapi, the mountain gorilla, to name but a few. Heck, sometimes established science doesn't believe its own people. The existance of the duckbilled platypus was denied by European scientists time and again. Written off as nothing but a legend or fanciful tale. When mounted specimens were sent back, they were pronounced "hoaxes". It wasn't until they got their hands on a real, live platypus that its existence was conceded.
But, surely today, in the modern, enlightened, tolerant world of 2010, we've risen above such stereotypes. Or have we? Despite the number of "legitimate" scientists, guys with alphabet soup after their names, plus everyone from doctors, astronauts, government engineers, military and law enforcement personnel who have studied or experienced strange phenomena from monster sightings to UFO's, the perception of the Sceptical Elitist is that such things are confined to inbred trailer park dwellers.
We've come such a long way!

14 January 2010

One Of My Unlikely Heroes


Okay, I've got a lot of personal "heroes", some real people, some fictional. But, why would I put Dr. Frank-n-furter in such esteemed company?
It just so happens that (for whatever reason), TRHPS has been playing on TV a lot lately. Granted, sitting at home watching it isn't the same as the midnight movie experience (it's kind of pointless to yell out the audience participation lines in your living room, and throwing toast at the TV is just silly), but the more I watch it, the more I like ol' Frank.
Let me hasten to point out that we have VERY LITTLE in common. Like our taste in clothes. The sight of yours truly in that get-up would REALLY put the "horror" in "Rocky Horror"! I don't know if it's a compliment or not to say that Tim Curry manages to pull it off. And it goes without saying that I'm strictly a he-male he-male. (if you know what I mean, and I think you do!) And I'd never serve one of my guests to, well, my guests.(though I do enjoy both meatloaf and Meatloaf)
So what is it about the good Doctor that has grown on me? First off, his tolerance for weirdness dwarfs my own, and that's saying a lot. My mantra is "embrace the weirdness", Frank wallows around in it buck nekkid, like a hog in slop. I'm forced to give him props on that count. Second, I do like the guy's pad. Who wouldn't love a big-ass castle in the middle of nowhere, complete with a stage/auditorium/theater, an indoor pool with mosaic inlays, an elevator, gothic/medieval decor, and tons of guest rooms with closed-circuit tv links? Convert the lab into something more akin to Burt's basement and I'd be happy to call it Home.
And while Frank's "lifestyle's too extreme", you gotta admit the guy certainly GOES FOR IT. As he says himself "I'm a wild and untamed thing". All night parties, groupies, an accomodating staff (well, up until the mutiny thing).
Frank created his corner of the world in his own twisted image. And isn't that a universal human desire? I know I could dig it.
Keep that light burning in the darkness of everybody's life, doc!

Conspiracy Theory: 2012

I caught Jesse Ventura's "Conspiracy Theory" episode last night. This week's show was about 2012 and the government's (and super-wealthy's) plans and preparations to survive any upcoming cataclysmic event. The Mayan calendar notwithstanding, scientists say we're way overdue for a massive solar storm. This event could knock out the entire US power grid. No electrcity at all. Zip, zilch, zero, nada. The End Of The World As We Know It. No food, water, transportation, support services, medical facilities...utter chaos.
What really got me about this episode is that lately I've been thinking about punching my own ticket, beating the universe to the punch, going out on my own terms, stretching out for a self-imposed dirt nap, tossing a Mercury dime to the nearest psychopomp and telling him "Full speed ahead!". But this episode made me change my mind.
I've spent most of my life waiting for The End. So far I've made it through the Cold War, Y2K, eight years of the Clintons and the first year of the reign of Los Obamanistas. There's still the ever-present danger of some kind of NBC terrorist attack, new diseases, massive tsunamis, or the supervolcano in Yellowstone.
I've never walked out of a bad movie in my life, I always stubbornly endure to the end, waiting to see if it gets better or to see just how bad it can get.
I want to see how this mother ends. I'll not be walking out just yet, especially considering the price I've paid for this ticket.
And if one looks hard enough, there's always something good in the world that makes it worth hanging around.
To wit:

13 January 2010

Vampiric Exasperation

Would you care to experience endless, sleepless nights, total frustration, and irritation to the point of near self-mutilation? Do you relish the thought of having to wade through mile after mile of hip-deep BS and utter crap in hope of finding ONE little tidbit of value? Do you thrill at the possibility of enduring disappointment after disappointment? Does the prospect of spending hour upon hour, day after day, night after night, searching, seeking, hunting, grasping for a needle in a hayfield excite you? Do you enjoy the challenge of looking for something that must be out there somewhere, but that tauntingly eludes your every grasp?
There are two ways to experience this particular "thrill":
1: You can start dating again (no, thanks!) and
B: Try to find accurate, historical, folkloric information on vampires on the internet!

Sceptics At The Stanley Hotel

Here's an article from The Sceptical Inquirer covering a recent investigation at the (in)famous Stanley Hotel, one of the new Meccas for Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Investigators.
It does raise some valid and interesting points. I have my own personal issues with "Ghost Hunters". I'll probably go into them later some time. They're just a few minor gripes and criticisms (not that I'm jumping on the TAPS-bashing bandwagon or anything) but the article does present some interesting facts and raise a few questions.
Read it if you wish, post counterarguments if you will, just remember, I didn't write it! :D

Changes In Cafe Press Shop

I've added some stuff and changed the design in my Monster Hunter shop.
Check 'em out!

11 January 2010

Leave My Psychos Alone!

When it comes to real-life serial killers and psychopaths, I admit I have a bit of fascination. I'd like to really understand how somebody's wires can be so crossed that they become a Bundy, Dahmer, Gein, or Berkowitz. I want to understand them. I want to know who the Zodiac was, what happened to him, why he did what he did. Profiles aside, I want to know what makes these guys tick.
But, when it comes to movie psychos, sometimes it's scarier not knowing. I don't want some filmaker to try to justify or explain their actions. I'd rather wonder and try to figure them out myself.
Cases in point: Leatherface and Michael (Halloween) Myers. The original versions of both these films were much scarier than the later remakes, reinterpretations, or expanded visions thereof.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was truly a horror masterpiece. It was just freakin' scary. No explanations, no motivations, no background story. Just a family of sickos living on the outskirts of society who happened to have a penchant for corpses, cannibalism, graverobbing, torture, and who knew how to cook up a great batch of sausage. Sure, we wondered why they were the "way they were", trying to figure out how someone could turn out "like that" was the big question that nagged our brains after the images on the screen faded to black.
Halloween was the first movie that scared me spitless. Not only was Michael Myers (then better known as "The Shape") a cold-blooded, remorseless killer, we then learned that you couldn't KILL the sumbitch! The only clue to his motivation was the opening scene from his childhood, when he caught his older sister having sex. His escape from the asylum and the subsequent murders of horny teens (only Jaime Lee Curtis, the town virgin, escapes alive) established the pattern for countless imitators.
But alas, both of these archetypal movie psychos have now been "humanized". (well, sorta). We've since learned that poor ol Leatherface suffered from a skin condition (gee, so do other people in real life, they don't kill people and wear their faces, though) that his family turned to cannibalism when the slaughterhouse closed down and the town died, (gee, plenty of other people have hard times, but they don't eat people), and that Leatherface's uncle came up with the whole idea since he was a former POW and had been forced into cannibalism to stay alive ("paging Donner, party of seven!")
And then there's Rob Zombie's "Halloween". Rob said he liked the original, which makes me wonder why he did what he did to it. While the original movie was set in small-town America, Zombie's remake was set in that special place called "Rob Zombieland". This is a place where personal hygeine is non-existent, every other word in any given conversation must be no more than four letters long, and every single individual is completely without any redeeming value.(I've only seen two RZ movies, and in both of them, I just wanted every character to die a gruesome, painful death and get it over with). Naturally, growing up in this environment dooms poor little Mikey to a life in the looney bin. Just how a guy who spent years sitting in his room making masks grewinto a hulk worthy of the WWE is never explained. The asylum must've had one heck of a gym and steroids were apparently administered on a daily basis (probably some kind of psychotropic treatment, I'm no psychiatrist, so I'm not sure). But I personally question the wisdom of letting murderous psychopaths pump iron.
So, Leatherface and Michael were just misunderstood (and hungry).
At least the trio from The Strangers have thus far retained their "motiveless malignity". (Lol! Quoting Coleridge referencing Shakespeare in a post about Leatherface, Halloween, and Rob Zombie!)

09 January 2010

"Big Cat" Encounter! (well, sort of...)

Today I was spending a little time at a local "ballistic research facility" (trash dump!) when I got that feeling that I was being watched. Sure enough, I found this critter peeking at me through the underbrush:


I immediately recognized it as the "Plaster Table Leopard", a creature that is rarely seen outside its native habitat (Pier 1's, Discount Furniture Marts, and yard sales).

However, since this one was hanging around the dump, it obviously was deemed unfit for the company of humans, and was more than likely highly aggessive.
Sure enough, I noticed that it had somehow gotten into its classic attack position atop a target stand (er.. discarded headboard).

Fortunately, a few rounds of 10mm saved me from a grisly fate!

However, I'll need to make another trip, as after an intense search, I was unable to locate its mate. These things are usually encountered in pairs, afterall.

Somebody's Listening!

LOL! I just found this. I'm a big fan of the Glock 20 and the 10mm caliber in particular, though the 460 Rowland is probably going to replace it as my favorite. Looks like somebody agrees with me. Check out this offering from In Case of Zombies.com.

It's pretty cool that the site considers the Glock 20 to be the "ultimate zombie handgun" (although there's really no such thing!), and the inclusion of DoubleTap Ammo shows that at least they've done their homework!

"Cherry-Picking" Our Evidence?

When researching strange phenomena, especially if, like me, you're of a "paranormal" bent, just how does one determine which accounts and reports are credible? This problem surfaces a lot when talking to total skeptics.
For example, I believe it's entirely possible (though admittedly not probable) that a population of large unknown primates can exist in the US. I'll point out to the skeptic that the majority of Bigfoot sightings occur in vast wilderness areas, regions that could concievably support and conceal such creatures. Mr. Skeptic will point out that Bigfoot has also been sighted in areas with a high population density, places without sufficient food and water sources, and where it would be well nigh impossible for such creatures to remain undiscovered. BF has been seen in the desert, near big cities, or in areas where any "wilderness" would be more accurately described as a "patch of woods". If I reply that I don't give much credibility to those reports, the response is that I'm picking and choosing my "evidence" in order to justify my position. And God forbid I bring up the possibility that BF is something other than a big ape. To open the door to the possibility of the paranormal means that (according to the skeptics, anyway) I might as well consider supermarket tabloid stories as credible data. To argue otherwise again results in the accusation that I'm just cherry-picking my evidence.
Consider the suggested Bigfoot-UFO connection. Bigfoot (or something similar) have been seen in areas of UFO activity. There are eyewitness accounts of Bigfoot entering, exiting, walking around outside, even piloting UFO's. There are other cases where the region with a number of Bigfoot sightings is also a region with high UFO activity. BUT, the vast majority of UFO lore contains NOTHING about Bigfoot encounters. Likewise, Bigfoot reports by and large make no mention whatsoever of UFO activity. So, if we take the volume of reports of both phenomena, the cases in which they actually overlap is quite small. It isn't (IMO) sufficient to establish a connection, but is it small enough to ignore completely? Should UFO phenomena be entirely dismissed as a factor in Bigfoot theories? (or vice versa?). Should such cases of "cross-phenomenal occurances" be studied and researched more closely within their respective communities? And can it be done without cherry-picking?
As usual, this entry contains far more questions than answers, but hey, that's just the nature of this business!

07 January 2010

Review: Cal McDonald, Monster Hunter


Since I enjoyed MHI (Monster Hunter International) so much, I looked around for some more stuff in a similar vein. An Amazon search turned up some books and graphic novels featuring a character called Cal McDonald. He's the creation of Steve Niles, author of "30 Days Of Night".
Cal is a private detective who specializes in cases dealing with monsters, magic, and general weirdness, through no choice of his own. He seems to be a magnet for the strange. He is assisted by partner Mo'Lock. Mo'Lock is a ghoul. In McDonald's world, ghouls are everywhere,(they seem partial to driving cabs) the only reason most people don't see them is because they don't want to. "Normal" people blind themselves to the existence of monsters, but Cal knows they're everywhere.
While Owen Pitt of MHI is cut from the same cloth as The Punisher, The Executioner, and maybe GI Joe with a dash of James Bond, Cal McDonald is cast from the same mold as the hardboiled film noir detectives like Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and Mike Hammer. Think Mickey Spillaine meets George A. Romero. While MHI's Owen Pitt doesn't drink or smoke, exercises regularly, keeps in shape and takes care of himself, Cal McDonald chainsmokes anything smokeable, ingests enough alcohol and drugs to make Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas look like The Book Of Mormon, and frequently wakes up amid his own vomit. One thing both Monster Hunters have in common is their ability to soak up a lot of physical damage. I'll have to give the edge in that category to McDonald. It seems that each case results in broken bones, multiple stiches, gunshot wounds, and worse. Guess his supply of Percocet and Lortabs comes in handy. His drug-and-alcohol polluted blood and addled brain have saved his life a few times, in fact. Most monsters, vampires, and cannibals prefer untainted blood, and his drug induced mental haze helped sheild him from a brain sucking creature.
The Cal McDonald stories have earned my recommendation. They're gritty, violent, and original. The fact that I couldn't put the book down (and I'm looking for more) says it all.

Boobies!!

Yeah, I'm talkin' 'bout tha jugs, hooters, knockers, great wobblin' wazoobies, bodacious tah-tahs!
Why, you ask? Well, here's the story:
One of my coworkers is planning on having breast augmentation surgery (y'know, a boob job). Not that she needs it IMO, but she says she wants to get it just for herself, so whatever. Don't get me wrong, she's not some shallow, superficial, bimbo. Far from it. She's pretty darned incredible really. Smart, sweet, great personality, and she can't leave the house without getting hit on like 50,000 times. If I were single, younger, better looking and had more money...
But seriously, she's a great person and a good friend. Her birthday is tomorrow, but she's taking the day off, so the office threw her a party today. Complete with a pair of cakes shaped like, well, fabulous funbags.
My office is mostly women, I'm usually outnumbered by 5-6 to 1. At the party, jokes and double entendres (some unintentional) were tossed around. It was a real barrel of laughs.
BUT:
I began to question something. I know that manners and mores change with society and the times. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the changes. (example: I'm pretty sure that even now in 2010, there's still no acceptable way to ask a total stranger if she's ever done any porn, no matter how familiar she looks).
But, once the young lady returns to work after her procedure, what exactly is "Proper Boob-Job Etiquette"?
Now, I know she's not going to come back to work and take a poll or anything. She's not gonna walk around ask "Do you like 'em?" But OTOH, she's discussed it and talked about it for a couple of months now, and everybody (including me) is pretty casual about the whole thing. But, as a guy, what exactly should I say when we welcome her back?
"Hey! They did a great job!" (which means "Yeah, I'm lookin' at 'em and I approve!")
Or "You look great!" (as if she didn't look great before?)
And even an expression of concern could be misinterpreted: "So, how do they feel? Uhh...to you, I mean,...umm...Are they still tender?...er, uhh, I mean, do they hurt? DOH! I mean...so, everything okay?" I guess I could always say something lame and generic, like "Oh! Hey! You're back!" (as opposed to "Oh! Hey! Your front!")
I'm going to have to put some thought into this...

04 January 2010

I Gotta Get Me One-a These!


Check out the video of the MPA "MAC"-style pistols and carbines in the potent 460 Rowland caliber:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdxvoH1LLXc
30 rounds of magnum-level firepower in a (relatively)compact package, what more could a monster hunter ask for?
Since I've already got an MPA pistol in .45acp, I can get the upper conversion for around $145.00. Not bad at all. (the pricey ammo is another story!)
I'm not too keen on the carbine, though. The MAC carbines weigh just as much as most full-on battle rifles, so guess which I'd rather carry? But the pistol would be a nice companion, especially if it's registered as a SBR (short barrelled rifle) with a folding or collapseable stock and a red dot sight.
Just the ticket to pack in your boat for trips down the Altamaha or cruises on Loch Ness, or a comforting sidearm for a stroll down Bray or even Zombie Road!

02 January 2010

Flying Humanoids: New Theory


I was reading a thread about Flying Humanoids over at the Monsterquest forum, when an idea struck me. I wonder if a helium-filled love doll would be buoyant enough to fly? You'd have to get one of the basic, no-frills models I'm sure. None of those fancy high-tech models with the vibrating er, crotch, poseable "action grip" hands, "live-action" mouth, or the super deluxe models that talk. (Huh? If I pay $300.00 for a "fake babe", I want one that'll shut up!) Just kidding, I'm not THAT horrible!
I thought about doing some experimentation, but I doubt the wife would be too keen on me procuring various inflatable partners in the name of scientific research.(especially the Sarah Palin model!)
Maybe someone out there will test this theory. In the meantime, keep watching the skies..."It's a bird! It's a plane! It's..it's...Asia Carerra!?"