Goodness me, something really weird happened last week… Wednesday came and went and I never posted my usual run-down of non-normal happenings!! What could be the cause of such madness? Was I infested by some bizarre tropical mind parasite, causing random bouts of forgetfulness? Was I abducted by some obscure cult, secretly dedicated to the worship of my image? Perchance my fingers were consumed by flesh eating nanobots, permanently rendering me incapable of typing! Maybe I did write it, only for a random quirk of quantum mechanics to cause my laptop to suddenly collapse into a state of non-existence. Nay ladies and gentlemen, twas none of the above! The reality is far more horrific… I subjected myself to the whims of normality… in short; I was too busy! I allowed the mundane (by that I mean essay marking) to eclipse the profound. Fortunately, my brief dalliance with the world of the hum-drum is at an end and I am able to return to my usual pursuit of the unusual (now there’s a contradiction in terms). Anyway, enjoy…
Weird Goings On
Don’t Eat the Bat Soup
We all know the joke ‘Waiter there’s a [insert disgusting object here] in my soup.’… ‘Well sir, don’t tell the other customers or they’ll all want some.’ Well certainly the inhabitants of the West African nation of Guinea wouldn’t thank you were you to offer them Bat Soup. That’s because Bat Soup is seen as one potential cause of a recent upsurge of the deadly Ebola virus in the region. So serious is the outbreak, which has claimed over seventy lives since the start of the year, that an epidemic has been declared. Bats have been identified as potential carriers of the virus (pictured below). Therefore, Guinean authorities have taken the unusual step of banning the consumption of bat soup, grilled bat and other local delicacies.
Remy Lamah, the country’s health minister stated:
“We sent messages everywhere to announce the ban. People must even avoid consumption of rats and monkeys. They are very dangerous animals.”
Ebola, which has a 68% mortality rate, is a particularly nasty virus which spreads through the exchange of bodily fluids. It causes vomiting, diarrhoea, external bleeding and tissue necrosis. There is no known effective treatment or cure. That’s enough to score bat off my menu anyway.
Online Werewolf Cult
The internet, so we are told, is a dangerous place and rightly so. At any given time, it serves as a haven for any number of persons pretending to be someone other than themselves. Most folks are simply trying to escape the routine of their daily lives by indulging in harmless acts of fantasy, but others have darker motives. Take for example Mark Edwards (pictured above), a 44 year old father from Ohio, USA. Mark, who formerly went by the online moniker of Nagamishe Shiro, liked to indulge in a bit of cos-play. Styling himself as a werewolf, he purported to be the leader of a ‘slayer covenant’;
“A world wide secret organization of Werewolves, Vampires, Werecats or Hell cats, and Hybrid humans that work together to protect the human race from the evil of demons and other evil vampires or werewolves.”
According to Mark’s profile, the group was set with the purpose of:
“training young slayers that show remarkable powers and recruiting any new slayers.”
Cos-play, of course, is a largely harmless and increasingly popular pass-time whereby practitioners dress up and adopt fantastical altar-egos. Unfortunately, in Mark’s (or should I say Nagamishe’s) case, it would appear that the majority of his fellow ‘slayer covenanters’ were teenage girls. According to reports, Mark’s public Facebook page was adorned with images of him posing with scantily clad young females, brandishing various weapons and eating hunks of raw animal flesh. Matters came to a head earlier this month when Mark went on the run with a 14 year old family friend. The girl, who has not been named, is now back with her parents after a three day manhunt. Mark, (pictured below in his human form), is now in custody facing charges of; unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, interference with custody, fleeing and eluding justice and violating a protection order.
The girl’s mother, Tammy Bruce, likened Edwards’ influence over her daughter to being in a cult. Fortunately, it appears that Edwards was caught before any other girls could be victimized. Such was Edwards’ apparent obsession with his alter-ego that he would dress up in costume while working as an out-of-hours security guard at a local shopping mall. When Edwards’ house was searched by police, numerous animal carcasses were discovered in his freezer…
It Never Rains but It Pours
In an age of Rapid climactic change we’ve grown familiar with stories of unusual downpours, of rain and snow falling where it really shouldn’t. Although such reports have become something of a norm, you should still spare a thought for the unfortunate inhabitants of Asmara, the capital of the West African country of Eritrea. Not only were they subjected to a brutal, weeklong rainstorm, unusual enough in a country which has an average rainfall of just 24 inches, but to top it all off, 3 feet of ice (in the form of hail stones) was dumped on the city in just ninety minutes. Reports suggest that the entire city was gridlocked by the unusual weather. You can see Mother Nature, cruel mistress that she is, in action in the video below.
‘Snake Worm’ of the Argentine
The scary looking, little critter pictured above caused a bit of a stir in the South American media when it was discovered in the Argentine city of Campo Gallo several weeks ago. Early reports indicated that the initially unidentified creature, which resembles a cross between a snake and a worm, cropped up on a vineyard on the outskirts of the city. Shortly afterwards several other specimens were discovered, some measuring as much as ten centimetres in length. Local residents were naturally rather panicked, not knowing whether the beastie, which seemingly ‘struck out’ at those who approached it, was dangerous or not. Ramon Gomez, a resident at a housing complex where some of the specimens were gathered commented:
“It’s the first time we’ve seen such a bug. It has two heads and sticks his tongue out like a snake.”
The lesson to be learned from this story: when in doubt call a scientist; one by the name of Elvira Maria Paz to be precise. According to Miss Paz the mysterious ‘snake worm’, is in fact a harmless caterpillar belonging to the Lepidoptera Papilionidae or Swallowtail Butterfly family. The larvae of this family, which consists of nearly 600 separate species, are well known to mimic predators as a defence mechanism.
Often the predator in question is a snake: in case you’ve never noticed, both caterpillars and snakes suffer from a deficiency in the limb department. Indeed, their appearance can be so impressive as to include details such as false eyes and fangs. The larva of the Hawk Moth (pictured below) has even been known to ‘strike’ at potential threats… harmlessly of course.
See this weird creepy-crawly in action in the video below.
Every now and again everyone has one of those moments. You know, one of those moments when you see red. When you’re so angry you blank out and do or say things you would otherwise regret. Often, in such situations, it’s not until the red mist has passed and realisation dawns, that you suddenly feel a wave of remorse. I know; I’ve been there. Well, judging from this story, it seems such sentiment is not limited to us humans.
Earlier this month, according to an article in the Times of India, a rampaging elephant vented it’s fury by smashing up a family home in the Purulia District of West Bengal. The Mahata family were at the dinner table when the hulking beast began its assault upon their house; smashing its way into their bedroom where their infant child lay sleeping. According to the homeowner Dipak Mahato:
“We ran over and were shocked to see the wall in pieces and a tusker [sic] standing over our baby… She was crying and there were huge chunks of the wall lying all around and on the cot.”
Bad Hephalump indeed, but that’s not the end of the story. It seems this was a pachyderm with a conscience.
“The tusker started moving away but when our child started crying again, it returned and used its trunk to remove the debris… I can’t believe that the tusker saved my daughter after breaking down the door and smashing a wall.”
According to the article the child was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for external injuries. So there you go, proof positive that while an Elephant may never forget, they certainly know how to regret.
Weird Object of the Week
This Man Would Sell You The Skin Off His Back
Ebay is a glorious thing. You can buy and sell just about anything you can imagine there. Just ask Artur Mrozowski, a 41 year old marketing executive and tattoo enthusiast from Blackpool. Artur, whose body is 90% covered in Jaguar print tattoos has decided to cash in on his life-long passion for body art by selling his own flayed skin. Artur, who has a ‘genuine reason to sell’, claims that his pelt, which he estimates at two square metres in diameter, will be ideally suited for producing ‘wallets, belts and lamps’. Human leather, he tells us, is the ‘finest grain available’ and is the ‘smoothest (and) softest on Earth’. Moreover, Artur’s own skin, he tells us, is in ‘great condition’ as he is a vegetarian.
Now, before you start having nightmares, you should know that Artur is not quite ready to shed his birthday suit yet. The eventual winner of the auction will have to wait to get their hands on their purchase, as Artur will be hanging on to his epidermis until after he dies… Naturally, as a diligent seller, Artur welcomes all questions from potential buyers. If you’re interested in purchasing this unique item some of his FAQs are listed below… BTW, although bidding currently resides at £53, don’t expect a bargain, any winning bid will need to be of £75’000 or more.
Ahhh… it’s good to be back. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s selection of weird tales. There’ll be more from me next week, same time (Wednesday), same place (Popcornhorror.com). As ever, if you have any weird news of your own you’d like to share, please feel free to use the comments section.
Over and Out