Weird Wednesday

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Hello fellow Weird Watchers. Welcome to my first week in charge of Popcorn Horror’s Weird Wednesdays. My name is Andy G and, like the proverbial chip-shop owner, it will by my job to serve you up your weekly binge of weird flavoured goodness; battered and fried. Only the choicest nuggets of the strange and the obscure make it on to our select menu, all carefully prepared for your delectation. So without further ado let us see what lies bubbling in the fryer… bon appétit!!

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Choice Chunks of Weirdness from the Recent News

Red Rivers

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And there shall be rivers of blood…

If you were forced to attend Sunday school like me, or if you’re familiar with the films of Charlton Heston, then the following bible passage might ring a bell or two.

And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.

Exodus 7:20

The first plague of Egypt was a bloody affair and given recent events one might be forgiven for thinking a repeat performance is on the cards. In early December several news outlets began reporting on a rather alarming phenomenon taking place in the small Slovakian town of Myjava. Overnight, the river running through the town (also called Myjava) was turned from its normal ‘beautiful bluely-green’ hue to a gory blood-red, prompting one resident to comment ‘It looks like someone slaughtered 1,000 virgins or something.’ Hmm… that’s quite the imagination you’ve got there! Anyway, what could be the cause of this bloody surprise; the supernatural, serial killers, a vengeful God? Well, the most likely suggestion seems to be a broken filtration system at the local slaughterhouse… at least it’s real blood!

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Honestly Mom, it wasn’t me!

Slovakia hasn’t been the only European country affected by recent biblical goings on. Earlier this year a river in the Dutch town of Nootdorp the local river also changed to a lovely claret red. The cause this time red algae… apparently brought on by climate change!

More Info at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/12/04/river-red-blood-myjava-slovakia-picture_n_4382683.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-weird-news

http://www.examiner.com/article/river-water-turns-red-the-netherlands-possible-symptom-of-climate-change

 

Killer Christmas Fish of the Argentine

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One of the fishy Felons

From bloody waters to… well… bloody waters. The tagline to this piece may sound like the title of a 70’s B movie, but truth can often be stranger than fiction. On Christmas day 60 swimmers were injured near the Argentinean city of Rosario when a school of ‘piranha like’ fish decided they were in need of some Christmas dinner.

AP ARGENTINA FISH ATTACK I ARG

The aggressive fish attacked the swimmers who were cooling down from a seasonal heat-wave in the rather aptly named Parana River. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and the majority of injuries were only minor, though one poor girl lost the top of her finger…

More info at: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/12/argentina-piranha-attack/

http://metro.co.uk/2013/12/26/parana-river-piranhas-bite-and-injure-60-christmas-day-swimmers-4242672/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/sixty-injured-in-piranha-attack-on-christmas-day-9026047.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/26/60-swimmers-injured-piranha-attack-christmas-day/

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When People get Together they do the Weirdest Things

The Walking Dead

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Why didn’t you tell me your mother was coming to visit?

Yes ladies and gents that really is a ‘walking corpse’ but this is no extra from the latest zombie flick. In the Toraja culture South Sulawesi, Indonesia, it is believed that death is no sudden event. Instead, it is viewed as a gradual process. Dead relatives remain as much a part of the family as the living… they even pop round for a visit once in a while. Every August, in a ceremony called Ma’ Nene, the Toraja exhume their dearly departed so that they can be washed, groomed and dressed in new clothes. All this accomplished, the corpses are then ‘walked’ back out of the village to their waiting tombs.

More info at: http://zombieresearchsociety.com/archives/20563

http://www.indonesia.travel/en/destination/477/tana-toraja/article/28/toraja-s-elaborate-funeral-ceremonies

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What was that Weird Noise?

Vampire Weekend

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The doctor always said he needed more iron in his diet…

I’ve never fancied a holiday to vampire country; I always imagined I’d find it a rather draining experience (boom, boom). However, there is some good news for those of you who do like to get their teeth into this sort thing. In what is not at all a crude marketing ploy, the twinned towns of Sozopol (Bulgaria) and Sighisoara (Romania) have come together to develop a ‘Vampire trail’. According to BBC reports, tourists visiting ‘Dracula’s castle’ in Sighisoara {Sighisoara being the birthplace of the notorious stake lover Vlad Tepes } will be encouraged to visit Sozopol’s museum. The museum houses the ‘Sozopol Vampire’ (pictured above), a medieval skeleton uncovered in 2012 with an Iron stake through its chest. Apparently staking the dead to stop them shuffling about was a common custom in Bulgaria right the way up to the 20th Century. According to Bozhidar Dimitrov, the chief of Bulgaria’s Natural History Museum, over 100 skeletons have been found in Bulgaria with iron-rods plunged through their hearts. Oh, a word of warning to those who fancy taking up this trail, the two cities are around 700 KM from one another so make sure you pack your walking shoes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-25449915

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2154837/Vampire-skeletons-unearthed-Bulgaria-iron-stakes-plunged-chests.html

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Weird by Nature or by Nurture?

Snow in the Desert 

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 In the UK we’ve been facing some fairly wicked winter weather. ‘Nasty stuff’, I hear you say, but hardly weird enough to fill up column inches on a Weird Wednesday. Well spare a thought for those poor folks living in the Middle-East who’ve been hit with a full scale snow storm… that’s right a SNOW storm. This December, parts of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine were blanketed in the white stuff after a storm named ‘Alexa’ moved across the region. In Egypt, Cairo saw its first snow fall in 112 years, though the camel in the above picture seems less than bothered.

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The Middle East isn’t the only place to be given an unexpected winter make-over. Earlier this year Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, received a healthy dose of Christmas powder. To put this weirdness into perspective, the Atacama has an average rainfall of 15mm per year. In fact, some weather stations located in the desert have NEVER recorded any rain…

More info at: http://laughingsquid.com/a-rare-winter-storm-hits-the-middle-east-blanketing-desert-in-snow/

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/13/uk-syria-crisis-alexa-idUKBRE9BC0H120131213

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/12/13/snow-egypt-middle-east_n_4438571.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2403754/Chiles-Atacama-desert-hit-SNOW–fears-FLOOD.html

 

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What’s in the box? What’s in the booooox?

U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

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It’s the week after Christmas and, being a miserable sod, I always find this is a good time to reflect on the presents I never got as a kid. One year my Nan bought me a chemistry set and I was bitterly disappointed when I found that, despite my best efforts to emulate the eponymous hero of ’Georges’ Marvellous Medicine’, all I ever wound up with were dark gloopy phials of stagnant slush good only for killing my mother’s pot-plants. I remember wishing that I might find a toy that would let me practice some real science. Unfortunately, even then I knew that ‘real science’ was far too dangerous to place in the hands of children… wasn’t it? Not so in the 1950s.

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What you’re looking at here is A.C. Gilbert’s U-238 Atomic Energy Lab and yes it does exactly what it says on the tin. Containing a Geiger counter, a cloud chamber and enough fissile material to create a small dirty bomb, the U-238 was the must have toy of 1951-52. Only ever released in the USA, the kit included an informative guide on ‘Uranium prospecting’ so that budding little Oppenheimers might find the necessaries for their own Manhattan Project. Of course, if you couldn’t be bothered hunting down your own deadly isotopes, the manufacturers provided a convenient form to mail-order ‘radioactive source replacements’.

http://gombessa.tripod.com/scienceleadstheway/id4.html

http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/atomictoys/GilbertU238Lab.htm

http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?52105-How-dangerous-was-the-quot-Gilbert-U-238-Atomic-Energy-Lab-quot

Well folks that’s your whack for this week… until next time, remember to walk on the weird side!!

One thought on “Weird Wednesday

  • atybydw@gmail.com'
    January 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    Permalink

    Ahh, I remember chemistry sets filled with combustable materials, realistic looking guns that fired HARD plastic bullets, sweet cigarettes, bangers, penknives, all available to small children in the seventies.
    How did we ever survive ?

    Reply

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