Video: There Are Monsters

I hate to take two nights off from articles in one month, but the one I was working on kinda stalled and I’m not feeling great, so I’m gonna wimp out. I’ll be back on Friday with the August 2010 edition of End of the Month, End of the World, though.

There Are Monsters is a short horror film, written and directed by Jay Dahl. An official selection of the 2008 London Film Festival, this creepy piece features a small Canadian town with a very serious (and bizarre) problem.

And that’s why I’m telling my grandkids to stay out of Canada.


Murder Monday: The Persian Princess

Every Monday, Weird Shit Blog features an unsolved or bizarre murder, death, disappearance, or crime. I call it Murder Monday.

Have you ever been looking for something and ended up finding something else you weren’t even looking for? You know, you’re digging around in the couch for a remote and you find a $5 bill. Awesome, right? In a way, that’s kind of how archaeology works. A lot of major discoveries have been complete and total accidents. It’s like a bunch of archaeologists were looking for evidence of some random city in southern Italy, and boom, they find an ancient text or something that changes how we look at history. It happens all the time. So that’s why the Persian Princess caught so much international attention when she was found, and not even by archaeologists, but by some lucky amateurs. It seemed like the find of the century, but when the scientific world got a closer look at it, things began to unravel. (DOHOHO!)

“Aw hell, is he gonna make an ‘I want my mummy’ joke, too?”

In 2000, Pakistani officials received a bizarre tip. It seemed that a videotape had been circulating around in the black market that purportedly featured a man showing off, of all things, a mummy, sarcophagus and all, for sale. The asking price? $11 million. Since this was not only fucked up, but actually illegal under Pakistani antiquity laws, the authorities became very interested. Police finally tracked down the creator of the tape, a man named Ali Aqbar, who lead them to a tribal leader, Wali Mohammed Reeki, who was the actual seller. Reeki said that he had received the mummy from an Iranian man named Sharif Shah Bakhi, who claimed to have discovered the sarcophagus sticking out of the ground after an earthquake.

Unfortunately, it was not this Oprah-phagus. (Someone actually made this. I am serious.)

Police claimed the mummy and sent it to the National Museum in Karachi, Pakistan. After a preliminary investigation, the museum announced that the mummy appeared to be a princess, and, according to the inscription on the breastplate of the sarcophagus, she wasn’t even Egyptian. Apparently, she was a Persian named Rhodugune, she had possibly married an Egyptian prince (and later requested an Egyptian burial, hence the mummification), and was a previously unknown daughter of Xerxes I.

You know, the androgynous dude from 300.

Immediately after hearing this announcement, Iran got pissed. You see, Iran is the modern-day name for Persia. Since this mummy was apparently Persian royalty, she, by all rights, belonged to Iran. Pakistan disagreed, seeing as it had been found inside their borders. The Taliban, who were still in power in Afghanistan at this time, came forward with claims that the mummy had actually been smuggled out of their country. (Later, though, this turned out to be nothing more than a cash grab.) Pakistan quickly changed their story and now claimed that the mummy had been Egyptian all along. Iran returned fire by claiming that an Italian archaeologist had translated the breastplate from photographs and confirmed the Persian ancestry of the mummy. (The Italian archaeologist, Lorenzo Constantini, later said he had only said that the inscription had the word “Xerxes” in it, and that the Iranian historian he’d spoken to didn’t even know who that was.)  UNESCO, a branch of the UN concerned with education, science, and culture, was attempting to work out an agreement between the three countries, but Pakistan went ahead and put the mummy up for display anyway.

“Can we put a sign up that says ‘Fuck Iran’ too?”

The exhibit caught the attention of an American archaeologist named Oscar White Muscarella. When he heard about it, he thought something sounded awful familiar about this mummy. It seems that, a few months previous to Pakistani police finding out about the mummy, another of Reeki’s representatives had contacted Muscarella and asked if he’d like to take a look at the mummy. Muscarella agreed.

Remember that $5 bill that you found in your couch? No, not a real one, the one we talked about earlier. Yeah, now imagine a dude comes up and tells you it’s fake.

“Man, I was gonna use that to buy hookers.”

The representative sent Muscarella detailed photos of the breastplate from the sarcophagus, something the sellers hadn’t done for anyone else. That’s probably because the breastplate made no goddamned sense. Muscarella quickly noticed that the inscriptions contained two massive errors- The style of inscription wouldn’t be used for a few hundred years after Xerxes I, and the entire second part of it seemed to consist of text plagiarized from other material. When the representative sent a piece of the sarcophagus to be carbon-dated, Muscarella found it to be only 250 years old, at most. This apparently didn’t deter the representative, who still insisted that Muscarella buy it, since 250 years “could not be called modern.”

After Muscarella made his story public, Pakistan and Iran continued to bicker briefly, but Iranian scientists who had been invited to Karachi to examine the mummy also declared it a fake. Soon after, Pakistan, too admitted that they had been fooled, and, unsurprisingly, no one seemed to give a fuck about the mummy anymore.

Not unlike this Mummy.

But, hold on, because that’s not all. Did you forget what this blog is called? What’s weird about a hoax mummy? Well, that body had to come from somewhere, right? The Iranian scientists determined her age to be about 20-25 years old. Her organs had been removed (except for the brain, another clue that this mummy was not truly Egyptian), replaced with powder and, for all other intents and purposes, mummified in the traditional way. But, here’s the kicker:

She had only been mummified for two to five years. The cause of death was blunt force trauma, which had damaged her skull and broken her spine, and was most likely caused by a hammer or similar object. She wasn’t royalty or even some lady that died of natural causes and just wanted to be mummified.

She was a murder victim.




Urban legends are great. I would do more posts on them, but Snopes kinda has me beat no matter what I do in that regard. I’m gonna go ahead with this one today, though, partly to see how it goes and partly because it’s one of my favorite urban legends. The best are the ones that are told as if they could really happen to you. Those are the ones that make it all around the playground at school, get whispered about in church, and, these days, are e-mailed to you by your Great Aunt Cecilia.

“Obama admitted to being a Satanist on last week’s Glenn Beck? I have to tell everyone.

But even better are those that say something about our cultural norms, and more specifically, what our culture fears. For example, the legend about muggers hiding under cars in mall parking lots, slashing women’s (and, apparently, only women’s) ankles. That one used to crop up every Christmas season back in the 80s and 90s, and occasionally you still see it today. But look a little closer at that creepy legend and you see just how much has changed between the time the myth was at its peak and now.

Notice that the story is typically very specific in its mention of shopping mall parking lots. Now, this may not be true where you’re at yet, but in most of the United States, malls are on the decline, with many shuttering their doors one after another. But in the 80s and 90s, malls were booming. Everyone shopped at malls, if they could. People went out of their way to go to the newest and nearest mega-shopping centers, sometimes driving dozens or even hundreds of miles. Now you can’t drive longer than an hour without tossing a $20 bill at a gas pump and, thanks to discount stores and internet shopping, malls seem like near-empty hulls full of overpriced shops and shady looking kiosks. And that’s not even touching the deeper fears you can take from the tale, like “greed/spending is bad for you”, “poor, frail women should always be aware of their surroundings” and “moral corruption runs rampant during what’s supposed to be a joyous holiday season.”

“Wassail this, motherfuckers.”

This is just a very small example taken from a 30 year period. Now think about what legends from centuries ago would be like. More than likely, we wouldn’t even be able to relate to those stories anymore. Our world has changed too much. They would seem strange, maybe quaint, and possibly kinda stupid.

“There’s the one about the demon of the old swamp, the demon of the woods… pretty much it’s all demons.”

That’s what’s interesting about the story of Kuchisake-Onna, the slit-mouthed woman, a legend only found in Japan and parts of South Korea. Kuchisake-Onna is actually two stories, in a way. First, there’s the original story, told several generations ago, which goes something like this: Back in the days of feudal Japan, a jealous samurai had a beautiful wife. (Or concubine, depending on the telling.) When he caught her with another man, he flew into a fit of rage and used a knife to cut her mouth from ear to ear. “No one will find you beautiful, now,” he told her. But the story doesn’t end there.

You see, this woman decided (for some reason that only makes sense in legends) to begin wandering at night with a mask covering her lower face, asking men if they thought she was pretty. If they answered “Yes,” (as they most certainly did), she would lower the mask, revealing her disfigurement, and ask them, “Am I beautiful now?” If they said “No,” she would kill them. (“Butterface!” probably counts, too.) However, if they said yes once again, she would call them a liar and kill them anyway. That’s right, you’re fucked no matter how you answer in that situation.

Sometimes, there is no optimal solution.

But then, there’s also a modern rendition of the tale: Instead of the jealous samurai husband (or john), Kuchisake-Onna had a different origin.. That story goes like this: Not long ago, there was a beautiful woman, but she was very vain. Her face was perfect in every way, but, according to her, it still wasn’t good enough. She refused to concede her own beauty, considering herself flawed no matter how perfect she looked to everyone else. One day, an acquaintance who had grown tired of her vanity told her she should see a plastic surgeon she had met, whom the acquaintance claimed was the best in the whole country. The beautiful woman jumped at the chance and went to the surgeon’s office. But the acquaintance had played a trick on her.

There was no surgeon. She had actually paid a criminal, a former butcher, who had recently escaped from a nearby jail to play the part. The man drugged her and disfigured her horribly. The story is mostly the same from there out, but with a slight difference. The more modern legend says that if you tell Kuchisake-Onna that she’s average or so-so, she’ll become confused long enough for you to run away. (Please note that this does not work on the majority of women.) Not only that, but if you tell her you’re late for an appointment, she’ll actually apologize for her rudeness and leave you alone.

One day, this could save your life.

Notice how it evolved from a warning story about a man who went too far in his anger (though spousal abuse still wasn’t exactly a big concern in feudal Japan) to a modern morality tale about vanity. Since beating your wife wasn’t common practice anymore by the time the modern re-telling came about, that version of the story was alien enough to not really speak to Japanese cultural norms. As women became more liberated though, as they did in the Western world, excessive female vanity became more of a fear to the culture, and the legend changed its tone appropriately, while the fear of being alone at night and getting attacked by a stranger was still there.

In fact, if anything, that fear became stronger in the intervening years, as back in olden times, you didn’t go out at night unless you absolutely had to. At several points in recent history, stories claiming real-life copycat attackers on the loose have cropped up every few years, leading to wild sensationalism and mass panicking. So far, though, all have turned out to be hoaxes. (You know, just like that story about the kid who found a razor in his apple.)

Kids who eat razor apples grow up to be Kuchisake-Onna. It makes perfect sense.

Er… none. Original research, I guess.


Bicameral Mind Theory

There’s this old stereotype that comes up when someone does something crazy, like shit off a tall building and then that shit reaches terminal velocity and kills someone. “The voices in my head told me to do it.” But normal people don’t have voices in their head, so obviously those people are insane, right? We label it schizophrenia, usually, which also encompasses a broad spectrum of other symptoms. But what if I told you that, once upon a time, it’s possible that that was the normal way of seeing the world?

Pictured: Someone who doesn’t know what schizophrenia is.

That’s the theory promoted by Julian Jaynes in his 1976 book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. You see, Jaynes believes that, once upon a time (about 3,000 years ago) we all had voices in our heads. How is that possible? According to Jaynes’ theory, ancient people had no self-awareness because their left brain and right brain didn’t communicate in the same manner that our modern brain does. (Presumably. Unless you’re one of the jackasses who keep e-mailing me about my Glenn Beck jokes.) Instead of internalizing our thought process, our brains took that data and fed it to the right brain’s equivalent of the language centers found in the left brain.

So what does this part of the brain do today? Pretty much jack shit (It’s considered vestigial in modern humans), but it’s very active in people who experience audible hallucinations, e.g., schizophrenics like our terminal velocity shit-murderer up there. People who experience these kinds of vivid audio hallucinations often claim that they hear voices commanding them to do things, which they are powerless to avoid.

“To Jodie Foster? While she’s asleep? That’s fucked up. But I’ll totally do it.”

Therefore, Jaynes concludes that schizophrenia sufferers may just have a brain that, for whatever reason, includes a vestige of human’s earlier state. It’s sort of like how some humans can use the now-unnecessary auricular muscles to wiggle their ears a little, but most people cannot. Since the origins of schizophrenia are still unknown, Jaynes and his supporters see this as a very good possibility.

However, that’s not all the interesting stuff about this theory. Jaynes also had a theory on what people with bicameral minds might have been like all those years ago. Using writings from that time, he came to believe that people with bicameral minds, who were not capable of self-awareness and likely to experience audible hallucinations, probably interpreted those hallucinations as gods, long-dead ancestors, or other entities.

“Of course it would be a great idea to stone the guy who stole your cow.”

Because the owner of a bicameral mind wouldn’t actually be aware of his or her conscious thoughts, he would take his mind parroting those thoughts back at him as someone else telling him what to do. And what writings did Julian Jaynes use to reach this conclusion? Two works you may have heard of, the first being The Iliad, the Greek epic, and the second being the Old Testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible, both written about 3,000 years ago.

In Jaynes’ research, he found that the writers of these two works showed little concept of self-awareness and, of course, tended to have a lot of interjections from the dude(s) upstairs, or claimed they were written by God or the Gods themselves. Several classical Greek works referred to the Muses and said that the writers themselves were not responsible for the text, but were instead copying the Muses verbatim.

“And then Luke’s like, ‘That’s not true, that’s impossible!’”

“Hang on a second,” you say. “Even more recent texts have references to the Muses. Couldn’t that be an artistic flourish?” Well, that is very possible. Bicameral mind subscribers believe that more recent works were simply paying homage to what came before them. So, while the people who wrote the Old Testament really did hear voices in their heads, the people who wrote subsequent works may have just gone along with it, as a traditional thing. This is even present in contemporary literary theory. Each new work is written on the shoulders of all of that which came before it, so to speak. T.S. Eliot referred to it as “The Mind of Europe,” a kind of collective unconscious thread in the history of written work. It’s typically referred to as the literary canon.

Pun goes here.

Jaynes compared the Old Testament to the New Testament and found distinct differences in the writing styles. Notably, there were fewer passages that were supposed to be the direct word of God, the writers seemed to be more self-aware, and people were far less likely to hear voices. He then made the same comparisons between The Iliad and The Odyssey. “But wait a fucking second again. The Iliad and The Odyssey were written by the same guy!” Not quite. Contemporary historians feel it’s pretty likely that Homer never existed, and the two poems probably came about hundreds of years apart, with The Iliad appearing around 1,000 BC and The Odyssey coming in around 600-400 BC (after bicameralism would have begun dying out.)

Jaynes also looked at ancient civilizations’ tendencies toward ancestor worship, pointing to this as further evidence for his theory. To a person with a bicameral mind, the voices he hears could be his own ancestors.

“What’s that grandpa? Even more feathers?”

And once again, our old friend, the temporo-parietal junction has come out to play. The same experiment I’ve described previously, where an epileptic woman was given small electrical shocks to a specific part of her brain which resulted in her hallucinating a presence in the room, has been linked with bicameral theories. Of course, you know what that means: Scientists have proposed that bicameralism, if it exists, could be yet another explanation for thousands of years of ghost sightings.

If only this were a hallucination.

Wikipedia (The voices in my head tell me to vandalize articles.)


Murder Monday: Harold Holt

Every Monday, Weird Shit Blog features an unsolved or mysterious death, murder, or crime. I call it Murder Monday.

There’s been a huge shitstorm over Afghanistan these last few months. It looks more and more like we’re getting into a long, drawn-out war that we can’t just up and leave. (Because then, hey, we just left a nice power vacuum and the craziest fuck around who jumps into that spot is pretty likely to be real pissed at us in a few years.) A lot of parallels are being made to Vietnam, but Vietnam was, to date, still quite a bit worse. Lots more dead, lots more innocent civilians killed, lots more time spent over there, etc. etc.

Artist’s rendition of comparisons between Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Vietnam’s still a sore subject, even 35 years later. Popular conception today still paints it as an unnecessary war, filled with bad excuses, governments unwilling to back down from poorly formed plans, paranoia, and American zeitgeist. That last point is especially true of people from a country that I continue to find further and further crazy shit in: Australia.

This is what Australia looks like to us in America. And there went half of my Australian readers.

You see, Australians wanted to get involved in Vietnam even less than the U.S. did. The majority of them saw it as an American problem that they had no business getting involved in. But then came a man named Harold Holt. Harold Holt was the Prime Minister of Australia from the beginning of 1966 until the very end of 1967, less than two years in office. And those not-quite two years were very contentious, because Holt was very keen on ramping up Australia’s role in the Vietnam War. He was particularly mocked for his “All the way with LBJ” quote, referring to then-President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“All the way, until you start driving your car into the lake. Then we’re done.”

Today, Harold Holt is known for only two things: His previously referenced position on the Vietnam War and his mysterious disappearance. I mentioned how his term lasted less than two years, right? That whole disappearance thing, that would be why.

But allow me to back things up a little. Throughout his life, Holt was known to be a sportsman. He loved tennis, swimming, and sailing. In fact, he was particularly fond of “skindiving”.

Not as sexy as it sounds.

However, his love of sports had also caused him an old recurring injury in his shoulder. (I can dig that, I broke my collarbone in a car wreck ten years ago and that shit still hurts sometimes.) At the time of his disappearance, Holt’s shoulder had begun getting worse, causing him tremendous pain, for which he took large amounts of pain killers. (Remember that, it’s important.)

Now that you have all of the background, let’s talk about the disappearance itself. On December 17th, 1967, Harold Holt and a group of his friends drove from Melbourne down to the southern coast of Australia to see English sailor Alec Rose pass by on his solo sailing trip round the world. After Rose’s yacht passed, Holt decided to go for a swim. Conditions were poor that day, however, and the tide was especially strong, and so Holt’s friends urged him not to swim, but he brushed them off. After a few minutes, they realized that they could no longer see the Prime Minister and alerted authorities.

“Uh… fuck.”

Two days later, the Australian government declared Holt dead. Later research showed that Holt was probably hopped up on pain meds at the time he dove into the water, and he was likely unable to make a good judgment of his swimming abilities, in addition to the poor ocean conditions previously described. So what’s so weird about this? Some dude made a mistake and drowned. Big fucking deal, right? What’s so weird is the sheer number of crazy conspiracy theories involved in Holt’s disappearance. Most start with the supposition that Holt was a strong swimmer, and therefore unlikely to have been taken away by the tide so easily. In addition, the Australian government only spent two days looking for him, never found a body, and never opened an official investigation. These are the conditions for a conspiracy theory, my friend.

From there, multiple ideas branch out. Some say he committed suicide because the stress of his job was weighing on him. Others claim that he was intending to fake his death so that he could run away with his mistress. (Like any politician ever needed a fake death as an excuse for that.) Another popular belief is that some shadowy government agency, either Australian or American, had him murdered. The strangest one of all, though? He was a Chinese spy and got picked up by a submarine.

“Thanks guys. By the way, how did you open the hatch without surfacing?”

This theory was originally proposed by writer Anthony Grey in his 1983 book, “The Prime Minister Was a Spy.” (Proposed subtitle: “You Don’t Need to Pick This Shit Up to Know What It’s About. Seriously.”) Grey, however, claims he got the information that made up the meat of the book from an Australian naval officer named Ron Titcombe, (snicker) who claimed that Holt was a Chinese spy since he was a teenager and was about to be found out. (Although I’m not sure how this reconciles with Holt wanting Australia to be involved in the Vietnam War, seeing as North Vietnam was supplied by and an ally to the Chinese.) Therefore, to protect their spy, the Chinese arranged for Holt to be picked up and transported back to China. The only problem is that a) Titcombe offered no evidence to back up these claims, and b) Titcombe had left the navy “under duress” in 1968 and, in 1982, was kicked out of the Melbourne Club (a very powerful social group) because he hadn’t disclosed past financial problems, leading some to say that Titcombe was not a reliable source, including a former fellow colleague describing him as a “professional con man.”

To date, Australia still considers the case of Harold Holt to be a simple drowning.

Or maybe he just started a colony of dudes who fuck fish.

Wikipedia (Chinese propaganda)
The Age


Sedlec Ossuary

Catholics are weird. My family’s Catholic from way, way back. They all know it’s weird, but they stick with it because it’s a family/traditional thing. (My great-grandma had sixteen kids, if that tells you anything. No multiple births. That’s right, grimace in pain, ladies.) I mean, when you’re dealing with a 2,000 year old church that doesn’t like to contradict itself, even on stuff from centuries ago, you’re gonna get some strange shit in there.

You know, stuff like this.

But, as with any religious group, there are some people who take it to a whole new level of madness. For example, in the Czech Republic, about 45 miles east of Prague, there’s a nice little Baroque cathedral, the kind the Czech Republic is famous for, in a town called Sedlec. It’s called Hřbitovní kostel Všech Svatých,or Cemetery Church of All Saints. Once upon a time, this was a normal little church with a normal little cemetery, but, in the year 1278, an Abbot named Henry had to go and make things crazy.

On a visit to Jerusalem, Henry visited Golgotha (the hill where Jesus was crucified) and took a jar-full of soil back to Sedlec. He then spread the soil all through the cemetery. This simple act of piety led to a sensation. Soon, every sick guy in Eastern Europe wanted to be buried in the Sedlec Cemetery because, rumor had it, if you were buried at Sedlec, you got into heaven, no matter what.

There’s a movie plot in there somewhere, I just know it.

By 1318, just 40 years later, over 30,000 people were buried in Sedlec’s cemetery. Just like pants with too much ass in them, something had to give. What could the monks be expected to do with so many bodies? They were already burying them inches apart and had expanded the perimeter of the cemetery grounds to larger and larger spaces around the chapel. And then, like sprinkles on top of a big shit sundae, this little thing called the Black Death happened.

Is that Waldo in the lower right?

But that was more like a big backhoe full of shit over a shit sundae. The Black Death killed approximately 100 million people throughout Europe, nearly 25% of the entire continent. Suddenly, cartfuls of corpses were lined up at Sedlec. The monks knew they had to do something. Finally, one of them had a brilliant idea. They’d convert the basement level to an ossuary and store the bodies inside the building. They all agreed, probably because they were out of other options since the Vatican had advised them not to deny anyone who wished to be buried there. They dug up the graves immediately surrounding the chapel (those were the people who’d been buried the earliest) and used that land to expand the new chapel. Once that was done, they got a half-blind monk to cart the bodies of the dead inside. Since they were the longest-buried, they had all turned to nothing more than skeletons at that point, making them pretty easy to store.

“Put ‘em with the others.”

This seemed like a perfectly good solution. Every couple of years, they’d clean out another section of the cemetery and start burying new people there, giving everyone a chance to be buried on holy ground. Then they’d move on to the next oldest section, then the next, and so on. If that happened today, you better believe it’d be shit-storm city, but apparently everyone was okay with it, and it kept on going for 500 years. But in 1870, the then-current monks felt that the chapel had become a bit unseemly, and ordered a local woodcarver, František Rint, to spruce the place up a little. After his work was done, he’d organized all the bones into some nice… art? Yep, Rint had decided to use the bones to decorate the building itself. It looks exactly like you’d imagine a church decorated with bones would.

“Hey, hey, who won the skeleton beauty contest? NO BODY!”

Sure, it doesn’t look so bad. I mean, it’s a little grotesque, but hey…

“What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? A TROM-BONE!”

Wow, yeah, that’s totally a tunnel of bones. I guess there is some pretty crazy stuff in th…

“Yeah, that’s a ROTTEN one, but it really TICKLES MY FUNNY BONE! Eh? Eh?”
“…Do they all do this?”

Holy fucking horrifying. Is that a pyramid of dead fucks? Why yes, yes it is. Oh, and don’t miss the chandelier.

“Why couldn’t the skeleton cross the road? HE DIDN’T HAVE THE GUTS! …Hey, where are you going?”

It may look like something out of a nightmare contractor’s catalog, but it has at least one of every single bone in the human body. Rint even used bones to construct the coat-of-arms of the family who hired him.

“I guess our humor was too DRY! HAHAHAH!”
“Holy fuck Steve, shut up already.”

The monks apparently loved it, because the ossuary is still open today and has frequent tours. It’s been described as “the creepiest place on Earth” and has been used for location filming for such masterpieces as the Dungeons & Dragons movie. (Personally, I find the D&D movie more pants-shittingly disgusting, but whatever.) Make sure to check out the links under Sources, because just describing it and throwing a handful of pictures at you doesn’t do it justice. There are some really great photo galleries available. (Also, presumably, you don’t have to put up with skeleton puns.)

Wikipedia (Decorated with the bones of past admins)
Frisco’s Kutna Hora – The Sedlec Ossuary page
Environmental Graffiti


The 1976 Tehran UFO Incident

Common knowledge states that only dumb, toothless rednecks see UFOs, typically after a milk jug full of whiskey and/or a few puffs of meth. That’s the stereotype, right? Some hillbilly talking about how he saw a bright light and then it went away, and the next morning he found his cows fucked to death by some mad, cow-fucking aliens.

How udder-ly depraved.

Or the new-age crazy bastards who say the aliens abducted them, stuck shit in them, and made them fuck cows to death. Those people always seem like wackos, right? But what if there was a UFO sighting involving multiple civilian witnesses in several areas, as well as military personnel on the ground and in the air? That’s a bit more interesting. And what if it happened in Tehran, Iran?

“Surprise, motherfuckers.”

“What if Iran is just fucking with us, though? They kinda don’t like us.” Well, in 1976, the Iranian Revolution hadn’t occurred yet and the Shah was still in power, so our relationship with them back then was actually quite good. (The Shah was very pro-Western. The folks who didn’t like his ideas are the ones who overthrew him in 1979 and are in charge now.) They shared quite a lot of intelligence with us, including the 1976 Tehran info.

According to reports made at the time, the event occurred around 3:00am Tehran time on September 19, 1976. An Imperial Iranian Air Force base near the city received four phone calls within a matter of minutes about an odd light in the sky, described as being like a helicopter. Seeing no helicopters were scheduled to be in the sky at the time, they contacted the assistant deputy commander of operations, General Yousefi. Yousefi first assumed that the light was nothing but a very bright star, but upon taking a look outside himself, saw an object far larger than any star he’d ever seen, and ordered a pilot to go up and take a look.

“Anyone wanna go see what that is?” “Fuck no.”

The pilot, Captain Mohammad Reza Azizkhani, approached the light, but his navigation, communication, and electrical systems began to go haywire. He turned back toward the base, at which time his instruments returned to normal function. He set down his plane anyway, fearing some failure that could potentially make him crash. Ten minutes later, the base sent a second plane. That second plane, piloted by Lieutenant Parviz Jafari, got close enough to acquire radar lock. As he got closer, however, the object moved further and further away. Jafari later said that the object had four lights that flashed red, green, blue, and orange in a sequence, but so quickly that all four were visible at all times.

“Have Jeff Goldblum stand down. Looks like these boys are running Windows.”

While following the object, a second, smaller object seemed to fall from the original. Jafari, thinking he was under attack, attempted to fire a missile, but his weapons, communications, and other instrumentation immediately shut down. (That’s right, see a UFO, shoot at it.) He then tried to eject, but even that malfunctioned. Finally, out of options, Jafari initiated a nose dive. The secondary object followed him briefly, then returned to the larger object. His electrical and weapons systems came back online afterward. He pulled out of the dive and turned back toward the object. He then saw yet another smaller object come off the other side of the UFO, which immediately dropped gently to the ground. Jafari later said that it was bright enough to see the individual rocks on the ground around it. He tried to follow the main object for a time, but even at Mach 2, it was easily far faster.

Jafari turned back to base and saw another bright light overflying his position. The UFO appeared to be following him. He reported it to the control tower at the base, but nothing showed on radar. However, technicians were easily able to see out the window and observe it themselves. They described it as cylinder shaped, and about the size of a bus. A civilian flight passing through the area also reported electrical failures and loss of communication.

Meanwhile, in the South Pacific…

Shortly after Jafari landed, the UFO flew over the base’s control tower, knocking out all power until it finally disappeared. Most of the rest of the base was unaffected. The following day, military officials visited the spot where the tertiary object touched down, but found no sign of it. Several radiological and other tests were done, but these results were not made public. They did discover, though, that an extremely similar object, presumably the same one, had been seen by an Egyptian Air Force pilot over the Mediterranean Sea about half an hour later, again over Lisbon, Portugal by a KLM Royal Dutch flight crew and passengers an hour later, and, finally, four hours later, in Morocco by local police and American embassy officials. In addition, the American DSP-1 Satellite detected an unexplained infrared phenomenon over Iran for about a half an hour during the incident. The cause of that anomaly is still unknown.

After their investigation concluded, the Iranian government decided it might be best to let the U.S. look at the intel on it. After all, this kinda thing was rumored to happen there all the time, right? The U.S. military sent some officers over who looked at the evidence, did a couple of interviews, and prepared a four-page report detailing the information given to them by the Iranian Imperial Air Force, then took it back home and showed it around a bit. The White House, CIA, NSA, Secretary of State, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff all got a look at it. Unfortunately, all the official files from the Iranian government were probably destroyed during the Iranian Revolution and are now lost.

“Oopsy. My bad.”

All the parties involved still swear to what they saw that night, and so far no inconsistencies have turned up in their testimony. Lt. Jafari, who is now a retired General, has repeatedly called for further investigations into UFO phenomena. To this day, the Tehran UFO Incident remains one of the best documented and most puzzling UFO encounters. Skeptics have come forward with a few theories, but most are little more than “everyone is lying/stupid”, which is always a possibility, but you can use that to win any debate.

I’m just sayin’.

Wikipedia (At least you don’t have to worry about shitty cow puns there.)


Murder Monday: Consensual Homicides

Every Monday, Weird Shit Blog features an usual crime, death, murder, or disappearance in a feature I call Murder Monday.

It’s true, you can find anything on the internet. Inanimate objects in intimate positions, amputees dancing, little kids belting out racial slurs like it’s an 1850s Klan meeting, squids fighting dogs. If it exists, it’s on the internet, and that includes any kind of fucked-up kink you can imagine. Ever checked the “casual encounters” section on Craigslist? Holy fuck, some people are crazy. Ads for any combination of shape, size, race, whatever, many asking for really, really weird stuff.

“Hey, if I beat off on this dude’s model trains we don’t have to spend $6.50 on imitation crab next week.”

People even put up ads for rape fantasies, i.e., consenting for someone to pretend to break into your house and “rape” you, sometimes anonymously. Several years ago, a man got briefly internet-famous for putting up an eBay ad offering to let someone beat the shit out of him. Of course, though, there always has to be that one person who takes it too far. (Or, in this case, two people.) In recent years, authorities in various countries have discovered people taking out ads or posting on message boards asking for what’s now being referred to as consensual homicide.

“I want you to force feed me this donkey, then choke me with the reins. IT WILL BE AWESOME.”

Of course, comparisons have been made to euthanasia, but there’s a slight difference in that these people are A) perfectly healthy and B) usually want to be killed in a violent fashion, not with pills or an overstuffed hospital pillow. Legally, murder is murder, and anyone caught committing these crimes, whether the victim was down with it or not, is going to jail. But critics of pro-euthanasia and/or pro-suicide groups say that, if euthanasia were to be legalized, this could be the next battleground in a trend toward picking and choosing when, where, and how you leave this world.

To date, two cases have become prominent examples of consensual homicide. One comes from the United States and one from Germany.

Sharon Lopatka

In 1996, entrepreneur Sharon Lopatka of Hampstead, Maryland began searching the internet for someone to torture and kill her. Previously, she had been involved with porn rings that featured videos of men raping unconscious women, and so used some of those same communities to seek out someone who’d be totally cool with murdering her. That someone was computer analyst Bobby Glass, of Lenoir, North Carolina.

Not pictured: Foresight

On October 13, 1996, Lopatka took a train from Maryland to North Carolina. For the next three days, Glass tortured her and finally killed her with a nylon cord, just like she asked. She told her husband she was going to visit relatives for a week, but he eventually find a note describing her true intentions.

“Honey, going to get killed. Won’t be back. Dinner is in the oven.”

Her husband called the police, and they quickly found and traced her correspondence to Glass. When they investigated his trailer, they found Lopatka buried in a 2 ½ foot deep grave nearby. In 2000, Glass pled guilty to a reduced manslaughter charge (plus charges of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor for kiddie porn found on his computer) and got a maximum of 79 weeks in jail. He died of a heart attack two weeks before his release.

Armin Meiwes

Instead of finding someone to kill him, Armin Meiwes decided to do things the other way around and attempt to find someone willing to be killed and eaten. Eaten? Yep, Meiwes was a frequent contributor to Cannibal Cafe, a web forum dedicated to cannibalism fantasies. (Note the fantasy part. That’s important.) Meiwes made a few posts advertising his desire, but everyone he spoke with backed on when they found out that he was for real.

Unsubstantiated rumors say that Serious Cat was attached to much of Meiwes’ correspondence.

But Meiwes finally found his victim in Bernd Jürgen Brandes. They agreed to meet on March 9, 2001 at Meiwes’ home in Rotenberg, Germany. There, Meiwes first attempted to bite off Brandes’ penis, but failed to do so. He did, however, manage to rupture both of his testicles with his teeth. (Hope none of you guys were gonna ride a bike later or anything.) Finally, he amputated Brandes’ penis and the two attempted once again to eat it, first raw, and then cooked. Unfortunately for the two of them, Meiwes is apparently a shitty cook and burned it, then fed it to his dog. (Thus proving that dogs will eat fucking anything.)

You couldn’t get pissed at that dog and tell it to eat a dick ever again.

Meiwes then read a Star Trek novel (What else would you read in that situation?) while letting Brandes bleed out in the bathtub. Finally, three hours later, Meiwes took Brandes into a back room, stabbed him in the throat, placed him on a meathook, and removed several pounds of his flesh to consume later, which he placed under pizza boxes in his freezer. (There’s some sort of Soylent Green/Digiorno joke in there.)

Apparently, no one ever came looking for Brandes, because Meiwes wasn’t arrested for nearly two years after the murder. In fact, the only reason he even got caught was because he went back to Cannibal Cafe and a few other boards, posted ads for new victims, and bragged about his escapades with Brandes. As we’ve established in the past, this is a bad idea. A college student saw the messages and, surprisingly, actually believed Meiwes. (Come on, who really believes every stupid thing they read on the internet?) He called the police who, after looking into the matter, found there really was a man named Bernd Jürgen Brandes who had gone missing and that the forum posts in question did exist. They went to Meiwes’ house to look around and found body parts and a videotape Meiwes made of the whole incident.

“Oh, that? It’s just old episodes of Knight Rider, I swear.”

Meiwes was originally tried for manslaughter, but later was retried for murder. He’s currently serving a life sentence and has assisted police on profiling other cannibals. In addition, he claims that he believes there to be 800 or more cannibals currently living in Germany. (How he came to this number is unknown. Maybe a head count at the Cannibals Anonymous meeting?) Since his imprisonment, he has expressed regret for his crime and also converted to veganism.

“Real funny, motherfuckers.”

TruTV Crime Library
Wikipedia (Where consent is everything)


Video: The Ten Steps

Alrighty boys and girls, I’m gonna take the night off to work on some other things that I’ve been slacking on. Since I don’t wanna be a dick and just leave you hanging, I’ll post a very nice short horror film that aired on BBC Two in 2004.

The Ten Steps, by Irish filmmaker Brendan Muldowney, is the story of a young girl who’s terrified of the basement of her new house after other children at school tell her the Devil himself was seen in it once upon a time. One night, she’s left at home by her parents to babysit her brother. When all the power is knocked out, she has to face her fear in order to go into the basement and access the fuse box. Enjoy!

(Sorry about the quality, the only other one available has Japanese subtitles and cuts off the ending.)

Why would the Devil be in someone’s basement? Does he need to borrow their drill?


The Max Headroom Incident

They say you’re either a Coke guy/girl or a Pepsi guy/girl. (Me, I’m neither, because I don’t give a fuck, but my wife likes Coke, so I guess I’m a Coke guy by default.) This is a battle that’s been fought for ages, a mythical conflict of epic stakes to win the hearts of sugary, caffeinated drink buyers everywhere.

Before it was HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! BWAHAH! (This is the scariest corn picture I could find.)

In this fierce war, both the Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo have pulled some stupid moves, but none is quite as infamous as New Coke. In the halcyon days of 1985, some dweeb in Coke’s marketing department decided it’d be a good idea to change the formula of their flagship product, without considering that people might actually like the way it tastes. Instead, they felt it prudent to make it taste a bit more like ass, and New Coke was born. For 3 whole months, the world was a different place. Coke wasn’t Coke anymore, and shit just got crazy.

Ways to not impress your customers: Tell them their taste sucks.

But New Coke failed, and miserably. They brought the old Coke back (but minus sugar, which is a conspiracy theory all its own.) But Coca-Cola Classic didn’t completely replace it. No, they decided to keep on making that shit for a while. When numbers started to flag, Coke needed a spokesperson for their obscene form of alchemy. They couldn’t find an appropriate one since no one could be paid enough to hock New Coke, so they decided to borrow one who wouldn’t bitch: A computer-generated character with a programmable voice and movements… but this was 1987 and that technology didn’t exist yet, so he was really just a dude with a bunch of shit stuck to him.

“Can we stop? I’ve really gotta Catch the wave like a motherfucker.”

His name was Max Headroom, and he wasn’t computer generated at all. He was an actor named Matt Frewer in some latex and prosthetics with a cheap stutter effect put on his voice. His show, cleverly titled uh… Max Headroom, was a cult hit, and they figured he’d make a great spokesperson for their flailing brand. Oddly, his appearances in New Coke commercials (and occasional VJ spots on MTV) were far more popular and memorable than his TV show.

“I was in The Lawnmower Man 2. Seriously.”

So now that I’ve caught all you kids who never even saw the 80s up on some ancient history, let’s talk about the 1987 Chicago Area Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident, commonly known as The Max Headroom Incident.

On November 22, 1987, Chicago’s WGN (Yeah, that same one you get on cable if you live anywhere at all in the central time zone) experienced a broadcast interruption during the 9 o’clock news. Their signal was overtaken by a video feed that showed a man in a Max Headroom Halloween mask in front of a piece of corrugated metal swaying back and forth, mimicking the background geometric shapes seen in Max Headroom’s television appearances. There was no audio, only a buzzing noise. WGN engineers went around the signal and returned the feed to the news, where the anchors were confused and flustered, but continued on regardless.

But the hijacker, apparently upset that he couldn’t get his audio feed online and got cut-off mid-stream, tried again. He later interrupted a broadcast of Dr. Who on the Chicago area PBS station, WTTW, at approximately 11:15. This is what viewers saw:

Rumors that Max Headroom subsequently found his way into Dr. Who fan erotica are unsubstantiated.

WTTW engineers claimed that they, unlike WGN’s engineers, could not stop the signal, and that before they could work out a solution, the broadcast was over. The hijackers were never identified and no one has officially come forward. The following evening on the CBS news, WGN’s director of engineering commented, “It takes a significant amount of power levels to achieve this kind of an interference.” At the time, it was estimated that the equipment necessary to pirate the stations’ signals might have cost $25,000 or more. The FCC and the FBI both were unable to come to any reasonable conclusion as to who committed the hijack, much less why or even exactly how it was done. The statute of limitations on the crime has now passed, meaning that the culprit could come forward if he wanted.

“It’s true. I love the statute of limitations.” – Carl Tanzler

But even though the FBI and FCC failed to turn anything up, there are a few clues to be gleaned from the hijacker’s words. The broadcast from WGN and WTTW appear to be the same. The audio from the WTTW version includes several digs at WGN (The “world’s greatest newspaper nerds” comment, for example- WGN stands for “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, the former slogan of the Chicago Tribune), the anchor who was on-air at the time of the 9pm signal, and another sports anchor who was then employed at WGN, Chuck Swirsky. This implies that the signal was definitely intended for WGN and that it may have been recorded live at 9pm, or possibly even beforehand, but the hijacker became frustrated at WGN’s engineers blocking him and simply found another station to broadcast on. Some say that this may indicate that the hijacker may have had a grudge against WGN and singled them out specifically, but still wanted to mock them even after they had blocked him.

“Chicago will see my ass one way or another.”

Wikipedia 1 2 (People believe unsourced shit on Wikipedia all the time, though.)

There used to be more shit here that I made up to trick plagiarists. It’s gone now, but you can read about it here.