A lot of people fantasize about having a double that can go around and do shit for them while they do far more awesome stuff. Who wouldn’t want that? I could go sleep or grab a bite to eat instead of typing these posts out. Actually, I kinda like typing these out, so maybe I have a double somewhere doing back-breaking labor while I’m doing this.

My bad.

But doppelgängers aren’t a purposeful double that you can control and ask nicely to do things you don’t want to do. (And if he or she is your exact double, why would he or she want to do it either?) Nor is it about cloning someone for some hot twin/threesome action.

Ladies, your dream boats have arrived.

The actual idea behind a doppelgänger is pretty damn terrifying. According to Germanic lore, your doppelgänger is basically built specifically for evil. His or her job is to go around and do stuff that gets you in trouble, that bastard. In addition, having one seen by a relative or friend is a bad omen. Even worse, seeing your own means you’re probably gonna die. Your doppelgänger is completely independent from you, and presumably you don’t even know he or she exists until you actually see it, and then it’s too late, because you’re pretty well fucked by that point.

Percy Bysse Shelley saw his own several times immediately before his death, and also right before Mary Shelley miscarried their child. Percy Shelley was a bit of a fanciful guy, to be sure, but he wasn’t the only one who saw “himself”- one of his maids also saw what appeared to be Shelley walking into a part of the yard where the only exit was over a 20 foot wall. Then, he approached again from the very same direction as before. And on top of all that, he wasn’t even around in the first place, so neither one was the real him. Apparently he was cool enough to have two doppelgängers.

“We’re available for parties, too.”

Other famous people who’ve seen their own doppelgänger (or that of a relative) include Abraham Lincoln, John Donne, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe’s story is particularly interesting. He claimed to have been riding on horseback down a dirt road when he saw himself riding the opposite way, toward… uh, himself. He noted his other self wearing a gray coat with gold trim. 8 years later, he was riding down the same path in the opposite direction and suddenly realized that he was wearing the same gray and gold coat his other had been wearing 8 years earlier. Historical celebrities are not alone, however, as even into modern days, it’s not difficult to find someone who has sworn they saw someone they knew, only to find out later that they were all the way on the other side of town, or something along those lines.

I make no claims as to the nature or whereabouts of O.J. Simpson’s doppelgänger.

All this is different, however, from the Norse vardøger, which is said to be a ghostly image that precedes you. So, say you go to a buddy’s house and he says, “Weren’t you just here?” Vardøger. If you’re sitting at home, eating Doritos and watching re-runs of Miami Vice and your buddy calls you up and asks, “Hey, were you just at the at the adult toy emporium with an arm-load of marital aids?” Doppelgänger. (Warning: Do not use your doppelgänger to get out of shit you did. It never works. Trust me.)

By the way, it’s alt + 0228 if you must know.

And what do our party-pooping friends, the scientists, have to say about this? Well, Swiss scientists performed lab tests on a 22 year old epileptic woman, finding that when certain parts of the brain (the left temporo-parietal junction if you’re nasty) were stimulated with a minor electric shock… wait a second, didn’t I do this before? Oh fuck, that damn vardøger!

No, wait, nevermind. It’s just the same experiment that I mentioned in the post about the Third Man Phenomenon. Yeah, that’s right. Scientists think that the Third Man Phenomenon and doppelgängers are due to the exact same mental switch, except without the whole mental stress and isolation thing. Oh, and also the fact that the doppelgänger is usually a living person the individual knows. In fact, they also believe that the mental switch can be used to explain ghost sightings as well.

Scientists: Trying to ruin everyone’s fun since the Renaissance.

And even still, rumors have begun spreading that airport face-scanning machines, intended to catch terrorists and other criminals before they can board planes, have captured images of people who live on entirely different continents, aren’t related, and have never met, yet look exactly the same. A popular urban legend making the rounds claims that one airport screener was shocked to see his own face pop up in a scan, and that upon further inspection, found 10 other men in the FBI database who looked exactly like him.

Some other legends also make similar claims, saying that the shared criminal database of mugshots the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies use has a secret sub-database (called Doppelgänger, of course) of people who look identical to each other, even down to the scars on their faces, but have no actual known connection. Further, it’s said that some of the images in this database are of people who lived and died decades ago, but appear to have duplicates alive and well today.

On a barely-related and less creepy note, The Fall of Troy’s Doppelgänger is fantastic.

Wikipedia (The only infallible source of information, ever)


The Montauk Project

There are a couple of things that can get a conspiracy geek turned on. First off, you’ve gotta have the U.S. Government or, rarely, some other large-scale operation. (This can include foreign governments, groups of foreign governments in collusion, secret societies, and mega-corporations.)

They’re up to some shit. What is Grimace even supposed to be?

Then, you’ve gotta have a reason for the conspiracy. Secret research into time travel, psychotropic drugs, alternate dimensions, basically anything that’s been made into an episode of The X-Files or Fringe. Or both. (John Noble got robbed, I tell you. Fucking robbed.)

Lastly, you have to have the cover-up. It’s not a conspiracy if everyone knows about it, dumbass. Shell companies, secret government sub-agencies, hidden messages, a few murders, and boom, you’ve got a conspiracy.

And if that turns a conspiracy geek on, then The Montauk Project gives them a raging hard-on so huge that the government is gonna have to hush that shit up.

“Boner sighted, sir. Firing on your mark.”

Think of how Area 51 used to be super-secret. Not so much now, though, considering they had to acknowledge that it existed in court documents. But before the 90s, Area 51 was a place you talked about in hushed whispers, but you still knew about it. Now it’s referenced by the Las Vegas Minor League Baseball team.

I bet you thought I was joking.

So when Area 51 started becoming a household name among conspiracy theorists in the 60s and 70s, and with everyone else in the 80s and 90s, they couldn’t really do all their secret experiments at their no-longer secret base. So what happened to all of that research? Well, conspiracy lore has it that Area 51 was never a centralized location, and all the experiments done there were also done in tandem with other bases. So, they had a bunch of shit going on at a bunch of places, and the story goes that many non-aerospace related experiments were moved across the country to an Air Force base in Montauk, New York.

According to the earliest legends, Montauk Air Force Station’s original purpose was to continue the research that led to The Philadelphia Experiment and the USS Eldridge “disaster”. As time has gone by, though, and The Philadelphia Experiment has become a cheesy 80s movie and generally regarded as a hoax, that story isn’t usually the one that conspiracy theorists lead with.

There was this ship and it traveled through time and… you know what? Nevermind.

Originally, several of the less strange projects that ended up at Montauk were allegedly conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. But when they needed a big-ass radar dish for their experiments in cloaking technology (See: The Philadelphia Experiment above) they moved everything, secretly, by ship to Montauk. It’s important for conspiracy theorists to note that the dish at Montauk operates at 400 – 425 mhz, which is claimed to be exactly the frequency needed to control the human mind.


As for what kind of other experiments were conducted at Montauk, you’ve got a whole range of shit, including time travel, parallel dimensions, teleportation, contact with extraterrestrials, creating objects out of thin air with psychic abilities, brainwashing and subliminal messaging, and mind-altering drugs. Oh, and the whole thing was supposedly run by Nikola Tesla, who would have been 120 years old at the time.

“Fuck death. And Edison.”

Other rumors claim that the facility stretched 12 levels underground, had hundreds of employees, and expanded underneath the city of Montauk itself. Apparently, to throw people off the trail, the government converted most of the land above the base into a national wildlife preserve, so long as everything below ground remained property of the Department of Defense. While the base began taking on a few projects in the late 60s, most of the wild shit is claimed to have occurred in the 70s and up until early 80s, when the base finally closed. Turns out that wildlife parks tend to be big tourist attractions, and so the legend goes that when loads of people started showing up for family vacations, the government realized that they’d probably have to find somewhere else to do their crazy crap. They opened it to the public as a museum in 2002.


So what happened to all the experiments there when the DoD decided to close up shop? No one knows. The government probably still has plenty of other secret bases. We just may not have heard about all of them yet.

Wikipedia (Now with more [Citation needed])


The Antikythera Mechanism

It’s the age of the smartphone, where you can carry around a little computer in your pocket and look at Facebook or YouTube or whatever whenever you feel like it. I never knew I wanted to watch porn, loudly, in a public restroom before. God damn, technology is great. I mean, what’d we do before these mini brothels came into our lives? Oh yeah, we sat at a computer. Wait, we still do that.

Because I’m gonna type these posts on this.

Okay, so smartphones and tablets and things like that haven’t supplanted the desktop just yet, but the point still stands. Devices are getting smaller and smaller. Laptops were massive and not very lap-friendly at all just a few short years ago. The earliest computers took up enormous amounts of space.

“Little do the engineers know, we’ve secretly replaced one of these with a beehive.”

And now we can hold something in our hand that’s many, many times faster and more powerful. We can perform complex mathematical calculations, view and record the positions of the stars… Oh, but did I mention that the Greeks could do that over 2,000 years ago? Yeah, they couldn’t get turn-by-turn directions to get Odysseus’ ass home or play 3D games or any of that.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 490 BC.

But they could do those other things, the calculator and the star map. It doesn’t sound very impressive, but consider that everyone else in the world, for many years yet, was still using ink, paper, and maybe an abacus. For 1400 years, that is. That’s a pretty huge technological leap, and we didn’t even know they had it until 1901. It’s kind of like finding out that your ancestors had a Lincoln and cruised around in it a couple hundred years ago. Why wouldn’t they tell you about that?

Well, maybe they wrote a big instructional book about it and some other ancestors threw it out. (Or maybe they thought you’d steal it, dick.) What we do know is that the mechanism is so well-crafted that it must have had predecessors.

It was made up of several bronze gears, and was able to calculate the heavens and simple mathematical problems using clockwork methods not seen for over a thousand years afterward. It even had markings to let you know when the Olympic games would be, making it a sort of calendar as well. In fact, this thing has so many features, it’s kinda hard to pin down just what it was primarily meant to do. (The smartphone analogy just gets more and more apt.)

Pictured: Expert craftsmanship after two thousand years at the bottom of the ocean.

We also don’t even know for sure if the Greeks made it. (I just wanted to throw in a couple of Greek jokes before I got to that part.) The instructions are in Greek, and the writing on it is too, but there’s some conflicting research that shows that it may have come from Sicily or Turkey.

Regardless, though, there is plenty of evidence showing its pedigree in scientific history. There were many similar devices, just not as tiny and nicely built. However, that’s not stopped people from theorizing that the people who came up with the concept that led to this ancient PDA were taught by aliens. Or maybe a time traveler. Or maybe reckless, time-travelling aliens.

This time those aliens have gone too far.

And when you’re talking about an eon and a half gap in technology, maybe ideas like that don’t sound so wild. But you also have to remember that this thing could very well have been some sort of state or military secret, and so it wasn’t widely written about, not to mention that it was made of bronze, which has always had some kind of value and is easy to reuse. So, it’s really likely that any others of its kind that didn’t end up on the bottom of the sea got repurposed into other shit.

Far more useful.

So maybe aliens or Bill and/or Ted weren’t involved, and bogus as that may be, it’s still an archeological wonder that has completely re-shaped our view of just how much ancient civilizations really knew. Now, I don’t want to get into “ancient technology that surpasses our own” speculations, but it does make you wonder what other huge innovations simply got lost to time and set us back hundreds or thousands of years.

Yeah, hop on my motorcycle, we’ll be there in no time.

The Telegraph
The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
Wikipedia (Home of the Edit War)


Shades of Death Road

Have you ever seen one of those old cheesy horror movies where the locals call some nearby old ruins “Terror Hollow” or some shit? And how maybe the scariest thing there is some pissed-off badgers?

“Fuck it, we’ll call it Terror Hollow. I’m out of here.”

Okay, now what if I told you there was a place in Warren County, New Jersey that’s called Shades of Death Road? Funny, right?

What if I told you that’s its actual, official name?

Oh, shit.

And what if I told you that, considering everything that’s happened there, that that name is actually pretty tame?

“Wait a second,” you say. “Why is it called Shades of Death Road anyway? And why are you a paragon of manliness?” Well, person who is not my wife, as she would never say such a thing, I would be happy to tell you why it’s called that, except no one knows anymore.

“Okay, so, twisty road, in the middle of nowhere, only two lanes, maybe it’s called that because of all the fatal car accidents and because the residents have a weird sense of humor?” I’d say you were on to something, if it hadn’t been called that since before Henry Ford was even born, much less inventing automobiles.

There are other theories regarding the road’s name, however. Some say, for example, that in the olden days, highwaymen liked to hide out in shady spots along the road, then jump out and attack people.

“You want my pants? Have ‘em.” “Er… I asked for your money.”

Other legends say that it wasn’t named for the highwaymen, but instead because those highwaymen were beaten and lynched, then hung at intervals along the road. God damn, that is brutal. I mean, they did rob and rape people, but, seriously? That’s a hell of a “Don’t fuck with us.”

The final commonly given explanation is that the road was named after an outbreak of malaria. Wait, what? Yep, in the mid 19th century, the area was filled with swamplands, which attracts mosquitoes who, of course, carried malaria. In fact, it was such a big deal that the government said, “This shit has to stop.” They drained all the swamps, leaving the mosquitoes with no place to live. 

Homeless. Thanks a lot, government.

So, after the malaria epidemic passed, it’s believed that some smartass may have proposed changing the name of the road, which may have previously been Shade Road, to Shades of Death Road.

“Well, that’s all fine and interesting, King Ashe the Benevolent, but I could give a fuck less about why it’s called that. You said it’s actually worse!” That’s true, I did say that. And now I will tell you about it.

Firstly, just off the road, you’ve got Ghost Lake. Unlike Shades of Death Road, this is not its official name. Also unlike the road, the reason for its name is pretty clear. On some mornings, a white vapor tends to emanate from its surface. Okay, so that’s not so weird. That happens lots of places. But, it’s also rumored that the sky stays bright there, as if it were dusk, no matter what time of night it is. Fair enough, that’s pretty interesting. Oh, and there’s a deserted cabin nearby that locals say is haunted by the ghosts of dead highwaymen. Those fucking highwaymen.

“No, really, leave them on. Why do you people keep taking your pants off?”

In fact, the whole area where Ghost Lake is located is called Haunted Hollow. (There’s gotta be an old movie somewhere with that name in it.) It’s probably pretty apt, because right nearby is a place called The Fairy Hole. (Go to bed, Tinkerbell, you’re drunk.) It’s a small cave, but in the early part of the last century, it was found to contain several pieces of Native American pottery and arrow heads. Since the cave appeared to be sparsely used and out of the way of their normal routes, and due to the presence of burial grounds nearby, it’s been theorized that this could have been some sort of ritual site for the dead. And if bad horror movies have taught us anything, (Besides the fact that locals apparently come up with really uncreative names for places) it’s that anything to do with Native Americans and death is a recipe for horrible disaster.

The first result for “Indian burial ground” in Google Images. Holy shit.

Now, all this doesn’t include stories of an unpaved, one-lane road where you might see a red light that indicates you’ll die, reports of apparitions, fogs, and a haunted bridge supposedly occupied by the ghosts of two children who were run over there. Oh, and I’d remiss if I didn’t share this one- a “spirit guide” who takes the guise of a deer and stands on the side of the road. Apparently, if you don’t slow down enough, the deer might jump out in front of you and cause an accident. (Seriously? No shit?)

But let’s talk about a more down-to-Earth kind of weird. Say, a couple of guys in the 1990s who found not one, not two, but hundreds of Polaroid pictures scattered around the area. (Remember those? They were so quaint. The 90s, I mean.) Now, sure, Polaroids on their own aren’t scary.

God damn. Nevermind. Yes, they are.

These Polaroids contained pictures of a television changing channels, a woman lying on a piece of metal with no expression on her face, and other things that even Weird NJ magazine wouldn’t publish. And this is a magazine about weird stuff specifically in New Jersey. Who knows what they won’t print?

Wikipedia (Where the research comes to you.)