Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Sleeping Sickness

Today is the last of our Halloween themed Wednesday Weirds. Today, we're talking about the Sleeping Sickness.

So let's say your SO comes down with what you assume is a bad cold. But after getting worse over the next few days, they suddenly freeze like a statue. They lie there, motionless, in a hospital bed. Then, finally, they wake up. Which would be a cause of celebration!

But, it gets worse.

They start to act completely different -- they're emotionless and distant, which makes you think of this delightful film:



THEN! (because so far, it's just not bad enough) they start gouging at their eyes and/or violently, sexually assaulting people.
 
That, right there, folks, is a real disease that first cropped up in the early 20th century. It's called encephalitis lethargica, or the sleeping sickness, and it struck as an epidemic just after the Spanish flu died down.

And, nobody has any idea where it came from or where it went.

It begins with a sore throat right before it escalates into hallucinations and madness before the body ultimately locks up. While sufferers appeared to be asleep, they were actually fully conscious but unable to move. Many died during this stage.
 
Survivors of the sleeping disease suffered behavioral problems for the rest of their lives, becoming excessively violent and -- regardless of gender -- kind of rapey. They also became emotionally indifferent, unable to recognize, for example, the beauty of art. They became completely different people.

Ten years after the epidemic, new cases suddenly stopped appearing.

Today, doctors still don't know what the deal was, though clearly it had to do with the brain. But whether it was a bacteria, or a virus, no one really knows.

 
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Currently, it still occasionally shows up. So while the world is worried about Ebola, sometimes there are even scarier things that can strike when you least expect it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Anguished Man

Week Three of the Halloween themed Wednesday Weirds.

Today, we have this terrifying picture:




Honestly, the painting is creepy enough that I could probably just stop the post right now. Like, that's it, here's your Halloween scare for the week.

But, nah. Let's keep going.

This painting was kept in Sean Robinson's grandmother's attic for twenty-five years before he inherited it. She had always told Robinson that the painting was evil, explaining how the artist who created it had used his own blood mixed with the paint, and had killed himself shortly after completing it. Like you do.

When the painting was displayed, she'd hear voices and crying, and sometimes see a shadowy figure in her house. So she locked it away in her attic. Why she didn't just get rid of it, I dunno.

As soon as Robinson took the painting into his home, he and his family started experiencing the same kinds of creepy phenomenon. His wife felt something stroking her hair, they saw the shadow man and they heard crying.

Robinson decided to set up a camera overnight to try to capture some of the strange events on tape. Robinson's YouTube videos show slamming doors, rising smoke, and the painting falling from a wall for no reason.

Frightened, Robinson soon put the painting down in his basement, but he is not interested in selling it.

Here's one of his videos. Boring warning: the video isn't all that interesting, barring one little part.





So, there you have it. The Anguished Man painting. Scary enough on it's own, kinda worse when it comes with creepiness.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In Which I Hang With Writer Peeps

I had a buuuusy week last week. But it was a fun busy!

First, Matt came to the Twin Cities for a visit!

You know Matt MacNish, right? Of course you do!

He arrived on Wednesday and there was an awesome dinner with Matt, his friend Heidi, Steve Brezenoff, Bryan Bliss, Kelly Barnhill, Hannah Kincaid and me. It's really awesome meeting someone in person that you've been such good friends with online for so many years.

Then, Thursday, Andrew Smith was in town. He was speaking at a Teen Writer's Conference, which I couldn't go to because I'm not a teen, but that night he did a reading and signing at one of our local kid's bookstore (Addendum Books) and that was super fun. Matt and Steve and Bryan were there, and so was Carrie Mesrobian and Andrew Karre (who both had to miss dinner the night before). Also my good friend TL Conway made it and brought a visiting Adrianne Russell.

Andrew let us pick what he should read from, so I said GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, and then after that he read from his forthcoming book THE ALEX CROW. It sounds amazing.

Then! Friday morning, it was breakfast with Matt again, and Tricia and Adrianne. Breakfast was delicious and the company was awesome.

After that I had to say goodbye to Matt and Adrianne (Tricia and I get brunch together ever couple of weeks) but not before Twin took a picture to commemorate the awesomeness of cool people, hanging out.



Matt, Me, Adrianne, TL


All in all, it was an awesome week.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Fun

Here we are, Friday once more and just a few hours away from the fun that's the weekend.

soon, this delicious grass will be nothing but a memory


So let's get this started!


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 



 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Herxheim Mass Grave

Continuing with our Halloween Wednesday Weirds, let's talk bones and skeletons.

Back in 09, archaeologists were digging at the site of near the village of Herxheim, in Germany. The site was from the Neolithic era, (7,000 years ago) when farming had spread into Europe.

The site was first excavated in 1996-99 so they expected to find much of the same. Instead what they found was a human bone.

Which, if you're an archaeologist, yay, right? But then they found another bone. And another. When they were finished digging, they had uncovered a mass grave of over 500 bodies. 500 bodies is a lot, but it's even more when you consider how small the population had been at the time the bodies were buried. Not to mention that Herxheim and other nearby settlements had been mysteriously and completely abandoned, ohhh, about 7,000 years ago.

So what had caused this massive die-off of the population and subsequent abandonment? The archaeologists weren't sure.

Until they found the bite marks.

Yeah. The mass grave was a mass cannibal grave. The bones in the mass grave had been chewed on, been cracked for their marrow, even had marks on them that suggested they had been spit roasted.

Cannibalism was extremely rare in Neolithic Europe (why would you need to eat people when you could grow your own food) and yet, here there was not just a single case of it, but a massive amount of it.

What happened at Herxheim, that caused much of the settlement to be eaten by other people, and that caused the rest of settlement to be abandoned?

We may never know . . .

 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Fun

Here we are! Another weekend coming fast. Which is good news, because weekends means sleeping in and having fun.





And speak of having fun, let's get this weekend started!


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 


 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Screaming Ghost

Here we are, the beginning of Halloween season. Which means for this month, the Wednesday Weirds are going to be as Halloweeny as I can swing. I'm going to try to pick scary or creepy or gross topics. What will they be? No clue. I figure out when I write the posts.

But for today, to launch our Halloween series of Wednesday Weirds, we're looking at a ghost video!

I picked this one because A) it's creepy as all hell. And B) it's different than a lot of the other types of ghost videos.

Whether it's real or not, I have no clue, but it's full of tension and it's an absorbing video (no worries. There's no jump scares or anything. I wouldn't do that to you.)

 





Thoughts?
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