Monday, June 20, 2011

The Whale Job, Episode Three

Checked on it again today (June 19 in case the date function breaks). Real improvement over last time, bone showing all over. And man does this thing stink. Aside: I learned that the road into it is utterly painful on foot.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Men In Black

No, not the movies. I'm talking about a number of bizarre phenomena reported from all over the world, in a number of situations. There are three classifications that I can see. One is the "men in black" reported occasionally in conjunction with UFO reports. They're human-looking, if a little odd, drive late-model, brand new black Lincoln Town Cars, and often sound robotic or otherwise unusual. Second are what are currently referred to as the "Slender Man", tall humanoids with unusual features (exceedingly long limbs, lack of facial features, etc...). The third has a much deeper history, a number of names, and not many substantiated reports: the Grinning Man.

I'll start with the familiar ones. The Men in Black. The general story for them is that their mission is to harass and threaten UFO witnesses to ensure their silence. A lot of people peg them as government agents, but I'm a bit hesitant to accept that. Back in the 1950s I could see government interviews of witnesses under Project Blue Book and the Condon Committee, but that wasn't the "keep your mouth shut or bad things are gonna happen" sort of thing. Back then the US government were actively interested in the UFO phenomenon, and gathered reams of top-secret data on it. Since then they've really dropped out of it. And if you think about it, what do world governments have to gain from suppressing UFO reports? I favour a somewhat different approach. The only "people" with something to gain from keeping UFOs quiet would be whoever is flying them. Now, that doesn't mean that all UFO reports are alien craft, but about 100 gathered by Project Blue Book have yet to be explainable. Add to that the unusual manner of the MIBs, and there's a definite basis for them being affiliated with extraterrestrial life, or even being some form of alien themselves.

A possible Slenderman ritual site
Next up is what inspired this post. The Slenderman phenomenon. I use that name, originated on Something Awful, because it's recognizable, and descriptive. Tall, lanky, strangely-formed, and quite often considered an urban legend, beings of this description are fairly common through history. A good starting place would be the skeletal beings depicted as personifications of Death in the medieval "danse macabre" woodcuts. From the plague years, the "doctors" who attempted to treat the Black Death bear a striking resemblance to it. Between then and now things get a bit fuzzy, historical accounts being what they are and all. It seems, however, that in recent years the sighting of similar beings have been on an upsweep thanks to the availability of information on the internet. Of course, some of these can be attributed to wanting a good story to tell, but I figure there's something out there, and whatever it is, it's tall. I really don't have much to go on for a theory here. Best guess is either interdimensional or some sort of human sub-species.

Finally, there's the Grinning Man. This one gets a bit creepy. Reports of an eerie grinning figure go back to the beginnings of human history, possibly coming from the alternate meaning of what we consider a smile. What's considered an expression of happiness is construed as a threat by most primates, and you can see a similar baring-of-the-teeth response in frightened animals such as dogs and cats. Of course, there's also the resemblance of a pale, grinning human to the familiar Death's Head skull, or Totenkopf. For the purposes of this, I'm going to focus on a single report of the Grinning Man, the 1966 "Indrid Cold" incident. This one's become heavily associated with the Mothman sightings in the same area, culminating in the Silver Bridge collapse. On November 2, 1966, a man driving down the I-77 near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. An unusual flying craft appeared near his car, and the Grinning Man proceeded to exit it and "speak" to him via telepathy or some other nonverbal communication. A short exchange followed, in which the "man" identified himself as Indrid Cold. The exact details of what transpired there are rather sketchy, but suffice to say it was distinctly unnerving for all involved. This is one of the few times I don't think there's what you'd call a "terrestrial" explanation for what happened. Given the history, and the events afterwards, I'm inclined to consider Cold and the Mothman (that's another post there) to be connected, and a sort of omen or token.

Dedicated to and written for a friend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Whale Job, Update 1

 Site checked out again as of June 5 2011. Decay very evident, but no movement noted. The box has been flipped upright, however. No insect larvae noted. Decomposition seems to be proceeding as planned.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Whale Job, or I Am Ahab

A break from the usual fodder for a while, since I'm slightly out of ideas. Don't worry, the usual supernatural schedule will return in due time. And this is pretty weird as well.

The specimen, as found.
 So, back in mid-April, around the 23rd by my records, I found something weird floating in a stream on North Side Beach, approximately halfway between the towns of Eastport and Clay Cove. Looked like a log at first, but closer examination revealed it to be some kind of biological thing. After the thought of it being a monstrous trout crossed my mind (and was summarily dismissed), I came to the conclusion that it was some kind of whale or dolphin. After a bit of examination, and some searching of references, I determined it to be a long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas), locally known as a pothead whale, a fairly common species of dolphin. How it wound up in a freshwater stream continues to baffle me, but I Occam's Razor would dictate that it washed ashore on a high tide and was pushed down into the brook. The first idea to cross my mind was that I'd love to have the thing's skull, which means waiting for a while as it rots away and hope the thing is still there. After some thought, I decided to...uh, retrieve the head myself and keep it safe. On the 26th of April, we went to give it a shot.

The kit.
The first attempt at retrieval was a mess. Both literally and figuratively. Done on a budget of approximately $60, with exactly zero knowledge (practically at least) of what I was doing, I set out on a quest to decapitate the thing. That didn't go so well. The thing proved to be a bit bigger than I'd bargained for, and the tools I'd chosen were not really that great. Specifically, a dull skinning knife and a 21" bow saw were some bad choices. The saw, while preforming quite well on the fleshier bits, snagged as a result of the design on the bone. The knife just sucked. Compounding the issue was the weather. Specifically, it was cold, with a heavy wind off the water, and driving rain. And of course my plans to seal my gear with duct tape failed miserably, so I wound up with half the stream in my gloves and boots. Oh, did I forget to mention the smell? For something that's been sitting in a clean, icy cold stream it stank like...well, like a dead whale. After much sawing and more blubber than any man should ever have to deal with, I struck a problem. The thing's spinal column. The saw wouldn't cut it, and with hypothermia setting in (no, I'm not exaggerating, I actually was mildly hypothermic), I gave up, rather dejected. A second expedition was planned for some time in the future, once I defrosted.

A wonderful glamour shot.
The second try went a lot better. First off, I was better equipped. Saw with unidirectional teeth to reduce snagging, a full suit of chest waders to stay dry, various ropes and grapples, and a V8 pickup truck. We decided that it would be a much better idea to tow the forequarters of the specimen ashore and do the cutting there. A length of braided nylon rope was run through the original incision, as can be seen in the provided image. I managed a crude slipknot into the rope, and by some miracle it didn't snap under 245 horsepower. Of course, all cameras were forgotten on the expedition when we actually got the damn thing. Anyhow, we got it ashore with relative ease, and I went to work. Oddly enough it didn't smell quite as bad. With a significant amount of effort, cutting of a vertebra, and more application of horsepower, we detached the head. Another problem soon presented itself, however. The damned thing weighed over 200 pounds, and all we had was a big Rubbermaid box. Keep in mind this had to be moved from the ground four feet up into the pan of a truck. Lifting it directly in would've been possible, but the box would've split open. Improvisation time. Using locally-available materials (AKA a big stick), we fashioned a crude ramp and grunted it aboard.

The head, as of mid-May.
The next problem was what to do with it. We discussed a number of ideas, but most of them proved rather unfeasible due to the thing's size and horrific smell. We eventually settled on the time-tested trick of "dump it the hell out of the truck, drive like scalded apes, let nature take care of it and hope nobody makes off with it". We picked a location in the absolute middle of nowhere, a nameless woods road halfway between Northern Arm and Point Leamington, a half mile off the highway. Current plan is to allow it to decay naturally for a time, and dose it with quicklime at some point. At present, it's on location. There's been some noted animal activity in the area, including something, likely a bear, rolling it over and away from the box. Checks planned every two weeks, give or take. Updates when I get'em.