The Apprehension Engine: custom musical instrument generates natural nightmare noises

The Apprehension Engine is a custom-made musical instrument designed to produce the scary, tension-building noises associated with horror movies, but without the all-too-obvious digital chopping and synthesizing invariably involved. The result is something organic and seamlessly natural—something that goes beyond fear and fright to nail you to some deep Jungian place so completely you become a part of it. And she says I'm hard to shop for!

Christopher Bickel at Dangerous Minds:

“The Apprehension Engine,” as it is called, was created by Canadian guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith as a “one off” for Mark Korven, who is best known for his soundtrack work on The VVitch.

Compare to the classic analogue horror instrument, the waterphone:

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Guy goes urban spelunking, finds fully stocked underground safe house

Is this the teaser for Portal 3? The disarray, scattered equipment, and posters on the wall seem like the work of a thoughtful set decorator. But, as Sean Hannity likes to say, "Wow if true."

While walking through the territory of a factory, located in the industrial area of the city, I noticed a weird concrete block with a metal gate on the side of it. I opened it and a latter climb later I was in a dark, small tunnel leading to an underground bomb shelter/safe house. Read the rest

Leaked confidential memo reveals Facebook program to identify and target "insecure" kids

The Australian reports on a leaked memo -- described but not published -- marked "confidential" and created and distributed internally by Facebook that describes how the system's surveillance tools can identify children and teens in "insecure" moments when they "need a boost," explaining that they had identified markers to tell them when a young person was feeling "stressed", "defeated", "overwhelmed", "anxious", "nervous", "stupid", "silly", "useless", and a "failure." Read the rest

You won't be able to unsee this Tickle Me Elmo skinned alive

The Canada Science and Technology Museum had the best worst idea of all time: they stripped the fur off a Tickle Me Elmo to show kids how it works.

Bonus video: a classic of the little robot demon afire:

Furless Tickle Me Elmo for Tinkering Activity (YouTube / Canada Science and Technology Museum) Read the rest

Pharma bro Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter after harassing reporter

Lauren Duca, a writer for Teen Vogue, recently penned a popular opinion piece about president-elect Donald Trump's constant lying. Martin Shkreli is a disgraced pharmaceutical executive who famously hiked the price of a lifesaving drug before being charged with fraud. A Trump fan, he started tweeting about wanting to date her, despite her clearly finding it unwelcome and ultimately harassing, then took his remarks to direct messages. When she finally, publicly told him to get lost, he downloaded a photo of her, photoshopped his own head onto that of her partner, and made it his Twitter background. Then Twitter itself finally got sick of his shit and suspended him. Read the rest

Creepy vintage toys

Re-Tales, a blog specializing in the wonders and horrors of retailing, has an excellent selection of creepy vintage toys to enjoy. [via Metafilter]

The implicit appeal of these, I think, is that they were originally intended to be creepy, but have become unintentionally creepy. The primary amused-children creepiness of an one era becomes the unsettled-adults creepiness of another, but it's not really the same thing performing the work in each case. And, maybe, the real creepiness is in our appreciation of how the object slowly acquires its secondary creepiness. Read the rest

Creepy Mall Santas

Distractify has thirty mall santas to be on the lookout for. There's plenty of listicle filler here, but would you just look at those vintage masked bastards. There's even a website dedicated to creepy santas. [via MeFi, which has even more]

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LED flashlight review in abandoned mine ends on unsettling note

A flashlight review that begins with the promise "I'm about to hike through a remote canyon to an abandoned mine, and I gotta tell you there's a storm raging outside" should end on an interesting note, and this one does. [via]

Disturbing, strange sounds. That's exactly what I caught on video while filming and documenting the abandoned Waldeck Mine using the ThruNite TN12 flashlight. The Waldeck Mine is an abandoned gold mine located deep in a forested canyon in the high country. I went there on a stormy night in order to document the mine while reviewing and demonstrating ThruNite's excellent TN12 handheld flashlight. The abandoned mine itself is over 150 years old and still has a lot of awesome yet dangerous timbering in its furthest reaches. There are upper levels in the Waldeck Mine, but I only explored and documented the main haulage tunnel.

The ghostly AMSR action starts about 12:15 in.

Witchgadget.com is available! Read the rest

Creepy clown heatmap: is your neighborhood next?

The creepy clown ebb and flow is currently in full flow, so Atlas Obscura has created the definitive creepy clown incident map, replete with dates, details, and outcome. Read the rest

Mister Rogers was the original creepy clown gangsta

"I want to show you something," intones Mister Rogers, showing these pikers how he's been terrifying children with his creepy clown prank since 1968. Read the rest

Hedge fund paid terminally ill people to sign up for "death puts"

A "death put" on a certificate of deposit means that the bond matures immediately upon the bearer's death, rather than when its term runs out: they're used as a form of life-insurance, cushioning the blow to loved ones from unexpected death, and they can be held jointly, so that the bearer's heirs and a third party get a payoff on death. Read the rest

"Translucent" statues haunt British forest

Created by Rob Mulholland, the photon fairies await your presence in the wilds of Scotland. Just remember: if it bleeds, you can kill it—but these don't bleed. [via r/creepy]

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Explore The Shining in 3D

Claire Hentschker's virtual reality trip through The Shining is even more unsettling than it sounds: thirty minutes of scenes from the movie extruded into 3D, so you can look around in all directions as the camera slowly takes you along. Yet the models are all incomplete, taken as they are from Kubrick's footage, leaving the impression of looking into the Overlook and its surrounds from a timeless, warped, supernatural viewpoint. Which is to say: it's perfect.

Shining360 is a 30-minute audio-visual experiment for VR derived from the physical space within Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘The Shining.' Using photogrammetry, 3D elements are extracted and extruded from the original film stills, and the subsequent fragments are stitched together and viewed along the original camera path.

Many thanks to the Studio for Creative Inquiry. All content derived from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

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Melania Trump has a creepy message just for you

Weirdo remix artist Vic Berger slap-chopped together this creepy and hilarious edit of Melania Trump’s recent campaign speech for her creepy and no longer hilarious husband, presidential candidate and noted total shitbag Donald Trump.

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Motel owner spent 30 years spying on his guests' sex lives, considered himself a "researcher"

In 1980, New Yorker stalwart Gay Talese received a handwritten note by special-delivery: it was from Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner, and he revealed that he had been spying on his customers' sex lives for decades and taking meticulous notes, which he offered to share with Talese for his upcoming book, Thy Neighbor's Wife, a now-classic investigation into the hidden sex lives of Americans. Read the rest

Silverpush says it's not in the ultrasonic audio-tracker ad-beacons business anymore

Silverpush, the company that pioneered covert ultrasonic audio beacons that let advertisers link your activity on phones, tablets and laptops, says it will no longer sell the technology and does not want to be associated with the idea any longer. Read the rest

The Elf on the Shelf is a surveillance-normalizing little creep

Important reminder, happy mutants! The Elf on the Shelf, the cherubic, round-eyed toy with a faux-traditional backstory, is yet another manifestation of the surveillance state. It watches you 24/7, then reports your behavior to an old white man with unaccountable authority who judges you and manipulates you with largesse or neglect.

Laura Pinto, a technology professor:

The gaze of the elf on the child’s real world (as opposed to play world) resonates with the purpose of the panopticon, based on Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century design for a model prison… What is troubling is what The Elf on the Shelf represents and normalizes: anecdotal evidence reveals that children perform an identity that is not only for caretakers, but for an external authority (The Elf on the Shelf), similar to the dynamic between citizen and authority in the context of the surveillance state. Further to this, The Elf on the Shelf website offers teacher resources, integrating into both home and school not only the brand but also tacit acceptance of being monitored and always being on one’s best behaviour--without question.

By inviting The Elf on the Shelf simultaneously into their play-world and real lives, children are taught to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures. Broadly speaking, The Elf on the Shelf serves functions that are aligned to the official functions of the panopticon. In doing so, it contributes to the shaping of children as governable subjects.

The Washington Post asked her if she's serious. Read the rest

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