Museum issues curatorial challenge: Show us your creepiest objects -- museums bring the creepy

The Yorkshire Museum is issuing "curator battles" to to other museums. Their first salvo is #CreepiestObject. Yup, these and others in the thread, are pretty damn creepy.

[H/t Stacie Votaw]

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Tessie and Binnie, the US Army's psychic dogs

JB Rhine (1895-1980), the founder of parapsychology, spent the bulk of his career attempting to scientifically investigate ESP, psychokinesis, and clairvoyance at Duke University. While Rhine debunked numerous claims, he also reported on many experiments that he argued were evidence of psi phenomena. In 1952, the US Army consulted with Rhine on their idea to use psychic powers to detect landmines. The psychics weren't people though; they were German Shepherds named Tessie and Binnie. From author Nick Redfern's retelling of the weird tale over at Mysterious Universe:

Although Fort Belvoir was the place from where the work was coordinated, the actual tests took place on stretches of quiet California beaches. A contingent of soldiers, Rhine, Binnie and Tessie hit the beach and the work began. The role of the troops was to bury dummy mines (thankfully!) at varying depths in the sand and to see if the dogs could locate them. To begin with, both dogs were kept in the back of a covered, military truck – to ensure that they couldn’t see what was going on at that same stretch of beach. That is, until it was time for the operations to begin.

Incredibly, it didn’t take Binnie and Tessie long to find the fake mines. The work progressed and the military was impressed. But, was it all coincidence and random luck? To ensure that wasn’t the case, the Army began to make it more and more difficult for Tessie and Binnie to find the mines. Instead of just burying the bogus mines deep in the sand, they took the devices into the water – to depths of about six or seven feet – and had the pair try and find them.

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A virtual fireside chat with Erik Davis, Dennis McKenna, and the premiere of a never-released Terence McKenna lecture at Esalen Institute, 1989

Boing Boing pal Erik Davis will be joining Dennis McKenna (Terence's brother) on April 3rd for an online screening and virtual chat centered on a previously unseen lecture that Terence McKenna delivered at Esalen Institute in 1989.

From Erik's monthly newsletter.

This Friday, at 5:30 PST, I will be participating in a TRIBUTE TO TERENCE MCKENNA hosted by Dennis McKenna and our mutual friends at Psychedelic Seminars. Terence died twenty years ago, and over the next few weekends, Dennis will be hanging out with some of T’s wonderful friends, like Eduardo Luna, Bruce Damer, and Rupert Sheldrake.

On Friday we will be streaming a recently discovered hour-long film of Terence shot at Esalen in 1989. After the showing, Dennis and I will have a chat—the first in-depth conversation we have had since the publication of High Weirdness.

You can sign-up for the screening and chat here. You can find more info on the whole series here.

And if you're looking for something provocative and mind-bending to read while you're cowering in your invisible zombie apocalypse hidey hole, check out Erik's wonderful new tome, High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

[H/t Laurie Fox]

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Search for Bigfoot, Nessie, UFOs, and ghosts from your home

With more Webcams online than ever before, and the abundance of time stuck inside, you might enjoy conducting your own armchair expeditions in search of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, ghosts, and other strange phenomena. Over at Mysterious Universe, Paul Seaburn put together a list of "webcams with continuous feeds pointed at the sky, the waters, the buildings and the other places where these anomalies may occur." Here are a few:

Popocatepetl volcano UFOs

Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano is active and well-known for UFO sightings both during and independent of eruptions. The multiple webcams serve a useful purpose of providing officials with advance warnings of eruptions but many UFO hunters watch it religiously. (Watch them here.) In fact, there was UFO activity there just this week. (Video here.) Was it birds, bugs, drones, alien spaceships refueling or ships from the alleged alien base that uses Popocatepetl as a portal?

Bigfoot

For Bigfoot watchers, the U.S. National Parks provide webcams everywhere for capturing glimpses of Sasquatch as well as the many other animals, birds, natural events and lost hikers that inhabit the park. Yellowstone has some, the Old Faithful cam being the most popular, but its greatest service is a list of links to all of the active webcams in other national parks.

"Stuck at Home? Use These Webcams to Hunt for UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts and Monsters" (Mysterious Universe)

Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest

Dr. Strange director to helm new movie about the Bermuda Triangle mystery

As a 1970s kid "researching" high weirdness like Bigfoot, ESP, and UFOs at the library, I'd also pick up a bit of background Bermuda Triangle lore. Also known as the "Devil's Triangle," this is roughly the region of the Atlantic ocean between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and the tip of Florida where aircraft and ships reportedly have mysteriously vanished or crashed in disproportionate numbers. (For the classic 1970s TV take on this, watch the episode above of "In Search Of...") While there have been proposed scientific/natural explanations for the phenomena, ranging from compass errors to methane eruptions sinking ships, the Bermuda Triangle remains a fascinating piece of paranormal history. And it looks like Hollywood is finally preparing to fuel the mystery with a big new movie, "Bermuda," directed by Scott Derrickson, best known as the director of Dr. Strange, which I found to be wonderfully weird and psychedelic. From Variety:

(Skydance) studio has been working on getting the project off the ground for some time, with Sam Raimi at one point circling the director’s chair. Derrickson will rewrite the script with his writing partner C. Robert Cargill and Derrickson will also exec produce. David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn will produce.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, except for the fact that it will be set in the mysterious patch of the Caribbean where planes and ships have gone missing over the years...

The most recent version of the draft was written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp).

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Celebrate Friday the 13th with "The Occult: Mysteries Of The Supernatural" (1977 )

Throw some salt over your shoulder and enjoy this 1977 Encyclopedia Britannica short documentary, The Occult: Mysteries Of The Supernatural, hosted by Christopher Lee who famously starred as Dracula in a string of British horror films of the 1950s and 1960s. ESP, Kirlian photography, black magic, telekinesis... Oh, how I miss this particular strain of high weirdness media that was so prevalent in the 1970s.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Where are all the time travelers?

Over at Medium, Kesh Anand has a crisp answer, or rather five possible five answers, to this questions: "Where are all the time travelers?" Of course, it's very possible that there just aren't any. And that's Anand's fifth answer. The others four are more fun to consider:

1. They’re not visiting your time period.

2. They’re hiding in plain sight.

3. You think they’re crazy.

4. People experience the past without leaving their own time.

And for the last word, here is some old wisdom from Britney Spears and Kevin Federline:

(via Daily Grail) Read the rest

Dick and Stewart: a new, delightfully dark and twisted animated series from Scarfolk's Richard Littler

[[You may know Richard Littler from the astounding dystopian alternate fiction/bleak humour series Scarfolk (previously). He's been working on an on-again/off-again animated series that is, at long last, on. I was honoured to be offered the opportunity to launch the series here today!]]

Dick and Stewart is a series of short animations set in either Britain’s dismal past or the Britain that’s soon to come. It's hard to tell nowadays, isn't it? Either way, just imagine what it would be like if children's TV programmes were written by George Orwell or Franz Kafka. Or the government itself. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco on Sunday: RE/Search's V.Vale and Rudy Rucker at City Lights

For decades, Happy Mutants met one another and got seriously warped by the astounding books and other media of RE/Search Press (previously), now, after a long drought, RE/Search is publishing a new book, Underground Living (RE/Search #19), featuring the photos of V.Vale ("early Ramones shows, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Survival Research Labs, and many more!"). The book launches this Sunday at San Francisco's legendary City Lights Books, where V.Vale will be in conversation with that happiest of mutants, the magnificent Rudy Rucker (previously). (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

The gorgeous, grotesque animations of @Extraweg [NSFW-ish]

Extraweg (AKA Oliver Latta: Twitter, Youtube) is a superb and surreal animator whose computer rendered grotesques of human faces and forms writhing, merging, and doing the impossible are spellbindingly weird. Read the rest

The time Davy Crockett met Bigfoot who warned him about the Alamo

In 1835, Davy Crockett reportedly wrote a letter to his brother-in-law Abner Burgin telling him of a rather strange experience in the Mexican province of Texas just six months before Crockett was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. From the letter:

“William and I were pushing through some thicket, clearing the way, when I sat down to mop my brow. I sat for a spell, watching as William made his good and fine progress. I removed my boots and sat with my rations, thinking the afternoon a fine time to lunch. As the birds whistled and chirped, and I ate my small and meager ration, I tapped my axe upon the opposite end of the felled tree I rested upon.

“Whether it was the axe’s disturbance or possibly the heat of the sun which caused an apparition to slowly form in front of my eyes, I know not. As a Christian man, I swear to you, Abe, that what spirit came upon me was the shape and shade of a large ape man, the likes we might expect among the more bellicose and hostile Indian tribes in the Territories. The shade formed into the most deformed and ugly countenance. Covered in wild hair, with small and needling eyes, large broken rows of teeth, and the height of three foundlings, I spit upon the ground the bread I was eating.

“The monster then addressed a warning to me. Abner, it told me to return from Texas, to flee this Fort and to abandon this lost cause.

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Time traveler blames other time traveler for 9/11

According to time traveler Michael Phillips who will be born in the year 2043, another time traveler named Titor from 2038 prevented a civil war in the US by uniting the country around 9/11. What else does Michael have to report?

“I do want to tell you about North Korea because they do attempt to launch a nuclear weapon at the United States – that happens later on this year in late 2018. Hopefully we can change the timeline so it doesn’t happen. That’s a partial reason for creating this video.”

Also, SpaceX will bring humans to Mars in 2025 with the establishment of Martian bases in 2032.

(Mysterious Universe) Read the rest

The cabinet card fad saw 19th-century women dressing in ridiculous costumes

Back in the 1800s, a curious retailing trend began where strangely costumed women would pose for cabinet cards advertising various businesses, like Heinz pickles or J. M. Dolph & Co. Furniture & Undertaking, above. Read the rest

Jack Stauber's trippy Pop Food

Hailing from near the Pennsylvania shores of Lake Erie, musician Jack Stauber has released a couple of trippy VHS-inspired videos to support his album Pop Food, and if you like interesting outsider music, check it out! Read the rest

Interview with Alan Moore about science, imagination, and time

On the heels of the Daily Grail's new essay anthology Spirits of Place -- featuring Alan Moore, Maria J. Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, and many more writers and thinkers -- the Grail's Greg Taylor conducted a deep interview with Moore about populism, time, language, science, and other heady topics. From the Daily Grail:

What are your thoughts on the importance, or non-importance, of including consciousness, imagination and subjective experience in any theory of what 'reality' is?

AM: Is it helpful to observe that subjectivity is the only thing that we know is objectively real, or does that just muddy the waters even further, as with so many of the well-intentioned things I say? I mean, we do not experience the universe directly: we experience it only through our limited senses, with our sensory impressions arranged moment by moment into this immersive psychic movie that we agree to call reality. From this point of view, our entire universe can only ever be a subjective neurological phenomenon, at least to us, and a quick glance around will confirm that it’s only us who seem to be much bothered either way about this ontology business. I think Nagel is correct in his criticism of the materialist worldview, and I would further state that even should science ever accomplish its goal of unifying classical and quantum physics, of achieving a grand ‘Theory of Everything’, then if it only describes the physical universe and does not take account of the marvellous, supernatural phenomenon – consciousness – that has arrived at this theory, it is nowhere near a theory of everything, is it?

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Scary mysterious sign posted in Burbank, California

Andrew Mayne (one of our star presenters at Weekend of Wonder 2015) spotted this bizarre sign in Burbank. It implicates the Burbank Police Department in burying a sick man while he was still alive. Whoever made this sign is a fine artist and letterer, and spins a good, semi-coherent story.

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The scientist who studied whether dreamers could be telepathic

In my friend Ronni Thomas's latest short documentary, meet parapsychologist Dr. Stanley Krippner, who in the 1960s ran the sleep lab at Brooklyn's Maimonides Hospital where he tested whether sleeping subjects could experience a form of dream telepathy.

Krippner is loved by paranormal researchers, believers, and skeptics alike. He's been honored with lifetime achievement awards from the mainstream American Psychological Association yet ESP researcher Charles Tart says "Stan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of parapsychology. Krippner famously conducted experiments with Timothy Leary and the Grateful Dead. In fact, in 1971, he enlisted the help of the Dead's audience in trying to mentally transmit an image to a sleeping psychic 45 miles away. Irvin Child, the late former chair of Yale's psychology department, wrote in the American Psychologist journal that he believed "many psychologists would, like myself, consider the ESP hypothesis to merit serious consideration and continued research if they read the Maimonides reports for themselves." Krippner's career is mind-bendingly weird and amazing.

"Transmitting Thought: The Maimonides Dream Lab: A New Film by Ronni Thomas for Morbid Anatomy Museum Presents!" Read the rest

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