This is Charles R. Knight’s 1894 painting of Elotherium, an extinct animal that resembled a wild boar. That’s cool–but what I’m really interested in is the backdrop.
This reproduction, the only one I could find, doesn’t quite capture the dried-out yellowish tones of the banks of this gully. You’ll have to imagine that. The gully is full of water and the animals are crossing it. Farther up toward the horizon, the gully feeds into a more permanent stream. And then a river? Then the sea?
The thing is–I think I’ve been there! Years and years and years ago. You got there if you went all the way down Orchard Street, back when there was still an orchard there, well past all the houses, and then just park your bike where this little bridge went across the gully. You could easily climb down and wade in the water–which of course you wouldn’t do if there were Elotheriums present. They look irritable.
It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Knight used real places as the backdrops for his paintings of prehistoric life. I wonder: did he wander into my childhood, or did I wander into one of his paintings?
Three doctors at two Russian hospitals, allegedly stressed beyond their means by their efforts to fight the COVID-19 virus, jumped out of second-floor windows. Two of them died, and the third was massively injured.
This is very strange. Why would a doctor, in a hospital full of all kinds of drugs for the taking, decide to commit suicide by throwing himself out a window? It’s not even a sure bet: the one doctor survived, but he’ll be maimed for life.
It has also been suggested that one of the doctors fell because he climbed out the window to enjoy a smoke. I have never seen anyone doing that. Have you?
We are told there’s been a lot of controversy in Russia over the availability and reliability of protective gear for doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients, lots of friction with the brass, etc. Bottom line: we don’t know what’s going on in Russian hospitals.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the AP to get to the bottom of it.
In recent years, quite a few people in rural Australia have seen big black cats that don’t belong there and might be dangerous. But no one has shot or captured one, the authorities haven’t taken any action, so no one knows what these critters are.
The video above is later than my 2013 post, so we note some changes. A few kills have been found stashed up trees: leopards do that. A man claims to have shot one and has pictures of it–which have been dismissed as a hoax. And a few government rangers have said they’ve seen the big cats, too.
But why are they always black cats? A “black panther” is a natural variation found among leopards and jaguars–so where are the normally-colored leopards or jaguars?
Meanwhile, some of those amateur videos look pretty real to me.
From 1764 through 1767, in a rural district of France, “the Beast of Gevaudan,” whatever it was, attacked some 200 people, killing 90 of them. The government sent thousands of professional hunters to bag it, all to no avail. A local man finally shot it, bringing the Beast’s reign of terror to an end.
They called it a wolf, but there’s reason to doubt that identification. I have nothing convincing to offer in its place, though.
All we can say for sure is that this was one of the all-time greatest cryptid stories.
(Can I get this post written before I have to go to the supermarket? Well, let’s try.)
In ancient days when Rome wallowed in its ruin and records were but poorly kept, if at all, there was said to be a Lady of the Lake who gave King Arthur his sword, Excalibur; and when Arthur died, it had to be returned to her.
For old-time Celtic peoples on both sides of the English Channel, certain ponds and lakes and bogs were considered holy places, mysterious places, places of power; and precious things were thrown into the water as sacrifices–swords, helmets, golden cups and cauldrons, and sometimes a prince or a princess, too.
There was probably more than one Lady of the Lake. What was she? A pagan priestess? But why should Christian kings and knights consult a pagan priestess? Was she mortal or immortal? She may have been a scholar: literacy would have been a rare gift in those days. We are talking fifteen hundred years ago, or more. And of course she would have precious swords: kings and chieftains had been tossing them into the lake for centuries.
How did the Lady of the Lake come to be responsible for raising and instructing Lancelot? How came she to fall in love with Sir Pelleas? Was she a witch? Was she Merlin’s pupil, who later turned against him because he had conceived an unlawful passion for her?
These are mysteries that are probably going to stay mysteries, try as we might to unravel them. But who knows what other discoveries we will make along the way?
Some of you will want to know what the government was doing, breeding Velociraptors. I’m afraid you’d have to ask those corruptocrats at the IRS. I have a feeling they weren’t breeding them as house pets.
But the centaur knows. That’s why they’re after him.
I was chatting yesterday with our esteemed colleague, Jan-o, who publishes ghost stories on her blog (bookemjanoblog.wordpress.com). She outdid herself yesterday with a collection of stories about places people visited, but which later turned out not to exist. Like, they’d been there, but there was no there anymore. Most distressing.
There is a place I sometimes dream of. I can easily prove it doesn’t exist, but the dreams are very consistent. I could draw a map of it. Let me try to describe it to you.
At the north end of Main Street in our town is a golf course: the street simply stops in front of it, separated from the landscape by a guard rail.
In the dream there is no golf course, just woodlands, most of it sloping downhill. To the left of the guardrail is a narrow path that will take you down the hill: all the way down to a railroad cut with high banks and streams on either side of the tracks.
If you follow the tracks, the high banks of the cut gradually give way to a flat marshland of dazzling beauty. It extends in every direction as far as the eye can see. Here and there are artifacts of the old days of the railroad: broken-down sheds, broken-down flatcars, stuff like that. And occasionally a slow train comes through, and they will stop for you if you want to get aboard and ride.
In one dream I went down there to catch turtles and found–of all people!–Father Brown (complete with priest’s cassock and umbrella) doing the same. We had a nice chat about turtles until his bishop came along and shooed him back to work. Funny place to run into a bishop.
This country is the same whenever I dream of it. I know what to expect. I like it.
I reason that somehow my mind has put it together out of bits and pieces collected from the real world and assembled into a new pattern. I can tell you where I’ve seen old grey freight cars stuck out in the middle of an expanse of knee-high yellow grass. And our town has an old railroad cut with high banks on either side: used to go down there to catch polliwogs. My dreamscape seems to have been cobbled together out of these familiar elements.
Great cobbling job, though. You’d swear it was real.
How about it? Anybody else out there–do you have dreams like these? Inquiring minds want to know.
Back in the Sixties, when every day was war in Indochina, every now and then you’d hear something about a “Plain of Jars” in Laos. I always wondered “What’s that?”, but the nooze reports never bothered to explain it.
So it’s still a bit of a mystery today. Just like it’s a mystery where the deuce my link went. Ah, there it is.
The plain is covered with these great big stone jars, which tend to contain human bones and grave goods. Archaeologists guess they date from around 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., but that’s just a good guess. It’s hard to study a place full of unexploded ordnance waiting to go off and blow an archaeologist to kingdom come.
I wonder what’ll be left of our alleged civilization, fifteen hundred years from now. What will people say about us?