Archive for May, 2010

Nigerian Witch Huntress Comes To America

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

You know, we tend to lionize our cultural demon hunters: Van Helsing, Simon Belmont, Buffy Summers.

But you want to know when we don’t celebrate those who locate paranormal evil and vanquish it? When the acts of holy vengence look strangely like encouraging a populace to scar and murder their children because they cry too much.

Enter Helen Ukpabio, she is a Nigerian Pentacostal preacher who has made a reputation the world over for identifying children whose souls have been corrupted by Satan. She makes movies like the one you see above and her work is partly to blame for the trend in certain Nigerian villages to identify, beat, torture and sometimes murder children who are thought to be possessed by Satan.

And she’s here in America!

“Do you think Harry Potter is real?” Ms. Ukpabio asked me angrily, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express where she was staying. “It is only because I am African,” she said, that people who understand that J. K. Rowling writes fiction would take literally Ms. Ukpabio’s filmic depictions of possessed children, gathering by moonlight to devour human flesh.

Still, “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” makes clear that many rural Nigerians do take her film seriously. And in her sermons, Ms. Ukpabio is emphatic that children can be possessed, and that with her God-given “powers of discernment,” she can spot such a child. Belief in possession is especially common among Pentecostals in Nigeria, where it reinforces native traditions that spirits are real and intervene in human affairs.

Such a screwed up story…

[New York Times]

Who Wants In On A Million Dollar Bigfoot Hunt?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Million Dollar Bigfoot Hunt (Oddly Enough) Turns Out To Be A Scam

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

$1,000,000.00 Hunt for Bigfoot.jpg

It seemed like the perfect way spend a summer day in Silverton, Colorado.

For a mere $250 registration fee, Silverton-businessman Rick Lewis offered 400 people the chance to win a cool million bucks if they could only get one snapshot of Bigfoot. For your money, you also get to stay at the beautiful Kendall Mountain Resort for the weekend.

The website even boasts sponsorship from companies like Nikon and Kodak as well as government agencies including the U.S. Department of the Interior and Fish & Wildlife Service.

It was also fake.

Silverton town administrator Jason Wells says the Kendall Mountain Resort, which is owned by the town, has never been scheduled to host the $1,000,000 Hunt For Bigfoot. Wells says the resort is booked with a different event that weekend.

“I just want to make sure that we’re not somehow tied into this whole affair,” Wells said. “I don’t want a bunch of people showing up here who have paid $250 for there to be a lack of an event that’s got the town’s name in any way attached to it.”

Wells says Silverton is known for colorful characters, but he said this “dubious” hunt was “bizarre even for here.”

After being confronted by town officials over the false booking claim, Lewis says he was moving the contest to a town in Northern California but refused to say where, according to Wells.

The site is still up for now although registration is closed.


And Now… The Terrifying London Olympic Mascots

Thursday, May 20th, 2010


Sweet Jesus.


Are We Getting An Alien Transmission From The Voyager Probe?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Launched in 1977 and containing the ultimate Carl Sagan mixtape, The Voyager probes have represented our message in a bottle to alien races and civilizations unknown.

But for the first time, some believe they are talking back.

NASA installed a 12-inch disk containing music and greetings in 55 languages in case intelligent extraterrestrial life ever found it.

But now the spacecraft is sending back what sounds like an answer: Signals in an unknown data format.

In late April, the signals sent back from Voyager 2 suddenly arrived in an unknown format. Unable to decipher the data stream and completely baffled by the cause for the shift in how Voyager 2 communicates with its Earth-bound team, NASA scientists have for the time being instructed the probe to send only information on its operational health and status while they get to the bottom of the sudden and strange behavior.

Alien experts are already theorhizing that alien tech has reprogrammed the Voyager and is attempting contact. Then again, what else would alien experts say.

Or as Steve Martin once found out, maybe they just want more Chuck Berry.

[Daily Telegraph]

Remains Of Human Sacrifices Opens Window Into Lost Civilization

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Pictures_ Pyramid Tomb With Human Sacrifices Found.jpg

As it turns out, rolling with the Zoque over 2,700 years ago was pretty touch and go. On the upside, you were an off-shoot of the Olmec and were therefore among the first modern civilizations in recorded history. On the downside, you might end up in a Mexican pyramid with a mouth full of jewels and a face smeared with pigment as you complete your roll as a human sacrifice only be be discovered in 2010 by a Brigham Young University archeologist.

The remains of an elite child and adult were recently excavated, giving researchers a look at how the culture operated.

[National Geographic]

Scientist Writes Software Upgrade For Cells, Still No Flash Support

Thursday, May 20th, 2010


A team led Dr. Craig Venter has successfully created a synthetic organism that dictates action to living cells. This opens the doors to altering cells to produce medicines, fuels and absorb greenhouse gases.

“I think they’re going to potentially create a new industrial revolution,” he said.

“If we can really get cells to do the production that we want, they could help wean us off oil and reverse some of the damage to the environment by capturing carbon dioxide.”

Dr Venter and his colleagues are already collaborating with pharmaceutical and fuel companies to design and develop chromosomes for bacteria that would produce useful fuels and new vaccines.

There’s a predictable backlash to Venter’s efforts claiming that he doesn’t know for sure how the synthetic organisms will react in nature or that he just plain “playing God”. I’d give them more attention in this post if they didn’t read so much like hand-wringing nay sayers.


Man Rescues Yeti, Heart Restarted, Too Gross For Mars, Dan Aykroyd’s Alien Advice [WeirdThingsTV]

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

We are proud to introduce our new YouTube series, WeirdThingsTV. If you dig this, please feel free to subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss an episode.

Next clips will come out Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Chinese Scientists Break Quantum Teleportation Record

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010


One more step down the long road to beaming yourself to work.

In the latest experiment, researchers entangled two photons and zapped the higher-energy one through a special 10-mile-long free-space tunnel, instead of a fiber one. The distant photon was still able to respond to the changes in state of the photon left behind, an unprecedented achievement.

It worked because the team “maximally entangled” the photons, using spatial and polarization modes, according to Ars Technica. About 89 percent of the information was maintained, also an improvement over previous experiments.

The work was done at the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale and the Department of Modern Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei.

Researchers warned that this brings us not closer communicating information without a traditional signal transmission and that technically no matter was really moved. We say, forget that noise. Sell your car! Cancel your plane tickets! Teleportation has arrived!

[Ars Technica]

Science Meets Freak Show: Pinocchio Frog, Gargoyle Gecko, World’s Smallest Wallaby Found

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


A team of scientists visited a lush wilderness once dubbed “The Lost World” and guess what they found? No, not a disappointing sequel starring Vince Vaughn for no reason… three species that might be totally new to science!

The array of new species, which include several new mammals, a reptile, an amphibian, no fewer than twelve insects, and the remarkable discovery of a new bird, was found by a collaborative team of international and Indonesian scientists participating in Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which explored Indonesia’s remote Foja Mountains on the island of New Guinea in late 2008.

RAP surveys, which typically last three to four weeks, bring together teams of field biologists to conduct rapid, first-cut assessments of the biological value of selected areas. The biologists on this expedition endured torrential rain storms and life-threatening flash floods as they tracked species from the low foothills at Kwerba village to the top of the range at 2,200 meters (7,200 feet), reporting notable discoveries that included a bizarre spike-nosed tree frog; an oversized, but notably tame, woolly rat; a gargoyle-like, bent-toed gecko with yellow eyes; an imperial pigeon; and a tiny forest wallaby, the smallest member of the kangaroo family documented in the world.

Above is a picture of the Smallest Wallaby, which sounds like a children’s book. What’s the over/under on when it’s spotted peaking out of Miley Cyrus’ purse on a red carpet?

[Science Daily]

For The Furry Who Has Everything…

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


Realistic bear paw shoes. Do I have to explain, what you can do with realistic bear paw shoes?

[If Shoes Could Kill]

Do Rainbows Foretell Earthquakes?

Monday, May 17th, 2010


No. Spoiler Alert.

[Bad Astronomer]

The Horrifying Truth Of How 300 People Spontaneously Died Next To An Indian Lake

Monday, May 17th, 2010


If Skeleton Lake is a spooky name, the story behind it is downright terrifying.

The short prologue, a British officer in 1942 happened upon roughly 300 skeletons surrounding a lake in Roopkund, India. But how could this many people seemingly all die at around the same time?

All the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons but of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above…

Among Himalayan women there is an ancient and traditional folk song. The lyrics describe a goddess “so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones “hard as iron.”

After much research and consideration the 2004 expedition came to the same conclusion. All 300 people died from a sudden and severe hailstorm. Trapped in the valley with nowhere to hide or seek shelter, the cricket ball sized hailstones “hard as iron” came by the thousands and killed the travelers in a sudden and bizarre death. The bodies would lay there for some 1200 years before the astonishing tale of what happened to them would be revealed to the world.


[Atlas Obscura]

BBC Documents Voodoo Ceremony

Monday, May 17th, 2010
BBC News - Close-Up_ Voodoo in Florida_s Little Haiti.jpg

It may not be what you think, but it is an honest to goodness voodoo ceremony just south of Weird Things HQ.


Podcast: Super-Awesome Juice

Monday, May 17th, 2010

weird things podcast SM

The crew invents a new form of inter-species prejudice, declares their willingness to do stupid things in the name of science and then goes metaphysical.

Subscribe to the Weird Things podcast on iTunes
Podcast RSS feed
Episode archive

Download url:


Why Do We As A Culture Hand Our Children’s Teeth To A Strange Freak Fairy?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Each week, Weird Things’ own Matt Finley breaks down one of the oddest elements of our culture in a feature we call Monster Of The Week. This week we focus on the Tooth Fairy, come back Wednesday and Friday for more!

skitched-20100517-124553.jpgMore than just the story of a shrewd harpy with brimming coffers and an inexplicable calcium fetish, the legend of the tooth fairy is a tale of a Western superstition’s complete 180 degree turn from paranoid delusion to celebratory rite (I’m ignoring the recent additional 10-degree nudge toward Dwayne Johnson-helmed cinematic atrocity). But before we take a look at the wand-assisted incisor seizure perpetrated by she of the glittery wings and deep pockets, we need to look at baby teeth. Now they’re commodities, but back in the olden days, the exchange rate wasn’t so favorable. Today an exfoliated molar might fetch you a couple dollars; a few hundred years ago, the best you could hope was to not be fatally hexed by dark magicks.

To lay a wicked pox on someone’s house, all a witch needs is a sample of the victim’s DNA and some elbow grease (preferably that of a middle-order demon, notorious as they are for their excessively greasy elbows). Or, at least, such was the belief of many ancient civilizations, who devised all manner of creative disposal methods for nail clippings, hair sheerings and disenjawed teeth. Hair and nails (along with samples of urine and menstrual blood) were often relegated to hidden witch bottles – ceramic or wooden vessels that, when intact, protected the owner against naughty mojo. Meanwhile, baby teeth were disposed of by a variety of regionally variant means, including burying, burning and swallowing. Some folks even tossed the derelict chompers into rats’ nests because, as you probably already know, if a mouse or a rat gnaws on a child’s lost milk tooth, the child’s permanent teeth will grow in healthy and strong.

Find the rest AFTER THE JUMP…