You know unlike Night vale, where all the weird creepy stuff is so common place and accepted, what I love about Alice isn’t dead is that our narrator is legitimately scared and terrified of her experinces. She isn’t used to things like this and I think that’s what makes it seem more real whereas Night vale seems real because they talk about everything in such a nonshalant way you begin to believe that’s just how the world works. And yet you still get those touches of surrealism from time to time.
Yartsa gunbu is the Tibetan name for the sac fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which loosely translates in English to OH DEAR GOD IT’S A FUCKING ALIEN MUMMY WORM.
Yartsa gunbu is a caterpillar fungus that invades the larvae of the (as if this isn’t already creepy enough) ghost moth common across Tibet. The relationship is all cool for a while, like that cousin who crashes on your couch but it’s not a big deal since he doesn’t eat that much. But then you realize that your couch-crashing cousin is some kind of obscene amalgamation of Ed Gein and the face-hugger from Alien.
The fungus mummifies the caterpillar from the inside out, then bursts through its little wormy face with a disgusting stalk of fungus. Then, humans will dig them up, wash off the dirt, and make soup out of them.
Oh, did we mention that people pay thousands of dollars for it?