obscuritiesoffbeat

New England Gothic, like other manifestations of the American Gothic, encompasses supernatural and explained phenomena, ghosts, witches, and monsters as well as inbred families, guilty secrets, and monsters in human shape. New England’s Gothic history, folklore, and literature combine nostalgia for a medieval or colonial golden age with the stronger belief that from the past comes horror and evil. Stephen King, the exemplar of Gothic New England since the 1970s, continues the tradition of collecting and rewriting supernatural legends begun by Cotton Mather and John Greenleaf Whittier. Nineteenth-century authors such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Harriet Beecher Stowe immortalized the region’s Gothic past. In the twentieth century, Rhode Island’s H. P. Lovecraft peopled the landscape with hybrid monsters and the reanimated dead. For these writers, seventeenth-century Puritans stand in for the Middle Ages of the first Gothic Revival.
—  Faye Ringel on New England Gothic
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The Hook Island sea monster photos are some of the most stunning cryptid photos ever taken. These images of a tiny boat floating over a huge creature are haunting and mysterious, and have intrigued many people since French photographer Robert Le Serrec snapped them in 1964. But do they hold up to scrutiny? Is there a monstrous sea monster resting off the coast of Queensland, Australia?

From a cryptozoological standpoint, it seems unlikely. I haven’t been able to find any mention of a similar beast in the vicinity, nor of an even more monstrous frog (if we’re assuming that this is a tadpole). Cryptids that end up existing don’t spontaneously generate. They evolve like any other animal and follow the same biological rules. The fact that none of these creatures have been reported before or since mars the case for the Hook Island sea monster.

What is in the pictures, then? Most likely a mass of plastic sheeting weighed down by sand. This explains why the edges of the creature in the (incidentally less-circulated) top pictures look like, well, handfuls of sand over plastic, and why the eyes are oddly un-animal like.

If we look at Le Serrec, the case that the Hook Island sea monster is a hoax grows. Le Serrec had unpaid creditors in France when he took these snapshots and was apparently wanted by Interpol. More damning, though, is the fact that Le Serrec tried to get a group together five years before for a “financially fruitful” enterprise that was “to do with the sea-serpent”.

All of this leads me to wonder: could you or I recreate these pictures through the sand-and-plastic method? Someone want to give it a try? For science?

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The Sanzhi UFO Houses were built in New Taipei City, Taiwan, in the late 1970s. The houses were meant for US military officials in Taiwan temporarily, but the project was never completed due to financial losses and several deaths during construction. The houses were abandoned for almost thirty years, but sadly were demolished in the the late 2000s.

The akkorokamui is a Japanese cryptid that resembles a giant, brilliant red octopus.  Stories of this being are centered off the coast of Hokkaido, Northern Japan, but sightings have also been reported elsewhere along Japan’s coast line and as far away as Taiwan.  It can be seen from a long distance due to its size and color, and has been known to swamp boats.

The Ainu people have sighted the akkorokamui for centuries, but sightings have been recorded by non-Ainu people as well, including missionary John Batchelor.  In his book The Ainu and their Folklore, he recorded the following incident:

“In the morning, we found the whole village under a cloud. Three men, it was said, were out trying to catch swordfish, when all at once a great sea monster, with large staring eyes, appeared in front of them and proceeded to attack the boat. A desperate fight ensued. The monster was round in shape, and emitted a dark fluid and noxious odor. The three men fled in dismay, not so much indeed for fear, they say, but on account of the dreadful smell. However that may have been, they were so scared that the next morning all three refused to get up and eat; they were lying in their beds pale and trembling.”

Hey guys!  As of December 19, 2014, I have 500 followers.  Yay! Whatever brought you by, I am so happy you’re found me.  I follow so many fantastic blogs so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.  Without further ado, then is obscuritiesoffbeat’s first follow forever, with blogs grouped by subject and then in no particular order.  I love you all!  Stay spooky.

Mostly Cryptids,  Paranormal, and Aliens:

// ufos-and-aliens // arcade-crypt // theunexplainedchanel //
// paranormaldaily  // flatwoods //  conunundrum // cryptidcrossword // // cryptidclub  // cryptid-king // paranormalfindingsblog // human-chernobyl  // cryptocase //crypdoezoology // thecryptocreep // cryptocollege // poltrgiest // // factualfolklore //   creepyamericana // mysticmud // paranormalexpresso // 
// hairyghostleg  // spookyookycity //

Mostly Science:
// dead-men-talking // brains-and-bodies // strangebio //

Mostly Crime and Forensics:
// anatomicdeadspace // Welcometothe1jungle // forensicinfo // 
// congenitaldisease //

Cool Shops:
 // mythicarticulations // belfryoddities // merrylinhouse // evilsupplyco //

And others:
//christhauntedsouth // fuckyeahabandonedplaces // eldritchfashion //
// theouijagirl // plenilune // loreandlegend

For most of his life, Thomas Jefferson was obsessed with mammoths. (More correctly, he was obsessed with American mastodons, tree-chewing cousins of mammoths that lived in the Northern part of the continent—but at the time, he and the rest of the world thought they were mammoths.) He liked theorizing about mammoths, he liked talking about mammoths, he liked making his friends rack up exorbitant postage bills in order to mail him mammoth teeth. And for decades, from the mid-1760s onward, he was particularly dedicated to one surprisingly high-stakes activity—convincing a famous French naturalist that mammoths were still out there, tearing up the wild West with their tusks.
—  Atlas Obscura

In the 12th century, the residents of quiet Woolpit, England, recorded a story that has intrigued both historians and paranormal enthusiasts for years.  

The story goes like this:  two children, a boy and a girl, stumbled from one of the eponymous pits.  Both children spoke an unidentifiable tongue and, more strangely, were green.  The villagers took them in and tried to feed them, but the strange children wouldn’t eat.  Only when they were brought green beans did they eat.  Eventually, the girl grew stronger and learned the local language, but the boy sickened and died.  The girl finally talked about where she came from–a strange place called St. Martin’s Land, where it was always twilight.  She and her brother had apparently gotten lost and stumbled into Woolpit through–what?  Another dimension?  A timeslip?  A worm hole?

What really happened?  Some people theorize that the children were aliens, from an alternate dimension, or from a world below the earth’s surface.  Historians are split on the issue, as some make a point on staying silent on the story and other dismiss the green children of Woopit as a folktale or a way for ancient historians to safely discuss sensitive topics.

One of the most widely accepted historical theories is that the children were from nearby Fornham St. Martin.  Orphaned after their parents, Flemish immigrants, were killed, they became confused and malnourished and finally stumbled into Woolpit.  No one is entirely sure, though, and it’s doubtful that we will ever be sure where the two children came from, or if they even existed at all.

Read more: (x,x)

The Mandela Effect is a term for a “glitch in the matrix” experience that is recognized in hindsight and shared by many people.  It was coined by paranormal consultant Fiona Broome, and references a false memory that she and others share of Nelson Mandela dying in prison.

Some people claim that these false-but-shared memories lend credence to the idea that multiple timelines exist, and sometimes cross.  Other people point out that most “glitches” deal with easily forgettable details, like spelling or plot details from television shows.  I vividly remember the Bernstain Bears being “The Bernstein Bears”, something many other people remember as well. It’s a very strong memory, but I am not an impartial observer of my own thought process, so I accept that there’s (probably) an explanation that doesn’t deal with alternate timelines.  Other people, though, have false memories of more important concepts, like “Tank Man” being killed in in Tienanmen Square.  (He wasn’t.)

Are human memories really that terrible?  Possibly.  But the shared nature of many of these glitches raises interesting questions.  Read more from a skeptic’s perspective here, or from Ms. Broome’s site here.

WHAT: An discussion night centered around everything cryptids! What’s your favorite under-loved cryptid? What cryptids do you think are hoaxes? Which ones are real? Join us for chill discussion moderated by yours truly. (The coffee, unfortunately, is BYO.)

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 9PM EST.

WHERE: I’ll post links and access information closer to time. We’ll be using a  IRC chat service.

HOW: Show up! There’s no need to RSVP, and no limit on how many people can join. If you’re not respectful and keeping the discussion to PG-13 material, you’ll get banned. Anyone can use the tag “crypto coffee house” for relevant updates, text posts, and art.

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