Why did the mammoth cross the river?

Saw this on Huffington Post the other day. It’s been making quite a splash in Cryptozoology circles.


It looks pretty convincing at first glance. But only at first glance. Most people point out that it’s probably either a bear, holding a salmon in its mouth, or a composite image of an elephant crossing some water superimposed on the river using Adobe AfterEffects or something similar.

My first thought was that it’s two guys who rented a Mr. Snuffleupagus costume and waded across a river with it.

Actually, according to the MonsterTalk guys, it’s most likely just a digital hoax. A film maker named Ludovic Petho identified the footage as his own– sans mammoth! It’s part of a documentary he’s working on about his father’s escape from a Siberian POW camp in WWII. Below is very clever, and very thorough comparison of the original footage with the hoax.


Even without this pretty definitive takedown, there is one other giveaway: elephants breathe through their noses. Unless they are actively drinking or retrieving something, they generally keep their trunk tips out of the water.


The Mouse that Snored

by Eugene in Animals

You know, I always thought is was spelled “doormouse”, but the dormouse is a small rodent native to Britain. It spends a third of its life hibernating. You and I spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s not that different, but I wonder if the dormouse sleeps at all in the other two-thirds of its life?

The dormouse, you might recall, makes an appearance in Alice in Wonderland as well. Sleeping at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, eventually his head is stuffed into a tea pot. Apparently the iconic property of the dormouse is his drowsiness, just as the owl is noted for wisdom, the rabbit for speed, the pig for gluttony, and so forth.

The March Hare and the Hatter put the Dormouse's head in a teapot. Illustration by John Tenniel.

And something I did not know, the last line of that Jefferson Airplane song, “White Rabbit”, is this:

Remember what the dormouse said: feed your head, feed your head.



Put a Bird On It

by Eugene in Animals

Offered without explanation.


World’s largest insect is a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Bugs Bunny

by Eugene in Animals

This is a Weta.

Discovered by former New Zealand park ranger Mark Moffett, this is apparently  the largest Giant weta ever found. These cricket-like creatures were once common throughout New Zealand but are now restricted to a few tiny islands off the coast, where they have been sheltered from the invasive species that have caused their extinction through nearly all of their former range.

I know my cats would like to get hold of one of these.


The Boy Scouts will make you into Grizzly Adams (or maybe his bear)

by Eugene in Animals, Religion


This is one of the creepier ad campaigns I’ve seen.I suppose 12-year-olds would find it funny, but I wouldn’t know.  It’s more than a little tone-deaf. Especially in the light of the Boy Scouts’ problems with pedophilia on one hand, and with discrimination against gays on the other. I guess they still think a bear is only a quadrupedal, plantigrade member of the genus Ursus. Oops.

Original images found here.


“Bigfoot is Probably Real” exhibit at Renton History Museum


User-generated Bigfoot drawing from the Renton exhibition

Everyone’s favorite furry giant is making an encore appearance, this time in a more contextually appropriate setting: Renton History Museum. I have been working with director Elizabeth Stewart and we’ve put together a show that’s part art installation, and part educational experience on the value and uses of evidence, eyewitness accounts, and critical thinking.

Renton History Museum is a charming place, housed in the Art Deco building that served as the city of Renton’s firehouse back in the day. The whole main exhibition area is lit by an enormous vintage neon sign (rescued from an old theater downtown), and there are dioramas of Indian villages, a Boeing flight simulator, and a walk-through replica of an early settler’s house.

I have “inserted” (quite literally) Bigfoot into the history of Renton and the Pacific Northwest, in a way that I have always wanted to do, and in a way that I think is quite legitimate. It doesn’t really matter, in a social sense, if Bigfoot is “real”, because as part of the culture of the Northwest, he already is.

The show is open now through January 28. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM.
Renton History Museum
235 Mill Avenue South
Renton, WA  98057
Phone: 425-255-2330

Museum Website: http://rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=1220

Here’s a press blurb about it: http://renton.patch.com/articles/is-bigfoot-real




Are you possessed by demons?

There has been a lot of talk lately about the New Apostolic Reformation, the right-wing religious group with ties to at least a couple of the Republican presidential candidates for President. Terri Gross interviewed C. Peter Wagner, one of its leaders, not long ago, whose wife Doris has apparently written a how-to manual for casting out demons.

can you spot the demons in this photo?

Can you spot the demons in this photo?

Just in case you were wondering if you might be in need of Ms. Wagner’s exorcism services, here is handy questionnaire to help you determine if you should seek the advice of a spiritual warfare specialist.
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Taxidermy is a real occupation

by Eugene in Animals

Complete with lousy commercials and all. Some people, do, in fact, make their living off of dead animals. This commercial is just too damn funny. I could never make a spoof that was half this good.


Imagine digging this up

by Eugene in Artists, Religion

I am researching some new work these days, nothing I can disclose just yet, but I have been looking through a lot of online libraries of Medieval and Renaissance books. I came across this pretty remarkable Roman statue on Alexandre Leupin’s site. Leupin is a  well-known French scholar of Medieval history, and has written an entire book on the subject of the phallus in Christian art: Phallophanies : La Chair et le Sacré.

The sculpture  appears to be a figure of Mercury with a number of penises sprouting from various parts of his body. Unfortunately the caption is all in French. I ran it through Google Translate and here is what came out:

The ritual repetition of the cult explains the proliferation of simulacra: the phallus is multiplied on the head of Mercury, as the number to ensure a safe conspiracy. It was originally bells (titinnabula) to conjoin the image as a protection against the evil eye: and maybe the words of the tragedy and religious holidays have in their background music, the same function exorcism

It looks to me like a sort of Hollywood monster lumbering around with a severed head in a bag.


The Square and Stationary Earth

Orlando Ferguson's Square and Stationary Earth

I’ve been really fascinated with this thing lately. (Click the image for a much larger, more legible view). It’s the incarnation of a lot of things I’m thinking about lately– most significantly the propensity of some people to substitute their own facts for those of others that they find somehow inconvenient. As the saying goes, we’re each entitled to our own opinion, but not to our own facts. And this substitution of facts, this manufacturing of reality, is the basis of religious delusion, woo-based alternate medicine, and political dogma. It’s a big problem for our society, especially now that fact-free insanity has encroached on our political process to such a degree (I’m looking at you, Michelle Bachmann).

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