Here's you freebie horror movie premise
Swarms of rabid vampire bats! For realz!
From a nearly half-year old Daily Express article:
It might sound like something from a horror film but a plague of blood-sucking bats is being blamed for the deaths of at least 38 jungle tribespeople.
Many of the victims in the South American tropics bore the tell-tale twin puncture marks synonymous with vampire folklore. Before death, they experienced fever, body pains and tingling in the feet, followed by progressive paralysis and an extreme fear of water.
It is believed the bats were carrying the deadly rabies virus which they spread to the villagers – including many young children – through their lethal bite.
One of the villages, Mukuboina, lost eight of its 80 inhabitants – all of them children. And all victims throughout the area died within two to seven days.
The article even includes a pic of one of the murderous little beasties. See below.
Here's an added little trivia tidbit for Dracula fans:
[The bats] saliva contains a specialised substance, draculin, which prevents the prey’s blood from clotting so that the bat can carry on feasting.
Birds aren't particularly fond of us either
On his Biofort Web site, Scott Maruna lists 30 documented instances of "avian abduction;" i.e., instances of predatory birds trying to snatch up fun-sized young humans.
Here's a sample of the wares:
27 "With his father's shotgun, 14-year-old John Naglish, Monday, killed a 50-pound Mexican eagle as it swooped toward a baby girl in the yard of his father's farm at 110th and Calumet Lake. The bird had a wing spread of seven feet and would have been able to injure seriously, if not carry away little Jean O'Neil, 13-months-old, target of his swoop. The eagle had been carrying away poultry and small pigs in the vicinity, and the gun had been kept in readiness." (The Pointer, Riverdale, Illinois 9/11/1936)
28 "Cold ran the blood of a Finnish farmer one day in 1931. His two-year-old child had been playing outside his cottage near the Russian border. Now the baby was the gone. He and his friends searched far and wide, found no trace. Last week, near the farmer's home, lumbermen brought down a tall pine tree. High in the branches they spied an eagle's nest. They came close to examine it. What they found made them cross themselves. There, surrounded by tatters of baby clothing, lay the skeleton of a 2-year-old child." (Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, Wisconsin 2/4/1937 from Time magazine)
29 In 1927, Edward Forbush, then the state ornithologist of Massachusetts and the author of A Natural History of American Birds, related the following current account: "M. Spencer Mapes, British Columbia, witnessed an attack by a golden eagle on Ellen Gibbs, nine-years-old…As the child ran toward her house, the eagle flew directly over [Mapes'] head in pursuit of the child. The bird sank its claws into her arms before he could reach her. He had partially disabled the eagle when the child’s mother rushed up and killed it with an ax." (Fresno Bee-Republican, Fresno, California 7/18/1937)
In fact, those birds really kinda hate us
My friend Dave, who I'm certain had nothing but the best reasons to be over on the Barbie Collector Web Site, sent me the following link to the official Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie Doll.
From Mattel's marketing copy:
In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, gave us a tale of terror not soon forgotten in his film “The Birds.” Dressed in a re-creation of the stylish green skirt-suit worn by the film’s ill-fated heroine in an iconic scene, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” Barbie® Doll celebrates the 45th anniversary of the acclaimed film. From the doll’s classic ensemble to the perfectly painted expression to the accompanying black birds, every aspect captures the film’s infamous appeal.
A Note to Parents: The Birds is rated PG-13. Consult www.filmratings.com for further information.
Skynet says, "You better work it, honey!"
Killer robot cheesecake pin-ups? Wired magazine shares the annual vendor-gift calendar of Qinetiq (pronounced "kinetic"), makers of the robotic war machine the Talon.
No time for naps?
What we can expect next time a giant monster stomps on Manhattan.
Well, my nervous and putrid disorders have been acting up
The New York Times book review of David Dary's new Frontier Medicine, a history of the medical (mal)practices of the untamed territories.
It contains some choice archaic practices:
In the frontier West, Mr. Dary writes, “If someone had a medical emergency, he usually had three choices: find a doctor or perhaps an apothecary, treat himself or die.” Once a doctor did arrive, the situation could grow more dire, and more strange. Bloodletting was often accomplished by the application of leeches.
“Occasionally a patient might swallow one,” Mr. Dary writes. “If that happened, the patient was given a glass of wine every 15 minutes to destroy the leech.”
And then there's this cure for "all nervous and putrid disorders:"
Take a young fat dog and kill him, scald and clean him as you would a pig, then extract his guts through a hole previously made in his side, and substitute in the place thereof, two handfuls of nettles, two ounces of brimstone, one dozen hen eggs, four ounces of turpentine, a handful of tansy, a pint of red fishing worms, and about three-fourths of a pound of tobacco, cut up fine; mix all those ingredients well together before [they are] deposited in the dog’s belly, and then sew up the whole, then roast him well before a hot fire as hot as you can bear it, being careful not to get wet or expose yourself to damp or night air, or even heating yourself, or in fact you should not expose yourself in any way.