Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Ah Tuesday.

Three nights ago was Halloween. Which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because Halloween is the one night of the year I can get completely trollied before settling down on the sofa to watch a four hour marathon of Most Haunted. Well actually I can pretty much do that at anytime of the year, but on Halloween I can do it without having to try and justify it to the future ex Mrs Davies. So instead of "But darling, I want to see how many times Billy Roberts says "I sense a… er… thing... person... spirit. A spirit here"." or "But darling, I want to see how much Yvette Fielding looks like Gozer the Gozerian in this episode.", a simple "It's Halloween!" will suffice.

Yvette Fielding

Gozer the Gozerian

Bad because Halloween brings with it all sorts of hokey jazz. For example on my desk in front of me I have a box of complimentary mints from a company which has obviously nothing better to do with it's time. On the lid of the box it says "Warning: Inside this box are some very scary things!". Oooh what can be inside? A snake that springs out at you when you open it up? Confectionary made to look like a bunch of disembodied eyeballs? A portal to an unknown dimension where left is right, up is down, and Perez Hilton is a useful member of society? Well sadly it's none of those things. Open up the box and you get… wait for it… mints. Regular minty type mints. No strange cackling sounds. No horrific depiction of an unspeakable horror. Just mints. Now unless you have a childhood trauma involving little white dots, and God only knows what that would entail (Gee Note: When I was 10 years old my parents were gunned down in front of me by a block of polystyrene. This made me dress up as, oh I don't know, a giant squirrel and fight crime. 'Cause you know, that's the only rational way to deal with deep seated mental issues), then mints aren't really scary.

Ikea isn't really scary either, although some of it's clientele might qualify. For example on October 19th this year The Daily Torygraph Telegraph reported that the face of Jesus had been found once again (Gee Note: Thank goodness. I've been looking for that thing everywhere). This time however it wasn't on a pot of jam, or a grilled cheese sandwich maker. Hell no, this facial deity was found in the glamorous location of Renfrewshire, Scotland inside everyone's favourite place to buy cheap Swedish furniture. The image was first noticed when one local shopper decided to relieve himself in the Ikea store. Rather than risk causing an international incident by doing the business all over a reasonably priced Billsta Bar Table (Gee Note: Only £105. Ideal for those of you who are tired of resting your beer on the top of the fridge and have more money than sense), he slunk off to the in store toilet facilities where upon he made an astonishing discovery.

I was only heading to the toilet and found God. It takes you by surprise. It is really clear in the wood. (Gee Note: I love the understatement here. It's like saying "So I was in Paul's house doing a poo when all of sudden the Supreme Hindu God Shiva was there in front of me waving his arms about like a nutter. It was the last thing I was expecting let me tell you!".)

That's right folks, plain as the eye can see on the bathroom door was a picture of good ol' JC himself. Or was it?

My wife thought He looked like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings but it is definitely more like the Turin Shroud.

Setting aside the idea for a moment that some dude was so astounded by this heavenly vision that he dragged his poor wife in to the men's loo to have a gander, she does make an interesting point. It could be Jesus. It could be Gandalf. It could even be this guy:

So how do we know for sure? Well I'm afraid there's only one course of action. We must pit Jesus and Gandalf one against the other in a series of contests, judged by a panel consisting of David Copperfield, Paula Abdul, and Aaron Stanford (Gee Note: Stanford really does need the work). Round One will be the "Rabbit out of a hat" round, where the contestants will try and, er, pull a rabbit out of a hat. Extra points will be awarded for cuteness of said rabbit, as well as for the use of the words "abracadabra" or "shazaam". Round 2 will be the "Make David Blaine Disappear For Good" round, while Round 3 will be "Freestyle Throwdown Magic". We'll call it MAGIC OFF 3000 and show it live on Pay Per View, the proceeds of which will go to feeding thousands of homeless midgets with hairy feet. The winner will then be able to claim the picture on the toilet door as their own likeness and will also walk away with a Blankety Blank Cheque Book and Pen. See, it's both a fair and just way to settle all of this, with the added bonus of being entertaining and relatively harmless. Well, unless you happen to be David Blaine of course. But if that's the case then, man, you've got to admit you had it coming.

With all that cleared up, let's turn our attention to something that is actually quite scary. Ladies and gentlemen please put your hands together for The Fouke Monster.

Picture the scene. It's the early 1970's, Carole King is playing on the radio, and the summer feels like it's never going to end. You're a young wife who's only just moved in to a sleepy little town in Miller County, Arkansas. The first week that you're in your new home passes without incident during the day, but at night strange sounds are heard from outside your front door. You pay them no heed. After all you're new to the neighbourhood, and as far as you know next door could have a working abattoir out back. Or a high end sock puppet master theatre. Or one of those assault courses where chickens compete against ducks to find out which truly is the better bird.

Anyway this goes on for a couple of nights, until one evening when your husband goes off hunting with his brother. You wait for him patiently to come home and when he doesn't arrive at a suitable time you feed his dinner to next door’s ducks and fall asleep on the sofa. An hour passes, maybe two, until you are awoken by the sound of someone or something reaching it’s hand through the screen window on the front door. You wipe your eyes and the creeping sensation starts to make it’s way up your spine as you realise that it’s not a human hand. At first you think it’s a bear, but it’s too big, and the wrong colour. Whatever it is it’s strong enough to force it’s way through the door, and you can hear it snorting and squealing as it makes it’s way inside your house.

If you’re reading this and thinking “My that all sounds very familiar” then either you should take that novelty glove away from your prank loving husband, or your name is Elizabeth Ford and you once had a run in with the Fouke Monster.

Thankfully on the night in question - May 2 1971 - husband Bobby Ford arrived back home just in time, and spooked the creature away from the porch and his, by this point, terrified wife. It didn’t last however as the creature returned later that same night. Bobby, thinking he had successfully scared the bejeebus out of the beast the first time round, cowboy’d up and went outside to confront it once again. And... he got his ass handed to him. No really, Bobby was dominated like a teenager in Roman Polanski’s house. Thrown around like a rag doll for the best part of ten minutes he managed to escape, and after being treated in St. Michael Hospital for shock and scratches across his back, he reported the ordeal to the local police force. Ford claimed that what had attacked him and his family was seven feet tall, around 300lbs, had bright red eyes (Gee Note: Oh welcome back “It had red eyes”. It’s been a while) and moved like a great big monkey. The police investigated the area and found scratch marks on the porch, damage to the door and windows of the house, and a series of three toed footprints on the ground.

Later that month the wee beasty was spotted again by D. Woods, Wilma Woods, and Mrs R. Sedgass, who claimed that on May 23rd they saw an “ape-like” creature crossing Highway 71 (Gee Note: Initial investigations in to this event ground to a halt after the police realised that Madonna was no where near Miller County at this time). A couple of days after that Willie E. Smith discovered a set of three toed footprints in his soybean field.

And then sightings of the Fouke Monster just kinda stopped.

An article published in the Texarkana Gazette contained an interview with Southern State College archaeologist Dr. Frank Schambach (Gee Note: Crazy name! Crazy guy!). Schambach argued that the whole thing was more than likely a hoax. For a start, three toed footprints simply doesn't compute as all hominids and primates, both historical and modern, have five toes. The creature's apparent nocturnal behaviour also raises eyebrows, as it is not a known trait in any form of monkey or ape. Add that to the lack of historical evidence of the region being home to any type of primate and, according to Schambach, the whole things seems as fishy as a big bag of fish.

It’s hard not to admit that Schambach has a point. But the thing about undiscovered creatures is that, well, their undiscovered. Five years ago if you asked anyone in the know about the possibilities of a carnivorous slug then they would have most likely have sat you down and patiently explained to you that slugs are herbivores, before patting you on the head and giving you a lollipop for being such an inquisitive little thing. But then five years ago was before a carnivorous slug was found quite happily chomping away on worms at the bottom of a plant pot in Cardiff.

Now is it likely that there’s a seven foot tall monkey man stirring up trouble in Miller County? Well outside of sporadic sightings here and there, since that initial rash of sightings in 1971 it’s been pretty quiet. So if it was just the public’s imagination run wild spurred on by enthusiastic local newspaper reports then so be it.

But to dismiss it just because it doesn’t fit a currently known biological pattern is, in some ways, an easy way out. After all the laws of nature a being constantly re-written with every new breed of bird and insect discovered each day. I mean no one would believe a woodpecker’s tongue would work, except for the fact it actually does. So is a three toed ape with anger management issues really that hard to believe?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just found out there’s a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt dressed in a Playboy Bunny outfit this past weekend doing the rounds online.

Halloween is a good thing.

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