Collective Insanity

Dude. Just … dude.

Maybe before pushing out an episode a little research might be indicated before opening your mouth.

Not everything you find is going to be evil, possessed, or associated with violence. A fraternal sword is a decorative pretty-pretty used in ceremonies and not for actually fighting or killing. They dangle off belts or are held when in a funny uniform, and hang on walls when they are not in use.  That ‘witches broom’ is also a common broom used to sweep ashes off hearths. Back in the early part of the 20th century there was a fad for Revolutionary War/Colonial decorating, and brooms and bellows were all over the place. Oh look – a website that sells antique hearth brooms … and nary a pagan in sight.

Look – many of these haunted houses are *old* and people hear about someone dying, or murdered, or committing suicide and get scared of their house. People, the idea of going to a hospital to die is actually pretty modern – people died at home, and were laid out at home. Any house older than about 1940 has pretty much had someone die in it. Just because someone died there does not mean anything. If everybody who died other than in their sleep peacefully came back as a ghost, no place would be unhaunted [especially in Europe!] Old houses [and buildings in general] are going to make sounds. They settle and shift, they creak and moan and groan. Unlevel floors can rock chairs and roll small objects, funky hand made hinges and improperly hung doors will swing. A window with a damaged sash weight system will slam shut. Old leftover post and wire electrical systems may still be hooked up and hidden inside that plaster wall. Black iron pipes clank and rattle. Rodents skitter around inside walls and ceilings.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggedy beasties and paranormal investigators may the Good Lord protect us.

Ring of Fire

Interesting series of books. What would happen if a town in West Virginia got popped back to the mid 1600s. I like it, I really do – but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to whack Eric Flint and David Weber upside the head with a clue by four sometime. The issue in the book is how to bootstrap a tiny group of uptimers back to the 20th century.

They do understand the lack of resupplying the modern supplies like lightbulbs, tires for vehicles, fuel for vehicles and *toilet paper*. Perhaps they didn’t bother asking anybody, or hitting Google, but toilet paper is the easiest thing to produce. It is the nice smooth paper for printing upon that is  the pain in the rump to produce. Paper is wood pulped, then floated onto a screen to form the thin layer that is then dried, burnished and trimmed.. If you skip the burnishing [which compacts the surface fibers into the smooth writable surface needed to keep the ink from soaking in and making a blurry mess.] If all you want is a soft absorbant paper, skip the burnishing step and cut to sheets. I know they only had the books that were in town when they were moved – but with 3 machine shops, a coal mine and a power plant, they could bootstrap themselves back into making steel fairly quickly. *cough* open hearth furnace *cough* There is a lot of tech that is older than most people think and was available. I know it is silly to expect modern authors to know industrial history but all they need to do is *ask* their fans. Lois Bujold uses her fans as researchers. Fans have a wide range of interests, and I am not the only person in fandom that has friends doing research into medieval metalworking.

Turning the rails from train tracks into armor for an ironclad? Dudes – that was a serious waste of perfectly good train tracks. The bloomeries of the time could produce iron and steel that would have been perfectly suitable for making the sheets for cladding the ships. That would have left the rails to be repurposed for more local rail projects. They could also make more rails. Trip hammers were not unknown, and there were waterwheel driven trip hammers in use in Europe of the time. Though I do love the mental visual of an ironclad going up against the sailing war vessels of the time.

All things considered, it is actually an enjoyable series, a ‘popcorn’ read if you will. No deep inner meaning, lots of action, adventure and hot spy on spy action. I think it would be an interesting cable series. You can get the first couple of books in the series at Baen Books Free Library and give it a read.

My Mind is Going, Going ….. Gone

Insomnia is a bitch. If she was a Greek God, she would probably be Hera as seen in Hercules. So here I sit, looking at another sleepless night with a bunch of garbage on TV. I have a stack of trashy mockumentaries on DVR. You know, I can actually remember when channels like Discovery, The History Channel, Arts and Entertainment and Bravo actually showed programs that didn’t involve wrestling, staged reality shows, aliens, dubious history or Hitler and his involvement with aliens and Antarctica. I can also remember when I caught the first flush of MTV when it actually played wall to wall music videos.

I really do have to wonder about the people responsible for the programming now. They must really see us as sheeple. They obviously do not bother with any sort of fact checking, have no concern for showing anything that is actually informative. All we get is pop “culture” with almost no relationship to the real world. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are famous exactly *why*? Because they show up at the right parties and hang out with the right people. If I rolled my eyes to the extent I feel warranted I would fall over backwards. Ancient Aliens populated the world, or are spying on our world, or influenced all the ancient peoples of our world … again, why? Are they terminally shy, hiding behind trees and peeping out at us except when they drop down to either mutilate a few cows or anally probe Bubba? And we are apparently suffering an invasion of ghoulies and ghosties and long leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night in every inch of the United States, or so the Syfy Channel would have us believe.

And we are off …. on a cloud not of sleep but of dubious TV content.

Wanting to hit the road

Haunted Highways is headed to Silver City in Idaho. At least the nice gentleman is not claiming it is ghosts from some random indian burial ground. He claims it is haunted by various people who died in the hotel. The other building, a Masonic Lodge [and a rather lovely one at that, looking to be under renovation] seems to be haunted by deceased Masons who were given their final service there. Again, at least no random dead indians wandering around.

I find I am a trifle worried at their safety as they prepare to wander around a building with very apparent structural damage including missing walls, floors and ceilings in the dark with infrared cameras and barely any visual light. Better them than me!

I do find it bothersome that they seem to totally miss the connection between old buildings, lack of maintenance and funky sounds. We have a relatively new house and it still makes little creaks and groans in the silence of the night. I have stayed in some fairly old buildings over the years, and heard little rodent scrabbles in the walls, little creaks and groans as the wood shifts and settles after someone has moved across a floor. I have lain in bed in the dead silence of a power outage in a winter storm and listened as someone in the building moved around and sounded like someone was walking about in my otherwise empty apartment.

All things considered, not as sensationalized as it could have been – no orbs or shadows. Just some footstep sounds, a door opening and a hatch slamming. Haunted? Other than the creepy footsteps, nothing that really couldn’t be explained by the general age and decrepitude of the building. And to be honest, someone could have snuck into the building and made the footsteps.

Part 2 is an animal hunt. The Shunka Warakin is a mystery wolf-hyena unknown. They get a cute goat. They hang out in the dark and run around with pretty much no lights and an infrared camera. They do see what appears to be a wild dog, but no monster. But they had a cute goat.