Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vampires, Yoda, and a butt-pinching ghost

Here at Worldwide Wacko Watch your alert research team (made up of myself and my two highly alert dogs) are keeping an eye on three developing stories.

First, we have reports out of India that politicians have placed a $2,000 bounty on vampires.  (Source)

Government officials in Dharampuri (Tamil Nadu state) have reacted with concern to claims by villagers that vampires are stalking the streets, and not with the kind of concern I would have shown, which would be to guffaw directly in the villagers' faces.  They have offered a reward of $2,000 (a considerable amount of money in those parts) to anyone who brings in a dead vampire.

Apparently, the whole thing started because some folks in the area reported that their cattle were being killed and drained of blood by vampires.  My reaction was that such acts are almost always caused not by vampires, but by another creature that doesn't exist, namely El Chupacabra.  Be that as it may, villagers reacted with panic, painting "holy signs" on their doors and leaving notes pleading with the vampires (known as "Ratha Kaatteri") to spare their lives, because everyone knows how a vampire will refrain from biting your neck if you just ask him nicely.

I'm happy to say that not all of the politicians have joined Team Ratha Kaatteri, however; one local leader, O. Jayaraman, said, "It is a big hoax.  Anti-socials whose illegal night activities such as bootlegging and liquor brewing have been disturbed are spreading rumors and killing cattle."

If they're as antisocial as all that, you have to wonder if they might not just kill some poor innocent person and fix the corpse up to look like a vampire to collect the reward.  Opportunities like this always seem to appeal to people's worst instincts.

Speaking of tempting fate, a man in Georgia has posted a broadside request asking all and sundry if they've ever seen an alien being that looks like Yoda.  (Source)

In his post, which strangely hilarious is, the man (who calls himself "Jax") recounts an experience he had twenty years ago:
I know it sounds silly but about 20 years ago my friend and I decided to drive out to an area (Highway 27, Hamilton Rd from Columbus, GA towards Hamilton) we were two dumb teenagers at the time who heard a rumor there were Satan worshipers out in the teenagers do, we decided to investigate it for laughs and have fun scaring ourselves.

We turned down a dirt road and followed it for a while until we wound up driving into a large open grass field. It was very dark out that night and quiet. While we did not see any "Satan worshipers", I decided to to try and scare my friend sitting in the passenger seat by placing my car in park in the big open field and I turned off my head lights for only about 10 or 15 seconds which put us in complete darkness. We could not even see each other let alone anything outside the car around us.

I then turned my headlights back on (the car was still running the whole time) and when we looked forward, there standing in front of my car, almost touching the front bumper was a creature to this day we cannot explain.

The creature was about 6 feet tall, had two legs but not human legs. They were bent like an animals hind-legs. From the waste up he literally looked like yoda. Grayish light green in color. Strange long ears. Somewhat flat but scrunched up face. Big round eyes which looked us both in the eyes. The eyes were on the front of the face (not on the side). It was definitely NOT a deer or any other normal animal of the woods. I don't remember seeing arms but it appeared to have two little short skinny arms in the front but I can't be certain. It only stood there for about 5 seconds then turned around and quickly went away into the night.

It didn't have a distinct run or walk or was somewhere in the middle of run, jump, hop, glide kind of movement when it hurried away. Even that was not a normal movement of any animal or person.

Naturally my friend and I screamed and I threw my car in reverse and raced out of there as fast as I could. We never went back to search for another sighting as one time was good enough for us but I am interested to know if anyone else has experienced the same?  
The owner of Phantoms and Monsters, the website on which this appears, ends by saying that Jax is interested only in "serious responses," which pretty much eliminates everything I was thinking of saying.

I keep trying to come up with some kind of appropriate commentary, but words fail me.  I guess there is no try, after all.

Lastly, we have a report out of Birmingham, England about a ghost that is haunting a pub, and is expressing himself by pinching waitresses' asses.  (Source)

The ghost, who has been nicknamed "Grasper," was first reported by assistant manager of The Queen's Arms, Paula Wharton.

"One night three of us were talking and I mentioned that I’d felt this pinch on my bum, and everyone else said that it had happened to them too.  It can’t have been a customer as I’ve never had my bum pinched when I’ve been stood behind the bar.  It’s happened to all of us on a few occasions, it can happen at any time, night or day."

Customers have been groped, too.  Frequent pub crawler Ashley Boland states, "I was standing at the bar enjoying a glass of wine when I suddenly felt a sharp pinch to my bum.  My instant reaction was that it might have been a sleazy bloke trying his luck, but when I spun around ready to give him a piece of my mind there was no one there.  I was really confused until the staff explained that there was a ghost running around the place pinching people on the bottom.  It was a little scary, but I suppose there are worse things that a ghost could do to you."

You have to wonder how the staff will handle this.  I mean, it's not like you can fire a spirit for sexual harassment.  Will they post signs?  "Caution, This Pub Is Haunted By An Ass-Groping Ghost: Bend Over At Your Own Risk."  That's probably what I would do, if I owned the pub -- but I'd also keep a careful eye on my male customers and employees, because chances are, one of them is in fact the "sleazy bloke" of Boland's account.  I have a feeling that Grasper the Over-Friendly Ghost will turn out to be all too human.

But who knows?  Maybe there is a ghost there, and maybe Yoda down to Georgia went, too.  But I'm not buying the Indian vampire story, sorry.  There's such a thing a straining credulity.

1 comment:

  1. With human's capacity for mischief and humor, I wouldn't put it beyond our species to; master interplanetary travel, find worlds with intelligent life, and (instead of making mutually beneficial contact) antagonize and randomly frighten the planet's inhabitants for our own amusement.

    Again, with human's capacity for mischief and humor, I wouldn't put it beyond our species to; assume non-corporeal form after death, receive the blessings of a divine, then return to their favorite pub to play grab-ass for eternity.
    "I sure do miss Norm. Every time he'd walk through the door we'd all call out his name and he would... Ow! Hey! What's wrong with this barstool?"

    As vampires in recent culture are no longer "monsters", the only things the citizens of Dharampuri need to be afraid of are glitter luminescence from sunlight and a pathetic desire to be "accepted" by humanity. Modern vampires would do a blood draw from said cows and alcohol swab the wound to prevent infection.
    (VETA anyone?)