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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dead sheep, live elves, and a stuck willy

Here at Worldwide Wacko Watch, we've got our eyes on three stories from far afield.

Let's begin with a tragedy in Wales, and hope things get cheerier as we progress.

In our first story, we have reports that the Beast of Bont is at it again, so you might want to cancel that walking tour in the Cambrian Mountains.  (Source)

Sheep farmers in Pontrhydfendigaid, a small town near Aberystwyth, discovered last week that twenty sheep had been "massacred" in a spot near Devil's Bridge.  This immediately conjured up memories of past attacks, which reportedly have been going on since the 1970s, and have been attributed to a loathsome predator nicknamed "the Beast of Bont."

In this most recent attack, local resident Mark Davey and his partner Annette made the discovery.  "The whole area just stank of dead animals and was quite sickening," Davey told reporters.  "I could see that the inside of the animals had been ripped out and body parts were lying all around.  I thought it could have been foxes or badgers but it was just the increasing number of dead sheep that started the alarm bells ringing in my head.  As we walked further we saw several more sheep scattered closely together, again as though some large animal had attacked them.  We were getting quite scared and wondered what the hell was doing this."

Myself, I would have wondered to the extent that I'd have gotten right the hell out of there.

"Each time we saw them we thought that something had quite clearly attacked them because they looked like they had been ripped apart," Davey said.  "It was a very strange feeling when we saw the sheep because some of them were lambs with just half of their bodies, or just the rear or the back legs left on the field.  I could also see a small lamb which looked to me as if it had been carefully placed in the corner of some building ruins.  This one was untouched but it appeared that it had been put there for a reason - maybe to come back to it later."

Police say that the pattern of sheep-killings resembles others that have occurred in the area.

Despite periodic reports of "large, puma-like creatures" in the Cambrian Mountains, no one has been able to obtain any kind of reasonably reliable evidence to indicate what might be responsible for the killings.  Thus far, only sheep and goats have been attacked, but police have instructed locals to "be vigilant when outdoors."  That's putting it mildly.  If this had happened in my neighborhood, I might become vigilant to the point of never leaving my house again.  I'm just brave that way.

Of course, if you don't want to meet weird things away from home, you can always have the weird things brought to your doorstep.  This is the philosophy of Arní Johnson, an Icelandic Member of Parliament who decided to bring a boulder housing "three generations of elves" to his front yard.  (Source)

Johnson first ran into the boulder in a nearly literal sense, when he was involved in a serious car accident in January of 2010.  His car flipped, landing forty meters away from the highway, damaging it beyond repair -- but leaving Johnson completely unharmed.  Johnson decided that it couldn't just have been luck, so he started looking around for what could have saved him, and then he saw this great big rock.

Now, I've been to Iceland, and I can say with some authority that great big rocks are a dime a dozen.  Iceland itself seems, in fact, to be one great big rock, with a little bit of ice and grass to break up the monotony.  But this was no ordinary rock, Johnson said; no, it was the home of some elves, and the elves had saved his life.

"I had Ragnhildur Jónsdóttir, a specialist in the affairs of elves from Álfagarðurinn in Hellisgerði, Hafnarfjörður, to come look at the boulder with me," Johnson said.  "She said it was incredible, that she had never met three generations of elves in the same boulder before.  She said an elderly couple lives on the upper floor but a young couple with three children on the lower floor."

My first question is: how do you become an elf specialist?  Do Icelandic universities allow you to major in elfology?  If so, how do you study them, being that even people who think they exist say that they don't exactly wait around for you to examine them closely?  Be that as it may, Johnson was tickled with what Jónsdóttir told him, and decided to have the boulder moved to his home in Höfðaból in the Westman Islands.  Jónsdóttir said that the elves were fine being moved, but that he had to do it right.  "(The elves) asked whether the boulder could stand on grass.  I said that was no problem but asked why they wanted grass.  ‘It’s because they want to have sheep,’ Ragnhildur replied."  So Johnson is having the boulder ferried across to his home, wrapped in sheepskin "so the elves are comfortable."

After the horrors caused by the Beast of Bont, you have to wonder exactly why the elves want to have sheep nearby.  But we're hoping that the elves have no ill intent, and the whole story will end happily.

And a happy ending is more than we can say happened for an adulterous couple in Kenya, who discovered during an amorous encounter that a curse by the woman's husband had left them stuck together.  (Source)

According to the story, the husband had gotten wind of his wife's cheating ways, and had hired a practitioner of black magic to cast a spell on the wife.  The next time the wife and her paramour went at it, the unfortunate man found that he had basically been making love to one of those Chinese finger-traps.

Once the couple realized that their hook-up had left them unable to unhook, they panicked, and their shouts of alarm attracted the attention of the police and an increasingly large crowd.  Finally the husband arrived, and after the adulterous man agreed to pay the husband twenty thousand shillings in reparations, a pastor was called in, who prayed over the couple, and the two were able to separate.  It is probably just my sordid imagination that pictures this as being accompanied by a sound like a cork being pulled from a wine bottle.

I do have to ask, however; do Kenyan pastors have special prayers for this kind of thing?  "O Lord, we beseech thee to call forth thy mighty powers, and help this sinner free his wang, that he might go forth and never more boink another guy's wife, for yea, I believeth that he hath learned his lesson."

So, those are our stories for today -- the sheep-eating Beast of Bont, transporting elf boulders, and adulterous men getting their willies stuck.  Here at Worldwide Wacko Watch, we are constantly alert, bringing you only the finest quality journalism from the world of the weird.  "Ever vigilant," that's our motto.  That, and "Man, people believe some weird stuff, you have to wonder if we skeptics are justified in having any hope at all."  But that's kind of depressing, so we'll stick with "Ever vigilant."

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