Friday, September 20, 2019

Imaginary Friends...!

I don't know if any of you have ever had an "imaginary friend", but it isn't unusual for youngsters to create one. Normally this isn't a problem, but it could become one at some point.

The Boy In The Closet

When three-year-old Rebecca started talking about her new friend called Jonathon, her parents didn’t take much notice. Even when she became obsessed with her closet and told her parents that Jonathon was in there, they didn’t think anything of it. After all, many toddlers have imaginary friends, and Rebecca would soon grow out of the notion of it.

Then, Rebecca’s mom fell pregnant again, and the family opted to move to a bigger place that would accommodate their new baby. Rebecca moved on from her imaginary friend, and her parents soon forgot about it completely. Four months later, the new owners of the family’s old home contacted Rebecca’s father. They had found a trapdoor in the back of Rebecca’s closet, and below the trapdoor, there was a hole with a box in it.

The box contained baby pictures and baby clothes. On the box was written: “Jonathon’s.”

I picked up this article from the folks over at Listverse. Interesting, don't you think?

Coffee inside once again this morning.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Don't Want To Visit Here...!

Now this is one cave I really don't want to visit anytime soon. I'm not crazy about caves anyway, but this one is more than likely first on my list of "I'll pass" places, if you know what I mean.

Movile Cave 
The Cave With an Atmosphere of Sulfur

In south-eastern Romania, there is a cave that was locked away from the slightest ray of light for 5.5 million years—and that has a completely different atmosphere from the earth.

The cave was discovered by workers looking to set up a powerplant. They tested the ground to see if it was a safe place to build—and cracked open a pathway that leads into one of the strangest places on earth.

If you descend through the narrow shaft and past a series of tunnels, you enter a chamber with a lake of sulphuric water stinking of rotting eggs. The air there is toxic, filled with hydrogen sulphide and contaminated with 100 times the surface’s levels of carbon dioxide.

The strangest part, though, is that a whole ecosystem has survived inside it. Researchers have found 33 species inside the cave that don’t exist anywhere outside of it. They’ve adapted to survive in a sulphuric atmosphere, living by feeding off a foam on top of the stones.

I'd say this place is a good place to stay away from, but certainly a worthy topic for discussion over coffee...right?

Coffee inside again. It won't stop raining.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Beautiful Mystery...!

Ever so often, something is found that defies all explanation. That's the case with these caves in China. Pretty to look at, but why are they there?

Longyou Caves

The Longyou Caves of China are not natural formations. They appear to have been carved out of the soft sandstone more than 2,200 years ago, during the Qin Dynasty, approximately 212 BCE. The cave system is impressively large…covering more than 320,000 square feet in twenty-four different caves. Some of the caves, in fact, are nearly 100 feet in height.

The caves are not simple holes in the ground. There are carved bridges, pillars, pools, and steps. Intriguingly, there are also carved symbols chiseled all around the caves, on the ceilings, pillars, and walls. The purpose of the cave system is unknown. And there is no textual evidence to the caves’ existence, who built them, and why.

While we all love a good mystery, there are many times that our minds just scream out for some kind of explanation. This may just be one of those times.

Coffee inside again today. Still raining outside, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Not A Brainy Idea...!

No one can say that the majority of crooks are smart. In fact, many of them might even be considered "brain dead"! From Listverse, here is the story of one thief that was using a brain in a different manner...and the brain was not even his.

The Brain Thief

Photo credit: Cumberland County Prison via The Washington Post

In July 2016, police raided the home of Pennsylvanian Joshua Lee Long looking for evidence relating to a series of burglaries in the area. They found more than enough to arrest him, but they also found something rather unexpected in a Walmart shopping bag underneath the porch—a jar of embalming fluid containing a human brain. Joshua had named it “Freddy.”

Police are pretty sure that the brain was stolen, too, perhaps from a lab or university. Joshua also found another use for the formaldehyde-based embalming fluid: He’d been spraying it on his marijuana to intensify the high. Pennsylvania State Trooper Bob Hicks astutely summed up the raid: “This is one of those situations where, I think, a lot of guys were surprised.”

I think the guy must have been trying too much of his own product, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is back.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Leatherman Mystery...!

I find it interesting just how many mysteries remain unsolved even after years of study and research. Such is the case of the person known as Leatherman.


Historian, Dan DeLuca, spent most of his life researching a deceased homeless man’s life. Ever since he stumbled upon his grave in the Sparta Cemetery in Ossining, New York, DeLuca had been fascinated with the man known as Leatherman. He learned that the inscription on Leatherman’s gravestone incorrectly referred to the deceased as Jules Bourglay of Lyons, France. He also knew that Leatherman had been a source of mystery for people in Westchester County and western Connecticut since the 1850s.

Leatherman was said to have had a strange ritual which contributed to much of the speculation surrounding him. Once a month, he would walk 360 miles between the Hudson and Connecticut rivers. Being homeless, he was dressed very modestly in patchwork garments and wooden shoes and very rarely spoke to anyone. He slept in the forest and sometimes in caves, but he would never stay inside a building for more than a couple of minutes. He often asked for food as he passed by a farmhouse and the occupants were amazed at his appetite. He could eat a staggering amount while remaining standing at the front door.

The press began following Leatherman’s movements and chronicled his travels for over 30 years. In modern times the research into this mysterious man continues. Pearl Jam got caught up in the mystery and wrote a song about him. Leatherman’s real name and age at that time remains unknown, as does his place of birth and where he grew up.

It's a bit sad that after so many years, this man's real name isn't known. However, he isn't the first unknown person in our history and more than likely isn't the last. Part of our human condition, I reckon.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Creepy Spider For Freaky Friday...

Just when you think you have seen nearly all of them, along comes another creepy spider! Thanks so much, Mother Nature!


Photo credit: Charles Griswold, Tracy Aidicio, Joel Ledford

Not since 1890 has a newly discovered spider in America required a new genus, family, and species to classify it. Meet the trogloraptor, living proof that there are very few places on land, regardless of condition, that a spider cannot call home. This handsome guy was discovered in late summer 2012 living in cave systems in Oregon.

This spider, unlike any other, has special serrated talons at the end of each arm. This trait is where it gets its charming name, which means “cave robber.” When it was found, it was using these talon arms to suspend itself from the cave ceiling by a strand of its own silk.

As of now, there are theories that it could be a relative to the goblin spider, but very little so far is known about these cave dwellers. Attempts to feed the captured specimens have failed, showing that they prefer a specific diet. This spider is so alien to us that even what they eat remains a mystery.

The good news is that this spider was found way over in Oregon. The bad news is that Oregon is still in the U.S.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Too Pretty To Eat...!

Here is another case of how nature can add beauty to any of Her creatures she wishes. Seeing this picture from Listverse makes me glad that I don't eat lobster.

Blue Lobster

Photo credit: National Geographic

In all his years as a lobsterman, Robin Russell had never seen anything like it. When he checked his traps in 2017, there was a blue lobster between the usual brown ones. The creature also had areas with faded pink and periwinkle, giving it a mild rainbow look.

Called “Lucky,” the crustacean avoided the dinner plate and found a home at a science center. Lucky might be an eye-popping sight, but blue lobsters turn up every few years. In fact, lobster coloration is rather mercurial. A pigment called astaxanthin changes color depending on its amount, outside influences, or how astaxanthin contorts.

Usually, lobsters are brown. They only develop the bright red that fine diners know so well when boiling water messes with the pigment. Lucky and his blue brethren remain mysterious. Researchers think the reasons might include low levels of astaxanthin.

When completely removed from their diet, lobsters turn white. A genetic mutation might also be responsible. In the past, mutations produced some funky lobsters—brilliant yellows, a calico with dots, and lobsters with a two-toned split look.

It's creatures like this that make me want to stop and take a closer look at the world around me. There is a lot of beauty around id we just take the time to look.

Coffee out on the patio if it isn't raining yet...OK?