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Bizzare & Odd

Zombies: Not So Far From Reality

The subject of zombies is nothing new, but it has continued to increase in popularity as the decades have rolled by. These peculiar undead creatures have been the topic of countless movies, books, comics, video games and other bastions of pop culture for well over 80 years, but in more recent times, the advent of the Internet has brought with it an almost rabid obsession with zombie-related themes and memes.

There are groups of people who are literally training for an unsettling forthcoming event known as the “Zombie Apocalypse”, and others are becoming more convinced that the undead are actually among us in our everyday lives, lying in wait to attack us at any moment.

So what’s with all of this hype surrounding these ghoulish monsters? It’s a long story, but let’s start by defining what a zombie actually is.

The most popular working definition of a zombie is a half-dead (or, for the optimists, a “reanimated”) corpse that has an insatiable craving for human flesh, and human brains in particular. They are somehow suspended between the world of the dead and the world of the living, essentially unable to complete their passage into the unknown afterlife.

This would definitely be a frustrating prospect, so naturally zombies are not known to be friendly creatures. They are antagonistic to humans, and will cannibalize any living person on sight, presumably in an attempt to siphon whatever “life” they can get from them.

The concept of zombies has existed in one form or another for countless decades, but to really get to the root of the zombie phenomenon, we have to take a trip back to the voodoo-infused culture of 17th Century Haiti.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Haiti was under French rule, and slaves were imported from West Africa to power the rapidly growing sugar trade in Haiti (then called Saint-Domingue) and other key locations in the New World.

Voodoo was heavily practiced by slaves as well as slave drivers during this time, and the mixture of superstition, mythology and occultism that accompanied the practice of voodoo gave rise to the idea of the zombie as a way to keep recalcitrant slaves from trying to escape or act out in rebellion against their masters.

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, expert voodoo researcher Amy Wilentz provides further insight into this phenomenon:

“The only escape from the sugar plantations was death, which was seen as a return to Africa, or lan guinee (literally Guinea, or West Africa). This is a phrase in Haitian Creole that even now means heaven…The zombie is a dead person who cannot get across to lan guinee. This final rest–in green, leafy, heavenly Africa, with no sugarcane to cut and no master to appease or serve–is unavailable to the zombie. To become a zombie was the slave’s worst nightmare: to be dead and still a slave, an eternal field hand.”

Many of the slave drivers on the plantations were voodoo priests themselves, and they would threaten to “hex” or “curse” a slave with zombie-hood if they tried to escape or commit suicide. The prospect of dying but never escaping their oppressive conditions was a very real phenomenon that created somewhat of a mental prison for slaves, essentially coercing them to continue to endure their brutal existence.

During this time, the word “zombie” suggested an entity that had a body, but little else; a zombie was basically thought to be a shell of a person, a creature who could no longer be autonomous or self-aware, but was banished to live a primal, unthinking existence.

In the 1980s, an anthropologist named Wade Davis claimed to have discovered a powder that could essentially “zombify” a person, asserting that his discovery provided a scientific explanation for the various zombie legends that existed in various cultures that practiced voodoo.

This mysterious “zombie powder” was a highly potent neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin, found in various species of animals including the highly poisonous pufferfish. Although Davis did not believe in voodoo or magic, he claimed to have infiltrated the secretive ranks of various voodoo priests (known as “bokors” or “houngan”), obtaining samples of various “zombie powders” for chemical analysis.

Davis later wrote a book about his experiences entitled “The Serpent and the Rainbow”, which recounted his investigation of the story of Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man who was allegedly poisoned with a combination of chemical substances that turned him into a zombie. Davis’s book was later adapted into a Wes Craven-directed horror film by the same name.

Cinema historians largely agree that the first full-length zombie movie ever created was a 1932 film entitled “White Zombie”, which was directed by brothers Edward and Victor Halperin and starred famed horror actor Bela Lugosi.

The movie depicts the experience of a young woman who was transformed into a zombie at the hands of a nefarious voodoo priest. While “White Zombie” received largely negative or lukewarm critical reviews upon its release, zombie enthusiasts now view the movie as an important model or archetype for all zombie movies that were to follow.

Of all the zombie-themed horror films that have been produced over the years, the release of George Romero’s classic 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead” was widely considered to be a watershed moment in the rise of the zombie phenomenon. Interestingly enough, the movie referred to the undead villains only as “ghouls”, but the word “zombies” caught on with the public, so the name stuck.

In popular culture, much attention is given to the ways in which zombies can be destroyed (e.g., gunshots, decapitation, fire, etc.), but in traditional Haitian folklore, the objective was actually to free a person from their zombified state if at all possible.

According to the tradition, one of the ways this could be done was to feed the zombie salt, which would then cause the will and soul of the zombie to return. The Haitian roots of zombie folklore have largely disappeared over time, and as big-budget zombie-themed Hollywood films and television shows have proliferated (and subsequently exploded in popularity), zombie invasions are now commonly set against dystopian or post-apocalyptic backdrops, and zombies are primarily depicted as imminent threats that cannot escape their undead state.

Several new variables that are present in our modern world (e.g., genetic modification, biological experiments, advanced chemical and nuclear weapons, etc.) have served as excellent fodder for zombie enthusiasts who are looking for the next big catalyst that could spark a large-scale zombie invasion.

While the existence of zombies has never been scientifically proven, the mystery and excitement surrounding the zombie phenomenon will provide fans of the undead with plenty of fuel for their imagination. Courtesy of the seemingly endless stream of zombie-related entertainment that has come out in recent years, zombie fans can now enjoy an invasion of the living dead any time they choose.

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Bizzare & Odd

Why does the most poisonous fish need poison?

The most poisonous fish in the world is the so-called puffer fish. It’s liver and other parts of it’s body contain a substance called tetrodotoxin, which can paralyze the respiratory muscles of any living creature and lead to its death. Despite the dangers, many Asian chefs include it in their menu dishes with the addition of its non-toxic organs. True, for cooking, captive-grown individuals with a low content of poison in the body are used. By comparing the fish that grew up in captivity, scientists were able to find out why they needed poison.

Puffer fish is one of the most poisonous fish in the world, but dishes are still prepared from it.

The reduced amount of poison in the body of captive-grown puffer fish is explained by the fact that they do not produce it on their own, but receive it from bacteria living inside them. The bacteria that produce tetrodotoxin in large numbers live only in the natural habitat of puffer fish, so individuals grown in aquariums cannot boast a large amount of poison. It is believed that a reduced amount of toxins worsens the taste of “incubator” fish and also negatively affects their health.

The most dangerous poison in the world

The latter fact was proved by scientists from the Japanese universities of Kitasato and Nagasaki, who published the results of their research in a scientific journal. Toxicon. Researchers took two aquariums with puffer fish, one of which was supplemented with tetrodotoxin content over the course of a month. By comparing the health status of individuals from two different aquariums, they were able to find out how the toxic substance affects fish organisms and why they need it.

In the course of observations, scientists found that fish fed with tetrodotoxin content were 24% longer than the individuals from the second aquarium. It follows that the toxic substance contributes to the growth and proper development of puffer fish. It also turned out that fish with a sufficient level of tetrodotoxin have four times less cortisol, a hormone that promotes the development of stress. Therefore, a toxic substance is a means of protection against stress.

Tetrodotoxin is one of the most dangerous poisons in the world.

How exactly tetrodotoxin controls the growth of puffer fish and affects the level of their stress is unknown to researchers. It may well be that they will be able to answer this question in the course of other scientific works. As for the poor taste of captive-raised fish, maybe the meat loses its taste just because of increased stress. In addition, scientists noticed that puffer aquarium fish stand out with particular aggression and attack each other, causing wounds. This, too, may well impair the taste of their meat.

Whether the poison itself affects the taste of meat is unknown. Be that as it may, cooks completely clean the fish of poisonous parts of the body, so that tetrodotoxin is not contained in dishes. For cooking puffer fish dishes, restaurant employees undergo special training for at least three years. During this time, cooks learn to properly cut off the organs of the fish, the most dangerous of which is the liver.

As a rule, death due to poisoning with this poison occurs due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles, but scientists believe that with the right dosage, it can serve as an excellent analgesic with a lasting effect. It seems that in the future, an anesthetic based on puffer venom will actually appear – researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital have figured out how to control its dose so that it does no harm.

Previously, medical professionals have already tried to use fugu venom to eliminate severe pain in leprosy and inoperable tumor diseases. They really managed to establish safe doses of the toxin so that it effectively eliminates pain and does not harm the body of patients, but because of the potential danger and the availability of analogues in the form of novocaine, its use was suspended.

Despite this, work on the creation of an anesthetic based on tetrodotoxin does not stop. Fugu venom is interesting because its molecules effectively clog nerve fibers and block their impulses – scientists can very well create a technology that controls its amount and provides a safe anesthetic effect lasting several days.

Tetrodotoxin turned into anesthetic

A major breakthrough in this matter was made by staff from the Boston Children’s Hospital, led by Professor Daniel Cohan. To control the rate of release of the poison to a specific point in the body, they mixed it with a biodegradable polymer, and subsequently controlled release times provided a long-lasting anesthetic effect. The experiment was conducted on laboratory rats.

The lesson we learned is that with our previous delivery systems, the anesthetic was spreading too quickly, which could lead to poisoning. This time we injected such an amount of tetrodotoxin that it would be enough to kill the rat several times, but thanks to the controlled introduction, the animal didn’t even feel it, ”Daniel Cohane shared.

Even though scientists used a rather large amount of poison, it was still less than in previous attempts. It was possible to maintain the effectiveness of the substance while reducing its dose due to the addition of a chemical penetration enhancer – tetrodotoxin penetrated the tissues more easily and acted as concentrated as possible.

Symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning

If, in the event of an error, tetrodotoxin enters the human body too quickly, it will immediately lead to poisoning and, most likely, to death. Symptoms occur within 10-15 minutes, and include itching, excessive salivation, vomiting, loss of skin sensitivity and, ultimately, paralysis of the respiratory system.

The first case of tetrodotoxin poisoning was recorded in 1774 – the case was described in the book Journey to the South Pole and Around the World by the English sailor James Cook. The poisoning occurred in New Caledonia when he and his companions tried a dish of local fish and felt severe weakness and numbness. Fortunately, they received a small dose of toxin and got better after vomiting, but the pig, who was given the rest of the dish, died.

Puffer fish dish

However, puffer fish meat is sold in some Japanese stores, which is extremely dangerous for inexperienced cooks. In 2018, an alarm was announced in the city of Gamagori, as in one supermarket they managed to sell fish meat without an extracted liver.

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Bizzare & Odd

Watch: Fish With Human Face Spotted in Chinese Lake

According to details, a video has just gone viral that has captured a fish with human face. A fish with markings on its face that make it look like a human has left people stunned.

The fish was reportedly filmed by a visitor in a lake outside the city of Kunming in the south of China. Some people also think that the fish might turned into a fairy.

Chinese carp fish human face

Those on China’s Weibo social media site, were left with many reactions about this. Mostly, people were amazed and fascinated by this unique Carp fish. Someone said, “This is scary.” Another commented “Who dares to eat it?”

Footage shows the animal poking its head just above the surface of the water at the lake’s edge.

On its face can be seen two black dots resembling eyes, two vertical stripes resembling the sides of a nose, and a horizontal line resembling a mouth.

The woman filming can be heard saying: “The fish has turned into a fairy.”

Users of Weibo, China’s version of twitter, have been left amazed by the clip.

“This is scary,” wrote one.

“Who dates to eat it?” asked another.

The footage was shot close to a village of Miao people, one among the 55 minority ethnic teams recognised by the Chinese authorities, which can also be native vacation spot, the Feidian Movies weblog reported.

The Miao dwell principally in southern China, Vietnam, and Laos, although many migrated to the West – notably to the US, France, and Australia – after the communist takeover of Laos in 1975.

In 2016, another carp with a “human face” caused a stir after being captured in Wugang City in the Hunan province in central China.

The fish was caught by primary school teacher Qiu Xiaohua, who said he had never seen anything like it in 20 years of fishing.

He had been planning to eat the fish, but instead opted to keep it in his home.

Chinese collectors in particular are known to pay big money for unique and rare animals and plants.

In 2010, a carp with a “human face” captured by 44-year-old Essex butcher Brendan O’Sullivan was valued at £40,000.

(Source: The Sun)

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Bizzare & Odd

Destinations that attract people who like “horror tourism”

Conspiracies, murders, ghosts, gloomy glory and crime scenes sometimes attract tourists no less than other famous tourist sites.

We present some tourist destinations whose history is related to crime, blood and violence. Horror tourism also attracts people!

The Colosseum in Rome

The construction of the Roman Colosseum (Colosseum) was started by Emperor Titus Flavius ​​Vespasian in 75 AD. The Colosseum was built for “entertaining” purposes, such as animal abuse and gladiator fights, in front of thousands of spectators.

Horror tourism: The Roman Coliseum

The statistics are horrifying…:

According to legend, in 246 AD, 32 elephants, 60 lions, 40 wild horses and many other animals were killed in the Roman Colosseum: moose, zebras, tigers, giraffes, hippos. And about 2000 gladiators have been fighting other gladiators.

Under Julius Caesar, 400 lions were killed in the Colosseum. At Pompeii – 600 lions, 400 leopards and 20 elephants. Subsequently, the number of animals killed in the arena only increased. The games, organized by Mark Ulpius Trajan in honor of his victory and there were executed around 11,000 different animals. During the reign of Emperor Trajan, about 40,000 people were killed in the Colosseum.

At the same time, the first Christians were thrown into the arena of the Colosseum. They were considered the main culprits at the beginning of the fall of Rome. One of the first in the Coliseum was the martyr St. Ignatius the Epiphany, Bishop of Antioch. Before his death, he addressed the Roman Christians with the words:

“Roman men, you know that I am condemned to death not for crime, but for my only God, with whose love I am embraced and to whom I aspire. I am His grain, and I will be grinded with the teeth of the beasts, that I may be His pure bread. “

Immediately afterwards, the saint was torn to pieces by the lions dragged by the guards. After him, many Christians shed their blood in the arena of the Colosseum.

In the mid-18th century, the Roman Catholic Church, in the person of Pope Benedictus XIV, granted the Colosseum a holy place, since it was the site of the death of the first Christian martyrs. On July 19, 2000, the Coliseum reopened for public performance. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Rome and one of the most famous places on the planet.

The Castle of Count Dracula in Romania

The Bran Castle of Transylvania is better known as the Castle of Count Dracula. It was built in the Carpathians, on the edge of the scariest abyss there. The style of the castle meets the standards of the Gothic style. There are narrow aisles, stone steps, and narrow rooms which are more suited to a vampire than a normal person.

Horror tourism: The Transylvanian Bran Castle

The castle looks quite in the spirit of Bram Stoker’s (Bram Stoker) famous novel’s presentation in  Dracula. And the main chimney seemed to come from horror movies, like in the high wind, there were loud sounds like howls. The castle has 56 rooms and one of them has a huge canopy bed. According to legend, it was there that Count Dracula sucked the blood of his victims.

Vlad Tepes

The building is called “The Castle of Horrors” thanks to Vlad Tepes. He gets the nickname Count Dracula and the reputation of a bloody monster.

The Spilled Blood Savior Church in St. Petersburg

The elegant appearance of the Cathedral of the Resurrection is in Russian style and contrasts with the event, in memory of which it was created. It is difficult to imagine that on March 1, 1881, two dozen blooded bodies, including a mortally wounded emperor with broken legs, were lying in this place, now visited by tourists.

Horror tourism: Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

The People’s Will organization condemned the emperor to death, though Alexander II Nikolaevich was not a tyrant like his father. He was deservedly called the Liberator – slavery in Russia was finally abolished. However, there have been numerous attacks against Alexander II.

Alexander II

On March 1, 1881, Alexander II returned to the Winter Palace. The first bomb only damaged his carriage. The emperor came out of it and even managed to ask Nikolai Rusakov, who threw the bomb. At that moment, the terrorist Ignatius Grinewitzki blows up a second bomb at his feet, which also hits Alexander II.

The very place where the emperor was mortally wounded – part of the grate and cobblestone flooring – is kept inside the church, beneath the western dome. The surrounding streets were named with the names of the main participants in the plot – Sofia Perovskaya and Andrey Zhelyabov, – Mala Konyushenny and Bolshaya Konyushenny.

Telem Abbey, Sicily

Alistair Crowley is considered one of the most famous and scandalous occultists in the world (Aleister Crowley). In the 1920s, its huge home was literally considered the world center for Satanism and its associated orgies. Today, Crowley has many fans, one of them is Marilyn Manson. The occultist himself even appeared on the cover of one of the Beatles’ albums.

Alistair Crowley

Crowley started his own Telem Abbey with the motto: “Do what you want“. The community has become a place for free love. Beginners were housed in the Nightmare Room, where, under the influence of drugs, they stared at murals depicting heaven, earth and hell.

Horror tourism: part of Telem Abbey

However, when a famous English aristocrat died at the abbey, the press raised a huge scandal and forced Crowley to close its abbey.

In 1945, this story was filmed, but the movie mysteriously disappears.

Today, the abbey is not functioning. However, the murals that Crowley used to scare his “servants” are still on the walls. The site attracts esotericists, occultists and paranormal researchers.

The beach of a hotel in Pattaya, Thailand

On February 24, 2007, two Russian tourists were killed in Thailand. The bodies of the girls were found by police lying on beach chairs. The girls’ personal belongings were untouched.

The victims of the murder are Lyubov Svirkova, 25, and her friend Tatiana Zimfer, 30, both Russians. They were wearing swimwear and probably resting on the beach in the early morning. On the table next to the dead was a cellphone, a pack of cigarettes, two small bottles of Thai whiskey and a soft drink.

Soon, Thai police uncovered the murder. The culprit was a Thai, the wife of a Russian businessman who worked in Pattaya. The woman hated the girls because of their relationship with her husband and ordered their murder for a small sum.

Sampran Temple, Bangkok

To the east of Bangkok, lies the unusual Wat Samphran (The Dragon Temple). In practice, there is no information about it. What can be found for it are a few pictures on the internet and incompatible descriptions.

Horror tourism: Sampran Temple

This is a temple that could easily claim the title of Top World Tourist Site. But, tourists and pilgrims do not go there, and the paths are covered with vines.

A curtain of silence falls on the temple at the beginning of this century, when, at the end of last century, the then rector of the monastery and a priest known in the Buddhist world were convicted of raping young girls. Moreover, his accomplices were several nuns who knew about the lusts of the “teacher” but not only covered him, but also led young girls to the monastery.

In the end, the abbot was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Accompanying nuns have also been sentenced.

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