When, oh when will comedy finally feel the influence of Thomas Ligotti? This short clip suggests the time is now. Nina Conti starts a ventriloquist routine with some good jokes, then quickly gets meta, then heads into very creepy territory.
This NASA/JPL news story plunges into Gothic territory as it describes deep space. The article describes X-ray emissions from the Sagittarius A* region, or as the headline puts it:
NASA's NuSTAR Captures Possible 'Screams' from Zombie Stars
Or, a touch more prosaically, yet still clinging to a horror perspective,
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has spotted a mysterious glow of high-energy X-rays that, according to scientists, could be the "howls" of dead stars as they feed on stellar companions.
It's a very Lovecraftian take on possible pulsars. Call it the necrotic model of stellar decomposition:
Astronomers have four theories to explain the baffling X-ray glow, three of which involve different classes of stellar corpses. When stars die, they don't always go quietly into the night. Unlike stars like our sun, collapsed dead stars that belong to stellar pairs, or binaries, can siphon matter from their companions. This zombie-like "feeding" process differs depending on the nature of the normal star, but the result may be an eruption of X-rays.
Or the lyrical version:
Another theory points to small black holes that slowly feed off their companion stars, radiating X-rays as material plummets down into their bottomless pits.
One day, clearing undergrowth, a volunteer stumbled upon a stone step. Like a modern Cair Paravel from Narnia, the stone staircase led up the hill and ended in an old rusted iron door set into the hillside. Breaking open the old door and stepping inside out of the clear Jersey sunlight, they found an antechamber. It had been undisturbed for over 100 years. Torchlight showed a series of tunnels disappearing into the hillside, snaking left and right.
Oh, there's more.
New Jersey Gothic.
The now-uncovered stone staircase that leads up the western hill to the door is cracked and falling apart and the earth has sunk in many places, swallowing the Victorian tombstones into the ground. Unlocking the old rusted iron door, we stepped inside. The first antechamber was covered in marble walls...
Stepping further into the pitch black, the light of the torch showed blackened brick tunnels heading in both directions. Heading to the left and walking into another room Markenstein told me to “be careful in there.” Piled up against the wall were wooden boxes about 2 feet long, that Markenstein claimed contained live munitions left over from the War of 1812. Beyond that were two slightly larger boxes, this time made of metal, that Markenstein explained were unburied child’s coffins.
(many thanks to Andrew Connell, friend of the Count)
In a welcome change from the zombie metaphor, Newsweek considers chronically unoccupied rental properties as ghost apartments.
Across the globe, empty luxury apartments darken many of the most desirable cities—Miami; San Francisco; Vancouver, British Columbia; Honolulu; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Singapore; Dubai; Paris; Melbourne, Australia; and London.
There's another Gothic detail to this, the classic association of power with architecture:
The reason: The world’s richest people are buying these grand residences not to live in but to store their wealth. In Paris, for instance, one apartment in four sits empty most of the time.
No, not stats about zombies, but stats that act like zombies. A health care economics blogger offers a nice use of the zombie metaphor. A zombie statistic is one of unclear provenance but appealing character, and one which endures despite the former.
[T]he 35-year old CDC paper seems to be at the root of the often-cited 10% number; it’s “paper 0,” if you will. But those that continue to reference 10% as an estimate for health care’s contribution to health should know that the only evidence they are referencing is a survey of 40 people, done when Jimmy Carter was president. It’s not evidence-based except by the weakest notions of “evidence.” It’s really a zombie statistic.
I put an ice pack on my face, and get down to do my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. As I exercise, the Apple Watch is there, quietly measuring them.
American Psycho's Patrick Bateman reviews the Apple Watch.
I do not want to dissect the Apple Watch. I enjoy the smoothness, the shine, the clarity. It is not how it works but what it looks like that matters to me. What it looks like to people who see it on my wrist.
Maybe people see things in haunted houses because molds have messed with their brains. That's a theory being tested by some New York state researchers.
The idea is that certain toxic moulds or fungi, like the rye ergot fungus, are able to cause severe psychosis in people who breathe in the hard-to-detect fumes they project. When the air is contaminated, the brain can play subtle tricks on you — a sudden chill, a movement in the corner of your eye, or potentially other ghastly and hallucinatory illusions. “Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air,” Rogers said....
One wonders if searching for mold will become standard methodology for ghost hunters.
By comparing samples to “non-haunted” locations, Rogers hopes to find what sets these locations apart and find similarities in the mould microbiome between the haunted locations that could point to a less supernatural culprit.
Dave Poulin... sculpted Ball in a scene from the classic “Vitameatavegamin” bit. That episode found Lucy drunk on her own power—and drunk on health tonic—in a way that Poulin has expertly depicted here, with Lucy’s eyes deranged and wild with rapacity, her teeth bared like she would consume your very soul for a spoonful of fame.
It looks even more terrifying at night:
“I think it looks like a monster. That is just my opinion,” said the campaign’s organizer—a Jamestown man who wishes to remain anonymous, presumably so when the Lucy statue comes alive at dusk to devour its enemies, it can’t find him. “When you see it at night, it is frightening.”