Welcome to Blather of the Baltic, playboy of the Skagerrak, who is now safely ensconced again in Blather HQ after some Scandinavian adventures, from which I returned relatively unscathed, save for the media exposure and arson accusations. Other points of note were the proliferation of mythical beasts adorning the beautiful architecture of Copenhagen (dragons with 12 breasts) and an odd column of black smokey stuff somewhere in the region of 10 degrees from the vertical, at about 35,000 feet (10,600 metres) above Jutland, seen from the window of the BlatherAir staff runabout.
Some interesting news has been professed to me this week, first up is the somewhat disquieting news that Nicholas Cage and his production company Saturn Films, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox, are to making a movie entitled ‘Tom Slick: Monster Hunter’, a comedy adventure based on the oil tycoon who spent some of the 1950s and much of his money looking for the Himalayan Yeti and North American Bigfoot. No mention has been made of casting for the parts of Slick, or for that matter, Irishman Peter Byrne, who led many of Slick’s expeditions, and was the perpetrator of the infamous ‘Yeti Hand Incident’, which also involved, believe it or not, actor Jimmy Stewart. No information is yet forthcoming about who is acting as advisors, but I’ll throw subtlety to the North Atlantic winds and recommend Loren Coleman’s ‘Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti’ (Faber & Faber 1989, ISBN: 0571129005) as the definitive guide to all things Slick and Byrne.
Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (Amazon.com)
Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (Amazon.co.uk)
Our Family Tree
Over the last week or so, reports have been filtering back from Sumatra concerning sightings by a British expedition backed by the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society of a large orange *upright* ape, possibly the elusive orang pendek, or literally, the ‘little man’. As a report in The Times puts it, this could ‘shake humankind’s unique view of itself as the only animal to walk upright and possess intelligence.’ No other ‘known’ primate possesses this talent, which has Blather considering how the Creationists (who promote a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis – WWWebster Dictionary) are going to handle this one, not to mention those who are adamant about our proposed evolution from African primates. The elusive orang oendek has been long believed in by the Sumatrans, who maintain that it is definitely not a gibbon or orang-utan, but it doesn’t seem to have been till 1917 that it made it’s way into scientific texts, thanks to Dr. Edward Jacobson, a Dutch settler and amateur naturalist living in Sumatra.
In 1923 (and not 1924 as The Times suggests), a Dutch settler by the name of Van Herwaarden had a rather bizarre encounter which concluded when he couldn’t bring himself to shoot what he thought to be a female orang pendek, ‘I suddenly felt that I was going to commit murder’. (See ‘On the Track of Unknown Animals ‘, Bernard Heuvelmans, ISBN 0-7103-0498-6)
In 1994, Debbie Martyr, a British journalist on the aforementioned expedition, spotted a ‘hairy orange creature’ walking upright about 200 yards away (180m), but before she could go for her camera, it had disappeared into the jungle. Casts of footprints and spoor have also been collected for analysis, but there appears to be financial difficulties involved in assessing their origin, due to financial pressures within the Institute of Zoology in London.
On October 14th, CNN put out a report entitled ‘Mysterious sea creature washes up on New Zealand beach ‘. They described it as looking like something like a ‘lump of rotting carpet’, but offered not hypothesis as to its origin, but ‘experts’ reckon that it’s a decomposing sperm whale. I’ve been looking for an update on this story, but all I could find on ‘The Press Online‘ was tales of beached decomposing sea lettuce and disembodied human feet. Perhaps there’s a connection? Do any of our readers in New Zealand have anything to add to this story? In the meantime, check out Strange Magazines collection of ‘Globsters‘, wonderful articles about smelly amorphous lumps of decomposing