“Giant huntsman spider” from Wikipedia

Walpurgisnacht:
What other creatures remain to be discovered?
-The Voice before the Void

“Giant huntsman spider”

Wikipedia

The giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda maxima, “the largest”) is a species of huntsman spider (Sparassidae), a family of large, fast spiders that actively hunt down prey. It is considered the world’s largest spider by leg span, which can reach up to 1 foot (30 centimeters).

1. Taxonomy and naming

The giant huntsman spider was discovered in a cave in Laos in 2001. Over a thousand new species of plant and animal were found between 1997 and 2007 in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

A representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature stated that “some of these species really have no business being recently discovered,” suggesting that it is surprising for such a large species to go undiscovered for so long.

giant huntsman spider Heteropoda maxima Sparassidae species Laos Greater Mekong river basin cave largest leg span Continue reading

“The Ash-tree” by M.R. James, with Digressions

Walpurgisnacht:
Vernal weird horror.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Ash-tree”

M.R. James

Everyone who has travelled over Eastern England knows the smaller country-houses with which it is studded—the rather dank little buildings, usually in the Italian style, surrounded with parks of some eighty to a hundred acres. For me they have always had a very strong attraction, with the grey paling of split oak, the noble trees, the meres with their reed-beds, and the line of distant woods. Then, I like the pillared portico—perhaps stuck on to a red-brick Queen Anne house which has been faced with stucco to bring it into line with the ‘Grecian’ taste of the end of the eighteenth century; the hall inside, going up to the roof, which hall ought always to be provided with a gallery and a small organ. I like the library, too, where you may find anything from a Psalter of the thirteenth century to a Shakespeare quarto. I like the pictures, of course; and perhaps most of all I like fancying what life in such a house was when it was first built, and in the piping times of landlords’ prosperity, and not least now, when, if money is not so plentiful, taste is more varied and life quite as interesting. I wish to have one of these houses, and enough money to keep it together and entertain my friends in it modestly.

But this is a digression. I have to tell you of a curious series of events which happened in such a house as I have tried to describe. Continue reading

“Why We Do Not Behave Like Human Beings” by Ralph Adams Cram, with Discussion

U.S. Inauguration Day:
“All the multiple manifestations of a free and democratic society fail of their predicted issue, and we find ourselves lapped in confusion and numb with disappointment and chagrin.”

“Why We Do Not Behave Like Human Beings”

Ralph Adams Cram

The Ancient doctrine of progressive evolution which became dominant during the last half of the nineteenth century, was, I suggest, next to the religious and philosophical dogmas of Dr. Calvin and the political and social doctrines of M. Rousseau, the most calamitous happening of the last millennium. In union with Protestantism and democracy, and apparently justified in its works by the amazing technological civilization fostered by coal, iron, steam and electricity, it is responsible for the present estate of society, from which there is no escape, it would seem, except through comprehensive calamity. Continue reading

“Acámbaro figures” from Wikipedia

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Seems legit.

“Acámbaro figures”

Wikipedia

The Acámbaro figures are several thousand small ceramic figurines allegedly found by Waldemar Julsrud in July 1944, in the Mexican city of Acámbaro, Guanajuato. The figurines are said by some to resemble dinosaurs and are sometimes cited as anachronisms. Some young-Earth creationists have adduced the existence of figurines as credible evidence for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, in an attempt to cast doubt on scientific dating methods and potentially offer support for a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative.

However, there is no known reliable evidence for the validity of the Acámbaro figures as actual ancient artifacts; and many have questioned the motives of those who argue for their validity.

1. History

The Acámbaro figures were uncovered by a German immigrant and hardware merchant named Waldemar Julsrud. Continue reading

“The Night Ocean” by R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

Halloween:
Amidst brooding philosophy, the pieces of the horror lie unobtrusively throughout the story for us to fit together. A superb story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Night Ocean”

R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

I went to Ellston Beach not only for the pleasures of sun and ocean, but to rest a weary mind. Since I knew no person in the little town, which thrives on summer vacationists and presents only blank windows during most of the year, there seemed no likelihood that I might be disturbed. This pleased me, for I did not wish to see anything but the expanse of pounding surf and the beach lying before my temporary home.

My long work of the summer was completed when I left the city, and the large mural design produced by it had been entered in the contest. It had taken me the bulk of the year to finish the painting, and when the last brush was cleaned I was no longer reluctant to yield to the claims of health and find rest and seclusion for a time. Indeed, when I had been a week on the beach I recalled only now and then the work whose success had so recently seemed all-important. There was no longer the old concern with a hundred complexities of colour and ornament; no longer the fear and mistrust of my ability to render a mental image actual, and turn by my own skill alone the dim-conceived idea into the careful draught of a design. And yet that which later befell me by the lonely shore may have grown solely from the mental constitution behind such concern and fear and mistrust. For I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer on seeking and dreaming; and who can say that such a nature does not open latent eyes sensitive to unsuspected worlds and orders of being? Continue reading

“Sex and sexuality in speculative fiction” from Wikipedia

Some of the most challenging of ideas.
-The Voice before the Void

“Sex and sexuality in speculative fiction”

Wikipedia

The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

Sexual themes are frequently used in science fiction or related genres. Such elements may include depictions of realistic sexual interactions in a science fictional setting, a protagonist with an alternative sexuality, or exploration of the varieties of sexual experience that deviate from the conventional.

1872 illustration by David Henry Friston in lesbian vampire story Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu 0Science fiction and fantasy have sometimes been more constrained than non-genre narrative forms in their depictions of sexuality and gender. However, speculative fiction also offers the freedom to imagine societies different from real-life cultures, making it an incisive tool to examine sexual bias and forcing the reader to reconsider his or her cultural assumptions. Continue reading

“Jesus H. Christ” from Wikipedia

Xmas Special:
Happy birthday, Harold.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Jesus H. Christ”

Wikipedia

This article is about the phrase. For the religious figure, see Jesus.

“Jesus H. Christ” is a common phrase used to refer to the religious figure Jesus Christ. It is a vulgarism and is uttered in anger, surprise, or frustration, though sometimes also with humorous intent. It is not used in the context of Christian worship.

Christian divine monogram iota eta sigma IHC JHC Jesus H Christ

1. History

The earliest use of the phrase is unknown, but in his autobiography, Mark Twain observed that it was in general use even in his childhood. Continue reading

“The Stuffed Owl” by James Thomas Fields

I adjusted the title and ending.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Stuffed Owl”

James Thomas Fields

edited by The Voice before the Void

“Who stuffed that white owl?” No one spoke in the shop:
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The Daily, the Herald, the Post, little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving. Continue reading

“Bloop” from Wikipedia

Let’s say it was ice. But it was Cthulhu.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bloop”

Wikipedia

Bloop was an ultra-low-frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. The sound was consistent with the noises generated by icequakes in large icebergs, or large icebergs scraping the ocean floor.

Analysis

The sound’s source was roughly triangulated to 50°S 100°W (a remote point in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America), Continue reading

“Kentucky meat shower” from Wikipedia

Kentucky Meat Shower Anniversary Special:
A classic Fortean mystery.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Kentucky meat shower”

Wikipedia

The Kentucky meat shower was an incident where large chunks of red meat fell from the sky in a 100 by 50 yard area near Rankin, Bath County, Kentucky, for a period of several minutes on March 23, 1876. The phenomenon was reported by the New York Times and several other publications at the time.

Identifying the meat

Continue reading

“Talking with the Planets” by Nikola Tesla

Pop-culture cult-hero and legitimate science-hero Tesla reveals that he received electrical messages from, he believes, outer space.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Talking with the Planets”

Nikola Tesla

Collier’s Weekly Editor’s Note.–Mr. Nikola Tesla has accomplished some marvellous results in electrical discoveries. Now, with the dawn of the new century, he announces an achievement which will amaze the entire universe, and which eclipses the wildest dream of the most visionary scientist. He has received communication, he asserts, from out the great void of space; a call from the inhabitants of Mars, or Venus, or some other sister planet! And, furthermore, noted scientists, like Sir Norman Lockyer are disposed to agree with Mr. Tesla in his startling deductions.

Mr. Tesla has not only discovered many important principles, but most of his inventions are in practical use; notably in the harnessing of the Titanic forces of Niagara Falls, and the discovery of a new light by means of a vacuum tube. He has, he declares, solved the problem of telegraphing without wires or artificial conductors of any sort, using the earth as his medium. By means of this principle he expects to be able to send messages under the ocean, and to any distance on the earth’s surface. Interplanetary communication has interested him for years, and he sees no reason why we should not soon be within talking distance of Mars or of all worlds in the solar system that may be tenanted by intelligent beings.

At the request of Collier’s Weekly, Mr. Tesla presents herewith a frank statement of what he expects to accomplish and how he hopes to establish communication with the planets.

1901 02Feb 09 Collier's Weekly Talking with the Planets by Nikola Tesla - Mr Tesla's ExperimentThe idea of communicating with the inhabitants of other worlds is an old one. But for ages it has been regarded merely as a poet’s dream, forever unrealizable. And yet, Continue reading

“Masters and Johnson” from Wikipedia

Science boldly marching.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Masters and Johnson”

Wikipedia

The Masters and Johnson research team, composed of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 until the 1990s.

The work of Masters and Johnson began in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis and was continued at the independent not-for-profit research institution they founded in St. Louis in 1964, originally called the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation and renamed the Masters and Johnson Institute in 1978.

In the initial phase of Masters and Johnson’s studies, from 1957 until 1965, they recorded some of the first laboratory data on the anatomy and physiology of human sexual response based on direct observation of 382 women and 312 men in what they conservatively estimated to be “10,000 complete cycles of sexual response.” Continue reading

The Alien and the Human: 4 Novels by Stanisław Lem, from Wikipedia

Summarized narratives of four philosophical novels from the greatest science fiction writer. Spoilers.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Solaris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Solaris is a 1961 Polish science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem. The book is about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non-human species.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem science fiction classic Polish sci-fi novel book cover first English edition

Continue reading

“A Video Oddity” from The SCP Foundation

Wonderfully weird fiction.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“A Video Oddity”

The SCP Foundation

Anomalous Item 20224 is a series of eight DVD-Rs containing unedited footage of an apparent nature documentary, collectively labeled as “Documentary 23”. The picture and sound quality of the footage is substandard, with audio-visual distortions, cuts, and missing footage common throughout the recordings. The disks will play on any standard DVD player, and the contained footage has been copied and archived.

No anomalous effects have been recorded regarding the disks themselves or the act of watching them. While the possibility of a hoax exists, such an undertaking would require several million dollars to produce equivalent special effects.

Anomalous Item 20224 was recovered from █████ ███████ on July 16, 20██. The previous owner was unaware of the objects’ origins, claiming to have received them through an anonymous seller on the internet. Anomalous Item 20224 is currently stored in Low Security Vault 2 of Site 19.

The following transcript lists only a general overview of major events of note.

Disk 1

00:00 – Disk starts. The scene shown resembles the Serengeti Plain. Continue reading

“Jungly” by The Voice before the Void

Earth as a living being only further reduces the significance of humankind: an original poem.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Jungly”

The Voice before the Void

Where flowers burst flagrant with color and fragrance
Where berries ripe drip syrupy sweet
Where vines entwine and entangle the feet
Where panther-cats purple-black slink sleek
Through the lushness, through the greenness, through the dampness, through the sunless darkness beneath the canopy
Where life is so over-abundant, growing, grappling, crushing, strangling
Where life is super-abundant, death is also
Fetid death, rank death, rotting death, constant death
The jungle floor is wet with constant decaying, constant renewing
With the constant cycling of life
The components of the jungle cycle
like cells

And, beyond, the jungle itself cycles, dies and renews
Merely on a broader timescale

And beyond that, the whole planet cycles itself
Its jungles and forests and oceans, organs; their components, mere cells

We pitiable people

“Mold of the Earth” by Boleslaw Prus

Prus limns a disquieting analogy.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Mold of the Earth”

Bolesław Prus

translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek

I happened one time to be in Puławy with a certain botanist. We were seating ourselves by the Temple of the Sibyl on a bench next to a boulder grown over with mosses or molds which my learned companion had been studying for some years.

I asked what he found of interest in the irregular splotches of beige, grey, green, yellow or red.

He looked at me doubtfully but, persuaded that he had before him an uninitiate, he proceeded to explain: Continue reading