Charles Stross brings home just how weirdly different the world has become in the last 30 years. Using as his text an incident involving splattered virtual gnomes. A fact which sort of underscores his point.
Is the tall, slender bridal figure in the window a richly detailed shop’s dummy or, as a local legend says, the decades-old embalmed corpse of the former store owner’s daughter?.
The story includes a photo of the mannequin—strangely, taken from the nose up—and judging from what we can see, that is indeed one creepy-looking dummy. I’m not surprised that the thing has inspired such wild rumors. It’s almost tailor-made to fall into the uncanny valley.
…Because you could lose your job.
>Wade Gallegos of Des Moines was fired in September from Neighborhood Patrol of Urbandale, a security company where he had worked for about five weeks. According to state records, Gallegos was in a guard house outside a gated community on the night of Sept. 11 when he reported seeing a group of apparitions standing near a car.
>Gallegos summoned a co-worker and supervisor. While the two men were there, Gallegos said he still could see the ghosts, although the other men assured him they could see nothing. The supervisor saw no evidence of drinking or drug use; five hours later he fired Gallegos.
This drives me nuts when it happens in fiction. Someone has a crazy story, and the first thing they do is report it to the authorities. Never mind how it *sounds.* They rush to spill their guts about the alien brain parasites, or the secret conspiratorial cabal of conspirators, or the sewer monster dragging victims headfirst into storm drains. And they’re shocked, *shocked* when the police treat them like lobotomy patients.
Of course, in those stories there usually *are* alien brain parasites. Somehow I don’t think this guy has that excuse. Which makes it doubly amazing that he was willing to resort to the strategy that has caused generations of readers and moviegoers to smack themselves on the foreheads and cry “No, don’t do *that!*”
Technorati Tags: ghosts
Jessica Harper of Bettendorf said she moved out of 2623 Pershing Ave., Davenport, on Sept. 29 and left behind a box containing the device, which the Quad-City Bomb Squad investigated Sunday.
She said a friend of her mother who lives in Colorado sent the box about a year ago, but they never bothered to open it or throw it away.
“He was a little off his rocker,” Harper said of the friend. “He’s an astrologer who believes aliens live under the ground.”
Harper said the device was supposed to set off vibrations that would keep aliens away.
The aliens aren’t kept away by the vibrations. They stay away because they’re *scared of bombs.*
It’s true. The next time aliens tunnel into your basement, just have a few bomblike objects lying around. They’ll scream and run around and have fainting fits. One time I showed an alien a bowling ball with a string tied to it, and it gave him a permanent heart murmur.
>Animal control officials are investigating reports of at least one dead dove and drunken pigeons in downtown Iowa City.
You know those new-agey, feel-good stories about encounters with angels? The Daily Iowan ran one on page two last week. This one had a few extra details you don’t usually hear:
> Four beers, two glasses of wine, 35 shots, and a fifth of vodka in less than two hours might translate into a rough night for most, but for one former Iowa City resident, it caused an out-of-body experience that he said gave him the ability to communicate with angels.
As well it might.
> Since being visited by seven angels while his body lay surrounded in vomit on the bathroom floor of a Coralville restaurant almost two decades ago, Mark Patterson contends, he has been able to hear the voices of angels hinting at the right decisions in his life.
As he “floated above his body in the Cantebury Inn, 704 First Ave., where he could see his body and his friends in the next room,”
> “I heard dolphins clicking, and there was this really white light with a blue hue,” said Patterson, now 35. “Then I saw seven angels, and they took me into a building. They were your traditional angels with wings and everything. They were 14 feet tall, and they were all females.”
He went on to receive a degree in psychiatry.
>Since 1995, Patterson has spoken at religious-science churches, where, he said, he is usually greeted by silence as people sit in shock after his stories.
It doesn’t surprise me at all.
Like on a ghost story website. The relevant part starts about halfway down the page.
As a side note, this page features what must rank among the most transcendently wonderful paragraphs on the entire internet:
> At the time, I lived on my own in a triple wide trailer that had apparently been home to more than one death. However, they were all caused by natural causes. In other words, I was never worried about a powerful rage gripping the home and killing all whom entered.