Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Come Prepared

The time has come for 2009's curtain call, and with its completion comes an end to a decade that was inordinately full of strife and rank idiocy. We at the Hyper Kitchen look forward to the arrival of 2010 (the year we make contact), and the promise of better times ahead. Still, to mark the passing of this decade that still defies all attempts at naming, we sought a monster that embodies the last ten years. Without further dalliance, we return to the world of dreck cinema to bring to you: the Incredible Melting Man.

The eponymous star of a movie unleashed by American-International Pictures in 1977, the Incredible Melting Man was once handsome mustachioed astronaut Steve West; leader of a NASA mission to the rings of Saturn. After an ill-defined space catastrophe kills the rest of the crew, West returns to Earth in a injured, comatose state. He awakens later and finds that his body is rapidly deteriorating into slime. Crazed by his condition, West escapes from the hospital and goes on a rampage, as he now needs human blood to keep himself from completely decomposing. In a blink of an eye, he transforms into a drippy, skull-faced monster that "gets stronger as he melts." A bunch've cops, along with West's old friend Dr. Ted Nelson, try to thwart the slime-covered fiend. In a climax that somehow blends tragedy, absurdity, and pure unpleasantness, the Incredible Melting Man liquifies into a puddle of red glop that is subsequently mopped-up by a janitor the following morning. In the closing credits, we hear that NASA (aparently unaware of the whole fiasco) plans to send another team of astronauts to the rings of Saturn

Will they never learn?

The flick was essentially a more gruesome (and arguably more inept) version of 1959's First Man Into Space. It did feature special make-up effects by the now world famous Rick Baker, along with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Jonathan Demme, but beyond that, the Melting Man is not really incredible at all. Just another guy covered in slime.

Would you like to know more?
-Watch this trailer. It will show you everything you need to know.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


In 1976, Harold McCluskey was a chemical technician for the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant of Washington state. He was sixty-four years old at the time. The plant had been refining weapons grade plutonium since the days of the Manhatten Project, supplying some of the radioactive material for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

On August 30th, McCluskey had just returned to work after a four month strike had halted production. During a fairly routine day, McCluskey noticed smoke at his work station and tried to run. Unfortunately he wasn't quick enough and he was caught in an explosion. Shrapnel-like flecks of cracked resin and broken glass were hurled into McCluskey's face and neck, along with a hot blast of nitric acid. Worse yet, McCluskey had been exposed to americium 241, a radioactive waste-substance that was produced by the plutonium refinement. The americium sank into his skin. McCluskey was found by his fellow workers and immediately taken to an on-site emergency center. Once there, it was discovered that his contamination was far greater than anticipated.

McCluskey had absorbed 500 times the "occupational standard" of americium 241, and consequently posed a severe exposure risk to all other people. They had no choice but to hold him in strict quarantine, while he underwent an intense decontamination procedure. The doctors working on him had to wear protective uniforms. He was called "the Atomic Man."

After a gruelling five months, McCluskey's radiation levels had been depleted by 80% and he was finally released. Having heard of his scarred face and fearful of lingering radioactivity, McCluskey's community shunned him. It took the insistence of the local minister to convince even his friends that it was safe to be around him. He also had to adapt to vision problems stemming from eye injuries he sustained in the explosion. A lawsuit for one million in damages failed, although he did receive a $275,000 settlement and paid medical expenses. Throughout all of this, McCluskey was stoic. Remarkably, he remained a proponent of the nuclear industry until he died at age 75 of a heart attack.

Meanwhile, 53 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste remain on the site of the deactivated Finishing Plant. McCluskey may not be the last "Atomic Man" from Hanford, although it's doubtful that any successors will live as long.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this account of McCluskey by the doctor who treated him.
-Read this timeline of Hanford area plutonium manufacturing

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Sheep of Skull Valley

Skull Valley, Utah, is a tiny Indian Reservation about fifty miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Its sparse population is largely comprised of the Goshute Tribe and was once the home of the Skull Valley Livestock Company. The area is a remote, desert town. The only major landmark is the nearby US Army science facility referred to as the Dugway Proving Ground. First constructed in 1941, the facility was the site of top-secret weapons research programs.

The place was a hell-hole.

The primary avenues of research were the development of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons. Artillery loaded with nerve agents and blister agents were test fired, and pools of nerve agents were incinerated in massive open pits. Cultures of anthrax were grown and tested on animals. So-called "dirty bombs" were constructed and deliberately detonated. Nuclear reactors were assembled and allowed to melt-down, all to study the effects. The experiments numbered in the thousands. It was thought that the barren desert environment afforded them the space to conduct these dangerous, horrific tests without any risk of accidental contamination.

On March 13th, 1968, a routine test was conducted without incident. VX nerve gas was sprayed out from a jet in a designated area twenty-five miles away from Skull Valley. The jet returned to the Proving Ground and the researchers continued with their work. Unknown to anyone, the switch-off valve in the spray nozzle had been broken. The jet had continued to spray VX into the air even after it had departed from the designated test site. Later, phones around the base were ringing off the hook.

It took several days to determine how many sheep had died, but the total is thought to be 6,400. The US Army admitted they had been experimenting with nerve gas, but initially denied any responsibility for the deaths. With the nature of the Dugway Proving Ground exposed for all to see, the public backlash was considerable. Then President Nixon issued a ban on open-air chemical weapon testing the following year, and the US Army Chemical Corp was close to dissolution. However, the Proving Ground remained in operation. The full findings from the Army's investigation of the event were not declassified until 1998.

The U.S. General Accounting Office has since acknowledged that additional radioactive and bacterial contamination from the Proving Ground is likely, although it is impossible to determine how many people in Skull Valley and elsewhere were harmed. Meanwhile, the Proving Ground has been recently used by US Army Special Forces to train troops for the War in Afghanistan.

Would you like to know more?
Read "Nobody Here But Us Dead Sheep" from Life Magazine, 1969
Read "Skull Valley's Nerve Gas Neighbors
-Read "Toxic Utah"
-Listen to this story from All Things Considered, 1998

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shadow over Antwerp

The cryptozoological specimen to the right is known as a Jenny Haniver. While it may look like it washed up out of some nightmare, it's actually just a skate-fish (modified through a little creative taxidermy). Hanivers have been traced back to 16th century Antwerp, where sailors would carve up skates into little monstrosities and sell them to visitors from abroad. Some were made to look like tiny dragons and others resembled terrifying aquatic angels. Some were even billed as the preserved bodies of demons. The most common, however, looked like grotesque little people. They were all passed off as genuine creatures; strange fish from the deepest depths of the ocean.

Today, Hanivers are valued for their connection to sailing folklore and for their novelty value. Along with the Jackalope and the Fiji Mermaid, they belong to a proud tradition of creature-making.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this article about Jenny Haniver and other aquatic creatures
-Purchase your very own Jenny Haniver for a mere $75.

At first sight

Monday, November 30, 2009

Beauty Killed the Beast

November is about to flatline and accordingly, it's time to serve up another monster for your reading pleasure. We at the Hyper Kitchen are proud to introduce the tragic Tarasque, a creature from the medieval folklore of France.

According to legend, the Tarasque had an especially impressive lineage, as it was the spawn of the biblical Leviathan (which, depending on who you ask, was either a colossal sea-serpent or a monstrous fish). Despite its aquatic parentage, the Tarasque was strictly landlocked. It crawled on six, bear-like legs and had the head of a lion. Its shaggy, scaly body was protected by an enormous tortoise shell and its tail had the deadly sting of a scorpion. The Tarasque wandered the countryside of Nerluc, Gaul, laying waste to villages and devouring those poor bastards who tried to stop it. One day, while the Tarasque was busy gnawing on the bones of its latest victim, the beast was discovered by the wandering Saint Martha. Rather than fleeing in terror, Martha bathed the Tarasque in holy water and showed it the cross. The power of Christ compelled the savage Tarasque to abandon its evil ways.

Entirely tame, the Tarasque followed Martha back to Nerluc. The villagers, horrified at the monster's arrival, hurled their spears. Turning the other cheek as Jesus would have done, the Tarasque never fought back, and perished from their injuries. Saint Martha admonished the villagers for slaying the monster, and she promptly converted the lot of them to Christianity. The now pious villagers sought to repent for their actions and re-named their village in honor of the murdered monster. Thus the city of Tarascon was founded. To this day, the inhabitants of Tarascon celebrate the Tarasque on the last Sunday of every June, and it can also be seen on their official flag.
Still, let this be a warning: beware of strange women bearing holy water. You'll wind up being speared to death.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Breathe No Evil

Fashion meets practicality in our new winter line of gas-filtration helmets. Protects against most major blistering agents and neurotoxins. Buy yours today!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cold Blood

While October has long since been consigned to the void, the Chefs of the Hyper Kitchen neglected to post that month's installment of our world-famous Monster of the Month series. Many of our staff were mobbed by outraged fans and coarse language was used. Fearing for our lives, we got to work.

And so, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, meet Gustave the Crocodile. Gustave is thought to have attacked and eaten more than one hundred people, in addition to a fully-grown hippo and several wildebeests. Hailing from Burundi, where crocodiles are a common sight, Gustave is estimated to weigh in at one ton and said to stretch for twenty feet, making it the largest crocodile ever found in Africa. No one has ever gotten close enough to make exact measurements, as Gustave has defied capture for nearly ten years after his first official sighting. For a crocodile, Gustave has demonstrated unusual cunning. It's avoided traps and has survived hails of machine-gun fire, although sustaining several scars in the process.

Despite having come to prominence in 1998, Gustave is thought to be around sixty years old judging by its size. Its notoriety has ensured his place in the folklore of the Lake Tanganyika region. The already considerable body-count has been exaggerated to legendary levels, and it is common to hear stories of Gustave having eaten more than five hundred people. Fisherman insist that the crocodile deliberately seeks out humans to eat. Some even assert that it no longer kills merely for food, but actually stalks and slays men and women for pleasure.

Gustave was given its name from Patrice Faye, a Frenchman and self-educated wildlife expert who had been living in Burundi and heard the stories of the killer crocodile. While he was initially skeptical of these claims, Faye came to agree the Gustave was something more than an ordinary crocodile and this has earned him derision in some circles. Nevertheless, Faye is perhaps the leading authority of Gustave and has made several attempts to capture or kill the beast. Faye's quest has earned him unkind comparisons to Captain Ahab, though his struggle against the creature does have a certain epic quality to it.

Last spotted in January, 2009, there hasn't been an attack recorded for some time. Perhaps Gustave died and its massive body is crumpled on some shore somewhere. Maybe it departed for other waters, having grown weary of its battle with Faye. Or maybe it's just lying in mud, waiting for some unlucky fisherman or swimmer.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mutually Assured Destruction

As seen on TV!

All Tomorrow's Architects

After the watching his construction company go bankrupt, losing his home, and finally losing his daughter to spinal meningitis, Buckminster Fuller spent much of 1920's drunk. He considered killing himself, but somehow found the resolve to continue living. He decided to transform his own life into an experiment; an attempt to determine how much positive change a man could bring to the world. While this experiment was hardly traditional, the results indicate even one man can have considerable, lasting impact.

Fuller, a certified machinist, had a lifelong interest in design and engineering. As a child, he had assembled small boats and even attempted to construct "flying machines" (although none of the latter met with success). Despite his scientific aptitude, he was expelled from Harvard twice.

After getting a job as an interior decorator at a restaurant, Fuller began work on a scale model of a futuristic home. The house (which resembled a hybrid of air-stream trailer, teapot, and flying saucer) was designed for ease in assemblage and energy-efficiency. Searching for a unique name for the design, Fuller consulted an advertising expert who helped him develop the catchy term Dymaxion (for Dynamic Maximum Tension). Fuller displayed his model at the restaurant, which caught the eye of architect Isamu Noguchi. The two men became friends and together the developed a design for the three-wheeled Dymaxion Car. Meanwhile, Fuller was commissioned by the Army to build Dymaxion homes.

By 1945, Fuller was an established, if unorthodox, figure in the world of engineering and earned a living as a lecturer. He became interested in the architectural potential of the geodesic dome, building his first prototype at Bennington College of Vermont. Subsequent models proved the dome's structural strength, and won more attention from the Army. Within a few years, geodesic domes became a common feature in architecture all over the world.

Fuller, meanwhile, went on to become an early proponent of sustainability and alternative energy, while famously declaring war to be "obsolete." He was also unflinchingly eccentric in a time when it could damage one's career. He created his own distinct vocabulary, wore three watches (each set to a different time-zone) and often wore pages of newspaper between shirts to keep warm during long airplane flights. All of this endeared him to many counter-culture figures, particularly the inhabitants of the Drop City commune.

In addition to his design work, Fuller devoted much of his time to an experiment that expanded upon a journal he had started back in 1915. It was called the the Dymaxion Chornofile, and it consisted of an meticulous, comprehensive record of his daily activities, which he updated every fifteen minutes under optimum conditions. The Chronofile contained copies of letters, receipts, newspaper clippings, invoices, and design notes and sketches. He added to the Chronofile until his death in 1983, suffering a fatal heart attack while visiting his cancer-stricken, comatose wife. By that point, the Chronofile had grown to a total length of 270 feet and it remains the most complete record of a human life ever created; a record of curiosity and innovative thought.

Would you like to know more?
-Read more about the Dymaxion Chronofile here.
-Read about Fuller at the Synchronofile.

Let me tell you about my super-fun weekend

Whew! Boy oh boy, was that ever a great party. Halloween has always been the favorite holiday amongst the staff of the Hyper Kitchen and the streets ran red with fake blood and candy-corn that night! Truthfully I just woke up today, buried under a pile of leaves and unable to remove my diving-helmet. My last memory was of seeing Wrong Turn (the horror movie equivalent of a meal at Denny's), followed by an actual meal at Denny's. Let me tell you, their Ultimate Breakfast isn't all it's cracked up to be.

With the others unaccounted for, it's fallen upon me to check up on the site. Please bear with me as I reacquaint myself here...


It's Thursday. I must've been out cold for much longer than I thought.

And October had no Monster of the Month entry.

Hurmnh. Well, I'd better get to work.

Friday, October 30, 2009

An inverted pup-tent affair

IT overcome its short stature! IT challenged the cruel heightism of the world!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evolution is a disease

During his research on coelacanths, Professor Donald Blake accidentally exposes himself to the fish's blood and undergoes a rapid devolution into a brutal ape-man. You just couldn't do something like that in today's economy.

The Monster Museum

The Vrolik Museum is housed in the Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and contains nearly 500 animal and human specimens on display. Every specimen has some anatomical abnormality; congenital deformities that rendered the majority unable to survive past their birth. The various warped forms, usually floating in preservative fluid, are astoundingly varied. At the museum, one can see microcephalics, conjoined twins, ancephalics, dysmeliacs, and all the rest. The study of such developmental defects is called teratology, which literally means "the study of monsters."

Still, this is no mere freakshow. This collection (largely amassed by the father and son team of Professors Girard and Willem Vrolik) has supplied biologists and medical scientists key information about the morphological development.

Would you like to know more?
-Visit to University of Amsterdam's page for Vrolik Museum
-View this set of photos of Vrolik exhibits.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Honesty in Advertising

-Alleged newspaper ad placed by Sir Ernest Shackleton for his Antarctic expedition

Phase IV has come at last

We're back. We'd never really leave you, you know.

Plus, we've learned some mighty interesting things. For instance, did you happen to catch the discovery of a new global superorganism? We'll give you the run-down.

The Argentine Ant (which as you may have surmised originates from South America) has been transported all over the globe by unwitting humans. They're chiefly known for two things: 1). their aggression towards native insects and 2). their titanic colonies. There are colonies in Europe, America, and Japan that have a combined size of more than four-thousand miles in length. There is no solidarity amongst the Argentine Ants. These are fiercely tribalistic insects and inter-colony cooperation is non-existent.

However, recent observations by Japanese scientists suggests that the largest Argentine Ant colonies are in fact components of an even larger mega-colony. By taking ants taken from several different locations across the world and putting them in the same chamber, they found that the ants did not display the customary belligerence, as if they were all close relatives. The implication is that this insect society is considerably vast and comparable to human society in planetary scope.

We'd best be vigilante.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this BBC article
-Watch this scientific analysis of the ant mega-colony

Lease Holder Addendum: This is post number 88, which is the same number of keys on a piano. Good to know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Better living through chemistry

WD-40. An essential item for toolboxes across America. It's perfect for loosening up hinges, lubricating joints, and cleaning off rust and dirt. It also has countless other uses around the house, garage, and workshop. Additionally, small quantities have been shown to cure the rickets. Despite its utility and ubiquity, few would guess that this product owes its existence to the space race.

During the days of the Mercury space missions in the early fifties, the Atlas rockets used in those launches were highly vulnerable to rust.

Norm Larsen, a self-taught chemist from Chicago, was one of many who attempted to fix the problem. After trying out 39 variations of a chemical water displacer, Larsen concocted a successful formula on the 40th try and founded the Rocket Chemical Company to market his product. General Dynamics, the manufacturer of the Atlas rockets, was soon using Larsen's creation. It was called WD-40, for "Water Displacer-40."

Sadly, the Rocket Chemical Company changed it's name to the far more prosaic WD-40 Company in 1969. To this day, the exact composition of WD-40 remains unknown, much like the secret recipe for Coca-Cola.

This may be more than coincidence.

Would you like to know more?
-Listen to this BBC World Service report
-Visit WD-40's homepage and behold the 2000 uses of this fine product.

Beautiful Scissor Smile

The days are flying past at a terrifying rate, and once again it is time for the Hyper Kitchen to turn the spotlight on a new monstrosity for your reading pleasure. In past installments of our Monster of the Month series, we've mainly focused upon creatures, maniacs, and oddities from the Americas and Europe. With the notable exception of the sea-dwelling Vampire Squid from Hell, we've remained firmly within the Western Hemisphere. Well, no more we say! There's a whole planet of freaks out there and it's time we broadened our scope. So, this September, we journey to the birthplace of the Subaru Legacy:

(not Brazil)

While Japan is perhaps best known in the West for their radioactive reptiles, vicious phantom children, and problematic octopi, we decided to look for a more obscure monster. Our lovely discovery is known as the Kuchisake-onna, which in English essentially "Slit-Mouthed Woman" or "Severed Mouth Woman." The original legend of the Kuchisake-onna dates to the Heian period, and tells of a samurai who discovers his gorgeous wife has been sleeping with another man. Insane with rage, the samurai uses his sword to slices her mouth open from ear to ear before killing her. Years later, unlucky travelers would be attacked her vengeful spirit, replete with a ghastly torn mouth.

The ghost story was passed down through the generations and underwent many permutations. By the mid-seventies, it had been re-vamped into an urban legend, circulating amongst the terrified children of the era. In this new version, Kuchisake-onna was a woman clad in a raincoat and surgical mask (the latter item not uncommon in the germ-conscious Japan). Found wandering the city at night, she would approach passers-by and ask if them if they thought she was beautiful. To those who answered "yes", she would tear off her mask and reveal her horrific visage. Then she'd proceed to murder the stranger, using a pair of scissors to slice her victim's face to match her own.

And if they answered "no?" Well, those poor souls were carved up on the spot. The only way to ward off the Kuchisake-onna was to look upon her face without showing fear and reply "you're average." This clever tactic would confuse the scar-faced psychopath long enough for one to make a hasty retreat.

This modern iteration of the Kuchisake-onna is a fairly well-known monster in Japan, analogous to the Hook Hand of American urban-legends. She has appeared in various manga and anime series, and even a few movies. Her depictions range from the comical...

To the grotesque.

Oh sweet lord, that will haunt our nightmares forever. Fortunately, here at the Kitchen we are prepared to defend ourselves with fondue forks if need be.

Would you like to know more?
-Read about the Kuchisake-onna and other classic Japanese urban legends in this article
-Know Japanese? Try this.
-Watch this goofy trailer for the Kuchisake-onna movie , aka "Carved"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We will restore picture clarity in a few moments.

They say that the first year of any restaurant is the most difficult, and this also holds true for the allegorical lunch-house of learning that is the Hyper Kitchen. Thanks to some unforeseen technical difficulties, we've been unable to post new stories on the Hyper Kitchen for a while now. But fear not! Thanks to eleven fire-extinguishers and a half-full box of baking soda, the situation is well under hand. Exciting food for the thought is on it's way. Be prepared.

Gnarh! Gnargh Gnargh!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy moments in art!

At age 73, a sickly Goya purchased a small house by the banks of Manzanares River and produced fourteen oil paintings directly on the walls of his new home. They were called The Black Paintings as each had unsettling subject matter. The most famous of these paintings was Saturn Devouring his Children, depicting a moment from Greco-Roman mythology in which Saturn (or Kronos) eats his offspring to prevent them from eventually usurping his mastery of the universe. Jupiter (or Zeus) escaped this fate of course, but that's for another day. The painting is wonderfully gruesome, particularly in the partially eaten headless body and the wide, almost Muppet-like, eyes of Saturn.

Saturn Devouring his Children is on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Postcards are available in the lobby.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Utopia! Huzzah!

Behold the Morris Chair. One of first recliners, it was unveiled in England in 1866, and has since become a common item in living rooms across the globe. Few would guess that the chair's inventor, the Oxford-educated William Morris, was the author of early time-travel novels. In his most famous work, News from Nowhere, Morris depicts the then far-off future of the 21st century. His vision of tomorrow was heavily informed by his interests in medieval culture and socialism, and unsurprisingly it's radically unlike the world that we live in.

Morris' perfect society contains idealism and tedium in equal measure. In his version of the 21st century, there is no capitalism, poverty, religion, or social division. National governments are non-existent and regions are sub-divided into small, self-governed villages (each maintaining the Athenian ideal of democracy). It certainly sounds pleasant, but there's a catch. Civilization has taken on a form similar to that of a Renaissance fair, and life revolves around the production of "beautiful" handmade crafts. Machinery is frowned upon and idle-hands are not tolerated. Laziness is tantamount to mental illness. Additionally: goods and supplies are kept in warehouses managed by children. Everyone knows that children are not to be trusted, and this arrangement could only lead to disaster.

Many of Morris' predictions probably seem fanciful, but he was well aware how unlikely it was that his future would come to pass. The title, News from Nowhere, is an allusion to the term "utopia." While it has come to mean a perfect society, utopia is literally translated from Greek as "no place." The world depicted in his book was meant to be an ideal to strive for and not necessarily an achievable model. Ultimately, however, the world he envisioned sounds like an annoying place and unworthy of any serious consideration. Just as there are far more comfortable places to sit than the Morris chair, there are multitudes of better utopias to emulate.

But don't take my word for it! You can read about it in a book!
-Source: Wallace, Irving and Wallechinsky, David. (1975). "Utopia." The People's Almanac.1422: pp.1-10. ISBN:0-385-04060-1. Buy it here for a single penny. Jesus Christ, that's a bargain.

Soon the whole world will know my name

Don't touch that dial, folks. Touching the dial will result in the total destruction of your village.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Knowing is Half the Battle

According to our sources, the most common keyword searches that have lead people to the hallowed halls of the Hyper-Kitchen have been
  1. "Men's leopard print speedos"
  2. "Leopard print speedos"
  3. "Animal print speedos"
We at the Kitchen are proud to have dominated the all-important male jungle-themed-speedo-enthusiast demographic and hope that we parlay this accomplishment to ever greater readership.

Lost: One 7,600 pound hydrogen bomb. Answers to "Sparky."

There is a Mark-15 nuclear bomb off the coast of Georgia, somewhere out in Wassaw Sound. The bomb contains 400 pounds of explosives, along with uranium and possibly plutonium material. It is 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Despite three major search attempts, it has defied retrieval for more than half a century.

Back in 1958, a B-47 bomber took off from Florida on a secret training mission. The plane was piloted by Colonel Howard Richardon, and the flight was to serve as a test run for hypothetical long-range bombings against Russia. In an effort to make the simulation as real as possible, it was decided that the plane would carry a live nuclear weapon.

All went along normally until Richardson's bomber collided with an F-86 above the border between Georgia and North Carolina. The bomber sustained critical damage; its engine almost being torn off. While the pilot from the F-86 safely ejected from his wrecked aircraft, Richardson and his co-pilot didn't have that option on account of the explosive cargo they were carrying. An attempt at a crash landing might've resulted in a catastrophic accidental detonation. With no other choice, Richardson decided to jettison it. Flying low, he dropped the bomb in the swamps near Tybee Island and safely landed at Hunter Army Air Field. Richardson was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Naturally, dropping a H-Bomb in American waters was a public relations disaster for the military, so initial reports withheld important details of the event, insisting that only a "part" of a bomb had been dropped. As their search attempts yielded nothing, they gradually acknowledged that a complete weapon had been lost, and it has been only recently revealed that this bomb was live. The pentagon continues to insist that a detonation would be impossible, but these claims have been contradicted by other military officials. Meanwhile, Georgian residents are understandably wary about their unwanted nuclear neighbor.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this BBC article
-"There's an H-Bomb in Our Swamp"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Killer Flesh

You thought it was dead.

But they never found the body.

Now, it has returned!

It's out for blood!

Yes readers, it's that time once again for the Monster of the Month. August's creature is certainly the most unusual that the Hyper Kitchen has ever come across. Today's dish is offal of a terrifying variety. It is our pleasure to introduce to you: the Chicken Heart.
The Chicken Heart was featured in a 1937 episode of the old time radio program Lights Out. Originally produced by NBC, Lights Out was an anthology of horror stories and weird tales. The program was known for bizarre subject matter, including telepathic amoebas and a mysterious fog that turned people inside out. Characters were often messily devoured, torn apart, dismembered, or burned alive and Lights Out depicted these scenes replete with gruesome sound-effects.

It attained considerable popularity.

In one of its most well-known episodes (penned by future television and film writer Arch Oboler) a disembodied chicken heart is kept alive and beating at the "Research Institute" under the study of one Dr. Alberts. For reasons that are not elaborated upon, the Chicken Heart begins to grow uncontrollably, doubling in mass every hour. Eventually the Heart expands to grotesque size and has become a sprawling mass of uncoordinated "cannibal flesh" that consumes everyone in reach. Dr. Alberts urges city officials to evacuate the area and bomb the Chicken Heart, but his warnings are ignored. The Heart has sprouted "tentacles of protoplasm" that ensnare the guns of the National Guardsmen, and then the Guardsmen themselves. At the end of the episode, the Chicken Heart has nearly crushed the entire city under its titanic bulk and it has eaten most of the inhabitants. As Dr. Alberts attempts to escape in an airplane, the deafening beat of the Chicken Heart can be heard echoing through the ruined city. The good doctor and his pilot meet their doom after the plane's engine cuts out and they plummet straight into the pulsating ocean of meat.

Even today, when carnivorous blobs and city-wrecking freaks have become commonplace, the Chicken Heart towers above the competition as a bizarre and truly original monster. However, it may very well have faded into obscurity had it not been for comedian Bill Cosby. Having listened to Lights Out as a young boy, the Chicken Heart made such an impression on Cosby that he devoted a segment to the beast on his 1966 album Wonderfulness. Thanks to his parodic re-telling of the episode, the Chicken Heart endures.

It's a weird world, isn't it?

Would you like to know more?
You can listen the chicken heart program in its entirety here

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Must Fear the Termite

Anyone who has traveled on Interstate 95 through Providence, Rhode Island, is familiar with the above giant insect. Largely known as "the Big Blue Bug," the four-thousand pound fiberglass termite has occasionally gone by the droll moniker of "Nibbles Woodaway." It was originally constructed in 1980 to serve as a unique advertisement for an extermination company, but the the cobalt termite has since become an iconic piece of roadside Americana. We at the Hyper Kitchen feel that more buildings should be adorned with colossal bug statues if we want to remain competitive in the twenty-first century world economy.

Would you like to know more?
-Visit New England Pest Control's office website

Monday, August 17, 2009

And I thought this was a glamorous job

Naraka is the underworld in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist mythologies. Unlike Western hells, in which sinners sizzle in hellfire for eternity, Naraka is only a temporary cleansing state of existence, in which misdeeds are met with punishment and then the damned are returned to the realm of the living. With that being said, it still looks absolutely miserable. Let this be a warning to all you readers who like debauchery: embrace virtue or be made into soup.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What lies beneath the Burmuda Triangle? Who killed JFK?

What was Captain Stewart's mistake?
For the answer to this story, turn to page 82.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who built the pyramids? Who killed the dinosaurs?

Write your answer on a postcard and mail it to your nearest Hyper Kitchen Resource Center,

Thursday, August 06, 2009


You're looking at the man with the highest IQ ever measured. His name was Herman Kahn. Joining RAND in 1947 (two years after the detonation of the first atomic-bombs) Kahn worked with scientists such as Edward Teller and Hans Bethe to develop more-powerful nuclear weaponry, ultimately producing the H-Bomb. When it became clear that the growing conflict between the United States and Soviet Union could escalate into a nuclear exchange, Kahn was one of the many minds enlisted by the American government to develop strategy for such an exchange. His job entailed contemplating scenarios of unspeakable destruction with clinical detachment and professionalism.

In 1960, he wrote a book on the subject called On Thermonuclear War. The principle assertion of the book was that a nuclear war was not only likely, but basically unavoidable given the escalating conflict between the superpowers. But Kahn insisted such a prospect was not as apocalyptic as one might think, and indeed a nuclear war could be be a winnable war. Kahn believed that while the devastation would be beyond human comprehension, (with many millions of people dead or poisoned and entire cities reduced to ash) mankind had previously endured torturous eras and emerged strong and stable. The medieval Black Plague was cited as an example. His projections of post-nuclear America depicted a nation where fallout was a daily inconvenience and deformed, irradiated babies were an unfortunate part of ordinary life. Such horror, according to Kahn, "would not preclude normal and happy lives for the majority of survivors and their descendants."

Despite reasoning that can only be called at best spurious and at worst insane, On Thermonuclear War was highly influential in shaping America's nuclear policy. Kahn emerged as one of the most prestigious cold war minds, working for various think-tanks in the ensuing decades. He died in 1983 of a massive stroke. While his name is not widely known amongst the public, he has an appropriate cultural legacy, providing the main inspiration for the frenzied Dr. Strangelove.

Would you like to know more?
-Read Kahn's "The Nature and Feasibility of War and Deterrence"
-Read this New Yorker review of "The Worlds of Herman Kahn"

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Real men wear leopard print speedos

Angelo Siciliano was born in Italy in 1892, and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, twelve years later. A scrawny youth, Siciliano claimed to have been frequently harassed by neighborhood bullies. He became interested in fitness and bodybuilding, and dabbled in gymnastics at the YMCA. Unable to afford exercise equipment of his own, he was forced to find alternative methods. While visiting the zoo, he saw a tiger pacing about its cage and observed its mighty musculature. Inspired, he developed his own method of exercise, Dynamic Tension. The method was comprised of tensing one's muscles and then moving against that tension. It apparently worked quite well as by 1921 he was a circus strongman, having changed his name to Charles Atlas. The following year, he authored a comprehensive fitness program and began to market Dynamic Tension to the 97-pound weaklings of America. One of the ways he reached his target demographic was through comic-books, in ads like the one pictured, beginning in the forties and extending well into the seventies. Several generations of skinny bespectacled kids sent away for the program and Atlas made a considerable profit. The advertisement became a pop-culture icon (even inspiring a song in the Rocky Horror Picture Show), and has endured even after Atlas' death.

Would you like to be hero of the beach?
-Visit Charles Atlas.Com and man yourself up

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu

Find any cigarette-scented, mildewy comic-book from the seventies, and it's likely you'll discover one of Count Dante's advertisements for his Black Dragon Fighting Society. Despite his undeniably stylish mutton-chops/afro combination, it is generally accepted that Dante was not, in fact, the deadliest man alive.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"The Belly of the Beast" or "the Mouth of Madness"

June is now well past its prime, and the best course of action is to gather what remains and toss it to the shadows that those crawling, slithering things that dwell there can feed. That's right folks! Once again it is time for our Monster of the Month feature. As a heatwave holds Vermont in its burning grip, it seemed appropriate to explore the very depths of Hell itself! Today's Monster of the Month is the dreaded Acheron, plucked from medieval Christian mythology.

Originally, the name Acheron goes back to the days of the ancient Greeks. In the poetry of Homer, Acheron was the name of a river that flowed into the Tartarus, the Greek underworld. There are also legends that describe Acheron as a water-themed Titan, slain by Zeus in that celestial family feud. Aparently the name and it's underwordly associations endured over the subsequent centuries, travelling across Europe.

In mid-12th century Ireland, a monk named Brother Marcus wrote a supposed account of a knight named Tundale. This text, called "Visio Tnugdalus" as it was originally written in Latin, was wildly popular and may have influenced Dante's Devine Comedy. As the story goes, Tundale the knight was not an evil man, but arrogant and indulgent. For his comeuppance, he was stricken with a disease that rendered him bed-ridden and comatose. Tundale was expected to die, but awoke after three days and announced that angels had given him a tour of Hell, demanding that he tell the world what fate awaited the damned.

Hell, as described by Tundale, is not truly a place, but rather a living thing attended to by the Devil. Those who fall to Hell are lead to the monster Acheron, a giant with three gigantic throats and a mouth large enough to swallow nine thousand men. Acheron devours all who are thrown to him, and they fall into his enormous pit-like stomach. Sinners are left in torment, forever sealed in darkness as they are eternally digested amidst screeching monsters and wild animals, similarly trapped. Upon witnessesing such horror, Tundale returned to life a god-fearing, church-going man.

The name Acheron has since become a generic demonic name used in horror movies, fantasy role-playing games, and bargain-basement occultism. It has also been adopted by a truly awful Black Metal band from Florida. Who can say what crime humanity committed to deserve such a fate?

But don't take my word for it! You can read about it in a book!
-Jorge Luis Borges' superlative Book of Imaginary Beings
-A History of Hell

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hollywood Vampire

Maila Nurmi (born in 1922 in what is now Pechenga, Russia) was at various points in her life a model, an actress, a chorus-line dancer, a hat-check girl, an Emmy-nominated TV hostess, a linoleum installation worker, a carpenter, and Goth icon. She also dated Orson Welles for a few months, was friends with James Dean (who was disappointed to discover that she was not a satanist), and rubbed elbows with Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. She is best known, however, for her role in what is commonly referred to as the worst movie ever filmed: Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Nurmi grew up in Ohio, but split for LA in 1939. There, she supported herself through the odd modeling jobs and posing for pin-ups (working at one point with surrealist photographer Man Ray) trying to make her big break into Hollywood. Despite a few bit parts, fame eluded Nurmi. She did get acquainted with several notable celebrities, and met and married Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Dean Riesner.

In 1953, she attended a costume ball in a get-up inspired by Morticia from Charles Addams' famous New Yorker cartoon series. Clad in a black dress, and wearing pale make-up, Nurmi looked like a walking corpse. She was spotted by KABC-TV producer Hunt Stromberg Jr., who realized that she'd be perfect to host various horror and science-fiction films being aired on his station. Nurmi's husband concocted the name "Vampira" and the character was born. One year later The Vampira Show (originally titled "Dig Me Later, Vampira") debuted. On the show, Nurmi would introduce various films in a gothic set obscured by generous amounts of artificial fog. Accompanied by a puppet spider named Rollo, Vampira would typically unleash a series of deliriously bad graveyard-themed puns. The show was a smash hit, and Nurmi's fame grew. Life magazine published an article about the show and the Vampira character, while Nurmi ran for mayor of Hollywood as Vampira for a promotional stunt. The show's format proved so successful that various television studios across the nation began mimicking it, airing Universal Studios horror movies that had been leased in a package deal. All sorts of campy, ghoulish hosts were created and the era of Creature Feature television had begun.

After surviving a bizarre murder attempt in 1955, in which a lunatic invaded her home and held her hostage for four hours until she escaped, Nurmi again tried to segue into the film industry. She was contacted by infamous schlock director Ed Wood and was offered a role in his film Plan 9 from Outer Space. Hoping to use it as a stepping stone to better things, Nurmi accepted. The movie was legendarily awful and Nurmi's subsequent roles were in movies equally bad or worse, such as Sex Kittens go to College. Decades later, these films would be featured on late-night TV shows similar to one she had pioneered.

By the time the sixties had rolled around, Nurmi could scarcely find work in Hollywood and her relationship with Riesner had dissolved. They were divorced, and Nurmi later re-married to actor Fabrizio Mioni. To earn money, she fell back on oddjobs, and later opened an antiques store called Vampira's Attic that sold items to (among other people) the Zappa family. She operated the store until 1981, in which an aborted attempt was made to resurrect the Vampira Show. Nurmi was unhappy with her lack of control over the show and departed, taking with her the Vampira name and likeness. The result was the Vampira-clone Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, portrayed by Cassandra Peterson. Nurmi sued, claiming that Elvira was infringed upon the Vampira likeness, but lost the case. Elvira went on to become an iconic-figure in 1980's pop-culture. Vampira, meanwhile, was immortalized in a song of the same name by punk group The Misfits.

Nurmi did get some recognition after the arrival of home video introduced Vampira to new audiences. Plan 9 From Outer Space had suddenly become a mega-hit thanks to its unparalleled ineptitude, and Nurmi was receiving interview offers by horror magazines and documentary filmmakers. In 1994, Tim Burton famously directed a heavily-exaggerated biography of Ed Wood, and Nurmi was portrayed by model Lisa Marie. It was that same year that a Vampira model kit was unveiled, along with other merchandise. Images of Vampira, particularly those taken from Plan 9 from Outer Space, were appropriated by the Goth sub-culture and Nurmi gained further fame amongst this group. She eventually began operating a website through which she sold autographed Vampira memorabilia. Nurmi died in Hollywood in 2008 at the age of 85. She was given a brief tribute at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Would you like to know more?
-The Official Vampira website
-Maila Nurmi's filmography

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's Go Cosmic

Doctor Edgar Mitchell (D.Sc. in Aeronautics and Astronautics) piloted the lunar module for the Apollo 14 flight to the moon. It was during that mission that he became the sixth man to walk on the moon's dusty gray surface. Born in Hereford, Texas, in 1930, Dr. Mitchell is an all-American. When he was young, he was a decorated member of the Boy Scouts. He belonged to the Demolay International fraternity while earning his degree at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He later joined the U.S. Navy and became a pilot, eventually attaining the rank of captain. After taking part in the historic Apollo space program, he became an author and lecturer.

This background does not suggest a man who would be involved with the paranormal, but during his time in the Apollo program, Mitchell was conducting secret experiments in Extra-Sensory Perception with his friends. On his return voyage to Earth, Mitchell experienced a transcendental epiphany. Catching sight of the Earth in the window of the capsule, Dr. Mitchell described suddenly attaining deep emotional connection to the planet and all matter originating there. As a result of this experience he co-founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973; an organization devoted to exploring ESP, out-of-body experiences, and telepathy.

In interviews and at lectures, Mitchell outlines his beliefs in an earnest, matter-of-fact manner. He says that his conviction in the metaphysical was only further strengthened in 2004, after his non-confirmed case of kidney cancer was sent into remission by a telekinetic "remote healer" living in Canada.

Dr. Mitchell has also been very public in his views on UFOs and claims that intelligent extraterrestrial life has been visiting Earth for a matter of decades. He has said that a "cabal" within the government has been actively trying to dismiss or conceal the evidence of these alien visitations, starting with the 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico. Initially he implicated NASA in this conspiracy, but has since said that NASA is not involved. NASA, meanwhile, has had the awkward task of refuting his claims while remaining respectful to this hero of space exploration.

Would you like to know more?
-Dr. Mitchell's personal website
-The Institute of Noetic Sciences homepage
-NASA's biography of Dr. Mitchell
-Buy Dr. Mitchell's book "Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science."
-Watch an "An Epiphany in Space" with Edgar Mitchell, produced by the INS.

"The Man with Three Ears" or "Man or Mouse?"

In 1995, two Massachusetts-based scientists performed an innovative experiment in tissue fabrication. They covered a microscopic strip of polyester with cartilage cells taken from a cow, and implanted this structure beneath the skin of a lab-mouse. The mouse had been specially bred for the project, being both hairless and having a disabled immune system to avoid transplant rejection. The cells grew around the polyester and the result was a non-functional approximation of a human ear.

The idea was that the same procedure could be applied to people, allowing those who had lost their outer ears in accidents, or those were born without outer ears, to simply grow replacements. New noses could conceivably be grown as well.

The pictures of the "Earmouse" caused a sensation, and (predictably) various fundamentalist Christian groups condemned the historic rodent as a violation of nature. To this day, the pictures continue to circulate the internet with various misleading captions. Meanwhile, the ear-like structure was removed from the back of the mouse, and the tiny creature spent the remainder of its days scurrying about with the rest of its hairless kin.

Recently, in 2001, an Australian performance artist named Stelios Arcadiou (better known by his stage name of "Stelarc"), became interested in the Earmouse experiment. Stelarc was basically a transhumanist. Convinced that the human body had been made obsolete through advances in technology and that
it "[could] only be considered relevant now as a component of extended operational systems," his performances made use of remote-controlled robotic prosthetics. Fascinated by the pictures of the Earmouse, Stelarc courageously decided that he wanted a non-functional additional ear of his own. He spent the following six years trying to find surgeons willing to help him with his expensive bio-stunt. The "Tissue Culture and Art" group of Australia answered the call.

After determining that Stelarc's initial idea of having the second ear on the side of his face could be dangerous, the TCA constructed a quarter-scale ear "seed" to implant in his arm. After the cartilage and skin had fully grown, the lobe was later added surgically. Stelarc was quite pleased with his new ear and plans on implanting a wireless internet antenna, sound chip, and proximity detector beneath it so that it can interface with his computer.

Now isn't that meaningful?

Would you like to know more?

-Read the BBC article
-Peruse Stelarc's website