Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beware...the Bunny Man!

May has almost withered away, and on today's menu is another ghastly installment of our Monster of the Month series. This month we descend into the delightful realm of urban legend. If the name "Bunny Man" doesn't exactly make your skin crawl, perhaps the following description will. Imagine driving along a winding road late one autumn night and seeing a man in your headlights. He's running towards you, and as your car draws nearer, you can see him more clearly. He's nearly six feet tall and about two-hundred pounds.

He's wearing a filthy white rabbit suit.

And he's carrying an axe.

Variations of the Bunny Man legend have been documented across Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Similar to the notorious "Hook Hand" of campfire lore, the Bunny Man is said to be mythical killer who has been murdering teenagers for decades. Most versions of the story describe the Bunny Man as your garden-variety escaped psychopath, but a few accounts have a supernatural flavor and portray the Bunny Man as an evil ghost that returns every year around Halloween. Whatever the case, the Bunny Man's look remains consistent; a tall man in a grimy rabbit costume usually armed with a hatchet or axe.

How did such a freakish figure come about? Most urban legends have a tiny grain of truth, and the genesis of the Bunny Man lies in the town of Burke, in Fairfax County, Virginia. On October 22nd, 1970, Air Force cadet Bob Bennett and his fiancee, Dusty (who may or may not have been wearing a cowboy hat at the time) were driving back from a football game and pulled over to have a chat. It was around midnight. Suddenly they noticed a man in the rear-view mirror, clad in white. The man in white ran up and smashed their right window and mirror. Bennett wasted no time in speeding away from the scene, all while the man in white screamed "You're on private property and I have your tag number!" Bennett later described the man to the police as wearing a rabbit costume. Dusty's account differed slightly, saying that the man who attacked them wore white pointed hat and might have been in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Nine days later, a construction site security guard named Paul Philips came to the police and said he encountered a man dressed as a rabbit. The man was in the process of vandalizing the half-constructed house and before running off, he shouted "All you people trespass around here! If you don't get out of here, I'm going to bust you on the head!" In the ensuing police investigation, fifty people called to say that they had seen the Bunny Man. The incidents were publicized in several newspapers and word spread quickly.

The identity of the bunny-suit lunatic has never been discovered, but his crimes spawned a larger-than-life bogeyman. There are those who say that the Bunny Man still lurks around a railway bridge in the town of Clifton, Virginia, and others report skinned rabbits dangling from trees every Halloween.

So, should you find yourself in Clifton, remember: stay on the roads, keep off the moors...and should you catch a glimpse of white fun-fur and tall, pointy ears...just run.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this splendid, elaborately researched account of the Bunny Man legend

Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Are Who You Eat

Among its other features, the town of Thetford, Vermont, is home to Sawnee Bean Cemetery and Sawnee Bean Road. This is rather anomalous as Thetford is a very ordinary town, and Sawnee Bean was one of the most infamous killers in history.

Because of sheer brutality of his crimes, Alexander "Sawnee" (or "Sawney") Bean has entered the realm of folklore in much the same way as Jack the Ripper. It is difficult to determine which details of his life actually happened and which are fabrication. There are even those who postulate that Sawnee Bean is a mere bogeyman, and never existed to begin with. Assuming he was a real person, here are the details of his savage life.

Born in 16th century Scotland, Sawnee Bean demonstrated only misanthropy and malice. As a young man he departed to a cave near the ocean shore, bringing with him an equally monstrous wife. After a few years of robbing unlucky travelers, the Beans took to murdering and ultimately devouring the bodies of their victims. Later they had a few children, who joined in the family business of robbery and human-hunting when they became old enough.

Thanks to incest, the Bean clan soon blossomed to forty-eight troglodytic cannibals, and the now-crowded cave was strewn with bones. They had become too numerous to conceal their crimes from the outside world, and word spread of their man-eating ways. Finally, King James the First decided that he had enough of all this depravity and dispatched an army of four-hundred men to track down the Beans. The loathsome family was rounded up and taken to Edinburgh. The male Beans had their limbs cut off and were left to bleed to death. The women and children, after being forced to watch the previous executions, were burned at the stake. A happy tale, to be sure.

Presumably Thetford had a citizen with the unfortunate luck of sharing a name with this notorious figure, but perhaps the town decided for unknowable reasons to honor the Scottish cannibal. Could it be that Thetford is populated by Bean's man-eating descendants? It may be too terrible to imagine, but travelers are urged to keep their wits about them while passing through.

Would you like to know more?
-Mysterious Britain's entry on Sawney Bean
-Virtual Scotland's entry on Sawney Bean

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've Got a Message For the Action Man

He may have that macho image and Kung-Fu grip, but inwardly he's just a tapestry of quiet desperation.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We owe it all to Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov

1983 was an historic year. The first Nintendo video-game console went on sale in Japan. Michael Jackson's
Thriller was shown on TV for the first time. McDonald's introduced the world to the McNugget.

Also: a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States (which would've resulted in the deaths of millions and the annihilation of entire cities) was averted. The cataclysm was avoided thanks to a single man. At the time, he was reprimanded by his superiors for ignoring the chain of command and for the improper filing of paperwork.

On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was stationed in a bunker near Moscow, monitoring data from the USSR's satellite missile-detection network. At around one o'clock in the morning, Petrov's computer indicated that the United States had launched a single nuclear missile at Russia. Later, the computer registered four more launches. Ordinarily, the procedure would have been to initiate an immediate counter-attack. This would have ignited the apocalyptic Mutually Assured Destruction scenario, in which both superpowers utterly destroy each other.

Fortunately, despite protocol and lack of sleep, Petrov kept a calm head. He knew that the early-warning equipment had proven unreliable in the past, and reasoned that it was unrealistic that the US would launch only five missiles. Any first strike from the United States would likely be comprised of thousands of missiles, in order to render the Soviet Union unable to respond with an attack of their own. Deciding that the probability of computer error outweighed the chance that the missile launch was genuine, Petrov classified the event as a false alarm. He was correct.

Afterwards, Petrov was interrogated by his superiors about the event. Air-Defense commander General Yuri Votintsev agreed that Petrov's decision was the right one to have made, but Petrov was lambasted for failing to record the event in the military journal. He received no acclaim, no increase in salary, and was moved to a new post. By exposing the much-vaunted early-warning system as being prone to malfunction, Petrov had embarrassed the Soviet military and they weren't about to let him forget it. After early retirement, Petrov suffered a nervous breakdown.

Ten years later, Votintsev published his memoirs and for the first time people became acutely aware that the world had come within a razor's width of a nuclear war. Petrov, now living off his pension in a small naukograd (or "science town") near Moscow, finally began to receive recognition. In 2004, the Association of World Citizens in San Francisco gave Petrov one thousand dollars and a World Citizen Award, in gratitude for Petrov's effectively saving the planet. Despite an official statement issued by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation, asserting that no one man could have halted or ignited a nuclear war, several Cold War experts (including former KGB chief of foreign counterintelligence Oleg Kalugin) agreed with the Association's assessment. Two years later, the Association paid for trip to New York City, where he was honored at the United Nations. He was subsequently interviewed by renowned journalist Walter Cronkite.

Petrov continues to live outside Moscow. A documentary about his life and the day he saved the world is due out this year.

Would you like to know more?
Read this article from Wired Magazine
Read this article from the Association of World Citizens website

Monday, May 04, 2009

How Things Work: Titanium Edition

The Laser Gyroscope looks identical to the Pre-Programmed Suit Motivation Comps. This could lead to confusion in the work-place.

Behind the Scenes and Beyond the Thunderdome

It has come to our intention that the Hyper Kitchen has reached 40 posts. Well, despite our insistence that we're 39 forever, we thought it'd be interesting to take a look at the many subjects examined by the Kitchen. Here's the rundown:

  • 3-D (1)
  • afterlife (1)
  • aircraft-carrier (1)
  • airplane (1)
  • Alan's Affordable Autos (1)
  • Alpha Centauri (1)
  • Andes (1)
  • ape (1)
  • ape man (1)
  • art (1)
  • artificial intelligence (1)
  • atoms (1)
  • Aztec (1)
  • b-movies (1)
  • Ba'al Berith (1)
  • bad taste (1)
  • bandages (1)
  • belated (1)
  • Betamax (1)
  • bioluminescence (1)
  • Black Bart (1)
  • blob (1)
  • blood (1)
  • blue (1)
  • bold (1)
  • bomb (1)
  • bones (1)
  • brave new world (1)
  • breakfast pastries (1)
  • Brighton (1)
  • Buzz Aldrin (1)
  • cadaver goddess (1)
  • calamari (1)
  • Call Steve McQueen (1)
  • Cambell's Condensed Homestyle Soup (1)
  • cannibals (1)
  • carcasses (1)
  • Cardiff Giant (1)
  • careful now (1)
  • carrot noses (1)
  • cheap (1)
  • cheapness (2)
  • Chernobyl (1)
  • Chesterfields (1)
  • chicken fritters (1)
  • cigarettes (1)
  • coal buttons (1)
  • comic-strip (1)
  • comics (2)
  • convex lens (1)
  • crazy (2)
  • Creature from the Haunted Sea (1)
  • crystal radio (1)
  • cut-away view (1)
  • cybernetics (1)
  • cyclops (1)
  • Dalek (1)
  • death (2)
  • dinosaurs (2)
  • disaster (1)
  • Discomania (1)
  • disease (1)
  • dogs (1)
  • Doktor Beak (1)
  • Don't Stop Believin (1)
  • doom (5)
  • Doom Patrol (1)
  • dragons (1)
  • Dual Claw Action (1)
  • electormagnetism (1)
  • Elektro (1)
  • era (1)
  • evil old ladies (1)
  • evolution (1)
  • excess (1)
  • fall (1)
  • family (1)
  • fat bastard (1)
  • fatalism (1)
  • FIRE (1)
  • Fletcher Hanks (1)
  • FM 2030 (1)
  • frilled lizard (1)
  • Gabriel Green (1)
  • Gamera (1)
  • germs (1)
  • giant lego men (1)
  • giants (1)
  • gigantism (1)
  • globster (1)
  • glutton (1)
  • goddamn aliens (1)
  • Godzilla (1)
  • gojira (1)
  • gold (1)
  • great (1)
  • greedy (1)
  • green (1)
  • guts (2)
  • hadron collider (1)
  • hazmat suit (1)
  • hell (1)
  • hoax (1)
  • How Things Work (2)
  • Htrae (1)
  • Huey Lewis and the News (1)
  • Hugo Hercules (1)
  • human suffering (1)
  • humbug (1)
  • I Will Stay On Dry Land Thank You Very Much (1)
  • ice-world cometh (1)
  • inexpensive heat (1)
  • influence (1)
  • ingenuity (1)
  • innards (1)
  • insects (1)
  • Japan (1)
  • jesus h. christ (1)
  • Kevin Spacey (1)
  • kittens (1)
  • kryptonite (1)
  • lardo (1)
  • leap (1)
  • little tiny cars (1)
  • loose-fitting mask (1)
  • Lord of the Rings (1)
  • man (1)
  • mankind (1)
  • marine biology (1)
  • mass hysteria (1)
  • medieval times (1)
  • Men Without Hats (1)
  • Mexico (1)
  • miniature cities (1)
  • monster of the month (3)
  • monsters (1)
  • moustache (1)
  • muscles (1)
  • mustard gas (1)
  • mutants (1)
  • mutation (1)
  • mysticism (1)
  • mythology (1)
  • naval oranges (1)
  • Nazis (1)
  • Negative Man (1)
  • new (1)
  • No (1)
  • nuclear power (1)
  • nudes (1)
  • nuerotheology (1)
  • off-schedule (1)
  • Oh no (1)Orrazib (1)
  • over-deadline (1)
  • P.T. Barnum (1)
  • petrified man (1)
  • poetry (1)
  • politics (1)
  • poor foolish robot smoker (1)
  • post-human (1)
  • power (1)
  • presidential candidate (1)
  • pseudoscience (1)
  • public domain (1)
  • radiation (1)
  • radioactivity (2)
  • RAF (1)
  • raw power (1)
  • Ray Harryhausen (1)
  • red (1)
  • religion (2)
  • reptiles (1)
  • revolutionary (1)
  • robber baron (1)
  • robots (2)
  • Roger Corman (1)
  • Rondo Hatton (1)
  • rye bread (1)
  • Santa Muerte (1)
  • schlock (6)
  • science (5)
  • scimoc (1)
  • scooters (1)
  • sdrowkcab (1)
  • Seven Days (1)
  • sex (1)
  • She'd Never Look At Me Again (1)
  • shiny (1)
  • Sinbad the Sailor (1)
  • skeletons (1)
  • slashers (1)
  • sleaze (1)
  • snow (1)
  • snowmen (1)
  • squid (1)
  • stagecoach robbery (1)
  • Stardust (2)
  • steaming mug of hot morning coffee (1)
  • STENDEC (1)
  • stove (1)
  • styrofoam Dixie cups (1)
  • suck out your brains (1)
  • sucker born every minute (1)
  • super strength (1)
  • superheroes (1)
  • tarantulas (1)
  • ten gallon hats (1)
  • terrifying bird mask (1)
  • terrifying oceanic life (1)thank-you (1)
  • the American Bald Eagle (1)
  • the American Post Office (1)
  • the Apollo space program (1)
  • the Black Plague (1)
  • the Civil War (1)
  • the Creeper (1)
  • the future (2)
  • the king of this here dance floor (1)
  • The Mad Zepplin (1)
  • the sea (2)
  • the shore (1)
  • There really IS an ape man (1)
  • thoughtforms (1)
  • tongue (1)
  • tragedy (2)
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (1)
  • transhumanism (1)
  • UFOs (2)
  • UK (1)
  • USSR (1)
  • utopian (1)
  • vacation (1)
  • vampires (2)
  • videotape (1)
  • wasps (1)
  • way too wealthy (1)
  • we'll make it up to you (1)
  • we're sorry (1)
  • wealth (1)
  • what are you a doctor of exactly? (1)
  • wheel-eyed (1)
  • white (1)
  • Whittier CA (1)
  • wild west (1)
  • winter isn't over yet (1)
  • witchcraft (1)
  • women (1)
  • WWI (1)
  • Zandvoort (1)
  • zombies (1)
By the 108 aspects of Krishna! At our quick (and doubtlessly inaccurate) count, we tally 251 distinct topics served by the Hyper Kitchen. Among the reoccuring themes have been radioactivity, guts, religion, comics, How Things Work, and the sea. So far, the most frequent subjects appear to be doom, science (both mentioned 5 times), and schlock (mentioned 6).

This is the merely a prelude for further excellence, and we owe it all to our readers. Thank you for your continued interest and comments! We've got even greater things in the works.

The Hyper Kitchen: 251 Served.