Friday, September 30, 2011

The Ghost and the Guts

While struggling with our daily lives in these economically depressed times, we at the Hyper Kitchen barely noticed a September-shaped blur race past us. This can only mean two things:

1). Our rent is due.
2). It is once again time again for another entry in our celebrated Monster of the Month series.

Most of our monsters have been of the male persuasion and we wanted a lady monster for this month. Trouble was, many of them were fairly dull. Fortunately, we stumbled upon the world of Thai folklore and were ensnared in the dangling viscera of the dreaded...Krasue.

The unbelievable Krasue is an evil spirit that takes the form of a beautiful woman. According to legend, the head of the Krasue detaches from of its neck, dragging its internal organs along for the ride. It then flies off into the night in search of an evening meal of flesh and blood. The Krasue is especially fond of messily devouring human fetuses with its prehensile tongue.


Perhaps due to its sheer gruesomeness, the legend of the Krasue spread into nearby Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia, with each culture adding their own unique twist on the ghost.  The Krasue may have even influenced the development of a similar Japanese monster, the Nukekubi. This super-star status has made it a prime choice for horror movies, and since the late seventies there has been a smattering of Thai, Indonesian, and Hong Kong fright flicks featuring this flying freak (Stan Lee would be proud). We at the Hyper Kitchen think that it's high time that Hollywood took notice of Krasue. Somebody green-light this blood-sucker! We got a winner on our hands!

Would you like to know more?
-Watch a movie and get educated

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nothing in the Dark

 In 1938, Halifax, England, was in the grip of terror. The frightened townspeople locked themselves in during the night and shops and taverns were closed down. The local police, together with Scotland Yard, prowled the alleyways and streets along with gangs of hard-edged vigilantes. 

A maniac was on the loose and no one could rest until he was caught.

In November 16th, two women, Mary Gledhill and Gertrude Watts, went to the police and described a narrow escape from a crazed man wielding a hammer. Their descriptions were vague, save that he wore shiny buckled shoes. News of the attack spread quickly and the town grew anxious. Five days later, police received a visit from one Mary Sutcliffe who tearfully told them that she had been attacked by a man armed with a razor. Other reports came in afterwards and Halifax exploded. The local newspapers shrieked warnings of the "Halifax Slasher" and more witnesses and near-victims came forward every day. Some accounts described a man armed with a hammer and others said he held a knife or straight razor. As their search turned up nothing, police offered a sizable reward for information leading the Slasher.  The drunken men of Halifax formed gangs to patrol the streets, and several innocent men were beaten after being mistaken for the elusive boogeyman. News of similar attacks came from nearby Bradford and Manchester. The town was at the boiling point. And then one of the victims came forward with a startling announcement:

His wounds were self-inflicted.

The manhunt had been unsuccessful, not due to some incredible cunning on behalf of the Slasher, but rather because there was never any Slasher in the first place. The whole story was a lie that was embellished upon by each subsequent "victim" until all of Halifax was in a frenzy. The newspapers that had capitalized on the Slasher scare made a quick about-face and happily informed their readers that there was no killer after all. Still, even after police had closed the case, reports of lunatics with razors and hammers were surfacing in towns as far away as London.

Tall-tales die hard, it seems.

But don't take my word for it!
-You can read about it in a book.

Give My Creation Life

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Shaggy Saint Story

Alongside the obligatory strongmen, midgets, and limbless wonders, the bearded lady has been a staple of sideshows and carnivals for more than a hundred years; the image of a demure yet hirsute women adorning countless posters. That said, you'd scarcely expect to see one in Westminster Abbey, but in the Henry VII Chapel stands a rather peculiar stone statue.

The statue depicts Wilgefortis, a medieval saint of dubious origins that is said to answer the prayers of women looking to escape abusive relationships. Why the whiskers? The story goes that Wilgefortis was a Portuguese princess who chose to convert to Christianity shortly before her arranged marriage to a Sicilian king. Refusing to compromise her new-found piety, Wilgefortis prayed that god make her ugly so her suitor would lose all interest. Within moments she had sprouted facial hair. The Sicilian king, doubtlessly aghast at the prospect of having a wife with a manlier beard than his own, called off the wedding. Wilgefortis was then put to death by her enraged father, who had her crucified.

Saint Wilgefortis briefly had her own sect of worshipers in Flanders, France, during the 1300's and her image can be seen in many examples of medieval Christian art. However, the Catholic Church is surprisingly skeptical about Wilgefortis and many religious scholars speculate that she's a folklore figure. Images of a robed Christ may have been mistaken by new converts for a bearded woman. Alternately, Wilgefortis may have been a real woman with a hormone imbalance. Regardless, she boasts one of the best beards in all of Saintdom.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this entry from Catholic Online
-Read this excerpt from the Oxford Dictionary of Saints

A Great Price for a Great Product

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Christ of California

The army had a profound effect on Francis Pencovic's life. Formerly a petty criminal, Pencovic had joined the service after working on a chain gang and the experience left him a changed man.

In Simi Valley, California, 1946, Pencovic announced that he was actually Jesus and (departing from the conventional Biblical texts) explained the Son of God was a being from the distant planet Neophrates and had journeyed to Earth many thousands of years ago in a spaceship piloted by Adam and Eve. Shortly after this astonishing anouncement, Pencovic changed his name to "Krishna Venta" and adopted a suitably messianic haircut along with some Jedi robes.

It wasn't long before Pencovic had amassed a small but fervent group of (largely female) followers who donated all of their possessions to his new church, referred to as WKFL ( for Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, and Love) or The Fountain of the World. Pencovic used at least some these donations to make bets on dog races, at which he was apparently quite successful.  As his reputation grew, so did the numbers of his cult and eventually they opened up a second branch in Homer, Alaska.

Pencovic's preachings resonated among those who felt fearful in the new Cold War. He told his followers of an imminent doomsday (which would take the form of a Soviet-instigated black vs. white race war) that would claim the lives of all humanity, save for 144,000 "Elect" that would go on to Paradise under his leadership. Until Judgment Day, the parishioners of the Fountain of the World cult were to assist the homeless and spread the world.

After a few run-ins with the police for refusing to pay child support Pencovic was killed in 1958; in a double suicide-bombing carried out by two of his own followers. One man was fiercely jealous of Pencovic's power and influence, and the other believed Pencovic had been sleeping with his wife.

After the death of their prophet, the Fountain of the World limped along for about a decade, teaching Pencovic's apocalyptic visions to all who would listen. Before their ultimate dissolution, the group provided a home for an itinerant would-be musician.

His name was Charlie Manson.

It appears that the cult left quite an impression.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this article from the International Cultic Studies Association
-Watch this newsreel from the British Pathe Film Archive.