Monthly Archives: May 2012


If you’ve never met a skunk ape, count yourself lucky. Considered the southeastern US’s bigfoot, a skunk ape is a bipedal hominid that emits a most ungodly odor. Floridians have reported skunk ape sightings for decades, and many believe the state’s swamplands are the creature’s preferred habitat. Some say the skunk ape is homicidal, some say it is just misunderstood. Everyone agrees that it smells rotten.

Thus, we are in Florida, investigating some sightings in the Three Forks Marsh Marsh Conservation Area, at the headlands of the St. John’s River. The marsh has a decidedly rancid odor and locals insist that usually the area smells like wildflowers and sunlight. Skunk ape?

Effluvium is a noun defined as an invisible emanation; an offensive gas or exhalation and also an impalpable emanation; an aura. From the Latin effluviuma flowing out – from effluere. The plural is effluvia.

I am writing this sitting on one of the old trestles from when the Union Cypress Railroad crossed the area and the St. John’s. There is a definite effluvium blanketing the marsh. If it’s not from a skunk ape, there’s something else wandering these lands. If it’s not homicidal, the stench is turning Bubo homicidal.

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The Kurundu Bird

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

The Kurundu Bird is an elusive and secretive bird. It lives along the coasts of Sri Lanka amongst the cinnamon fields. In the 1500’s, people would grow cinnamon plants specifically to attract Kurundu Birds; not just because their warbles sound like falling rain, but also because every time they beat their soft, suede-like wings they give off a scent like burnt cinnamon.

Late at night their warbles mimic rain through the trees, and a Kurundu Bird near your house is considered a good omen, for rain is good for crops and the smell of cinnamon is said to engender good dreams.

During the power struggles between the British and the native Sri Lankan people in the 1800s, the Kurundu Birds all but disappeared, and the devastating destruction of the coffee plantations by a leaf disease were blamed on the absence of the birds. When the British developed the tea plantations, however, a soft scent of cinnamon would sometimes waft across the fields. Common thought was that the birds preferred the tea plants to the coffee plants, and the years of relative civil harmony that followed.

Kurundu Birds are secretive indeed, and many believe they are the stuff of legends alone. But on a soft warm night along the coast of Sri Lanka you most certainly will smell burnt cinnamon on the wind. Tip your nose to the trees and close your eyes. Imagine the rain falling gently on your face. If you hear the sounds of drops, then the Kurundu are singing to you.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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How to Get Your Owl Preening

Get yourself interviewed for an online magazine. E-Junkie declared me their Seller of the Week and posted an interview with me about the house, this online-journal of mine, and my penchant for the outre. Humbling for humans, but Bubo’s stalking about as though she’s finally getting a small token of the notoriety she deserves. You can read the interview here:

I have yet to inform her that her notoriety in the small mammal category is far-reaching. I believe she draws a very solid line between fame for art and fame for terror.

Nonetheless, I thank the good folks over at E-Junkie for the interview and the attention.

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In 1922, Howard Carter, considered the world’s most famous archaeologist, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb was filled with so many antiquities that it took ten years to catalog them all. The most exciting artifact, though, was the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun himself.

There was already a media frenzy over the pyramid filled with gilded items, but soon the frenzy became even more frenzied. Howard Carter’s backer and a great collector of Egyptian artifacts, Lord Carnarvon, died suddenly. Some said it was an infected mosquito bite, some said it was pneumonia, but most said it was a curse. The Mummy’s Curse, to be precise. The rumored deaths of eleven more people over the next few years would inspire mummy curse movies that are still being made today.

An anathema is a vehement denunciation; a curse. The noun can also be defined as one that is cursed or damned. It stems from the Latin anathema for doomed offering, accursed thing, and from the Greek, anatithenai, anathe-, to dedicate ( ana-, ana-  plus tithenai, to put).

You can thus put an anathema on someone or something and that object then becomes the anathema. If this mummy’s curse is true, then, one might argue that Tutenkhamen made an anathema and then his body became the anathema itself. Pretty sneaky for a teenaged pharaoh, wouldn’t you say?

Howard Carter apparently thought the entire idea of this curse was poppycock and he eventually passed away back in England at the age of 65. Do curses travel across continents?

This video is courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor:

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