Archive for May, 2015

It is a ghost town in the Namib desert, in Southern Nabia, it was named after Johnny Coleman, a transport driver, during a sand-storm he abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement. It was a small but rich mining community and is now a tourist sight ran by NemDeb. In 1908, Zacharias Lewala, a worked found a diamond and showed it to his supervisor and after miners from Germany settled there because it was rich in diamonds.

A village was built with amenities such as a hospital,. Ballroom, power station and school. It was a prosperous place in its time. After the First World War the town declined, the diamond supply was exhausted and in 1954 they ultimately abandoned the town. Tourists now need a permit to engage and enter the town, Kolmanskop is now being claimed back by the desert and so walking around tourists will find themselves knee deep in sand, but it is still very popular. Destination Truth investigated the town during rumours of it being haunted, it seems that the abandoned town keeps many interested.

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The cemetery doesn’t really have an official name; instead it’s a little place that might well have been given a history thanks to the Las Vegas Mafia, who may well have used it as a great place to dispose of their snitches, thieves and troublemakers. The pet cemetery is used perhaps as a luscious rouse to the more nefarious activities… Next to Rover the Dog you might well be inadvertently paying respect to a former snitch or otherwise.

Even with the help of Google earth and modern satnav etc. it is still quite hard to find, and then you have the speculation of the Mafia which may well put many off heading to the site anyway. If you try to find it then the best information I got was take the 95/93 from Las Vegas towards Boulder city and then about half way between the 95 changes towards Laughlin, you need to turn off there for a few miles then opposing lanes split in two, take the first possible U-turn, drive back the way you came for a few seconds before the lanes come back together. Right before this lane merges you will see a dirt track on the right and an open white gate that leads to the beginning of the cemetery.

The creation and abandonment of the cemetery seems to also go with the rise and fall of the Mafia success. Stories on the internet go around about a Boulder City veteran who wanted a place to bury his pets, so it was created in 1953 by said gent, Marwood Doud. Another says that it was a civil engineer that year, Emory Lockette, who offered a pet funeral service for fifty dollars per pet. The two stories might well have merged at some point but at least the year is consistent so I will go with 1953.

The fact does remain that the cemetery was placed on federal land and therefore built illegally so no official name was given, possibly to help avoid it being found. Later on it was acquired by Boulder City but there is still no firm decision on what will be done with it, so it’s still pretty much abandoned and for the most part lost to many.

The earliest of the graves are from the 50’s and are closest to the road, and many are in poor shape, having gone or on the verge of doing so. The graves are small and would have been bordered with little wooden fencing; some of the remnants still remain. The layout shows that they are arranged in a linear fashion with plays to keep it neat and orderly as the grounds expanded. The further you travel around the three acre land you see that some are more complex graves, with more creative displays involved.

Amongst the pets you find dogs, cats, rabbits, a fish named Spike II and a little hidden gem, a headstone for Flash, the son of the TV star Rin Tin Tin IV. He was groomed to be the star of the 50’s show but was replaced due to the poor screen showing, he was nominated for an award in 1958 and 1959 despite that.

The graves show a lot of love to the former pets and some make a slightly more ghostly allure because they have lights on them that come on at sundown, which leads me into ghostly tales. There is really only one mentioned in a couple of places with brief lines, about a friendly ghost kitty that will follow you to the gates if you visit at night.

In regards to the Mafia story it seems a little unlikely for body dumping, given how well it seems to have been constructed for the pets. The area is susceptible to flash floods and would make it likely to be a place where the bodies would be found too quickly, natural erosion of the desert would push the heavier bodies downstream from their original locations. Graves could be dug up by coyotes and other desert inhabitants, this is shown where they have dug up little ‘mittens’ etc. and exposed buts of fur etc.

Really this seems more like a little hidden gem of a history of showing love for pets, not a Mafia dumping ground, and it’s a shame that it’s likely to end up lost entirely one day due to it’s location.

In 2005 the ever popular World or Warcraft MMO introduced a new raid to the game, it was Zul’Gurub (now a dungeon instance) that has been cited as a model for real world epidemic study. The games mechanics introduced a damaging effect called ‘Corrupted Blood’ from the last ‘boss’, Hakkar, that came off the players when they either died or the boss was killed. It could however be on the pets that players brought along and when they left the instance it continued to stay on the pets.

Consequently some players inadvertently spread this to others as it leapt from the pets to the players, this incident primarily occurred in Ironforge, the Dwarven City. Some players indeed found this quite amusing and deliberately brought it to the city as well.

Discussion forums at the time discussed the sight of bodies in the streets of the city, and it seems that at least three of the multiple servers were affected. The towns and major cities were abandoned by those not affected as they went into the countryside. The urban areas were then graveyards with the white bones of the dead.

It was interesting to see that players that had an ability to help did so, they directed the lower level characters away from the area and where they could remove the disease from others they did but other players deliberately brought the contagion to others.

Blizzard then attempted quarantine, the idea being that those affected would stay in a contained area but vindictive players (or those not taking it seriously as it was a game) brought that to those areas, praying on the weak and the fact it was a confined area. Some players ensured that the pets that caught it were then ‘un-summoned’ to remove the issue but ultimately Blizzard had to hard reset all the servers and reprogram the glitch.

After the outbreak the next even in 2008 was intentional. Blizzard released a zombie plague week in order to promote the new release of the expansion ‘Wrath of the Lich King’. This one was seemed more true-to-life as it was a small risk of transmission and encountering a lone zombie was not as dangerous as a large number of the infected. It was met with both praise and criticism, and from my side, mostly praise as it was an interesting adaptation to the game for a short period of time.

The epidemic of the Corrupted Blood was compared to real life breakouts, the CDC did ask for information about the statistics but Blizzard found they could not provide them as it was a computer glitch. It was also fascinating to see that it was carried from a remote area into a larger one, that people and animals could contract it, much like Avian Flu, and that people in larger areas were more at risk.

However there were differences from the real world too that negate parts of the study, such as it did not affect the non-playable characters because they did not transmit it. Alongside this there were no visible signs of the disease, such as pustules or other effects, but there was one thing that made it feel realistic – the rush of journalists wanting to cover the story and then get back out of it.

There was a discussion about using the platform for further study with the players however it never really came to fruition. It was felt that it was not really going to be indicative of a real world situation. There was not enough realistic data because players regenerate and with that meant there was little threat on the infection if all the player precautions could be set up, it would really be more for entertainment…

It was also discussed that WOW could be used in terms of how terrorists form collaborations and cells, this again would only be used for entertainment as a model could not be formed from the game. It did however give interesting light when someone pointed out that people quickly got smart in the game about how to do the biggest damage to the most amount of people and how. And lets not forget that it is a game and the very worst that can happen, unlike real life, is you can re-spawn and get back to doing what you like, so it really does not mirror real life.

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