Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

(METPO-2)

Page 69, Fodor’s Moscow & St Petersburg

Moscow’s metro is one of the deepest in the world, but below it, if you believe the Soviet Legend, is a second even deeper metro system, Metro 2. This metro was purportedly built for Stalin as a private line for top party officials. One of the lines supposedly led from the Kremlin to the Lubyanka, the home of the feared KGB.

1933, summer, and two men found a centuries old tunnel within sight of the Kremlin, excited that they might find Ivan the Terrible’s gold-covered books they found 5 skeletons and a rusted door they could not open. They didn’t dare let on what they had found during Stalin’s reign but when Mikhail Gorbechav came to power surviving engineer, Apollos Ivanov, recalled the tale.

It’s a good old-fashioned conspiracy dive, Metro 2 is the informal name for the secret underground system which parallels the public metro system in Moscow. It is theorised that it was built, or at least started, during the era of Joseph Stalin and codenamed D6 (Д-6) by the KGB.

The KGB (Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности (КГБ)) was the main security agency for the Soviet Union, 1954-1991 until the breakup of the union. D6 is still rumoured to be operated by the Main Directorate of Special Programmes and Ministry of Defence.

In 1992 a journalist magazine called Yunost published a novel by Vladimir Eonik. It was called Преисподняя  (Preispodniaia or Abyss) and was sent in an Underground bunker in Moscow. The idea of the D6 project had been introduced to them via 20 years of collected papers and works on secret bunkers and an underground railway system that connected them.

Russian reporters have neither confirmed or denied the existence of D6, but there is supposedly evidence of it and when the Rossiya Hotel was demolished near the Kremlin a tunnel was found, providing another potential link into the conspiracy theory being more of a fact. Given that tunnels are all over major cities I’m not actually sure if this is to be counted as proof. So, let’s take a look into what we can find for further information.

1994, an exploration group “Diggers of the Underground Planet” claimed they’d found an entrance to the system, before that in 1991 the United States Department of Defence published a report ‘Military Forces in transition” that had a diagram of the system that was superimposed on a city map which was, it states, designed for 100,000 people.

Igor Maleshenko, the Deputy Director Broadcaster, gave an interview in 1992 with Time and discussed a similar project called Sofrino-2, he said that it has been built in case of a nuclear war but like many of the installations it was unusable. The age, deterioration and flooding had affected a great number of them.

2004, former advisor to Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Shevchenko confirmed that there was a secret in the Moscow Metro, however he said that the number of these things were greatly exaggerated. He then touched upon the subject again, “currently, the Kremlin subway cannot be called a transportation artery, and, as far as I know, for its continued operation it requires major repairs; for among other things there are a lot of underground utilities which will eventually decay.”

2008 – Mikhail Poltoranin, a minister under Boris Yelstin’s reign, confirmed an extensive network of tunnels for the purpose and mentioned Metro-2 directly.

Dimitry Gayev, ex-chief of the Moscow Metro felt that it would be of little surprise if it existed, in 2008 the head of the Moscow Metro, Svetlana Razina, also discussed that there had been recruiting for a service on secret routes and they required special clearance.

2007 ITAR-TASS stated “line of the Metro-2 has long been in the KGB office.”

Alexander Muzykantskiy was the former Head of Moscow’s Central Administrative District and spoke of a gigantic underground system. They had designed a place to ensure the stable operation of military and political operations during nuclear conflict, and for 91 years was kept as a highest state secret. I also think I will mention England tried to set up the same and I am sure it’s commonplace in many countries and not just Moscow.

Speaking of, the British Secret Intelligence Service also got a little information that was put out via defector. The former colonel of the KGB Oleeg Gordievsky said it was one of the main KGB secrets. The massive complex would likely never be shown to anyone, that huge underground city was not for the common eye.

A 2005 BBC article interviewed Eugine, who was 22 years old and a ‘digger’, they explore the underground spaces of Moscow and he relayed how a Russian reporter wrote about that secret network and was then questioned by the FSB (successor to the KGB). He was careful not to say how they got to their places and had a lot of images that they had collected as a group of diggers.

How has it been used in the media?

Well one of them favourite games uses it, I came across D6 in Metro 2033, a video game based on the series of books by Dimitry Glukhovsky. I’m 100% biased with my love of this nuclear survival and urban-ex nature of the game and in the book, it sends the main character, Artyom, to find the massive ‘bunker-like’ system. The existence is a legend amongst the underground dwellers of the Metro, and they reach one of the entrances located near Kievsaya Station. In the books D6 is only mentioned as Artyom does not go there himself.

Incidentally Metro, 2013, is a film set in the Moscow metro when a major leak sets off a pretty decent disaster movie. It has all the classic hallmarks of the type of film this genre holds and was fairly well received. My Russian understanding is minimal at best, but the plot was fairly simple to follow – spoiler alert below.

Rich man, c husband of wife and their daughter all end up trapped when the area floods. The old and busy tunnels become fatal for various reasons. Character (and a dog) all end up dying, trapped etc and you get some very good footage of the metro as this story goes on. It is clear that when travelling miles of these tunnels and seeing various entrances it would not be hard to believe that there is more than meets the eye, you get a similar feel when you go on the New York subway or the London Underground and so I think it is a subject for interested.
What do you think?

Jalopnik.com

inyourpocket.com

mmorpgforums.com

atlasobscura.com

metro.ru/metro2/

globalsecurity.org

bbc.co.uk

Metro 2003, Dimitry Glukhovsky


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I have a copy of the first edition published of the game Wraith, it is battered and showing its age but it is still sat in my collection. It was published in 1994 by White Wolf and is part of the World of Darkness setting. The World of Darkness is an alternative world, a fictional setting using our world events and accepting that supernatural events and creatures like vampires, werewolves and mages exist.

I remember the rumours about this when I was more heavily into following the Role Play Gaming scene and thought I might do a tea break read on it.

So rumour had it that the game setting was being worked on and that play testing is a part of this, so during the first play test and in talks with the designers they all had instances where they were falling ill When they tried to prepare the book for its original publication the printing factory burnt down.

So this is really what seems to be nothing more than a rumour circulating at the time, there was no twitter to hashtag it out and a look online only had one other person that had posted about it. So it was a rumour mill that may well have not gone all that far outside of small circles or in chat rooms now very out of date or defunct. So was there any basis to this? Most likely not, it was more likely down to the fact that the game was just selling poorly.

The game itself meant that before you even started the game you had to conceive characters that had been traumatized enough to become these angry/tormented spirits. This was not just hard for players to work with but also the storyteller. I am quite sure the concept and development was hard work, the subject of things like murder, suicide and horrific accidents are going to drag the most positive of folk down over time.

Ultimately I don’t consider this a case of cursed gaming more a case of concept that didn’t sell well in reality. After two editions Wraith: The Oblivion was shelved and now appropriately haunted a space in my collection like it does many other people’s shelves.

Does any one else recall this?

Wraithoblivi c.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

 

I’m not talking about the rum, but I do think the bottles that brand come in look rather cool. I am talking about the legendary sea-monster that seems to be rumoured to well around the coasts of Norway and Greenland. It is a cephalopod which generally includes things like squid, octopus and nautilus. This particular type of marine life is characterized by large bodies, tentacles and many fishermen call them inkfish. Many of them do squirt ink so this does make sense.

There is a theory that many authors hold that the legend might be originated from sightings of giant squids. Giant squids can grow between 40-50 feet. It’s name is taken from Norwegian and an old Icelandic saga mentions a beast called hafgufa which swallows up men and ships. Some early accounts seem more crab-like than giant squid, but whatever the account it seems that the giant tentacled beast is now the modern accepted depiction.

A pretty famous poem by Alfred Tennyson was published in 1830 describing the massive creature at the depths of the ocean. In 1851 came Moby Dick by Herman Melville and it is described as a giant squid and similarly forms part of Jules Verne’s 1870 tales of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

The kraken is also referred to as a leviathan, this is from the Jewish belief and referenced in their texts in the Book of Job a large primeval monster is defeated by the god Hadad and various interpretations range from dragons and whales to sea monsters in general.

It is part of the Satanic Bible (1969) by Anton Szandor LaVey uses the Leviathan of the element of water, listing the leviathan of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. It is however not described as a kraken exactly but more as a large sea-serpent.

In modern culture the kraken has been imagined for various stories, 2010 saw the “release the kraken” line delivered by Liam Neeson as Zeus, and yes it is still used in our Dungeons and Dragons campaigns to this date, the film Clash of the Titans uses it as a servant of the Olympian Gods. In 2011 Wolverine and Hercules are attacked by the kraken, Marvel Comics. In 2016 King Nereus takes on a form of the kraken but is defeated by Aqua-Woman (Mera) in the DC comics universe of the Bombshells series.

The Disney series of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest specifically, also brings the kraken to the big screen and TV’s as it devours Jack Sparrow under the servitude of Davy Jones. Used as servant it devours the souls of men marked by Davy Jones who are overdue on their payments. It appears at the end of At The World’s End as dead on the beach. I actually like its depiction in the second film as it felt like an all encompassing and fearsome creature.

It wouldn’t be my blog without mentioning H P Lovecraft and The Call of Cthulhu, the novel was written in 1926 and the Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M Price points to Tennyson’s influence when Lovecraft designed his description of Cthulhu. It is certainly a strong theory given his monstrous tentacles and that fact he is said to reside under the ocean in a large sunken city known as R’yleh. The location of this city was given by Lovecraft as being in the South Pacific. The position is known as ‘Nemo’ point which is a part of the ocean furthest away from any landmass. It is also known as a spacecraft cemetery, because a lot of our space rubbish is dumped there on re-entry as it is less likely to cause a collision with vessels and maritime traffic and is pretty lifeless due to a lack of nutrients in the area.

So I’m still a little off-topic from the kraken but I think it is loosely related so there is actually an old historical monument out there, the Antarctic Research Station, полюс недоступности (excuse any misspelling please), Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station at the Southern Pole and was founded and defined in 1958. It is also very cold there, -58.2c (-72.8f) and was initially reached on the 14th December, 1958 by an 18 man party.

26th December, 1958 the team left as it was too far from regular stations to be a safe venture. It has been visited since then and a bust of Vladimir Lenin was left at the site facing towards Moscow. In 2007 Team N2i ventured there and found the bust to still be visible and I am wondering if the kraken/Cthulhu would even notice knocking it over?

So do you think it is real? Asleep I some great depth or just an overly inflated tale about giant squid?

Sources: bbc.co.uk, traverse.npolar.no, wikipedia, gutenberg.org, victorianweb.org, lovecraftf.andom.org

Pirates of the Caribbean films

Old copy of the Satanic Bible – forgot I had this until I went digging around, old goth me would be impressed maybe.

H P Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu (from the compendium brought for me by friends!)

Denys de Montfort Poulpe Colossal.jpg
By Pierre Denys de Montfort († 1820) – Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd., Public Domain, Link

 

 

https://silentthrill.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/duga-radio/

If you want my original notes on the matter here they are but I am now going to update a little from the fact that in August (2019) I was lucky enough to get to visit the place directly.

If I get my notes in order properly I believe I will try and do a full write up of the day but I am just updating on the Duga because it was one of the big highlights. The Дугá or Duga-2 (or Chernobyl 2 or Russian Woodpecker) is SO big I cannot simply point out it was large… it is enormous and absolutely wonderful to have seen up close, I don’t know how long it will be standing there because you can see the signs of deterioration all over it but whilst it is there and possible to visit I am glad that people can.

So what else did I learn to add to the original information? Well that the structure likely cost more than putting all four of the reactors online at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself.

That the things all over it (pictured below) are known as vibrators, and when the wind did kick up a bit they sort of hummed very slightly. I have pretty good hearing and the sensation of being there and trying to listen was part of the atmosphere.

DugaVibrator.png

Workers would have been able to access the higher parts of the structure by elevator, I don’t think I would want to be on top of that thing on a windy or rainy day. I can’t be sure about health and safety in the former Soviet Union era but I can assure you that I’d be strapping myself to anything I could if I was working up there! I was once subject to a grim report about a death in the North Sea when a rigger failed to do it and my imagination took me straight back to that moment and I shuddered…

DugaElevator.png

There were access ladders originally still on the structure but thanks to irresponsible people climbing up they have been removed. They are on the floor as you can see behind the above photo to stop climbers having any form of easy access. I will say I can imagine people still do try but they clearly don’t think of dropping off the mortal coil if they do as just being near it was enough and I am not even afraid of heights as a general rule.

DugaLadders.png

When the wind gets it the whole thing shudders and shakes, you can hear it move and it’s both wonderful and a little jolting at the same time. The sand around the area might well be covering up the radiation underneath and giving additional support to the thing but if it fell I can’t imagine you would get any time to outrun it… You can see it from so far away even with the forest around it and you can hear it humming due to its size, even without power. I commented on my original post about the fact it would interfere with local radio and now I can understand why, how do you even hide that thing from anyone either?

Well they did have that conversation on the ground in the Ukraine and Moscow when Chernobyl’s nuclear incident happened. It was a secret military installation and they knew that officials coming from outside the Soviet Union may well notice it, did they risk driving people through to the zone and set off the geiger counters and the reality of it OR did they fly them over and pray they didn’t notice? Well in the end officials were flown over, the Chernobyl incident was simply more of a pressing matter than the giant station nearby.

There has been a death at the site in more recent years, in November 2017 (a Facebook post on Geostalkers claim it to have been 27th) a 33 year old man and a father of three died when he fell from the structure. The man was Dmitry Shkinder and he came over to the area from neighbouring country, Belarus. (Belarus is also subjected to having an exclusion zone from the 1986 incident and I shall try to do more on that at some point if I can). It was a cold, wet and windyday and he climbed up 15 foot before falling and meeting his end. “Stalkers” and thrill-seekers are being told to stop going on to the grounds, that stealing scrap metal for recycling is dangerous not to mention the haul may well be radioactive!

“That object has seen no maintenance for three decades. Its rusty, some ladders are loose. On that day it was really wet and cold and there was thick fog,” his friend Roman, who was with Dmitry when he died, told a Belarusian TV station. (Rt.Com)

I absolutely loved this place and visiting. I found it a genuine pleasure to be there and see it for myself and I am glad I was so lucky to get to see it.

I went with SoloEast Travel and they were fantastic. I shall hopefully get to write more about my trip in between my other blogs, and if this interested you I am sure there are plenty of other little dives about my posts you can enjoy.

Here are some links to enjoy too:

http://chornobyl.in.ua/en/chernobyl-2-2.html

https://goo.gl/maps/VqK4wBnCnvCuBwce8

And my video of what I managed to capture!

This is a ghost of South-eastern Asian mythology and is like a vampire myth, the name is derived from the meaning to remove or detach. The lore in this case is that the creature looks like a beautiful woman during the day, at night the head detaches from the body and she flies around with her intestines and lungs floating like a jellyfish, where she then hunts for blood.

Stories of the origins of the Pennanggalan are that a woman has made a pact with the devil, used black magic or some mystical approach to get beautiful features. Often it’s believed the woman was a midwife, who has been charged with the pact of starving for 40 days but has broken the pact. With the broken pact comes a curse where she must then become a bloodsucking vampire. She will keep a vat of vinegar at home and after flying around all night will be engorged with the blood, she then has to put the entrails into the vinegar to shrivel them so she can reattach to her body. Sounds… lush doesn’t it? But that’s how you can spot one too, the smell.

Victims are usually pregnant women and young children, she will search for a woman in labour and land on the roof letting out a shriek. She can then use a long invisible tongue to get into the house and then laps up the blood of the new mother, the victim is then struck with some unknown disease that is fatal. Even if the creature cannot feed the entrails brushing over the victim cause horrid sores and they won’t heal without the help of a Bomoh (healer).

The Mengkuang plant is recommended to be scattered around the area, this will trap the exposed lungs and intestines. Once the vile thing is trapped she can be killed with parangs (sort of sword) and machetes. A precaution would also be to keep scissors or betel nut cutters under her pillow as she is afraid of these items. Another action is that brave men can take up vigil at night and trap her as she flies.

Another way, non-lethal, to sort out the Pennanggalan is to turn the body over whilst she flies and then she will reattach with her head the wrong way around, that way she is easily identified by others.

The below picture is thanks to a version in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons.

Penanggalan.JPG
By Source, Fair use, Link