Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

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

 

So its that time! Time to look at communication, specifically an old over-the-horizon radar system called the Duga from the former Soviet Union (Russia/Ukraine for the purposes of this article.) Over The Horizon (OTH) or Beyond The Horizon (BTH) are radar systems for long range use. Most were used in the 1950’s and 1960’s because they were early warning systems, just think about the Cold War and the idea of it being a necessity; the ones I am looking at here are the Duga system but they were used all over the world and still are, if modern reports online are correct. I am no expert so correct me where you can if I get things wrong.

The system operated from July 1976 up until December 1989, there were two deployed in Chernobyl and Chernihiv. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine and Chernihiv is Siberian. They were powerful and appeared without warning, sounding like a repetitive tapping on 10Hz, they became nicknamed by the listeners as the Russian Woodpecker.

They seemed to pop up pretty randomly and could interrupt legitimate broadcasting and all variations of stations. Complaints were sent in about them but I can’t imagine it being easy to prevent them. Some of the radio and television users began including blockers in the circuit to try and filter out interruption.

The first type of Duga was built in the Ukraine and did successfully detect rocket launchers from 2,500 kilometres. With its success they worked on the larger project. The first signal was picked up in 1976 and amatuer radio users gave it the name woodpecker, some people had reported it as early as 1963. Regardless of the date the Russian Woodpecker was traced back to the Soviet Union. The sources were found in Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel and Chernihiv but eventually narrowed down through speculation has been made that there was more than one transmitter. Wireless World, 1977 muses that along with the OTH system the Russians might be trying to utilise radar returns or another source that worked along side it, or around two or more spots.

I wondered if this was plausible or were we just putting more technical knowledge to that in retrospect or are we accepting that NATO might not have been entirely accurate? The NATO name for DUGA-1 is quoted as STEEL YARD, some sources also use STEELWORK. It is officially recorded name may well be different but not disclosed for security purposes.

Some points of interest are that they realised when listening that it was not used as a form of jamming because Moscow and pro-Soviet Stations were also caught by it, so it couldn’t be reliable enough for that. The signal used three repetition rates of 10Hz, 16Hz and 20Hz, but the most common was 10. They used a fairly wide bandwidth, usually 40Khz.

An attempt to stop the signals causing interruptions came along, one of the ways was tor try and use signals at the same pulsing rate, people formed a club called The Russian Woodpecker Hunting Club. The transmissions slowed down in the 1980’s by 1989 they had disappeared. This slow down and eventual end does coincide with the Cold War closing down, the official end being 8th December 1971 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Another factor in the close would be a further advancement in early warning systems, satellite systems are far more advanced and less likely to be affected by adverse weather.

The original Duga system was experimental and it lies outside of the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. It was restored in 2002 after it was badly damaged by fire. As of October 2013 there is a possibility to visit the Ukrainian site via tour operators for Chernobyl who know how to get the correct paperwork.

For those who like modern reference here are some ways the Duga has been imported into modern media.

If, like me, you enjoy games like Metro Last Light or S.T.A.L.K.E.R then you may already know this… Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a heavy feature in S.T.A.L.K.E.R and specifically around the nuclear accident. The Duga array is in Clear Sky after the main campaign game. It is in the fictional city of Limansk-13 you can see it and visit it in game. The ‘Brain Scorcher’, a military installation, is inspired by the idea that Duga-1 was used for mind-control.

Call of Duty:Black Ops the map ‘Grid’ is placed in Pripyat and the array can be seen in game there too.

A documentary by Chad Garcia looks into the Chernobyl disaster and the potential links to the structure. The documentary interviews people directly involved in the building and operation of the installation.

So the first part is to point out that the term Red Room can mean two things, the term is a little ambiguous because of the deepweb and surface web.

A Red Room on the deepweb is usually hinted to be a live streaming site where for an expensive fee you can witness murder, rape and other atrocities that are illegal. They might also include live suicide streams and are effectively Pay Per View for things considered taboo. One which, fortunately, turned out to be a steaming pile of cows pat is the ISIS Red Room. 29th August, 2015 at midnight the side (not linked for obvious reasons, and I don’t do Tor links) said it would be streaming caught ISIS members that it planned to torture and ultimately kill them for viewing pleasure. They also added that it would be free.

So the site went down before the live tree, a video then goes up which is clearly awful and then looking on the site brought up an FBI Seizure notification. Yes, the red room that was, never was. Now on to the story I intended to go into.

The Red Room I am going to cover is about a flash animation game and urban legend, in the game two friends are talking about a pop-up that asks the computer user – Do you like Bob? – or a person’s name at any rate. The user then would try to close the pop-up but could not and it results in the death of the person at the computer.

The skeptical friend then goes off to look into this more, he ends up giving in on his quest, then continues along with his normal computer use. Inevitably the message pops up for the friend and he tries to close it, after several attempts the pop-up changes from “Do you like Jane?” etc to “Do you like red?”

The skeptical friend gets annoyed by this and keeps trying to close it down, he then finds that after a while and phrase changes it turns into “Do you like the Red Room?” With this final stage the computer becomes enveloped in names, the person’s name is on the list. The victim ends up committing suicide, coating the walls of their room in blood, hence Red Room.

I have myself played the little flash game that came with the urban legend and the character in the animation does indeed die after his name is added to the list. So… I am still here. Thank you, yes I was super brave… bazinga.

So far it’s a little light-hearted but there is a crime that has sadly been attached to the legend. 1st June, 2004 and Satomi Mitarai, 12 years old murdered a younger female classmate. Her murderer admitted to killing Mitarai over a comment that had been made on the internet. She brutally slashed at the victim and then calmly walked back to her classroom.

So what did this have to do with the Red Room? Well it is said that she had the Red Room game on her bookmark. To me that entire loose link to say it’s part of the Red Room curse is weak, she also had other links but it seems that it adds a level of loose ‘sinister’ by adding that to the tale. For me the Red Room on the deepweb and the Red Room game are different and so is the killing of an innocent student. For me I would say whilst I wrote about the game and the incident, keep them separate. One is a silly urban legend with a flash animation, the other is a tragic loss of life.

 This isn't the original game, I just played this one as wellredroom.png