Press your spaceface close to mine

Real Fairy Tales

Posted by Sunday on Mar 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm in Apocalypse

I have this mental thing, see. No, not the one where I fear we are secretly being controlled by a race of brain-washing skull-like aliens. The one where I feel like certain events are Real Fairy Tales.

“Fairy tales” might not be the right words, but it’s the one I’ve been working with for about a decade now. The first time I had the Real Fairy Tale realization was when golf pro Payne Stewart (who, according to The New York Times, was “known (…) for his traditional knickers and tam-o’-shanter,” a sentence that made me snort with Bender-like derision) and five people of lesser importance died in a bizarre plane crash.

The story was weird, and upon hearing it I was overcome with a sensation similar to déjà vu – except, instead of having a feeling that it had happened before, I had a feeling that it was important. The feeling scared me: this is how people go crazy, I thought. This is what happens to the nut jobs that they find in apartments full of garbage, rocking and muttering to themselves about Crystal Pepsi. Wait no, that’s programmers. ANYWAY. Despite my nagging fears of impending insanity, I explored the feeling, and to my sort of comfort, it stayed. I suppose I rationalized that if insanity was truly at my doorstep, it might behave like schizophrenia and come on in little fits and hiccups before unleashing its full fury. I clearly don’t know what I am talking about.

Instead, what I came up with was this: there are consistent themes to parables and myths, and these usually involve characters of high stature or unbeatable skill who then learn something. I mean, thematically, a parable is supposed to involve humans (unlike a fable, which involves animals or inanimate objects) who make a decision of some kind (usually a complicated moral one cloaked as a simple, day-to-day decision) and then suffer consequences.

Now: fairy tales. Fairy tales are parables + magic (and often substitute moral lessons with chaos). And this is where my brain slots the event like the Payne Stewart crash. This is where the crazy feelings come in: it is bizarre – almost too bizarre. Bizarre in a way where I feel some kind of cypher hanging over the whole event, like a pattern. And I fear when I use the words “fairy tale,” you think I mean those cute pink dragonfly-winged little people. I don’t. I mean the things that steal your babies in the night and replace them with hateful homunculi.

  • The Payne Stewart crash. The plane took off normally and lost radio contact with the control tower within half an hour. Air Force jets were sent up to look at the plane. There was no one visible in the cockpit and the rest of the plane’s windows were “fogged,” though due to frost, smoke or ill will was never determined (many news reports mistakenly confirm that “frost” was seen on the windows, though deposition from the F-16 pilot shows he suggested frost as a possible reason, not The Reason). The plane was allowed to fly on autopilot until it crashed into a field, 4 hours later. Experts never determined conclusively what happened; many find it hard to believe that the FAA ruling – slow decompression – would have occurred so early in the flight, and without setting off the plane’s decompression alarms (the alarms are simple machinery that have very, very low failure rates).
  • Russian submarine K-141 Kursk accident. Because of attention and news coverage, it feels like a lot is known about this event when it is in reality a shitpile of “facts”. The Kursk was apparently testing dummy missiles in the Barents Sea when two explosions – so large that they registered as high as 3.5 on Richter scales across Europe – fatally crippled the ship and sent it plummeting to the bottom of the sea. This is where everything gets real weird, and every source has contradictory information. I’ve counted six – six! – major theories as to what exploded: remember, the missiles were dummies. The part that nagged everyone, including myself, is that the explosions left 23 men alive for unknown hours before their eventual, unexplained demise (some say drowning, some say burning). It’s worth reading up about (you can google it on your own), but remember that for every source claiming a fact (i.e., the survivors could not open the hatch that would have allowed them to escape) there is a piece of information that says otherwise (i.e., it is unknown why the survivors didn’t use the escape hatch – they even had Arctic survival suits).
  • The Dyatlov Pass Incident. This story is another that many have tried to dismiss as being “silly” or to have a rational explanation, despite over fifty years of families trying to make sense of what happened. Here is the best article on the event that I’ve read yet. In short: in 1959, nine young people went skiing in trip in the Ural mountains. They intended on hiking into prime skiing areas, taking plenty of camping and survival gear with them. A few days later they set up an undesirable camp (on a mountain slope, despite tree-cover within a kilometer) where one skier even took photos. After they failed to return home almost two weeks later, a rescue mission was arranged. It took the rescuers another week to find their camp. What they found were dead bodies all meters distant from their tent: five dead from hypothermia, and four of gruesome injuries and radiation contamination. All of the bodies were missing basic protection from the elements – many were basically in their underclothes, and some did not even have socks on. The clothing and gear was still in the tent, and the tent itself was shredded. Investigators at the scene even remarked that a tree in the distance appeared to have been climbed, with a great possibility being that one of the victims tried to look back at the camp without getting any closer.
  • The Elizabeth Targ story. Elizabeth Targ was an indisputably brilliant researcher and scientist who, from an early age, was fascinated by parapsychology. Over many years this translated into prayer study. She received attention and acclaim from a series of experiments she did with AIDS patients in 1995, experiments that seemed to show that both the act of prayer and the act of being prayed for resulted in direct ease of pain, symptoms and development of illness. Targ herself was not an outwardly spiritual person and never offered a hypothesis on what was happening (she was a good scientist, remember) because her research was far from finished (it should be noted that she dated a theoretical physicist who did go on record saying that unknown dimensions easily accounted for the phenomenon). Targ then turned her attentions to a rare brain cancer: namely, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Not long after (and from a statistical standpoint, almost impossibly) she developed GBM herself. Her GBM was especially vicious and killed her within 4 months of diagnosis. Her fame in the faith-healing industry meant that thousands of people were praying for her.
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March 18th, 2008 | Apocalypse

4 Responses to “Real Fairy Tales”

  1. quagmire Says:

    Holy shit! The Kursk and especially the Dyatlov mysteries haunt me.
    The other two are easier for me to assimilate as accident and happenstance.
    I grew up in earthquake country and bear witness to what it takes to register a 3.5 on the Richter. If they were testing ‘dummy’ torpedoes, then nothing short of a reactor-type explosion could have produced that magnitude of resonance. Yet the investigation showed no containment breach, only a possible steam or gaseous explosion ‘incident’. There’s a pretty good docu that can be rented on the subject … though ‘non-conclusive’.
    The Dyatlov incident, well that’s just fucking scary … period. Read the article the Cap’n links to.
    The Payne Stewart incident is easiest for me to dismiss (goddamn, that sounded crass!). What I mean is, decompression can happen instantaneously and at the altitude they had (40,000 ft. officially on radar), the outside air (what little there is of it) is freezing. Alarms just tell the pilot something has/is happening, nothing more. Air Force experts said impairment begins in just seconds and the pilot had, at max, two minutes before he needed oxygen to function coherently. Expert opinion said they would have lost consciousness before the pilot could descend to a warmer, oxygenated level (an experienced pilot, which they had, wouldn’t just nose-dive the fucker either … stupid maneuver in this scenario). The investigation showed maintenance workers had replaced a crucial pressurization valve the day before the incident after a report was made about pressurization problems.
    I think this myth is ‘busted’, for me anyway.
    The poor lady with the rare brain cancer … weird, strange, unfortunate yes, but happenstance I believe. Sorry, no mystery there for me.
    Gotta go spacebuddies, warning klaxons say a breach at Atmo’s docking port …

  2. subspace Says:

    I didn’t mean to say that they were totally unsolved mysteries, just that something about them struck me as more important than appeared on the surface. And even then I don’t mean that they are conspiracies or anything of the sort. It’s all just an exploration of this feeling I often have, that I’m missing something. Like seeing a Mandelbrot set.

  3. quagmire Says:

    @Subspace: Nor was I implying that you were. These are just my take on those particular occurrences and, I realize now, were actually off-topic to yer post … so I apologize if they came across like a cheezy rebuttal. My comments were definitely not of the déjà important kind.
    FYI/BTW: I had a dream last night about the Dyatlov Incident. It was a military experiment-gone-bad, on those poor, unsuspecting souls. Watch the skies … and your government!

  4. something other than sunnymelons Says:

    I know exactly what you mean, though I had put it down to grief for the victims (and I’m anything but compassionate) and being severely creeped out, especially in the case of Dyatlov. It’s actually been making me weep some nights as I try to fall asleep, and be extremely wary of taking the garbage out at night, what with the eyes watching me from the dark (Ok, maybe my version of this feeling is bordering on schizo). That, coupled with Patrick Austin’s St. John’s Party photoset on Flickr, just pushed me over the edge.

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