A Little Bit of Nightmare Fuel
Lets Get a Little Spooky
Happy HumpDay! Most HumpDay Newsletters have interesting information to pick up your spirits for the remainder of the week but, this week is a little different. This week is no less interesting than any other week but it is a lot more SPOOOKY! The topics may haunt your dreams or make you flinch at things that go bump in the night. If you can't handle this change of pace and you need a little pick me up, check out the HumpDay website here and read a more lighthearted issue of the HumpDay Newsletter.
TWO FREE AUDIOBOOKS FROM HUMPDAY!?!?
HumpDay is still partnered with Audible to offer our readers more content with less reading. Try audible for free using the HumpDay link here and enjoy two free audiobooks courtesy of HumpDay!
For those who took high school English, you have more than likely been exposed to William Shakespeare’s tragic story of ambition, murder, and the Scottish crown, Macbeth. If you remember the play, you may recall the three witches and their famous line “Double, Double Toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble”. What you may have known is that the famous spell from Macbeth was actually a spell used by real witches in Victorian England.
The king of England at the time of Macbeth’s writing was fascinated with witchcraft and Shakespeare diligently researched witches in order to impress the king with his authenticity. He studied the rituals, spells, and potions of witches of the time and incorporated them into his play including the famous spell and the recipe for the witches’ potion “Fenny snake, eye of newt and toe of frog”.
When Macbeth premiered, covens of witches protested the play and supposedly put a curse on the performance and all of the actors involved. The curse became evident on opening night when the actor (man) playing the leading role of lady Macbeth died suddenly mid show and Shakespeare himself had to fill in. Later productions of Macbeth had similar issues including actors accidentally dying during the show and a riot in 1849 ending in 31 deaths. Since then, Macbeth has been known as the cursed play and actors refuse to say the play’s name inside of a theatre because they believe that it is bad luck.
Fortunately, if you want to avoid the curse when you attend a show the solution is simple. Just exit the theatre, spin around three times, spit, curse and then knock on the theatre door to be allowed back in. That is the only approved way of breaking the Macbeth curse and avoiding double toil and trouble.
If you walk through an old grave yard (which you shouldn’t do because that’s creepy) you may see little hook with a bell just above some of the older graves. These little bells aren’t wind chimes meant to make a pleasant noise whenever a strong gust comes by. Instead, those little bells are meant to make a horrifying noise that played sinister role in the burial process of the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1817, a new disease called cholera, which caused severe muscle cramps, vomiting, and eventually death, began to spread across the world until it reached Europe and the United States. Cholera was an extremely infectious disease so, all of the bodies of those who died from the disease needed to be disposed of quickly in order to prevent the disease from spreading. This need to quickly dispose of bodies lead to the deceased being buried within minutes of their death. The issue was… not all of them were dead.
Coroners rushing through their assessments of people presumed to be dead lead to a surge of premature burials, aka people being buried alive. Many caskets from that time were found to have claw marks in the top of the casket where people woke up buried alive and tried to dig their way out.
In response to this outbreak of premature burials, casket makers began including devices in their caskets for the “dead” to alert people if they were buried alive. One of these devices was a little bell attached to a string that would get the attention of the crypt keeper, telling them to dig up the body before it was too late. The little bells above old graves saved many people from a horrible death and also inspired the phrase “Saved by the Bell”.
When you think of Zombies you probably think of swarms of decaying corpses that bite people, infecting them with the disease that makes them into zombies. One zombie bites someone who then bites another person and soon enough, the zombies rule the world and the last remaining humans are held up in a shopping mall or a prison or something. Scary isn’t it.
At least zombies are just science fiction, right?... Right? Unfortunately, the zombie apocalypse is already among us and the zombie hoards are already out for brains. Fortunately for us, the real-life zombies aren’t hunting humans but rather, they’re hunting ants.
In the tropical rainforests of South America, there is a species of fungus, known as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, that grows in the shady areas of the rainforest floor. These mushroom-like fungi cannot breed on their own, so they use a horrifying technique to reproduce and create more fungi.
The fungi hide amongst the leaves on the rainforest floor and wait for unsuspecting ants to walk over them. Once an ant gets close enough, the fungus shoots spores (fungus eggs) at the ant along with a special neurotoxin that slowly takes over the ant’s brain. The neurotoxin attacks the ant’s central nervous system and causes ants to freak out, spasm crazily, and eventually submit to the fungus’ control. The ant eventually becomes a zombie, completely controlled by the neurotoxin and spores from the fungus.
Once fully zombified, the ant is compelled by the fungus to climb to the top of the nearest tree (200 feet in the air) and find a spot in the sun that is good for growing fungus. The ant then attaches itself to a branch while the fungus takes over the rest of its body and begins to sprout a mushroom out of the ants skull, killing the ant through a slow and horrifying process. Once the mushroom grows through the ants head, it shoots more spores into the air from the highest point on the tree, spreading fungus eggs all over and causing more zombie fungus to grow all over the jungle.
If these fungi can infect ants, maybe ants can infect mice then, maybe mice can infect humans. Next thing we know, we will all be climbing trees and shooting zombie eggs out of our ears.
HumpDay Healthy Helpings
Not a spooky recipe but a unique and tasty one
Calories Per Serving: 279 I Servings: 6 I Cook Time: 30 Minutes
This Week in History
On this week in 1989, an engineer named Tim Berners-Lee launched a world wide standard for network connectivity. Previously, there had been dozens of localized computer networks that spoke completely different languages and couldn’t share information across different networks. Tim Berners-Lee and his fellow scientists at CERN invented an international standard language for network-based communication called “The World Wide Web”. Berners-Lee and world wide web brought the world together through the creation of the internet and ushered in the modern age of technology. Tim Berners-Lee may have made the most important invention of our generation and most people don’t even know his name.
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