Monday, May 13, 2013

Just the Facts?: 'I was swallowed by a hippo' -- The Vanishers: A Tale of Two Ghosts -- David Rountree / Tracy Ray Podcast


Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo

The hippo who tried to kill me wasn't a stranger – he and I had met before a number of times. I was 27 and owned a business taking clients down the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. I'd been working this stretch of river for years, and the grouchy old two-ton bull had carried out the occasional half-hearted attack. I'd learned to avoid him. Hippos are territorial and I knew where he was most likely to be at any given time.

That day I'd taken clients out with three apprentice guides – Mike, Ben and Evans – all in kayaks. We were near the end of the tour, the light was softening and we were taking in the tranquillity. The solid whack I felt behind me took me by surprise.

I turned just in time to see Evans, who had been flung out of his boat, flying through the air. His boat, with his two clients still in it, had been lifted half out of the water on the back of the huge bull hippo.

There was a cluster of rocks nearby and I yelled at the nearest apprentice to guide everyone there, to safety. Then I turned my boat and paddled furiously towards Evans.

I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.

I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape. I swam towards Evans, but the hippo struck again, dragging me back under the surface. I'd never heard of a hippo attacking repeatedly like this, but he clearly wanted me dead.

Hippos' mouths have huge tusks, slicing incisors and a bunch of smaller chewing teeth. It felt as if the bull was making full use of the whole lot as he mauled me – a doctor later counted almost 40 puncture wounds and bite marks on my body. The bull simply went berserk, throwing me into the air and catching me again, shaking me like a dog with a doll.

Then down we went again, right to the bottom, and everything went still. I remember looking up through 10 feet of water at the green and yellow light playing on the surface, and wondering which of us could hold his breath the longest. Blood rose from my body in clouds, and a sense of resignation overwhelmed me. I've no idea how long we stayed under – time passes very slowly when you're in a hippo's mouth.

The hippo lurched suddenly for the surface, spitting me out as it rose. Mike was still waiting for me in his kayak and managed to paddle me to safety. I was a mess. My left arm was crushed to a pulp, blood poured from the wounds in my chest and when he examined my back, Mike discovered a wound so savage that my lung was visible.

Luckily, he knew first aid and was able to seal the wounds in my chest with the wrapper from a tray of snacks, which almost certainly stopped my lungs from collapsing and saved my life.

By chance, a medical team was nearby, on an emergency drill, and with their help I stayed alive long enough to reach a hospital with a surgeon. He warned me he would probably have to take off both my arms and the bottom of my injured leg. In the end, I lost only my left arm – they managed to patch up the rest.

Evans' body was found down river two days later. Attempts were made to find and kill the rogue hippo, but he seemed to have gone into hiding. I'm convinced, though, that I met him one more time. Two years later I led an expedition down the Zambezi and as we drifted past the stretch where the attack had taken place, a huge hippo lurched out of the water next to my canoe. I screamed so loudly that those with me said they'd never heard anything like it. He dived back under and was never seen again. I'd bet my life savings it was the same hippo, determined to have the final word. - Guardian

When Man is the Prey: True Stories of Animals Attacking Humans

Don't Get Eaten: The Dangers of Animals That Charge and Attack

Animals Behaving Badly: Boozing Bees, Cheating Chimps, Dogs with Guns, and Other Beastly True Tales


**********

A Tale of Two Ghosts

The Vanishers: New York Is Full Of Them, But What Are They?

Some true life experiences by: Posey Gilbert


It was the summer of 1960. It was already hot and humid that July morning.
Mother was making our breakfast when she suddenly paused and tilted her head as if she was listening to someone whispering in her right ear.
My chair was facing her Ralph's sat with his back to her so I was the only one that saw her do this.
She suddenly came out of it and said, " Butch, Ralph this will be your first time going to 55, so when you leave there I want you both to come straight home.
Don't go home with anybody, don't stop to talk to anybody, stay together and come straight home, you hear me?"
"There's a lot of sick people out there who like to grab up and hurt little boys like you, you hear me?"
"OK" we chorused.
I thought it was strange that she was repeating the "Don't go with nobody" lecture again she'd done that two years ago, we both knew these rules by now.
That afternoon as Ralph and I were on our way home from day camp at Benjamin Franklin J.H.S 55.
As we reached near the bottom of the steep hill that was 170th St. and Saint Pauls Place a man suddenly staggered out from between the parked cars down and to the right of us.
He was a young Latino deep brown skinned, black greasy curly hair, worn in the style of the fifties, slick on the sides curly on top coming to kind of a coma in front.
He was taller than us of course may be five three of a slender build and in his late teens early twenties but old to us.
He was limping badly and I thought he may have been hit by a car and had been lying stunned in between the parked cars.
As we were watching him stumble and hold on to the cars making his way up the hill toward us Ralph leaned over to me and whispered, "Should we help him?"
"No!" I scolded him," Remember Mother said not to go with any one cause they could take us and hurt us!"
We slowed down and moved toward the fence putting as much distance between the struggling man and us as the sidewalk would allow.
The man never once looked at us but just seemed to be concentrating on getting up to Saint Pauls Place and Washington Ave at the top of the hill.
He would walk a little and pause and hold on to the cars and gather his strength then try to walk a little more and end up stopping again to hold on to the parked cars for balance again.
I put myself between Ralph and the man so I had a clear view of him all the while we approached each other.
He never said anything but grimace every time he took a step on his left leg.
We passed him to his right he to our left we took one step a then I said,
"Ralph he really looks hurt, we should help him."
We turned around and the man was gone.
I thought maybe he had fallen between the cars again.
We turned and started back up the hill putting a distance between the cars and us just in case he wasn't hurt but hiding.
Ralph walked in the street and I walked on the sidewalk we each looking into the parked cars to see if he was in one.
He was nowhere to be seen even an athlete could not have made it up that steep hill in the second it took for us to turn around.
Ralph and I just looked at each other and said, "May be he was a ghost."
Because we were thinking about helping this man and going against the warnings of our mother we could not tell any of our family about it but we told our friends that we saw a ghost but because they booed and called us crazy we stopped talking about it.
In 1982 as Ralph and I sat talking about the weird things we had seen in our lives he suddenly asked me," Do you remember that old man?"
"Old man?" I asked, thinking about Aarron he didn't know about Aarron only mother knew about him.
"Yeah " he said "The old man in the gray suit."
"Me and you were walking down from 55 and he came out of the street carrying those heavy shopping bags and I asked you if we should help him and you said no because mother said not to go with people.
Then when he passed us you said we should help him and when we turned around he was gone."
"An old man is that what you saw?" I asked.
"Yeah why did you think I asked you if we should help him?" he answered.
I still wonder to this day what it was we had seen and why was it trying to get us to go with it, and what would have become of us had we done so?
But mostly I wonder what it was that told Mother to warn us again, that seconds hesitation had saved us.

**********

The Next Pandemic: Not if, but When

Terrible new forms of infectious disease make headlines, but not at the start. Every pandemic begins small. Early indicators can be subtle and ambiguous. When the Next Big One arrives, spreading across oceans and continents like the sweep of nightfall, causing illness and fear, killing thousands or maybe millions of people, it will be signaled first by quiet, puzzling reports from faraway places — reports to which disease scientists and public health officials, but few of the rest of us, pay close attention. Such reports have been coming in recent months from two countries, China and Saudi Arabia.

You may have seen the news about H7N9, a new strain of avian flu claiming victims in Shanghai and other Chinese locales. Influenzas always draw notice, and always deserve it, because of their great potential to catch hold, spread fast, circle the world and kill lots of people. But even if you’ve been tracking that bird-flu story, you may not have noticed the little items about a “novel coronavirus” on the Arabian Peninsula.

This came into view last September, when the Saudi Ministry of Health announced that such a virus — new to science and medicine — had been detected in three patients, two of whom had already died. By the end of the year, a total of nine cases had been confirmed, with five fatalities. As of Thursday, there have been 18 deaths, 33 cases total, including one patient now hospitalized in France after a trip to the United Arab Emirates. Those numbers are tiny by the standards of global pandemics, but here’s one that’s huge: the case fatality rate is 55 percent. The thing seems to be almost as lethal as Ebola. Continue reading at NY Times

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age


**********

Vortex to another dimension reported in Brighton

Council bosses have been left mystified after reports that a portal to another dimension has opened in a residential street in Brighton.

A member of the public reported to Brighton and Hove City Council that the “wormhole or vortex” had opened up in Montreal Road, Hanover, on May 2.

They made the report via the website Fix My Street which is more typically used to report potholes, dumped rubbish and broken lampposts.

The anonymous poster said: “I was recently walking my affenpinscher (a toy breed of dog) around the Hanover area of Brighton when I noticed that a wormhole or vortex has opened up on Montreal Road.

“On closer inspection it seems to be some kind of portal to other times, places and dimensions.

“I would have investigated further but I was concerned my little dog would be sucked into it.

“Is this meant to be there? At first I believed it might be part of the Brighton Festival but I believe it could be a hazard to the general public. I look forward to your response.”

They followed this up with a report on Thursday, explaining: “The other day I reported the presence of some kind of wormhole or vortex on Montreal Road.

“I am concerned this is a passage to another time or dimension, and if this snake is anything to go by, I'm worried what else may emerge from the wormhole. Can anyone suggest a course of action to take?”

Brighton and Hove City Council told The Argus they will not be investigating the report.

Commenting on Fix My Street previously, the council said: “We welcome reports through any means residents choose and as a council provide many ways through which residents can raise issues directly ranging from post, online or by telephone.” - The Argus

**********




Join Eric Altman, Lon Strickler and Sean Forker
each Sunday at 8 PM ET as we go
Beyond the Edge!
Call toll free 1-877-677-2858 during the live broadcast
----------
Tune in each Monday for a new and exciting podcast

Photobucket