6 Real News Stories That Are Straight Out Of Science Fiction
It seems like dystopian fiction is becoming a reality at an alarming pace. That's almost inevitable. Sci-fi authors frequently build their crazy futures on the real basis of the present. But what about the really dumb stuff? It's not so outlandish to think that elements of 1984 and Children Of Men might come to pass. But we're talking about the kind of schlocky filler that Netflix buries deep in the "Uh ... we guess?" section of their recommended films. Yes, even the stupidest sci-fi premises are coming to pass. Look at how ...
There's An Island Of Pissed-Off Apes That Were Subjected To Medical Experiments
Imagine that you're taking in the sights off the coast of West Africa. But suddenly your boat sinks, and you must cling to debris as you kick your way toward the nearest land. As you approach what appears to be an idyllic jungle isle, numerous hunched figures emerge from the brush. Are they your saviors? No. It's a bunch of aggro apes.
There's a good reason the chimpanzees on Monkey Island, a small piece of land near Liberia, are so murderous. (Did we not mention they were murderous? Because they super are!) They were all dumped there after years of suffering in a research laboratory, where they were constantly stabbed with infectious-disease-filled syringes to advance the knowledge of man. After they were used to create a hepatitis B vaccine and make blood transfusions safer, it was decided that as a small kindness in return for their service, they would be put out to pasture instead of tossed in an ape chipper. And like many retirees, they don't like anyone trespassing on their land. The locals on the mainland are terrified of the place, with one telling a visiting journalist, "They will eat you raw!"
The research facility has long since been shuttered, but the chimps remain (and are reproducing), having now survived not only the diseases they were purposefully riddled with, but also multiple civil wars, an Ebola outbreak, and the occasional reckless tourist. The main danger they now face is starving to death, but a few humans brave the wrath of the righteously homicidal hominids to regularly deliver food, no doubt looking to curry favor for the inevitable Planet Of The Apes situation this is obviously building to.
Bats Are Being Killed So People Can Suck Their Blood
Leathery-winged, demon-faced bats generally provoke an instinctive fear response. And the fact that a few species feast on blood like the mythical monsters they're associated with does little to endear them to anyone but the most ardent animal lovers. In Bolivia, however, people are not quite as squeamish. In some remote areas, they've even reversed the vampire script by lopping off the heads of bats and gulping down their fresh innards like they're furry, wriggling juice boxes.
There's an (obviously incorrect) belief there that bat blood can cure epilepsy. When doctors are scarce, modern medicine is in short supply, and folk cures come from the marketplace for less than three bucks, people are willing to try even the most out-there remedies for what ails them. And hey, while you're stocking up on live bats, you might as well grab a few dried llama fetuses to bury under your house for good luck. Because there's nothing luckier than being haunted by angry baby llama ghosts.
This is not an optimal situation for the bats of Bolivia, as 60% of species there are threatened. But some people are willing to overlook their creepy reputation and educate the public, if only because people drinking the blood of bats is 100% how Dracula 2: Drac's Back! gets started.
A Strange New Microbe Invaded NASA
The "clean rooms" of NASA house space-bound equipment like replacement parts for the Hubble Telescope and the secretive Copernicus Death Ray. They're among the most sterile environments on Earth. Employees dress like OCD-riddled surgeons, and adhesive floor mats grab any unclean particles that threaten to sully its pristine sanctity. Filth is not tolerated, and germs are exterminated with extreme prejudice.
So naturally, the caretakers were disconcerted when a microbe completely new to science was found despoiling the floor. And when that same microbe was found in another NASA clean room an entire continent away, the level of interest suddenly rose from "mild confusion" to "dramatic glasses removal."
What were these things? A celestial super virus? Outraged midi-chlorians seeking revenge for years of mockery? Something possibly less dangerous and assuredly less stupid? It is, of course, the last one. These microbes can survive on almost no nutrients, and what they do eat includes the cleaning products designed to kill them. And as for how they managed to survive in such an aggressively hostile habitat, a scientist put in charge of figuring everything out paraphrased Ian Malcolm by saying, "Life will find a way." Which, given how that franchise unfolds, isn't very reassuring.
There's A Forest In Quebec That Looks Like It's Breathing
Remember The Happening, for which M. Night Shyamalan was mocked over his evil plants and long shots of ominous leaf-rustling? Well, we all owe him an apology. Not a genuine one, but still.
Yes, that is the ground itself surging like the forest is breathing and about to demand human flesh. Science can explain the phenomenon. Wind is battering the trees, the force is transferred to the roots, and the ground, saturated by rain, heaves as a result. But the logical explanation is of little comfort when you remember that a breathing forest is also the exact plot of an American Horror Story episode.
No, we're not saying that this particular forest is really haunted by demons. But we will point out that in horror movies, the scientist who says "Don't worry, there's a perfectly logical explanation" is always the first to be eaten.
That Time Thousands Of Dead Birds Rained From The Sky
In Arkansas, on the eve of 2011, thousands of dead birds started falling out of the sky like a Biblical plague.
Then it happened again the next year!
Turns out the locals were indeed living in a horror movie this time, but one with a cheap twist where the real monster is man. The sound of fireworks were startling birds out of their roosts and, not accustomed to flying at night, they then slammed into buildings, trees, cars, cellphone towers, and other objects that gave them brain trauma.
An impromptu fireworks ban in 2012 massively cut down on the number of avian casualties -- although if you're still upset about man's callous treatment of the environment, scientists did essentially hand-wave it all away, because birds have bigger problems. So we guess the real horror story here is that we're all easily replaceable cogs in nature's bleak machine.
A Swarm Of Bees Stalked An Old Woman For Two Days
Bees can swarm in the oddest of places, as 68-year-old Carol Howarth discovered when she returned to her car after some grocery shopping and saw an estimated 20,000 buzzing guests.
After ruling out the revenge of a disgruntled witch, a local beekeeping association came to the rescue. They brought containers, and despite suffering several stings, they were able to safely remove and relocate every single bee. And that was the end of it ... until Howarth woke up the next morning and discovered that the bees had followed her home.
The bees were once again removed, this time for good, at least until they return for their revenge in the inevitable lackluster sequel. The theory is that the swarm's queen had somehow been uprooted from the hive and was then attracted to the car, possibly because of the presence of easy food, or good mileage in a tough economy. The swarm was simply following their monarch. The only problem with that theory is that the queen was never actually found. Or was she? We're onto you, Howarth.
E. Reid Ross has a couple books, Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You'll Never Want To Go Outside Again and Canadabis: The Canadian Weed Reader, both available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Christian Markle is a pretty cool dude. Hit him up on Facebook.
For more, check out 6 Horrifying Videos That Prove Nature Is Trying To Kill Us:
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