Oh boy! Here we go, again. Another one of those “hide under the bed” or cuddle with your squeeze in silent fear stories – the stuff of horror tales – is coming true right before our eyes.
Let me begin at the beginning then. With Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein, then.
You remember the plot, I’m sure: “Mad scientist” type gets a body of a recently dead fellow, except he really gets the body of a just-deposed murder, and shocks it back to life using electricity.
If you’re over 40, or so, you will remember this as a fine and scary black and white movie. But since, oh, about 1960 or so, this was the first of our “Horror Stories” that came true.
You’ll recall my great^6grandfather, Andrew N. Ure (1778-1857) was doing research in his Glasgow (Scotland) University digs in the period immediately following 1801 when he’d picked up his MD ticket (such as they were at the time).
In his researches, he had become fascinated with the work of Galvani and others who had begun to study how electricity could be used to cause muscle contractions. The family “PR problem” was that he was experimenting on a convicted murder/thief’s body; that of one Matthew Clydesdale.
Fire up the source cells and apply the juice and what happened? From Andrew’s notes:
“Every muscle of the body was immediately agitated with convulsive movements resembling a violent shuddering from cold. … On moving the second rod from hip to heel, the knee being previously bent, the leg was thrown out with such violence as nearly to overturn one of the assistants, who in vain tried to prevent its extension. The body was also made to perform the movements of breathing by stimulating the phrenic nerve and the diaphragm. When the supraorbital nerve was excited ‘every muscle in his countenance was simultaneously thrown into fearful action; rage, horror, despair, anguish, and ghastly smiles, united their hideous expressions in the murderer’s face, surpassing far the wildest representations of Fuseli or a Kean. At this period several of the spectators were forced to leave the apartment from terror or sickness, and one gentleman fainted.’”
We all know what happened next: PR trouble showed up in the form of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein published anonymously in 1818 in London as a poke at care-to-guess-who?
Curiously, the name (Frankenstein) was the name of the scientist, not the monster; in the book the large Lurch was known as Adam:
The creature has often been mistakenly called “Frankenstein”. In 1908 one author said “It is strange to note how well-nigh universally the term “Frankenstein” is misused, even by intelligent people, as describing some hideous monster”. Edith Wharton‘s The Reef (1916) describes an unruly child as an “infant Frankenstein.” David Lindsay’s “The Bridal Ornament”, published in The Rover, 12 June 1844, mentioned “the maker of poor Frankenstein.” After the release of James Whale‘s popular 1931 film Frankenstein, the public at large began speaking of the monster itself as “Frankenstein”. A reference to this occurs in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and in several subsequent films in the series, as well as in film titles such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
All of which gets us to how this first Horror Story became real. Fast forward to the mid-1950’s and going into the 60’s under Wikipedia’s entry about “defibrillators…”
You see, the horror story evolved and began to “come true” over about a 40-year period of time when medicine, if you’ll forgive me, made some “shocking advances.”
Until the early 1950s, defibrillation of the heart was possible only when the chest cavity was open during surgery. The technique used an alternating voltage from a 300 or greater volt source delivered to the sides of the exposed heart by ‘paddle’ electrodes where each electrode was a flat or slightly concave metal plate of about 40 mm diameter. The closed-chest defibrillator device which applied an alternating voltage of greater than 1000 volts, conducted by means of externally applied electrodes through the chest cage to the heart, was pioneered by Dr V. Eskin with assistance by A. Klimov in Frunze, USSR (today known as Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) in the mid-1950s.
Move to direct current
A circuit diagram showing the simplest (non-electronically controlled) defibrillator design, depending on the inductor (damping), producing a Lown, Edmark or Gurvich Waveform
In 1959 Bernard Lown commenced research in his animal laboratory in collaboration with engineer Barouh Berkovits into an alternative technique which involved charging of a bank of capacitors to approximately 1000 volts with an energy content of 100-200 joules then delivering the charge through an inductance such as to produce a heavily damped sinusoidal wave of finite duration (~5 milliseconds) to the heart by way of paddle electrodes. This team further developed an understanding of the optimal timing of shock delivery in the cardiac cycle, enabling the application of the device to arrhythmias such as atrial fibrilllation, atrial flutter, and supraventricular tachycardias in the technique known as “cardioversion”.
And ever since then, scientists have been rolling forward with playing “Frankenstein” shocking people back to life and, in keeping with family tradition, my son George Ure, II happily wields an AED as situations warrant as an EMT.
All of this was only somewhat interesting, but a one-off example of horror fiction “coming to life” until this morning I spied another scary novel coming to pass in modern times.
This time the story is the horror story Dracula and it involves blood-sucking humans being kept alive by consuming “fresh blood.”
First the story courtesy of Wikipedia:
Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
When you get deeper, into the plotline of the book, things get around to the bloodlines part:
Soon Dracula is tracking Harker’s devoted fiancée, Wilhelmina “Mina” Murray, and her friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy receives three marriage proposals in one day, from Dr. John Seward; Quincey Morris; and the Hon. Arthur Holmwood (later Lord Godalming). Lucy accepts Holmwood’s proposal while turning down Seward and Morris, but all remain friends. Dracula has a notable encounter with Seward’s patient Renfield, an insane man who means to consume insects, spiders, birds, and other creatures—in ascending order of size—in order to absorb their “life force”. Renfield acts as a motion sensor, detecting Dracula’s proximity and supplying clues accordingly.
Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously. All of her suitors fret, and Seward calls in his old teacher, Professor Abraham Van Helsing from Amsterdam. Van Helsing immediately determines the cause of Lucy’s condition but refuses to disclose it, knowing that Seward’s faith in him will be shaken if he starts to speak of vampires. Van Helsing tries multiple blood transfusions, but they are clearly losing ground. On a night when Van Helsing must return to Amsterdam (and his message to Seward asking him to watch the Westenra household is delayed), Lucy and her mother are attacked by a wolf. Mrs. Westenra, who has a heart condition, dies of fright, and Lucy apparently dies soon after
Popularized with modern phrases (“I only want to suck your blood”) modern film has lumped vampires into a sexually active ground of blood-thirsty villains and – no doubt about it – it still sells well.
And that, ought to have been the end of the story until this morning when the UK Telegraph carried this story:
A transfusion of youthful blood may halt or even reverse the ageing process as two studies find that the chemical make-up of younger blood has surprising health benefits
You absolutely, positively have to go read the details because what you’re going to find is that science has isolated a protein in blood (GDF11) that is more common in young people and may actually reserve the effects of aging.
I don’t mean a squirt of chemical Botox, or trivial stuff like that: I’m talking about reversing heart disease, adding to brain capacity and recall, and perhaps even reversing Alzheimer’s.
And so we arrive at the problems that surface when stories like this begin to surface.
1. If this “transfusion from the young” stuff works, shouldn’t you be working on relationships with your children so that might “spare you a pint” now and then (assuming blood factors match) and all that?
2. If this technology evolves, might it even lead to something akin to immortality?
3. And if it does, what about population as an issue for humans? I mean, aren’t 7-billion people on this Earth enough, already?
Worse, perhaps: With two pretty good horror stories emergent as “facts of science” now, what will be the next nightmarish story to resolved from the shadows of slumber and fear into the light of modern times?
I’ll leave that for you to ponder, but maybe all this recent “zombie talk” over the past couple of years was nothing more than an “in your face” example about how word frequency and conceptuals change in advance of actual events.
In their storyline, the Dracula types were going to be in the earth, only to rise again. But what-if this might have something to do with a larger secret cult – a sinister group of higher-up politicians globally, who might benefit (while being driven quite mad) by one too many transfusions from what?
All those abducted/missing children reports. They’re in the age-group which would have the highest GDF11 concentrations.
Oh, and who is the modern Abraham Van Helsing?
Dream Center/Nosty: Part-Owning The Future
As you well know, I’ve been very busy (as time permits) over the past decade, or so looking at the problem of “seeing the future”.
Every once in a while I’ve had flashes of personal insight (and reported here) on things that I’ve “touched” in a semi-conscious dreamlike state. It’s hard to do consistently, but the accuracy when it hits is amazing.
Of course, other times, it will just be a person and a name with nothing particularly important attached to it.
For example, Sunday I was taking a snooze and got to “that place” and a fellow came into my field of vision. “Oh, that’s Grody Martin” I said to myself, as I woke up and wondered “Who the hell is Grody Martin and what was he doing in my dream?
That kind of stuff might be just a “thought stub” or is it a tip that a (not particularly nice person) with the name Grody Martin will spill into headlines in coming weeks? Maybe it’s a clue that a Martin-something will be displaying “grody” behavior. I don’t know.
But shortly after that, along comes a note from Chris McCleary who operates the National Dream Center website that is presently collecting dreams about August 2014 to see if we can get some insight into the future using linguistics, word frequencies, and a wide spectrum of active dreamers, all looking in the same direction. His (monumental) effort is called Project August.
Imagine how my interest was teed up when this email from Chris came in directed to me and Grady who runs our www.nostracodeus.com (word frequency analysis) software site:
You two are highlighted in my 1st report for Project August. I just published it now and sent out the passwords for people to view it (the rule was that if you submit a dream, you get the password). Even though you guys didn’t obey the rule J, I still want you to view this report. I truly believe it marks the beginning of something extraordinary, but only time will tell… The document includes possible/probable headlines that we should/could expect in August, based on the dreams and my linguistic work of those dreams.
Do you want one little teaser that was in the linguistics? Check this out: “Dark order move huge around underground.” Scary or WHAT?!
For now, the only people who have access to the detailed parts of the study are those who have contributed a dream to the effort. But there is a public page over here to get you started.
At the risk of giving away too much, the idea we’re jointly working toward is something I had suggested a long time ago when I was peripherally involved chronicling a predictive linguistic effort. I had suggested that in order to achieve a higher level of accuracy, a multiplicity of input technologies would need to be used.
In other words, while it’s clear that language use contains hints of the future (which I won’t disputer) so do dreams and so does word frequency.
As the www.nostracodeus.com project allows us to push forward on one front (e.g. developing runs for the word “August” our soon-to-be Doctor Chris is working out the details how how to sort wheat from chaff on the dreaming side.
I don’t think he’d mind me sharing this little snip from the in-progress report:
The first step is to look at the major trends within the manifest content (this is a Freudian term that simply means the actual dream account—the latent content is the memory association that caused the manifest content). What I’m trying to say here is that I basically have little use for the latent content, or any underlying personal meanings for the dream material. If you dreamed about Oregon, for example, I try not to scoff that off and just say, well, he or she just probably visited Oregon. Latent content is very useful in individual dream therapy, but for PA it weighs me down big time.
So this is a marvelous opportunity to see if we can evolve a combinatorial approach. In other words, Chris and the Dream Center will continue with Project August and will issue their reports as warranted.
And then Grady will do data runs (the Nostracodeus part being separate) which he will then pipe to Chris and then we can conference after looking at how the mass media words may (or may not) fall into place as Chris’s “dreamed future” collection crystalizes into present reality.
I’m not going to talk your ear off about this. Chris has got the dream side, Grady has the “on the fly data” but I may tune up some other add-ons that come to mind. Looking at Nancy Lieder’s www.zetatalk.com for what may be channeled information and certain posters on GodLikeProductions www.glp.com site may for additional “future vectors.”
Oh…and one other thing: Keep an eye on Chris’s newest Dream Center feature: DreamForecast.
This weekend he described forecasting dreaming conditions as “the new kind of weatherman.”
In keeping with the idea that we’re all “part owners of the future” we’ll be watching closely to see what kind of statistical correlation there is between DreamForecasts and markets.
Dream conditions have been less than ideal lately and we notice the markets globally are selling off this morning. Thus, a reasonable question might be to ask “Is it a coincidence, or in some way causative?
I frankly don’t have a clue. But we may be the only group around looking at the question in this novel way.
Around the Ranch: Life in Wichita Falls
I’d like to say “Thank you!” this morning to Fort Worth Center for letting us fly through the Class B airspace up in the Dallas area this weekend. Saved us 10-15 minutes of flight time going semi-direct and flying directly over downtown Fort Worth just after sunrise and over the middle of Meacham field is pretty neat.
My lifelong friend (the major, retired) has his son in the “We are the danger” group of young Air Force officers going through high performance flight training up at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.
After a quick tour of the base, we all headed off to the park at Wichita Falls, and it’s here a snapped a quick shot of the park trail where it goes over a bridge on the way down from the parking lot to the falls (reconstructed by man) which is really neat.
The picture is as much for Elaine as anything else. Every time we’ve been through W. Falls, we’ve remarked on how the city looks like the armpit of the universe, at least from the freeway.
It’s a pleasantly place, once you get off 287 and the freeways. Do I think it’s going to become the next Orlando? No. But not as bad as it once looked…and Rib Crib ain’t bad either.
More useful, I now understand “break points” the “high perch” and “low key” and other such places in a military airfield pattern – they run much differently than civilian aviation.
OK, off to many projects… send in WoWW reports and we’ll hook up again tomorrow…
Write when you break-even, too: