Saturday, October 4, 2008

Snakes alive! Shocked gardener finds 17ft python in his allotment

By Daily Mail Reporter

With chickens, goats, ducks, geese and rabbits on his 800ft allotment, Ronnie Kenyon runs a proper little menagerie.

But even he draws the line at his latest guest - a 17ft python.

Mr Kenyon discovered the creature when he saw what he thought was a fallen branch on the grass.

Ronnie Kenyon

Snakes alive! Ronnie Kenyon came across the python in his allotment

It suddenly moved its head ... and he almost jumped out of his skin.

'It has either escaped or it belonged to somebody who can't manage it any more and they left it here because it got too big,' said 58-year-old Mr Kenyon, a retired sign maker from Blackburn.

He made a pen out of hay bales and chicken wire to house the python, which was sluggish because of the cold temperature, then contacted police who took it to a vet before it was handed over to the RSPCA.

‘I have never seen a snake as big as that. It was the length of a car,' Mr Kenyon added.

‘People know that I look after a lot of animals and maybe some thought I could look after it but I don’t know anything about snakes.

‘I would look after it if I could. I feel sorry for it and I will keep track of it. I hope it goes to a good home.’


Branching out: Jeff thought the 17ft python was a tree branch

Sergeant Graham Brownsmith, who handled the snake after advice from the RSPCA, said: ‘This is the largest snake I have had to deal with.

‘I certainly would not advise anybody to approach a snake.

‘If they see one they should contact the police or the RSPCA.

‘We only handled the snake after we received expert advice.

‘The snake has been docile from the cold weather but perked up at the vet’s practice.’

Long arm of the law: PC Martin Rawcliffe and Sergeant Graham Brownsmith bag the slippery customer

The 5 Most Overrated Jobs Of All-Time

By Ian Fortey

Whatever happened to the real men? The gunslingers and swordsmen who charged into adventure on horseback?

Well, it turns out they all quit, because being a real man kind of sucked. All of those badass jobs they made movies about were all pretty much worse than the job you have now. Such as...

Pirate: Boredom, Disease and Uncontrollable Shitting

Recently, Disney and Johnny Depp have reassured us that pirates were the awesomest people ever. They lived on the seas, they had monkeys and wenches and giant squid that did their bidding.

Real piracy has been around since about the 13th century BC, and it's likely that every single pirate in all of that span was less effeminate than Orlando Bloom. The Vikings were the most badass of the bunch, with a reputation for taking what they wanted and burning the rest. So if you had nice stuff, you didn't want to hide it in anything flammable because then no one would get to enjoy it.

When the New World was discovered, pirates branched out and started stealing loot, or booty if you will, from exotic new places like the Caribbean. There they were apparently forced to deal with skeleton warriors and family-friendly fights to the death.

Why it Sucked:

Despite what you may think after seeing Kiera Knightley's extremely well-groomed piratess, the real world of pirates tended to involve a lot more wallowing in filth and near-starvation.

They didn't exactly have refrigerators on the boats, so basically they were restricted to eating the kind of shit that can sit in a barrel for months without rotting into slime. Hard tack was a staple of a pirate diet, dry biscuits made of flour, water and salt. They were often eaten in the dark, tapping them on the table a few times to make the weevils crawl out. When even that was unavailable, they'd occasionally resort to eating leather or slaves, if they had some handy.

That's a weevil. That's what a weevil is. It was in their food.

Day to day routine consisted of ship upkeep, the same tedious physical labor over and over, all day, every day. Also, uncontrollable shitting.

That part is thanks to scurvy, which is what happens to somebody who doesn't get enough Vitamin C in their diet. Your teeth fall out, blood runs freely from your gums and nose, and shit runs freely from your ass. If your pirate friends don't rush you to get medical care (and they won't), you'll basically diarrhea yourself to death and they roll your putrid corpse overboard.

"Did I just shit out a tooth? Aaarrr!"

Your only consolation would be the knowledge that later Disney would make an amusement park ride out of your life.

Cowboy: Boredom, Low Pay, Uncontrollable Cow Shitting

Most men, having watched a few Clint Eastwood movies, have probably thought to themselves that being a cowboy would be the coolest thing since God invented the burrito. You have a wicked hat, you have guns, you have a horse. It seems like most of your life is gambling, drinking and shooting assholes. How bad could that be?

Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Billy the Kid and whoever the hell Leonardo DiCaprio was supposed to be in that Sharon Stone movie, all made us think cowboys were king shit of the wild west.

Why it Sucked:

Cowboys were called cowboys for a reason. You're a dude who works with cows. There wasn't so much gunslinging and adventuring as there was riding alongside cattle as they slowly lumbered their way toward trains, to be loaded up and shipped north. These cattle drives were sometimes up to a 1,000 miles long, and the task of trotting along and making sure your mass army of cows didn't decide to up and head east to become sea cows, was about the most boring and smelliest job in history.

"What are we doing today, cows? Walking, and shitting? Oh, awesome, terrific."

The closest most cowboys got to excitement was wrangling cattle to be branded or castrated, because nothing says excitement quite like forcing a dim-eyed beast into a corner to have someone saw off its balls. The rest of the time the cowboy performed mundane ranch duties, stomping through ankle-high piles of cow turds the whole time. The pay was about the equivalent of working at Taco Bell.

Eventually the era of the cowboy ended. Did a new gunslinging sheriff ride into town and restore order through the barrel of a six gun? No, ranchers just figured out that the job could be done better by a few dollars worth of metal wire. The invention of the barbed wire fence pretty much rendered the cowboy obsolete, since cows have subpar fence climbing skills at best and once they were fenced in, there wasn't much need for round-ups.

Then the railroads expanded, so cattle didn't need to be walked 1,000 miles to the nearest station for shipment. The last cowboys were forced to play sad songs on the harmonica out on the open range before riding off into the sunset, which we assume means they went to join some kind of cabaret show.

Knights: Petty Thievery, Subsistence Farming, Shitty Armor

The gallant medieval knight stands as a paradigm of heroism and manhood. King Arthur and his big round table full of knights are at the heart of the romantic genre that started way back in the 1130s, with references to the characters coming even earlier than that.

The idea of riding into battle on a steed while fully encased in metal and waving a sword is such an astronomically manly act that we're surprised anyone ever actually did it without their balls exploding from the testosterone. Knights made lumberjacks look like hair dressers.

Why it Sucked:

Ever wonder how a guy in over 100 lbs of steel and iron removed all that crap if he had to piss? More often than not, they didn't, and just had somebody else clean out the piss and shit later.

That part never gets mentioned in the stories, because that's all they are: stories. The romantic tradition in tales like Morte D'Arthur or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight neglect to point out that many knights started as little more than teenage mercenaries hired by land owners to defend against other neighborhood punks.

According to some scholars, chivalry was more idea than a reality, the way you say you're not going to not download porn at work but then accidentally spend five hours a day doing just that. Actual codes of chivalry were mostly ascribed to military knights, in the same way our modern military has rules and guidelines that occasionally are forgotten when someone wants to take photographs of naked prisoner pyramids.

Many pre-chivalric knights were illiterate and lived in small castles or homes built by the people who lived on the land they owned. They tended to roam the countryside looking for people of lesser status and simply taking their shit. Knights were the precursors to every aggressive douchebag you've ever run into in a bar.

Other knights who were able to restrain their asshole behavior lived simple lives of farmers and their knightly deeds were only called upon in times of need. If there was no Crusade to go on, they plowed fields and tried to farm enough food to feed themselves and their families while their armor got rusty.

That guy's the doctor, too?!?

If they ever did wind up in battle, they probably preferred instant death to wounding, since even minor wounds back then would become septic. The victim would languish in agony for days, dying while the "doctor" screamed, "None of my magic spells are helping! Add more leeches!"

Samurai: You Will Get Stabbed

If you need any confirmation of how cool the Samurai warriors of Japan were, look no further than the film The Last Samurai. These people managed to survive and kick ass even with Tom Cruise in their midst. It'd be like running a marathon while dragging a dead cow behind you.

Samurai warriors followed the bushido code and were men of honor, believing in loyalty to their masters and the importance of fulfilling their duties even if it meant death. Outfitted in some insanely kick-ass looking armor, they'd rip their enemies six or seven new assholes with a razor sharp sword.

Samurai were noble and, unlike many knights of Western culture, literate and educated. They were patrons of the arts and aspired to be as skilled in them as they were in the ways of war. Samurai were basically Batman, only there were armies of them, on horseback.

Why it Sucked:

The downside to any code of honor is what happens when you step out of bounds, even if it was unintentional. Samurai had to invent the practice of seppuku (ritual suicide via cutting your own guts out) to account for fuck ups in the day to day life of being an aristocratic, ass kicking machine.

Warriors could not be shamed by falling into enemy hands, so any time a battle went awry and a warrior was going to be taken captive, the answer was to spill his own intestines. If the warrior had the time to perform the full ritual, he would bathe, dress in white robes, eat a meal then pull out a knife and slice his guts open from left to right. If he was in a hurry, like on the battlefield, he'd have to settle for a Snickers or whatever was handy, then gut himself on the spot.

Seppuku wasn't just a means of escaping capture, it was also a punishment for pretty much any major infraction committed by a samurai, and was used to redeem lost honor. In the 1860s, French sailors entered a Japanese town unannounced and caused a ruckus as Frenchmen are wont to do. Samurai warriors came to escort them out, but a fight broke out and the sailors were all killed. This pissed off the French who demanded something be done about it. Then, in a move they totally didn't expect, the men responsible committed seppuku, which freaked the French representative out so badly he requested the ritual be stopped and the remaining men spared.

"Sacre' bleu!"

Other reasons to off one's self included being an out of work samurai, fleeing from battle, engaging in battle without permission, and presumably diddling the local shogun's wife. They'd also do it as a form of protest, meaning a disagreement with their master meant the master had a nasty mess to clean up afterward.

So, in a nutshell, your choice was to fight honorably and be stabbed to death by an enemy, or run away and be forced to stab yourself to death as punishment. The fact that they got any recruits at all indicates the other benefits must have been awesome, considering the retirement plan brochure was just a bunch of pictures of guys getting stabbed.

Private Investigators: Low Pay and Naked Fat Guys

Back in the 40s, if Humphrey Bogart was any indication, being a PI didn't take much more than the ability to wear an overcoat and look cool while shooting people. Through decades of gritty novels and grittier films, private dicks played by their own rules and went where the cops couldn't go.

Sure the world was full of dames and Peter Lorre-looking weasels and everyone was going to try to double cross you. But being a PI at the end of the day you were going to come out on top and retire to your office to have a nice, warm glass of Scotch and wait for the next dame to walk in with a sob story.

Why it Sucked:

While real life PIs could find themselves getting into some hairy situations (Allen Pinkerton got famous for stopping an assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln), most movies overlook certain aspects of their lives. Either that or the editors were on the ball when they decided to weed out the countless hours of sitting around doing just short of jack shit.

Many private investigators work for insurance companies or collection agencies, tracking down deadbeats and people trying to scam their way into a disability claim. So you're basically spending hours and hours trying to track down an address, or following some fat guy around who claims his back is too injured to work, waiting for him to pick up something heavy so you can snap a picture of it.

There's also the adultery cases, wives wanting to catch husbands in the act to force a better divorce settlement. This means following the same fat guy around town while he goes about his tedious routine, with the goal of getting photos of him having fat sex with some lady who isn't his wife, praying the whole time that this does not in fact happen.

You'd follow him around. All day.

In reality very rarely do private investigators investigate or solve crimes, since, you know, that's what the cops are for.

Investigators starting out in the industry with an agency can expect to earn around $30,000 a year and will likely only resemble Magnum PI if they elect to grow a giant mustache. The likelihood of a rich benefactor wandering in to ask a PI to find her husband's killer and handing over an envelope full of cash is about as likely as Jessica Biel walking in and asking for a boob massage.

Original here

6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (With Really Obvious Solutions)

By Jake Slocum

he world is a magical place, full of mysteries science may never understand. It's also full of bullshit that people just make up to draw attention to themselves.

At the heart of pretty much every "paranormal" phenomenon you find some lonely, attention-seeking soul, or several of them, willing to put a spooky little twist on an otherwise boring story. But it usually doesn't take a whole lot of examination to find the truth.

For instance...

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

On February 2nd, 1959, during the cold winter on Kholat Syakhl ("Mountain of the Dead") in Russia, nine intrepid ski hikers decided to do what they do best, which is ski hike, whatever the hell that is. On February 26th, the first of their very dead bodies turned up. Man, who would have thought such a tragedy could strike on "The Mountain of the Dead?"

It probably didn't look like this, but can you imagine?

But it was the discovery of the campgrounds that added the icing to the creepy-as-fuck cake. The ski hikers' tent was shredded. The skiers were scattered around the grounds wearing either very sparse clothing or just their underwear. Three of them were found with crushed ribs and fractured skulls, but no visible defense marks or other signs of a struggle.

Oh yeah, and one of the bodies was missing a tongue.

In case you weren't already on the phone with Mulder and Scully, trace levels of radiation were supposedly found on their bodies. The official statement on what happened was about as vague and ass-covering as possible, saying it was caused by an "unknown compelling force." In laymen's terms this means, "fuck if we know."

The story has become an internet sensation over the years, with many people blaming aliens, and then ghosts, and then the yeti, or possibly all of them working in tandem.

"So we're agreed then: We tear up their tents, take a lady's tongue, and never tell a soul."

The Obvious Answer:

So there's six things that freak people out about this one:

1. The no-tongued woman

2. A mysterious orange tan on the dead bodies

3. The ripped tents

4. The hikers' lack of clothing

5. The crushing damage done to three of the hikers

6. The traces of radioactivity

The big fact that gets lost in the re-telling of this story is that the bodies weren't found until weeks later. It's not like somebody turned their back, then five minutes later all their friends were dead and half naked.

That makes the missing tongue a lot easier to explain. As disturbing as it may be, the first thing a scavenging animal is going to go for is probably the soft tissue of an open mouth, especially if it still smelled like the burrito the hiker just ate. Laying out in the sun surrounded by white snow for days also accounts for the weird tan.

The trauma and the destroyed tent points to an avalanche. Their state of undress can be explained by paradoxical undressing, a known behavior of hypothermia victims when their brains start to freeze and malfunction. In other words, it's the kind of behavior you'd expect from a group of injured avalanche victims wandering around in the middle of the night in the freezing cold.

What about the radioactivity? Or stranger details that turn up in some accounts, like orange lights in the sky? Well, there's the fact that none of that stuff turns up in the original documents from the incident, and appears to have been added later by people who just can't resist making things spookier than they are.

It's those later accounts that have stuck in the public memory, because so many of the original reports were destroyed (this was the Cold War-era Soviet Union, which treated casserole recipes as state secrets).

So none of the details on their own prove anything other than a tragic hiking accident. The conspiracy-loving public widely reject this, too busy lighting their torches and getting their pitchforks to go hunt down an, "unknown compelling force."

Otherwise known as "snow."

The Lost Roanoke Colony

The Roanoke Colony was either the first permanent settlement in America, or an elaborate practical joke. Walter Raleigh sent the colonists there and then left them without supplies for three years, perhaps just to see what would happen.

What he probably didn't expect was for the colony to just vanish. When new settlers finally arrived, none of the original colony remained at the settlement (except for the old skeleton of one guy) and the mysterious word "Croatan" was carved into a tree, right under, "Metallica Rules".

So, was it a UFO abduction? Perhaps the colonists were held in some kind of suspended animation and are still being anally probed to this very day.

The Obvious Answer:

That second group of settlers didn't really get the chance to investigate what happened to the original bunch, because a few years later an even bigger mysterious phenomena occurred: Blue-eyed, pale-complexioned Indians began showing up on nearby Croatan Island.

So what to make of these mysterious children, who looked like they might have been the descendents of white/Indian mixed race parents? On CROATAN island?

It's almost as if, we don't know, a certain group of settlers realized their colony sucked, and went and found some natives nearby who seemed to know how to live off the land. And that they then left their shitty colony forever to go live happily ever after on Croatan Island, and to have impressive amounts of sex with the natives.

"Hey, like the nearby island. Whatever, I'm sure that's just a coincidence."

The Hopkinsville Goblin Case

In 1955, members of the Sutton family were out on their porch enjoying a relaxing visit/drinking binge with their good friend Billy Ray Taylor. Billy Ray decided to go out and get a drink of water from the well, when shit started getting weird.

He ran back in to tell everyone he'd seen some bright lights in the sky and that everyone should come look. According to one member of the Sutton clan, upon stepping outside the Suttons-plus-one encountered:

"... a luminous, three-and-a-half-foot-tall being with an oversized head, big, floppy, pointed ears, glowing eyes, and hands with talons at their ends. The figure, either made of or simply dressed in silvery metal, had its hands raised."

After seeing these figures coming out of the woods, showing the universal sign of surrender, the Suttons did the only thing they could do: try to kill their asses.

As they shot at the defenseless creatures with rifles, they claim to have heard clangs and ricochets as if the aliens were wearing some kind of metal armor. They said the aliens "flipped over and fled into the darkness when shot at."

The Obvious Answer:

This is a sketch of one of the aliens.

This is a great horned owl.

Look at the head of the "creature" then look at the head of the owl. Now, get really, really drunk. We're talking "mid-1950s rural Kentucky" drunk.

Ufologist Renaud Leclet admitted, "It could be a misidentification of a pair of Great horned owls, which are nocturnal, fly silently, have yellow eyes, and aggressively defend their nests."

Oh, and that sound of metal clanging and ricochets during the shooting? Get drunk and shoot towards a target in front of your tin chicken coup.

So it's either that, or there may still be an interstellar invasion force on the way to retaliate.

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

In Mattoon, Illinois in the early 1930s, reports started popping up of a man or woman deliberately spraying poisonous gasses into people's homes via the windows, and in some cases, building crude barricades to keep the victims inside. The barricade thing may seem weird, but people in the 30s were the trusting type, and apparently didn't go out to investigate when they heard the sound of sawing and hammering right outside their front doors.

Anyway, the victims complained of nausea and sore throats, and sometimes would catch a glimpse of something moving outside in the distance. The town was gripped with panic, terrified that the villain would attack again with his arsenal of pretty much harmless chemicals.

Finally an official inquiry was started into the matter, to solve it once and for all. They gathered eye witness reports and wound up with descriptions of the perpetrator as a tall, short, male, female, fat, thin, human, ghost, Nazi, dinosaur ... pretty much the whole spectrum of life past and present on planet earth.

Investigators filed the incident under "What the fuck?" which just happens to be conspiracy theorists favorite question to answer.

Mad Gasser?

The Obvious Answer:

Two weeks after it all started Thomas Wright, the commissioner of public health came and said:

"There is no doubt that a gas maniac exists and has made a number of attacks. But many of the reported attacks are nothing more than hysteria. Fear of the gas man is entirely out of proportion to the menace of the relatively harmless gas he is spraying. The whole town is sick with hysteria."

Yes, good job calming the hysteria with the phrase "Gas Maniac."

The town police chief, on the other hand, came out and said there was actually no gasser at all, that the people were freaking out because they heard a noise, checked the window, and smelled something funny. Not unusual seeing as how their town was filled with factories and the town itself was constantly awash in chemical fumes (back then environmental regulations were pretty much done on the honor system).

After the reassuring statements from Wright and the chief of police, the public decided maybe it was time to calm down. Oh wait, no they didn't. They decided it was time to fucking freak out more. There were countless more reports, none of them ever confirmed.

Oh, there may have been an actual gasser at some point, a recent book points to a local medical student who could have carried out the few actual attacks that led to the hysteria. When asked why, he reportedly stated, "Because I'm fucking insane."

The Starchild Skull

Found in a mine tunnel in 1930, this odd-shaped skull is believed to be that of an alien or other magical creature (Goblin? Leprechaun?) After carbon dating, the skull was found to be about 900 years old.

Paranormal researchers were quick to tell anyone who would listen that it was the skull of an alien human hybrid, or just alien, or anything paranormal. They were just happy someone was talking to them.

A paranormal researcher (probably).

The Obvious Answer:

Well... look at it. We only have three full-time archeologists on the staff here at Cracked, but it's pretty obvious that that is a human skull. Luckily skull experts agree that it's from a young child, 3 to 5 years old, with some type of physical deformity. The list of diseases and defects can cause this kind of abnormality is extensive. The list of paranormal reasons that have been proven to cause this isn't a list at all, it's more of a napkin smeared with Cheetoh smudges and crazy.

This one goes back to Ufologists' rather bizarre belief that aliens would look exactly like us (two eyes, a mouth, a nose, etc.) with only tiny variations (they're grey or have a weird bone in the middle of their face). Why would beings that evolved on different planets under totally different conditions look alike? If you believe the conspiracy theory that often accompanies the Starchild Skull, you'd know it's because aliens planted humans on earth thousands of years ago!

So either we're just a giant colony of sea monkeys for extremely bored aliens, or 900 years ago at least one kid had a weird-shaped head.

The Bermuda Triangle

Well for one thing, that's not even a triangle.

This is the granddaddy of supposed paranormal phenomena. You know the story: you go into the Triangle, you don't come out. It's some kind of magical black hole around Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda where ships, planes and probably countless confused whales have disappeared. According to paranormal "experts" this is easily attributable to either aliens, interdimensional portals, demons, ghosts, Bigfoot, ghost Bigfoot, sea monsters or stargates.

Or Bigfoot riding a Sea Monster. Aaaaahhh

Even Christopher Columbus claimed he saw weird shit there more than 500 years ago. To read books about the subject, you'd think ships disappear by the hundreds every week.

So what's the deal? Are the boats getting sucked through a time portal? Being sunk by savages from the mystical lost city of Atlantis? Or is it Cthulhu? It's Cthulhu, isn't it?


The Obvious Answer:

Again we must refer to the scientific phenomenon called People Making Up Bullshit. As experts have pointed out, the entire Bermuda Triangle mystery is based around people taking routine disappearances and spicing them up in the retelling. So for instance, part of the legend is a plane inexplicably vanished off the coast of Daytona on a sunny day in 1957. A search of the newspaper that day revealed that either it didn't happen, or all the witnesses signed a pact of silence in their own blood lest the triangle take them too.

They like to describe missing ships as having "disappeared" or saying they "were never seen again", which immediately brings to mind magic. In reality when a boat sinks you're probably not going to see it again because, you know, it's on the bottom of the fucking ocean.

Believers often fail to mention that many of the disappearances happen during storms and rough seas, when you'd pretty much expect ships to sink. Other times ships would be reported missing and thus added to the Triangle's tally, then nobody bothers to correct it when the ships turn up later unharmed (like because the Captain was drunk off his ass and accidentally sailed to Portugal).

But the final stake into the heart of the Dracula that is the Bermuda Triangle mystery is the fact that the number of disappearances is no larger than any other well-traveled part of the ocean (the Triangle includes some of the busiest waters on the planet).

Once again, the only magic at work is the mystical human hunger for bullshit.

The REAL Bermuda Triangle.

If you're planning on watching the VP Debate tonight, why not watch it with us? Just head over to Liveblogs the VP Debate! LIVE!!! at 9PM EST tonight. Or, for another spooky article, check out The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends That Happen to be True.

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