Author: <span class="vcard">jc</span>

The BBC’s ‘Why Factor’ does Zombies.

According to the presenter of the BBCs Why Factor, Gemma Cairney, we are “going through a bit of a zombie boom.” In 23-ghoul filled minutes, she takes us on an exploration of why this 5 billion dollar industry has such an emotional draw – moving from the zombies of Haitian folklore, right up to the…


Birds do it. Bees do it. And dogs, too, can sense the magnetic field.

Dogs can sense the magnetic field. And even better yet, you can even train them to hunt down a bar magnet. Why you would want to do this? For that, the research team at the University of Duisburg-Essen offered no clues. They just did it. The group had previously shown that dogs – just like…


Have you ever wondered what the world will look like 20 years after the apocalypse?

These pictures were taken in zombie heartland: the Caribbean. Twenty years ago, the area was evacuated and the people fled their homes, leaving practically everything behind. Nineteen people didn’t make it out alive. Now, access is once again granted to the area – but only in the daytime, and only with the correct paperwork, after…


As if spiders weren’t creepy enough… now we have discovered zombie spiders.

As if spiders weren’t creepy enough…  now we have discovered zombie spiders. It seems that each new month can’t pass without another discovery of a mind-bending parasite, taking over the brain of its victim. This time, it’s a newly discovered species of Zatypota wasp, found deep in the Ecuadorian jungle. The wasp lays its eggs…


Fantasmagoriana: the German book of ghost stories that inspired Frankenstein

[Originally posted by Fabio Camilletti, University of Warwick] The story of how Frankenstein was born is well known, and largely relies on the account given by Mary Shelley in her preface to the 1831 edition to her novel. She and her (soon-to-be) husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, were summering on the shores of Lake…


Frankenstein: the real experiments that inspired the fictional science

[Originally posted by Iwan Morus, Aberystwyth University.] On January 17 1803, a young man named George Forster was hanged for murder at Newgate prison in London. After his execution, as often happened, his body was carried ceremoniously across the city to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it would be publicly dissected. What actually happened…


Next time you’re bitten by a mozzie – have a little respect.

With summer in full swing, many of you are probably growing weary of the high-pitch wine of the mosquitoes and their pesky, itching bites. But next time one of them nips you, have a little respect for their wily ways. A scientific publication has managed to catch mosquitoes in the act – recording their amazing…


The first English vampire (part 1). The Year: 1732. The culprit: The government.

When did vampires first hit the news headlines in England? It was on the 11th March, 1732, when they appeared in the London Journal (later reprinted in The Gentleman’s Magazine – the image above). The rumours had been drifting westward for a few decades from Eastern Europe. Finally, they were filling English print: “certain dead…


Louis Wain loved cats – but did they make him mad?

Louis Wain was a prominent artist in England during the early 20th century. His work was featured in many of the top-selling publications. You might even be vaguely familiar with some of his work, which is famous for cats and kittens in a cutesy, large-eyed and anthropomorphised fashion. The pictures started when his wife was…


Frankenstein at 200 and why Mary Shelley was far more than the sum of her monster’s parts

[Originally posted by Angela Wright, University of Sheffield] Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was published anonymously 200 years ago in January, 1818. It has since become the most analysed and contested novel of all time. It is cited today in debates on the ethics of scientific progress. The “Frankenstein effect” has become…