Archive for June, 2013

You have to admit, there’s a certain justice:

Police had identified 17-year-old Santos Ramos as the possible culprit in the attack on 35-year-old Leandra Arias Janco Sunday in a Quechua community near the municipality of Colquechaca, said Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province where the community is located.

Enraged, more than 200 community members seized Ramos and buried him alive alongside his alleged victim Wednesday night, according to Barrios. He said residents on Thursday blocked the road to the community, preventing police and prosecutors from reaching it.

A local reporter for an indigenous radio station, who would only speak on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told The AP that Ramos was tied up at the woman’s funeral. Mourners threw him into the open grave, placed the woman’s coffin in it and filled the grave with earth.

I’m not without sympathy, given the atrocity inflicted on the woman. Still, it sounds like this was done after the man was only  identified as a suspect, not convicted in a court of law where he would have been able to present a defense. This isn’t (just) sanctimony on my part: the Rule of Law, under which life and property are protected for all and everyone gets their day in court, is essential to national stability and prosperity. Without it, you simply have mob rule, the stronger dominating the weaker, and the near-anarchy of a Hobbesian state of nature.

And trial by lynch-mob.

To be fair, the Bolivian court system in Bolivia is corrupt, and the villagers may well have felt that they would never have received justice and so had to take it into their own hands. Like I wrote, I can sympathize, even if I don’t approve. (In fact, the villagers should be prosecuted, but, being Bolivia, the government probably doesn’t want a regional revolt on its hands.)

On another note, what an ending for a horror story, straight out of Poe or Machen: buried alive with your victim, whose spirit may be looking for her own justice…

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Introducing the UroClub!


Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.


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A 16th century mechanical monk:


From the description at Retronaut, where you can see more pictures:

An automaton of a monk, 15 inches in height. Driven by a key-wound spring, the monk walks in a square, striking his chest with his right arm, raising and lowering a small wooden cross and rosary in his left hand, turning and nodding his head, rolling his eyes, and mouthing silent obsequies. From time to time, he brings the cross to his lips and kisses it. After over 400 years, he remains in good working order. Tradition attributes his manufacture to the mechanician to Emperor Charles V. The story is told that the emperor’s son King Philip II, praying at the bedside of a dying son of his own, promised a miracle for a miracle, if his child be spared. And when the child did indeed recover, Philip kept his bargain by having hismechanician construct a miniature penitent homunculus.”

I can imagine so many freakish, frightening, nigh blasphemous scenarios and stories involving “Brother Tock.” Make him life-size and he’s the hideous “secret priest” in the haunted cathedral. Or he’s still miniature, a powerful counselor behind the throne, literally at the monarch’s ear — advising him of who knows what? Is he a machine come to life, the product of Da Vinci-ian weird science? Possessed by a demon? Or is he a holy relic, powered by a bit of the heart of a saint and guarding against some unspeakable evil?

Even if so, he creeps me out. And I love it.

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