Authenticity test on horrifying Ecuadorean artifact reveals that it's a horrifying Ecuadorean artifact.
We ran across a story today that touched on an occasional Pulp Intl. subject—that of shrunken heads, those macabre delights found in the dusty basements of museums and the arcane libraries of mysteriously missing anthropologists. Vintage men's magazines such as this issue of Man to Man often contained features on shrunken heads, usually written by adventurers who claimed to have narrowly escaped losing their own. This occurred mainly in the Amazon regions of Ecuador and Peru where a people called the Jivaro live. When white men weren't available, the Jivaro used the heads of slain enemy warriors, shrinking them via an exacting, multi-step process meant to trap the spirit of the unfortunate victim so that their supernatural power could be utilized. The practice died out decades ago but old shrunken heads are scattered about the world because they were highly sought after curios, a demand that also led to the manufacture of numerous fakes. Researchers at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia had a shrunken head sitting around that had been acquired by a recently deceased university staffer during a 1942 trip to the Ecuadorean Amazon. They announced Monday that the head is indeed the genuine item. They reached this conclusion by subjecting it to numerous tests, among them CT scans, and of course the angry spirit test, which involves ridiculing the head then waiting to see if your hind quarters wither and fall off. This particular head is especially pulpworthy because it has acinema history. It was used as a prop in the 1979 film Wise Blood, John Huston's adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's novel of the same name. In the movie it was placed on a fake body, as you see just above. Mercer University plans to repatriate the head to Ecuador, continuing the recent practice of some museums and universities returning cultural items looted or bought for a pittance by artifact hunters. We agree that stolen artifacts should go back to where they came, assuming the original possessors ask for them, which they increasingly have been doing. This means there will be fewer shrunken heads in circulation, which in turn means the process for making them that we shared a few years ago is more timely than ever. Like a Julia Child recipe for boeuf bourguignon, the classics never go out of style. In fact, we think the horrible shrunken head market is about to blow up like Bitcoin. So if you feel the need to shrink the head of... we don't know, anyone ranging from your current boss to the so-called friend who stole your hopeless crush back in college, feel free to get a sense of the process from our post. It's a bit messy, but satisfying and amazingly empowering. So we hear. Just remember that you can't make a shrunken head without a decapitated head, and that's another messy business entirely.
Treat your mummy special every day.
When we see the word “mummy” in a news story we pay extra attention. Even more so when the mummy has nothing to do with Egypt. Late last week police in Moffatt, Colorado arrested seven members of a ragtag cult called Love Has Won after they were found in possession of a mummified body. The body was once Amy Carlson, above, the leader of the sect. She was known to the cultists as Mother God, and believed that she was the 534th avatar of God on Earth and had revoked the free will of humanity. Mummy Carlson was posed in a shrine, wrapped in a sleeping bag festooned with Christmas lights, and decorated about her eyeless face with glitter make-up. The cult members were charged with, among other things, abuse of a corpse.
Abuse? Do the police have no idea how expensive the top make-up brands are? L'Oréal's best eye shadow, the shimmery Avant Garde Azure, which is so good it de-emphasizes the fact that you don't even have eyes, costs a small fortune. Maybelline's Superstay lipstick, which makes lips so kissable even a death rictus won't stop an admirer from going in for some tongue action, runs a pretty penny too. And Guerlain's Fève Délicieuse parfum is so intoxicating it masks even the charnel stench of death. Don't get us started on that. The point is, this was no abused corpse. Love Has Won adherents spared no effort or expense transforming their rattling husk of a mummy-goddess into a glamour queen that turned heads wherever she went.
And no wonder they treated her so well, considering they believed she'd lived hundreds of lives, both male and female—and we assume non-binary too, if she was really on her game. They thought she'd been Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, and who knows what other historical personages. You ever notice people who live past lives were never mid-level sanitation workers in some plague-wracked medieval town? Or some young male virgin sacrificially beheaded atop a Mayan pyramid in the year 450? Or a little girl who got trampled flat by a mammoth? Seems to us you'd remember being all those things.
But it's always Joan of Arc for some reason, or Cleopatra. Mother God even claimed to have been Marilyn Monroe, and that's going too far in our book, because Monroe was a real goddess. We can prove it because every time we see those early nudes of hers things start to miraculously rise around here. Anyway, we suspect that the sevendetained Love Has Won cultists—you see them above, plus a stand-in for Mother God, the beef jerky version, because we couldn't find a photo—are looking at some years under the care of the state of Colorado. That'll be followed by a sprint through the talk show circuit, public repudiation of their bizarre beliefs, blaming it on trauma in childhood and meth usage as adults, finally capped off with careers as self-help gurus. And to think Mother God said humanity has no free will. It does, and we're going to use ours right now by choosing to “worship” Monroe for a bit. Don't expect us back today. Hi, Mother God here. I command thee: Bring me a glass of the sacramental wine.
Hello, police? I'd like to report an explosive orgasm.
Earlier this week in Germany, outside the town of Passau on the Austrian-Czech border, a jogger was running through the forest and came across a bag that seemed to have items inside. Perhaps hoping to find something useful or valuable, the jogger investigated this discarded sack and saw that it contained what looked like a World War II-era hand grenade. Though the war has been over for seventy-plus years, live grenades are still found in the forests of Europe, and everyone there knows that, so it's no surprise the jogger called the police.
Eventually a German bomb squad slogged out into the woods to investigate, and noticed that the bag also contained a tube of sex lubricant called Aquaglide and some condoms. The anti-climax must have been tremendous.
“Horst, your camera feed is bad. What the hell am I seeing there? Is that a tube of accelerant? Something explosive? Over.”
“No sir, it's lube. Over.”
“Sex lube, sir. Sex lube for the cockenspiel. Over.”
At that point the bomb squad deduced that the grenade was actually a rubber sex toy. But looking at it, we're unsure how it's meant to be used. We poked around online, in the process turning our browser history into a sexual free-for-all, and finally found the item you see in the second photo. But we'd be lying if we said that cleared things up for us. It's a hand pump of some sort, or possibly some unisex inflatable insertable, but considering the Passau photo also shows what looks like a power brick and a usb cable, we remain mystified. We're calling the German discovery the grenade of ecstasy.
Even though we don't know exactly how the grenade of ecstasy was meant to be used, we know what it's being used for now. The Passau bomb squad is taking turns pranking each other with it. Bomb squads have a lot of down time. The grenade has already turned up at the bottom of someone's bowl of kartoffelsuppe. And for sure it's been delivered by a bomb disposal robot to someone on the toilet. But the absolute best was throwing it into the dayroom while screaming, “Grenate! Alles runter! Alles runter!” followed by someone charging in, throwing himself on top of it, and ripping a massive pilsener fart. You gotta love those bomb guys.
Interestingly, because bomb squads are used to facing death, the Passau guys never cleaned the grenade of ecstasy. It's still got forest mulch and dried human fluids all over it. That's what makes the kartoffelsuppe gag funny. But bomb squads tire quickly of even the most thrilling diversions, and eventually they'll discard their new toy just like the person who dumped it in the woods. At which point they'll turn their attention to the Aquaglide. We recommend smearing it on someone's bomb disposal tools. That'll make the next bomb emergency dangerous and slippery. Pure fun for all involved.
Jealousy leads to near-fatal attack. But hey, that's marriage for you.
You know the adage curiosity killed the marriage? An interesting story came across the wire from Sonora, Mexico that falls into the mondo bizarro category. Leonora N. (whose real name has been withheld by authorities) stabbed her husband Juan N. (real name also withheld) multiple times after finding photos on his phone of him with a younger woman. The problem is the younger woman was her. Not-his-real-name, in an act of love that could bring tears to your eyes, scanned and uploaded some old photos of Not-her-real-name to keep on his phone, but she, in an act of anger that would definitely bring tears to your eyes, found the photos, went straight for the knife drawer, and came out cutting. Not-his-real-name was saved only thanks to a neighbor who heard his screams and rescued him.
Now you may think this is pretty clear cut, so to speak. Good man, evil woman. Pulp in its most basic form. But in our view, you can't really fault a wife for failing to recognize her younger self, because men who've been married for a long time no longer recognize their wives either. Inside we mean. Many great minds have observed that, over time women are guaranteed to change, while men are guaranteed to try like bloody hell not to. If there's phone checking going on, Not-his-real-name should check Not-her-real-name's phone. You know what he'd find? Love poems. And he'd think she'd been hooking up with some young stud, before realizing with a shock that they're his old poems she painstakingly texted into her own phone. Because she doesn't recognize him anymore either. That guy's long gone.
So we think Not-his-real-name needs to forgive Not-her-real-name because, ultimately, it was his fault. If the guy who wrote poetry were still around maybe the young minx he married would still be around too, and none of this would have happened. We know what you're thinking. She stabbed him. That's unforgivable. Well maybe. But wives are always thinking of stabbing their husbands, at least a little. We don't mean a little as in time spent thinking about it. We mean they are constantly thinking of stabbing their husbands, but lightly. Hourly, but non-fatally. So we come down firmly on the side of Not-her-real-name. Hubby fucked up. And our opinion has nothing to do with the fact that the Pulp Intl. girlfriends read our site.
Sexplay goes south in a big way for cock cage gamesters.
Everything—truly everything—is going digital. We're thrilled to inform you that they finally upgraded the cock cage. We're surprised we missed this tech bombshell when it happened a while back, but finding out late is better than never. Longtime readers will know right away why we had to write about this, because they'll remember the Pulp Intl. cock cages. For newer visitors, back when we bothered putting ads on our website, for a few months we accepted the filthy but spendable lucre of a manufacturer of cock cages. They're metal devices designed to keep your junk trunked, and the idea is to prevent erections, bdsm style, for purposes of denial or punishment. Fun, right?
Now it seems there's a digital version, remotely controlled, compatible with the internet of things. The device, seen above, is called the Cellmate. It's from China-based manufacturer Qiui, and basically you slide this puppy on, lock it, and give someone else the code—and the power over whether to unleash your kraken. This is a quantum leap in sexual discomfort. Back during the analog cock cage days you'd whine to your master or mistress in person to set your peehole free. Now you text them. Maybe send them a frowny emoticon. And somewhere, near or far, they tap a code into their phone and it's sweet release for you.
Except some cheeky hacker found a security flaw and kept an unknown number of unlucky willies locked up against their will. What can you say? Hackers gonna hack, right? And they weren't content just to harass and terrify. They also demanded bitcoin ransoms, and sent messages to the effect of, “Your cock is mine now.” We don't know how many dismayed consumers lost their digital innocence through this scam, nor how many—if any—paid the ransom, but we would. Fuck yeah we would. We'd pay plenty. But we're happy to say it could never happen. The only people who keep our cocks locked up are the Pulp Intl. girlfriends.
Analog cock cage with cheap dime store lock. Digital cock cage with encrypted security. Which would you choose?
Mysterious monolith found in desert. Local wildlife now walking upright and demanding better mobile coverage.
Someone cue Also sprach Zarathustra. In Utah a helicopter pilot from the Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau was counting bighorn sheep in a remote part of the state when he overflew a strange object, and upon turning back for a second look was astounded to sight a metal monolith planted in the desert. Estimated at ten to twelve feet (about three meters) high, the object is shiny, silvery, rectangular, and appears to be man-made. Appears to be. Advanced metalwork is assumed to be a solely human ability, but that's just an assumption. We also thought we were the only species that masturbated until we saw dolphins do it.
The slab story has taken on a mostly humorous life of its own, as observers reference 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie which appears to have inspired the creator of the rectangle. The film's monolith triggers a quantum leap in human evolution, which in 2020 we could really use, but since modern culture is little more than a seven-billion-person rugby scrum in which nobody has noticed the ball got lost decades ago, we don't think a comparable evolutionary leap is coming. Anyway, there's nothing out there in the desert but sheep, so maybe it wasn't made for humans at all. Everyone should keep close watch on those bighorns. Maybe they'll make an evolutionary leap and, like in the film, start using old femurs to break heads. Sheepherders beware.
For our part, there's little doubt the slab is actually just a piece of guerrilla art, planted in the wilderness years ago, where it has patiently waited for discovery. As a publicity stunt it's ingenious. Once authorities inevitably remove and examine the piece, they'll most likely find some identifying mark, and at that point the artist will come forward or be identified. People are already speculating it was made by deceased monolith master John McCracken. However it turns out, we think it's appropriate that this discovery, one of the most confounding in recent memory, was inspired by 2001, one of the most baffling films ever. The desert slab will eventually be explained to most people's satisfaction. The movie? Never.
Update: the monolith has vanished. Its next probable sighting will be in a barren wilderness near you.
Another valuable Spanish painting is ruined by someone who's all thumbs and no skills.
Spanish art restorers are in the news for the wrong reasons again. You may remember the infamous Ecce Homo disfigurement—the early 20th century fresco by Elías García Martínez that was ruined by amateur restorer Cecilia Giménez. The restoration, which took place in the town of Borja, was so botched that many Spaniards stopped referring to the painting as Ecce Homo—“Behold Man”—in favor of Ecce Mono—“Behold Monkey.” We've posted its Christ figure, angelic before, and afflicted after, below. We think the name change fits, though we think the after Christ also looks a bit like Leatherface.
The Ecce Homo fiasco soon grew to exemplify the divergent incentives of the modern world. The painting was destroyed. Its destruction turned the painting and the town of Borja into a tourist attraction. The restorer now claims she's proud of her work because of the money that tourists bring which can be used for good causes. The fact that these calamity tourists are posing with the painting only because it looks like Giménez restored it using a brush held between her ass cheeks is now immaterial. Only money matters. The money made has absolved her of responsibility for ruining the art.
The latest incident involves a more-than-century-old copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's baroque painting La Inmaculada del Escorial, which you see at top. An art collector in Valencia hired a furniture restorer to clean the painting, but the face of the Virgin Mary was damaged. The collector then hired an art restorer to repair the damage, was forced to hire a second to fix the damage done by the first, and, well, see below. Now look up top again. Now look below.
Yeah, that actually happened. We can't figure out how the second restorer made the painting look even less like the original than the first restorer. Did they not understand why they had been hired? These paintings aren't pulp art, but their destruction is like something from a comical crime novel. Not surprisingly, some Spaniards also consider these blunders criminal, and are now calling for regulation of the art restoration sector, and who can blame them?
Spanish art experts say botched restorations are more common than people know. We searched around and found a couple more, also hilariously awful (see the sculpture of St. George from the town of Estella, below). Generally, these incidents only become public when they're reported to the press or on social media, which isn't the norm, considering the embarrassment involved. But we can't help wondering if, going forward, ancient artworks will be deliberately ruined as a ploy to generate calamity tourism. We wouldn't put it past people. Maybe Behold Monkey should be renamed again, to Behold Money. Maybe Jesus has shown the way—to financial salvation.
Political situation in U.S. critical after radical surgery to transplant corrupt old politics onto fresh new voters.
We wrote a polemical subhead. Heh, sub-head, see what we did there? Because it's a substitute head and— Anyway, this cover of Midnight published today in 1967 touts a medical miracle, but of course in reality it was beyond the capabilities of science then and remains so today. But one day. And when extra-long lifespans arrive, horrible old ideas will be near impossible to change because the same geezers will be in charge for hundreds of years. You think seventy-something is old too old to be president? Just wait. On another note, you may have noticed we haven't posted many tabloids lately. Our scanner has developed the habit of placing a bright blue line on our scans, and during the quarantine the electronics store was closed. We'll wander over that way pretty soon and get to scannin' again. In the meantime, we have 399 tabloid posts in the website, and if you're inclined you can access them here.
There's more than just a killer virus flying around out there.
Just in time to distract you from the unstoppable flying virus, the U.S. government has gotten people talking about something else aerial and threatening—unidentified flying objects. This happened yesterday, when the Pentagon released footage of two close encounters of the mysterious kind. The videos are from the cameras of navy fighter jets and were made during two separate encounters in 2004 and 2015. One of the pilots had discussed the 2004 incident with the New York Times in 2017, and described an oblong object forty feet long hovering over the Pacific Ocean, accelerating “like nothing I've ever seen.” The newly released footage corroborates his account, seemingly. The 2015 video, which is FLIR footage, or infrared imagery, shows a rapidly moving object above cloud cover but seen from the vantage point of a higher flying jet. The pilot says over his radio, “Yeah, [that's] a fuckin' drone, bro.” Someone responds, “There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA.” Response: “My gosh!” Followed by: “They're all going against the wind. The wind's 120 knots from the west.” Response: “Look at that thing, dude.”
Well, what can we say? Probably the same thing we've said before, which is that if alien civilizations were advanced enough to come light years from another star system we'd certainly never see them. We primitive earthlings have already figured out rudimentary stealth tech, and are seriously working on invisibility, and we presume we could see aliens that came from a distant advanced world? For that matter, why would they even need to get near us? We can read license plates from space with our primitive satellites. Why wouldn't aliens be able to set up in undetected orbit and observe everything they needed? Of course, maybe they're here and we can see them because they don't care if we do, but if that were true why not take a really good look? Why not hover above Sunset Boulevard and rubberneck at all the party girls and film execs? In our opinion, the first pilot got it right. That's a fuckin' drone, bro. Consider: an advanced drone could perform high-g maneuvers far beyond the capabilities of a human pilot to withstand, and if it were sent up against military jets, since they can't fire outside a wartime setting without chain-of-command approval, you get a real world test andyour drone back. But alien hunters are creaming their undies right now, and why not? The footage is interesting. And we admit, of course, we weren't there, and we aren't pilots. Our drone opinion is just that. What you see here are screenshots we made, but you can view all the fun video for yourself in the document library of the Naval Air Systems Command, located here. Whether you believe in UFOs or not, watching the videos is at least a break from reading about the virus again.
Edit: the Pulp Intl. girlfriends demur. They suggest it's possible the aliens are just playful dicks, like this fella here that got a laugh from ruining a guy's paddle boarding experience.
Pram, girl, that thing is the bomb!
Once upon a time in England, some industrious genius came up with the idea of poison gas resistant baby prams. This photo was shot in Kent in 1938, when the threat of war with Germany loomed large and the fear of bombs—gas bearing and otherwise—was in everyone's minds. This pram is not just a historical oddity—it's a sociological statement. Think about it. How many parents could afford one of these things? Certainly not the countless coal miners and haddock fishermen who made up so much of the British workforce, we'd wager. So it's also a symbol of capitalism at its finest—that part where the rich always have better survival odds.
Some websites caption this photo things like, “Mother in gas mask with infant in gas proof carriage.” Are they kidding? It would be the nanny who gets sent out to risk a poison gas attack. Upper crust mommy stays home for tea and scones in the drawing room, and maybe tops that off with a little medicinal scotch for her nerves. If the baby never makes it back she'll just make dirty spoons with the lord of the manor and give motherhood another go in nine months. As for the pram, it would probably be reusable after a gas attack. In fact, it's more than just durable—it's versatile too. Assuming it survives a long, ugly war of keeping German gas out, it can be used during peace time to keep baby gas in.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1971—First of the Pentagon Papers Are Published
The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of the country's political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers reveal that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, and that four presidential administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had deliberately misled the public regarding their intentions toward Vietnam.
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
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