The 13th Floor

Monsters Make News: Human Re-Animation, “Real” JURASSIC PARK and More Harrowing Headlines

It’s been quite the intense struggle keeping up with all the bizarre and horrifying things making the news lately (and that’s not counting political news, which is a horror unto itself), but as always, instead of hiding from things that creep me out, I tend to charge headlong into them.

This week, of course, is no exception, but for reasons unknown I’ve detected a more monster-centric trend in recent headlines, which is kind of refreshing. Dinosaurs, zombies and mysterious snow-beasts lead today’s creepy news roundup, and I’m sure there are plenty more lurking out there waiting to be discovered… or waiting to discover us, if we’re not careful.


Japanese Company Hopes to Launch Massive Dinosaur Park in 2017

In an eerie parallel to the JURASSIC PARK franchise, a wealthy entrepreneur and his backers are about to realize the dream of financing a gigantic theme park stocked with dinosaurs.

Now, before you go selling your car to raise money for tickets and airfare, note that “Dino-a-Park” — the creation of Japanese CEO Kazuya Kanemaru — is not actually going to be crawling with live, genetically-engineered prehistoric beasts. Yeah, sorry about that.

Instead, Dino-a-Park (I’m hoping this goofy name is temporary, based on Kanemaru’s totally insane “Dino-a-Live” expo demonstration shown in the clip above) promises a menagerie of extremely realistic robot dinosaurs, modeled from painted carbon fiber, with skeletons based precisely on real fossils. Kanemaru hopes to reach funding goals for his park in 2017.

This isn’t the first attempt at such an ambitious robo-dino attraction: in 2013, Australian billionaire launched the similar “Palmersaurus” park in Queensland — but according to the Telegraph, results have been less than impressive, and the park may be losing money.


Indian Government Halts Experiment Seeking to Re-Animate the Dead

A highly controversial clinical trial intended to determine if the recently-dead can be revived — bearing the chilling, Lovecraftian name “ReAnima”– was shut down last week by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) due to a combination of ethical concerns and the project’s failure to secure the proper drug authorizations from the government.

According to the journal Science, the project was first announced in May by surgeon Himanshu Bansal, who planned to combine multiple techniques — including stem-cell and peptide injections, laser pulses to the brain and electrical stimulation of the nervous system — in an attempt to regenerate brain cells in 20 brain-dead people and bring them back to life.

Bansal told India’s press that even inducing a “minimally conscious state” in the patients would be a success, and cited several cases where individuals in this state returned to full consciousness… but other experts in the field have contested these claims, eerily recalling dialogue from Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR (though a lot more civil than Herbert West’s pencil-snapping challenges to Dr. Hill).

For example, neuroscientist Dean Burnett of UK’s Cardiff University told the Telegraph that cases of reversal from a state of brain-death were dubious, and “the idea that brain death could be easily reversed seems very far-fetched.” Amar Jesani, Editor of Journal of Medical Ethics in Mumbai, agrees with Burnett’s assessment, and adds that reviving clinically dead people could result in severe emotional trauma to members of the patients’ families.

But Bansal may have prepared for this contingency as well, as revealed in an interview with The Wire, wherein he claimed to have purchased an insurance policy to cover care for re-animated patients.

Despite the experiment being on indefinite hold, those involved are confident they will eventually overcome this setback and move forward — even if it means taking the project to another country.

Image Credit: NZTV/YouTube
Image Credit: NZTV/YouTube

Russian Dash-cam Captures Unidentified Creature Crossing Snowy Road

This one’s just for fun — because let’s face it, no one’s gonna be able to corroborate what’s allegedly going on here.

Car-mounted cameras are ubiquitous in Russia (mainly due to some sketchy gaps in the legal system), and as a result the web has marveled and gasped at shocking footage captured by Russian commuters. Most of this involves fatal or near-fatal highway accidents, but occasionally the cameras catch something truly bizarre, like the spectacular meteor strike near the city of Chelyabinsk in 2013, or… whatever the hell this thing is.

Vadim Gilmanov shared the following video, reportedly taken from his vehicle while navigating a rough stretch of snowy road late at night in Republic of Bashkortostan, near the Ural Mountains. The clip shows a strange white figure quickly crossing the path road several yards ahead, and its sudden emergence prompts loud reactions from Gilmanov and his passenger(s). Watch for it at center screen after the 3-second mark:

“It could have been someone’s cruel prank,” Gilmanov told TVNZ News. “But on the other hand, who else could dash out so quickly in the middle of the night? In the middle of nowhere?”

The post references a Shurale — a horned, clawed and furry shape-shifting monster from Russian folklore — but doesn’t go so far as to claim that the creature in the video matches this description.