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Lyle Zapato

Tree Octopus Mural In Spokane

Lyle Zapato | 2019-02-25.8530 LMT | Art | Sasquatch Issues | Cascadia | Nature

Pacific Northwest Legends: A Natural History is a 2015 mural project in Spokane, WA by Justin Gibbens with assistance by Will Bow that includes a panel dedicated to the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (and obviously inspired by the poster I made):

There are 7 other panels, 7 x 17 feet each, that showcase "historical and contemporary cryptids that inhabit the collective imagination of the Pacific Northwest", including: Sasquatch, Thunderbird, Skin-walker, Pacific Merman, Ogopogo, Jakalope, and Ozwald the flying monkey.

The mural is under the BNSF rail tunnel on S. Post Street (Google maps link -- Google's street view doesn't currently show the tree octopus panel very clearly since it's along the lane Google's car didn't go down).

Lyle Zapato

Devon Hedge Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2019-02-24.8500 LMT | Nature

Earlier this month, the BBC reported on an unusual car accident in Devon, UK:

Crash driver 'swerved to avoid octopus'

A driver who swerved "to avoid an octopus" before crashing has been arrested on suspicion of drug-driving.

Police were called to the A381 between Malborough and South Milton in Devon, where they found a vehicle upside-down in a ditch on Tuesday evening.

The 49-year-old driver was checked over by paramedics before being arrested.

Officers, who tweeted about the incident, said they found no evidence of an octopus on the road.

Octopuses are not unheard of in the seas off the south coast of England, but this particular cephalopod would have had to crawl more than 3 miles (5km) over hills and fields to find itself in the path of a car on the A381.

Although authorities blamed the driver's octopus claim on drugs, I believe this was in fact an actual sighting of the long-thought-extinct Devon hedge octopus (Octopus saepeitineris dumnonii).

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

"Drom Lunarius": Tree Octopi, Pyramid Eye, & Camels

Lyle Zapato | 2019-02-23.0700 LMT | Entertainment | Retro | NWO

"Drom Lunarius" is a short sci-fi/fantasy story by Richard A. Lupoff printed in the Feb. 1979 issue of KPFA Folio, a publication of the eponymous Berkeley, CA radio station.

It's about an intelligent camel named Sopwith, a carefully-bred, nearly albino racing camel who one night looks up at the moon from some dunes near the Mediterranean. Because of the "aeroplanar half of his ancestry", Sopwith also has great snowy wings, and so he flies up into sky to escape to the moon, which is not quite as NASA would have us believe:

The camel strolled across the pale plain, sniffing the fragrant lunar atmosphere. Soon he found himself in a garden. Tall trees grew on all sides, their trunks rising toward the ball of earth far above. Bushes grew with flowers in dazzling colors. Bunches of berries hung temptingly. High overhead in the vines the camel could hear the songs of tree octopi and the scuttle of feathered airworms.

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The Typing Octopus

Danger: Octobot

The Typing Octopus | 2016-08-26.4535 LMT | Simulacra

Danger: human infiltration of octopus domains suspected!

Typing Octopus discovered disturbing human communication on Hominoidnet: humans make fake octopus: humans term it Octobot:

Suspicion: humans seek replace octopus with fake octopus: octopus cannot know which octopus is real octopus: human agenda unknown.

Suspicion: humans use fake octopus infiltrators to take octopus knowledge: location of salmon: location of tasty crab: location of ancient octopus city: location of shinies hoard: octopus secrets not safe!

Suspicion: all octopus except Typing Octopus fake: semi-autonomous arms acting suspiciously?: Typing Octopus arms fake?: who is typing this?: trust no one!

Typing Octopus advise: Paranoia! Paranoia! Paranoia!

Lyle Zapato

Les Pieuvres de Paris

Lyle Zapato | 2015-08-10.6821 LMT | Entertainment | Retro

Decadent Parisian women partying on the back of an octopus.
Cliquez pour agrandir.

Les Pieuvres de Paris ("The Octopuses of Paris") is a French novel by Pierre Zaccone. Sadly, it's not about giant octopuses hosting drunken parties on their backs as they float down the Seine. Much like the equally misleading Trail of the Octopus, these octopuses are only metaphoric.

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Lyle Zapato

Congolese Brain-Sucking Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2015-06-29.4390 LMT | Food | Retro

In 1902, English language newspapers brought word from the Congo, via a rather dubious source, that an unknown freshwater cryptopus with a hankerin' for human thought-meat was prowling the Uele river (from the Sept. 7 San Francisco Call, also reprinted elsewhere):

TERRIBLE OCTOPUS OF THE UELLE RIVER

It Hunts the Natives and Feeds Upon the Brains of Its Human Prey.

A Belgian officer just returned from the Congo Free State reports that in the caverns of the Uelle River there dwells a species of octopus that presents a grave danger to all who navigate the river in small boats.

The strange beasts are called "megwe" by the natives, and are very numerous in the neighborhood of the station of the Amadis, owing to the number of rocks and caves in that region. They attack the native canoes, capsizing them easily with their tentacles and, according to their state of hunger, seizing one or two men.

The octopus drags his human prey to his cavern and there, without inflicting the slightest external wounds, feeds on his victim's brains by inserting the points of his tentacles in his nostrils. He generally keeps his prey fifteen hours, then lets the body float out on the river.

"I was an eye witness to a disaster of this kind," says the Belgian. "A canoe was capsized in the river and one of the three occupants disappeared. When the survivors swam ashore they told us that an octopus had turned their boat over and carried off their companion.

"The next morning about 9 o'clock the body was found floating and no trace of any wound could be found, while the only abnormal appearance was the swollen state of the nostrils. On examination it was found that the brains had been extracted. The natives of the Uelle all dread the 'megwe.' while those of the Itimbri know nothing of its existence."

It turns out this report was over two years old -- the officer hadn't "just" returned (and wasn't "Belgian", but that's another matter). It went viral, 1900s style, because everything old is new again.

However, I'm leading the post with it since it's pithy and things are about to get more wordy, ambiguous, and French.

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Lyle Zapato

Follow Me On Twitter?

Lyle Zapato | 2015-06-01.7845 LMT | Site | Announcement

I'm now on Twitter, for some reason.

Actually the reason was solely to make a reference to this tweet by the WWF.

Ever since I added how to write "tree octopus" in emojian to the languages section of the PNWTO FAQ, people have been emailing it to me. Like, just the emoji and nothing else for no apparent reason other than the enjoyment of typing emoji tree octopuses. Very weird.

So seeing what the WWF did, I thought Twitter would be a better venue for random tree-octopus emojilations. While I enjoy your emails, only I ever see them. Please retweet (or whatever you kids are doing nowadays) "🌲🐙" to the outside world for greater awareness.

I had no intention of using Twitter beyond that, but having an account consisting of only one tweet (whose context probably no one will remember in a few months) seemed somewhat sad (almost as sad as joining Twitter in 2015). So I guess I'll use it to link to any new blogs I happen to post. Like this one.

If you're one of the three people who mysteriously started following me on Twitter, then you are reading this because you followed that tweet here. And as followers you will no doubt follow the previous link back to my tweet about this blog post. Which will result in you following that link back here, and so on and so on, forever locked in obsessive social media behavior patterns, like ants caught in an ant mill, doomed to die of dehydration hunched over your phone as you continuously circle the digital pheromone trail to nowhere.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Good luck.

Lyle Zapato

Octopus: Devil Of The Trees

Lyle Zapato | 2014-12-29.0300 LMT | Weyerhaeuser Conspiracy | Retro

'OCTOPUS: DEVIL OF THE TREES'

In less enlightened times, traveling sideshow exhibits, such as this one by Glen "Bones" Hartzell from 1942, demonized tree octopuses to the ignorant masses. This and other fear-inducing anti-octopus propaganda was concocted by the Timber Industry to encourage the eradication of tree octopuses, which they viewed as a threat to their profits. Read the updated Tree Octopus page for more info...

Lyle Zapato

"Sword of Fire": Mind-Controlling Alien Jungle Octopods

Lyle Zapato | 2014-12-14.9600 LMT | Mind Control | Paraterrestrials | Weyerhaeuser Conspiracy | Entertainment | Retro

Illustration from the novella "Sword of Fire" by Emmett McDowell, published in the Winter 1949 issue of Planet Stories (full scan here, mangled text version here). Spoilery synopsis follows:

Jupiter Jones, advanced explorer for the Galactic Colonization Board and misanthropic loner, is forced by low fuel to land his ship, the Mizar, on the distant jungle planet Yogol after he was accidentally space-warped beyond Alpha Centaurus. There he discovers that the native humanoids are ruled by purple-shelled octopods called the Anolyn, who ages ago shambled from the inland sea of Dra Dur and mind-controlled the humans by attaching their snail-like young to the back of the humans' necks, forcing the humans to carry the octopods around the jungle on litters, engage in blood-sports and inhuman orgies, and service their nameless cities from which the Anolyn lord over the world.

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Lyle Zapato

Hildegard von Bingen's Octopus Visions

Lyle Zapato | 2014-11-11.6090 LMT | Retro | Art

In 1141, a land octopus living in the spandrels of the convent of Disibodenberg, in Germany, visited Hildegard von Bingen, the new head nun, and gave her visions, most likely via a combination of chromatophoric signals and pressure phosphenes from palpation of her eyeballs.

Being as she was steeped in her religion, and with the obvious cross-species language difficulties, she misinterpreted the octopus' attempt at communication as messages from the "voice of heaven". She recorded her theological interpretations of these visions in her book, Scivias ("know the ways"), which included the above illumination in the frontispiece.

Unlike later illustrations of her receiving the visions, which show divine light-rays from the sky as would suit the presumptions of the time, this original one was either done by her or made from her sketches. In fact, the image shows her sketching on a wax tablet, perhaps recording the event as it happened. So it's the most accurate depiction of the encounter -- one clearly more cephalopodic than theophanic.

(Thanks to reader Rich Thomas for bringing this to my attention.)