The Podenstein’s Lab news team loses their heads! At least, in the news they bring you in this episode. Mark L. Groves introduces the man behind “laughing your head off”- literally; Shelby Dollar discusses the science of slugs that love a good auto-decapitation; and J.E. Petersen revisits a Colorado chicken who takes a chopping- and spends the next 18 months headless pecking for paying audiences nationwide. It even has it’s own festival…of course. These stories and more are on the chopping block, in Episode 6 of Podenstein’s Lab.
REAL HEADLINES FROM THE INTERWEBS
Woman freaked out after spotting ‘creepy’ light shining out of hotel bathtub drain
Sausage vending machines booming in Germany
MMA fight stopped as fans are asked to look for fighter’s severed finger
“MMA fighter Khetag Pliev’s finger was severed during a bout Thursday night in Philadelphia, and for long minutes it could not be found.
Pliev hadn’t called for the fight to stop — “I felt like I had this guy,” he told ESPN — but the referee noticed the missing finger and stopped the bout after the second round.”
Art and sole: Singapore artist sculpts with skin from his feet
“After he peels and scrapes the skin flakes, he assembles them into pieces that look like animal fossils, insects, flowers, wheat and embryos.:
Bizarre ‘worm tornado’ in New Jersey has scientists baffled
Sorry, not in the air. On the ground. Way to disappoint, New Jersey.
OUR BIG STORIES
Laughing Your Head Off Takes an Axe to Your Funny Bone
-Mark L. Groves
Many old sayings have older roots. Like let the cat out of the bag. From the 1700’s, when frauds would sell a pig in a bag, and when you got home- voila, it’s a cat. Or winning hands down, which came from 1800’s horseracing, when- if the rider were far enough ahead- they would win even with taking their hands off the reigns.
Or, laughing your head off. It’s roots come from the 1700’s, bathed in blood and insurrection.
Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, was an 18th century Scottish clan chief and Jacobite sympathizer. Well, kind of sympathizer, since he was playing one side against the other to get the biggest gain for himself and, to a much lesser extent, his clan. The Jacobite uprising, in a very non-intellectual nutshell, was the son of an ousted king trying to regain his father’s English throne through an uprising involving France, Spain, Scotland, whisky, haggis, and more than a pinch of pipe dreams. It didn’t work out. If you’ve watched Outlander, you know the character Jamie Fraser, and his experience at the disastrous, game-ending Battle of Cullodin. Jamie’s fictitious, but Simon Fraser was real.
Simon Fraser held the title of Lord of Lovat, but he also held the less glorious monicker of “The Old Fox.” Simon worked with both the Jaboite rebellion, AND the British officials, playing one of the other while reaping land, money, and power for his sharing of information and purported allegiance. During the 1715 Jacobite uprising, he contacted both sides to see which might offer him the best advantage before throwing his clan’s allegiance one way or the other. In the end, he voted present and took neither side. A real Switzerland, this guy.
Then during the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, he tried to play the fence game again, preting to back both sides. Simon stated his support to the Jacobites and sent his son and a force of his Frasers to help the Jacobite cause. Oh, so he’s a Jacobite, right? Not so fast. The Old Fox then wrote to the British government claiming saying he was all for the Queen and things, and that his boy had done all that against his wishes. Yup, took junior to school by throwing him under the bus.
The problem: the Battle of Culloden. It was a Scottish ass-whoopin’ of terrible, awful proportion. After it, The Old Fox tried to run, was captured hiding inside a hollow tree on an island in Loch Morar, near Mallaig, pretty much on the easter coast in the middle of Scotland.
Simon was transported to London and put on trial. His barrister pleaded insanity, because who the hell willingly eats haggis? It didn’t work. The Old Fox was found guilty, and sentenced to beheading on April 9th, 1747.
So here’s the crux of the story. A whole bunch of people came to watch the beheading, because Netflix hadn’t been invented yet. While standing on a scaffolding to get a good view of the gore, the scaffolding collapsed, and several people died.
When led up for his wee bit off the top, The Old Fox is said to have found the bystander tragedy to be quite amusing indeed, and was executed- wearing a smile.
And there you have, “laughing your head off”.
EPILOGUE: Simon Fraser’sheadless body is said to lie in a lead casket at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill, near Inverness. A body, minus the head is in the casket. Buuuut the queston was, is that The Old Fox? Rumors have it that after he was beheaded, his body remained in England, while other hearsay has it resting in Wardlaw Mausoleum. There are problems. You won’t have facial recognition, for obvious reasons. There are no living relatives- I mean, you backstab enough of your kids, you end up without any.
They just weren’t for sure.
So on January 28th 2019, my birthday, coincidentally, they exhumed the body of The Old Fox from the Wardlaw Mausoleum, and discovered- he’s a chick. She’s a him. It’s the headless body of a woman, around the age of 25, buried there, and not Simon Fraser. So now there’s two mysteries for the price of one- where is he, and who is she?
I’ll bet he’s still laughing.
Mike the Headless Chicken – or A Chop Off the Ol’ Block
A Real No-Body Kind of Life Form