0

Northern Ontario Sasquatch

Well, sort of.

This is the new T-shirt design from the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. It’s a bit of a departure, isn’t it? Bigfoot is one of the last thing you’d expect to see on a shirt released by an agency that does scientific work.

But as the shirt’s designer, Ryan Mackett, says in the story, it’s all meant as a tongue-in-cheek way to promote what the LRCA does. The good news is that the shirt seems to be doing its job already, as interest in the shirt has been bringing people to the LRCA offices.

I bring it up for two reasons – first, this is a story I did for our local CBC station, and I had a ton of fun with it (read it here). And second, I’m curious about the state of Sasquatch sightings in the Thunder Bay area these days.

Mackett, in the story, is quite clear that the LRCA has not received any reports regarding hairy, bipedal cryptids roaming any of its conservation areas.

In fact, it seems that sightings are pretty rare in the Thunder Bay region. There are a few stories out there, sure – this Sasquatch Canada page lists a few from various spots in Northern Ontario, including Red Lake, Grassy Narrows, Sioux Narrows and Sioux Lookout.

However, the ones I’m turning up seem to go back a decade or more, and are few and far between besides.

If anyone has any sightings or other links/info to share, please drop me a line at kris@spooklight.ca.

And if you’re interested in the T-shirt, they’re available now at the LRCA office in Thunder Bay. The cost is $20.

0

Under the Sea

I’ve had a fear of water as long as I can remember. It’s not tied to anything traumatic from my childhood – I just don’t like deep, dark, cold lakes with muddy bottoms and slippery, darting fish. It all makes me very uneasy.

Therefore, trying to play Subnautica is quite an unsettling experience. The difference is, of course, Subnautica is make-believe. Having said that, it’s also very, very atmospheric – there are terrible things down in the depths, and they’ll try to get you.

It’s definitely worth diving into, however, despite any lingering uncertainty over the words “early” and “access.” At its heart, Subnautica is a deep-sea survival game, focussed on an unnamed person (?) who crash-lands (that’s your ship up above) in the middle of a vast ocean … somewhere.

You can gather things, craft tools and gadgets and sea-floor bases and submarines, scan colourful little fish, hope you don’t come across toothy giant fish, and generally try and figure out where you are and, I assume, how to go back home (maybe that part’s not in the game yet. I don’t know).

The colours!

And it all looks wonderful. The colours, the swaying plant life, the sunlight rippling through the water, the oppressive nighttime darkness, the varied underwater beasties – even at relatively-low graphics settings (my card isn’t top-of-the-line), swimming around and exploring the sea floor is immersive and tense and exciting (and it’s probably a really, really good reason to get a VR setup).

You can’t really see everything at once, you understand. It’s dark. There are caves and great forests of various plants and weeds. You need to keep an eye on things like depth – not too deep! – and your oxygen supply. These things out there with you, meanwhile, aren’t always friendly. Some are small and harmless, going about their business, but others are large vicious and territorial.

Not alone

Here’s how it tends to go. You’re exploring, searching for fragments to scan or wrecks to search. It’s dark – your little light source is helping, but it’s only pushing the darkness back, giving you a little bubble of visibility.

From somewhere out there, you hear a growl (or, in some cases, a deafening roar). You frantically spin your mouse around, searching for whatever just made that noise, hoping to get out of its way. If you do see it, it’s really, really big and right beside you and you jump out of your chair as your screen flashes red. Then you respawn back in the life pod, lootless, another victim of the beasts that roam the depths.

Crafting better things makes it all easier, of course, but I’ve yet to discover a way to actually fight back against these things (and I’m assuming there are bigger ones out there in the deeper places).

In any case, Subnautica is a lot of fun, and worth checking out. As mentioned, it’s still in early access, but new content is coming regularly, adding new places to go and story bits to find and general things to do.

0

God Eater: Resurrection

20161013125714_1

There are a lot of moving parts to these new(ish on PC) God Eater games.

Think of them like a faster-playing, more-streamlined Monster Hunter. The premise is, by and large, the same – you charge headlong into battle against big monsters (here called Aragamis), using various weapons, items and other skills to emerge victorious.

But where Monster Hunter can be a slow slog, with collecting items and tracking down the target monster on a very large, multi-part map, God Eater plays fast, dropping you and some teammates – either real-life MP people or AI-controlled – into a fairly contained area for missions that really don’t take too long.

Think of it as the core of Monster Hunter whittled down into Jaggi-bite-sized chunks.

But that’s not to say God Eater isn’t complex. There are many, many things to fiddle with.

Continue Reading

0

Dudleytown

Don’t quote me on this, but I swear I’ve read a comment by one of the folks behind the original Blair Witch Project that stated one of their inspirations was Dudleytown.

Even if it’s not strictly true, it’s a good reason share that story for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with it – regardless of any Blair Witch parallels, the tale of Dudleytown a creepy one in its own right (especially in light of all of yesterday’s Blair Witch chatter here on the Spooklight).

Dudleytown is a long-abandoned settlement in Connecticut, dating back to the 1700s (the town of Burkittsville, which figures in the Blair Witch films, was built on the site of Blair Township, which itself was found abandoned back in the 1700s).

There are two versions of the story of the settlement’s downfall and abandonment – the most-likely one being that the town’s location wasn’t suited to farming, eventually driving the population to more-fertile fields in other parts of the country.

And then there’s the whole “cursed village” thing. Legends say that town’s founders were descended from an Englishman named Dudley, who was beheaded for treason. As tends to happen in such instances, his entire family was cursed.

There are tales of insanity, suicide, even demons traipsing through the woods.

There’s one particularly chilling story about a doctor who built a vacation home in Dudleytown, moving there with his wife. Some time later, he was called away for work-related reasons.

He returned after several days, only to find his wife had gone completely insane during his trip.

I recall the first time I read that story (I think it was in one of the books by Ed and Lorraine Warren – Ghost Hunters, perhaps? Can anyone recall that?) – it was a very atmospheric telling.

The doctor makes his way back home, making his way through Dark Entry Forest (really) to his home. Nothing stirs. And then – a laugh. A demented, chilling laugh, spilling out of the home. The doctor rushes inside to find his wife, her mind gone.

Depending on which version of this you read, there may be vague mention of her insanity being caused by “something” emerging from the woods and attacking her. She would spend the rest of her days in an asylum, and the doctor left Dudleytown, never to return.

Problem is, it’s not true. None of the fanciful stuff is.

Nevertheless, reading through some of the legends – here’s a good, lengthy writeup about the curse – is a worthwhile endeavour, especially for Blair Witch fans. There’s a lot to draw on here – it really is a shame that prequel never got off the ground.