Total Batshit


Total Batshit is getting surprisingly regular traffic, so I guess I’m not the only person interested in this stuff. Thank you for stopping by, random visitors! If you like what you see, please scroll down and sign up to follow this blog via email.

I have a couple of projects keeping me busy at the moment (their codenames being “Adventure Time”, “beer” and “unnecessary quotation marks”), so it could be a fortnight before my next proper post. In the meantime, check out this article about the Korean Airlines Flight 007 conspiracy theory. It’s classic Reagan-era Batshit that reminds us “One should never underestimate the role of stupidity in history.”



Space Italians and their Disappointing Pancakes

Last week I wrote about five of the most popular alien cliches that are supposedly causing mischief all over the galaxy (the scallywags). Many of these ideas came out of the Cold War freak-out of the ’40s and ’50s, and were later reinforced by movies and TV. Thanks to popular culture, we now all “know” what an alien looks like and how our close encounter should play out.

There are, however, some cases that refuse to fit the mould. Cases like Joe Simonton and the Eagle River Pancakes.

On April 18 1961, Simonton (a Wisconsin chicken farmer and part-time Santa Claus) was preparing breakfast when he heard what sounded like “knobby tires on wet pavement”. He went outside to investigate and found a flying saucer landing in his backyard.

Drawing on an iron will that only years of poultry-tending could produce, Simonton swallowed his fear and approached the craft. At the same time, a hatch door opened and revealed three shocking and obviously otherworldly beings. The creatures had dark skin, were approximately 5ft tall, and wore stylish blue turtlenecks. Simonton later described them as being “Italian-looking”, presumably because that was the most exotic form of humanoid he could image.

UFO, or GTL? (Thanks, Mark!)

Either through telepathy or elaborate pantomime, one of the beings (to whom we’ll award the title of Captain)  managed to ask Simonton for some water. The ET gave Simonton a “beautiful thermos-like jug,” which he took to his basement to fill up. He then returned to the craft and gave the jug back, which allowed him a chance to have a bit of a stickybeak inside.

The Captain, meanwhile, wondered why Simonton had filled his pimp cup with water instead of Cristal…

A second alien stood in front of an instrument panel (no doubt doing something very important and science-y), but it was the third spaceman who really caught Joe’s attention. He was cooking thin, perforated pancakes on a flameless griddle, which Joe seemed to think looked rather scrummy. The farmer gestured to the Captain to ask for one, and in stereotypically Italian fashion the Martian boss gave him four. The Captain then gave Simonton a grateful salute before the hatch door closed and the saucer shot off into space.

Simonton ate one of the pancakes, which he later said tasted like cardboard. He then called his local police to report the assault on his tastebuds.

EagleRiverCEIIIphotoI fail to see how this wasn’t delicious.

A government lab tested one of the pancakes and found that it was made of flour, grease and water (again making its lack of tastiness almost supernaturally inexplicable). It has been rumoured that the flour was of an unknown, possibly extraterrestrial, origin, but the simple truth is that the Air Force had not bothered to break it down that far because they had better things to do with their time.

The Air Force’s official verdict was that while he was preparing his breakfast, Simonton had experienced a kind of waking dream that then developed into a full-blown delusion. However, Raymond Palmer (a publisher of paranormal science and pulp magazines) believed that Simonton had been hypnotised by a real estate broker, who wanted to gain publicity for a Disney-style theme park that was to be built nearby. This theory makes total sense, especially if you smoke a lot of crack…

While I’m sure we can all agree that it offers no firm evidence to support the existence of either aliens or Italians, the tale of the Eagle Farm Pancakes is still a lot of fun. Does it tell us anything about the evolution of UFO conspiracy myths or the culture that spawned them? Probably not much, although it is interesting to note to Simonton does not recall anything sinister about his encounter (as opposed to the common themes of abduction, invasive medical experimentation, warnings of impending doom, etc). In fact, the only negativity Simonton reported was from the all-too-human press, whom he felt ridiculed and laughed at him. Personally, I find Joe’s story rather endearing. Upon meeting strange new people, Joe’s first instinct was to try to communicate and offer assistance, not run away or grab a flaming torch. Isn’t that worth admiring?


Are mysterious space Italians trying to fatten you up? Tell me about it in the comments!

5 Alien Species You NEED to Know About

If you believe Reader’s Digest compilations and online forums, there are many different alien races out there. And by ‘out there’ I mean hooning around Wiltshire vandalising wheat fields and molesting cows before dashing off to donate technology to Nazis…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just as a child (even a genetically modified ET-human hybrid) must learn to crawl before it can walk, you must learn the five basic alien “types” before I can blow your mind with the serious batshit. So let’s get on with the introductions.

1. Greys


The go-to image for ‘alien’ in Western popular culture, and absolute proof that you don’t need to believe in something for it to scare the shit out of you. These guys frigging terrify me! If I ever saw a living creature that looked like this, I would probably drown in a flood of my own tears and urine.

Greys are most commonly associated with abduction and experimentation. They appear in 43% and 50% of US and Australian close encounters, as well as a whopping 90% of Canadian accounts. Experts credit this to their well-documented love of poutine.

2. Men in Black

The most serious of the MIB’s crimes was the release of some truly abysmal ’90s hip-pop…

Or not.

Possibly alien, possibly human, possibly even mechanical, MIBs reportedly visit UFO witnesses in the days following their encounter, usually to make some vague threats they never bother to act upon. They typically wear new (but strangely out-of-date) black suits, drive pristine vintage cars, and display odd behaviour, such as trouble walking or unusual excitement over things like ballpoint pens and Jell-O. My own theory that they are simply ska fans on acid is yet to be disproved.

3. Pleiadians (aka Nordics)

You can tell these are the “good” aliens because they’re white and blonde. SPACE RACISM!

Aryan space hippies who just want to save us from ourselves. Pleiadians are said to be tall, blond and blue-eyed, with either fair or tanned skin. They are fond of skin-tight clothing, sex with bored housewives, and are a favourite of New-Age spiritualists (who tend to be more interested in positive ET energies than paranoid conspiracy theories).

Reports of Nordic visitations mostly come from Europe, the continent of which Scandinavia is coincidently a part of. There is only one plausible explanation: the Vikings were Pleiadian colonialists.

It all makes sense now.

4. Reptilians (aka Draconians)


Shape-shifting beings originally from the Alpha Draconis star system who now rule Earth, making all of us unwitting slaves. Despite wearing their holographic disguises for years on end (which you’d think would make them pretty good at it), Reptilians occasionally lose focus and reveal their true features – usually a narrowing of the pupils or sharpening of the teeth. Popularly accepted Reptilians include Queen Elizabeth, George Bush (senior and junior),  Hillary Clinton, Hugh Hefner and Beyonce.

4% of registered US voters believe the Reptilians theory. 

5. Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens collage
That hair says more than real evidence ever could.

OK, so this last one is not about a species, but the theory that extraterrestrials have been visiting Earth for thousands of years to guide our evolution, teach us about astronomy and build us some lovely pyramids. This might sound like blasphemy, but the good news is that you can have your alien pie and still say grace before you eat it. Everything in our religious texts is literally true; you just need to accept that your deities, prophets and angels were all spacemen.

Ancient Aliens, a television series dedicated to the theory and its ‘experts’, is currently airing its sixth season on the History Channel. Why should HC limit itself to things that actually happened?

There is MUCH more to say about all of our space bros, and I am sure we will revisit them soon. But for now, have I overlooked any major ET kingdoms? Leave a comment to tell me about your favourite aliens!

Late already!

I’ve had a busy (although rather positive) week, so I’m only halfway through the next Batshit. Considering this would have been only my second proper post, I think that’s a tremendous effort in time mismanagement and general buggering-aroundery.

I should have some weirdness to share sometime over the weekend. In the meantime, let’s celebrate with a sparkly rainbow Nic Cage!

nic cage rainbow

The London Monster (alternative title BUTTS LOL)

I’m a sucker for some mass hysteria, and the London Monster is one of my favourite stories. Here’s a brief synopsis – hopefully you’ll enjoy it enough to go learn more.

Between 1788 and 1790, stinky old London was terrorised by a violent phantom. He stalked beautiful young women; sometimes he approached to offer a sniff of his nosegay, other times to spew profanity in their faces. He strapped knives to his knees, concealed a blade in his bouquet… and liked to stab women in the butt.

tina butts

More than 50 attacks were attributed to the monster, who seemed driven by an insatiable lust for booty blood. Women took to wearing copper pans beneath their bustles. Men formed No Monster Clubs and wore special pins to declare their innocence (evidently working on the theory that monsters are not fans of brooches).

With the city in panic, soon every clothing snag or accidental shove was viewed as a monster attack. This resulted in many conflicting witness descriptions, which led some to conclude that the monster was a supernatural master of disguise. Pickpockets and other petty criminals were able to use this fear to their advantage; if they risked detection, they would scream “Monster!” and disappear amidst the ensuing chaos. It is also believed that some ‘victims’ faked injuries and lied about assaults in order to gain attention or acknowledgement as a beauty (although I personally believe their true motivation would have been much more interesting than just wanting to feel pretty!).

V0011294 The dismayed Charles Fox in handcuffs, implicated by a woman
A victim presents her puncture…

In June 1790, 23-year Rhynwick Williams was accused of committing the assaults. Williams, a former ballet dancer and artificial-flower-maker, had fallen out of work. Lacking a stable income, he’d been forced to share a two-bed room with three other men. This was considered strong evidence of his hatred of women, which supposedly fuelled the attacks.

Williams was eventually charged with defacing clothing, a crime which under the Bloody Code actually carried a harsher penalty than assault. The evidence presented against him was flimsy and he had solid alibis for many of the crimes, but unfortunately the people of London needed a scapegoat in order to feel safe again. Despite an ebullient defence by the poet Theophilus Swift, Williams was ultimately convicted on three counts and sentenced to six years in Newgate Prison.

If you’d like to learn more about The London Monster (and 18th-century English weirdness in general), I’d strongly recommend Jan Bondeson’s The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale. You can order it through Book Depository, or if you’re feeling optimistic you can try to borrow my copy. Good luck with that.

Did I seriously just use the term ‘booty blood’? Ugh! I’m the one who should be locked up!

Behold the Batshit!

Welcome to, your one-stop guide to everything bizarre. My many months of intensive market research have demonstrated an obvious need (and demand) for this service, so here it is. You’re welcome.

This site is born out of my love of human weirdness, which can be found in both popular myths and real-world events. I honestly wish I could be a Mulder and believe in aliens, psychic phenomena and conspiracies, but I’m too much of a rational Scully (sans the paradoxical Catholicism). Luckily for me the truth behind the supposedly ‘supernatural’ is often much more interesting (and less well-known), and there are plenty of actual mysteries left to ponder.

Every Thursday, Total Batshit will bring you a thrilling new post on some matter of urgent strangeness. Some may be a little darker than others, because that’s life. Hopefully you’ll learn something new, even if the knowledge is completely useless and not appropriate for polite conversation.

So come on, everyone! Come get batty (although hopefully not shitty) with me!