Tag Archives: scientific Society

The ghastly fate of Barry Lupin

Barry Lupin had an unhealthy passion for systems. He had come from some distant and exotic land where the natives pracriced such curious rituals as filing. Although ostensibly he spoke English, he dropped strange and arcane words of uncertain provenance into his conversations. Systems analysis. Research protocol. Data retrieval. He spoke these terms with such conviction that members of the Scientific Society who had no idea what he meant felt obliged to just nod their heads respectfully.

The trouble with having a passion for filing paperwork, is that this necessitates having some kind of paper supply. Hopeless has never been a place where paper making has ever occurred in significant quantities. The ‘imports’ available through shipwrecks often leave a lot to be desired for quality and may have already been written on. While Frampton Jones has always supported the Scientific Society, that support has never included a desire to sacrifice his constantly recycled paper supplies for them.

And so it was that Barry Lupin came to the pragmatic decision that he had best paint the walls of his house black so as to be able to write on them with chalk. He was certainly not the first person to go for the squid-based wall blackening, although more normally this would have involved cult membership or occult aspirations. Barry just wanted a viable paper substitute. Thereafter, he was able to plan out his systems, protocols, methodology and other record keeping theories, washing ideas away when he had explored them to their limits and discussing them at length with his bemused friends.

In his tiny, precise handwriting, Barry slowly covered the walls of his home in observations, ordered according to the systems he had so thoughtfully planned. His stairway became a catalogue of dustcat observations. The bedroom he filled with things he had witnessed that defied physics and all of his calculations relating to those circumstances. In the living room he made notes upon the noises he heard around the house at night but could not explain. The first few remarks having been written in jest, he became increasingly obsessed with this subject.

One evening in the early part of winter his friends found him, writing the leter A over and over again across his exposed and painted floorboards. He would not speak to them, and when he had run out of floor he simply continued into the garden. None of them could stop his slow and crawling departure into the woods. Although to be fair, the trio who found him were so confused by his behaviour that they did not greatly exert themselves and instead observed the scene carefully in case future notes were required.

Only later did they explore the house, tracing the relentless ‘A’s back to their point of origin in the phrase ‘the horror, the horror, I am screaming all the time I write this.’

(With thanks to Andy Arbon for loaning us his face!)

There is only one Simon

It is rare to see all of Simon because usually most of him is in the water. Thus when various bits of him surface, the uninitiated will tend to assume that they are seeing many different sea monsters. But no, it’s just the one Simon, with all his many appendages.

Every now and then some other sea entity gets it wrong, sees a bit of Simon and mistakenly assumes this bit of Simon is lunch, or a viable breeding partner. Lunch certainly occurs in these scenarios, and it happens often enough that Simon seldom has to make the effort to actually hunt for something.

After a few false starts, and several hearty lunches for Simon, the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society established to their satisfaction that he really was just the one sea monster. This led to obvious questions about the reproductive habits of Simon and to an ongoing study of his behaviour. Remarkably, this study lasted for more than a year without incurring further lunch opportunities.

Some seven months into the study, scientific observers identified numerous extra appendages in Simon’s bay and postulated either that he had grown dramatically, or that a second Simon had come along. Debate raged over the likely gender of the new Simon as in many species it is the female who stays in one location while the males have a larger range. Except where this is the other way round. Could the original and resident Simon be a female of the species? While no definite conclusions could be drawn, it was agreed that Simon would always be Simon, regardless of gender.

Simons tend to be active around midday, it had been observed. The Simon is an unusually lunch motivated creature. Thus when the Simons began a midday flurry of activity, it seemed likely that each wanted the other on the menu. So often, science calls for the close scrutiny of other people’s reproductive habits. The attending members of the Scientific Society concluded that the Simons were indeed breeding. It may be worth mentioning that in one of their more anthropological episodes they had also identified belching as a key mating ritual for members of the Chevin family.

When it was all over, and the sea foamed with what might have been blood, or Simon ink, or some other fluid, there was indeed, still just the one Simon. There were those who said that eggs had been released into the waves, and those who said that you probably grew new Simons by breaking bits off the old Simon, but that’s scientists for you.

For Science!

I first discovered the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society back when I was working on the obituaries. And for those of you who weren’t reading the Vendetta then, let me explain. We did a kickstarter, with obituaries as a perk for the first 100 backers, so I spent an autumn killing people here on the blog. Fun times!

It turned out that the Scientific Society had a high mortality rate for some reason. Hopeless may not be a good place to live if you have a profound attachment to rationalism, confidence in conventional physics and an interest in biology that cannot accommodate random detritus posing as life forms.  Further, the pursuit of reason, across a misty cove towards a jellyfish woman, is not a pursuit that tends to end well.

The above image shows some of the gentlemen of the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society, and features in the Optimists volume. All of the gentlemen featured are, in the loosest sense of the term, real. On the right hand side, we have Keith Errington and Keith Healing, both of whom are heavily involved in all things Hopeless. On the left we have James Weaselgrease and Robin Treefellow. These two anarchic scientists will be involved with the Hopeless Maine online festival as they attempt to recruit new members for their society.

RIP Odebralski – The Scientific Society endures another loss

By Frampton Jones

The Hopeless Maine Musical society does not, in the normal scheme of things, actively seek out music that is likely to kill the performers. Our literary society does not seek out books that will drive it mad – although there is always the scope for death by boredom. The chicken fancier’s limit themselves to the kinds of chickens that are not demons.

And so I must ask, what is it inherent in the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society that drives members towards their doom? Is it a cursed organisation? Does the membership process accidentally include some dire formula that commits those joining to the certainty of a gruesome death?

I’ve wondered for a while if it might be their meeting place, in an otherwise unused warehouse in Gaunt Town. There are those who say that Gaunt Town itself sits upon the grave of a mad and deceased God, and that this accounts for it being so very haunted, dangerous, and largely free from human citizens. Even the vampires do not much like it.

The Scientific Society has been vague to say the least on the subject of RIP Odebralski’s death – which happened at their meeting place in Gaunt Town late last night. The body of the deceased was returned to the living side of town in a wheelbarrow.

Doc Willoughby’s assessment is as follows. “The deceased had filthy hands with dirt deep under the fingernails. Poor hygiene is so often a cause of death, and the look of horror on the face supports this hypothesis. You can get all kinds of nasty things from soil, which is probably why the hands are frozen in claw-like gestures.”

The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society reports… “Sometimes science requires sacrifices. It’s really unfortunate. There’s nothing even slightly irrational about the kinds of sacrifices that have to be made for science. We’re very clear that our members are responsible for their own choices and the prices they are willing to pay for knowledge.”

But as a precaution, they suggest that RIP Odebralski should be buried with a stone in the mouth, and a liberal quantity of feathers.