January 2023

The Sinwell was considered to be the opposite, with its dark waters supposedly containing all the dark deeds that the people had cast off and forgiven. A day’s walk from the main settlement, the Sinwell was not guarded or barred, as every member of the community was invited to cast their sins into it at any time. While this often involved simple prayers, it also could take on a more literal form. Many objects were hurled into the Sinwell, and putting an object in dispute into the well, and therefore out of reach of all, was an accepted method of settling disputes. It goes without saying, too, that the waters of the Sinwell were strictly taboo and were never touched or imbibed.

Eventually, the communities in the area were scattered and destroyed by invaders, with the Sunwell’s hidden location being taken to the grave. This left the invaders with no source of potable water, and they therefore took advantage of the Sinwell, lowering buckets into it. This was despite being explicitly warned by both captives and their own guides.

Modern-day analysis of the Sinwell has determined that, other than large amounts of dissolved minerals and a large number of objects, the water is completely free and clear of any toxins or other poisons. The invaders, however, perished almost to a man, leaving the area depopulated as survivors from both sides fled. Until the last member of the extinguished community died nearly 100 years later–taking the location of the Sunwell with her–it was maintained that it was not any poison, but rather centuries of unfiltered sin which had slain the invaders.

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On August 17, 2014, Roger Newcomb Jr. left his law office, where he worked as a paralegal, complaining of illness. Simultaneously, he called his partner at home to say that he would be staying late and possibly sleeping in the office. Neither the law firm nor Newcomb’s partner questioned these occurrences; Newcomb suffered from chronic migraines and occasionally had to miss work, and he would often work long hours to compensate, sometimes spending the night on a cot he kept in his office.

Police records show that Newcomb then filled up his car at a local gas station, where he also purchased a box of bulk snacks and a case of bottled water. CCTV cameras captured his car at an ATM about an hour later, withdrawing all but 1.42 from a secret account that his partner did not know about. Another camera at the gate of Bluffs State Park, about an hour’s drive away, recorded Newcomb’s car entering just before sunset.

When Newcomb did not return to work the following day, the law firm contacted his partner. Newcomb’s partner, disturbed that he had been given a false story, contacted law enforcement. A thorough search through available electronic and surveillance records led investigators to Bluffs State Park approximately 72 hours after the CCTV footage showed him arriving. Newcomb’s car was found illegally parked in a field, surrounded by litter suggesting that he had stayed there for several hours, eating snacks and drinking bottled water. But no trace of Newcomb himself was found.

Approximately one week later, investigators received cell phone records for Newcomb’s Samsung Galaxy, which revealed that it had attempted to connect to cellular networks several times. Each time, the connection had lasted only a fraction of a second and triggered network anti-flood protections as the unit attempted to transmit a huge volume of apparently random numerical data. Engineers at Samsung attributed this to a corrupted or hacked unit, while admitting that they had never encountered anything like it.

Newcomb’s body was found one month later just north of the Washington-British Columbia border, roughly 3500 miles from where he had disappeared. While it was, theoretically, possible for Newcomb to have traveled that distance in that time, his remains appeared to indicate that he died not long after the final attempt by his phone to connect to a network, approximately 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds judging by the remains of both the phone itself and a wristwatch.

No explanation currently exists for Newcomb’s appearance in the border area, which is remote and where he had no known friends or relatives. Engineers from Samsung were unable to find any meaning in the date transferred from his phone, nor did they archive it.

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Heard a spell or seen an incantation that you just can’t place? Use Gaggle’s Reverse Mage search!

Simply type in any material components, verbal incantations, or physical gestures, and upload an optional photograph of the spell being cast or in effect. Gaggle’s Reverse Mage search will then do its best to find you the source of the spell in question!

In many cases, Gaggle can provide you with the spell’s name, the mage that created it, noteworthy masters of the spell, and of course, whether or not it is still under copyright.

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Max had left his hive plenty of honey to survive the winter. Ever since he’d taken up beekeeping in his backyard, he’d been very careful to leave his collaborators enough to live on. They happily made more than they needed, and he happily enjoyed the fruits of their labor as gently as he could, proudly presenting full-comb honey in mason jars as gifts to friends and leaving them as tips at bars.

But when he had checked the hive after the cold snap, Max had found the colony dead to a one, frozen to death huddled in a corner. It had been the worst cold in five years, ten to twenty degrees below zero and twenty to thirty degrees colder than usual. But they’d had plenty of honey, because he’d left it to them. Max’s bees had died less than a foot away from their own amber salvation.

There were plenty of bee sites online that detailed how this could happen; Max read about how the slowly moving mass of bees could accidentally move away from its food source and starve. But still, he blamed himself, and regretted not checking the hive more frequently.

Initially, he had planned to empty the hive out and start anew with more bees, but instead the dead frame sat in the bed of his truck for weeks–a constant rear-view reminder of Max’s sad loss.

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We called it Nuthatch Corners
Not because it had a name
But driving by, over warm summers
Windows down, we would hear them
Squeaking from the pines, joyous
They clearcut the corners, one by one
Pines felled, stacked, trucked
I hope the birds were wise enough
To flee, to fly, as their nests were
Felled one by one, to make way for
Scarred red earth, naked clay
Leveled and graded for condos

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Called the Faceless Woman by some and the Faceless One by others who were unconvinced of its gender, the specter supposedly haunted the upper levels of the Grand Hotel from May to August every year. It supposedly would not cross the brass line in the ground next to room 397 which demarcated where the old and new buildings were joined in 1922, and was never seen on the first or second floors.

Descriptions very but most give a description similar to the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall: a vaporous apparition, internally luminous, with no discernible facial features. Sources differ on whether there is a simple void, flayed muscle, or a bare skull in place of the Woman’s face, but all agree that something is out of the ordinary there, in so much as anything regarding a ghost can be said to be ordinary.

The earliest sightings were reported in local newspapers in 1882, while the number and frequency of sightings increased exponentially after a team from Architecture Monthly captured a portrait of what they believe to have been the Faceless Woman while documenting the Grand Hotel before its renovations.

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“It’s a mummified chipmunk, by the look of it.”

“I didn’t ask what it was, I asked how it got here. It’s been raining for weeks, so how could a chipmunk have gotten desiccated enough to be mummified?”

“Maybe it crawled in someplace relatively dry and died?”

“Surely it would have just rotted. And how does it end up on the sidewalk in that scenario?”

“You’re devoting an awful lot of thought to a dead rodent.”

“Doesn’t the mystery tantalize you?”

“Not any more than your typical dead rodent.”

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Silphium – A spice with a million and one uses around the home or forum, Silphium couldn’t be cultivated and was driven to extinction from wild harvesting.

Scutterbotch – A sweet syrup made from the liquor of the same name, brewed in monastic communities in the Hebrides. The technique for making the liquor, and thus the syrup, was lost during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Angelbreath – A bright fruit with a citrussy taste once found on the Andaman Islands. Overharvested for use as an anti-scurvy agent, and may have required a now-extinct bird to spread its seeds.

Mare’s Hope An herb, described as being vaguely peppery, that grew in the Płotznyy Hills region. Over-grazing in the area led to its extinction, as livestock would preferentially seek it out.

Marrowood A tree with interior sap like maple that could be boiled into a sweet substance.The tree, never widespread, became extinct due to land clearing for agriculture.

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Whenever the ground was nice and soft from recent rains or high humidity, that’s when Deborah’s metal detector came out.

She’d generally run the thing–a 13-year-old MinenPlatzen 3200 that had been top of the line once upon a time–over the side yard before heading off to the park. She’d always dress well, in the same sort of clothes she’d wear to church on Wednesday–not Sunday, she wasn’t crazy enough to dig in the dirt in that!–just to reassure folks that she wasn’t some weird bum. Not like those hoboes she saw in Florida at her half-sister’s place on the beach, heavens no. Still got some odd looks, but it was worth it for the thrill of the hunt.

Alcorn Park was frequented by college students, and they frequently lost things there. Rings, earrings, bits of jewelry, and plenty of coins. Bottlecaps too, from late nights drinking under cover of darkness. Deborah had done the same in her student days, after all. She turned in anything that was personalized or seemed sentimental, like the class ring from that young man who’d written her the nice thank-you note, disposed of the trash, and turned the remainder in across town at a cash-for-gold shop run by an old sorority sister.

The money was nothing to write home about, a few dollars a week on average that went into the snack fund. But detecting was fun, even when she found nothing. And, more importantly, it got Deborah out of the house–away from the infernal whine of Kenneth’s TV programs. Ever since he retired, that’s all he’d done, and as much as Deborah couldn’t stand him when she only had to do so nights and weekends, being in the house for any length of time when he was there 24/7 was enough to give digging through wormy dirt for bottlecaps a certain allure.

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NARRATOR: Owlingo is the first language learning software to harness the power of owls and the power of ridicule to help you learn a new tongue, guaranteed!

NARRATOR: Just watch this unscripted interaction between a Spanish language learner and Owlingo, the Judgmental Owl.

STUDENT: Uh, mee madray eh-stay mu-ee may-lo?

OWLINGUO: Ay, tu español es muy malo, y de español de tu madre también. ¡El burro sabe mas que tu!

STUDENT: What’s that about my mom?

OWLINGUO: En español.¡Habla español! Ay, eres tan tonto que hiciste llorar a una cebolla.

STUDENT: Uh…umm…qwee digest-ee dee mee mad-dre?

OWLINGUO: ¡Tu español es tan malo como tu inglés! La mona aunque se vista de seda, mona se queda. ¡Escupo a tu madre!

NARRATOR: Owlingo. Because the best way to learn another language is being insulted in that language by an owl.

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