Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Real vs. Pretend

The Intersection of Science and Imaginary: At the crossroads of science and folklore, the identification of Imaginaries is clouded by conflicting and sometimes intentionally false reports from all sides. The controversy around the fur-bearing fish (see Have You Seen) highlights one of the challenges we face here at Iranigami.

From science, we get a specific description of a single specimen of the hairyfish collected in 1911, which was at first identified with its own genus and species, but later reclassified as a juvenile whalefish. Neither classification can be definitively supported with evidence, so in essence, their guess is as good as ours.

In Icelandic folklore, the Lodsilunger is a mythical fur-bearing trout created by demons and giants that overwhelm the rivers. However, also from Iceland, we have an apparently accurate newspaper account from 1855, complete with illustration, of a shaggy trout that washed up on the shore at Svina-vatn.

The American fur-bearing trout was first referenced in letters written home by a Scottish immigrant in the 17th century, and a number of stories about these fish were reported by early trappers and settlers in northern North America and Canada. But more fantastical stories about fur-bearing fish, including several well-publicized hoaxes, began to appear at the beginning of the 20th century in Montana, Maine and Ontario, and the line between real and fake sightings became hopelessly blurred.

Even among those who accept the possibility that a fur-bearing trout could exist, there is controversy over how this can be. Some attribute the appearance of fur on a fish to Saprolegnia, or cotton mold, an infection that causes tufts of fur-like growth to appear on the fish’s body. A sillier explanation is that hair-growth tonic was dropped into a river, causing the fish there to grow fur.

Here at Iranigami, we face these sorts of contradictions every day. But somewhere between myth and science lies the truth. With persistence and a little luck, someday we may finally come to know the secrets of the hairyfish. - FAUX, Senior Field Agent, Iranigami (Canada)


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.