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A Story Written on the Back of a Doll

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So I have this novel coming out in a few months, and the publisher has asked me to make a book trailer for it. (Yes, book trailers Are a Thing Now, and I've done others for other books not written by me.) It's a fantastical book full of creepy imagery and vintage found photos, so the trailer needs to be commensurately creepy -- which is a long-winded way of explaining why I got a filthy, old children's doll in the mail the other day. (It's just a prop, I swear!)

I got it from a seller on Etsy, seemingly a repository of handmade and vintage Gothic weirdness. I thought this doll would look particularly wicked on camera thanks to its extreme state of decay -- it's literally cracking apart, as if this inanimate doll were mimicking biological decomposition.

Anyway, if you keep up with my posts, you know I'm a collector of old photos with writing on them. It's become an unbreakable habit -- any time I handle an picture I have to flip it over and check to see if there's anything written on the back. So imagine my surprise when I turned this doll over to find a note written on the back -- in pencil on masking tape.

Here are some close-ups so you can read what it says:

It says: "Madge Smith's doll / She was left out in the rain / Her name was Ruth." How strange! Why would someone bother writing this on a doll they were going to throw away? And the way they refer to Ruth in the past tense -- as if the rain had killed her -- is another layer of oddness.

Anyway, thanks for humoring me -- I just wanted to record this unusual find before the doll endures a film shoot from which it may not return.

Have an uncanny day!

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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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