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Friday, July 02, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

Guess what? I have winners for the Darren Shan contest. I apologize for the long wait, folks, but some obligations came up and stole away my time, and part of my soul. But, I have winners now, and I'm going to tell you who they are...right after this message from our sponsors.

Okay, so I don't have any sponsors, but it might be funny if I did, right?

Anywho, so there were three ways to enter the contest, as you might recall. You could leave a comment on this thread, you could send me an email, or you could leave a comment telling me the weirdest, scariest, most bizarre thing you had witnessed or had happen to you. Two winners would be picked at random, while the third (or first, depending on how you look at it) would be selected based on their little story.

So, the first two winners (chosen at random by a computer program) are (after the fold):
Dave Baxter and Teresa!
The winner for the scariest or creepiest story is Tina, who said the following:
The first time I went to India (in 1999), I went to Varanasi (aka Benaras) which is THE holiest of holy cities in India. It's where the living and the dead collide. It is perhaps one of the most crowded cities in all of India, yet the river is littered with dead things (dead cows, dead fish) and, because mendicants (holy men who have forsaken all worldly possessions) travel to Varanasi to die (you gain a certain amount of karma for dying in such a holy place) it is not uncommon to see vultures picking at decaying human carcasses.

True story--I saw it all.

Varanasi is perhaps most famous in the western world for its ghats--you've probably seen those pictures in National Geographic of way too many people crowded together on steps that go down into the water.THAT'S Varanasi). One of the most famous ghats are The Burning Ghats--the place where Hindu's cremate their dead. I was young, stupid, and totally out of line... I went as a sort of touristing expediton to the Burning Ghats.

The Burning Ghats are lifeless. Literally. Dead bodies wrapped in white sheets rest atop pyres of dull brown logs. The men of the family--sons, cousins, nephews, sometimes fathers--huddle around the bodies. Also dressed in white, they look like wraiths waiting to welcome a new soul to their ghoulish brotherhood. The ghat is devoid of color--no flags, no colorful saries, no saffron robes for the sadhus. Only the brown, gray and white of death.

Until they light the pyre and hot yellow, red, and sometimes blue flames lick up the side of the wood, devour the body.

It smells like BBQ. But that's not the worse part.

Down towards the water, a man piles something into a boat. At first, it appears as though he's stacking bundles of wood tied together by white cloth. It makes sense, but it doesn't. If it were wood, he should be unloading it at the Burning Ghat for use in the pyres, not loading it from the Ghat into his boat. I squint and peer through the smoke that fills the air. I move down the steps, closer to the water.

Babies. He's stacking babies swaddled in the same white cloth as the burning corpses above.

He rows out into the water. Solemnly, the boy that is with him lifts each white bundle, ties a weight around it and drops it into the water with a small, hollow plop.

Babies can't be burned. They have no soul.
I'm not sure what is most terrifying about this story. Maybe it's the end with the babies or just the general feel. I have no clue if it is real, but if it is, then that's a place I don't intend to ever visit. Sounds like something out of a really terrifying horror movie.

So, congrats to the winners (who should receive an email from me soon). Thanks to everyone who entered! I appreciate it. Stay tuned for future giveaways!

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