Skip to main content

X is for...

... X-Ray

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
---Edgar Allan Poe

The Gamblers

For most, X-rays are fairly innocuous---at least as far as the procedure goes--- there is of course an added risk of cancer that comes from being irradiated repeatedly (but, what in this world DOESN'T cause cancer?)

So, you're probably asking why would I use X-ray in a blog whose theme is devoted to the morbid/macabre.


First X-ray, hand with rings,
Wilhelm Rontgen's wife
 First off, it is a tad morbid that we can see our insides without being opened up. We are at once presented with all the bits and pieces that make us up and that make up our neighbors and our enemies---we aren't too different when you break everything down on a cellular level. When you're talking about X-rays in terms of broken bones or torn ligaments or other such painful things, we are reminded (when we see the shards of bone pushing through skin) that we are made of a very "breakable" bits. Reminding one of mortality is about the most morbid thing I can think of.

And, second---- it's the letter X...what else am I going to post about?

Like any other great scientific discovery, X-rays were "stumbled" upon. Wilhelm Rontgen, the German physics professor who did the stumbling, came across the process in 1895 while he was experimenting with Crookes Tubes--fancy discharge tubes in which cathode rays (electron beams) were discovered.

Rontgen, in his experiments with this newly discovered ray, wrote a research paper for Wurzberg's Physical-Medical Society Journal--labeling the ray as X, to denote its unknown status, annnnd, the name stuck.

Rontgen began systematically experimenting with the rays, even producing the very first X-ray image of his wife's hand. Upon seeing the image his wife declared, "I have seen my death."  See? Morbid.

Though, there is still something intrinsically beautiful about our own mortality and in the hands of the right artist, the macabre can become art...

Arie van ’t Riet /

Arie van ’t Riet /


Popular posts from this blog

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

B is for Banshee.....

Irish bean sidhe and Scottish Gaelic bean sith, literally, woman of fairyland.

The mythology and legend surrounding the Banshee is a bit mixed. The most readily accepted story is of a hag-like creature wailing the impending death of someone nearby-- most ancient Gaelic families, especially the more well-to-do families, had their own Banshees that attached themselves to the lineage of the family name. I suppose it was a sign of station for a family to be able to claim their own Banshee--- I mean, who needs an exciting/ tongue-wagging-inciting skeleton in your cupboard when you've got a Banshee wailing in your rafters?
The origins of the more familiar Banshee may have stemmed from the ancient Keeners-- women who were employed to sing a lament at a funeral. The best Keeners were in high demand to "wail" and "weep" for the great personage who had fallen.

The Great families would boast a bean sidhe or bean sith-- a fairy-woman Keener--and having foresight, the Keene…

Scottish Festival and a bit of poetry...

The 38th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival was held at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas on April 7th - April 9th. This was the first time I'd ever attended. I'm sad to say I didn't even know the festival existed until last year. On Saturday, April 8th, a group of friends and I made the several-hour trek, determined to enjoy everything we could.
The weather was glorious, all bright, bonnie sunlight and mild temperatures. Seemed mother nature approved of the festivities. The campus was appropriately kitted out, and nearly everyone in attendance was properly *ahem* kilted out. 
Bagpipes playing, we ate meat pies--- well, mine was a 5-cheese mac & cheese pie--- watched clans parade their colors, got sunburned (darn our fair, Celtic skin), and wanted the day to last forever.
There were a host of competitions, everything from Scottish/Irish dance-offs, sheep dog trials, Tartan races, a Celtic poetry competition, piping and drum trials, even a bonniest knees competition (…