Stranger Things: A Bad Lip Reading

We don’t always take ourselves super seriously over here at the Hex Files, and to prove it, here’s the Bad Lip Reading crew taking on the happenings in our favorite little sci-fi town of Hawkins, Indiana. Note: this features scenes from season one earlier, so don’t worry about spoilers if you haven’t gotten around to season two quite yet.

Celebrate Krampusnacht with “A Krampus Carol”!

As you may already know from listening to the Krampus episode of the podcast, December 5th is the day the ancient Austrian celebration of Krampus is held. You may also recall I promised to share a strange short about Krampus narrated by Anthony Bourdain, so in the spirit of Krampusnacht, enjoy “A Krampus Carol”!

Man Partially Disemboweled on Public Bus

Chicago city bus riders got a little more than they bargained for last Thursday when they witnessed a man stab his brother-in-law at least 25 times, leading to the victim being partially disemboweled.

The incident supposedly occurred when Darnell Scott, 37, got onto the bus and passed his brother-in-law, 50, without saying hello. This prompted the brother-in-law to approach Scott and a fight ensued, with Scott eventually pulling a knife.

The brother-in-law survived but is in critical condition. Scott has been charged with aggravated battery.

You can read more on this story at nydailynews.com.

Amazon Echo Murder Trial Reaches a Conclusion

You may recall hearing a bizarre news story earlier this year: Amazon Echo, a voice device, was used as evidence in a trial against James Bates, an Arkansas man accused of murdering his friend, Victor Collins. The friends were enjoying a night of booze and football that ended in Bates’ hot tub. Bates claims he went to bed around 1 AM and found Collins floating face down in the hot tub the next morning. As if the true crime aspect of this story isn’t intriguing enough, the sci-fi component that indicates our devices are keeping tabs enough tabs on us that they could convict us of murder was enough to send chills down my spine when I first heard about this case.

Although it can easily be argued that Collins simply had too much to drink (after all, his blood alcohol level at the time of his death was .32, four times the legal limit in Kansas) and his death was accidental, investigators noted there were signs of a struggle, with injuries to both men as well as a broken shot glass and dried blood found inside the home. The patio had also been hosed down before police arrived at the scene, indicating Bates could be hiding something.

The Echo and other voice technologies work by constantly listening for what is called the “wake word”; the Echo comes standard with the wake word “Alexa” which alerts the device you are asking something of it. In this case, Bates voluntarily handed over the recordings after being advised to do so by his attorney, Kathleen Zellner (who you may remember as Steve Avery’s attorney in the chilling Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer”) . However, the controversy with this was the argument that it is in violation of the First Amendment and Bates’ privacy. Even more strange, the Echo wasn’t the only smart device involved in this case; they were also able to retrieve potentially incriminating information from Bates’ water meter. The water meter showed an increase in water use in the middle of the night, again indicating Bates may have been trying to cover something up.

However, the case was dropped by prosecutors this week, declaring it “nolle prosequi,” meaning the evidence in the case could provide more than one reasonable explanation for what happened that night. If nothing else comes out of this case, we may want to start asking ourselves how much of a threat our smart devices are to our privacy. You have to admit, this whole story has an eerie likeness to a George Orwell novel. Personally, I still don’t completely trust my own Amazon Echo.

Read more about the strange case at cnn.com and its end at npr.org.

Rob Zombie to narrate Charles Manson documentary

Ever since his death earlier this month, it seems the world has been abuzz with talk of Charles Manson, which makes it the perfect time for a new documentary to remind everyone the true evil he really was. And who better to narrate such a chilling tale than Rob Zombie? The documentary, titled “Charles Manson: The Final Words” focuses on audio tapes recorded in his final year. Check out the trailer:

The documentary will air this Sunday, December 3rd on Reelz. I know I’ll be watching,

The Disappearance of Louis Le Prince

Episode 09 of the podcast: The Lost Colony got me thinking about other mysterious disappearances throughout our history. There’s just something so intriguing about a person or people simply disappearing into thin air. Without answers, all we are left with is our imagination; leaving plenty of room for morbid possibilities. When people suddenly vanish without a trace we generally don’t imagine them on a beach somewhere, sipping a margarita and living their best life. It’s safe to assume in most cases something has gone very, very wrong.

One such case is that of French inventor Louis Le Prince, who disappeared from a moving train on Sept. 16, 1890. If you are unfamiliar with Le Prince, don’t worry, you are not alone. It wasn’t until recently that his contributions to history were brought to light. Le Prince is now recognized as the true father of cinematography, a title previously held by an inventor you may be a little more familiar with, a Sir Thomas Edison.

Le Prince shot the world’s first moving picture with a single lens camera in Leeds, England in 1888, years before Edison’s work with the Kinetoscope. Although his brilliance and lasting effect on the way we live is undeniable, Edison did have a nasty habit of not giving credit where it was due. The phonograph and the x-ray are two more advances widely credited to Edison in the States that were based on existing designs by European inventors. His involvement in this case becomes a little more interesting later in the story.

 

On the date in question, Le Prince began his ill-fated trip at the Dijon station with his brother Albert, who would later confirm seeing Louis board the Paris-bound train. He had business to attend to in Paris, after which he planned on joining his family in New York. He was excited to show his wife the moving pictures he had captured in England and to begin the patenting process for his creation.

The journey was an express trip with no stops along the way. There were no reports of unusual behavior or untimely exits from any of the other commuters, yet when they arrived in Paris, there was no sign of Le Prince having ever been on the train. Friends waiting for him at the station found neither Louis nor his luggage after a thorough search of the premises.

Le Prince’s family, along with the French Police and London’s Scotland Yard performed extensive searches for Louis, but to no avail. No body and no clues were found at either train station or along the route to Paris. Le Prince’s disappearance remains a mystery to this day, though there have been theories.

Suicide had been proposed as a possible explanation, but Louis’s recent successes and plans to meet his family in New York don’t leave much room for motive. On top of that, it would have taken extremely careful planning to execute a complete disappearance, leaving nothing behind and no body.

If Le Prince didn’t remove himself from this mortal coil, we are left with the more likely scenario of foul play. There is a possible suspect in Louis’s brother Albert, being the last person to see him alive. Perhaps Le Prince never got on the train in the first place. Albert could have murdered his brother and simply lied about seeing him off at the Dijon station. Like the suicide theory however, this possibility lacks much in the way of motive.

Another theory involves our friend Thomas Edison, and includes some heretofore absent motive. You may recall before his disappearance Le Prince planned on traveling to New York to unveil his groundbreaking work with moving pictures. As we know, that trip never occurred, and instead it was Edison who patented what the world believed to be the first moving picture. Given Edison’s propensity for claiming other’s ideas as his own, the timing of Le Prince’s disappearance starts to look a little too coincidental.

These suspicions were not lost on Le Prince’s family, who brought litigation against Edison, sparking a war over his patent of the moving picture camera. Adolph Le Prince, Louis’s eldest son was called upon as a witness in these trials. He had worked closely with his father and his family believed he could shed light on Louis’s achievements, securing his legacy as the inventor of the device in question. Unfortunately, the case was awarded to Edison, and in yet another odd coincidence, Adolph was found dead while hunting ducks outside New York before an appeal could be made.

Since the trials and tribulations faced by the Le Prince family in the wake of Louis’s disappearance, it seems credit is finally being given where it is due. As historical details are brought to light, Le Prince is being recognized more and more as the true father of cinematography. We may never know for sure what happened on Sept. 16, 1890, but with his legacy now finding its place in our history, perhaps the spirit of Louis Le Prince can finally rest easy.

Sources: Did Thomas Edison Steal Inventions by Doug MacGowan

The Mystery of Louis Le Prince, The Father of Cinematography by Kieron Casey

The Mysterious Disappearance of Louis Le Prince, Father of Cinematography by Robert K Baggs