Friday, April 3, 2009

The Horror, The Horror...

"Their persons and houses are filthily dirty and offensive. I should think that a more war-like race of people could not be found in any part of the world... We were all glad to leave New Zealand. It is not a pleasant place."

-Charles Darwin

Note: I will be updating the information in this warning pamphlet periodically. Keep checking on it from time to time by clicking on the link in the sidebar of the main page of the blog.

In my very first post on this blog, I listed some of the wonderful things that might attract someone to visit this little backwater swamp they call "New Zealand" (as if old Zealand wasn't good enough). However... There are, in fact, numerous things here of such unimaginable horror that... Oh, screw that. Let's just make them not unimaginable, eh?

This guy, for example. Possessed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, perhaps? He wishes. No, my friends, this man was the victim of one of the more notable horrors here: The Brain Eating Amoebas!
So, before you go bush, gawk at these wee kiwi beasties and other assorted nightmares or ye'll be like ta pushin' up daisies! Or at least be very, very annoyed. OTOH, what are ya! Since you've already gotten an eyeful of the end result, let's take a bit of a look at:

The Brain Eating Amoebas!

Yep, that's them, the little buggers (Naegleria fowleri) that cause what you saw in the first picture. I quote:
"It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die."

The term coined is "amoebic meningoencephalitis".

These beasties live in the pleasantly warm geothermal pools you'll find in New Zealand; especially in the North Island. You'll find signs warning you of the danger in the more popular locales (like the hot pools near Lake Taupo), but there are many, many pools. Just imagine... you've been tramping about all day long in the cold rain and wind, and you run across a beautiful blue pool of steaming hot water. Jacuzzi time; Sweet As! Nope, not for you, wally. No, you put your head under the steamy water, only to have half a dozen or so of these little fuckers crawl up your nose and burrow their way into your noggin. Things are fine at first, you notice nothing. And then... something smells funny (parosmia).

Eventually, if you're brain doesn't simply explode in some gruesome manner like you can see happening in the lead-off picture, you're more than likely to become a gruesome flesh-eating zombie to the things (many of these zombies apparently have infiltrated high-level government institutions here, which explains in part why the signs warning of the dangers keep disappearing).

Which leads us to...

Flesh Eating Zombie Sheep!

Local scientists have been looking for ways to battle the little amoebic terrors for over a decade now. They attempted to utilize sheep as a host to experiment with a variety of control and eradication methods, and to study the effects of the parasites on host animals. Early results were documented in films such as this one. Note the odd bouncing behavior of the sheep. Also of note is the first recorded documentation of a sheep exploding due to infection.

However, something went horribly wrong around 2005, and many thousands of infected sheep escaped, and rampaged across the countryside. If they didn't spontaneously explode (documented on home video by Peter Jackson himself here), then they formed herds of zombie flesh eating sheep that terrorized the local populace. A documentary film of one of the more famous recent attacks can be viewed here.

Needless to say, the large packs of zombie sheep have at least been keeping the population of New Zealand depressed for some time now. Tourists stand little to no chance against this menace. So, if you happen to see any large gatherings of sheep on your travels in this backwater swamp, don't take any chances trying to figure out if they have been infected or not; just RUNNNNN! Be careful, though, or when running from zombie sheep you might run smack dab into swarms of:

Sandflies: The Piranha of the Air!

"The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."

Joel 2:10

Having seen the massive black swarms of them with my own eyes, I have little doubt Joel was providing warning for us all to avoid these tiny terrors with due diligence!

Don't let their apparent diminutive size lull you into a false sense of security. As Theodore Roosevelt himself wrote about them during an expedition to New Zealand in 1914, entitled Through the New Zealand Wilderness:

"They are the most ferocious insects in the world," Roosevelt announced. "They will strip the skin off a hand incautiously waived in the air; they mutilate trampers -- in every town in New Zealand there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for the scent of blood in the air excites th­em to madness!"

You might scoff, and think there's little to tales advanced from those long-ago tales from a previous century, but look at these pictures of their horrendous butcher-knife like jaws, and perhaps then, hopefully, you will begin to believe:

One local Kiwi (you can call him "Tim"), upon hearing a tourist mock the horrifying tales and fearing for his safety, led him to a nearby area littered with the bleached bones of sandfly victims and upon noting the continued look of disbelief on the tourist's face, exclaimed: "They've got huge, sharp-- eh-- they can fly about-- look at the bones!" Sad to say, that tourist failed to heed Tim's warning.

Still an unbeliever? *sigh* I knew it would eventually come to this. You see, Tim shared with me the coroner's pictures that were taken after the tourist blithely wandered right into a huge sandfly swarm with no protection. Warning: this image may be too gruesome for some; close your eyes and scroll past if you are squeamish.

I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little fly, isn't it? Well, it's always the same. I always tell them--

*ahem* sorry about that, now where was I? Oh yes, how to avoid sandflies. Well, as far as I can tell, there really IS no way to avoid them; signs put up by the Department of Conservation might occasionally hint at the danger, but only using words like "If the sandflies bother you, try retreating further from the beach."


It's obvious that governmental agencies here in this festering den fully intend any not fully conversant in the lore surrounding this airborne pestilence to be quickly and summarily dispatched by them! So, take heed this warning, and make sure to bundle up in kevlar from head to toe should you intend tramping in the bush; especially dangerous are the Western coastal areas of the South Island (for instance, the areas south of Haast Beach and Milford Sound). Nobody without a full beekeeping suit should venture to these places if they value their lives.

After the need for such gruesome warnings, perhaps a bit of the "lighter" side of horrors of New Zeland is in order?

coming soon...

The Head Raping Parrots!


  1. So where are the Piranha of the Air, already? Or did the amoebae get to you first?

  2. I have come to look around. I am thus far impressed. You may continue to amuse me. Dance monkey bitch boy, dance!



    BTW I saw that film about the sheep. It was funny.

  3. flies added.

    btw, what do you all think?

    should I keep this as a single, updated post accessible from the sidebar, or split it into multiple posts, all with the same tags?

  4. Bahahaha at the rate youre going theyre going to send you back to the States in a match box. Flying piranhas and brain amoebas. BTW the sheep have to get their revenge somehow, just getting back at those southern boys... damn sheep shaggers... You'd get sick of it too.

  5. BTW the sheep have to get their revenge somehowoh, don't get me wrong, I fully understand the plight of sexually abused sheep, and support their attempts at redress.

    at the rate youre going theyre going to send you back to the States in a match boxheh. Of course the point, tongue in cheek though it may be, is to warn off the rest of my fellow Yanks from coming here.

    hell, I saw it first...


  6. So apart from rabid it is exploding sheep and drosophila like piranha...

    No wonder the 'all blacks' feel moved to comment ...

    Good site ny the way!

  7. ny=by...oh for editing options...sigh!

  8. But what of the hookers? I hear they are legal...but do they bite, too? And alpine skiing in the summer months...chillin dude.

    Seriously, the flys and amoebas are scary!

  9. Actually, I was bitten by a sandfly three years ago at Okarita (sp) Lagoon, and it resulted in a scar tissue growth that had to be surgically removed, probably because I'd never been exposed to the damn things before. They ARE the reason the West Coast is lightly populated, aren't they?

  10. But what of the hookers? I hear they are legal...but do they bite, too?
    Yes, and...

    only if you want them to.


    Actually, I was bitten by a sandfly three years ago at Okarita (sp) Lagoon, and it resulted in a scar tissue growth that had to be surgically removed, probably because I'd never been exposed to the damn things before.
    Yeeouch. I had a similar, but not nearly as bad, reaction when I was first bitten up near Coromandel (first night camping).

    My feet were exposed overnight, and woke up with blood dripping off of them from about 2 dozen bites, which promptly turned into what looked like big red blisters, and stayed that way for about 2 weeks. Took about a month and a half for the red dots to finally go away.

    Strangely enough, subsequent bites had no secondary reaction whatsoever.

    I have heard that's not uncommon, though. I think what might be going on is that some of them might be infected with a protozoan (Leishmania sp) parasite that can cause skin lesions and irritation:

    not sure if the parasite affects NZ sandflies or not, but the lesions I got after the first set of bites look similar to what you see in "day 4" of the picture series linked on the above site.

    They ARE the reason the West Coast is lightly populated, aren't they?
    Hmm, I rather think that has more to do with the local economy, but OTOH, when we went to Jackson Bay (a bit south of Okarita, past the glaciers) the sandflies were so damn thick you could hardly see. We had to do everything "on the walk" in order to avoid being completely swarmed. That's no exaggeration, either!

    However, we did see lots of penguins and dolphins while walking on the beach, so I think it was worth it.

    As an aside, I really enjoyed the time I spent at Okarito. Hiked a few k's down the beach, and also up to the top of the mountain. Nice view.

  11. Geez Ichthyic, those brain amoebas are almost as bad as the Brazilian toothpick catfish (candiru).

    What drew you to New Zealand?