Researching the pigman (Learning Things: July 10, 2023)

a digital black and white sketch of a peony

Before I get into what I've been up to this week, I wanted to take a sec to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the New Blood Kickstarter! We hit our goal, thanks to the many awesome people who backed the project.

Paranormal research

This week, I researched the urban legend of the pigman of Denton, Texas. My next episode of the podcast will focus on this little-known cryptid from the county I grew up in, and it's been an interesting one to delve into.

After my deep dive into the story Denton County's famous Goatman's Bridge (of Ghost Adventures and Buzzfeed Unsolved fame) last year, it's been illuminating to compare and contrast the two urban legends:

  • both are stories that I'd never heard of until long after I moved away from Texas
  • both are cryptid-adjacent stories
  • both tie into little-know aspects of local history
  • both of them involve a bridge
  • one of them (the Goatman's Bridge) has gained widespread fame as "one of the most haunted" places in the area, while the other has not

Anyway, more about that on Friday!

Aside from that, I've also been reading a book from the 70s called Learning to Use Extrasensory Perception by Charles Tart, which is an interesting look at a bunch of parapsychological studies about ESP.

Tech and/or DIY paranormal gear

I did some more fiddling around with the code for the biodata sonification device, trying to get it compiled. It occurs to me that if I knew C++ (the Arduino flavor or any flavor), that'd be helpful. Like, it's similar enough to Python that I can read it alright and sorta figure out what the code's doing, but I don't know enough to be able to really debug it well. But, hey, I'm learning a lot from these error messages. I'm new to programming microcontrollers, but I'm still a little puzzled about why a piece of code that someone else wrote for the exact device I'm using is giving me so much grief. I'm sure that once I know more about it, though, it'll become clear? And I'll laugh at how little I knew now?

This section of my weekly update has also kinda become, like, The Cursed Tech report, so in that spirit, I suppose I should give an update on my Framework laptop and how it's functioning. I dunno, as much as I complain about it, I really like this machine (when it works) and I like what Framework's doing, so I've decided to make it a recurring character here.

It's been good! I've even played some games on it and it performed admirably, with a few hiccups: 1) after an hour or so of playing Sun Haven (which I didn't think was that resource-intensive of a game; it's a fantasy RPG farming sim), my fan started making a very . . . unique . . . high-pitched whirring noise, and 2) while playing Unpacking, my computer decided to forget that it had speakers so I couldn't turn the volume on anymore (but a reboot fixed that!), 3) two or three times, I had a 70%+ full battery, but the computer wouldn't power up unless it was plugged in. Anyway, I'm glad that my laptop worked every day this week, though I still am not totally sure why it works in such a . . . unique and spotty way.

In other Cursed Tech news, the window A/C unit in our living room turned on by itself this weekend. It was very odd, because neither of us were in that room, but my wife was about to venture into the hot (82° F) room. Maybe the entity that haunts our apartment was trying to be helpful by pre-cooling the room? That's what I'm choosing to tell myself.

Art and paranormal investigation

After enough weeks of writing "no progress here," eventually I'll probably bully myself into working on this.


Still plugging away at revising the solarpunk novel that I'm writing. I'm past the halfway point of the revision I'm currently working on, so that's a nice feeling of progress.


Aaaand that's what I've got this week!