The Living Dead [NOT 21/10/22]

Neither Here Nor There

Christmas Ghost Prank
Detail from The Ghost - A Christmas Frolic / John Massey Wright / 1814 / Source: (Note the kid behind the "ghost" creating the prank)

What Isn’t Exactly Dead or Alive?

As many of us have learned in recent years, biologists debate whether viruses are actually alive. They’re bundles of genetic code which replicate but don’t exactly reproduce. They don’t have a metabolism. It’s a squishy issue.

I’ve become acquainted with the flu virus today because I got my annual shot at lunch. But we’ve all lived in the shadow of these not-quite-alive viruses now.

Moving beyond the scientific world, folklore is filled with things that straddle the line. Vampires, zombies and ghosts are just a few. Do you like stories about them? Do they freak you out? Or do you just not care?

Beyond Folklore

But other things can be said to cross that line. Maybe you restore old extinct things – vintage cars brought back with new parts, for example. Maybe you have rebuilt collapsed garden walls with new brick, or mended old clothes.

Or maybe you and your family get together once a year to keep alive the memory of a loved one, flip through old photos of them, and sing their favorite songs.

Poster for 1938 stage production of Dracula
Poster for Federal Theater Project Presentation of Dracula / 1938 / Source:

As you probably picked up, I love historical sites, feeling the stones that people felt a century ago, and imagining the sights, sounds and smells of the past.

Astronomy crosses the boundaries between past and present, with the light we see now representing how stars appeared years and years ago.

Hibernation muddies the border. Some bears enter true hibernation (not these bears, obviously) and their bodies shut down so much that all, uh, digestive by products are actually scavenged by their bodies for nutrition and liquid.

Detail from “Moonlight on Rubber Island” / ca. 1899 / Source:

What about you, Dead (hah!) splinterinians? Ever go back and troll through the archives of the Gawker world past? Do you have stories about encounters with ghosts, viruses, or starlight you can share? Favorite half-dead things you like to bring back to life?



  1. Two of my siblings found a crushed frog as children. They inserted a hose into its mouth and “pumped” it back up. My sister swears to this day that the frog hopped away. My brother declines to comment. Clearly, the frog was reborn.

  2. My mom will forever claim the spirit of her dead father saved my dad from a major illness.

    When they (and us kids) moved into the then new house they live in now, my dad got sick often for the first few months. He almost got pneumonia, but was saved when he finally went to see the doctor for his persistent cough. 

    Anyway… a week or so later my mom dreamed about her dad. He was pointing to the windows and floor boards.

    The next day they opened up the molding around both and discovered that the builders hadn’t put any insulation between the window frame and wall… And no insulation between the wall and floor allowing the cold air to seep thru and hit where my dad slept (he slept on the window side.) Once they sealed it up my dad didn’t get sick.

    She still claims her dad saved my dad.

  3. between living and dead?

    a whole thread about me?

    awww you shoudnt have!

    now places that make you go fuck this…..i have a few of those


    i dont believe in anything…..but if my body tells me to fuck off….off i fuck


    shit be fucking eerie out there

    • I have only the dimmest idea what this means:

      • With reduced energy, the space particles’ radii contract leading to changes in the geometry of the fabric of space in line with general relativity.


    • Which reminds me I need to put some stakes in the ground soon to mark some perennials that are dying back so I don’t dig them back.

      I definitely don’t understand why some plants are able to keep their roots viable through the winter and others don’t bother, but it’s definitely magic.

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