Sensational Headlines Force Writer to Create Zombie Pigs

Exaggerated tabloid and website headlines often lead to stories that can’t live up to their promising titles. Nick Martens turns the tables on this situation and produces fittingly sensational tales for sensational headlines.

The proliferation of social news websites has had an unintended yet delightful by-product: the concurrent proliferation of truly astonishing headlines. To get noticed in the mass of electronic confusion that is Digg or Reddit, users must crown their submissions with attention-grabbing titles, some of which give the classic “Headless Body in Topless Bar” a run for its money.

Sadly, the cost of this sensationalism is that the accompanying stories can’t help but disappoint. I mean, how upset would you be if the “Headless Body” mentioned in the above headline turned out to be that of a Ken doll? This sort of anticlimax has become a daily phenomenon for the internet aficionado.

Rather than sit back and accept the vexing hand I’ve been dealt, I’ve decided to change the game entirely. The following are a few of my attempts to create suitably exciting stories to match several tantalizing headlines that I’ve recently stumbled upon.

Mysterious Mammal Caught on Film

Real story: “The long-eared jerboa, a tiny nocturnal mammal that is dwarfed by its enormous ears, can be found in deserts in Mongolia and China.”

Better story: “… beyond agreeing upon the creature’s likely mammalian nature, the scientific community has given widely varying evalutations of the video’s content.

‘Our analysis suggests that Mr. Scott’s footage shows the first evidence of a two- mouthed primate descendent,’ Gary West, a Researcher at Berkeley’s Biological Sciences department said. ‘We can see a previously undocumented kind of undulation in the lower facial region, an effect that could only be caused by the presence of a second mouth.’

West went on to speculate that the biting strength of both mouths combined could reach upwards of 4,000 pounds per square inch, greater than that of a crocodile and enough to shear through the steel frame of a Ford Explorer.

Judy Morris, a professor of zoology at New York University, offered a contrasting interpretation: ‘We believe that the creature may be an an advanced, bipedal lupine species,’ Morris said, suggesting the existence of a ‘walking wolf.’ Morris declined to speculate on the creature’s capacity for language, but did provide a possible explanation for the now-infamous ‘warbling’ sound present throughout the…”

The Most Dangerous Drug in the World

Real story : “The drug is used almost primarily by criminals as a way of making victims so docile that they have been known to help thieves rob their own homes and empty their own bank accounts.”

(Note: This is actually an interesting and disturbing story, but I was expecting an account of a recreational drug, so…)

Better story: “‘…The doubling of one’s physical strength doesn’t come without consequences,’ Dr. Thompson said. ‘Vision under the effects of GVS is impaired to an extent comparable to legal blindness, and the near deactivation of the amygdala [an area of the brain] leads to pronounced irrationality.’

Police Sergeant William Connor told us that the use of GVS amongst teens is often followed by devastating fist fights between users.

‘They’re so strong and so crazy that they beat each other senseless,’ Connor said. ‘Normally, if these kids get in a fight, it’s over once one of them hits the floor, but I’ve seen incidents [when GVS was involved] where they’re still going at it with a couple of broken bones each.’

Connor also reported that the vision impairment associated with GVS use has led to cases in which users attack sturdy inanimate objects. One such event took place downtown earlier this year when an area woman battered herself into a coma against the concrete wall of a local club.

‘Honestly, I don’t know how she stayed conscious long enough to do that kind of damage,’ Connor said…”

11 Slaughterhouse Workers Ill, Inhaled Pig-Brain Matter Suspected

Real story : “…11 workers at the plant in Austin, Minn. — all of them employed at the head table — developed numbness, tingling or other neurological symptoms, and some scientists suspect inhaled airborne brain matter may have somehow triggered the illnesses.”

Better story: “… as the rampaging pigs closed in upon the slaughterhouse, workers were forced to take defensive measures. Armed with firearms kept under lock at the facility, the workers fired upon the pigs from close and long range. An anonymous source tells us that the spray of brains produced by the gunfire may be the root cause of the events that followed.

The workers successfully subdued the attacking animals without sustaining injury. However, slaughterhouse supervisor Bill Holkins suspected a problem when seven of those involved in the incident called in sick the next day, with ten calls only a day later.

‘It sure seemed like something wasn’t right,’ Holkins said. ‘I went and talked to Tina [Chavez, a worker who fell ill] right away and saw that she wasn’t doing too good. I called up my boss [Don Hoyt, the slaughterhouse’s general manager] and we took her over to St. Mary’s [Hospital].’

Doctors at St. Mary’s advised Holkins and Hoyt to contact the other workers involved in the rampage.

‘Sure enough, they were all as bad as Tina, some even worse,’ Holkins said. Soon all 11 workers were undergoing treatment at St. Mary’s.

‘A couple of the guys were acting real feisty when we came around,’ Holkins said. ‘They were thrashing around and going crazy, kind of like they caught whatever the pigs had got.’

Though the hospital has not released a public announcement regarding the workers’ condition, sources tell the Bureau that each of the workers has become increasingly aggressive while under St. Mary’s care. One source close to the story indicates that a top surgeon has been injured by what was described as an ‘infected’ worker, and that the wing of the Hospital currently housing the workers has been placed under emergency quarantine…”

Nick Martens is a founding editor of The Bygone Bureau. You can email him, if you like.