Tuesday, 2 February 2010
The Travels of Axel Pendogget, Science Ranger
(Click the image for a larger view.)
Cornwall is a land of mystery and intrigue, big cats, sea beasties, weresheep, pasty spiders and giants…and cow eggs, those strange round black objects that appear mysteriously around the countryside at the end of the summer.
The Science Rangers are a select band of highly trained Fortean reasearchers and crypto-zoologists who brave the wilds of the Cornish moors and beaches, documenting these bizarre and often dangerous phenomena, keeping the countryside safe and quiet for the likes of you and I…
This image, as well as featuring Axel Pendogget, a true modern pioneer of the work of the rangers, also shows various aspects of Cornish fauna, including the pasty spider, described in the following extract.
Few reliable accounts of Cornish cryptozoology exist, but one of the less apocryphal is:
The Countrymans Guide to Moorland Fauna by Caractacus Shroom (1922 Blood Tor Press, Penzance).
These buggers are big. Rare but big. We’re talking boulder-sized big. Which is not an unfair analogy when one stops to consider that it is under boulders and rocks (big ones mind) that the pasty spider is want to lurk.
Named originally for their choice of diet, the pasty spider occupies a unique position in the Cornish food chain. The first reported encounters were in the deep shafts and addits of the county’s tin mines during the very early days of the Cornish tin trade. They could scuttle from dark side tunnels with enough speed and mass to bear a fully grown mature miner to the ground and make off with his crib-box. Many an unsuspecting worker at the tin-face lost his lunch, as well as the occassional eyeball and pit pony, to the pastix arachniae subterraneum.
With the decline of the tin industry over the 19th and 20th Centuries, the pasty spider is now increasingly rare. The few breeding pairs that are known to still exist now prey fairly exclusively upon lost ramblers, sheep and the occassional small dog.
The disused and largely unmapped shafts and addits of the county’s mining industry still provide its main abode and means of travel beneath the countryside, giving it access to the surface world and food sources in the remote moorland regions."
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