One stormy October night many years ago now, I was working late at the Grant Museum of Zoology on my own. The only sound in the museum was the pattering of rain on the windows and the occasional rumble of thunder in the skies above UCL. Engrossed in writing the latest underwhelming fossil fish of the month blog post, I heard the front door of the museum open and the slap of wet footsteps across the floor of the museum to the office. Expecting it to be a colleague who had forgotten something or a security guard checking up on who was in the building. I turned in my seat to see who was coming just at the footsteps stopped. “Hello?” I asked. No response. I got up to see who had come in to find the museum empty. Slightly bemused, I checked the front door of the museum. Still locked. There was also no sign of wet footprints on the floor. Just then a crack of lightning very nearby caused all the lights in the museum to temporarily flicker and almost some soiling of underwear. “It’s nothing”, I told myself trying to calm down and went back to my desk. What was there when I got back sent a chill down my spine and caused the hair on my neck to stand on end. There, sat on my desk, was none other than… (more…)
After spending my Halloween weekend dressed as a vampire, I’ve been thinking a lot about animals with big fangs that feed by suction.
That’s right, my Specimen of the Week is…
Many of you may not know Scary Monkey all that well, so let me tell you a little more about him. As his name suggests, Mr S. Monkey enjoys trying to scare people. His maniacal toothy grin does little to hide his mischievous personality (…monkey-nality?) It is no surprise therefore that Scary Monkey’s favourite time of year is not Christmas like most children, naughty or not. It’s not even his birthday, when he gets a special birthday dust. It is, you may have guessed by now, Halloween. Not having fully grasped the point, he says that tricks on you are treats for him, and on Halloween night, when there is a special, spooky, evening event at the Grant Museum, if you look closely you can sense a tiny vibration as he falters slightly in controlling his excitement. Halloween is said to have originated as an ancient Celtic festival, at which folk would set bonfires alight and (my favourite part) indulge in fancy dress. The costumes were intended to ward off roaming ghosts. Whilst we at the Grant don’t tend to wear fancy dress (often), we do, it just so happens, have our own ghost. In fact, we have several. Male and female. They are normally kept safely under lock and key but this week we have brought one out for you (we say you, we really mean to satiate Scary Monkey) and have put it on display in Case 9. See it while you can, for this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)