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Bestiarium: Yara-ma-yha-who

This is kind of a new feature I’ve decided to start posting here on the BrokenEye Media blog. I’m starting a series of illustrations depicting various mythological and folkloric creatures, both well-known and obscure (but mostly obscure) that I think are interesting, with a description of each in my usual turgid, irreverent, aside-laden parlance, in the tradition of mediæval bestiaries. However, unlike mediæval bestiaries, I’m abandoning all pretense of having anything to do with beasts allegedly found in nature, and I will not be going way out of my way to shoehorn an unnecessarily preachy and ridiculously contrived lesson on woefully outdated middle-aged quasi-Biblical morals into each description (which they did, because mediæval theology was weird). So if the Word of God as (allegedly) taught by the (allegedly) natural creatures (allegedly) of His Creation is what you’ve come here for, I’m afraid you’re going to leave disappointed, but I doubt that it is. So, without further ado, here’s the first entry in the Bestiarium:

yara-ma-yha-who color

Name: Yara-ma-yha-who
Mythos of Origin: Australian Aboriginal mythology
Type: Monster, Bogieman, Humanoid, Abhuman, Assimilative, Hematophage, Tentacled
Habitat: The canopies of fig trees

This one is probably one of my favorites because of how… creatively horrifying it is.

Though it can be described as the Aboriginal version of the vampire, the yara-ma-yha-who actually has very little in common its European brethren. True, it is a monstrous humanoid that sucks the blood of humans and can transform them into one of its own in the process, but the similarity ends there… which isn’t nearly as reassuring as it may initially sound.

This little red man makes it home in the branches of fig trees where it waits patiently and surprisingly stealthily for some poor, unwary traveler to pass by. When they do, the yara-ma-yha-who strikes in an instant, ensnaring them in its long, tentacular fingers lined with tiny lamprey-like suckers which it uses to slowly drain their blood. Not that it needs the blood for sustenance, mind you. It’s just that prey that’s weak from blood loss tend to be much less likely to resist or fight back. Once the creature’s hapless victim has been rendered nice and languid, the yara-ma-yha-who unhinges its toothless jaw and swallows them whole. After taking a drink from a nearby stream (because its important to stay hydrated), the monster takes a nap, it’s prey imprisoned—weak but very much alive—in its distensible stomach. When it wakes, it vomits up its victim, their skin ever-so-slightly redder, their build ever-so-slightly shorter than before.

If the victim is lucky, they’ll merely be sent on their way (feeling utterly horrified and no doubt somewhat violated) with the knowledge that they should stay away from that tree, lest they be caught and swallowed again. If they’re not lucky, the beast will skip the waiting, grab them again and repeat the process right then and there, swallowing and regurgitating them again and again until they’re completely transformed into another lurking yara-ma-yha-who ready and patiently waiting to prey on innocent travelers.

So yeah, kinda like a vampire, but a thousand times more abhorrent and not even remotely sexy. Unless you’re into that, I guess, though the knowledge that there are actually people who are into that (whatever the hell that is) just makes the whole thing all the more abhorrent.

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Filed under Articles, Bestiarium, Digital Drawings, My Art, Pictures

Ringway

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December 24, 2015 · 12:12 AM

Red Cottage

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December 24, 2015 · 12:10 AM

Timbered Hall

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December 23, 2015 · 11:44 PM

Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office

So I’ve started doing this new sort of thing where I get in the car, and then pick a road and drive without turning (unless that road ends, in which case I have to turn) until I find something interesting.

The first time I did this, I found this cool old building that was also the office of the LA County Coroner and a lot of things on the premises that I wanted to take pictures of. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me at the time, so I came back on a later date with it.

I’ve since started bringing my camera along on such expeditions.

Here’s what I found.

LA County Coroner

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Old Brick

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When I got close enough to take a picture of the County Coroner’s office, I discovered that there were other buildings behind it, apparently on the same property, but many of these buildings were abandoned. The purpose of this particular building was unclear, but their was an above-ground tunnel, apparently for those little motorized carts that you sometimes see in parking lots, starting at the building’s base that lead to the basement level (and employees-only parking lot) of a nearby hospital.

 

Yellow Carts

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A photo from another abandoned structure I found. In this case, a parking structure. Though the structure, and its various trappings—including this small motor pool of yellow motorized carts of unclear purpose—had very clearly not been maintained in quite a while, I discovered some time after taking this picture that the structure was only partially abandoned. It turns out that some of the people working on the grounds actually still parked their cars there, because hey, why let all those free parking spaces go to waste?

 

Bioworks

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Between the various abandoned buildings on the County Coroner grounds was a small industrial area that was either itself abandoned or otherwise very old and poorly maintained. I wasn’t able to discern the purposes of any of the equipment, as my knowledge on the subject is someone limited, but I discovered a large number of metal drums labeled as containing bio-hazards, so I reached the conclusion that the whole operation had something to do with disposing of medical waste from the Coroner’s office and the nearby hospital (visible on the hill behind the trees in the background). There was an awful lot of old furniture that had also been disposed of in the area, which I don’t think would have been allowed if the area were not abandoned, but I’m not entirely sure.

 

Biostorage

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Another picture from the possibly-abandoned industrial area. The old brick building in my second picture can be seen on the right, and that odd-looking beige-colored wall in the middle-background (connected to the aforementioned building) contains the above-ground tunnel I mentioned in the description for that photo.

 

Cathedral of Medicine I

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A nice picture of the USC Residency hospital.

There’s a very good chance that I might actually go there to take pictures at some point as well. Nice building.

 

Biodump

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Remember those bio-hazard barrels I mentioned that I found? Well, this is where I found them.

In the background, you can see a stairway that I believe leads to the USC Residency hospital up on the hill.

 

Biofurnace

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This is one of the machines in the industrial area that I actually was able to identify. It is, quite clearly, a furnace. I believe that it may have once been used to incinerate medical waste. Maybe it’s still used for that. I don’t know.

 

Biowaste

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Remember those bio-hazard barrels that I’ve mentioned twice now? Well, these are them.

 

Bioelectric

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I believe this machine is a generator of some sort, although I’m not entirely sure about that. It was one of the few items in the industrial area that appeared to be in working condition, and indeed quite new. Judging by it’s location, I’m guessing it supplies power to the nearby USC residency hospital and not to the County Coroner’s office, but I might be wrong.

 

Hospital Utility

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A small utility area connected to yet another abandoned structure, which is easily the crown jewel of the bunch: an honest-to-goodness abandoned hospital. How exciting! I really wanted to explore inside the building, but there were “No Trespassing” signs on every door, and I’m generally a law-abiding sort of person. There was a number on the signs that I could call to ask for permission, but when I tried, it rang for a full hour without anybody picking up and there was no answering machine, so I was unsure how to proceed. I suppose it’s probably for the best, because I didn’t have any safety gear or any of those other bits of equipment that urban exploration generally requires.

If any more experienced urban explorers can offer advice on how to handle situations like that, I’d greatly appreciate that. I figure it’s probably alright if I’m not hurting or upsetting anyone and the restriction isn’t being enforced, but I don’t really know if that’s the case.

 

The Other Building

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Another building on the grounds. I’ll admit that at this point, I don’t remember much about this particular building, up to including where on the property it was located, but it sure looks interesting.

 

Ad-Hoc Security

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This is the other reason I couldn’t enter the abandoned hospital. There was very likely a pretty easy low-tech bypass of some sort I could use to get past it, but I didn’t want to risk it.

 

Cathedral of Medicine II

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Another picture of the USC Residency Hospital

 

Hospital Facade

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Another picture of the abandoned hospital. It would be so much more exciting if I could have gotten inside the place.

 

Cathedral of Medicine III

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Old Brick Sunset

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The old brick building again. I was in the grounds of the County Coroner’s office for quite a while… mostly because I was trying to find someone to ask for permission to enter the abandoned hospital.

I wanted to take a picture from the fire escape, but it was very rickety and I didn’t feel safe climbing it.

 

People Crossing

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Remember that above-ground tunnel I mentioned? This picture was taken inside it. It’s surprisingly long, and not at all abandoned. There were people at the other end, and they didn’t know who to ask about the abandoned hospital either. I don’t think people really expect to ever be asked that kind of question.

 

Night Ward

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Here’s that abandoned hospital again, now shown in full.

And no, those windows aren’t lit. They’re just reflecting the sunset, which is located directly behind me. Most of the windows are just too grubby to reflect it.

 

Window Box

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Some sort of… uh… thing on the other side of the compound, towards the front, between the old brick building and some of the still-active buildings.

 

Old Brick Alley

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Another picture taken of the abandoned old brick building, in the little alleyway-like area right by the building (it wasn’t really an alleyway, since it wasn’t connected to the road) near the fire escape, immediately before trying to climb it and giving up because it didn’t feel safe.

 

Flower Shop

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It was getting pretty dark and a bit chilly at this point, so I decided to leave and start heading home. Then I noticed this building across the street from the Coroner’s, near where I parked my car and figured one last picture couldn’t hurt. Not sure if it was abandoned as well, or just a complete shithole.

 

Flatbed

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Some sort of shipping-related vaguely industrial site that I passed on the way home. I just can’t help myself.

 

L’Arc de Defaite

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A cool decorative feature on a bridge I crossed on the way home.

It’s really hard to properly focus a camera in the dark.

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MacArthur Park Skyline

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October 11, 2013 · 7:19 AM

Los Angeles Metro Gold Line: Highland Park

I take the Los Angeles Metro a lot to get to and from appointments on the other side of town. Whenever I take the Gold Line, the main above ground branch of the Metro and the closest to my house, I tend to look out the window a lot, and when I do I tend to notice a lot of stuff that I’d like to go take pictures of. Unfortunately, I can’t stop and get out for fear of missing said appointments, so in September of 2012 I began an ongoing expedition to get off at every stop on the Gold Line and take pictures, which extended into the new year due to delays. Many of the stops ended up not having anything interesting, but those that did more than made up for the difference.

These are from the second stop, Highland Park Station

Scraps

Scraps

A truck full of random bits and bobs. Also, check out that tree branch in the top right corner with a perfect right angle in it. That’s pretty weird, huh?

 

Barring the Doors

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Something I found in a parking lot

 

Van Invasion

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A street view

 

Typewriter Repair

Typewriter Repair

A typewriter repair shop. When was the last time you saw one of those, eh?

 

Highland Theatre

Highland Theatre

A view of the Highland Theatre sign

 

Chicken Man

Chicken Man

He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

 

Anonymous?

Anonymous?

An interesting graffito I found

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Los Angeles Metro Gold Line: South Pasadena

I take the Los Angeles Metro a lot to get to and from appointments on the other side of town. Whenever I take the Gold Line, the main above ground branch of the Metro and the closest to my house, I tend to look out the window a lot, and when I do I tend to notice a lot of stuff that I’d like to go take pictures of. Unfortunately, I can’t stop and get out for fear of missing said appointments, so in September of 2012 I began an ongoing expedition to get off at every stop on the Gold Line and take pictures, which extended into the new year due to delays. Many of the stops ended up not having anything interesting, but those that did more than made up for the difference.

These are from the first stop, Mission St. South Pasadena Station

Stripe

Stripe

A rock I found that struck me as peculiar. I’m not sure why it had a white stripe painted on it. It appeared to be curved, perhaps as part of the perimeter of a circle, although this path is not continued elsewhere in the area.

 

Warehouse Parking

Warehouse Parking

A nice street-view from what, if I recall correctly, was a warehouse district

 

Dish

Dish

A courtyard of some sort

 

Redstone

Redstone

Another street view. Completely unrelated to Minecraft.

 

Le Car

Le Car

An auto-repair lot of some sort

 

Around Back

Around Back

 

Rail Power

Rail Power

Some portion of the electrical infrastructure for the Metro tracks

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Twin Lifts

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From a courtyard in Chinatown (I think)

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Cat, As Viewed From Behind

Cat, as Viewed from Behind

Every time I think about the Cheshire Cat (who if I remember correctly is only ever referred to in the text as “the Cat”), and the vast majority of times I think about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in general, I almost immediately start to wonder about that trick he does where he disappears except for his smile (and occasionally his eyes). Specifically, if he were to turn around, would you see the backs of his eyes and teeth? This is never addressed in the book, mostly because its not important, and in TV in film adaption the Cat never turns away from the camera while in that form. But it really bugs me. Doesn’t help that I’ve really been getting into using imagery from Wonderland lately, as part of my general increasing interest in surrealism, absurdism, and general mindfuckery in film and literature (as supposed to just the static media), and as such have been thinking about it a lot more.

So yeah, that’s what this piece is about.

And yes, I drive myself crazy over this sort of nonsense without being stoned. God knows what sorts of things I’d start wondering about if I ever actually tried pot.

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