Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chicago Skeptics survive encounter with real life Internet troll

An expedition sponsored by Chicago Skeptics survived an encounter with an Internet troll in Chicago’s sewers.  

“Let me tell you something.” Said Dave Cromburg. “Those things are scarier in real life than they are online!”

According to sources within Chicago Skeptics, the group sponsored an expedition with the intent of finding the Wordmonster, a legendary creature that roams the Internet and writes a blog that takes a skeptical look at use of language.  The Chicago Skeptics were hoping to study Wordmonster in its real world habitat, and then collect a million dollars from The James Randi Educational Foundation.

“It could have been a win for everyone.”  Said Cromburg.  “The Chicago Skeptics would have gained instant credibility in the cryptozoological community for discovering a creature other cryptozoologists didn’t know existed.  We would have used the prize money to debunk fake creatures, like Bigfoot.  Plus, the government would grant Wordmonster endangered species status.  It would be protected from hunters and creepy cryptozoologists!  Everyone would win!”

The sources agree that The Chicago Skeptics believed they had tracked Wordmonster to an IP address located deep in Chicago sewers.  They decided to send a group of volunteers into the sewers to confirm Wordmonster’s presence.  Before entering the sewers, Chicago Skeptics leader, Dr. Jen, insisted that each group member must wear a biohazard suit.

“It will stink, but we can breath the air.”  Protested one team member.  

“Wordmonster might carry biological agents that can make you sick, or we could carry diseases that will make it sick.”  Countered Dr. Jen.  "That lesson was the only good thing about Prometheus."



After dawning the suits, the team progressed through a series of chambers until it finally reached the suspected terminal.  In the darkness, they could see a large, slimy hulking creature bending over a laptop.  Not wanting to threaten Wordmonster, the team sent a female to approach the creature.

“It smelled and its back looked ugly.”  Said the female member who asked not to be identified.  “Even though it was grunting, I knew I had to reserve judgement.  Maybe it was like Beauty and The Beast.  It might look ugly to me, but if it was Wordmonster, then it was a really, a sweet and witty being.”

According to her, she approached the creature and said, “Hello oh great and skeptical creature.”  It grunted what sounded like obscenities.

“Maybe I should have taken it as a warning, but I was trying to keep an open mind, like a good skeptic should.”

She placed a piece of paper on its computer desk.  “I give you a list words.  We would like to hear your well reasoned thoughts about them.”

The creature ate the paper without looking back.

Startled, she waited, then said, “We await your rational answers, oh great Wordmonster!”

The creature mumbled, “Wordmonster?”  Then growled “Wordmonster!”  It stood up.  “Wordmonster!”  It said louder.  It turned around, looked down and roared.

The skeptic recoiled in horror.  “It’s not Wordmonster!”  She screamed.  “It’s an Internet Troll!”

“Don’t worry!”  A male team member yelled back.  “Internet Trolls are harmless in the real world!”

The giant troll responded by grabbing a steel pipe and swing it down at her.  The female jumped to the side, barely dodging the club as it hit the floor.  She ran back to her teammates.  

Another female skeptic walked towards the troll.  “If we ignore it, it will ignore us.”  She said and then turned her back towards the troll.  The troll spewed out obscenities at her.  She didn’t reply.  It charged at her.  Another teammate pulled her away second before the troll’s club slammed into the ground.

A third female skeptic started singing, hoping the calm the troll.  It replied by charging at the team.  The team ran away, some screaming in terror.

Second later, team member Darius realized that some team members wouldn’t be able to outrun the troll.  He pointed to three other team members and cried out, “Quick, lets do the Gorilla video!”  

As Darius pulled out a sample collection kit, he yelled to the troll, “I’ll bet you can’t count the number of times I pass this to my teammates!”  Darius and his teammates started passing to sample kit to each other.  As the troll counted the number of times Darius passed the kit, the other team members resumed running towards the sewer exit.  

About a minute later, the creature lost count and let out an echoing roar.  Three of the skeptics resumed running.  The fourth walked towards the creature.

“So, are you a Freethought Blogs troll, a Slyme Pit troll, or just an ordinary Internet troll?  I’m having a hard time telling the difference.  Maybe you can help me?”

The seemingly confused troll paused for a few seconds, then roared again.  It grabbed the startled skeptic and shoved it into its mouth.  

Before it could start chewing, a man shouted at the troll.

“Stop!”  He commanded.

The troll turned and saw a new bearded man in a hazmat suit.

“I am Jeff Wagg!”  It said.  “Creator of the JREF Forum!”

The creature tiled its head, the other skeptic still in its mouth.

“It was I who banned Rebecca Watson for life from the forum!”

The troll got down on its knees, stretched out his arms and started bowing before Wagg.

“You are about to eat my best coder!”

The troll grunted questioningly, and tilted its head.  Once it realized who Wagg was talking about, it spit out the hapless skeptic.  The skeptic slowly moved, though it’s hazmat was ripped and covered in green saliva.

Wagg continued.  “I will forgive this trangression, if you will never again bother The Chicago Skeptics, and promise to stay away from our web page, our Meetup Group and our Facebook page!

The troll roared a string of vile obscinities then flipped off Wagg with both hands.

“I accept your apology.”  Replied Wagg.

The creature returned to its lair and the remaining skeptics left the sewers.

When asked to comment, Dr. Jen denied they had sponsored a expedition into the sewers or that Wagg banned Watson from any JREF site.  She added that Wordmonster is a human being and not a pedagogic monster.

“Why don’t you come to a real Chicago Skeptics event?”  She asked.  “Like our presentation on Alternative Medicine.”

When e-mailed, Wordmonster replied:

Babbler:  One who makes an incoherent or foolish comments.  Sometimes we say this about someone we disagree with but do not take the time to understand.  This is not always accurate.  However, in the case of a certain Western suburban publication, this word fits perfectly.

Also in The Babbler:

Sources: Boeing was under considering for Romney’s VP spot
Believers celebrate the continuing skeptical civil war
Drew Peterson may spend sentence in orbiting prison
God to smite Bolingbrook on 9/13/12

Please note: All articles on this site are works of fiction.

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