24 May 2013

Tornados producing a "dead man walking"


The image above is a screencap from a video on a television documentary about tornados.  Twin twisters rotating about one another produced a figure that could be viewed as humanoid in shape.

A discussion thread at the extensively-redacted AskHistorians subReddit examines whether or not there was a legend among pre-contact plains native Americans of some tornados being referred to as "dead man walking" and whether this image is representative of that.

I have often wondered why tornados are not depicted in ancient rock art petroglyphs in North America.

15 comments:

  1. Your observation that tornadoes aren't shown in aboriginal glyphs, at least in North America, is striking. Perhaps they worried that depicting the storm would invoke it?

    Is there an anthropologist in the house?

    Lurker111

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do you know there weren't representations? Many glyphs are designs with unknown meaning. The idea that the bit of pareidolia above could be the origin of the (perhaps apocryphal) dead man walking idea strikes me as rather improbable. The photo captures an fleeting instant in time that human perception would almost certainly miss watching an active pair of cyclones (that actually looks more like three).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw the actual video. You clearly could see this in the video and perhaps is the most disturbing one I have seen due to what it looks like. No, I do not believe it is a dead man walking but the impression sticks with you. Try to find and view this yourself.

      Delete
  3. There is theory that tornados were rare until the introduction of cars. The idea is that when two cars pass each other, they spin the air between them counter-clockwise, which is the same direction as a tornado. This "primes" tornados and allow them form.

    I don't believe it personally. I've seen plenty of tornadoes, water spouts, and dust devils form. The amount of energy in them is amazing. Plus they seem to form top down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please don't take offense, but that is the most ridiculous theory about anything that I have heard since I can't remember when...

      Delete
    2. That's a very stupid and obviously incorrect theory that any human could've possibly imagined. Cars do not create tornadoes! Anyone with common sense can see that they come from storms and their were tornadoes reported in biblical times without cars around.

      Delete
  4. This may be off base, but aren't most petroglyphs in the U.S. in areas not normally affected by large numbers of tornadoes? By that I mean areas in the southwest and eastern states. Were pre-contact Native Americans in tornado prone areas given to recording their lives in rock glyphs? And with pre-contact populations spread out over a large land mass how many people would have personally experienced a tornado? It's a puzzlement.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cathy makes a good point - are there fewer geological places that would support petroglyphs in Tornado Alley? I'm not a geologist, but it seems possible. Also, often petroglyphs seem to represent things that are vital to everyday life or of ritual significance - since a tornado is an unpredictable, non physical thing it may not have figured in the mindset for representation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It was a tornado like this that killed the three storm chasers in Oklahoma! R.I.P Twistex!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am not certain where I read this, only that I've read it several times, it's not a 'dead man walking' for what it looks like-but because if you see it, YOU are a dead man walking

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have seen videos depicting this as well - while this one, at a freeze frame, makes it very easy to spot the human like form, of the videos I have seen, some have even been more human like, with the multiple vortices emulating arms swinging back and forth as well. The documentary I was watching was talking about the American Indians recognizing that these types of tornadoes (multiple vortex) were usually so much more powerful that may have been what made them refer to them as dead men walking.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The correct interpretation is: If you see one of these, and survive it, you are a "dead man walking"... The Native Americans believed that the monster multi vortex tornado was not survivable...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Stan -

    Look up "Dead Clade Walking". It is about post-mass-extinction survivors of species who hang on for sometimes a long time and then eventually succumb, after all. It seems to be what happened with mammoths, who survived for a few thousand years on two islands - Wrangel off the coast of Siberia and Santa Rosa in the Channel Islands off California.

    I first heard the term in the TV series "Elementary", and then I HAD to look it up!

    It IS a takeoff from the movie's name.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Stan - Can't find where else to suggest this, but see this, on a metal alloy called NITINOL:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKmYqUSDch8

    And this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmWWZKPDkv4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I remember this being proposed for use in endobronchial stents that would expand after placement. That's a potentially blogworthy video after I do some more research on updates in recent decades. Tx, Steve.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...