4/20/2010

Iceland's Volcanoes: Where's the WWN When You Need It?

A couple of years ago I bemoaned the demise of The Weekly World News, a supermarket tabloid that was sort of a cross between the Mad magazine that I loved as a kid and the New York Post.

WWN's journalism was a blend of low-brow popular culture, primitive and pervasive human fears, and straight fiction. And I loved it. It was outrageous, unabashed, pseudo-journalism satire.

One of my favorite features in the WWN was the "Satan's Face" photos that showed up every so often. These were photos, usually of storm clouds or billowing smoke, in which you could see some hint of a demonic face. I recall three with captions that read something like "Satan's Face Seen in Hurricane Andrew" and "Satan's Face Seen in Storm Clouds Over Chicago" and "Satan's Face Seen in World Trade Center Fires."

The spectacular photos of the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland have made me think of the Satan's Face photos in the old WWN. The WWN's strict black-and-white format would have diminished some of the impact of the color photos, but the eruptions would have been a perfect opportunity for the tabloid to speculate about the recurring presence of the Evil One.

So I'm passing along this amazing photo of one of the Iceland volcanoes, along with my sincere admiration of the skill of the photographer who got this spectacular shot. You can see a vague outline of a face -- fiery eyes in the upper right corner, a glowing nose beneath the eyes, and the hint of a mouth.

FYI, lightning often flashes in the clouds that form during an eruption. Scientists are still trying to figure out why this happens. Whatever the reason, the lightning combines with the belching flames to create truly unworldly special effects.


Photo by Jon Pall Vilhelmsson

1 comment:

Tom said...

The original "Satan's Face" Photo in the Weekly World News, to my knowledge, was something to the effect of "Satans' face seen in Mount St. Helen's Ash Cloud" in 1980, with a full-page photo of the erupting volcano. It was a classic!