Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rodents of Unusual Size Found in Ancient Italy

When life imitates art, one must ask how the artists knew what they knew and when they knew it. Did they just make a lucky but inspired guess, or were they diligent enough to research the topic and talk to a specialist and then make a considered and informed extrapolation of what is known into the unknown? (1) Movies about the future and the distant past know in advance that they must make predictions where certain knowledge is missing, but even in these cases the filmmakers shrug off an obligation to make solidly grounded predictions and lapse into the cheap or predictable.

I would say that cheap and predictable is Hollywood's metier.

However it occurred, in the case we have here the filmmakers have unexpectedly triumphed when they probably just thought they were creating an inexpensive but exciting moment in a film that has a certain reputation for being unusually entertaining. I am referring here to the "rodents of unusual size" in the esteemed movie The Princess Bride (1987).

To refresh your memory, the kidnapped princess and the Dread Pirate Roberts, revealed to be her former servant and lover, Wesley, try to escape their pursuers in the Fire Swamp, known to be inhabited by horrible ROUS, which are "rodents of unusual size". Of course they are attacked by ROUSes (ROUSi?) in the swamp and a terrible battle ensues before they are able to defeat the ROUSes and escape the swamp. The ROUSes are not a shining moment in the history of visual effects, being somewhat cheesy and, well, ratty in appearance.

Although filmgoers of today demand the highest quality in visual effects, the best that technology can imagine for their quota of zombies, giant robots, and superheroines, it wasn't always so. Back in the day, long ago, movies were often about telling a story and made economic use of the resources available. The effects only had to be good enough to move the story forward. In some cases, one could even accuse the filmmakers of being tongue-in-cheek cheesy. The gopher in Caddyshack (1980) comes to mind.

So we might dismiss the ROUSes as being merely enlarged and fictional examples of an imaginary rodentia, until science made the following amazing discovery. Apparently, in ancient italy, rodents of unusual size, giant hedgehogs, roamed the countryside, eating and otherwise annoying the other flora and fauna of its time. Although this is probably just a lucky guess on the part of the filmmakers, I think you will agree that it is an amazing resemblance.

It may be a hedgehog but it certainly looks like a rodent to me

Since one of the theme's here at Global Wahrman is to analyze the process by which one can successfully predict the future, we plan to use this example in our case studies of successful, if inadvertent, predictions.

Read more about the Ancient Rodent


1. In this case, I think we can rule out the use of Atlantean Crystal Wisdom. There is no evidence to suggest that any of the filmmakers were aware of and using the Esoteric Knowledge.

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