Fortean Rotterdam - visions and fantasies

uair01

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#1
Seeing a thread about "Fortean Amsterdam" I couldn't resist to make a thread about it's ugly sister city (there's a traditional rivalry between the two, football teams included).

Strange loop in the sky - circular contrail:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/loop01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/loop02.jpg
I'm a very active skywatcher but I've never seen something before.

A UFO-like apparition an a Scandinavian webcam:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/webcam_ufo.jpg
Probably just a lens flare (?)

A spooky ivy-tree in a small garden:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/weird-tree.jpg

On the wall in a Rotterdam metro station (Blaak). At first I thought: "There's a turd glued to the wall." But later I saw it was a banana peel. It must have been hanging there quite some time. I wonder if it will be there when I check in a few weeks.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/peel01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/peel02.jpg

In the same metro station there's a window on one of the lower floors and there are two "Wuppies" behind the glass and one Durex condom. How did it get there? What's the story behind it?
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/condom01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/condom02.jpg

A decorated bicycle at the Rotterdam library. Not handy when it rains:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/bike.jpg

Weird wooden heads behind a windows in IJsselmonde (stick men?):
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/stickfaces.jpg

A collection of gloves at the roadside. Again ... what's the story behind this?
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/gloves01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/gloves02.jpg

Finally a few "atmospheric" pictures, just an optical effect - not real weirdness.

Mystery macro landscapes:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/mystlandscape.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/mystlandscape02.jpg

Rotterdam Loch Ness (without monster):
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/loch_rotterdam.jpg

Finally - has there ever been someone who made a personal theory that you can detect "unearthly powers" and "power places" by taking fuzzy pictures of landscapes? There must have been someone with that weird idea. Or should I try to develop it? :D
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/shifted-landscape.jpg

Recently I posted a lot of Fortean pictures in the "Minor weirdness" thread but never got an answer, so I'm experimenting to see if I get more reactions if I make a separate thread.
Link here
 

uair01

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#3
I was searching for Green Man motifs in the Medieval Ceramics collection of the Boymans museum. I didn't find any Green Men there, but I did find a lot of artworks that raise questions. Any archaeologists here that have any answers?

From the 14th and 15th century we have simple earthenware plates, with simple slip decorations, that contain pre-christian magic symbols. like "the tree of life" and the "sun wheel". This simple picture language originates from a rich world view and a forgotten undergrowth of symbolic meanings.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/platesigns01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/platesigns02.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/platesigns03.jpg

Simple clay objects that might be part of a Hieronymus Bosch painting:

Jug top - Bosch painting:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/jugtop.jpg

Clay flutes - Easter island statues:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/flutes.jpg

Firepot - Clive Barker faces:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/firepot.jpg

Sorry for the bad picture quality, I need a better camera to photograph through glass.
 

stonedog2

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#4
Looking for green men in ceramics is rewarding if you look at the "bellermine" type of vessel, usually associated with alcoholic drink. Depends what you mean by medieval though - 1500+ is usually taken as the heyday of these cute items.

You get spouters (foliage coming from an orifice) but I'm pretty sure I've seen leafmask types too: I'll dig through "Kölner und Frechener Steinzeug der Renaissance: Die Bestände des Kölnischen Stadtmuseums" by Ingeborg Unger 2007 to see if I can pin it down.

I have a fragment, unprovenanced alas, which has the usual bearded face and what appears to be a ? ear of corn or barley depicted between the eyes as a ? headress or ?hair. That's fairly common i think.

Love the plate photos - how big are they?

Is the quote "From the 14th and 15th century we have simple earthenware plates, with simple slip decorations, that contain pre-christian magic symbols. like "the tree of life" and the "sun wheel". This simple picture language originates from a rich world view and a forgotten undergrowth of symbolic meanings." from a cabinet label or guidebook or....?

Lots of possibilities with these simple designs:

* part of the vernacular tradition being used "because we always put this on our pots".

* part of a skeumorphic hangover - perhaps the patterns originated in a different material such as basketry for example.

*what happens when you use those tools and that technique to decorate those things at speed - perhaps test it with a school pottery class and look at what comes up with different constraints?

* a conscious design decision - for example if the star had had 5 points was it made for a jewish customer?

* a conscious design decision acting as an ownership or designers mark (Tavern Pots By Mistress Shrub).

* a(n un)conscious echo of archetypal symbolism.

* Significant Signs in the sense of the Da Vinci Code even if at a less extreme and unlikely level.

I see the right hand one in platesigns03.jpg as qualitatively different to the others an needing a different (but overlapping) set of responses. Do you see it as different? or is that just my perception?

TBH I can't see anything in the photos that would strike me as a pre-christian magic symbol beyond what might come up from some of my suggestions above. Note that I am more extreme in this than colleagues, it's my opinion not anything else :)

I would LOVE to see any green men you find, or even possible green men, or things that might be if you squint a bit and lean well back. Obsessed? Moi? :oops:

On the idea of folklore and so on, there's a fascinating carved knife handle of a green man from Dundee in a secure dated context. There's a paper discusssing the possible role of folklore and belief in its creation and function. It's written up by MA Hall in "Burgh Mentalities: Thought-Worlds in Medieval Perth" from the 2002 conference Conference: Perth & Beyond: Resourcing the Burgh.an Archaeological Perspective.


Kath
 

uair01

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#5
This is the original description of the "plates with magic signs". Don't you think that it's scientifically correct, but maddeningly uninformative?
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/potterytext.jpg

stonedog2 said:
Looking for green men in ceramics is rewarding if you look at the "bellermine" type of vessel, usually associated with alcoholic drink. Depends what you mean by medieval though - 1500+ is usually taken as the heyday of these cute items.
Yep. They have lots of these jugs, all with their own enigmatic bearded-face. Unfortunately the explanation texts don't say anything about this motif. They are described as:

The so called "Pulle" model of the bellarmine jug from Siegburg (1575-1625), Dutch copies from Alkmaar
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/beardman01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/beardman02.jpg

And this is a quite original face decoration, described as:
Beaker with medallion depicting mask (1550-1600), found in Raeren
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/maskjug.jpg
The mouth shape resembles those "Green man like" decorations that stretch their mouths open.

Oh and I forgot the wierdest piece of Italian ceramic. Aaargh ... I forgot to photograph the caption, but it was not very informative anyway.
Sphinx-like pot, extremely ugly man / woman / lion / whatever:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/sphinxjug.jpg

And for my next Rotterdam update I have mini-ufo's and messages left by raving maniacs on transformer station doors :)
 

uair01

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#6
Someone in Rotterdam is attaching handles to tree stumps:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/treehandle01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/treehandle02.jpg

I thought this one was the only one, but then I discovered a whole new row of them:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/treehandle04.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/treehandle03.jpg

Then there is this tiny glass UFO embedded in the pavement. I suspect it's part of a city-wide artwork commemorating the bombardment and burning of Rotterdam by the Germans. But it reminds me of that SF story where tiny aliens land on Earth and drown in a puddle of rain water:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/ufolanded02.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/ufolanded01.jpg
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/ufolanded03.jpg

I've been searching the web for "Rotterdam" and "weird", and found that most people find Rotterdam an extremely un-Fortean city. I will try to change that opinion :D
Rotterdam, where I grew up, is a city of hard working folks
who save. They spend some of their savings in Amsterdam which is
a center of the arts, has a famous pleasure quarter, and collects
the odd and weird. Rotterdam people are straight, they work, then
they die. This may be a biased opinion. I never went back to
check and they now have famous film and jazz festivals. Maybe
I'll go back when I am older. Merely thinking about going there
gives me asthma. (Source: Jan Willem van de Wetering)
I'd say that in Amsterdam lots of people are vain, which will make them do a lot of effort to look nice. In Rotterdam people are less vain. (Source: expatica.com)
Rotterdam is weird. Not in that way that any city with a bit of character or history are weird. Rotterdam is weird because it isnt. Not at all. In any way. It is a completely normal place with almost nothing at all to say about it. Which is what Dutch people say when you tell them you live here - nothing. "Oh", they say. "Rotterdam."

You could wait for another hour there in silence but you're not going to hear another thing about the place from them. There's just not really much to say - not in a bad way, no...but not really in a good way either. Just...not. (Source: Tom Gara)
Next time: mysterious messages, raves and rants.
 

uair01

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#7
This is an interesting “serial ranter” that I’ve found in The Hague.

This was the one I saw first:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/dogmurder.jpg

Culprits are rarely punished
Like the killer of my dog
In 14 days he will bleed to death like a pig
The jail is too full already
In a few days it had been cleaned away.
Then I saw this one on the other side of the railroad tracks:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/dogmurder02.jpg

Dead
Or may my dog
Have a normal live
Not according to the municipality
That’s why I’ll take a part of the municipality with me
When I GO!!
To the rest
 

stonedog2

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#8
Those are really quite chilling.

Is there a tradition of serial rantings or do these stand out as different regardless of the contents?

Kath
 

uair01

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#9
The above rants were the first ones I found. I have always been interested in urban phenomena like these. But nowadays you see much more graffiti, stickering and street art than just plain statements. Just writing is not "scaleable" enough I think.

Then - strangely enough - I found this person in Rotterdam. Another "serial ranter". He is milder than the previous one but a lot more confused, and maybe more interesting. He’s also a lot more difficult to translate. (Why do I assume that it’s a “he” anyway?)

He seems to write exclusively on steel substation doors, owned by the “Eneco” power company. He mentions the company in his rants. I would like to find more of his convoluted poetry.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/eneco01.jpg
21-3-2008 page 30 and four
30 one hundred and four =
saying like : still I
have a loss counting back
to 2007 != at Meijndert v/d Berg
so Richard tried to
raise the periodic payment, relative to
2008 (if) everything turns out
right I will earn several thousands!

26-4- M v.d Berg E31,97,- earned
Bingo!
And on the next doorframe he continues:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/eneco02.jpg
the commander of the street = not anymore
“Franky”
(yesterday-daybefore) 25-4 for the roekie-roekie
so Franky lives, that’s good!
Richard and Edwin
Greathings! 27-4-2008
Then at another place in Rotterdam I found an even longer inscription. It starts on the concrete pillar:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/eneco03.jpg
23-3-2008
The place from “Bas v. Leeuwen
From Kralingen, I miss you xxxxx and/or Gherr.
Then he continues on the steel electricity substation door:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/eneco04.jpg
Continued from page I
Looking for new socks from Edwin?
Thai Chi -
it must be cleared with respect to my mother/mama in Saint Anthony?
because she = become damn forgetful, still 85 years and I don’t like that at all
Alexander Bernhard Groen (my brother) 35 yeanrb / years has certainly stolen my LP’s
Eric Lolpfy (sax xxxx), B.B. Williams (harmonica)
Han Bennink - drums
Mischa Mengelberg - pianist / composer
On pure heroin basis, under Turkey!
And then on the next steel door with Eneco substation label:

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e182/uair01/eneco05.jpg
Wailing wall / door : II [III crossed out]
22-3-2007
How = Rob from ENECO doing?
Capelle a/d IJssel / Alexandrieënpolder - border
/ Central Station NS
I miss Bas van Leeuwen, Franky, and Lem v/d Kalkers and Ewin W. v. Dijk
And Ted from the HEMA
Koos from the mad / craizy- house from the Jordaan
Billiard player ______ (boxer and streetfighter)
Part of the security of the ocean race 2006 (or 2007 / Volvo etc.
Womans lover - under the white’s. The Israelites -
At the 8-th hour in the morning - Blijdorp? Yes or no? Who has then
stolen my Herman Brood calendar in Hotel The Sun from my little attic room
Who oh who!, what was inside those balls white (coke) now eight years ago
(from that famous grandpa) and brown (shit from those blacks)
tonight I’ve also consumed brown, scotch whiskey 75cl/40%vol bought at Radder-
very tasteful for E 9,35-
continued >
How I would like to find even more!
 

uair01

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#10
Just a few “secret signals” that I found in the city. It’s fun speculating about the makers and their motifs.

I had to change the links due to a Flickr relocation, but you can find all the entries here:
Fortean Rotterdam:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606293337204/
Green men:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606295604317/
Urban skywatching:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606345421612/

Someone is systematically putting coloured dots on traffic lights throughout Rotterdam. I have not studied his locations and “modus operandi” but I’m reminded of the signals used by Robert Hansen and his Russian handlers.

See ... from the Hansen affidavit:

SIGNAL LOCATION - Signal site will be the pictorial "pedestrian-crossing" signpost just west of the main Nottoway Park entrance on Old Courthouse Road. (The sign is the one nearest the bridge just mentioned.)

SIGNALS - My signal to you: One vertical mark of white adhesive tape meaning I am ready to receive your package.
Your signal to me: One horizontal mark of white adhesive tape meaning drop filled.
My signal to you: One vertical mark of white adhesive tape meaning I have received your package. (Remove old tape before leaving signal.)

DROP LOCATION - The KGB designated this dead drop site by the codename "PARK". It is located in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Eastern District of Virginia. Please leave your package for me under the corner (nearest the street) of the wooden foot bridge located just west of the entrance to Nottoway Park. Use a green or brown plastic trash bag and trash to cover a waterproofed package.

Someone posted this handwritten message on an art poster. I don’t know what it means. But it sounds poetic.

Kysy kadulla joltakin, tietaako han kuka on Tarja Halonen.

Google translate: Ask any of the streets, tietaako han who is Tarja Halonen. What does "han kuka" mean?

Wikipedia: Tarja Kaarina Halonen is the current President of Finland.
 

uair01

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#11
I had to change the links due to a Flickr relocation, but you can find all the entries here:
Fortean Rotterdam:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606293337204/
Green men:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606295604317/
Urban skywatching:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606345421612/

A couple of simulacra:

To start with the most impressive ... do you also see this "face of the gods" in the clouds?

A beautiful moth in a tabletop of the “Beans and Bagels” shop. Hoogstraat, opposite the central library.

A Clive Barker-like creature on an electricity pylon at Central Station, platform 8-9.

A face/mask-like metal object at the Central Station, platform 1.

A couple of “astronomical alignments”:

I’m obsessive about sunbeams, reflections, glints, rays and other light phenomena. I believe in archaeo-astronomy. But because we have no Stonehenge in Rotterdam I have to make do with modern buildings.

Still I get excited when I see examples of sunbeams shining through buildings. Phenomena like these are short-lived and you have to be a bit crazy to notice them. Winter is the best season for this.

Bullet holes:

The multi-level parking garage at the Hartmansstraat has emergency stairs running all the way from the roof to the street. It looks like a location of a crime movie, has bad graffiti, reeks of piss and is a nice urban location overall. Sometimes I take groups there on an urban expedition. We always wonder at the “bullet holes” in the windows facing the old houses. Were they made by a pellet gun? A slingshot? Don’t they look like UFO’s in the sky?

Mysterious objects:

This mysterious object is floating in the Rotterdam harbour. It is moored along the pier that starts from the Hillelaan / Tillemakade.

This beautiful retroreflector didn't last long along this busy street with a lot of night life (Weena). Even I have thought of stealing it!

I found more graffiti of the “killed dog” ranter at The Hague Central Station. It looks quite old. I’m afraid I won’t find any more of his creations and neither will I discover what happened to the poor dog.

Then at Rotterdam Central Station I found this note, unfortunately it didn't last long. I was too late to take a better picture.

Just a very rough translation:

Looking for true love:
- Irish
- red haired
- can sing and play at least one instrument
- does not dring and smoke and use drugs
- likes to make lasagna
- says that big breasts are creepy
- likes to hug a lot
- is afraid of horror movies
- says she loves me
It's the same font as this "Looking for Mr. Darcy" sticker:

Should I continue?

I don't get much response to my posts, so should I continue? Is it interesting enough? Or am I just boring you?
 

rynner2

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#12
This mysterious object is floating in the Rotterdam harbour. It is moored along the pier that starts from the Hillelaan / Tillemakade.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanexplo ... 907015837/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanexplo ... 907015837/
Not so mysterious. It's a big fender, intended to keep ships apart when they are moored side by side.

They are especially important when oil or fuel is being transferred ship to ship. The rubber construction avoids any metal to metal contact, which could create sparks, and maybe.... KABOOM!
 

JamesWhitehead

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#13
"Should I continue?

I don't get much response to my posts, so should I continue? Is it interesting enough? Or am I just boring you?"

Please do! I enjoy your photos and they are well described so that anyone searching for particular themes can find them. I do tend to postpone the full exploration of these virtual tours for a spare half-hour that never seems to come around. But I am glad they are there, since the Board is not over-laden with rich content these days. :D
 

millomite

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#14
I stumbled on your posts by accident and found them fascinating - particularly the graffiti. You might have started a whole new field of study!
 
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#15
uair01 said:
...

Should I continue?

I don't get much response to my posts, so should I continue? Is it interesting enough? Or am I just boring you?
Ga door uair01! Ik vind de foto's zeer intrigerend!

Er is altijd ruimt voor iets wat echt bijzonder is op de FTMB. :)
 

uair01

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#16
Hi guys, thanks for the positive comments, I'm going to continue. This is the newest addition. Some items are not that spectacular, but there a few good ones.

I had to change the links due to a Flickr relocation, but you can find all the entries here:
Fortean Rotterdam:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606293337204/
Green men:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606295604317/
Urban skywatching:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/sets/72157606345421612/

Weird folk:

I have a sympathy for this "street newspaper" seller. He's not just standing around begging, but is often reading the newspaper, making crossword puzzles or solving sudokus. He often gets something from me. Once I asked him why he was doing the sudoku puzzles and he said "It gets so boring just standing around". I like his style more than the agressive begging of some street folk or the Rumanian gypsies that can't really play the accordion.

Botany:

This plant has survived the mowing of the lawn, the stray dogs, the running children and the rain and storm. It's as high as I am (1,80 m) and is very conspicuous. It must have some kind of protective force around itself. I've been following it for several weeks and it's still intact. It reminds me of the Bible verse: "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

More street messages:

Messages like this one make me go "hmmmm":

It is most strictly forbidden to hit the tank with a hammer. Therefore it was decided that you have to hand over your hammer. It will be returned to you when you leave.
And I wouldn't be too happy with this love message:

Carlos loves Felicia and the other way around too!
Darling, you will always stay in my heart, even though I have found another. Kisses, kisses.
Books:

I discovered this book in the "De Slegte" bookshop but had already bought too many books. It is the "Forbidden books" book by Jacques Bergier. Bet that "THEY" will have removed it the next time I visit the bookshop?

UFO:

I was returning late from a work meeting (23:00) and saw a small ball of light slowly rising upwards above the canal. It took some time before I freed my camera from my backpack. I had the impression it started about 50m away from me, but in a few minutes it was far away, above the houseblocks. I suspect it was one of those Thai hot air balloons.

Low-fi "De Chirico" landscapes:

While I was waiting for the metro at station "Blaak" I discovered a few wonderful details of the wall decorations. They are photographs of Rotterdam, and I recognize two of the places that are depicted (garbage incinerator, Marconiplein). I don't recognize the third spot with the light tower. These sepia colored, extremely grainy photographs show that with the right way of looking every place can become mysterious. They have that "what happened here?" feeling that I like in UFO photography. How to better develop that way of looking (and photographing)?

Empty places turned inside out:

At Katendrecht whole rows of houses are awaiting renovation and have been boarded up thoroughly. But posters, with pictures of their insides, have been attached to the windows. Slowly the posters are deteriorating and the whole setup has a very conceptual look-and-feel.

Green man:

Another Green Man. They are quite common on building from the 1900's. Katendrecht.

Biology:

There is a plague of seagulls in Schiedam. They tear open the garbage bags and in general make a big mess. What surprised me most is that they like to tear apart baby diapers and eat the contents! :shock: The biologist: "Yes there are a lot of good nutrients in poo. It's not only seagulls that eat it, it's well known that sparrows like to dig around in dog poo."

Meteorology:

Just another weird cloud.

Now let's hope more Forteans will start exploring their own cities. What a feast would that be!
 

kmossel

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#17
I agree, uair01, please continue!
I share your fascination with urban secret messages (I used to leave them myself, when I was much younger), and some of your photos are very lovely (I especially liked the "sun through the building" ones) and/or intriguing.

One note on the "looking for true love" note: it is hard to read, but it looks to me as if the person who wrote it is looking for a male ("zegt dat ie van me houdt") and not a female.
 
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#18
I've just been browsing through the latest copy of 'VogelVrije Fietser' and there's an article on a new bicycle ferry route, through the Rotterdam Havens, that may be of interest.
Fietsen door de Haven
VogelVrije Fietser. juli-augustus 2008 - jaargang 33. no 4. Michiel Slütter

De Rotterdamse haven is een prachtige plek om te fietsen. Maar dan moet je natuurlijk wel gecharmeerd zijn van zeeschepen, kolossale opslagtanks en installaties. Wie daar van houdt, kan deze zomer helemaal zijn hart ophalen. Een nieuw fietsveer brengt je zelfs naar de Maasvlakte.

[The Port of Rotterdam is a great place to cycle. But, naturally, you have to have a liking for big ships, colossal storage tanks and installations. If that's the sort of thing you love, then this summer, you can indulge yourself, to your heart's content. A new bicycle ferry gives you access to the Maasvlakte.]

...
The cycle route ('Beleef de haven'), can be downloaded from:
http://www.portofrotterdam.com

The Port of Rotterdam really is a colossal place. It's probably the biggest port of entry and exit, for goods going to and leaving from, the whole of North-Western Europe. A real rugged, industrial terrain. Well worth a visit.
 

rynner2

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#19
Pietro_Mercurios said:
The Port of Rotterdam really is a colossal place. It's probably the biggest port of entry and exit, for goods going to and leaving from, the whole of North-Western Europe. A real rugged, industrial terrain. Well worth a visit.
In the 80s I worked for several months on a small coaster, and frequently visited Rotterdam and Europort. Certainly impressive, if industrial scenes are your bag. I also visited Antwerp a couple of times, which is equally impressive.

Sadly I did not have a camera at that time, having lost mine in a hurricane the year before...!
 

uair01

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#20
The Rotterdam Fortean was getting desperate. Despite all his searches Rotterdam refused to reveal it's secrets, it even refused to hint that it had any secrets at all. It was just a modern town, with enough art and culture to keep you interested.

But there had to be something! All others on the Fortean Message Board had interesting experiences, low strangeness, high strangeness, anything would be welcome. But as yet ... nothing special emerged.

Sure, there were hints and vague signs. But they were all random, disconnected without any discernible pattern.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3786087412/

What to think about all the locks in public spaces. Some of them opened minute spaces, at most 20*30 centimeters. Others gave access to cupboard-sized spaces and mini-buildings. Some were more than 100 years old and mechanical, in a steam-punk manner. Others used hyper-modern key cards with integrated circuits and RFID. Was this just the city's bloodstream infrastructure, the wires, pipes and communications? Or was there something else, more mysterious and sinister, like dead-drops, Trystero mail boxes, Tardis doors, fairy tunnels, mummy shelters and wormholes?

And where were the key-masters and their mega-sized key-chain? Was the strange near-sighted man at the second-hand book market one of them? Or the old dancing man, who was always present at the book market? Or one of the homeless beggars who was solving sudoku's while selling the street-newspaper?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daaynos/2968353093/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/annelies_43/395169130/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2775110858/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/2689595760/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/2692485258/

The Fortean was sure it was not an ordinary employee or bureaucrat. No ... the keys to the city would not be stored in a boring office somewhere, that would be much too obvious and insecure. He was sure that the keys were passed from person to person, in the night, using passwords and Masonic handshakes.

But how to catch the key-masters in the act? He had little spare time and he could not be everywhere at once. He was so desperate, he was almost ready to publish his secret on a public message board and ask for advice ...
 

uair01

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#21
The Rotterdam Fortean did not have much time for research lately - and even less time for reporting his findings. But there was one thing he simply must share with the community ... the Discovery of SOUND !

Bringing modern recording equipment to his travels through shadowy Rotterdam opened new vistas of gothic sensibilty. All those beautiful night sounds ... now they were more than a vague memory. They could be re-lived, sampled, processed ... and PUBLISHED.

For example ... the discovery of the deserted, spooky swimming pool at Heijplaat nouw could be shared in pictures and "night music":

Pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3307519964/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3306688229/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3306688109/

Sounds of our discovery of this place:
http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=68061

We were exploring the harbour of Rotterdam. In the neighborhood of Heijplaat we found this deserted swimming pool. Creeping through the bushes we startled a few nightbirds and were surprised by the surreal scene.

The sounds in this area are amazing, hums, drones and gong-like percussions.
And the nightly psychogeographic "derives" now could be presented in their full atmospheric ambient fullness:

Straying through the dreary outskirts of Rotterdam, loking for interesting places. Some pictures taken, but the sounds are often more interesting than the pictures. Especially at night.

People are asleep. Cold sodium lights and industrial machinery are awake.
Picture:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3306665543/
Sound:
http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=68062

Picture:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3307497516/
Sound:
http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=68063
 

uair01

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#23
Sometimes the Rotterdam Fortean has a lucky period and he's able to "score" several oddities in a short period.

O course ... it depends on what you define as an oddity. In this respect the Rotterdam Fortean is not a picky creature. He can get quite excited about a copy of the "Corriere della sera" - an Italian newspaper - lying in the middle of a busy crossing and slowly turning into pulp. Whose was it? Why an Italian newspaper?

But he will not bore you with such details ... ;)

First a pseudo (?) UFO.

I was cycling through Rotterdam when I saw this weird object in the sky. It was not too big, I guess 1 meter maximum. It seemed to float along with the wind. It was gone in 30 seconds or so. Don't know what it is. It doesn't look like debris of a toy balloon.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3552334186/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3551525153/

Then a nice halo.

Although the Rotterdam Fortean is looking at the sky *constantly* ... boink, ouch, that was a lamppost ... he does see these things very rarely. At most 5 times a year. And these were the best colours ever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3552333976/

And the alien trees.

In this season the city is full of them. They look very weird and a bit disgusting. But they seem to recover quite well.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3552333582/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3551524923/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3552333400/
 

uair01

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#24
The Rotterdam Fortean is starting to accept that reality is less exciting than he wishes it to be. He has been reading John Keel and has enjoyed it. But he has seen no extraterrestrials. He has been reading Robert Rankin, but that is fiction. He has bought "The ghost of 29 megacycles" but then he lost the book in the museum, inside an artwork by Papilotti Rist before he could read the last chapter. (Link to the book eating artwork.) Until now the book has not been found ...

But he does not give up. If reality does not contain his fantasies then he will force them upon reality. He has a devilish plan:

1) Write conspiratorial letters
2) Hide them inside books in the Rotterdam library
3) Watch the resulting chaos and disorientation

He has been gathering random scraps of paper from the streets and has been composing those in cruelly believable conspiracy letters. That will teach THEM!

The first three are ready:

1) The mysterious transports:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3663662422/

2) Entering the cubic bunker:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3729645651/

3) The children who saw the aliens:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/3734433093/

He has plans for a few more:
4) The bird transmitters
5) The black square

Do you have anything to add?
 

ginoide

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#25
a time and place for a meeting, and a suggestion about sthg to wear. "at the train station near the newsstand, aug. 9, please wear a hat". choose a popular book, so you'll be sure people will loan it from the library in a reasonable time.
 

uair01

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#26
The Rotterdam Fortean feels that his awareness of all the urban symbols and "onlookers" is growing. What are all these strange creatures looking at us from up above? Why are pagan symbols mixed with Christian ones? What is this background pattern of monsters and saints? And why only on old buildings? Why have we abandoned the practice of placing symbols in our daily environment? Are we missing something? Does this symbol-less environment harm us?

In any case - the Rotterdam Fortean knows that he must recharge his subliminal batteries often by communing with these messages from the other world.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4579501868/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4578818641/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4579626930/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4579593260/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4579345156/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4578673243/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4571465617/

And does anyone have any idea about the meaning of the "hermaphroditic fire vulture" in the 7th square?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uair01/4578673243/
 

uair01

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#27
I've been making mental maps of my inner Rotterdam: what are remarkable places and sights that I would like to return to. There is some Forteana in there: green men, cemeteries, strange statues. There are no ghosts. I doubt I will find any, ghosts could not survive here.

Rotterdam places of pilgrimage: Part 3 - Part 2 - Part 1

Do you know any more of these projects? Have you done something like that yourself?

Browsing the net I found a few other mental maps:
A very poetic one
A relatively suburban one
Combined with GPS traces

And even a Psychogegraphical Markup Language :D

Any other interesting variations are welcome. For example, there exists a British ghost map. Of course it does!
 

uair01

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#29

JamesWhitehead

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#30
I must set aside an hour or two to try to do justice to these photo-essays. Thank you for posting them!

I loved the sewing-machine piece - only this week I was looking at a photo of an old Singer machine and thinking of the arcane patterns which seemed to turn a very practical device into the realm of arabesque. The cases were often nearly as elaborate and beautifully made - as were the cast-iron treadles.

I am fairly certain that the aesthetic appeal of these machines was determined by the market: they were often the most ornamental item in the house, payed for on the installment plan:

Installment Plan

"The single firm that did the most to bring the installment plan to the world was Singer Sewing Machines. Singer’s machines were neither the best nor the cheapest products on the market. But the firm’s innovative credit plan, inspired by piano showrooms near company headquarters, tripled sales in just one year. By the 1890s, Singer Sewing Machine agents were notorious for their hard-sell “dollar down, dollar a week” tactics. The company’s aggressive salespeople and easy payments made Singer one of the first multinational corporations."

The acquisition of such a machine would have become essential to the seamstress, who needed to keep up with her neighbours.

Manchester has a large boutique where the enormous windows are entirely filled with these antique machines. I see it is called All Saints and there are lots of photos online. It is impressive for a moment but entrirely lacks the proper sense of dusty mystery that a solitary machine can make in the right setting.

These machines and their cases clearly provided a model for the early gramophones.

My own grandmother used her Jones machine most days into her old age - in fact she could remember how to thread the needle and organize the path of the thread when she could hardly remember her own relatives. When she had gone, I sometimes took the lid off the old machine and tried to fathom its mechanism but I suspect something had finally broken and it never functioned again. :(

Needles (sic) to say, there is an international community of sewing-machine collectors. While browsing an extensive site, I came across this sewing-machine ghost-story:

The curtains that sewed themselves :)

edit: 2:45 pm: Added ghost story reference.
 
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