Let's get the sillier of these two news items out of the way first:
The movie-rating board of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has officially endorsed the film Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 due to a strong family values message.
The board, which is officially called the Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation, or CINEMA, says the film "brings into focus the value of marriage, the need to protect life in the womb
and the importance of family."
We don't really have any comment on this. Catholic residents of the Philippines are free to watch this final installment of the Twilight series without guilt now, and that's cool.
The news doesn't affect anyone at TMI headquarters beyond the fact that we've now strung a piece of red twine between three pegs on our "conspiracy speculation board" -- the Catholic Church, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books and the Mormons -- all connected now. We're keeping an eye on you all.
The second item concerns the frightened populace of the Serbian village Zarozje. News outlets are generally reporting the story as "news of the weird" or with an implied wink. That's to be expected.
The report concerns an dilapidated shack above the Rogacica river, long believed to have been the home of Sava Savanovic, a man also long believed to be a vampire who would attack and exsanguinate anyone bold enough to take their grain to the nearby mill.
Curious tourists have braved visits to the shack, but the family that owns the property and the shack have not kept the place up due to their fear of Savanovic. The shack recently collapsed, prompting the population of Zarozje to fear that the vampire is now on the loose, seeking a new home and a hot meal.
Whatever the truth of the story is -- and surely this vivid folk tale sprang up for some reason -- can you imagine living there? The mayor of Zarozje himself has recommended garlic rubbed and/or displayed on windows and doors, and crosses throughout the home to protect locals from Savanovic.
We visited the Sava page of Zarozje.com and found this haiku-like arrangement of text:
ova stranica je u izradi.
Posetite nas opet."
Thanks to a Web translation engine, we now know that this simply says "Welcome. Dear visitors, this site is in the making. Please visit us again." Yes, we hoped it was some sort of poem or perhaps an incantation to keep Savanovic at bay. Alas.
[A deep bow to the Fortean Times for these.]