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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 12:09 PM
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Why We’re Obsessed With the Chicago Rat Hole

Why We’re Obsessed With the Chicago Rat Hole—and the Romans Probably Would Have Been Too
The human impulse to find meaning in the unusual is timeless.
By Adrienne Mayor for slate.com

Quote:
Throughout January, people across Chicago ventured out to the neighborhood of Roscoe Village to stare at a sidewalk—and pay their respects to the impression of a rat indented in the concrete. Tourists and locals have been visiting the site and leaving offerings (coins, flowers, candles, cheese). Someone put up a historical plaque. One couple was engaged there; another married at the spot.

The initial crowds were the result of a single tweet that went viral (with an image of the rat-shaped hole filled with water). But as more and more photos of the rodent’s presumably accidental life-cast circulated, the sidewalk indentation became a unifying attraction and something of a playful pilgrimage site.

***

Seeing sacred images of holy figures imprinted on commonplace items goes all the way back to medieval relics. The Veil of Veronica is a handkerchief, still stored at St. Peter’s Basilica, that was said to be stained with blood and sweat in the shape of the face of Jesus (collected, supposedly, after St. Veronica wiped his brow on the way to the crucifixion). It’s a similar story with the famous Shroud of Turin. Modern American examples include “Screen Door Jesus,” an impression that appeared on a backyard door of a house in a small Texas town in 1969. The image aroused religious fervor and attracted hordes of pilgrims and gawkers—the Beaumont Enterprise reported that 1,000 people visited it—but looking at the photos of the crowds and hoopla, one can see that not everyone took the image seriously. It was a spectacle, so it was worth witnessing, no matter what it meant.
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 12:38 PM
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I live only a mile and a half from this infamous "rat hole", and have not been by to see it.

But then again, I'm old, and thus don't really care about silly viral nonsense like this.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
I live only a mile and a half from this infamous "rat hole", and have not been by to see it.

But then again, I'm old, and thus don't really care about silly viral nonsense like this.
It's less the fact of you being old than it is your personality. I assure you, the next time the Blessed Virgin appears on an office building window, the parking lot will be aswarm with fat old Catholic ladies wearing floral print shifts of the sort preferred by fat old ladies everywhere. That was the point of the article: People love omens and relics and always have. A hole in a sidewalk shaped like a rat is just an omen for the modern era. Five hundred years ago something like it would have been carefully cut out and ensconced in a cathedral somewhere.
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 3:06 PM
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Looking at the image in the article, to me it looks like guerilla street art, like it was stamped there while the concrete was still wet.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 4:17 PM
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Why is this a thing? [/rhetorical]

. . .
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 6:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom In Chicago View Post
Why is this a thing? [/rhetorical]

. . .
Because it's funny?
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 6:28 PM
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Hasn't the imprint been there since the 90s or something? Why is this just suddenly going viral?
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 8:03 PM
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Oh I'd be a few blocks away...rats are so ewww.
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  #9  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2024, 8:08 PM
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There’s profound then there’s Profound life had meaning wherever you find it and sometimes people are looking extra hard.

I can dig Chicago rat hole but I have another theory. It’s secretly the grave of once beloved children’s icon Charles “Entertainment” Cheese. Here’s my evidence.

https://www.eater.com/2017/11/29/167...e-sledgehammer


I’ll never forget this I visiting my grandparents in Tampa over winter break as a kid and there wasn’t much to do indoors so we were sitting there as the local news came on. I kid you not the local affiliate led with “office complex Virgin Mary”. They were professionals though and explained that there was a palm tree and a sprinkler involved something about it hitting the tinted windows did something funkey.

Damn that was Christmas 1996, even though I was in elementary school I feel old as fuck dropping that date.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/florid...ater-building/
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2024, 6:12 AM
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Decades ago I saw on the TV news that there were swarms of people gathered in San Marcos, south of Austin, viewing "the shadow of Christ" in the street. I knew there was an explanation so went with a friend to see it. The shadow would show up as soon as the nearby street light came on in the evening. It was a perfect likeness of what we would think Christ's shadow would look like. I was able to determine that the shadow was caused by a small, sharp rise in the lawn just above the curb, when the street light would come on. My friend jumped my case for trying to solve the "mystery", and should just let well enough alone. We left and told no one, including the media, what I found. Anyone could have solved it. It was that easy. But we just let all the people believe they were seeing what they wanted it to be.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2024, 6:32 AM
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I think people, generally speaking, are just eager to be a part of some unique cultural flashpoint. mainly just so they can say they were there. They want to say, "HEY, you know that rat hole? I was there last night! Isn't that hilarious and aren't I so interesting and don't I lead a life that you're envious of?" You might say this is because of social media, and I'm sure that doesn't help. But I think it's just inherent in human nature. I mean, there were people in Roman times that carved their initials into the Great Pyramid. We just wanna be noticed.

Sidenote: I thought I had heard it was inadvertently filled in?
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2024, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BnaBreaker View Post
I think people, generally speaking, are just eager to be a part of some unique cultural flashpoint. mainly just so they can say they were there. They want to say, "HEY, you know that rat hole? I was there last night! Isn't that hilarious and aren't I so interesting and don't I lead a life that you're envious of?" You might say this is because of social media, and I'm sure that doesn't help. But I think it's just inherent in human nature. I mean, there were people in Roman times that carved their initials into the Great Pyramid. We just wanna be noticed.

Sidenote: I thought I had heard it was inadvertently filled in?
I take pride in having seen, personally, with my own eyes, the mystery puddle in New York's Chinatown. We were up there visiting a friend who told us about it, then took us out for dim sum before going over to the view the puddle. And that's exactly what it is: a puddle on the side of the street, always full of some mysterious milky liquid, known to fizz on especially hot days. Going to see the mystery puddle is actually one of my more vivid memories of Manhattan.
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2024, 7:28 PM
Velvet_Highground Velvet_Highground is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AviationGuy View Post
Decades ago I saw on the TV news that there were swarms of people gathered in San Marcos, south of Austin, viewing "the shadow of Christ" in the street. I knew there was an explanation so went with a friend to see it. The shadow would show up as soon as the nearby street light came on in the evening. It was a perfect likeness of what we would think Christ's shadow would look like. I was able to determine that the shadow was caused by a small, sharp rise in the lawn just above the curb, when the street light would come on. My friend jumped my case for trying to solve the "mystery", and should just let well enough alone. We left and told no one, including the media, what I found. Anyone could have solved it. It was that easy. But we just let all the people believe they were seeing what they wanted it to be.
Nothing wrong with letting people find meaning it’s a lucky thing when one is able to discover something they feel profound or enjoy the mystery of.

Looking back on it I appreciated the news casters giving a rational explanation whether a divine hand guided the landscape architects is anyone’s guess. The media circuses that followed some of these events carried an undertone I’ve always found a bit off putting.

If a person finds something special their town or neighborhood that has meaning to them and the community what can I say other than its one of life’s silver linings brining people of all types together.
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2024, 1:27 AM
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  #15  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2024, 3:08 PM
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clear case of pizza rat craze jealousy.

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