WTF? And Other Head-Scratchers. Seen something STRANGE? Drop us a line or send us a pic at editor@valleyadvocate.com.

What’s that big glowing building on I-91?
Dec14

What’s that big glowing building on I-91?

Like many local drivers, I take Interstate 91 up and down the Valley several nights a week. So I have had plenty of opportunity to wonder: what in the intergalactic hell is going on near exit 24? Drive south for a mile and a half past the Whately Diner, look to the right, and the sight you see is otherworldly: a roughly 45,000 square foot facility with semi-transparent walls that emit a flood of bright, violet light. The building...

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Does Cosby really buy 10,000 lobsters for UMass every Halloween?
Oct26

Does Cosby really buy 10,000 lobsters for UMass every Halloween?

After my colleague Hunter Styles dispelled the myth that the characters in the Scooby Doo TV series were based on the academic personalities of the Valley’s Five Colleges, my attention should have immediately turned to another legend passed on to me when I was a wee freshman at UMass Amherst: that alumnus Bill Cosby foots the bill for the annual Halloween lobster feast in the student dining halls. But it didn’t. It wasn’t until I said...

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The Uncanny Valley: Do Ghosts Haunt Spoleto?
Oct07

The Uncanny Valley: Do Ghosts Haunt Spoleto?

by Hunter Styles Staff writer Amanda Drane has worked in the local food industry for 10 years, and she’s shared with us some truly great stories of her time in the kitchen, including a couple about the haunted room at Spoleto, an Italian restaurant in Northampton. One night, about three years ago, at shift’s end, a deathly pale busboy slowly ascended the steps from the small dining room in the basement, where the eatery seats a few...

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The Uncanny Valley: Why do some fast food fries cost more than burgers?
Sep08

The Uncanny Valley: Why do some fast food fries cost more than burgers?

Why is it that a cheeseburger costs $1.22 at Burger King, while a small order of fries costs $1.70? Isn’t beef supposed to be more expensive than potatoes? Thanks for writing in, anonymous reader, with your puzzling — and discomforting — question. To figure out why you can get a burger with cheese, a bun, ketchup, mustard, and pickles for less than a bag of fried spuds, I turned to UMass Amherst professor emeritus Richard Rogers, who...

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The Uncanny Valley: Why are there ads on Springfield buses asking, ‘Do you know who murdered me’?
Jul28

The Uncanny Valley: Why are there ads on Springfield buses asking, ‘Do you know who murdered me’?

Buses are big and so are the advertisements they often host — that’s no surprise. What is jolting, however, is when the typical music or beverage ad is replaced with a giant placard offering a $50,000 reward for information regarding an unsolved murder from 2013. According to the Hampden County District Attorney’s office, there are more than 60 unsolved Hampden County murders dating back to 2000. Some victims on this list will likely...

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The Uncanny Valley: WTF, Whose happy place is this?
Jul14

The Uncanny Valley: WTF, Whose happy place is this?

My curiosity is piqued by a recent Facebook post by fellow Advocate writer Yana Tallon-Hicks in which she documented a creepy, abandoned house complete with a puzzling sign that read, “This is my happy place.” So, I head past the rolling greens of the Amherst Golf Club and down the narrow paved road that leads to South Pleasant Street in search of said bizzaro sign. The outline of a large house peeks through an overgrown grove of...

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