Empress of the Universe

Monday, June 04, 2007

That's Another Fine Art We've Lost!

The world should be mourning the loss of Saskatchewan farmer, Gus Wickstrom, who died this weekend at the age of 69.

Why is that we know so much about Paris Hilton, but, until now, we've never heard or read about poor, not-so-old Gus?

Gus Wickstrom of Tompkins, Saskatchewan was one of a dying breed of weather prognosticators using the spleen of a pig. According to the Toronto Star:

"...Wickstrom would slaughter a pig, pluck out its spleen, bite into it, and come up with a forecast for the area around Tompkins in southwest Saskatchewan.

Wickstrom was so good that he was featured in The Old Farmers Almanac and his prognostications were published in several community newspapers and websites."

Evidently Wickstrom was 90% accurate in his long-term forecasts. The most forward-looking forecast you'll get from the Weather Channel is 7-days -- and even then, with all their fancy equipment and science, they're not always that accurate.

Gus learned his technique from his father. The Star continues the story:

"According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, there was some method to his long-range six-month forecasting system.

He would divide the spleen into six areas – one piece for each month. The piece closest to the pig's head shows the current month while the bottom represents the end of the forecast period.

Where the spleen thickens would indicate a change in the weather – likely a cold spell."

Gus also claimed that he could forecast wind and rain by biting into the pig's spleen.

The thing I'd like to know, of course, is HOW THE HECK DID THEY LEARN THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Imagine back in the dust-bowl days, a coupla farmboys, having just completed all their chores, are sitting around playing truth or dare.... Well, you can picture the rest....

I do hope that Gus passed his knowledge and expertise on to the next generation before he, um, passed on. I, for one, would hate to think that pig spleen weather forecasting is now exinct.

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