WASHINGTON, April 22, 2017 — Something unholy is happening near the Arctic Circle: The rare “blood” aurora borealis has become a common nightly occurrence, the police have found two headless bodies, and it seems an ancient evil has been unleashed upon the world.
But it’s not as if the locals haven’t been warned. After all, as the town’s taxidermist tells the police, a “demon is among us! We’re going to die, all of us!”
And a young shaman Laplander declares that the demon has “been on Earth before. My grandfather knew him then … Now it’s me,” adding that the blood aurora helps the monster “find the souls he’s looking for.”
If all this isn’t worrisome enough, just over the border, Russian soldiers are experiencing unusual and horrifying happenings as well, but are destroying the physical evidence with flamethrowers.
The Norwegian town at the nexus of this tale of death and terror, which provides the title for this television series, is “Fortitude.”
It’s first season originally aired on the now defunct Pivot streaming service. The second season, however, was picked up by Amazon Prime, on which “Fortitude” is now available.
But Fortitude’s problems extend beyond the paranormal. The town is rife with political corruption, a shadowy pharmaceutical company is conducting illegal biomedical experiments and there’s a growing muskimo problem.
As the town sheriff explains, muskimo is “a local narcotic drink made by feeding poisonous mushrooms to reindeer and collecting the urine, which is then drunk … the [animal’s] liver separates the narcotic from the toxins.”
Locals just call it “reindeer juice.”
It’s an ancient hallucinogen employed by the Arctic’s aboriginal holy men to expand their consciousness ahead of accessing the spiritual realm.
The appearance of muskimo prompts a sheriff’s deputy to suggest Fortitude’s spate of horrific decapitations may be part of a shamanistic ritual.
“The killer needs parts from human bodies,” she says. “If we can understand what the killer is thinking, his world view …”
The sheriff interrupts, “I don’t even understand what my wife is thinking!”
Fortitude may be experiencing a cross between supernatural evil and a remarkable advance in amoral science.
As science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Season 2 of “Fortitude” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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