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Die Hand Die Verletzt
 Science File Information:
  • Mulder and Scully travel to New Hampshire to investigate the seemingly ritualistic murder of a local teenager. As they're investigating the crime scene it starts to rain...frogs, that is. Althought this phenomenon may seem weird and contrived, it has been documented several times throughout history. Whirlwinds have, on strange occasions, been known to lift frogs, fish, ducks, grasshoppers, etc., into the air and then let them fall to earth as "unnatural" rains.

    To read a little more about raining frogs, go to http://cotf.edu/ETE/scen/weather/catsdogs.html. If you're still curious, look for the book It's Raining Frogs and Fishes! in your local library.

  • Mulder is certain that there is something "weird" about the area. When he goes to a school water fountain for a drink, he notices that the water is flowing down the drain clockwise, rather than counterclockwise. As he explains it, this defies the Coriolis effect, a principle of physics that (as he asserts) says that all water in the northern hemisphere swirls down drains counterclockwise and all water in the southern hemisphere drains clockwise. Mulder needs to check his sources! Although, in theory, this could be the case, scientists have shown that the Coriolis force is a very weak force that is usually overcome by the initial velocity of the water flow. In other words, the manner and speed with which the water flows out of the fountain in the first place probably determines which way it swirls down the drain.

    To read more about the Coriolis effect, check out a simplified definition at http://www.millennial.org/~jwills/InfoGuide/Resources/ Glossary/C/Coriolis_effect_Coriolis_force_.html, or a more detailed description at http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~dvandom/Edu/coriolis.html.

  • Later in the episode, Mulder is questioning a Satanist about the murders when he gets a call on his cellular phone and is tricked into leaving the poor guy alone and handcuffed in a cellar. Why is this a bad thing? A python from the school's biology classroom has found its way to the Satanist's house and decides to join him in the cellar. What happens next is completely outside of scientific bounds: the snake constricts around the man and eats him whole (and digests him) in just a few hours. First of all, I think I remember the agents saying that it was a ball python, which is a relatively docile snake that primarily eats rats. Secondly, it's impossible (as Scully notes) for a snake to put down such a large meal so quickly (if at all). Even though the Burmese python has been known to eat animals as large as small deer, there is no way that the python in this episode could swallow an entire man and move on as quickly as it did.

    To get your python facts straightened out once and for all, take a detour to the Python Page at http://members.aol.com/cybrstorm/index.html.
    The people who make this show should have looked there before shooting that scene--but Oh! I'm sorry, the snake was "demonically possessed," after all....

  • When the two agents finally start putting the clues together about the murderer-at-large, they discover that it seems awfully strange that the substitute teacher would arrive to replace a person who'd taken two sick days in his entire tenure and then suddenly contracted "necrotizing fasciitis" and died. Otherwise known as the "flesh-eating bacteria" that caused a British panic in 1996, this strain of Streptococcus infection is quite rare, yet it effectively turns your insides to mush. (Nice scientific term there, eh?)

    "Necrotizing" means causing the death of organic tissue, and "fasciitis" describes an affliction of the "superficial fascia," the connective tissue that lies directly under the skin (also known as the hypodermis). For more gorey details, read about the Group A Streptococci strain at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/consumer/gas.htm, or find more specifics on necrotizing fasciitis at Yahoo under http://www.yahoo.com/Health/Diseases_and_Conditions/Necrotizing_Fasciitis. (Be forewarned that some of these pages have disturbing photos of infected appendages.)

 File #:

Basic Plot:
Mulder and Scully investigate a series of strange deaths in a town where practice of Satanism goes back several generations.

Synopsis URLs:
Synopsis @ Official X-Files Site
Synopsis @ Deep Background

Title means:
"The Hand That Wounds," in German, as translated in the episode.

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