A Handful Of Dirt: Matthew Crowley

A Handful of Dirt


A Handful of Dirt asks a person five questions they wouldn’t normally expect or receive in any other credible interview.

In consulting the Serendipiter Bag o’InquiryTM, we pose a series of questions to come up with a bit of knowledge unknown before – a handful of dirt.


Odds are that you already know of Matthew Crowley. Perhaps you recall his touring with the Jim Rose Sideshow in the early 90’s, where his act of swallowing seven feet of tubing and having fluids pumped into (and out of) his stomach earned him the nickname “Tube.” Maybe you might know him from his research showing how the so-called “Bigfoot dermal ridges” are merely casting artifacts, his being the inspiration for the infamous “Madonna Pap Smear” scene in the film Slacker, or his incredible knowledge of autoerotic asphyxiation. No matter how you’ve heard his name, you have to admire his tenacity when it comes to investigating fringe subjects. You can read about his studies of the weird and wonderful at his website.

When was the last time you read a really good book (bonus question: what was it?)

I just finished reading “Big,” John McCarthy’s autobiography a few days ago. For those who don’t know McCarthy was the first and most influential referee in the UFC mixed martial arts organization.

If given license to create a new horror monster, what kind of monster would it be?

Funny, I just posted about this on Facebook today, honest! Imagine a kid that flushes a dead goldfish down a toilet in Butte, Montana. Instead of going to the regular sewer system, a broken pipe dumps it into the Berkeley Pit. It reanimates in the toxic waters, feeding off the “extremophile” microorganism at the bottom. It grows bigger, but soon develops an appetite for something more substantial. It surfaces, and begins to eat birds that have landed on the surface. At first the Anaconda Mining Company blames the toxic water for the bird deaths, but an egghead scientist from the University in Missoula declares that it’s really a mutant, carnivorous fish. Soon the townsfolk of Butte call the monster “Copperhead.” Search parties in boats encounter Copperhead, now so big and hungry that he eats human flesh. Eventually the shaved-head scientist from Missoula develops a plan to kill Copperhead, but it involves injecting it with EDTA, a chelating agent that will bind with copper, and kill it like cyanide kills humans. The climactic battle is life and death…

As an adult, what is your favorite Halloween costume (that someone else has worn)?

When I was on the sideshow, we played a gig in Florida during Halloween. Part of the evening’s entertainment was a costume contest, with the winner getting big bucks. I’m fairly sure they were professionally built costumes, and many of them blew my mind. I think one in particular was a robot, perhaps 8 feet tall. I guess this is one of those “you had to be there” answers…

If you were hired to produce and star in a show on PBS, what would the show be and what would it be called?

Wild Talents. The title is a homage to Charles Fort. I go around the world documenting the most amazing performances and stunts by talented humans.

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever heard/seen/read/etc?

Hmm. Well, I once saw a guy that was blown apart by a pipe bomb

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