Birds of Clay

Parallel Earth: 470126
Designation: Permanent Collection
Parallel Historian: Laura Kandle and Ben Tumbling.


Clay Sparrow
Kraken Club 20th Mission (est. 2011, Cairo, Egypt), 2011
Transmuted bio-geological sample

The clay sparrow is found across the world, as ubiquitous as its cousins, house sparrows. Historical records show the species is at least two millennia old. Recent digs have uncovered specimens dating to approximately 0-100 CE. While scientists have not reached a consensus on its origin, the most widely accepted theory is that the clay sparrow is the most common example of thaumaturgic speciation. Unlike in natural speciation, the animal was created through manipulation of matter at the molecular level.

Evidence lies in ancient Christian texts. The Infancy Gospels of Thomas tells the story of how a young Jesus Christ made the waters of a certain pool “straightaway clean”. He then plucked clay from the banks and formed twelve sparrows for himself and his playmates. The children played joyously. But one child told on Jesus, for this all transpired on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. After hearing of the violation, Joseph was enraged and scolded his son. Jesus then clapped his hands and commanded the sparrows to “go”. In a burst of fresh life, they flapped their wings, taking flight in a fury of chirps. The story does not end well, leading to a series of unfortunate events: Jesus slays the tattle tale, those who accuse him of tyranny over the community are struck blind, and the new birds are cursed with a molecular instability that left them vulnerable to spontaneous transmutation.



When a clay sparrow drinks unclean water it’s nature is overcome. As the water courses through its body, it turns the genetically hexed bird back into clay. From the flock of twelve that flew into the wind, the birds have spread, passing on their curse to all their descendants. Though they instinctively avoid contaminated water, habitat destruction forces them from the pristine pools they require. The steady pollution of water sources around the globe has exponentially increased the number of sparrows turning back into clay.

Following the bloody battles of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and its aftermath, birds of clay in the hundreds were found by residents in Cairo and Alexandria. As anti-regime protesters were attacked by old regime forces, and later the Egyptian military, water sources were left polluted by tear gas, debris, and the dead.



Clay Sparrow
Kraken Club 21st Mission (est. 2012, Aleppo, Syria), 2012
Transmuted bio-geological sample
Note the injuries: missing legs and blast damage frozen into the transmuted clay.

Various faiths believe clay sparrows are psychopomps that sacrifice their worldly body to guide the souls of martyrs to heaven. Their association with death and environmental destruction have made them a popular symbol among activists.

phm logo for front page

Click on the + icons below to leave a comment, ask a question, or receive updates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s