666: Silent Hammer

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Silent Hammer
'I bet he'll keep quiet for a couple weeks and then-- wait, did you nail a piece of scrap wood to my antique table a moment ago?'
Title text: 'I bet he'll keep quiet for a couple weeks and then-- wait, did you nail a piece of scrap wood to my antique table a moment ago?'

[edit] Explanation

Black Hat has created a set of tools that work in complete silence so that he can go to the house of the chairman of the American Skeptics Society late at night, do some rearranging of walls and moving of windows, just to screw with him in typical Black Hat fashion. A skeptic is someone who questions knowledge, facts and beliefs, especially of supernatural phenomena like the existence of poltergeists which Black Hat is trying to imitate with his rearranging and scratching noises.

The American Skeptics Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting skeptical and critical thinking in education and public discourse. The executive diretor and chief editor of the Skeptic Magazine, Michael Shermer, is a leading proponent of skepticism, and has written many books and articles debunking pseudoscience, fringe science, quack medicine, alien abductions, conspiracy theories and supernatural phenomena. The Skeptic Society website [1] and Skeptic magazine feature a lot of material debunking anecdotal accounts of these phenomena, explaining how events like "hauntings" could have occurred without supernatural intervention.

One of the premises of modern skepticism is that the supernatural is not rejected out of hand; if someone came up with a proper scientific hypothesis that predicted something supernatural and that hypothesis was proven beyond reasonable doubt. A skeptic would accept that the supernatural thing in question was probably correct.

In the title text Cueball realizes that Black Hat has (probably intentionally) ruined his antique table by demonstrating his silent hammer.

Black Hat's tools are seen in two boxes labelled "drills" and "non-drills", likely a reference to the phrase "this is not a drill", used to differentiate an emergent situation from a practice of procedure for such.

The particularly evil nature of this comic (even for Black Hat) might be because this is comic number 666, which is the "number of the beast".

[edit] Transcript

[Black Hat is hammering something on a table.]
Cueball: What—
Black Hat: Silent hammer. I've made a set of silent tools.
Cueball: Why?
Hammer: woosh woosh woosh
Black Hat: Stealth carpentry. Breaking into a house at night and moving windows, adjusting walls, etc.
[He takes his silent hammer over to a tool bench with other things on it. Two boxes underneath are labeled "Drills" and "Non-Drills."]
Black Hat, narrating: After a week or so of questioning his own sanity, the owner will stay up to watch the house at night. I'll make scratching noises in the walls, pipe in knockout gas, move him up to his bed, and never bother him again.
[The events he's describing are shown in two mini-panels below.]
Cueball, off-panel: Nice prank, I guess, but what's the point?
Black Hat: Check out the owner's card, on the table.
Cueball, off-panel: Chair of the American Skeptics Society? Oh, god.
Black Hat: Yeah, this doesn't end well for him.

[edit] Trivia

The comic number is 666, which is the "mark of the beast" according to the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible.

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I took the comic to be less about a haunting and more about a "Did that really happen to me?" Especially when considering that Black Hat never bothers him again. 08:16, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Quite so. People who manage to pass the course for most sciences tend to become sceptical. I think that this is to allow them to worship the beast more readily than the uneducated would. -- Weatherlawyer (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The comic number is 666… Is this intentional, given the creepy premise of the comic?

I would think so; after all, Hat guy is metaphorically the devil of this comic. --Fallencrow305 (talk) 21:56, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with the Title Text explanation. My guess is that Black Hat was still talking, but Cueball was just being Cueball by absentmindedly trying out the silent hammer with the first piece of wood he found. Cody Hackins (talk) 03:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

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