A brief history of quicksand  AUG 23 2010

Quicksand has all but vanished from TV and the movies, but a vibrant quicksand community thrives on the web.

Some were "sinkers": Those who crave the sensation of being mired in deep mud, the suction that's created when you step into water-logged clay. The stories they post to the group message boards-which have flourished over the past 15 years- suggest a shared spirit of adventure. Last summer, one quicksand fan set up a collaborative Google map for sinking holes, which now has more than 100 sites marked around the world-from the tidal muds near San Diego, Calif., to the loamy bogs of Finland. (Holes are assigned a score from 1 to 10, depending on amenities like privacy, depth, thickness, and available parking.)

Edwards is a different kind of quicksand fan, though. He has no interest in getting muddy himself-he's more a looker than a doer, someone who likes to see pictures and film-clips of other people being submerged. Not every looker has the same tastes: Edwards calls himself a knees-to-waist kind of guy; others prefer someone stuck to the armpits; and still more are into "grim endings"-where the sinker disappears below the surface in a trail of mud bubbles. (Headfirst sinkings appeal to a small but dedicated minority.)

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