Monday, May 4, 2015

The Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil is a cryptid that is said to live in the Pine Barrens of south Jersey. The description of this mysterious creature can sometimes vary but is most often described as a flying kangaroo-like creature. It apparently has the head of a goat, hooves, bat-like wings, horns, small arms with claws, and a tail. It has also been “reported” to be a swift creature with a vicious scream.
                A popular origin of this story came about around 1735 and began with a witch named Mother Leeds that had 12 children, but after discovering that a 13th was on the way, stated that it would become the Devil. After the creature was born it supposedly killed the mother and fled into the Pine Barrens and haunted the surrounding communities for years. Over the years the legend continued with people reporting encounters with the Devil but lacked evidence. However, the legend became so popular that in 1960 merchants offered a $10,000 reward to anyone that could capture it. It is also rumored that the Philadelphia Zoo also offered $10,000 just to provide the creature’s feces!
                As with many legends or cryptid stories, there always seems to be a lack of true evidence to prove the creature actually exists. Many skeptics believe this is just an old folk tale created to keep children entertained. On a more interesting note, it is believed that the state has accepted the devil as an icon of the state, and even the professional hockey team, the New Jersey Devils, have adopted the nickname.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Professional Athletes and their Quirky Superstitions

          A superstition is the belief that one event or action causes another without any realistic chance of the events being correlated. Superstitions have seemed to be widely adopted in the professional realm of sports which leads to collegiate, high school, and little league sports to follow in their footsteps. Surprisingly some of the best athletes in their respective sports believed heavily in superstitions. There is a lot that goes into being a professional athlete. They train hard, have raw talent, and always seem to be able to perform under pressure. However for whatever reason, some of these athletes believe their superstitions take them to the next level. Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player of all time used to believe that wearing his UNC shorts underneath is games shorts brought him luck. He wore those shorts every game which led him to wear longer game shorts to cover them up, which actually started a fashion trend in the NBA. Another bizarre story is about Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, who was a professional baseball player for the Boston Red Sox. Boggs used to eat chicken before every game and take batting practice at the same exact time every day. In an even more bizarre story a professional baseball player named Jason Giambi used to wear a golden thong to get out of a hitting slump! Although these superstitions seem quite silly and obviously have no direct correlation to helping an athlete, there could be one slight advantage of believing in superstitions. This advantage could be a mental advantage for an athlete knowing if they follow their ritual then they can build confidence and perform well. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Haunted Hindenburg Hanger

In Lakehurst, about ten minutes from my house, the famous Lakehurst Navel base resides.  On May 6, 1937, the German passenger ship the Hindenburg crashed as it was trying to land.  35 people died during this tragedy.  This was the subject of many news coverage, and many photographs were taken at the crash site.  Many different theories were stated about how the fire started, stemming from either the ignition or the initial fuel.  Because of this event, it shattered the public's confidence of the rigid airship travel method.

According to first hand accounts, many state that the Hanger that the Hindenburg crashed in is haunted.  It was used as a morgue after the explosion, so many believe the sprits of the people that died there are still around.  Many people who work on the base hear foot steps in the rafters.  Another story is that people report to the air traffic control tower that they see dark triangles or large air crafts that are completely silent.  Those specific ones are proven to be things used in the sky on base, but there have also been things that the air traffic tower have seen in the sky that cannot be explained.

10% of our Brain myth

I caught my sister mediating last night, and I asked her what she was doing. She told me that mediation was the easiest way to access the areas of the brain we don't normally use, and she was training her mind to be able to read other people's minds. All I could do was shake my head, and she told me that it must be working because she "heard" me think that I thought she was crazy. But where did she even get this idea from?
Apparently it originated by a misquote of Albert Einstein, and has been publicized very heavily since, especially with the movie "Lucy". Evidence to support the myth is nonexistent. But there is plenty of evidence disproving it. Neurologically, there have been countless of tested to prove the activity of the brain, and even the side effects of removing small sections of the brain. They all showed that if any part is altered, through a stroke or brain tissue removal, they have devastating effects on the person, regardless of where it occurs in the brain. Evolutionarily speaking, we evolve larger brains for a reason, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the have 90% of it silent for our entire lives. But when I tried to explain this to her, she hushed me because I was breaking her concentration.

BLK water

My sister is way into the holistic lifestyle, and the other day, I opened the fridge to see a bottle of dark brown water. I look at the labels and in big white letter, it says "BLK". I asked her why she bought mud water and she said its healthy for her and she was going to drink it every day because it claims to be enhanced with "fulvic trace minerals" to seriously hydrate the body and give much needed electrolytes and higher pH levels. Fulvic minerals are apparently derived from prehistoric plants, and "Fulvic acid is rich in minerals and life-giving nutrients and it is critical to the growth of all plant and animal life". If it was that important, I think I would have learned about it in my many biology, botany, and paleontology courses I took here at Stockton, but whatever. All I know is that it tasted like mud water, despite claiming how great this purified water tastes, and its still sitting in the fridge, with only the two sips she and I took that day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kill your self bridge

The kill your self bridge is located in old bridge new jersey, which is a town over from mine.  I have never been there, but eventually would like to take an adventure there to see what its really about.  The legend says that a long time ago a boy fell into the river by the bridge and if you throw a coin into the river you will see a reflection of the boy and it looks like he is trying to push you into the river.  Other people have said that it is on top of an Indian burial ground and also a meeting place for the KKK.  Another claim is that there is a homeless man that lives under the bridge and if you go near it he will come out with a knife and chase you.  Some of my friends have been there, but all they said was that it was creepy and there was a lot of graffiti every where saying kill your self bridge. 

Clinton road

Clinton road is part of weird new jersey.  Many people have claimed to see paranormal sightings there.  I personally have never been but definitively want to go to see what its all about.  The road and the land around it have gained notoriety over the years as an area rife with many legends of paranormal occurrences such as sightings of ghosts, strange creatures and gatherings of witchesSatanists and the Ku Klux Klan. It is also rumored that professional killers dispose of bodies in the surrounding woods—with one recorded case of this occurring.  It has been a regular subject of discussion in Weird NJ magazine, which once devoted an entire issue to it. In the words of a local police chief, "It's a long, desolate stretch and makes the imagination go nuts."  There are few houses along this road, its mostly made up of trees.  In 1905, a man named Richard Cross built a castle on high land near the reservoir for his wife and three children. Later in the 20th century, it fell into ruin after a fire had destroyed part of it and thus became a popular destination for hikers and local teenagers looking for secluded locations to camp out and have parties.  According to Weird NJ, "visitors have written telling of strange occurrences in or near the castle site, such as people going into seizures and having bruises appearing on their bodies afterwards, or having strange, disturbing visions. Writings that suggest Satanic symbols have been reported as appearing on the castle's interior walls, particularly in areas that were supposedly inaccessible."  Newark's water department razed the castle as an attractive nuisance in 1988, but the foundations remain and several hiking trails still lead to the site.

Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine involves anything that is believed to have the healing effects of medicine, but has not been linked to enough scientific evidence to prove it truly works. Alternative medicines have been around for thousands of years and exist in many different forms. Some new and traditional "medicines" include homeopathy, chiropractors, energy giving medicine, forms of acupuncture, "ancient chinese medicine", and most popular, Christian faith to pray and get healed. Alternative medicines are not  recognized nor practiced by most medical schools. Most alternative medicine is based on religion, tradition, and the belief in superstition and therefore is typically found to be froud. For example, . One of the most common viruses that we have to worry about every year is the flu. When a person gets sick, they go and get treatment for their ailment. One medication in particular that Park looks at is called oscillococcinum. This homeopathic medication sits on the shelf at pharmacies along with other over-the-counter flu medications. The other medications do not say that they are able to cure the flu or stop a person from getting it. Instead, these medications are there to ease the symptoms that a person would suffer from such as muscle pain, nasal congestion, and other symptoms. Likewise, these medications also list the side effects they have. The unique thing about oscillococcinum is that it has no side effects according to Park. The concentration of this magical medication is at 200CK HPUS. The "C" means the initial dilution is one-hundredth dilated and the 200 means that the process was repeated for a total of 200 times. If ever interested, one of the best sites to check out for alternative medicine is   .

Curse of Bambino

 The curse of bambino was a superstition involving from the  failure of the Boston Red Sox baseball team to win the World Series in 1986. The superstition began after the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was also called bambino. At the time the Red Sox were known  were known to be one of the most successful baseball franchises during that time. After the sale of Babe Ruth the Red Sox began losing and went without a title for decades. Babe Ruth played for the Yankees and the Yankees became one of the most successful baseball franchises. The curse became the focal point of Red Sox losing for so many decades.  The curse ended in 2004 and lifted the spirits of the Red Sox fans. The curse was believed it was reversed. The Red Sox won the last World Series game in 2004.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Day of the Week were you born? What does it mean?

There is a belief among spirit people that believe that the day of the week the child is born effects what traits they will grow up with.This belief come from "ancients" that named the seven days of the week after the seven visible spheres, the planets in the solar system. The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn referring to the English, Roman, Norse and French languages, it is very easy to see the connection  between these spheres and our and our days of the week.  This can be seen as a form of astrology and there is actually a poem that states some of the characteristics.

Monday's child is fair of face; 
Tuesday's child is full of grace; 
Wednesday's child is full of woe; 
Thursday's child has far to go; 
Friday's child is loving and giving; 
Saturday's child works hard for a living. 
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day 
is fair and wise, good and gay

So given that poem I was born an a Tuesday and am full of grace. I don't think is true but it is a belief that might give some parents comfort. I have also notice there are not really any bad characteristics on this list except for Wednesday and Thursday , what does far to go mean? Does that mean that child will struggle their whole life or will go far in life? And a worrying child is a Wednesday baby?

Punishments from God

On December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake created a tsunami by the coast of Banda Aceh.  Many communities were affected by this event.  The people of Aceh are a very religious Islamic society, these people tried to figure out the cause of this disaster, they could either rule it out as American terrorism, they thought that the American Army was testing a new weapon against them.  They also thought that this was an act of their god punishing them for their sinful acts.  In these types of religious societies, everything seems to revolve around religion and their relationship to their god.  It seems rational to think that this was an act of God punishing people for their sins because the Bible itself talks about a major event that was very similar called The Great Flood, but that’s if you believe in the Bible.  There were about 300,000 people killed by this tsunami, did all these lives needed to be taken?  Was this punishment necessary?  People who believe in religion and who see these natural disasters as acts of God will believe it because they choose to, in a way, it gives them a feeling of comfort.  Being able to blame such tragic events on someone or something gives them control over how people think and even how they behave about it. 

In the modern world, we are able to determine exactly why these sort of natural disasters happen; there is a scientific explanation behind them. Religious people will still say that God has a part in everything, and that all comes back to the element of thought: point of view.  We all choose to explain things how ever we wish to.  There are people who believe that God controls everything that happens, there are others who don’t, as I said we all have different points of view. 

Eclipses cause birth defects?

Some people argue that the Mexican culture was built around superstitions.  One of the superstitions that I can relate to very personally is that Mexican people believe that pregnant women should not look at an eclipse.  If a pregnant woman looks at an eclipse her child will most likely be born with a cleft palate.  When an eclipse occurs, pregnant women are supposed to wear red clothing and carry around with them a metal object such as scissors.  I was born with a cleft palate, my mother had never heard of this superstition before until she met other people who had the same birth defect or children’s mothers at hospitals.  My parents are very religious and very superstitious as well so they used this superstition as an answer to why I was born this way.  My mother could not remember if she saw an eclipse or not while she was pregnant but she decided to think of my defect as God’s will and that she should not question it. 

            Now that I am older, I began to question this superstition so I looked for information online.  There are many testimonies about pregnant women finding out about this superstition actually protecting themselves “just in case.”  There is no scientific evidence to support this superstition but it is said that it is a very ancient superstition that probably originated from the Aztecs.  I went on to try to find more information because this birth defect shaped my life and I wanted to know in what other ways I could relate an eclipse to cleft palates.  To my surprise, I found out that there was a solar eclipse on April 19,1995, four moths before I was born.  Also, this solar eclipse was completely visible from Southern Mexico where my mother was living at the time.  This would be a case of an assumption according to the elements of thought.  This superstition is taken so for granted all over Mexico and it is spreading throughout the world as people learn more about it and spread the word around.  Also, no mother wants to put their unborn child in danger so most women will follow this superstition “just in case.”

Saumrai Ghost

A father took a picture of his daughter on the beach of Zushi, Japan and when he went to look at the photo a little later he noticed that it looked like someone was standing behind his daughter. The man insisted that he did not mess with the photo in any way. He said that he took a few pictures and when he went to look through them later he noticed that there were a pair of boots behind his daughter in the photo. After he saw the photo he put it up on a ghost section of Reddit and many people said that it was Samurai footwear that belonged to a ghost warrior who "must have wondered over from a nearby graveyard." Someone else said it might be an old US Navy uniform from the WWII era. There have been other kinds of photos similar to this one, where weird things have been standing behind a person who were thought to not be there.

There could be an easy explanation to this and say that the dad just didn't notice that there was someone behind his daughter on the beach when he was taking the picture, however he said that his daughter is shy and she would have noticed someone behind her and in all the other pictures he took there was not anyone on the beach behind her. Definitely something weird, but it is entirely possible that he did not notice someone or that he doctored the photo.

What Would The Flying Spaghetti Monster Do?

Touched_by_His_Noodly_Appendage.jpg (452×233)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) was created to be a god of the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; and his disciples are called “Pastafarians”. In 2005, a Kansas School Board tried to change teaching curriculum and decided to teach ‘Intelligent Design’ in conjunction to evolution in science classes. Intelligent Design is defined, "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause In response, a student (Bobby Henderson, a 24 year old Oregon State University Physics major) wrote an open letter to the school board about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and requested that it’s “Noodly Appendages” be taught alongside evolution and intelligent design.

It has been said that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe after drinking heavily. In result, his intoxication is the reason why the earth is so flawed. Pastafarian beliefs suggest the FSM’s first disciples were pirates, peace loving explorers, spreading their good will. Their theories have caused them to believe that as the number of pirates decreased, the global temperature increased, causing global warming and natural disasters such as earthquakes, and hurricanes. Pastafarians celebrate on Fridays, which is their Holidays (Holy-days). Prayers end with “Ramen” (in contrast to “Amen”) and their heaven (The Great Pasta Bowl) consists of a stripper factory and a beer volcano. Their hell (The Freezer of Doom), is the same as heaven but the beer is stale and the strippers have STD’s.

Before researching this pseudoscience theory, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. After reading this pseudoscience, I was right, it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Some of its beliefs seem rather dark, which may cause it to be offensive to some people, but I am able to find some humor in it. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Don't sit too close to the TV or you'll lose your eyesight!

When playing my Super Nintendo and Playstation as a child one thing was for certain, I was on the floor a few feet from the bright TV screen. Even today if I am taking a game seriously that's the position I have to be in. The only thing that has changed over the years is my eyesight.

I can hear the echo of my mom now, "If you sit too close to the TV you'll hurt your eyes!" Just as her mom told her.

But is that true?

There is no evidence. In fact, it is believed kids have a better ability of focusing on things in closer proximity than adults. However, sitting too close to the TV may be a sign of nearsightedness. The child may need glasses and thats why they're sitting so close

If you do feel yourself straining your eyes to watch or read you may get a headache but thats it. The straining will not cause your eyes to become weaker.

So you can sit in front of the TV to your hearts content (or how long you can withstand the inevitable headache) In many cases believing in the myth isn't too bad as it can prevent unnecessary eye straining, head aches, and a way for parents to get their kids away from the television and outside.

"My hat made me go bald"

The myth: Wearing a hat makes you go bald

I'm sure we've all once heard going bald can be a result from wearing a hat. In most cases when your told this you quickly take your hat off.

But how does one go bald? Balding can be the result from genetics, stress levels, diseases, medical treatments, and poor life choices like smoking. Probably the most popular is male/female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) has DHT (dihydrotestosterone) to blame. DHT absorbs nutritionist hair follicles should be getting which causes miniaturization. Miniaturization in return makes the hair you once had into barely noticeable peach fuzz.

It's all hormonal. So if you've had a hat you've been wanting to wear go out and wear it! There's no one to blame but yourself, genetics and stress which produce the DHT. The correlation between going bald and wearing hats is really just that. Balding was probably in the works and the hat is taking the blame. If you are already thinning and wear a hat to cover it up, you may just be furthering your baldness by stressing about it. The hat is just the innocent bystander.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pre-Show Superstitions

As we've talked about many times, superstitions often arise out of the fear of uncertainty or the fear of failure. It would only make sense that musicians would have superstition regarding their live performances. On the website Independent Music Promotions, they explored some superstitions specific to some well known artists. Some of these are confirmed while others are mainly just rumored. 

One Direction is said to share a bath together before a performance. Personally, this seems a little far fetched and was probably concocted from the mind of one of their more… let's say enthusiastic fans. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones has to eat a Shepard's Pie before a gig. Adele apparently suffers from stage fright and has created an alter ego for herself when she performs, who she calls Sasha Carter. This actually doesn't seem all that unusual to me given that we have David Bowie and Marilyn Manson. It's said that Ke$ha has her crew strip down and roll around in oil and glitter before shows. Not entirely sure whether I should believe this one or not… And then we have Led Zepplin. Robert Plant apparently needed a space in which he could iron his shirts before shows. also did an article exploring different artists' pre-show rituals. Lorde apparently has a lucky blanket that she naps with before shows. Beyonce is known to sit in a massage chair while her hair and makeup is done (which seems more like a comfort thing than a superstitious thing) and she sometimes prays before she performs. Paramore is also a fan of prayer before shows. 

To me it makes a lot of sense that musicians, or really any performers, would be superstitious. It's a high stress situation and they have a lot of pressure to perform well. While many of these little rituals realistically have very little impact on their performance, if it eases their minds before a show I don't see the harm. It's very much a placebo effect. Performing their rituals makes them feel more confident, and then, in turn, they are able to put on a better show because of it.

Astral Projection

Astral Projection is something I heard of years ago and never really put too much thought into it. Astral projection is "an interpretation of an out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it."(see Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English) I watched the movie Insidious and that turned out to be what the movie was about. It made me think about it quite a lot. It is an interesting idea, when you go to sleep you dream and or have an out of body experience or both, and it feels as though you are actually travelling to a different place, almost in a different dimension as a spirit. In the movie it is just that that gets a young boy into trouble. After having inherited his astral projection or "travelling" skill from his father, he journeys too far into what is described as "the Further". In this astral plane there are bad spirits that wish to now inhabit the boys sleeping body (i.e. the empty vessel). I have always been a sleep walker and always have elaborate long dreams of which I can remember great detail. Sometimes I will spend what is days or a week in a dream. I've always seen it as a blessing and a curse. I have never experienced an out of body experience but have met others who have. Just recently I spoke with someone who said they had a few when they were in their twenties, which they attributed to religion and a soul. They actually felt that their soul had temporarily left their body. I asked about astral projection and explained what it was. They seemed to agree with the idea. I went on to elaborate on pseudoscience and we had a decent intellectual conversation over the matter. I don't necessarily believe in astral projection or the like but it is a nice explanation to something that is mysterious. Also it adds to humans almost a supernatural element (i.e. our ability to be dualistic and separate our soul from our body.) This may be why it is such a popular belief, because it makes humans sound capable of more than we are, naturally.

I even found a link to a website that has a three step process to prepare yourself for an astral projection.

Image result for insidious

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific acupuncture points along the skin of the body using thin needles. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is wildly popular in traditional Chinese medicine. Since acupuncture does not follow the scientific method it is considered a type of pseudoscience, it is considered ‘borderlands’ science because it is in between normal and pseudoscience. Supposedly, acupuncture is said to correct the imbalance in the flow of Chi. However, there has never been any evidence to support the claims of acupuncture along with the Chinese concept of Chi and acupuncture points. To many Chi differentiates a corpse from a live human being and in order to be in good health and be pain free, Chi needs to circulate throughout the whole body. Many acupuncture patients partake in hope to relive pain like chronic back pain or muscles spasms. Some research has shown acupuncture can reduce pain while others say it is simply by chance and only effective do to a placebo effect. After having an acupuncture procedure that usually consists of five to twenty needles. The needles are left in place for about twenty minutes. Then patients go through a consultation that can last up to an hour. In the evaluation patients have there pulse checked on both arms and their tongues are inspected. Preformed properly by a professional there are no serious risks however, one should be cautions.
People need to be aware of scams and acupuncture can fall into that category. There are serious implications that can come from something like this. People think they are being helped and cured when in reality no scientific evidence supports the claims that your Chi magically becomes balanced and pain is eliminated. Not to mention people spend a fortune on such procedures. An average acupuncture session can cost any where from sixty to a hundred and twenty dollars that may not seem like a lot but many acupuncturists recommend their patients to have fifteen to twenty sessions. Since people believe they are being helped they will spend the money without researching or asking to many questions. Before you consider such method one should know the risks, if the acupuncturist as the right credentials, and if it is a worthwhile investment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nessie: The Monster of Loch Ness

From the time we are children, we are intrigued by mythical creatures and folk legends. When we are children, these folk legends grab our attention and makes our imaginations run wild. The possibility of these creatures being real excites us. However, as we grow older and wiser, we tend to label the legends as fallacies. There are some individuals whose belief grows stronger and may trun into an obsession. Throughout the world, there are many people out there who devote their lives to hunting down various urban legends. Some of the most popular mythical creatures include Bigfoot, El Chupacabra, and the Jersey Devil. One of the most popular and most recognizable urban legends throughout the world is the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie, for short.

Nessie is thought to be a lake monster that lives in Scotland's Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Monster soared in popularity and exposure in 1933. Various people around the area in 1933 began to descibe witnessing a large creature in 1933. There has been numerous pictures that have surfaced of Nessie. However, most of the pictures are of poor quality. As of now, there is no conclusive evidence that Nessie exists. However, that does not mean that the hype has died down over the years. In fact,, is a website entirely devoted to Nessie. The website actually has a live webcam of Loch Ness.

There are numerous Elements of Thought at play when it comes to the Loch Ness Monster. The first one being Concepts. Within concepts, you will find theories. When it comes the mystique surrounding Loch Ness, many theorize that there is a sea monster hiding in the depths of the water. The next Element of Thought is Interpretation and Inference. People look at old photographs of the supposed "Nessie" and infer that it is in fact, a sea monster. The last Element of Thought is Point of View. Everyone has their own belief. However, there are some people who have share the same point of view. They believe that Nessie exists. As for me, I would like to believe that a sea monster exists. However, it would be illogical to fully believe that.