Monday, February 14, 2011
A few superstitions that I follow are picking up a penny heads up for good luck. Now although I can say many times Iv received good luck from this, there are many other times where I recieve no luck at all, or even bad luck. Also when someone sneezes, I always say 'God bless you' just incase their heart skips a beat! And finally, something that I picked up last year is lifting up your legs while going over a railroad tracks to bring good luck.
Even though I know that my superstitions were made up, I continue to follow them because of forced habit. If I didn't lift my legs up over a railroad I would feel like I messed up big time, and definatley have to lift them up over the next set of tracks. Sometimes I don't pick up every penny I see because I feel like a scumbag, but if it is in my apartment then I will mostly always pick it up. It just goes to show you that how people are raised is how they will act for the rest of their lives, because I hav been telling my friends about this and spreading them my unique ways, and Im sure when I have kids they will also follow in these wacky superstitions.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Ghosts are something that almost every person has come in contact with either one way or another in their life time. Whether by means of the media, religion, or personal experience, ghosts have become a favorite mystery of our society for years. The media glamorizes ghosts through movies and television and has created an entire industry revolving around ghost hunting. Popular movie favorites such as Casper, Ghostbusters, and Ghost, are good examples of the different contexts ghosts can be put into from Ghostbusters, being a comedy revolving around fighting evil ghosts, to Ghost, a film examining the afterlife and other common beliefs about ghosts. Some of these movies, coupled with t.v. shows such as Ghost Hunters or The Haunted, have created an industry revolved around "ghost hunting". At http://www.ghost-hunting-equipment.com/ you can go over your own personal check list for all the equipment you need for your own ghost hunt. Or for a mere $200+ investment you can purchase a ghost hunting starter kit. Either way the popular media has definitely found a way to make money off of this mystery.
Even though I do, honestly, find these shows and movies very entertaining, I also find it funny every time I watch how much every single piece of "evidence" is left incredibly up to interpretation. I believe that watching the same show without the commentary, people wouldn't see the same "evidence" that is explained during the shows. Although they do try and dismiss as many paranormal events as possible there are still some that they cannot (or maybe just do not) explain. This is part of the allure of these shows. People in general are fascinated with the unknown, and maybe more specifically are afraid of the unknown. One of the biggest "life questions" is what happens to us after our death. That uncertainty, along side the fact that people are afraid of the thought that there may not be an "afterlife", can be one of the main factors that sparked the ghost phenomena. Between religion, belief, and the media many of these great life questions are "answered". Whether or not you choose to buy into that "answer" is a personal decision.
My father is a general contractor. When I was much, much younger I used to love when he would take me to work with him. He would make me feel as if I were helping out, even if I was just standing there with my plastic work belt and tools filled with red, blue, and green hollow, bendable, tools. A client of his went on vacation and left a key in a fake rock outside their house so he could still get his work done. This was one job I was lucky enough to be able to actually help him out with. As we pulled up to the house I was as excited as ever (I guess going to work and not getting paid for it is an exciting thing as a kid). My dad quickly located the fake rock and flipped it over and opened the little trick door just to find out that there was no key. Excitement quickly turned to sorrow as my father began to get angry after wasting a day to drive out to the job and not being able to get anything done. To this day my father still tells this story. Being young and naive I told my dad to just use his key in the door. He brightened up a little at my attempted help and tried to explain to me how keys work. I looked about as he continued frantically looking for a key and turned, stopped, and just looked at him. He had given up searching and now was looking back at me. I than told my father that he was wrong about the keys. I went on to explain that while he was looking I had just seen an "angel" who had told me to use his key. My dad now had a smile on his face and just to amuse me walked up to the door to show me that it does not work like that. He inserted his key and it clicked through each locking barrel. He turned the key to a point which must have seemed like a full 360 degrees further than he had imagined it would go. To his disbelief the doorknob turned freely and we were able to enter the house.
I am, by nature, a skeptic. I do not believe anything that I am told, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. For this reason I do not believe in ghosts. I do, however, believe in the unexplainable. What happened that day, at work, so many years ago I cannot explain. Whether it was a ghost, or an "angel", a coincidence, or any number of things, I will never know. I do know though that at times in every one of our lives something will happen that is unexplainable, and it is left up to us to put whatever "answer" seems fit into place to explain it.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
This revolutionary new pill known as "Magnetic Pill" is meant to bring a harmonious balance in ones bio-magnetic field by increasing the bodies "Magnetosomes". "Magnetosomes" are found in all living tissues and are supposedly responsible for the "sixth sense" certain animals use to navigate the earth. By taking this pill twice a day one can help themselves increase their own "sixth sense" and thus have greater intuition and a general higher awareness. Along with increasing ones intuition the pill meant to help just about everything including, "Pinched or Damaged Nerves, Brain Fatigue/Fog, Low Physical Energy, Anemia, Muscle Cramps, Neural Brain Enhancement, Memory Retention, Mental Focus, Inflammation, Alcoholism, Arthritis, and Athletic Response Time".
This pill is clearly pseudo science by jumping all over the place with seemingly scientific explanations such as balancing brain hemispheres and magnetosomes. The site is filled with testimonials and lacking any real studies. Just about everything contained in the pill can be bought at a vitamin store for much cheaper in a higher amount, and of course none of the claims are approved by the FDA (as seen in the small print at the very bottom of the site).
There are many claims and myths related to microwave ovens leaking radiation and eventually causing cancer. Considering that almost 90 percent of household in the United States have a microwave, it is not a surprise that people have questioned their safety. In a microwave oven, electromagnetic waves are produced by a magnetron. These waves are called microwaves and they are a form of radiant energy. In fact, microwave ovens can leak radiation. Therefore, shouldn’t we believe these urban legends about the dangers of microwaves? Can microwaves leak large amounts of radiation and cause cancer?
Fortunately, the amount of radiation that microwave ovens might leak is very small. “According to the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, a unit of the Food and Drug Administration that regulates microwave oven safety, every microwave that reaches the market must meet a requirement limiting the amount of radiation it can leak in its lifetime to five milliwatts per square centimeter at roughly two inches away from the oven.” (O’Connor) The intensity of radiation decreases drastically with the distance a person stands from the microwaves. The radiation from two feet away is one-hundredth the amount at two inches. Additionally, to prevent microwaves from escaping, the ovens’ doors are lined with metal mesh and special door handles, which stop microwaves whenever the latch is released, are required. The levels of radiation are greatly limited due to these procedures.
Therefore, although microwaves leak small amounts of radiation, the levels of radiation from microwave ovens are far below those that are known to cause harm to humans. So why do the rumors persist? People continue to caution each other about the effects of microwaves and without further research on their parts, people will believe those who only want to protect them from radiation and cancer.
Who wouldn’t want a bracelet that improves their athletic ability? Drew Brees, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lamar Odom all have them and I can too? They are all talented successful athletes and it must be because of the silicone bracelet they wear. The power balance bracelet claims to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. It is said to be “made by athletes, for athletes. It is a favorite among elite competitors, weekend warriors, and everyday fitness enthusiasts”.
The power of the hologram sticker attached to the product is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body. They actually sell 10 packs of these hologram stickers for one hundred dollars! But who wouldn’t want to spend the cash to receive a product that maximizes their potential and allows them to live life to the fullest and even lasts indefinitely? There is one slight problem: the company admitted their product has, “no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct”. http://gizmodo.com/#!5723577/powerbalance-admits-their-wristbands-are-a-scam. But regardless of what they told the Australian media, they still stand strong behind it. They say on their website, powerbalance.com, that they never claimed their product does not work and they made voluntary changes to resolve the issues. They claim it is people without open minds that experience a failed product. .but don’t worry, there is still a full refund if you are unsatisfied.
Products such as the power balance bracelet have been around for decades convincing people of amazing feats. For example, the Q Ray band; people believed this "ionized" bracelet solved all of their pain problems. It is a classic case of the placebo affect; mind over matter. Now a days, adding a famous face to the campaign doesn’t hurt either. People are easily convinced to try a product that does a celebrity wonders.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Fear of the number 13 and Friday the 13th is a superstition that everyone is familiar with. Many people are convinced that the number 13 is unlucky. People try to avoid the number altogether, even if that means not leaving their house on Friday the 13th. This is such a widespread superstition that many hotels don’t even have a 13th floor. If you go into an elevator the floor numbers usually skip from 12 to 14. If seems that everyone is onboard with this superstition even hotels. There are many reasons why people have this overwhelming fear of the number 13. Firstly, at the Last Supper Judas was the 13th guest. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus. In addition, the Tarot card 13 is the card of death and Apollo 13(the spaceship) had to abandon a mission because of an onboard explosion which happened on April 13th. And there were also 13 women found guilty and executed at the Salem witch trials.
Even though it is understandable why people would connect the number 13 with bad luck, there is no statistical evidence that shows that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. It may even be a safer day since a lot of people steer clear of that day altogether. Some people have such an overwhelming fear of the number 13 that it creates anxiety and panic. This phobia that people have is called Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). There are techniques that therapists used to help conquer this fear. To everyone else the fear seems irrational but it is a very real thing to those who suffer from this phobia. Exposure to the number 13 is said to help with this fear. The idea that 13 is an unlucky number is quite interesting. To think that a certain number can create bad luck seems silly to me. I have a hard time believing one single number can create unlucky events in someone's life. Until there are reliable studies indicating that the number 13 is unlucky, it will just remain as another ridiculous superstition.
Every Year on February 2nd, a large crowd of hundreds of people gather early on this historically cold morning at a place called Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney. They meet here in hopes to see a groundhog make an extraordinary prediction. The groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole, with the help of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and looks for his shadow. It is believed that if Phil sees his shadow, he predicts that there will be six more weeks of bad weather. If Phil does NOT see his shadow, he predicts that spring will come six weeks early.
The Legend of Punxsutawney Phil is actually tied to another very old superstition from Early Europe called Candle’s Day. On February 2nd, priests would give out candles to people tell them to light it. If the next few days there were bad weather, this winter would be a long one. If the weather was good in the next few days, winter would end soon and there would be an early spring. It is believed that as time went on, people started to associate this belief with various animals seeing there shadows and making their own predictions. This is how Punxsutawney Phil was born.
How accurate is this groundhog with predicting weather patterns? Is Phil better than a TV weatherman? The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club believes that Phil is 100% accurate. Data from Stormfax Almanac from 1887 to 2010, however, says that Phil is only right about 39% of the time. If he were getting graded, Phil would be failing. His average may go up in the Future. This year, Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring will be here in six weeks; let’s see if he’s right.
Video Link of Punxsutawney Phil’s 2011 Prediction:
I like to believe that in death, our souls transform into pure energy and departs from our physical bodies. Imagine being able to explore the universe or check in on our loved ones in an eyeless blink! The possibility that we only get one life and we cease to exist after death, is difficult to cope with. It's only natural that we would hope there's more... and maybe there is. Believing in a spirit world - the idea that the departed are among us, is a belief in the existence of ghosts. Whether you believe in ghosts or don't believe in ghosts, is not the purpose of this article. What you accept as evidence or proof of the spirit world, is the actual subject at hand.
Orbs have been the subject of much debate among paranormal investigators. Unfortunately, lots of people believe that orbs are proof positive of ghosts or spirit energy despite that the notion has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. Orbs are typically small, white in color, circular, semi-transparent blobs in still photographs. There may be one, there may be several per photograph. They are not visible to the naked eye which is why you will not see one until you review the picture you snapped last night. People often believe they see faces, (sometimes recognizable faces) within the orbs. This photographic anomaly has increased in frequency as a result of the use of digital cameras.
So, what are orbs anyway? It appears there are several possibilities. Airborne dust is the most likely culprit, while insects and water vapor/moisture are also very possible. Several conditions must be met before an orb can magically appear in a photograph. Para.Science's investigation revealed that first, the camera's flash must be used. Second, "Airborne material must be located within a few centimeters of the camera lens and the material must also be within a narrow range of angles relative to the lens center axis for the material to be able to reflect the light from the flash into the lens." Para.Science, through an exhaustive series of tests, was able to debunk this anomaly as paranormal. Despite this proof and many other debunking successes made by other organizations and professionals, people continue to believe that orbs are evidence of the spirit world. Thank you The Discovery Channel, for being one of the few entertainment channels that admits to this silly misconception.
Perpetuating myths does a huge disservice to legitimate scientists who are trying to prove or disprove the existence of an after life. Self-deception doesn't help the psyche. If you are a believer who is seeking the truth, at least have some common sense and practice skepticism, it is your sharpest tool for the job.
http://www.ghostorbs.com/ (image borrowed from here)
Can dogs and cats see ghosts? A popular and conventional belief asserts that our four-legged companions have the innate ability to perceive spirits or apparitions. Serious research of animal communications began over 100 years ago when people began taking notice of animals' reactions to supposed ghostly visions. It is believed that animals are very sensitive to the presence of spirit life in our environments and will often react in powerful ways, especially to any negative forces present. A number of people believe that their domesticated pets do have some sort of psychic energy that humans do not and can’t comprehend.
There have been times I would be home alone on just a regular night and my dog would have peculiar reactions to what seemed like nothing. Certain instances she would sit up and just stare into space and other times she would bark at the vacant staircase or growl at empty areas of my house. Either she is not too bright of an animal or something eerie is actually occurring. I’ve been informed of numerous similar stories from other people and have heard news stories and other beliefs on dogs and cats apparent capability.
The problems with this “belief” are that it lacks plausible evidence and reasoning that people come up with to explain it. Nothing has ever been proved or for that matter even close to being verified. Similar convictions hold that animals can predict the weather or even a death of a person. I personally believe that man’s best friend and cats simply just act in ways that are odd to human beings and some try to put a paranormal or crazy rationale to try and explain what they can’t fathom. As with James Hydrick who claimed to posses psychic abilities, what is seen and not understood tends to become truth to most people until it is proven or debunked.
I am sure many of us have seen the repetitious commercial for HeadOn on TV which shows a woman happily rubbing what seems to be a glue stick across her forehead. What most people do not realize what is actually being advertised. Most people assume it is a remedy for headaches, although it is not stated in the commercial itself, so we are left to believe that the product is used for headache relief. However, no published studies have been able to show that HeadOn or any of the active ingredients help alleviate the symptoms of headaches. Speaking of active ingredients let us take a look as to what HeadOn is actually composed of. The four active ingredients listed on the box, as well as the Miralus website for the product name are as follows: White Byrony 12X H.P.U.S., Blue Flag 12X H.P.U.S., Potassium Bichromate 6X H.P.U.S. and Golden Seal 30X H.P.U.S. Now you might be wondering to yourself what exactly the numbers mean after the ingredients as well what H.P.U.S. is. Well to begin with, the 6X of Potassium Birchromate means that the ingredient has been diluted one part per million parts of water. Miralus states that the reason for such a high dilution rate is to eliminate any safety concerns regarding the use of homeopathic remedies, and that by diluting the ingredients, their medicinal properties can be released. Now as for the H.P.U.S., this stands for the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States. The active ingredients have been determined by the H.P.U.S to be safe and effective. Effect for what exactly, is not specified.
My question, which has been voiced by other people as well is how exactly this product works. According to the vice president of sales and marketing, Dan Charron, was stated as saying that HeadOn works by “stimulating your body to overcome a headache or migraine”. He was also asked by a curious customer how it worked, he was simply answered “It works through the nerves”, with no more explanation then that. Mainstream doctors like Seymour Diamond are not so easily placated. Seymour Diamond is the director of the Diamond Headache clinic in Chicago and the inpatient headache unit at St. Joseph Hospital. Diamond believes that any positive reaction to the product is likely due to the placebo effect. Charron fired back stating that “We respect every doctor’s opinion, but they are not exposed to homeopathy, and they don’t understand how this works”. In March 2006 the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, recommended that the company discontinue product performance and efficacy claims because they lacked sufficient evidence.
So, why is it that people spend money on a product that has no evidence to support its’ claims? Well, they use previous customers’ testimonials to show that if it could work for them, well it might as well work for you too. The product is also sold in pharmacies which lend it an air of legitimacy, with the apparent seal of approval from the pharmacy that is selling it. Miralus also claims that they are using state of the art technology to improve homeopathic remedies, but they never quite get around to saying what the technology is.
The belief is that if you happen to look at the clock at 11:11, am or pm, you make a wish and it will come true. And there is a stipulation, you must look away when you see 11:11 and make your wish and when you look back if it is already 11:12, your wish will not come true.
After looking on the internet for a very long time, because everything I seemed to have found was all iffy about the 11:11 superstition and does not know much about it, I found out some entertaining view points. Many astrologists are interested with 11:11, but can’t make much sense of it nor do they know where it originated. Apparently, the Mayans predicted that the world would end at 11:11 on December 12, 2012. Is that where the time originated? Who knows! I found an article that mentioned the repetition of 1’s mean that “we are all one,” and the time symbolizing it because it consists of all 1’s. This website I found goes way beyond the norm, mentioning crazy reasons why 11 is significant and why 11:11 exists, check it out. http://www.urigeller.com/articles/11.htm
I also found a “scientific” reason why the number 1111 is in our conscience. “Physical reality is a consciousness program created by digital codes. Numbers, numeric codes, define our existence. Human DNA, our genetic memory, is encoded to be triggered by digital codes at specific times and frequencies. Those codes awaken the mind to the change and evolution of consciousness. 11:11 is one of those codes, meaning activation of DNA.” http://www.crystalinks.com/11.11.html
How many of you make 11:11 wishes and never knew why??? I guess we will really never know, but will continue to wish!