Monday, February 17, 2014


“Cupping Therapy” is a form of alternate medicine developed in ancient China. It involves using small cups, placed against the skin, to create a partial vacuum. Traditionally, the partial vacuum was created by using fire to heat the air inside of the cup, then placing the cup against the body.  When the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and produces a slight vacuum.  This method would routinely leave burns and scaring.  In modern times, devices have been made that use pumps to suction the air out of the cups, but can still cause burst capillaries and bruising.   

People who engage in cupping believe it to be able to cure numerous ailments, ranging from blood disorders to fertility problems, even though there is no evidence showing any health benefit from it.  All of this is done based on the idea that creating the small vacuum will cause stagnant blood to move and improve a person’s “Qi.”

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sneezing Myths

If you have noticed, most likely through out your whole life, you've heard the expression "God bless you" or "bless you" usually after ever sneeze. And if you didn't hear it, it was somehow taken offense to not getting such a reply back, maybe because back then it became a customary law to all to do so. To begin with, all the way back into 1348 AD, during the time of the Death Black plague, sneezing was a sign of the sick and infected and saying the expression would help bring a stop to the plague. In the Roman times, it was told that sneezing would release your soul to the world, and holding it in would have been some kind of internal struggle. Today, we say it because it shows mannerism, and we are slighty look down upon for not saying it.  But those are only a couple stories behind the infamous expression, and there are so much more. I say God bless you because I was raised to say it, and it is in my culture to say such a phrase. And being as though I am religious, I am going to continue to say it, or I will get that "hello, I just sneezed, look".

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Area 51

In the middle of the Nevada Desert sits Nellis Air Force Base which covers approximately 11,300 acres of land. On this base approximately 80 miles outside of Las Vegas sits a well know yet little known about area called Groom Lake, or more commonly Area 51. Paranormal enthusiasts have come up with many theories about this area which include government conspiracies, ailen research, and UFO's associated with this. The Top Secret/Compartment ed Information designation of operations at Area 51 make it even more inviting for these paranormal theories. People have reported seeing bright lights and UFOs coming out of the area north of Las Vegas, as well as disappearances of people trying to gain access to the base. Up until 2013 the federal government never acknowledged the existence of this place. Acting upon a freedom of information act request, the CIA formally acknowledged the existence of the base and declassified some documents detailing its history, which includes spy plane testing such as the Oxcart program which was a predecessor to the SR-71 Blackbird used during the cold war. While most people will never get on the base or even get near the site due to the strict security and the fact that it sits next to an Atomic weapon test range. I have been less than 10 miles away, didn't see or hear anything, and am still here to tell the tale.

Men In Black

Men In Black in UFO conspiracy theories, are men dressed in all black who claim to be government agents who threaten UFO witnesses to not say a word about what they have seen. It is even thought that they may be aliens themselves. The sightings of these men was initially reported in the 50's and 60's. The first report of Men in Black was associated with Albert Bender, who was studying UFOs. He formed a popular group called the International Flying Saucer Bureau. Then it suddenly shut down after he was visited by three men dressed in all black suites who told him that he was getting to close to the truth, and if he knew what was good for him he would leave the UFO subject alone. Witnesses describe the men in black visitors as having odd appearances. They had  bulging eyes, very short, no emotion, suddenly disappearing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Theatre Superstitions

In the realm of superstitions, theatre-folk seem to have the majority of them. Some theatre superstitions are very well-known, such as the substitution of “Good luck!” for “Break a leg!”, or never saying “Macbeth” in a theatre (or even on/before an opening night; that superstition has lots of different variations). But it seems every actor, no matter how small or big, has some sort of superstition surrounding the theatre. But why?

Theatre superstitions have been documented for years; the earliest documentation of the Macbeth curse stems from the 1600s. Countless theatre superstitions have lingered until even today. Some of the most common ones include not whistling or clapping backstage, or leaving a ghost light turned on after the theatre is closed for the night to ward off mischievous ghosts. It is also said that having a bad dress rehearsal foretells a good opening night. Some theatre companies adhere to the rule of not saying the last line of the play during rehearsal (or not staging curtain call until dress rehearsal) because they are afraid of jinxing their run, since the play is not finished until opening night. Theatre box offices also tend to have their own superstitions, such as not admitting a patron with a complimentary ticket before admitting a paying patron.

There are definitely a lot of things that can go wrong in a show, in the blink of an eye. So it does seem logical that theatre folk step lightly around the things they believe might tip the scales on how successful their show is. It is in human nature to cling to and believe in things that give you hope. If it makes you feel better to follow some sort of superstitious ritual every night before standing on a rickety set that you pray won’t collapse underneath you as you dance on top of it, then so be it. As per the ghost light superstition—there may not even be rumors of paranormal activity in your theatre, and yet you don’t want to chance it for the sake of the show.

However, there are a lot of logical roots and explanations for some theatre superstitions. The ghost light could represent how the theatre doesn’t want to “go dark”, which is a term theatre-folk use to describe days the theatre is closed. And Macbeth used to be performed by failing theatres as a last-ditch attempt to get an audience, since it is one of Shakespeare’s most interesting and exciting plays (and also has the negative connotation of the superstition attached to it, which draws people in). Also, “Break a leg” could simply mean, “I hope your show performs so much that the curtains (some of which are called legs in theatre-speak) break from so much usage!” Clapping and whistling used to serve as signals to the earliest stagehands, who tended to be sailors (because they could easily climb into the flies and handle the ropes), so doing either onstage could be mistaken for an order and some heavy sets could be accidentally dropped on the unlucky person below.

The fact that there are so many theatre superstitions, whether they stem from logical explanations or not, are all prime examples of both how and why people believe weird things and the perfect topic for our class! And trust me, there are a lot more superstitions surrounding the theatre aside from the ones I merely touched on here. If you want an idea of just how many more superstitions plague theatre-folk, you can read some of my source articles that I have attached below.

Top 10 Theatre Superstitions
Giant List of Theatre Superstitions
Another List of Theatrical Superstitions
The Curse of Macbeth

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th originated from Christianity relating to the "13th guest at the Last Supper- Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus and the crucifixion of Jesus was on a Friday". (John Roach) The fear behind this is directly related to the fact that since the 13th guest at the Last Supper was the one who betrayed Jesus, people believe that the number 13 has to be unlucky as it was for Jesus. As a result of religious beliefs becoming so prevalent in society today, people have begun to pick up on this superstition and have fed into it for centuries.    For more information about this,

The superstition has become so prevalent in our culture of the world today that according to John Roach, "Its been estimated that [U.S.] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they normally would do".This to me is ridiculous. There are many people who fall into the trap of this superstition because our culture allows it to flourish especially with the popular horror film Friday the 13th where Jayson Voorhees goes around slashing up people for being in his home at Camp Crystal Lake. Since this killer only comes out to do his business on Friday the 13th, people suddenly believe that this could happen to them on a Friday the 13th because that is when all bad luck is supposed to occur.  

Overall, I believe this superstition to be well just that, a superstition. I believe that if people believe in it and its power enough, that they are in turns drawing the unluckiness or bad energy to them during this day. People in this day and age have such strong beliefs about things but really have no evidence to back them up. For example, some of my closest friends will swear by Friday the 13th saying that this day is a lucky day for them. They may have gotten a new job that day, found money, won a contest or whatever it may be. For my friends, they treat Friday the 13th as a day to embrace for them much like a birthday and I believe it is because of this, that they bring the goodness to themselves. People choose to make the best of what they have or just blame it on something that isn't real and that is something we will be combating as a society for many years to come.

Ancient Astronaut Theory

Ancient Astronaut Theory is a pseudo-scientific theory that believes that earth was visited in the past by extraterrestrial's and made contact with humans.  This theory holds aliens accountable for the forming of technologies and religions on earth.  Ancient astronaut theorists believe that structures such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Human remains at Stonehenge date back to 4200 B.C. and required 30 million man hours to build.  The position of the stones show that people during that time were able to predict eclipses and knowledge of lunar nodes.  Some see it as impossible for man back then to build Stonehenge without extraterrestrial influence.

The Great Pyramids has a unique feature in which the height of a pyramid times by 1 million is the distance to the sun.  Twice the height of the pyramid divided by the distance around the base equal pi.  Accuracy in computing pi was not discovered until 2,500 years after the pyramids were built.  Theorists think say that the stone blocks would have needed to be levitated to move the stones from there original locations.  Although many people may believe that aliens contributed to the building of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, hieroglyphics show pictures of sleds with stone blocks on them.

Thirty six percent or 80 million Americans believe that aliens or UFOs exist.  Religion seems to be on the decline where one in five Americans do not recognize with a religion.  People are looking in to strange things like aliens and have nothing to say that they do not exist.  Internet allows quick access to any information and ideas of many people which can be explored.  People are attracted to the weird news and information because it is fun, as put by Michael Shermer.

The Cassandra Syndrome - Ancient Greek Myth

          In Ancient Greek Mythology, Cassandra is the most beautiful daughter of Priam and Hecuba and a princess of Troy. The reason I choose to write about her was that it intrigued me the varieties versions of how Cassandra received her power of foretelling the future. However, there is a commonly told one: Cassandra is a preitess (a female preist), she worked in the Temple where she met the God Apollo. Apollo fell in love with Cassandra the moment he laid eyes on her. Apollo was so much in love with Cassandra that he offered to give her the give of prophecy in exchange for her love. Cassandra agreed to his terms and Apollo granted her the gift. When Apollo asked for her affection, she refused him because she did not accept him as her lover. Embarrassed and angry Apollo placed a cursed upon Cassandra where no one will believe anything she says or predicts, it was punishment because it brought her frustration and despair.
       Cassandra predicted the fall of Troy by the wooden horse and the death of Agamemnon sadly due to the cruse Apollo bestowed upon her everyone thought it was all a lie. Agamemnon was the king of Mycenae and the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War. During the Trojan War, Ajax the king of Locris also known as Ajax the Lesser, dragged Cassandra from alter of Athena and raped her. Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, knew that Athena would be furious and tell the Greeks to kill Ajax. Ajax barely escaped from being stoned to death by his Greek allies. Athena later sent a storm that sank most of the Greek ships as they tempted to head home.
          Unfortunately, in Greek Mythology the rape of Cassandra is a famous and favorite scene in Greek art. After Troy had fallen and captured by the Greeks, Cassandra became one of the spoils of war and was Agamemnon prisoner or captive. Later, she was murdered along with Agamemnon when they returned to Greece. Agamemnon and Cassandra are now worshiped, and her story is continually being told around the world.

          Nowadays there is something called the Cassandra syndrome recognized by experts. Where people would have valid alarms, visions, or dreams about upcoming events, which are disbelieved. The Cassandra Syndrome applies mainly to psychology and politics or science and Gaston Bachelard, a French Philosopher, was the one who discover and named the syndrome in 1949. 

This is an animated video of the Cassandra Syndrome (some laughs) enjoy!  

Diana Elgueta :)

ESP-Extrasensatory Perception

In the physical world there are 5 senses, but some people claim to have a "sixth sense." ESP, or Extrasensory Perception is using the mind in a supernatural way, such as precognition, or telekinesis. This post will focus on the former. Some people claim to be psychic or to predict events before they happen. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to back up ESP. Science must have a testable experiment. ESP is not testable since it can't reproduce the same results. Also, if ESP is real, it goes against what we know about science. What we know from science is that people feel things through tangible evidence. Of course, new evidence can overturn old evidence leading scientific theories to be modified or even disregarded, but there is simply no evidence to prove the existence of ESP. People who claim to be psychic have little accuracy. Check out this website for more info:

Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle also known as the Devils Triangle is an area of water where mysterious disappearances of ships and planes have occurred. The triangles location is from three points, they are from Bermuda, to the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico to the coast of Miami, Florida and back to Bermuda. There are many different beliefs as to what causes these disappearances such as a vortex that leads to different dimensions, alien abductions, the lost continent of Atlantis, sea creatures and many other beliefs. People believe these assumptions because many of the disappearances are just that, they were never found, no wreckage or sign of the planes or ships. Creating these supernatural beliefs gives us a reason for these mysterious tragedies because we have no other way of explaining what has happened.

But Science tries to find other, more logical reasoning as to why these planes and ships disappeared.
According to science there are environmental considerations that can account for the disappearances such as hurricanes, the Gulf Stream which can cause major changes in the weather and has a strong current. Another reason for ships to have such issues is the amount of islands in the Caribbean Sea, the shallow waters can be tragic for ships. The U.S.Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard speak from experience and logic that there is no supernatural reason for what happens out at sea. It is due to uncontrollable weather conditions and human errors. They also say that there is no distinct pattern outlining the triangle and to support that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not acknowledge the triangle and has no files on it.

For people that are constant visitors of the ocean and the air, like the Navy for example study everything they can to know about the areas they will be exploring to. The same goes for pilots, they know the potential threats, they know about the weather and the strength of certain parts of the ocean. They see such tragedies
of planes and ships crashing. But as for people that know little to nothing about this body of water and people that do not track weather are going to have an easier time believing that supernatural creatures and vortexes are a possible cause for the disappearances.

Here are two sources if you want to know more:

Hollow Earth Theory

I found it very interesting that this concept has survived from ancient times. It started out in Greek and Celtic mythology; where they believed that caverns on the surface of Earth could lead you deep within the Earth to a Hell or afterlife. These stories continued to grow when medieval knights and saints were said to have entered an ancient cave that led to purgatory. In the centuries to follow it was speculated that perhaps other civilizations actually lived within the Earth. In 1781, Milfort with several Creek Indians went into a cave system by the Red River in Mississipi; where he made claims that these systems could easily hold 20,000+ families. Many different versions exist, some believe a miniature sun exists within the Earth with many different species.  Others believe there is no sun, but the species still exist. These species were said to have been discovered in the Caucasus Mountains. Maps have been created that show entry points and what the inside looks like; plenty believe UFOs have entered in through the north and south poles to visit the civilizations.

This theory at a time tried to explain for gravity, the aurora borealis, and tectonic plate movements. This theory also seems to have started as more of a religious one that throughout the centuries morphed into a Sci-Fi adventure as some claim to have traveled into the Earth. They point to different photos like Essa7 and first hand accounts to give their theory credit. It's a pretty cool idea from a Sci-Fi perspective, as subterranean fiction helped move this idea back into view.

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: A Myth?

         After doing homework for hours with my laptop, I tend to feel discomfort in the joints of my knees. Sometimes the pain is worse than others and I have noticed the pain to occur if I leave my cell phone on my legs as well.
        I conducted research and luckily found that I am not the only one with this bizarre problem. The condition is called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. In the 1970’s it was referred to as microwave sickness or radiowave sickness. The symptoms, which occur when dealing with wifi or other electronic wave currents, include skin sensitivity and blemishing, light sensitivity, fatigue, high blood pressure, headaches, joint pain, dizziness, and a whole array of associated symptoms. There is said to be no cure except for completely isolating oneself from any electromagnetic devices. 
      This article claims that the symptoms could easily be those of stress, not Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. The author wrote, "The ability of a human brain to convince itself of just about anything is not to be underestimated. If you are experiencing stress (and just about everyone is experiencing some stress), whatever you attribute it to will inevitably create more stress whenever you encounter it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe yourself to be electrosensitive, then you will be, quite literally, whenever you perceive the presence of electromagnetism." This is related to correlation and causation aspects we discussed in class such as a arthritis pain and the weather.
Personal Case Studies

The Development of Ley Lines

Coined in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, in his books Early British Trackways and The Old Straight Track, ley lines are ancient trackways that Watkins believes were created for ease of overland trekking by line-of-sight navigation during neolithic times, and had persisted in the landscape over millennia. Use of ley lines would no doubt be of use when new territories were being charted so roads could later be built but in 1969, writer John Michell revived ley lines to associate it with spiritual and mystical theories about alignments of land forms, and drawing on the Chinese concept of feng shui (which is more about building an ideal location of a home and how to layout said home than utilizing some mystical aspect of the world that we can not grasp). Michell would take Watkins definition of ley lines even further by implying that ley lines have spiritual power or resonate a special psychic or mystical energy that New Age occultists claim can be sources of power or energy.

By pin pointing sites on a map and then connecting the dots to one another, lines (or roads) will be made to connect said sites. It is foolish to think that a road that connects to any two sites has any magic power that flows through it especially when the ley is a variant of lea, "meaning grassland, clearing, or pasture. English towns with these names are somewhat common, e.g., Cantley (Cant's clearing)."


One, Two, Three Strikes You're Out

Baseball players, managers and fans are known to be the more superstitious than all other sports.  Routines, good luck charms and skill can all be chalked up into this category. If a player has a hot streak they will do everything in their power to make sure it continues. Some players even name their bats. In addition, wearing the same clothes or eating the same food are very widely used superstitions with players and fans.
There are some weird superstitions held by some well-known baseball players. Jason Giambi wears a gold thong when he needs help getting out of a slump.  Wade Boggs begins practice at exactly 5:17 on days he is playing a night game and during warm ups he would take 150 grounders, no more no less. Turk Wendell is one of the more superstitious players in baseball. For instance, he will never touch the foul line, he would always pitch with black licorice in his mouth, and when he played with a certain team he would wear the same necklace. Mark McGuire wore the same protective cup that he wore in high school during every game. Richie Ashburn would sleep with his bat. Many more superstitions exist but those are just a few. The superstitions can almost be like a self-fulfilling prophecy because they believe in these routines to such a large extent.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


 The Creatures of Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology is the study of animals that are rumored to exist. These creatures are called "cryptids." Some like the gorilla, giant squid and okapi, are no longer hearsay and legend but real creatures according to science. Other creatures, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, continue to tempt the hopeful and the adventurous with the possibility of their existence. 

Video (here)

Mediums and Cold Readings

Mediums claim they can “speak” to a person who has already passed away. I went to the website to find out more about mediums and their “ability”. Scientifically, there is little to no support for mediums. Mediums often say things that are very general and vague. Mediums are successful in what is known as “cold reading.” This is when a person uses techniques to get another person to believe that the medium actually has the ability to know information about his/her life without any prior knowledge about them. For example, mediums will often use common things that are universal to the majority of people.  Mediums often can “fish for details” which means that they will say something vague, and then respond to the reaction of that person.
So with this in mind, why do people still believe in mediums? The website explains that people go to mediums to talk to their loved ones that have passed, so it is emotional for them. People will WANT to believe what the medium is saying. If a medium is saying that their grandma wanted to tell them something, that person is going to be emotional and want to believe it. Also, television shows such as TLC’s Long Island Medium, featuring Theresa Caputo, shows real life people being read by her. The following link shows an example of this: .