Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals. People devote their life looking for living animals that are considered extinct or animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but appear in myths and legends. (Bigfoot, Chupacabra, Loch Ness Monster, and The Yeti). Such animals are called cryptids. Cryptozoology is not recognized as a branch of zoology or discipline of science and does not follow the scientific method. Cryptozoology relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, stories, and alleged sightings which makes it an example of pseudoscience. 
There is an International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine founded by Loren Coleman in 2003 and is recognized as the first ever Cryptozoology museum in the world. The museum has been named the best quirky museum and made the top 15 list of the weirdest museums in the world in 2011 by CNN ranking in at #11. Some items you can see at the museum are actual hair samples of the Abominable Snowmen, Bigfoot, and the Yowie as well as a sample of fecal matter of a small Yeti collected Tom Johnson during a 1959 expedition. There are many supporters and believers of the study Cryptozoology. Numerous conventions and conferences are held throughout the year. Such as The Ohio Bigfoot Conference, Creature Weekend, and Fur the 'More.  


Monday, March 30, 2015

The Full Moon Effect

Have you ever had a day where things were either just going wrong, people were acting strangely, and simple everyday events just seem totally weird? If so, have you ever heard anyone blame these circumstances on the full moon? Apparently, the tides are not the only thing the moon has control over.

For centuries, people all over the world have believed that the moon exerts some sort of magical power over the earth and its inhabitants. The moon was often blamed for evil, unnatural events, and gave birth to many dark myths and superstitions such as werewolves and vampires, and eventually led to terms such as the "lunar lunacy effect" or the "Transylvania effect." Even today, people believe that the full moon has an effect on erratic behaviors such as suicide, homicide, psychotic hospital admissions, car accidents, etc.

Possible Explanation?:

Miami psychiatrist, Arnold Lieber, came up with the conclusion that, just like how the moon effects the tides of the ocean, it can also effect the water in our bodies. Since our bodies are 80% water, its no surprise that the full moon has an effect on our actions, right?

Unfortunately for Lieber, many scientists have refuted this theory. They state that the gravitational pull of the moon isn't nearly strong enough to effect human emotions and actions. Astronomer George Abell quoted that "a mosquito landing on your arm has more gravitational pull on the human body than the moon." One study in 1992 tried to find a connection between the full moon and suicides with a case study of 20 people, only to find no empirical evidence of a connection. Some believers even blame the full moon for dog bites, and state that twice as many dog bites occur during a full moon than any other day. Scientists decided to examine this theory by looking at the medical records of these reported incidents and found that the dates were inconsistent with the cycle of the full moon. In conclusion, there is currently no evidence of the full moon having effect on our mood and behavior.


Crystal Healing

Crystal healing is seen as an alternative medicine to help many different aspects of health. It is said to harmonize the mind, body, emotions and overall well-being of the person that maybe of balance mentally. Whether it is headaches, insomnia, depression and lack of energy or libido, crystal healing is said to help. But the real question is does it work?
            In a crystal healing session a person would lay down on a table, usually clothed or in under garment and have different types of crystals would be placed on different parts of the body. The placement of these crystals depends on the chakras of the body. Each body parts has a different chakra that controls different parts of mental health. The main focus of crystal healing is to bring balance back to the chakras that may be unbalanced. There are seven chakras the crown, brow, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral, and the base chakra.
I believe that this is a placebo effect, to test the effects if crystals really work Dr. Christopher French, a psychologist at Goldsmith’s College got eighty participates in a study. He had them undergo “crystal healing sessions” but half of the participates were given fake crystals and the others were given genuine crystals. Dr. French also only focused on the mental side of crystal healing so only to see if there mood or demeanor was affected. 
To me this just shows that perhaps the environment and relaxing effects the mood. For a session they usually put the person in a room similar to a massage room with relaxing instrumental music and dim lighting. And if they person is just laying there with their eyed closes and almost falling asleep anyone can say they came out of the room relaxed and energized. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 2012 Phenomenon

One big pseudoscience belief which brought the world in an uproar was the whole, “2012 Phenomenon”. This huge conspiracy dates all the way back to ancient Mayan records. The phenomenon revolves around a theory that on December 21, 2012, the world will all come to an end or that a major change will ensue. However, there are many disbelievers on the contrast to the many believers to this phenomenon.

The biggest theory behind the phenomenon was that there will be some sort of catastrophic event or transformation will occur in December 2012. But others believed that that ancient Mayan myth was a misapprehension by Mayan scholars. According to the Mayan calendar (The Long Count), the end of the calendar ends around December 21, 2012, evidently meaning the end of the world while other Mayan calendars from different cities would have different Long Count dates (1000+ years later). Others would also argue that Mayans did not predict the end of the world, as the end of the calendar did not mean the end of creation. Mayans in fact celebrated the end of Long Counts and have made predictions for events occurring after the calendar ended. An additional theory to this phenomenon was that on that date a major shift will occur between the North and South Pole, causing catastrophic earthquakes to succeed, leading to the demise of the world as we know it. From a scientific standpoint, disbelievers find it nearly impossible for such pole shifts to happen, as the poles move about 1 degree every million years.

My initial reaction to this whole “2012 Phenomenon,” was that it was completely ridiculous. Although it did leave me with a semi-curious “what if” thought in the back of my mind, I wasn't so concerned to the point I was inclined to research information behind this ludicrous conspiracy. I don't remember much of that day but I do remember people at school talking about it, waiting for earthquakes or meteors to fall down from the sky.

Congratulations!, The 2012 phenomenon was a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur on or around 21 December 2012. This date was regarded as the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.


Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis happens when someone is either just falling asleep or about to wake up. When it occurs one will feel as though they cannot move or wake up fully. Many times people say that they feel a presence in the room with them. This presence is usually some type of "evil" that they feel might be out to get them. Many people experience this and feels as though the presence in the room is trying to attack them, and some even believe that they are on top of them and that is why they feel as if they cannot move. There were times when people believe that the presence was trying to rape them. I have experienced this on multiple occasions and it has been one of the most frightening things that I have ever experienced. I felt as though I couldn't move and that someone else was in the room with me. I began to panic and by the time that I came out of it I was terrified.

Sleep paralysis can happen for a number of different reasons, one being lack of sleep, narcolepsy,sleeping on your back, and stress are a few. It is important to realize when you are having a sleep paralysis episode so that you don't panic. It is a frightening feeling but it becomes easier to deal with once you realize what is going on.The element of thought that you could link this to is interpretation and inference because you want to be able to find a solution to the sleep paralysis.

Bloody Mary

The oldest recording of Mary Worthington aka Mary Worth, Bloody Mary, Mary Jane, Mary White, Mary Whales, and of course Hell Mary, was in 1960.  Her legend goes that Mary was so vein that one day she ended up in an accident that ruined her face forever. Her family wouldn't allow her to look in the mirror for fear that she would be scarred forever.  One night she saw her reflection,broke down in screams and sobs and climbed into the mirror to find her old reflection.  The game goes:  Chant one of these names 3 times or 7 times or as many times as needed for her to appear in the mirror.  There has been several recordings of her "appearances".  One girl chanted her name (Hell Mary) three times and she didn't appear but the as she was walking to the door  her candle blew out.  Her motion of walking or... MARY WORTHINGTON??!? Another girl chanted "Mary Worth" seven times before she appeared in the mirror and scratched her... Many many of others have claimed to see Mary. And each culture seems to have some urban legend that  goes with seeing bad things in the mirror.  Such as in England you see the devil and some Spanish culture has something similar.  There are bad things associated with mirrors since the times of the bible, Shakespeare and... snow white!! 

So, what this sounds like to me is a game of telephone gone horribly wrong!! there are too many chants associated with this one mythological girl.  You can also trick your brain into seeing things you want to see or believe in so much.. and that's psychology. 

The Atco Ghost

Having lived in the Pine Barrens for my entire life, I have heard many legends and ghost stories. A common one that just resurfaced recently I have known since I was a kid. The legend of the Atco Ghost lives on. The story is about a young boy who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while chasing his basketball into the street. This allegedly took place on Burnt Mill Road in Atco, NJ. Burnt Mill Road is a lonely backroad that dead ends off of route 30. Apparently if you go there at night and flash your lights and honk your horn the specter of the young boy will appear crossing the road after his basketball. Many people recommend all different methods of conjuring the ghost including turning your car off and lights off then lights back on to illuminate the ghost. Some say it must be at midnight while others argue it must be the time when the boy was hit. It is also suggested you turn your car off and walk away from it with the lights off. I am not too sure what any of these practices have to do with summoning spirits but there are hundreds of testimonials. I personally believe that this rumor of the paranormal puts people at risk. Not at risk from ghosts but people who know there are people driving into the middle of no where and turning their lights off and getting out of their car. Sounds like an ideal setting for a robbery or other more grim crime. I stumbled upon a short article that was posted on 3/28/15, about this ghost that had a picture of the setting.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Death Omens

Death omens can be found in many different cultures around the world, and can be as simple as watching a picture fall off the wall, or as hard to understand as a cry of a banshee. People investigate death because they do not fully understand it, and some people take comfort in their faith in what they are taught. Some things that are believed to be signs of death, include a mirror that breaks while still on the wall, a stopped clock, a picture falling off the wall, an owl seen during the daytime, a dog that howls for no reason during the night, a bird pecking at the window, and a cat that leaves the home and refuses to re-enter. More complex warnings include hearing a mournful cry or howl (the cry of a banshee for Irish families), hearing a carriage outside your home, or seeing a black dog with or without glowing eyes.

Furthermore, it is also believed that when a person is about to die they will speak to people in the room that can only be seen by them and no one else. There are many theories regarding who or what they are talking to. Christians believe it is Jesus or angels who have come to guide them to the other side. Others believe it is a deceased family member there to make the transition to the other side easier. There are also people who believe it is just their brain shutting down. In my opinion, the idea of death omens is an urban legend because everything that is said about them are just beliefs that vary among religions. The death omens as previously mentioned are common things that could occur on any day, while the cry of a banshee is also part of folklore with no concrete evidence. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anti-Vaccination Myth

A hot topic in the past few months has been the speculation around vaccines. The people who are against vaccines are known as "anti-vaxxers." These people have demonstrated a genuine distrust for vaccinations. Anti-vaxxers believe that the vaccinations are used to spread diseases or illnesses. This irrational thought is focused around the belief that these vaccinations bring about other disease. The diseases or conditions that are brought about are usually conditions that are not able to be completely explained. This is the focal point of their argument. If the conditions are not easily explained by science, the anti-vaxxers could state that the vaccinations have brought about the conditions that are being experienced. The anti-vaxxers attempt to add firepower to their argument by targeting childhood conditions. This is because people are more emotionally attached to children, Therefore, if a anti-vaccine group states that a vaccine caused their child to turn out autistic, people would be more inclined to get behind this group of protesters.

I believe that this form of thinking is dangerous to all. Vaccines provide us with protection from previously dangerous diseases and illnesses. If everyone was to accept vaccines, it would be at least possible to eradicate some of the world's deadly diseases. However, if these anti-vaxxers start growing in numbers as time goes on, the general population will be at risk. The anti-vaccine movement is an extremely selfish idea. These people are jeopardizing the health of many other people and children. Dangerous diseases such as measles would stand a chance at returning. According to Jacqueline Harris of the Huffington Post, anti-vaxxers claim that a study has shown that vaccinations cause autism. However, Harris states that the study that these people are referring to, has been retracted. The researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was vacated of his medical license for falsifying information.

Three elements of thought at work in this idea are assumptions, concepts, and purpose. The anti-vaccination people assume that because a disease does not have a specific cause, that it was brought about by vaccinations. These people also use this form of thinking to create theories about vaccinations. Some believe that autism is due to vaccinations. This idea has a purpose behind it. These individuals would like to eventually bring an end to vaccinations. They have a goal in mind that they wish to achieve. However, it could be very dangerous and perhaps, cause certain diseases to start taking lives again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Does Time Travel Exist?

      Have you ever wanted to defy the laws of time and travel to a faraway land that can only be reached by traveling through multiple dimensions in time and space? Part of what draws individuals to television shows such as Doctor Who or Outlander is a yearning for the unfathomable. We all know that time travel doesn't exist, but could it exist sometime in the distant future? According to top scientists from the University of Glasgow and Imperial College London, time travel will be available in the year 2100.
       Apparently, time travel has already been achieved by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. He was successfully able to travel 0.02 seconds into the future. Even though this may not seem like an important number, experts agree that this proves that the notion of time travel is possible. According to Albert Einstein, time and space are virtually the same thing. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge Theory created in 1935 by Albert Einstein and his colleague Nathan Rosen state that a wormhole or bridge as it is sometimes referred to can connect two different points of time. This passageway allows easy access between the two points and would allow you to get to the other end in a matter of minutes. On the popular Science fiction series Doctor Who it is called a rift. The rift is what allows The Doctor to travel from one point in time to another so quickly. In the popular Starz television series Outlander, Claire travels from the 1940’s to the 1740’s through a wormhole that is in a Druid standing stone.
       Sadly, Einstein never discovered the existence of wormholes and to this very day no one has found one in space. If individuals really want to travel through time they would have to wait and see if it would even be available by the year 2100. As much as we would like to believe that time travel truly exists, we do not have enough specific facts and figures to prove its existence beyond a reasonable doubt. If we look at the Elements of Thought, we can easily see that these scientists were grabbing at straws. They interpreted Krikalev’s mediocre attempt at time travel to draw the conclusion that time travel exists and that it’s possible. Even if by some bizarre twist time travel becomes available, not everyone would have access to it. The very thought of the issues and paradoxes that could occur as a result would hinder any possible chance of breaking the barriers of time and space.   
Many people believe in the powerful abilities of mediums and feel closure with family members and deceased relatives after a medium performs a seance. There are several websites that actually describe the proper procedure for conducting a seance, which includes gathering around a circular table with at least three individuals, placing a natural aromatic food in the middle of the table, lighting candles, repeating a chant numerous times, and connecting with the dead. An average seance should last at least thirty minutes and mediums promise positive results from their work.
Many people believe that there is some truth and logic behind the information that a medium exploits, but a lot of people carry the notion that mediums are nothing more than people pretending to have obnoxious and incapable abilities.
There is said to be differences between "real mediums" and frauds. Fake mediums usually ask a lot of leading questions (i.e.- "Who died in a car accident?" the psychic medium might ask, when what he should have said was, "I have someone in spirit here who died in a car accident."). They also present general messages, instead of detailed and in depth ones.
In the pseudo scientific world, people have positive opinions about mediums. Some say they were able to contact their deceased relatives and find closure. They can live at peace because their loved ones are safe. A lot of people buy into the notion that mediums can contact the dead and continue to pay big bucks to have people like Theresa Caputo contact their families.
An element of thought that applies to this topic would be the question at issue. Are mediums real and do they possess the ability to communicate with the dead, or do they just use leading evidence on naive people to make it seem like they are out of this world extraordinary? A question that remains a mystery in the pseudoscience world.


  1. Unfortunately, some legitimate psychics and psychic mediums ask a lot of questions, too, which is why it's so difficult for the average person to know if someone is real or not. 2) Fake psychic mediums and scam artists present vague, general messages rather than accurate evidence.

The Lazarus Effect

A new movie that was recently released in theaters, the Lazarus Effect, is related to the pseudo scientific myth about only using ten percent of our brain's capacity. A lot of people believe in the "10%" myth and feel that we would be able to fly, read minds, and obtain invisibility if we could unlock the other 90%.
The Lazarus Effect is based on this concept. In the movie, the actors create a serum that is supposedly the key to bringing people and animals back from the dead. They try it on a dog and the results were positive, but were accompanied by strange side effects. The dog would not eat, would not acknowledge people, and carried a sense of ghostly possession. Later in the movie, one of the main characters dies and in a distraught panic, her fiance tries to bring her back from the dead as well. The serum once again works, but with unbearable effects.
The woman who is brought back from the dead starts to have strange, demonic powers. She is able to move things with her mind, a process known as telekinesis, kill people with her thoughts, and destroy objects and people around her. She was also capable of reading people's current and past thoughts. When the other characters begin to realize that she has abilities that are well behind the human mind, they run a brain scan and discover that her entire brain is lit up and functioning. She was said to be using all of her brain and the feelings she possessed of power and destruction, intensified as the movie progressed.
An element of thought that could be applied to this movie is the concept of implications and consequences. Once the other actors began to realize what they are dealing with, they tried their hardest to make sure the woman was contained. They began to notice how dangerous and deadly it would have been for others if she were to use 100% of her brain in the real world. The implications would be death, destruction, and chaos. According to the movie, a person should not possess such powerful abilities.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Animal Communicator

There are many people who go around and call themselves animal communicators. They say they can understand an animal's feelings, pain, and even "see" what the animal is experiencing. People believe that as humans we all have been born with this ability to talk to animals, but due to outside influences when we are children, being told we cannot talk to them, many people ignore that this is a possibility. It is believed that many animals do not necessarily "speak" to us with "words", but communicate through showing feelings and experiences. The communicator tends to be able to describe images and feelings they receive from a specific animal to that animals owner. 

Sonya Fitzpatrick is one of the worlds most widely recognized and trusted animal communicators. She does work to help owners and their animals communicate between each other. Sonya has her own show on Satellite radio, Sirius-XM, on Sundays from 5pm-7pm ET, which has thousands of listeners who call in about their animal issues. Sonya is known for conducting massive seminars as well as doing private readings for clients. She has clients from your everyday person to celebrities such as Tori Spelling and Ellen DeGeneres. She has also been on many TV shows and was featured in People magazine and USA Today. 

Depending on a person's views will depend on if you believe in animal communications. There are thousands of people around the world who follow this profession and with any job in the paranormal field, some people believe they have this ability and other people are straight frauds. If a person is wanting to try animal communication it is important to not offer loads of information to make sure it does not get regurgitated to you in a different way. Also, if one has to make the choice of paying their fee and you are hesitant, go to a vet instead. Make sure you know what you want to ask, google the person's name, and remember that time is money when talking to most.

In my opinion I feel that animal communication is another form of cold reading, but then looking at how many people follow these communicators and have that small sense of wonder in my mind if it is possibly real. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The “Yips”

                It is often said that to become a professional at something, you must work diligently at your goal for at least 10,000 hours. Whether this quote is true or not, the dedication of time and effort has been shown to be a constant in the makeup of a professional. So why is it when an up-and-coming Major League Baseball catcher that is known to have a damn near rocket for an arm, all the sudden can’t simply toss the ball back to the pitcher without awkwardly double clutching?

                Mackey Sasser was a young catcher for the New York Mets in the early 1990’s that looked to be on the rise to the top as one of the best catchers in the game. Unfortunately, it never turned out that way. In just another day at the ballpark, Sasser was involved in a vicious play at home plate where the runner ran him over that should have put Sasser on the disabled list. The coaches decided to keep playing Sasser the next few games, with his ankles taped and bandaged up like a mummy to continue to help his team despite his injuries. Unfortunately, his ankles being taped prevented Sasser from him being able to comfortable rock back and forth on his ankles in a crouch like all catchers do to be able to toss the ball back to the pitcher. Thus came the “yips”. Sasser began to double clutch and float the ball erratically back to the pitcher. When I finally saw the footage it was awkward to watch and as many have wondered, how could something like this happen? Unfortunately, not many people understand what was going on and often got frustrated and can’t help but ask why he couldn’t make a throw that most ten year olds could make. The yips can be described as a mental block that an athlete forms in their own mind that prevents them from achieving a normally easily obtainable goal. It is not the hard plays that they can’t make, but often the easiest of plays that they have been making since childhood. It could also be situations that require thought were the athlete’s fear settles in and takes away all self-confidence. In Sasser’s case, this led to a short MLB career. The yips can be fixed through some mental therapy to relax the athlete’s mind and to take away the fear that is associated with the act. The yips are more common than people would like to think, but yet there is so little knowledge about what they are and how they affect athletes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lucid Dreaming or an OBE?

I have always been interested in out of body experiences and lucid dreaming. I believe that I've also experienced an OBE in my lifetime. One night, I found myself floating above my body in bed. I was scared at first, but quickly adapted to the situation. I was able to lower myself to the floor and began to walk around my room. In the corner of my eye, I noticed a dark figure standing in my room. The figure seemed to have a demonic presence and it didn't strike me as friendly. The next morning after my OBE, my mom said that she saw a dark figure in my room as well. She got out of bed and went to approach the figure, but when she entered my room, the figure was gone. I did not tell my mom about my almost identical OBE, rather she was the one to speak about of it first.

So now I question whether these experiences were lucid dreams or OBEs. From reading our class book, Scientific Perspectives on Psuedoscience and the Paranormal, I learned that lucid dreams and out of body experiences can be easily confused. The idea of dualism (a soul separating from a body, or an OBE) stems from religious beliefs, and ancient times. People today still believe in dualism because of the strong connection between religion and souls separating from the body.

Going back to the elements of thought, the belief in dualism depends on one's interpretation. Some people may interpret their experience as an OBE while others do not. This interpretation is a product of information (another element of thought,) which is gathered throughout one's life. If someone grows up in a religious household that believes in dualism, then the information this person receives at church and at home will promote dualism. Growing up in a household of dualism believers will lead a person to interpret their experience as an OBE rather than a lucid dream.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Can Dreams Predict The Future?

There are many people who believe that dreams can predict the future.  These dreams are called "precognitive dreams", according to the definition, a certain dream does not necessarily have to predict a person's future, it can be predict anything in the future.  Some people claim that precognitive dreams are another way for our minds and or bodies to express themselves. Supposedly, when we suppress our deepest hopes or fears, they must find a way out and that's how most precognitive dreams happen.  

On a large scale, many people often claim that they had a precognitive dream about something that happened in another place in the world.  This could simply be coincidence, there are about 7 billion people dreaming every night, there are chances that many of us will have dreams that will be able to relate to many things going on all around the world.  

On a smaller scale, when a person has a dream and then something alike happens to them in the real world the coincidence is much greater, but is it really just coincidence?  
In 1865, Abraham Lincoln had a dream that he attended to a funeral in the White House.  When he was in the funeral, he asked someone who's funeral it was and they said "the President of The United States."  Two weeks later, he was assassinated.  

On Thursday, February 26th, I had a dream of a car accident I had last year.  This dream is more like a reoccurring nightmare and on February 26th, I woke up because of this nightmare.   That morning, it had snowed and the roads were not very clean so on my way to school my car slid and I lost control of it.  The car spun and crossed the opposite lane and backed into the woods.  No one was hurt and there was only minimal damage to my car but I immediately remembered that I had that dream and wondered if it was a precognitive dream.  Was that dream warning me or telling me that I was going to be in  an accident in a few hours?

According to the Elements of Thought, the concept of precognitive dreams could explain this coincidence but there is no scientific proof or anything that can validate the relationship between my dream and my accident. Even though my dream and my accident only happened hours after the other, this could be simply a coincidence taking into account that I've had that dream multiple times and nothing has happened before.  Also, another Element of Thought that can apply is "interpretation and interference", maybe I am just trying to find a justification for my accident or an explanation for my dream. It all depends on our interpretations and "points of view."