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.