Tag Archives | Superstition

Ancient Vampire Burial Uncovered In England

Luckily it worked. Via the Telegraph:

The discovery of a skeleton found with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, dating from 550-700AD and buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Notts, is detailed in a new report. It is believed to be a ‘deviant burial’, where people considered the ‘dangerous dead’, such as vampires, were interred to prevent them rising from their graves to plague the living.

The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street in the town 1959, which revealed Roman remains.

John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, said the body was one of a handful of such burials to be found in the UK. Mr Lock said no one could be sure why the body was staked in the way it was: “People would have a very strong view that this was somebody who, for whatever reason, they had a reason to fear and needed to ensure that this person did not come back.”

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Nepal to Crack Down on ‘Witchcraft’ Accusations

Via Skeptic:

Arnold Savage Henry Landor - 'Nepalese Woman'

Witchcraft is taken seriously in some areas of Nepal, and women accused of its practice have been beaten, tortured and in one high profile incident, burned alive. The Nepalese government is hoping to end such activities with strict laws aimed at punishing those who accuse others of witchcraft:

“Taking seriously the incident in Kathmandu, the government has decided in principle to enact a comprehensive anti-witchcraft law,” Trilochan Upreti, law secretary at the prime minister’s office, told Khabar. The proposed law treats witchcraft allegations seriously, with a convicted punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and an Rs 61,957.40 ($700) fine for those found to have levied false accusations.

Read More at Skeptic.

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Namibian Fairy Circles

No one knows what creates the thousands of fairy circles dotting southern Africa, but we now know that after mysteriously springing up, they live for approximately 41 years. Via ScienceNOW:

Tens of thousands of the formations—bare patches of soil, 2 to 12 meters in diameter—freckle grasslands from southern Angola to northern South Africa, their perimeters often marked by a tall fringe of grass. Locals say they’re the footprints of the gods. Scientists have thrown their hands up in the air. But now Walter  Tschinkel, a biologist at Florida State University, has discovered something no one else has.

By comparing photos taken over a 4-year period, he confirmed something other scientists had suspected: The circles were alive—or at least they were dynamic. A number of circles appeared and disappeared over this time period. Extrapolating from the data, Tschinkel calculated that most smaller circles arise and vanish every 24 years, whereas larger circles last up to 75 years.

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Skeletons Treated For Vampirism Unearthed In Bulgaria

As recently as one hundred years ago, in parts of the Eastern European countryside, fear of vampires ran so high that corpses had iron stakes driven through their hearts. One wonders what events provoked such a practice. Via the Washington Post:

Bulgarian archaeologists say they have unearthed centuries-old skeletons pinned down through their chests with iron rods – a practice believed to stop the dead from becoming vampires to feast on the blood of the living.

According to Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, two skeletons from the Middle Ages were found in such a state last weekend near the Black Sea town of Sozopol. He said Tuesday that corpses were regularly treated in such a way before being buried in some parts of Bulgaria, even until the beginning of the last century.

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Celebrating Friday The 13th With Chicago’s Anti-Superstition Society

Via Boing Boing, for the no-longer-in-existence Anti-Superstition Society of Chicago, Friday the 13th was naturally the most important day of the year. In 1940, they rang the day in in December with a series of festivities pushing the limits of bad luck charms, including traipsing beneath ladders, perching black cats on shoulders, afternoon naps in coffins, spilling salt and improper hand shakage. There’s no word on how many of the Society’s members were alive a year later:

anti_superstition

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Hong Kong’s Booming Market For Haunted Houses

ALeqM5hvMNMdjNjAJEHa_anYDDlWDomOHwThis AFP piece on the intersection of morbid superstition and real estate piqued my interest. Local buyers typically shy from residences where gruesome, unnatural deaths occurred, so out-of-towners are swooping in to buy at a discount. Would you be bold enough to mess with the ghosts of Hong Kong?

Then there is the divorcee whose body was discovered a month after she poisoned herself with the fumes of burning charcoal, or the woman hacked to death and mutilated by her domestic helper in an exclusive apartment block.

For bargain hunters in Hong Kong’s turbocharged property market apartments that belonged to the recently deceased are proving irresistible — and the more gruesome the occupant’s demise the better.

By law, buyers are entitled to details on so-called “haunted houses” — or hongza in Cantonese — and many rigorously check the backstory to their potential purchase. Discounts of between 20-40 percent are the standard for haunted houses.

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With $666,000 in Federal Research Money, Scientists Determined Prayer Could Not Heal AIDS

PrayerTrine Tsouderos reports in the Chicago Tribune:
Thanks to a $374,000 taxpayer-funded grant, we now know that inhaling lemon and lavender scents doesn't do a lot for our ability to heal a wound. With $666,000 in federal research money, scientists examined whether distant prayer could heal AIDS. It could not. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also helped pay scientists to study whether squirting brewed coffee into someone's intestines can help treat pancreatic cancer (a $406,000 grant) and whether massage makes people with advanced cancer feel better ($1.25 million). The coffee enemas did not help. The massage did. NCCAM also has invested in studies of various forms of energy healing, including one based on the ideas of a self-described "healer, clairvoyant and medicine woman" who says her children inspired her to learn to read auras. The cost for that was $104,000.
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Is 11.11.11 On 11.11.11 Doomsday?

Screen shot 2011-11-10 at 10.20.53 AMSurely a rhetorical question if ever there was one, but the Times of India takes it seriously:

At 11.11.11 on 11.11.11, the time and date will be a perfect same-numbered palindrome, reading the same backwards as forwards, an event which can only happen on one day every 100 years, the Daily Mail reported.

While some consider it as the perfect day for a wedding, some “prophecy” web forums claimed it could also be the end of the world.

The reason the date is so unusual is that 11.11.11 is the only double-figure palindromic date, since there is no 22nd month.

And the last time it happened, on November 11 1911, an almost supernatural event saw temperatures drop by more than 60F in a single day.

This was the Great Blue Norther, a cold snap which hit the U.S. causing blizzards and tornadoes as well as record falls in temperature.

In Kansas City, it was as warm as 76F (24C) in the morning – but this had dropped to 11F (-12C) by the end of the day.

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Fear Of “Killer Phone Number” Spreads In Nigeria

_55399391_mobNo biggie, just let it go to voicemail. Via the BBC:

Nigeria’s authorities have been forced to reassure the public that a mobile phone number cannot kill, after rumors were spread…that several people had died when they answered calls with the ID 09141.

The regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission, said this was “unimaginable” and “unscrupulous persons” were spreading fear.

A BBC reporter was unable to get through to the number.

Text messages gave conflicting accounts of the number of people killed when they answered the call – some put the death toll at seven while others put it at 10.

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